Good games specifically to showcase non-D&D TTRPGs

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I’d suggest playing something in the FATE line, my preference is Fate Accelerated because its relatively easy to play anything and does Superheroes well. I really like the Pulp setting of Spirit of the Century and Masters of Umdaar lets you play-out very MotU like games of Swords, Scorcery and Super-Tech.

I also really like Princess World:Frontier Kingdoms which is built on a modified Forged in the Dark engine And lets you play a team of magic princesses. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power could easily be done with it Princess World: Frontier Kingdoms by BJKWhite
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
Ironsworn!

Ironsworn!

Ironsworn!

I'm a do-or-die D&D guy, and I have completely bought into Ironsworn. I think it fits exactly what you need. It has a great sense of adventure, intense combat, wonderful exploration, great social conflicts, but mechanically it's pretty far from D&D. The setting of Vikings in a land of magic and monsters is really enchanting. It requires zero prep to play, and the rules are free online. I taught it to some of my D&D players, and they love it to.

Ironsworn!
 

Wow. Lots of replies since I was last able to comment. Too many for me to comment on all of them, so if I don't respond, assume a 'wonderful idea, I will look into this option.' Notably SWADE, some Fate game, and some FitD game are all quite possible (just to find the right one).
If you love the concepts, give it a good read, form a quick tale and run a one-shot. Then you can clear up your perceptions about the system. It's the only way.
I am playing in a game of BitD currently. It seems like the GM is having the workload (tracking resources, factions, etc.) issues I am describing. That's why I brought it up. Do people who have run it found it to be the case? It may be inherent to
How close to D&D type rules do you want.
Easiest to learn that's not exactly D&D, but very compatible with almost every version (0, AD&D, 2e, BX, BECMI, 3e, 5e) is Castles and Crusades. Easy to understand and pick up by those who have played D&D before.
C&C falls within my definition of a D&D-alike. I agree, it is easy to pick up for anyone who has played any kind of D&D. That's the rut this group is considering breaking out of.
One that's different but very easy to understand overall (simple mechanics) in my opinion is Star Wars WEG (D6 version).
WEG Star Wars is a great game. Love it to pieces. I still think it's one of the best trad games out there. The only think I'd say about it is that, other than doing-well things other than fighting or 'spells' moreso than D&D, I don't know that it really showcases what non-D&D RPGs bring to the table.
Would The Troubleshooters from Helmgast be too much anime-like for them? It is based on Franco-Belgian Comics like Tintin, Spirou, Yoko Tsuno... Though the creator has said that Lupin III was one of the inspirations.
I also really like Princess World:Frontier Kingdoms which is built on a modified Forged in the Dark engine And lets you play a team of magic princesses. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power could easily be done with it Princess World: Frontier Kingdoms by BJKWhite
I'm trying to come up with the words to explain what is and isn't an issue here. It certainly isn't just having cartoon character design in the books like The Troubleshooters. But yeah, psychic dogs or magical princesses* are not the right fit. Think of these guys as 'your buddy's uncle Joe**' -- they are into nerdy things, but, y'know, not really. Not the deep cuts (which don't really have to be all that deep). Sure, they play D&D, and have seen most of Star Wars/Trek/the MCU (and probably had strong opinions on Game of Thrones about 5 years ago). However, they never have been completists or the like. BitD while I was alternating watching the current Star Trek: TNG alongside second-hand Akira on VHS and reading the Star Wars extended universe books, they would have been watching TNG alongside Cheers and reading Steven King or Michael Crichton novels. They stopped reading comic books when they hit high school. They may have watched Astroboy or Mazinger in an English dub, but had kinda 'outgrown cartoons' by the time Robotech or Voltron came along. Thus they have a lot less familiarity with, and interest in playing something like the Magical Girl genre, or as actual animals (much less furries) or the like.
*playing as female characters is, though.
**I feel like everyone's friend-group has someone like this.
 

TheSword

Legend
Drumroll….. WFRP4e

It has gritty impactful combat that has consequences and genuine risk - and a great deal of cooperative tactics. A good skills and test resolution system that lends itself to a strong slant towards investigation/mystery and a very novel magic style.

Character progress is rooted in the gameworld and has a granular XP system that lets characters develop in a very flexible way. Interesting sub-systems like potion crafting and trading using monster parts, or herbcraft.

… and the best adventures I’ve seen in 30 years of roleplaying. Including the epic Enemy Within Campaign. Not to mention about three dozen shorter published adventures.
 

I'm trying to come up with the words to explain what is and isn't an issue here. It certainly isn't just having cartoon character design in the books like The Troubleshooters. But yeah, psychic dogs or magical princesses* are not the right fit. Think of these guys as 'your buddy's uncle Joe**' -- they are into nerdy things, but, y'know, not really. Not the deep cuts (which don't really have to be all that deep). Sure, they play D&D, and have seen most of Star Wars/Trek/the MCU (and probably had strong opinions on Game of Thrones about 5 years ago). However, they never have been completists or the like. BitD while I was alternating watching the current Star Trek: TNG alongside second-hand Akira on VHS and reading the Star Wars extended universe books, they would have been watching TNG alongside Cheers and reading Steven King or Michael Crichton novels. They stopped reading comic books when they hit high school. They may have watched Astroboy or Mazinger in an English dub, but had kinda 'outgrown cartoons' by the time Robotech or Voltron came along. Thus they have a lot less familiarity with, and interest in playing something like the Magical Girl genre, or as actual animals (much less furries) or the like.
*playing as female characters is, though.
**I feel like everyone's friend-group has someone like this.

Hmm, what about Sandy Pug Games' Americana? Best and simplest way to describe it is Stand By Me meets Lord of the Rings. Another option would be Kids on Bikes, which is kinda Stranger Things-y.
 


Clint_L

Legend
As always, I gotta stump for my favourite horror TTRPG: Dread. You and your players can learn the game in minutes, and the core concept of using a jenga tower as the randomizer is unbelievable as a mechanism for ensuring that the tension continually ratchets up throughout the story, and the stakes feel real. And most games are one-shots, so it is easy to try out.

But know going in that most of the player characters will likely die...or worse.
 


Ulfgeir

Hero
I'm trying to come up with the words to explain what is and isn't an issue here. It certainly isn't just having cartoon character design in the books like The Troubleshooters. But yeah, psychic dogs or magical princesses* are not the right fit. Think of these guys as 'your buddy's uncle Joe**' -- they are into nerdy things, but, y'know, not really. Not the deep cuts (which don't really have to be all that deep). Sure, they play D&D, and have seen most of Star Wars/Trek/the MCU (and probably had strong opinions on Game of Thrones about 5 years ago). However, they never have been completists or the like. BitD while I was alternating watching the current Star Trek: TNG alongside second-hand Akira on VHS and reading the Star Wars extended universe books, they would have been watching TNG alongside Cheers and reading Steven King or Michael Crichton novels. They stopped reading comic books when they hit high school. They may have watched Astroboy or Mazinger in an English dub, but had kinda 'outgrown cartoons' by the time Robotech or Voltron came along. Thus they have a lot less familiarity with, and interest in playing something like the Magical Girl genre, or as actual animals (much less furries) or the like.
*playing as female characters is, though.
**I feel like everyone's friend-group has someone like this.
Ah. Well, The Troubleshooters has no supernatural things, or psychic dogs etc. It does however have mad scientsists (and thus comic book inspired experimental science) , and an evil organisation called The Octopus that wants to take over the world.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I am looking for some suggestions on games which will:
  1. highlight the benefits of playing non-D&Ds towards certain types of play (be they high-RP, better social/exploration mechanics, differing balance, or anything else), and
  2. Not be a huge amount of work.
The first that pops to mind for me is Talisman Adventures. Simpler, almost entirely player facing, strongly hexcrawlable, fantasy RP with simpler mechanics, but no loss in richness of play in terms of player choices.

Yes, the players always roll the dice for attacks - both those they make, and those they take.
They do not roll damage done by successful NPC actions; the GM does.
NPC vs NPC is GM choice, not of need rolled. I use affiliated PC's player rolls for NPC party members using the relevant score (and NPCs scores are much more limited than PCs.)

the rules are well written, the illustrations fun and consistent, and the play is usually excellent.
 

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