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WotC non-OGL alternative to D&D


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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
My serious answer would be Dungeon World.

It plays very like D&D, to the point where you can literally run existing D&D adventures with, but it has a totally different system.

Whoah. That's...interesting. I find the DW (AW) system tremendously appealing, but when I've tried to GM it...it doesn't go as I imagined. I don't think it plays anything like D&D.

EDIT: But for anybody thinking about playing an AW/DW game, take a look at Stonetop.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I mean, if you don't think the original rules were extremely clunky, you aren't the right person to answer this question, I agree. I loved ED's setting and ideas so much but those dice mechanics really didn't work for me or my group.

Exactly my point. Without knowing what part about it was problematic to you, it'd be hard to answer the question, even if the proper answer was "Yes". People can find just one element of a rules system so intrusive and unpleasant that it makes a game "awful" or it can take a lot more than that.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I assume that this thread is about looking for D&D-like (heroic) fantasy adventure TTRPGs that are not under the OGL? I will focus on games that qualify for this "out of the box" and then throw in a few that are generic tool kit systems that can be customized for fantasy.

Fantasy AGE (Green Ronin): It's new player friendly IME. The 3d6 stunt point system is fun for many new players. There are three, soon to be four, broad classes with subtype like Specializations. Magic is organized in themes (e.g., fire, illusion, plant, healing, etc.) and is not as "dense" or overwhelming as it can be in D&D.

Index Card RPG: a super light and stipped down version of D&D that uses the Creative Commons License. Incredibly hackable.

Worlds Without Number (Kevin Crawford): If B/X, Traveller, and True 20 raised a baby together, creating a mix of OSR and modern sensibilities. Has tools and advice for running sandbox games. The implied and default setting is Dying Earth.

Dungeon World: a Powered by the Apocalype game that tries to evoke old school D&D. However, I would recommend the more polished and free variant Homebrew World (Jeremy Strandberg), albeit modified for longer campaigns, or Freebooters on the Frontier (Jason Lutes). The latter two authors have carried the DW torch whereas the original authors of DW have moved on.
* Stonetop (Jeremy Strandberg): a more focused and polished DW-adjacent game focusing on adventurers being residents of an Iron Age village who quest to improve the lives of the village.

Fabula Ultima: a TTRPG based on and inspired by JRPGs. The game is also influenced heavily by tabletop games like 4e D&D, Fate, Cortex Prime, Apocalypse World, and Blades in the Dark.

Shadow of the Demon Lord (Rob Schwalb): dark fantasy love child of D&D 5e and Warhammer Fantasy RP. A lot of character-building options even within 10 levels, as characters pick a Novice, Expert, and Master "paths" that can be mixed in all sorts of combinations.
* Shadow of the Weird Wizard is on the way soon, with the Kickstarter hopefully in March 2023. It will be Rob Schwalb's ode to Greyhawk and Gygaxian fantasy.

Generic Toolkit Systems
  • Cypher System
  • Savage Worlds

However, if I had to pick which games that I would run for groups of more casual players? Fantasy AGE, Index Card RPG, or Dungeon World.
 
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Voadam

Legend
Worlds Without Number (Kevin Crawford): If B/X, Traveller, and True 20 raised a baby together, creating a mix of OSR and modern sensibilities. Has tools and advice for running sandbox games. The implied and default setting is Dying Earth.
Huh, with the monster single save I thought it was more of a Swords & Wizardry OD&D base type thing than a B/X variant. The stat bonuses only going to +2 instead of the standard +3 for an 18 in B/X also fed into that as well as all classes having d6 based HD. The monsters do have B/X type morale though.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Huh, with the monster single save I thought it was more of a Swords & Wizardry OD&D base type thing than a B/X variant. The stat bonuses only going to +2 instead of the standard +3 for an 18 in B/X also fed into that as well as all classes having d6 based HD. The monsters do have B/X type morale though.
I take the creator's word for it here, but it's not enough for me to quibble over. 1e D&D or B/X? As the Germans say, "Das ist mir Wurst."
 



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