8 Tabletop RPGs That Dungeons & Dragons Fans Should Try

Dungeons & Dragons allows RPG lovers to go on beautiful fantasy adventures and rescue the world while engaging in other hijinks. Interestingly, TTRPG aficionados would quickly understand that there are other games outside D&D that they may like. Aside from Dungeons & Dragons, there are TTRPGs that explore other genres, tackle new issues, or even take place in some of pop culture’s finest worlds.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of TTRPGs available may be intimidating to newbies to the genre. After all, what TTRPGs should people attempt that are comparable to D&D yet distinct enough to provide novel and fascinating experiences?

Rhenn Taguiam updated this page on October 5, 2023: Players who wish to explore more of the world of RPGs may take a pen and paper and attempt its TTRPG forebears, as Final Fantasy 14 has promised an impending TTRPG and Baldur’s Gate 3 brings a player’s D&D character sheet in a video game format. While D&D dominates the market with its famous D20 System, other TTRPGs combine distinct themes with varied approaches to mechanics on top of various methods of rolling dice, ensuring that there is always a game to suit everyone’s interests. However, when fans pick which TTRPGs to try other than D&D, they may want to know the pros and disadvantages of popular options accessible to them, particularly to ensure that they optimize their time.

1. Bubblegumshoe

RPG Spotlight: Bubblegumshoe - Bell of Lost Souls
Release Date 2016
Genre Young Adult, Slice-of-Life, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher Evil Hat Productions LLC, 2016
    • Less emphasis on number-crunching, expands on roleplaying prospects
    • Emphasis on background details (e.g., relationships) can build a stronger story


    • Theme-heavy toward teens can make branching out genres a bit difficult
    • Premise set in modern-day school life can be limiting


Those who want to take a break from typical dungeoneering and instead embark on solving various mysteries will delight in the story-fueled, straightforward mechanics of Bubblegumshoe. In this rather lighthearted-sounding TTRPG, Bubblegumshoe will have players take on the role of teen sleuths out to solve the most mundane or the most complex of mysteries plaguing parts of the town.

What makes Bubblegumshoe so intriguing is its practical setting and resource management, which allow players to take on mysteries just about anywhere without feeling overwhelmed; from the smallest of classrooms to the largest of cities. Given its mystery teen noir genre, the TTRPG also allows players to form intricate webs of relationships that give them a lot of room to deduce objectives, motives, patterns, and even alibis.

2. Feng Shui 2

Release Date 2015
Genre Martial Arts
Publisher Atlas Games
    • Straightforward mechanics leave a lot of openings for awesome scenes
    • Love letter to the martial arts movie genre


    • Hard-set character Archetypes can limit creative freedom for players
    • Stories that don’t focus on action can make the game rather boring


Despite its 1999 release, Feng Shui 2 resonates a lot with fans of action flicks, particularly Hong Kong-inspired cinema, where martial arts blends with rich dialogue and exciting premises for rich cinematic storytelling. Its premise alone is intriguing. Players can travel through portals to get to various points in time – the Tang Dynasty, the Opium Wars, modern Hong Kong, and even post-apocalyptic settings.

Not only that, but these settings contain premises and stories similar to action flicks – emphasizing not just pure action but cinematically fluid martial arts. What’s intriguing about Feng Shui 2 is its straightforward gameplay. The game Only Up! makes simple use of 1d6s (six-sided dice) and adds these results to their attributes and skills, making martial arts and other abilities much easier to perform.

3. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game

World of Warcraft Review | RPG Site

Release Date 2005
Genre Fantasy
Publisher White Wolf Publishing
    • Rich lore in the original Warcraft games gives a backdrop to work with
    • D20 OGL makes it easy to pick up for existing D&D fans


    • Unfamiliarity with the world can make the game lackluster
    • Lack of GM-specific information (e.g., experience points, monster stat blocks) necessitates a lot of improv


It should come as no surprise that a world as expansive as Azeroth would attract players of TTRPGs. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game brings Warcraft into the realm of TTRPGs with an official ruleset and toolkit. Fans of D&D will feel right at home with Warcraft RPG, especially since it uses the Open Gaming License – meaning D&D’s signature D20 System will be in use most of the time.

What makes Warcraft RPG such an attractive game is the rich world that comes with it. Set just after the birth of the Alliance and the growing threat of both the Horde and the Burning Legion, players can embark on globe-trotting adventures that can change the course of history. And with the richness of Warcraft lore throughout the MMORPG, players can mimic storylines happening there and see if they could make other decisions as well.

4. Dragon Age RPG

Release Date 2017
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Green Ronin Publishing
    • Being set in the Dragon Age series gives players a lot of foundation in terms of lore
    • Straightforward mechanics make it easy to play


    • Not knowing Thedas and the game can hinder player enjoyment
    • Some checks and rolls unnecessarily need a lot of dice
    • Stunts require double rolls, significantly lessening the chance of creating awesome scenes


Considering the richness of the world of Thedas, it makes sense for fans of Dragon Age to want to have grand TTRPG adventures set there. Luckily enough, Dragon Age RPG has an entire toolkit developed for this – alongside a straightforward set of rules that makes this TTRPG extremely easy to pick up.

What’s interesting about Dragon Age RPG is how the TTRPG makes use of Thedas as a huge setting for unique adventures. Players can take the role of warriors, mages, and rogues to either save the world or make a name for themselves. With each class having a unique set of specializations with unique abilities, players can have a fun time customizing their teams and making use of their archetypes’ skills both in and out of combat with their flexible systems.

5. Index Card

Release Date 2022
Genre Any, Mixed
Publisher Runehammer Games LLC
    • Lightweight system makes it easy to pick up and play at the onset
    • Adaptable mechanics can fit in other systems


    • Concepts can be a bit abstract, making them hard to appeal to players heavy on themes


In keeping with its simplistic name, Index Card poses one of the most flexible and straightforward TTRPG systems out there. Similar to the likes of Fate and GURPSIndex Card aims to provide a system that prioritizes storytelling, with mechanics flexible enough for players to adapt to various settings and genres.

What’s cool about Index Card is how the system is made to quickstart one-shots and campaigns on the get-go. Its straightforward “skills-that-matter” outlook into toolkits allows players to quickly think of character archetypes and emphasize their innate strengths on the fly and can make for quick and delightful stories.

6. Fiasco

Fiasco by Bully Pulpit Games

Release Date 2009
Genre Any, Mixed
Publisher Bully Pulpit Games and Amusements
    • Fully open concept can adapt to any type of story
    • Emphasis on collaboration can make everyone take ownership of the story
    • Rules are built to ensure characters have some way of relating to each other and affecting each other’s actions


    • Extremely improv-heavy – players need to fully commit to collaborating to create a story
    • Lack of stats makes the game less appealing to number crunchers


Players who want to exercise their creative juices in quick one-shot sessions would appreciate the lack of complexity in Fiasco. Unlike most TTRPGs, Fiasco doesn’t need a GM (Game Master). At its core, Fiasco gives players the opportunity to play out their “caper-gone-wrong” film subgenre. To give an example, the players may be unrelated characters trying to steal the same artifact – only to fail because of their own machinations.

Unlike most games, Fiasco barely needs any preparation. Players will almost always make plot elements on the fly. In turn, players decide on characters, types of relationships, their character’s needs, as well as potential objects and locations of interest. With Fiasco‘s rules, each player gets to act out a scene. Interestingly enough, said player succeeds or fails in the scene at the behest of other players, with other cards opening surprise scenarios. In the end, players really only succeed in Fiasco if they end up telling an interesting, entertaining, or hilariously wacky story.

7. Pathfinder

Release Date 2009
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Paizo Publishing
    • Familiar D20 basis makes the game more accessible to all kinds of players
    • More “complete” core rulebook means players can have just this book and have enough to play
    • Simplifies and streamlines D&D mechanics to make a more playable fantasy RPG (e.g., boosting Class strengths, easier Grappling)


    • Longer character creation system can be off-putting to players
    • Expanded combat options can hinder the experience for both players and GMs
    • Might as well play D&D, especially if players want to access expanded materials


Originally a modification of D&D 3.5e based on the Open Game License, Pathfinder branched out into its own TTRPG. Now with a second edition, Pathfinder serves as a more streamlined alternative to D&D. Essentially, players will appreciate Pathfinder for a more straightforward take on things such as action economy and even stats – resulting in a simpler and more entertaining experience.

As with D&D, players of Pathfinder can play in their own homebrew worlds. However, where things drastically change lies in combat mechanics and character progression as a whole. Instead of having multiple action types, Pathfinder will have actions that cost certain points in a limited action pool – effectively simplifying turns. Moreover, all skills scale according to stats and player level, which in turn also simplifies roleplaying. Players who want to experiment with rule-tinkering with D&D can look at Pathfinder for some inspiration.

8. Star Trek Adventures

Star Trek Adventures: RPG (engl.& dt.)Star Trek Adventures: RPG (engl.& dt.)
Release Date 2017
Genre Sci-Fi
Publisher Modiphius Entertainment
    • Existing franchise paves the way for a lot of source material
    • Fans can create Star Trek scenarios that remain challenging and satisfying to accomplish
    • Characters are already built to be at the top of their game, emphasizing roleplay instead of standard growth


    • Inexperienced GMs need to immerse new players in the setting or they might feel left out
    • Lack of traditional linear progression can discourage number crunches


Players who want to boldly go where no man has gone before will love Star Trek Adventures. Anyone who’s itching for a sci-fi TTRPG will appreciate the sheer depth Adventures has to offer, especially if it’s based on one of the biggest sci-fi franchises around. In Adventures, players take on the role of a Starfleet officer, where they join the likes of Captain Kirk, Picard, or a captain amongst themselves to stop black holes, suppress alien civil wars, and save the Federation from all sorts of threats.

Anyone who loves Star Trek can finally embark on their own adventures amongst the various quadrants of the galaxy. Moreover, hardcore fans can even tailor episodes of any Star Trek series to fit sessions in Adventures (there are a few hundred episodes, would anyone really recognize the inspiration?) – and have their players become full-fledged crews of the Enterprise or a legendary ship in the making.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *