Now more than ever people are looking for alternatives to Dungeons & Dragons. But, with thousands of choices of tabletop roleplaying games, where to start?
- If you want to play 5e without playing a Wizards of the Coast product, you probably want to play Pathfinder 2e, arguably the second most widely played fantasy RPG.
- If you want to play 5e a bit longer but don’t want to buy from WotC anymore, check out Fifth Edition Fantasy modules.
- If you want to play a fantasy RPG with extensive community support, or you want to try your first game with a ruleset Powered by the Apocalypse, you can play Dungeon World for free (and its Creative Commons license supports a lot of open customizations). (Here’s why I switched to Dungeon World after GMing 100 games of 5e.)
- If you’ve played a PbtA game before, check out this collection of PbtA and OSR alternatives.
- If you’re excited by the idea of hacking together your own rule set, check out Uncommon World (for PbtA) or the GLOGosphere.
- If you want just two pages of rules, check out World of Dungeons.
- If you want to play a recent system with an active community, try Cairn (also free as in free beer and free as in free software).
Other Types of RPGs
- If you want to fight cultists of Cthulhu, the second most popular RPG of all on Roll 20 is Call of Cthulhu.
- If you want to play a game officially set as part of a popular franchise, check out Modiphius (e.g., Alien, Conan, Dune, Fallout, John Carter of Mars, The One Ring, Skyrim, Star Trek, etc.) and lots of other publishers of licensed RPGs.
- If you want to play a science-fiction RPG but without being shackled to a specific universe, pick the type of science-fiction show you want to emulate: PbtA Science Fiction Recommendations.
- If you want to support indie creators, who are almost all hobbyists, check out the Itch.io Physical Games category (a misnomer, to be sure).
With so much to choose from, consider running a few one-shot games to find a system that resonates with you!