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5 Systems that aren’t D&D

So you’ve saved the kingdom, slayed the dragons and become heroes to the whole realm. From angry, raging barbarians, to warlocks with daddy issues, you and your friends have done it all. So, what’s next? Well, you could start another campaign from level 1, building yourselves back up to the same point, but how about something different? Follow on my fellow adventures and let’s discuss systems that aren’t Dungeons and Dragons that offer brand new experiences.

There has never been a better time than now to spread your wings and try something new!

  1. Vampire the Masquerade
  2. Powered by the Apocalypse
  3. Savage Worlds
  4. Pathfinder / Starfinder
  5. Ispirisles

Possibly the most well-known TTRPG after D&D, Vampire: The Masquerade (or V5 for the latest edition) is set in a modern world, where vampires have been the manipulators behind the scenes for millenia. From the highly ordered society of the Camarilla to the rebellious Anarchs that reject their control and the status quo, play as everyone’s favourite night walkers, whether that be the classic archetype of Dracula in the Tzimisce, the savage monsters of the Nosferatu to the performers and seducers of the Toreador clan.

Seek out how to manipulate the modern world, hunting and being hunted by humans, werewolves and possibly your own kind! 

In addition, if vampires aren’t your thing, you can hunt them down as members of the Second Inquisition in Hunter: The Reckoning, indulge your animalistic side in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, or become modern-day wizards in Mage: The Awakening. The World of Darkness has everything you could want in a deep, thoughtful and deliciously dark setting.

Powered by the Apocalypse Logo

Powered by the Apocalypse, or PbtA for short, is an easy-to-learn 2d6 system that has some of the most diverse settings imaginable. From games like Apocalypse World, Monster of the Week, Thirsty Sword Lesbians, Avatar: Legends, City of Mist and Root to name just a few, there is a setting for everyone in this system.

With a simple, semi-pregenerated character creator and a predefined set of Moves for the players and GM to reference from, PtbA is by far one of the easiest TTRPGs to pick up and learn, and one of the most ‘open source’ systems around.

Here are a list of our favourite Powered by the Apocalypse games, with links to the DriveThruRPG store:

Originally created for the entitled ‘Savage World’; Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Settings include a gigantic selection of TTRPGs in a variety of settings. From Deadlands—a western horror setting, 50 Fathoms—a swashbuckling rpg of pirate adventure, and Weird War II—a Second World War setting with werewolves, ogres and blood magic, this system offers a variety of genres, but often leans towards dark fantasy.

You use dice according to your level of competence (you start using a d4 but improve to d6, then d8 and so on), building your character’s abilities and personality through Edges and Hindrances, and gameplay also includes a deck of cards and ‘Bennies’— chips that can be spent to influence the game or save you from terrible rolls!

Here are some of our favourite Savage Settings, with links to the DriveThruRPG store:

Pathfinder‘s origins in D&D 3.5e see it share a number of similarities with the current edition of D&D. However, since the second edition came out, it is now very much its own beast. With differences in combat, magic systems, skill utility and more, Pathfinder 2e is a TTRPG for those that want DnD, just a bit more hardcore.

The other side of this is Starfinder, easily summed up as Pathfinder IN SPACE! While that makes it sound dismissive, Starfinder is one of the most interesting Sci-Fi worlds to come out in the last decade. With deep, lore filled stories, expansive customisation and full spaceship combat (SPACESHIP COMBAT!!!!!) Starfinder is a system that deserves more attention and, once you play, we bet it’ll get its hooks in you too!

This TTRPG from UK indie creators, Hatchling Games, not only allows you freedom to explore an open and inviting hidden world, but one that teaches you something as you play! In this all-ages TTRPG, you take on the role of a ‘Pendragon’ (descendents of Arthur and Guinevere) brought to the Islands—a parallel universe of the United Kingdom—to save the sacred World Tree from the curse of Disbelief.

What makes Inspirisles so unique is that, along with a very simple d6 system, your Pendragon learns to control the elements through a series of hand gestures that we would otherwise recognise as sign language. With handy cheat-sheets for both British and American Sign Language, you master ‘Shaping’ to earn Belief for your Pendragon to progress in this fun, inclusive and (pun intended) inspiring game.

Check out our actual play of Inspirisles below, or Hatchling Games’ new book Overisles here.

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