There are a lot of game designers within our small community of tabletop RPGs that have created a wide variety of games. The creativity of our fellow gamers is truly staggering, and with the many D20 variants, D6 games, and and completely original mechanics, it's no surprise when only a select few catch our eye. I enjoy digging through the sea of available games from time to time, and finding ones that really shine. Below are five roleplaying games that deserve your time and attention.
1) Vs Ghosts
Want a nostalgic throwback to the glorious days of the Ghostbusters? Look no further. Vs Ghosts focuses on the goofier side of monster hunting in the modern era with fun cartoonish art and eye-catching layout. It uses a standard deck of playing cards as a randomizer, with a character drawing a number of cards equal to their most relevant attribute and choosing the highest card. It is rules lite, and would be easy to teach to kids for a fun romp through a haunted mansion. It would be great for the occasional one-shot but has the legs to run a longer campaign as well.
2) Romance Of The Perilous Land
This hidden gem revolves around Romantic Fantasy, focusing on old British folklore. It is a complete game in only 50 pages, and uses a straightforward d20 system firmly rooted in OSR games. This game is clearly inspired by the fantastic Black Hack system, which means it’s fast and flexible. There are six classes to choose from: Knight, Ranger, Thief, Cunning Folk, Barbarian, and Bard. A full bestiary containing many creatures from ancient lore can be found as well. There is only a PDF version on DrivethruRPG, which is Pay What You Want so it can be had for free if you’re so inclined.
The setting in Summerland is highly evocative, a post-apocalyptic world where nature took over, destroying the modern world and forcing mankind into a simpler life. To make matters worse, there are those who feel a primal call to revert to their base nature, and must fight against it. Summerland is a game of people overcoming past traumas and finding healing in a primal world. The current edition of Summerland uses a version of the Open D6 engine while the first edition had original mechanics that were more simplistic and narrative.
This fantastic game tasks the players with slaying gods while struggling to maintain their humanity, resisting the call of god-hood. The more a character strives to slay the oppressive gods from above, the more likely they are to succumb to their power as they grow strong enough to slay them. The game itself is fairly narrative, but the rules are also heavy and take a while to get used to. You'll need a lot of dice and chips/game tokens, but you're in for one epic tale. And to sweeten the pot, the PDF is free with an option to buy a print version.
5) Blood Of Pangea
This game is firmly rooted in the sword and sorcery genre, where savage barbarians take on sinister wizards with only an axe in hand. It revolves around a 2d6 mechanic, and a resource called Might that players can use to boost their rolls, cast magic, or avoid death. Character creation revolves around writing out a short story for your character composed of only 30 words. Though the game is primarily narrative, there are still rules for encumbrance, armor, and money, giving it a solid old school feel. The game really stresses resource management, knowing when to spend Might, rely on your armor to stop a hit, or when to use Might to increase a roll.
It's easy to spend money on some of the games with higher production values and the flashy cover. But next time you're thinking about buying a new game, maybe check out one of these hidden gems. The passion that these developers put into their work shows, and is worth the asking price.
Nathan Carmen is the founder and head writer of the Indie RPG company, Tricky Troll Games. Nathan loves building worlds and improving his craft when he’s not busy parenting. Reach Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the TTG website at https://nathanccarmen.wixsite.com/trickytrollgames
Picture Reference: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/187788/vs-Ghosts?term=vs+ghosts&test_epoch=0affiliate_id=657321
All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games