Think tabletop roleplaying games are just about dungeon crawling and fighting dragons? Think again. There’s a whole world of the best tabletop roleplaying games available to play. And yeah, Dungeons & Dragons is still a fun way to spend several hours with your best fantasy-loving friends. But when you and your pals are looking for a new kind of adventure, there are quite a few options to choose from.
It’s time to expand your horizons, RPG-lovers! Whether you’re looking for the best fantasy RPGs aside from D&D or whether you want to explore something entirely different, this list of tabletop roleplaying games has a little bit of everything for you. We’ve got mysteries. We’ve got superheroes. We’ve got teen gangs. We’ve got vampires. We’ve got aliens. We’ve cyberpunk. And so much more.
The other really cool thing about expanding your horizons to different RPG worlds? Each of these games has their own system and way of playing. Some are great if you want lots of roleplaying and little fighting. Some are perfect for a one-shot. Some are better to play over the course of many months (or, heck, let’s be real…years). Some will spark long conversations amongst your friends. Others are meant to be played entirely silent.
All of these roleplaying games are super fun, but which one will be the best for you and your friend group to play next? Read on to find out!
Alice is Missing by Renegade Game Studios
Alice is Missing is an immersive RPG that’s all about creating atmosphere through dimmed lights, a creepy playlist, and text messaging. Yes, that’s right, the entire game is played through text messages. That means no talking aloud during this one! During the 90-minute play session of this game, each player texts messages in-character back and forth to other characters in the game. The goal? To discover what happened to Alice Briarwood, a high school junior who has gone missing.
Blades in the Dark by John Harper
Blades in the Dark is set in the fictional city of Doskvol, inspired by Victorian London and Gothic fiction. Players work together as a crew of scoundrels, stalking the haunted streets of the haunted industrial-fantasy city, seeking their fortune. Will you and your crew rise to power in the criminal underworld? And what will you be willing to do to get there as you interact with rival gangs, noble families, vengeful ghosts, and the Bluecoats of the city watch?
Urban Shadows by Mark Diaz Truman and Andrew Medieros
If you’ve ever dreamed of playing a vampire, a ghost, or a faerie? You can be that and more in Urban Shadows, an urban-fantasy series where mortals and monsters fight for control over the city. What city is it? You in your group can decide. I’ve played this game set in New Orleans and set in Tokyo, and it’s cool to see how the different urban settings can totally change the vibe of the game. The game features ten unique character archetypes across four supernatural factions, so there are so many fun opportunities to build unique characters with this one.
Alien: the Roleplaying Game by Free League
Yes, the official Alien tabletop roleplaying game is just as scary as the movies themselves. Set in space (where no one can hear you scream), the Alien RPG has two different playing modes. Cinematic play gives players pre-made stories that they can play out in one fast, self-contained game. Campaign play allows players to play the same characters over multiple scenarios, allowing you and your team to take dark (scary) journeys into deep space.
Masks: A New Generation by Brendan Conway
Wanna be a teen superhero? Then get your friends together to play Masks: A New Generation. Halcyon City is a place filled with superheroes, supervillains, and everything in between. You and your friends play a team of young superheroes just learning the ropes while also dealing with parents and authority figures telling you who you should be and what you should be doing. It’s so tough being a superhero when your parents keep pressuring you to do your homework!
Our Last Best Hope by Mark Diaz Truman
If you love disaster movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact, this is the RPG for you. In Our Last Best Hope, you and your friends will play a crew on a mission to save the world from a terrible crisis. Each game is unique, meaning every time you play, there will be a different crisis, a different team assembled, and a different plan to save the world. Will your crisis be a zombie apocalypse or a meteor crashing into Earth? You’ll have to play to find out!
Witch: Fated Souls by Elizabeth Chaipraditkul
Time to get witchy! Witch: Fated Souls is a dark, modern fantasy RPG where witches and warlocks sell their souls to a demon in exchange for new magical powers. While the deal might seem too good to resist at first, most witches and warlocks end up regretting the bargain eventually. But while you will be playing someone with no soul, there is still hope! If you outwit your demon, you can gain redemption.
Velvet Glove by Sarah Richardson
Velvet Glove is a coming-of-age tabletop RPG that’s part Switchblade Sisters and part The Outsiders (if the Outsiders were badass girls). Set in 1970s America, Velvet Glove will have your group of friends roleplaying as a teenage girl gang. What kind of trouble will you get into? That all depends on how you play the game. But there are endless possibilities!
Cyberpunk: 2020 by Michael Pondsmith
If you’ve always wanted to explore sci-fi worlds rather than fantasy ones, you can’t go wrong with this classic. Cyberpunk: 2020 is set in a dystopian sci-fi world that exists in an alternate timeline that diverged from our timeline in the 1990s. In giant, sprawling metropolis of Night City, you and your friends will encounter gang warfare, corporate rivalries, and more.
Bubblegumshoe by Emily Care Boss, Kenneth Hite, and Lisa Steele
In Bubblegumshoe, the world is full of mysteries, and you and your gang of teen sleuths are just the one to solve them. Players play a group of teens living in a small town. You’ll discover clues, uncover mysteries, and fight against enemies to eventually solve the case. This one is a fun, quick-to-learn RPG that can easily be played as a one-shot with friends who are newer to RPGs and are looking for streamlined rules.
Looking for more Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying options? Check out this list of must-have Dungeons & Dragons books. And if you’re looking for more roleplaying fun, take a look at these D&D accessories. Have fun getting creative with these tabletop roleplaying games, friends!