I’m a pretty avid roleplayer. I’ve got tons of character sheets in binders in my living room. I have tins and tins of assorted dice, and character creations flow through my head constantly. Yeah, I’m a fan.
I’ve played so many games over the years, including staples like D&D and Pathfinder, and most World of Darkness stuff as well. But we’re here to talk about the lesser played games, the champions of innovation, unique mechanics, and unique settings that make for very different roleplaying experiences. So I present to you: RPGs that are totally worth playing! (That you may not have tried.)
1.) Golden Sky Stories: Heartwarming Role-playing
A game that is almost to print as we speak, Golden Sky Stories was backed on Kickstarter, with a staggering $85,266 funded (from a goal of $7,000.) Here’s a quick description from the Kickstarter page!
“In this game, players take on the role of henge, animals that have just a little bit of magical power, including the ability to temporarily take on human form. You can be a fox, raccoon dog, cat, dog, rabbit, or bird, and each kind has their own special magical powers. Players will then attempt to solve problems around a small enchanted town with ingenuity”
I’ve had a chance to go over the pdfs for the game, and I’m excited to get an actual copy of the book in soon. (I hear they’re almost ready to ship!) Everything about the game, from it’s mechanics to it’s adorable art style, lend itself towards a very mellow and enjoyable experience. I’ll have more when I get a chance to play it, but we’ll have it on shelf at GG for people who want to try something new and unique!
I can never have enough good things to say about Scion. It’s a game by White Wolf where you play the offspring of gods. It doesn’t get much cooler than that! The game takes place in the modern day, but of course, its toolbox nature lets you adapt it to just about any setting you’d like. The enemies are the Titans, sealed away by the gods ages ago. They’re breaking free, and their minions are running loose in the world as well, hastening their return.
You choose from a variety of godly parents at character creation, from Greek, Aztec, Loa, Japanese, and other pantheons. Your powers come from godly relics that are gifted to you by your parents! Giant guns that shoot lightning? Check. Swords that can cut through dimensions? Sure. A neverending flask of rum? Why not? You can choose the book’s example relics, or make your own unique ones. There are tons of godly boons and knacks to choose from, and by the time you grow in power, you’ll be rolling more dice than you know what to do with. I hope you have a TON of d10s handy.
3.) Nobilis: The Essentials Volume 1
There is a hidden world of spirit that surrounds us.
Within that world dwell the Nobilis.
They are creatures half-human and half-god. Each holds dominion over a single concept in the world.
You have heard the stories and rumors of the Nobilis.
You have heard of the fates of those who encounter them.
Herein you will find a guide to dealing with these Powers and their
Herein you will find the third edition of the Nobilis RPG—a diceless roleplaying game, completely updated and rewritten for modern sensibilities, that you may use to tell new stories of the Nobilis’ lives.
Now I’m going to be honest about this one. I was told to buy it by a friend of mine, and I still haven’t really wrapped my head around it. He told me he was the Nobilis of unopened soda, which makes him like, a god of a concept?
What you do get is a diceless roleplaying game, a very unique concept in and of itself. Character creation seems VERY involved, but in a more abstract manner than mechanical. You’ll be drawing charts and explaining various concepts related to your character. Once you have your character made, you’ll feel like you really KNOW who they are. And that’s pretty rad. So the book is worth a read, and if you can parse it all out, it has a really good set of game mechanics in there. So I definitely suggest it!
4.) Engine Heart
Have you ever wanted to play a cold unfeeling metal box? Welcome to Engine Heart! Humans are gone, but the various robots they’ve built are still kicking!
Engine Heart is a pretty simple game to play. Character creation is easy, and you can make a wide variety of different kinds of robots, from mandroids with basic emotions, to servitor bots built with a single function in mind. I tend to think of it like playing an all Droids game of Star Wars in a lot of ways. I can even create a Brave Little Toaster setting and have it work perfectly, and that flexibility is one of many reasons I love this game. (And the book is super cheap too!)
5.) Gamma World
Gamma World, in one word, is INSANE. It’s a post apocalyptic romp through what is essentially America, fighting robots, aliens, mutants, and all sorts of other freaks. The kick is, you’re a freak too!
At Character Creation, you have the option to choose two different origins. These origins tell us what your character IS. There are such flavorful options as living swarms of rats, psychics, dinosaurs, huge insects, animal men, cyborgs, ghosts, demons, vampires, zombies, psychics, and tons of other options. Those two choices define your character. So if you picked say, feline and rat swarm, you could be a man made up of a mass of mewing kittens! There are tons of options, and the sky’s the limit. The REAL way to play is to randomly roll for your two origins, keeping things fun and random! (I was a ghost train!)
All of your stats come right from your origin, and everything is pretty much laid right out for you and fits on a small character sheet. This makes for a game that only takes moments to build characters for, allowing you to jump right into the action, which is a fairly rules-lite D&D 4.0. Highly suggested!
6.) Dragon Ball Z Anime Adventure Game
Now, I’m going to be honest here. This game…is not so good. It came out ages ago, and I ran it for a few months with a group of players. Now don’t get me wrong, everything you love about DBZ is in this game. Energy attacks, flying, huge hair, super martial arts, and all that jazz. The problem is, these mechanics kind of dont translate very well to pen and paper. AT ALL. Attacks can cleave through enemies much stronger than yourself, if all you want to do is charge, charge, charge your laser.
No really. My group found that if you spend a few turns charging your big super ultimate attack, anything it hits will die. One guy just has to charge while the others hold off the baddies. Or ALL of them could charge. You can add traits like scatter and homing to these shots, ensuring they hit, and making melee combat useless.
Which is essentially the way it is in DBZ already, right?
Why would I suggest this game? Because there are still DBZ fans out there. If you just want to pick up a simple game and play out your Saiyan fantasies, then this isn’t a bad intro to roleplaying. But spending time with it will show you its faults and cracks. If you’re not too picky, then you’ll have fun. It is literally JUST like the show in combat aspects. And since the show is about 99% combat and 1% plot, there ya go.
(It’s worth mentioning I do love DBZ as a franchise though.)
So there ya go, a handful of RPGs. Hunt them down, give them a try. We carry a few of these in store, like Engine Hearts, Golden Sky, Nobilis, and Gamma World, but you’ll have to hunt for DBZ. But any of these games are gems that are worth finding for one reason or another. I’ll be back with more little played RPGs next week!