What are the best alternatives to D&D?

Adventurers fighting a dragon

Dungeons & Dragons reigns supreme as the gateway to adventure for many players. However, as tabletop enthusiasts delve deeper into the realm of roleplaying, they often find themselves curious about alternatives to D&D. Whether seeking different mechanics, settings, or storytelling approaches, the world of TTRPGs offers a plethora of options.

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best alternatives to D&D, including other systems that you could try out, and other ways to experience a thrilling fantasy adventure.

Pathfinder 2e (PF2e)

Pathfinder 2nd Edition (PF2e) is a popular tabletop roleplaying game developed by Paizo Inc. Set in the fantasy world of Golarion, PF2e offers players a rich and immersive gaming experience. Like D&D, PF2e uses a d20 system and features a similar character creation process involving selecting races, classes, and abilities. Players embark on epic adventures, battling monsters, exploring dungeons, and unravelling mysteries in a world filled with magic and danger.

While PF2e shares many similarities with D&D, it also introduces several unique mechanics and features. Among the several differences between DND and PF2e is the action economy system, which divides character actions into three categories: actions, reactions, and free actions, offering more tactical depth and strategic choices during combat. Additionally, PF2e emphasizes character customization and flexibility, allowing players to tailor their characters with a wide range of feats, skills, and abilities, offering a wealth of options for character development and specialization.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay transports players to a grim and perilous world of dark fantasy, where they navigate the treacherous Old World beset by corruption, chaos, and malevolent powers. Set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe created by Games Workshop, it presents a gritty and immersive experience, emphasizing themes of survival, intrigue, and moral ambiguity.

While both Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Dungeons & Dragons are tabletop roleplaying games, they diverge significantly in tone, setting, and mechanics. As RPGnet explain in their review, it immerses players in a gritty and dark world inspired by European folklore and medieval history, characterised by pervasive grimness and moral ambiguity. In contrast, Dungeons & Dragons typically features a more traditional high fantasy setting, with heroic adventurers embarking on epic quests to defeat evil and uncover legendary treasures.

Pokemon Tabletop Reunited

Pokemon Tabletop Reunited offers a captivating alternative to D&D, immersing players in the vibrant world of Pokemon. Whether reliving cherished memories from the video games, manga, or anime, or embarking on entirely new adventures, this system allows players to step into the shoes of Pokemon Trainers commanding their loyal companions.

There are lots of ways to play Pokemon DND, including Pokemon Tabletop Reunited, Pokemon Tabletop United, and Pokemon Tabletop Adventures. It's important to note that these systems are fan made, lacking the rigidity of official game systems, and requiring extensive homebrew content and bookkeeping to support gameplay.

The unparalleled joy of playing as a Trainer, whether embarking on a classic gym crawl or venturing into more niche medieval fantasy campaigns, makes the Pokemon Tabletop experience truly unforgettable.

Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu is a tabletop roleplaying game based on the cosmic horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft and other writers. Set in the 1920s or other historical periods, players take on the roles of investigators delving into mysteries involving eldritch horrors, ancient cults, and forbidden knowledge.

Unlike Dungeons & Dragons, which often features heroic adventurers battling monsters and seeking treasure, Call of Cthulhu emphasizes investigation, exploration, and the psychological toll of encountering incomprehensible entities. Characters in Call of Cthulhu are typically ordinary people with mundane skills and vulnerabilities, making survival against the looming threats of the Mythos even more challenging and harrowing.

The One Ring

Explore the world of Middle-earth 50 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in The One Ring. With a focus on storytelling, exploration, and fellowship, The One Ring invites players to embark on epic quests, confront dark forces, and forge bonds of camaraderie as they shape the fate of Middle-earth.

From character creation to intricate mechanics for travel, combat, and meeting the personalities of Middle-earth, the game provides a seamless and immersive gameplay experience that transports players to the heart of Tolkien's legendary world. With its evocative setting, rich storytelling, and immersive mechanics, The One Ring offers players a unique and unforgettable journey through one of fantasy literature's most beloved realms.

Generic Universal Roleplaying System (GURPS)

GURPS, or the Generic Universal Roleplaying System, offers players the freedom to explore virtually any imaginable setting, from futuristic sci-fi worlds to historical epochs and everything in between. Its modular design allows players to customise their campaigns with unparalleled flexibility, making it a favourite among storytellers seeking creative freedom and expansive world-building opportunities.

While both GURPS and Dungeons & Dragons share the core elements of tabletop roleplaying games, such as character creation, dice rolling mechanics, and narrative-driven gameplay, they diverge in several key aspects. GURPS has no levels - instead, characters spend points to improve specific skills. It also uses d6 dice rather than the DND d20 system.

Video games that are like DND

If you’re not looking to play a TTRPG, but yearn to explore fantasy worlds, why not try a video game like D&D? From newer titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 to Dungeons & Dragons: Gold Box Classics, there’ll be something for you.

Playing D&D by yourself

If you find yourself without a group of fellow adventurers, fear not! It is possible to play D&D by yourself. Check out our guide that explores how to play DND solo and provides tips on doing so.

Newly developed systems

New alternatives to D&D are emerging to cater to diverse interests and preferences. These systems are made to suit specific niches within the gaming community, offering unique mechanics and settings to explore. You can find these new TTRPGs on platforms like Kickstarter, DriveThruRPG, and Itch.io.

Dice to help you on your new adventures

Now that you've explored some alternatives to D&D, why not expand your tabletop horizons further? Explore our guide that offers tips on playing D&D without a Dungeon Master, opening up new avenues for adventure and storytelling within your gaming group.

As you embark on your next fantasy journey, ensure you're well-equipped with the tools of the trade. Browse our collection of TTRPG dice sets, with an array of styles and colours to suit every adventurer's taste.

For keeping track of your heroic exploits, consider our 3D embossed dragon notebooks, available in colours reminiscent of the majestic metallic dragons themselves. With these essential accessories at your side, your adventures beyond the realms of D&D are bound to be unforgettable.

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