Top 10 TTRPGs for Fantasy Fans

Fantasy as a role-playing genre dates back to the very beginning. The most popular RPG today, Dungeons & Dragonsdebuted as a fantasy-themed hack of a historical wargame, incorporating ideas from the works of JRR Tolkein, Jack Vance, and other fantasy writers of the time.

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Fantasy continues to be an extremely popular genre for TTRPGs today, with designers around the world creating fantastical and mythical worlds for characters to explore, fearsome monsters to defeat (or befriend) and wonderful magic to behold.

ten Gordie Murphy’s Apotheosis Follows the Evolution of Myths

apotheosis rpg cover

Myths and fantasy stories take center stage in this GM-free storytelling game about how legends grow and change in the narrative. Players work together to create a culture that they will then follow through five generations. Then the group creates a legend by asking questions about important aspects of the culture. This legend will change as major events occur over generations, with history affecting culture and vice versa. While Apotheosis can be used to tell stories about any type of culture, the mythological structure will especially appeal to fantasy fans.

9 Spencer Campbell’s Slayers is a monster hunt in a haunted town

cover rpg killers

One of the biggest tropes in fantasy gaming is monster hunting, and Killers puts this center stage. The characters are monster hunters for hire working to keep a haunted, endless city as safe as possible from all manner of arcane and eldritch beasts.

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One of the most interesting aspects of Killers is how it uses different dice mechanics for different classes. For example, the Duelist-like Blade can combine his hits to build up a massive attack, while the Gunslinger, armed with a revolver, holds six dice to represent his weapon’s bullets, using them with each shot.

8 Deep Forest by Mark Diaz Truman and Avery Alder sees things from a monster’s point of view

deep forest rpg artwork

quiet year, also by Avery Alder, tells the story of a group of people fleeing an unspecified danger, living a single year before their pursuers catch up with them. deep forest turns things around, with players telling the tale of a community of fantastical monsters immediately after fending off invading human “heroes”. It invites players to consider the other side of traditional fantasy narratives and involves drawing maps and reflecting on community tensions and values.

seven Resist the Darkness in Bonfire & Blade by Simon Moody

The Chosen Undead rests before a bonfire in Dark Souls

The influences behind Bonfire and Blade are clear, because it presents itself as a “Souls-Lite” game. Players assume the role of the undead, “cursed to an endless cycle of death and resurrection.

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The characters venture into a ruined world, fight against dangerous monsters and desperately try to reach the next bonfire. Once per session, a player can have their character unlock a new memory to help them with a particularly dangerous roll or action.

6 Ithaca in the Cards By Ehronlime details what happens after the quest is completed

Ithaca in rpg maps cover

Many modern-era storytelling games choose to use a deck of playing cards as their randomization mechanism rather than dice, and Ithaca in the maps do the same. It follows the story of a group of doomed travelers who return after completing a quest. The journey is not safe, however, and the group will have to overcome several challenges before they are safe. After each encounter, players reflect on what drives their need to return home. The game ends with the terrible instruction “Repeat tricks until everyone is dead or you get home”.

5 Jay Dragon’s Wanderhome puts the fight on the back burner

wanderhome rpg cover three animals

wanderhome is an award-winning game of pastoral fantasy that follows a group of stray animals as they encounter sleepy towns and beautiful countryside. Each player chooses from a long list of evocative playbooks, such as The Teacher, The Veteran or The Moth Tender. It can be played with or without a game master, or guide, and is perfect for groups looking to take a break from the hack-and-slash side of fantasy gaming.

4 Venture into an oversized world in Mausritter by Isaac Williams

mausritter rpg kickstarter cover

Humans, elves and dwarves are not found in Mausritter. Instead, it follows the adventures of mouse adventurers, armed with needle swords, hooked spears and thimble helmets. The rulebook is a short 25 pages, filled with everything a party needs to map out a little fantasy kingdom complete with cat lairs and insect hives. It’s available on a paid basis, but is well worth a purchase for anyone looking for a fantastic new adventure game.

3 Nell Raban’s Home Again is a magical realism play on cultural history

homecoming cover rpg

In Back at home, the characters are members of the Tao people, transported to a modern world from their native island by an unknown cataclysm. It explores themes of cultural identity, diaspora and colonization.

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Rather than focusing on wild or flashy fantasy, Back at home is interested in how fantasy can be used to challenge harsh reality and offer potential alternatives. This is a slice-of-life game following the activities of community leaders and activists discovering and rediscovering their secret magic.

2 You Are The Dungeon by TheOtherTracy puts the player in charge of the dungeon itself

you are the cover of the rpg dungeon

The name says it all You are the dungeon. It is a single-player game that guides a player through the process of playing a deep and dangerous dungeon. The game unfolds in cycles of incursions, as adventurers and explorers plumb the depths and fallows as new creatures inhabit the dungeon and new powers appear. It’s a fun twist on the classic dungeon crawl formula, and the book itself is printable and ready to draw.

1 Erik Bernhardt’s Brinkwood: The Blood Of Tyrants Lets Players “Drink The Rich”

Brinkwood blood of vampire tyrants with blood on the lips

This Forged in the Dark game has an easy pitch: Robin-Hood-type brigands do battle against evil, overbearing vampires. It’s a rebellion game, with grassroots resistance cells working in secret to strike down the vampiric government. Brinkwood bills itself as a “castylpunk” game, focused on uplifting the underdog and overthrowing power. It replaces the traditional Forged in the Dark playbook system with multiple magical masks, each carrying a set of unique fae abilities.

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