The best role-playing game versions of 2019

Experienced tabletop role players don’t have to think back too long to remember a time when their hobby was far outside the mainstream of popular culture and the wider gaming landscape. However, there has been a rapid shift in recent years that has resulted from the development of new editions of great games, including Dungeons & Dragons, the founder and leader of the industry, and particularly impressive advances in the design and presentation of numerous other products across the medium has been.

This evolution of the hobby became apparent in 2019 when the year witnessed dozens of great product releases. Remarkable this year was the number of excellent control systems and settings that were revived and updated in one form or another, as well as some outstanding new games and settings.

The following 10 games (in alphabetical order) represent some of the best tabletop role-playing game projects that have been released in the past few months. If you’re part of the boom in new players who discovered the joy of RPGs with the 5th edition of D&D, here are some great new campaign settings in the mix. Given the strength of some other recently released game systems, this may now also be an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons with a brand new rules system, some of which are supported here.

See what sounds exciting for you and your gaming group, and email us if you have any questions about the products listed here or would like a personalized recommendation. If you also want to check out some of the best tabletop games for non-RPGs from 2019, check out our best tabletop games from 2019.

Cypher System Rulebook (revised)
Publisher: Monte Cook Games

With this new version of the flexible role-playing game, you can create characters, settings and games that are as wild as you could want them to be

The revised version of the Cypher System Rulebook is based on the same rule system as the imaginative games Numenera and The Strange and is less a reissue than a reorganization with a wealth of additions to the options available. And options make the Cypher system so convincing. You can use these rules to tell stories in every conceivable environment and character.

The new structure of the book gives players much more power to customize their characters as they are created and progressed, and to shape their powers and abilities to match the unique taste of the campaign played. And just like with all Cypher System games, the way of playing is relatively random, so that everyone can enjoy the possibility of real role-playing. In addition, ciphers themselves (disposable items that can make a big difference when they are met correctly) ensure that things always feel fresh with every new session.

Eberron: Risen from the last war
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

One of the best official campaign settings in D&D is coming back

After decades of reading and playing dozens of different D&D campaign settings, it’s hard to name one that I enjoy more than Eberron. Rising from the Last War was originally released in the 3.5 edition days at the beginning of the 2000s. The goal is to revive the campaign for the game in the 5th edition. It is equally important to offer DMs and players a lot of new options that they can incorporate into their games at home whether you use the full setting or not.

Eberron’s strength is the way in which it is possible to maintain a clear identity as a D&D setting, but at the same time to feel so different. It’s a world where technology is advancing, but this technology is powered by magic. A great war has ended and the world’s political and military units are still in transition. Airships fill the sky, familiar races and groups are given new identities, and the heroes can be explorers, spies, hardened ex-soldiers or all of the above.

The new book contains comprehensive information about the Eberron environment, including the first completely new class through to the 5th edition since launch – the artisan – and some fantastic new options for all players, such as dragon brands as well as new races and subraces. Eberron is not intended to replace the “Forgotten Realms” as the main location for the game “Dungeons & Dragons”, but it is an effective alternative for groups who want to stay in the official game framework but have a very different taste.

Fallout Wasteland Warfare RPG
Publisher: Modiphius

Expand from post-nuclear tactical miniatures to comprehensive role-playing campaigns

As one of the most robust mini-games in recent years, the first release of Wasteland Warfare offered numerous tools that players could use to customize their skirmishes in the fictional fallout landscape. This new RPG expansion takes advantage of the strength of this tactical combat system in a way that feels like a natural expansion of the existing system. The miniature tactical battle is very similar to the core game, but this new release focuses more on narrative scenarios and a broader, interconnected campaign that provides game groups with tools to help them create their own stories.

With some adventures to get you started, faction and location details, the ability to convert existing archetypes into self-contained characters, and even options to build your own settlement, the whole thing goes together pretty well. Excellent tactical combat system at the core of the base -Minispiels. While the Wasteland Warfare RPG is probably not the best choice for pure narrative experiences, it offers a lot of fun for strategy enthusiasts who want a mix of RPGs and storytelling in the mix, especially if you already have a penchant for off-kiltering have a sense of humor and attitude of the Fallout universe.

Forbidden countries
Publisher: Free League Publishing

Explore a bleak open world and discover its secrets in this beautifully produced dark fantasy

Forbidden Lands is a fascinating variant of the expectation. On the one hand, it provides an accessible set of rules that is easy to digest and understand, which is the general trend in most games in recent years, to rationalize and eliminate unnecessary complexity. On the other hand, Forbidden Lands includes some of the banal and specific details that many other RPGs have eliminated, such as tracking daily supplies and supplies like arrows. And strangely, it’s kind of fantastic for that.

The concept of Forbidden Lands is reminiscent of an open world sandbox video game RPG in many ways. The GM is advised not to over-prepare the sessions, but to leave the players free to explore, discover, and dynamically uncover new locations as they appear during the game and as described in the accompanying books. These explorations take place on a giant hex map, which you adapt to new locations and special features as the campaign progresses and slowly reveal the secrets of a country that has been exposed to darkness for many years.

The tone is somber and somber and requires you to pay attention to things like food and other supplies so as not to run away in the wild. For example, the game tracks whether you are trying to establish one of the party members as a guardian on your journey and punishes you if you have no potential ambushes. It’s a morally gray world where you are likely to loot and take over an enemy fortress and then fight desperately to hold that fortress if you leave for more than a few days. The players are not necessarily heroes – they want to gain fame and fortune with questionable motives and methods. Survival is not guaranteed.

Forbidden Lands comes in beautiful packaging that includes hardcover books, a large and inviting map, and even stickers that you can stick to the map when you work it out with your players – all in all a particularly eye-catching and attractive package. If the idea of ​​a fully developed survival role-playing game that requires almost no DM preparation sounds like fun, try it out. After the game was released too late in 2018 to be included in last year’s list, it’s definitely worth it to be awarded.

John Carter of Mars – Adventure in the dying world of Barsoom
Publisher: Modiphius

Experience romance and adventure on a sci-fi ride

Modiphius has implemented its 2d20 system in numerous variations and settings (from Conan to Star Trek) over the years, thereby demonstrating the flexibility and usefulness of the excellent system. But John Carter is definitely one of the best and most complex games created with this set of rules. Whether you’re a fan of classic Edgar Rich Burroughs stories or not, there’s a lot to love here.

Apart from a particularly breathtaking art presentation, the John Carter RPG offers a phenomenal expression of the Barsoom environment and contains extensive details for character creation for players as well as a variety of secrets for the GM / narrator. The adjustments to the rules system focus on big actions and ultra-capable heroes in great and outstanding adventures. According to the scope of the original stories, the game also highlights the changes on the red planet over the course of hundreds of years, with completely new epochs of political and social events that shift the tide of events around your characters. It is an outstanding success for the pulp campaign with a large and extensive scale.

Dragon Lords Odyssey
Publisher: Arcanum Worlds

5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons meets Greek mythology

Former BioWare executives make up the core team at Arcanum Worlds, so the high expectations for a new campaign environment before the start were justified. With the complete book, which is now coming out after the publication of a first Player’s Guide at the beginning of the year, these strong expectations have been confirmed. Odyssey of the Dragonlords is both a setting for the campaign and an extensive adventure in an impressively illustrated and thoughtfully written book. It is also fully compatible and designed as a 5th edition D&D experience. It is therefore a great option if your playgroup is prepared for a scene change, but is reluctant to adopt the familiar rules of the world’s most popular role-playing game.

Conceptually, Odyssey of the Dragonlords draws on many of the best elements of classic D&D such as dragons and the flexible magic system and translates these ideas into a newly interpreted version of Greek mythology. New breed options such as centaurs and satyrs are great fun to emphasize the flair of the location. However, the epic paths for your character, which represent a classic mythological arc for your hero, are particularly exciting. The adventure, which meanders through the richly drawn environment, is cleverly designed and contains some great secrets that are reserved for the eyes of the GM only in the last section of the book. The combined experience is a fantastic change for groups who are ready to discover a new world.

Pathfinder: Core Rulebook 2nd Edition
Publisher: Paizo

Tactical and deep fantasy role-playing game in the great tradition, without impairing accessibility or legibility

The original Pathfinder game splintered out of the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, but that was a decade ago and since then the game has built its own identity and community. The gorgeous 2nd edition of Pathfinder pays homage to these years of iteration and evolution and offers a new version that streamlines the game without losing the heart or the tactical depth for which the game is known.

Paizo is known for its attractive art and the elaborate quality of the book production. The new 2nd edition of the regulations does not disappoint in this regard. It contains beautiful illustrations and consistently intelligently constructed diagrams and guidelines. The 2nd edition also features well-tested classes, lots of character ancestors (including the goblin as a new core entry), and a variety of options that let you tweak every aspect of your character.

While Pathfinder supports a variety of game styles, it is particularly suitable for groups who prefer tactical play with miniatures / pawns / markers on a grid where the details offered in spells and attacks can really shine. In addition, the home environment of Golarion had to be expanded and developed over many years and ensures an impressive fantasy landscape. The 5th edition of D&D is wonderful, but the 2nd edition of Pathfinder proves that there is plenty of room for other great rule sets that come from the same long tradition.

Savage Worlds Adventure Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Choose a genre and buckle up; Playing fast according to clever and simple rules is a winning combination

Over the course of 15 years of iteration, the Savage Worlds rule set has made a name for itself as an RPG that is capable of dealing with almost any environment, situation or story concept that you throw at it in a way that complies with the rules Maintains action quickly and player engagement is high. The new Adventure Edition is an outstanding representation of this system. Since I’ve spent some time with previous versions, I want to encourage players to try the game for the first time due to the particularly clear and reasonable presentation and writing.

Savage Worlds has an easy-to-learn rule set that is ideal for capturing newbies, even if its brisk game flow and many, many available settings (and options for homebrewing settings) are very attractive for experienced hobbyists. A particularly impressive aspect of the new edition is the details and suggestions for GMs that are suitable for someone who is trying to play a game alone for the first time. If you like the idea of ​​role-playing games, but in practice sometimes feel that the experience is stuck or feels too slow, you should try Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition.

Things out of the flood
Publisher: Free League Publishing

You are a teenager in the 90s, but the story is not as we remember it

The phenomenal stories from the Loop RPG, released in 2017, that transformed Simon Stålenhag’s impressive art into a fantastic interactive adventure game in which children are confronted with the drama of real life and mysterious and seemingly unreal experiences in their hometown. This game has captured the magic of stories like Goonies and Stranger Things with serenity. This year’s release of Things from the Flood is the sequel to this game and adds to the excitement, this time with the higher stakes and the frightening consequences of a teenager.

In addition to the world-class art that serves as the main inspiration for the game, Things from the Flood offers a commendable, narrative-central rule set that rewards player participation and storytelling. Players are encouraged to play out the inherent fears and power struggles of teenage life while facing otherworldly threats, including a virus that infects machines and robots and drives them to rampage and destroy. The themes of the game world reflect the struggles to grow up – a feeling that everything is coming loose and changing, and you have to find your place in everything.

Two-handed: Grim & Perilous RPG revised core rule book
Editor: Andrews MeMeel Publishing / Grim & Perilous

Dark imagination and medieval adventure find a new ideal home

This version was updated in 2019 with improved layout and rule changes and is the final version of the wonderfully bloody, coarse-grained and imaginative role-playing game. If traditional fantasy role-playing games are a little too bright and morally too dry for your taste, you should take a closer look at two-handed players. Create stories in worlds reminiscent of The Witcher and A Song of Ice and Fire, or create your own grim backdrop. There are more than enough ways to uncover this huge 700-page book.

The greatest strength of two-handed is the unbelievable breadth of character variations with literally hundreds of classes and backgrounds that form your ideal protagonist. The rules of the game are reminiscent of the beginnings of tabletop RPGs, promoting tough challenges and deadly encounters. An intelligent control system may feel daunting at first, but is surprisingly accessible once you understand the basics, so you can focus on the specifics of character design and unique encounters instead. The dark tone does not suit every game group, but it is a welcome retro aesthetic that is implemented with a modern eye for game development and presentation.

What were your favorite tabletop RPG experiences in 2019? Share your group’s story and favorite games in the comments below. If you want to read more articles about the ever-growing tabletop game landscape, don’t miss our selection of the best tabletop games without RPG from 2019, and click the banner below to visit our “Top of the Table.” ” to visit. And have fun playing in 2020!

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