Daily Archives: 31 July 2009

An A-to-Z List of Lesser-Known Roleplaying Games: Part 1

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Here’s the first part of a list of 26 lesser-known roleplaying games, one for each letter of the alphabet. Some of these you’ve probably heard of, others  you may not. Many of these are out of print, but can frequently be found from used game outlets or on PDF reprint sites like Drive-Thru RPG. Maybe you’ll find something new that sounds fun to try:

  • Aria: Really a game more about making a world than playing a character. Based on the idea of the “monomyth“, Aria drew on ideas popularized by Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth.
  • Bunnies and Burrows: No, I’m not making this one up. Yes, it is a game where you play a rabbit. Inspired by the novel, Watership Down, the game (published in 1976) is known for being the first (to the best of my knowledge) to introduce martial-arts and skill systems.
  • Chill: A horror RPG system. Though never as popular as Call of Cthulhu, it did have a loyal following in the late ’80s and early ’90s (including myself).
  • Dr. Who: Published by FASA in 1985, and based on the British television series, players played renegade Time Lords and their companions working for the CIA — that’s the Celestial Intervention Agency, an illegal Gallifreyan organization set up to protect the universe from threats such as the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Master.
  • Empire of the Petal Throne (Tékumel): Originally published in 1976, Tékumel outshone the other games of its day when it came to sheer detail of a fantasy world. It’s creator, Professor M.A.R. Barker created a world of astonishing complexity, including an actual language and written alphabet.
  • FUDGE (Free Universal Donated Gaming Engine): The first (to the best of my knowledge) widely-available free game system, Fudge offers a universal, rules-light system designed to be adapted to any setting the GM desires to run. It’s still available and still free. You can download it at Grey Ghost Press, Inc.

On Monday, I’ll post part 2 of this series: G-K. Until then, happy gaming!