While many TTRPGs are about fantasy or sci-fi areas, there are tabletop RPGs that are about the people who play those games.
Most tabletop role-playing games allow players to create fantastic heroes, but there are also RPGs that go the meta-fictional route and tell stories about people who play role-playing games. Some of the RPGs below are about kids who played early Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s, while others involve people playing MMOs in the near future. Everyone’s common mechanic is a dual character creation system, in which players craft a narrative description of a “player” character and then describe the RPG character that fictional player chooses to create.
People have been designing and playing tabletop RPGs since the mid-1970s, and the experience of playing RPGs with others has seen many changes, iterations, and transformations over the next 45+ years. Players of every generation, whether they’re old-school vintage dungeon players or people connecting online through modern MMOs, have their own unique stories about the RPGs they’ve played with their friends and the shenanigans they committed.
The tabletop RPGs listed in this article are mostly about friendship – not the friendship of adventure games in an RPG setting, but the connections between people who meet on weekends to munch on snacks, roll the dice and weave stories born from both their imagination and real-life struggles. Sometimes the stories of these fictional playgroups end well, and sometimes they don’t; Either way, the RPGs invented in these meta-fictional RPGs are catalysts for “CPs” and their own CPs to grow and change.
Venture & Dungeon is a great TTRPG meta
Adventure and dungeon is a book on itch.io with two complementary RPGs – one by Riley Rethal, the other by Jay Dragon, both using the “Belonging Outside Belonging” system without dice. In Business, players collaborate to tell a classic D&D-a heroic fantasy style story, but with an introspective approach to character creation where a PC’s personality, dreams and inner struggles influence his abilities and the adventures he encounters. Dungeon, on the other hand, is about a group of teenagers playing an RPG with characters and monsters analogous to their high school life – a caring child defending his friends might play a Paladin, while a stalker or nosy the school could take the form of a monster with countless eyes in a “play session”.
.Dungeon is a TTRPG on playing an MMO
.Dungeon is an RPG system designed to tell stories about a group of players playing together a fictional and futuristic MMO – a procedurally generated multiplayer world that can incorporate settings and stories from other RPGs or fantasy books into its own simulated universe . The simple and flexible mechanics of .Dungeon are designed to make it easy for GMs and gamers to assemble elements of their favorite fantasy works into a cohesive gameplay setting, while PC attributes, skills, and classes are designed to simulate the abilities of MMO characters and the personalities of their “players.”
DIE RPG is a great TTRPG on people playing a D&D type game
In TO DIE, a horror fantasy comic that deconstructs the “trapped in another world” trope seen in works like Chronicles of Narnia (or the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon), a group of teenagers playing a new D&D-The tabletop-style RPG is sucked into a world of magic and imbued with the powers of the characters they’ve created; 27 years after escaping to the real world, these same players, now adults with their own lives and lingering traumas, are brought back to this world by a deranged gamemaster to complete what they started.
Kieron Gillen, the writer of TO DIE, ended up creating a true tabletop RPG system, inspired by the first arc in his comic book series. In the opening story of a TO DIE RPG session, players create a group of friends who come together to create characters in a mysterious new Dungeons & Dragons-Esque tabletop RPG system. After being magically transported to the icosahedron world of TO DIE, the “players” try to find a way home while struggling with the traumatic aspects of the “characters” they have created. Meanwhile, the real players of the TO DIE RPG roll six-sided dice pools as well as D4, D8, D10 and D12 which embody the powers of character classes such as the Madman, the Godbinder, the Dictator or the Emotion Knight.
Next: Video Games About People Playing Tabletop RPGs
Sources: DIE Comic RPG, itch.io
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