TTRPG Systems

Like many people I have met, my first table top role playing game was Dungeons and Dragons. I love playing Dungeons and Dragons! If you’re lucky (or maybe cursed) you may have even read my articles featuring DND. However, it is far from the only TTRPG system to play. While there are numerous TTRPG experiences out there, even more when you look into indie content created, today we are diving into 3 different systems that are non-DND to help newcomers and veterans alike broaden their TTRPG horizons. 

Cortex Prime

Cortex Prime book cover
Image: Amazon

Cortex Prime is a system that allows creators to build their own unique role playing games (or RPGs) with an established ruleset. Creators, players and game masters can build their own worlds in a genre of their choosing and pick from the Cortex Prime ruleset what rules and guidelines their game will follow, in order to build a collaborative adventure. Cortex Prime is easy to to pick up and offers a lot of versatility for the user! There is an online platform to access, or you can pick up the sourcebooks if you prefer a physical copy.

Character attributes, also known as a Trait Set, are weighted with a die. If a character isn’t very good at something, they may only use a 4 sided die (known as a d4) but can work at a skill it can increase in die size. Another feature that sets Cortex Prime apart are the Plot Tokens, which can be used in a number of different ways, including allowing a player to roll more than one die.

The Cortex system has gone through a few iterations, with Cortex Prime being the most recent edition. Cortex Prime was designed by Cam Banks and is currently being published by Fandom Tabletop.

Some of the published games using the Cortex system are Legends of Grayskull: Masters of the Universe and  Tales of Xadia: The Dragon Prince Role Playing Game.


GURPS book cover
Image: Amazon

The Generic Universal Roleplaying Game System, or GURPS, was first put out by Steve Jackson Games (makers of Munchkin) in 1986. GURPS allows players to use a point buy system to assist in the building of their character. GURPS characters have 4 attributes- strength, dexterity, intelligence and health. The four attribute scores also have an effect on a character’s secondary characteristics, such as, hit points, will, perception and fatigue points. GURPS uses standard six sided dice (d6) for all rolls and the system offers a Lite version of the rule set. 

In addition to the core rule set, you can find source books for a myriad of topics such as, Steam Tech, Horror, Dinosaurs, Space and almost any other topic you can image! GURPS can be an excellent system to help you bring your story to life! 


Fate RPG Book Cover
Image: Amazon

The Fate RPG System from Evil Hat Productions comes in three flavors: Fate Core, the whole system, Fate Accelerated, the quick start system, and Fate Condensed, the compact version of the system. Fate is based of a fudge dice system (dice with plus and minus signs on them) and allows players to choose from a long list of skills. Fate assumes that the average character is mediocre in most skills and applies a “fiction over physics.” This means that a player and game master can work together to make some real magic happen! Fate allows a player to use a single dice roll to determine the outcome of an action with various degrees of success (total fail, success with a cost, casual success or success with style). 

One of the newer releases from the Fate system is the Fate Accessibility Toolkit, which covers a wide range of both mental and physical disabilities, including respectful representation and tools for creating safe spaces at your table. This content is currently available digitally and will be offered in a physical copy on October 5, 2021. 

a set of polyhedral dice laid out from largest to smallest
Dice Featured: Bard and Barbarian Photo Credit: Variant Berry

While we only covered 3 TTRPG systems today, the possibilities are endless for gameplay! There are a number of official published worlds within each system and countless indie creators who have used these systems to bring their worlds to life! I hope we were able to give you a taste of what the world outside of the Big Dragon Name has to offer and that you will have the confidence to explore new worlds! 

Please note: Some of our posts may contain affiliate links which means the Team at Variant Ventures could earn money if you purchase products from our site.

What TTRPG systems have you played?

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