Every now and then we humans have to mix it up a little to keep it interesting. One of the worst things that can happen to those of us with an active imagination is the flatness of repetition. By saying this I mean that most of us get bored of playing the same scenarios, heroes and themes. The world of tabletop RPG games moves as fast as the videogames and the real world do. Let´s take a look at the best non-medieval tabletop RPGs to spice it up a little.
Ever wondered what the world will be like a billion years in the future? I don´t have a clue either, but the people behind Numenera thinks that this planet will be flooded with bio-engineered beings and aliens. The advanced technology in this setting brings the actions of the heroes close to magic but is really about a world with the highest technology imaginable. When playing Numenera you get this Mad Max feeling that the world is a complete wreck and you are another survivor in it. The bio-engineered creations and the aliens are very well drafted and the scenarios have plenty of room to enhance creativity. While it is true that some of the weapons, heroes profiles and game artifacts are related to medieval times, it is a futuristic setting in which humanity took the complete turn. All artifacts, as in Mad Max, come from recycling or harvesting what´s left of past civilizations and using it to survive. The game comes in three versions: Free trial, PDF and full color rule book. If you are serious about playing I suggest going for the actual book.
Based on a series of books by Jack Vance, an American author, this tabletop RPG makes honor to its name in every imaginable way. The books are four and were written between 1950 and 1984. As a science fiction fan I read them all, of course. The idea behind the book is fascinating. The Sun is burning out and disappearing. We know, mathematically that it will and even become a supernova that can take the entire galaxy to a black hole. But in the novels, the world population is completely defeated by this idea. Magic rose back to the surface and there are all kinds of creatures that are awesome. In fact, many magic tricks in the original D&D games come from this saga of books. The playability is awesome and the originals were impeccably respected. As the fan that I am I ran to buy it when I heard it was being published in 2001. It didn´t disappoint me at all. Lots of space to apply imagination and an endless supply of characters, worlds, landscapes, artifacts and spells. To give you an idea of what I´ve felt when it first came out, imagine having read all of Tolkien´s book as a youngster when nobody knew them and then going to a big theatre to watch the movies.
Cyberpunk didn´t die during the 80s, we carry the flag up in the air and our heart is filled with pride. If you´re into the decadent kind of revolutionary cyber rule-breakers, then Shadowrun is a game for you. The plot is completely fascinating because it tells what would happen if the most classic fantasy creatures like out of a Tolkien book would return to life but in a very distant future. That clash of classic fantasy story with avant garde cyberpunk future gives birth to some of the best mash-ups I’ve ever seen in a tabletop RPG. Picture a Samurai with a cutting sword made of the latest technology along with a South American Shaman fighting a classical creature in a lost alley of a dooming world. Sounds amazing? Well, it´s just one of the things that can happen when playing Sahdowrun.