Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons OGL 1.1 misstep, although now apparently resolved, has left a sour taste in the mouths of at least some fantasy RPG fans (see "WotC Folds"), and it may be a good time for retailers to reevaluate their fantasy RPG stock to respond to the growing demand for non-D&D products.  There are a number of fantasy RPG systems that offer excellent alternatives to WotC's D&D 5E system.

The most popular non-D&D fantasy RPG system, which is now officially disassociating from the D&D OGL and on its own ORC is Paizo's Pathfinder 2E (see "Game Company Revolt Against OGL Changes").  The timing is fortunate for Paizo, which is coming up on a very big year with multiple quality releases on the way.  Their 2023 started out with a re-release of the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix adventure book for 2E (see "Fists of the Ruby Phoenix'") and moves into February with the release of the Treasure Vault item rulebook (see "'Pathfinder Treasure Vault'").  Q1 2023 also features a release of Pathfinder Lost Omens: Firebrands, a new setting book focused on pirates (see "'Pathfinder 2E RPG' Setting Book").  Later in the year, the Highhelm setting book arrives, where players can explore the nuances of dwarven culture in the Sky Citadel (see "'Pathfinder Lost Omens' Setting Book").

Beyond Paizo and Pathfinder, there are a number of other alternatives.  Free League Publishing offers all sorts of fantasy RPGs that are not OGL 1.1-related, and in fact, have developed their own Open Game Licenses (see "Two OGLs").  Their flagship fantasy game at the moment is The One Ring RPG (see "'The One Ring: Starter Set'"), which runs on a pass-or-fail d12 system.  Free League also revived Dragonbane RPG, which is a classic Swedish fantasy RPG (see "'Dragonbane'"), in 2022, and they produce Vaesen RPG, a Nordic horror fantasy RPG (see "Free League Publishing Launches 'Vaesen").   

Monte Cook Games recently released an OGL document for its Cypher System (see "Open Gaming License"), which is used in Numenera (see "New RPG at over $300k").  The Cypher System is a d20 system that utilizes target numbers ranked 1 through 10 with the difficulty being three times the target number.  It also features Cyphers, which are single use abilities gained by characters over the course of play.  Monte Cook Games has recently been releasing a number of 5E fantasy books (see "New '5E' 'Planar' Books"), and they have also been publishing more Numenera books (see "'Numenera: Break the Horizon' into Retail") as well as a re-release of the Ptolus book (see "672-Page 'Ptolus' Campaign Setting Book").

Renegade Game Studios and Modiphius Entertainment, which both offer original d20-based systems as well, emphasize other genres in their catalogs, but do have games that appeal to fantasy fans.

Renegade Game Studios’ Essence20 RPG system utilizes various skill dice, ranging from d2 to d20, and a d20 in order to resolve rolls.  Renegade is releasing a fantasy RPG for this system in 2023, My Little Pony Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook (see "'My Little Pony Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook'").

Modiphius' RPGs use the 2d20 system, in which players roll d20s in an attempt to score successes by rolling under the target number.  They recently lost the license to their only fantasy line Robert E. Howard's Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed of RPG (see "'Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of RPG'"); however, they are currently clearing stock on this product, which might present an opportunity for retailers to load up on inventory cheaply.

Also of note is Pinnacle's Savage Worlds system, which uses multiple dice, including a d20, and is a general rule set that applies to multiple genres.  Recently, Pinnacle released a Pathfinder for Savage Worlds book (see "'Pathfinder for Savage Worlds'").

It is also worth taking a look at Goodman Games OGL-adjacent Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, which sells well for many.  Goodman released a statement early on the WotC’s proposed changes to the OGL would have no impact on their lines.

This coverage is part of RPG Week, celebrating all things RPG at ICv2.  For more ICv2 RPG Week articles, click here.