Many tabletop RPG hobbyists have switched to digital books, and DriveThruRPG has established itself as a one-stop shop for building a digital library of RPGs from Dungeons and dragons to experimental independent games. Every year, new titles are added to the huge selection of games available, and 2022 has been no exception. Although many books have a “print on demand” option, the pandemic saw more tabletop groups switch to digital gaming sessions, making PDF books an obvious pairing.
DriveThruRPG offers decades of long-out-of-print tabletop RPG classics for those looking to delve into the past or rediscover an old favorite. New games continue to fuel the hobby, and for those excited to try out the latest and greatest tabletop RPGs of 2022, DriveThruRPG delivers as well. Board role-playing games like D&D can help players overcome shyness, but established RPG enthusiasts shouldn’t shy away from trying out some of 2022’s newest additions to the tabletop RPG world.
Midnight World offers a more thoughtful approach to modern cosmic horror
One of 2022’s exciting original products is Midnight World, a modern-day horror game from Gem and Eye RPG Studios. The game shares similarities with games like Call of Cthulhu and Chronicles of Darknesswhere the story takes place in a dark reflection of our own world. Midnight World differs from the Lovecraft tradition with its cosmology that is more coherent than the Lovecraft mythos, but just as terrifying. In the game’s story, the Big Bang created not one universe, but an infinite multiverse.
Many of these universes died shortly after they were created. The Corpse Universe’s legacy, absent stable laws of physics and mathematics, became the breeding ground for Dread Beings, akin to the Elder Gods of Lovecraft. Game Masters aiming to run a perfect horror tabletop RPG will find plenty of resources Midnight World. Players portray someone who has been affected by an encounter with a feared entity, affecting them psychologically and metaphysically.
Unique mechanics include the Midnight Clock, which serves as both a tempo mechanic and a means of tracking a character’s rising power alongside Distress and Dread. The game uses a dice pool system, which is d6 based by default, with 5s as successes. Certain circumstances can either increase the dice size to a d8, increasing the chances of success, or reduce them to d4s, where success is impossible and critical failure is likely. Midnight World especially recommended for those who want the cosmic horror atmosphere Call of Cthulhu without the baggage of Lovecraftian lore.
Into The Odd – Remastered Is A Rules Light Game For Bizarre OSR-Style Adventures
Another new quality game from 2022 is Into the Odd – Remastered from Free League Publishing, which is an updated version of the 2014 original Into Oddenis based on the rules for the 2020 follow-up Electric Bastionland. Hacks can do D&D more accessible to beginners, but rules-light systems of Into Oddenand its Remastered version, is even more streamlined than 5e D&D.
The system uses only three ability points, Strength, Dexterity and Willpower. It relies on Old School Renaissance simplicity along with modern, intelligent tabletop RPG design. This does Into Odden easy to learn, but with enough thought and foresight to allow for both satisfying campaigns or quick one-shot adventures. Into the Odd – Remastered returns to Industrial Bastionland, the setting of the original Into Odden game. Bastion is the main city of a loosely defined fantasy setting, and players act as explorers, venturing into a world of “industrial horror and cosmic alienness.” The evocative minimalism of the setting goes well with the rules. This does Into the Odd – Remastered an ideal choice for those who want an old-school adventure with a modern design sensibility and a strange setting that may remind players of the works of China Mieville.
Third-party campaign settings for D&D 5e provide more exciting and dynamic options
Fans can argue whether Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance is best D&D setting, but limiting a playgroup’s options to only the official campaign worlds published by Wizards of the Coast misses out on some of the imaginative and daring campaign settings from third-party publishers. This year saw the 5th D&D-compatible adaptations of three beloved campaign worlds with as much campaign potential as any official D&D put books.
Iron Kingdoms: Requiem from Privateer Press brings the popular Iron Kingdoms world into the new D&D set of rules. Iron Kingdoms originally launched as a third party D&D setting under the third edition of the rules along with the popular Monster nomicon series of monster books, and The Witchfire Trilogy adventure module series. The new book brings the trademark Iron Kingdoms “full metal fantasy” mix of steampunk and magic into streamlined D&D system.
The Midnight campaign world was another that debuted with third edition D&D rules originally, and Midnight: Legacy of Darkness from EDGE Studio brings the gloomy setting to 5e D&D. It’s tabletop RPGs for Dark souls fans beyond the video game’s official 5e adaptation (which took some odd liberties with the core D&D rules to mimic video game mechanics) and Midnight: LoD is high on the list. Midnight is a world where Izrador, the Sauron analogue of the setting, won and darkness has reigned for nearly 100 years.
Perhaps the most exciting third-party setting to date D&D rules are Adventures in Rokugan, also from EDGE Studio. Rokugan is the world of The Legend of the Five Rings tabletop RPG, which is currently in its sixth edition. Despite being a third-party setting, Rokugan was used as the official campaign world for 3rd Edition D&D‘s Oriental Adventures line. Adventures in Rokugan features a mix of samurai clan warfare and politics, along with supernatural threats from The Shadowlands.
Beloved White Wolf TTRPGs received new editions in 2022, available on DriveThruRPG
White Wolf gaming fans were not neglected in 2022, as this year saw re-releases of two classic properties from that company. While some are unclear why both share Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: Requiem exist, hardcore fans have traced the tumultuous second life of White Wolf games as these properties have been split between different publishers. Fans of Onyx Path’s products, as well as Renegade Game Studios Vampire: the masquerade 5e line, both received new versions of old White Wolf fan favorites.
Rengade’s Hunter: the Reckoning 5th Edition core book brings I am into the new rules and the time period set with Vampire 5e. Fans of the original I am may have some trouble adjusting, as the new Hunters eschew the supernatural origins of the Imbued for a more traditional version of exceptional humans battling the monsters that lurk among them. The game moves away from the dense lore of older I am editions for more loosely defined, enigmatic threats, but this could arguably make it the most accessible game for players completely new to the World of Darkness to be released in decades.
Some DMs struggle to prevent high level D&D parties from looking like gods, but other games, like White Wolfs Scion series, aimed at exactly that. Scion used a similar system which The world of darkness games and Exaltedbut featured its own setting, a modern world where the player characters are godchildren from real-life pantheons, similar to American Gods novel and TV series. The original was split across three core books, each addressing increasing power levels, from Scion: Absolutelyto Demigodto God. Onyx’s Path’s Scion 2nd Edition changed the naming convention somewhat, starting with Scion: Origins for Heroand the 2022s Scion: Demi-God is the third core book for the new edition.
2022 story add-on for popular TTRPGs and a classic D&D version released digitally
There were many other promising new tabletop RPGs released this year that are available through DriveThruRPG. Fabula Ultima TTRPG from Need Games aims to capture the feel of console JRPGs in tabletop form. The Star Trek Adventures line from Modiphius received a setting supplement for the era of Star Trek: Discovery. Fans of Cyberpunk 2077 video games can find Shadowrun’s TTRPG appealing, and today’s 6th Shadow run line added Hack and Slasha supplement centered on hacking the Matrix.
For those who don’t want to try something new but prefer to revisit a classic, DriveThruRPG has also added The classic Dungeons & Dragons Game in 2022, available digitally for the first time. This standalone game was originally released by TSR in 1994 as the last of many variations of “Basic” Dungeons and dragons rules that launched the entire tabletop RPG hobby in the first place, well before the era of digital storefronts made it easier than ever to collect books.
More: Stop killing all your enemies in D&D