With the next entry in the Fable series finally confirmed by an official trailer during the recent Xbox Showcase, it’s time to get excited about the next video game set in Albion. As a fantasy franchise, Fable has offered players something unique compared to its contemporaries – giving the genre an irreverent twist that only a decidedly British approach to humour can provide. Amongst the epic storylines, brave heroes and dastardly villains that fantasy is known for, Fable makes sure to include the mundane, the ridiculous and the ignoble.
In the hopes that developer Playground Games will be able to recapture the magic originally created by Lionhead Studios – besides re-visiting the initial trilogy - we’re desperate to consume as much Fable-esque content as possible. Whilst there are lots of known video games that share similar ideas, gameplay mechanics and vibes as Fable – such as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and The Outer Worlds – there aren’t as many obvious options for the tabletop.
Tabletop RPGs like Fable
However, just because there aren’t any obvious options, doesn’t mean there aren’t any at all. In fact, there are several excellent tabletop RPGs like Fable that are available for players who enjoy the whimsical, the bizarre and the crude. Whether they’re steeped in humour, take place in a strange fantasy world or allow players to do some outright immoral things, all of these tabletop RPGs share some clear similarities with the Fable series. Come on chicken chaser! It’s time to go on an adventure with six tabletop RPGs like Fable.
1. Three Goblins in a Trench Coat
Attempt to do normal stuff as a trio of goblins pretending to be one human
Besides its morality system, roleplaying elements and open-world design, the thing that Fable is best known for is its humour. Whilst it has its more serious moments, Fable is an incredibly silly series and likes nothing more than making fun of the historically straight-faced nature of fantasy. Three Goblins in a Trench Coat also embraces fantastical mockery in that it is, literally, a tabletop roleplaying game about controlling three goblins in a trench coat.
An extremely simple TRPG to learn and play, Three Goblins sees three players each control one of the goblins precariously stacked within a shared coat. As these three goblins, the players’ goal is to successfully pass off as a real human, called Paul Davis, whose wallet and coat they discover in the sewers of New York City where they live. Using their newly-acquired coat and ID, the goblins can finally live out their dreams of doing normal human stuff on the surface. However, they’ll need to work together if they’re going to fool the humans.
As each of the goblins, players will need to use their three core stats – fink, do and tawk – in order to interact with the above world and its suspicious denizens. Every goblin has their own unique approach to doing things and role to play in the charade, but also has their own unavoidable flaw they’ll have to navigate in order to pull off the scheme. What that scheme is depends on the result of a dice roll, with examples including going on a date or performing at a kid’s birthday party. It’s safe to say that this combination of gameplay mechanics and storytelling makes for a hilarious fantasy experience.
Get Three Goblins in a Trench Coat from the game's Itch.io page.
Travel across a strange world, meeting weird people and getting into odd adventures
Though Fable proudly wears the fantasy genre on its sleeve, it’s also not afraid to get weird. If you’re particularly into the stranger elements of Fable, then Troika! might be the ideal tabletop RPG for you to play whilst waiting for the next entry in the series. Taking place in a multiverse populated by unusual individuals and unlikely worlds, Troika! is a TRPG about exploration and embracing the odd.
Creating characters in Troika! is as simple as choosing from a collection of hundreds of backgrounds – or making a character from scratch, if you so wish – with the emphasis being on jumping into the journey right away. Potential backgrounds can include being an ancient giant, a professional pond-pisser, an evangelical mathematician or a gremlin catcher; the weirder, the better. Playing Troika involves rolling a d6 as many times as is required by the action or ability you’ve chosen to overcome a challenge with, with specific rules for unopposed moves or actions, as well as versus actions.
Though relatively straightforward to play, players can still encounter misfortune in many ways in Troika!, from attacks from enemies to falling over to drowning. Troika! is not a game about ‘winning’, it’s more a game about discovering new things and experiencing new places. Like Fable, while there are still plenty of classic fantasy tropes in Troika!, such as spells to cast and enemies to fight, there’s more than enough strangeness to make up for it.
Get Troika! from the Melsonian Arts Council online store.
3. Once Upon a Crime
Commit grand larceny as a fantasy reject in a beautiful fairytale world
The world of Fable is one filled with contradictions. Amongst the magical woods and quaint towns are all manner of ghastly little creatures, people and things to encounter – whether they be especially rude gnomes or enormous killer wasps. This contrast of cute and horrifying is a key part of Fable’s character and is similarly reflected in Once Upon a Crime, a one-page RPG created by Grant Howitt, the designer behind Honey Heist.
In Once Upon a Crime, players are “hideous creatures” who have infiltrated a beautiful fantasy world with the intention of committing various crimes. The name of the game in this rules-light RPG is to steal whatever you can of value from this world before you either escape back through the interdimensional portal you came through, or you’re captured by guards. Players will be able to create their characters by rolling on three tables: one to determine what type of creature they are, one to decide on a key feature and another to select a debt they’re trying to pay off with their thievery.
Whenever players attempt to steal something they roll a number of dice depending on how difficult the crime is, with the aim of rolling as many fours as possible. Rolling zero fours results in a failed attempt, with each failure causing the player character to gain a condition that will make their theft attempts even harder. The higher value the treasure players steal, the harder it’ll be to obtain but the easier it’ll be to carry around. Players can live out some of the meaner aspects of Fable with this quick-to-learn and play roleplaying game.
Get Once Upon a Time from the game's DriveThruRPG page.
Become an adventurer and explore a perilous and “gonzo” world of strange possibilities
Fable is very much a series about the wonder of discovery. In all three mainline games, players are able to travel across the land of Albion unearthing new secrets, meeting new people and facing new challenges. Grok?! is a tabletop roleplaying game that also embraces this love of adventure, by enabling players to freely explore its world and the many deadly and unusual things that populate it.
Taking place on Planet Grok, the sci-fi RPG may feature spaceships and laser pistols instead of swords and magic, but its ethos is still dedicated to weird adventure. Once a haven for people crossing dimensions, Planet Grok has since become a desolate world thanks to a cataclysmic event. Now a husk featuring “feral monstrosities”, the planet still contains plenty of wonder in its hidden treasures, secret spaces and those who continue to live on its surface.
The gameplay mechanics of Grok?! are focused on choice, granting players the ability to have a good understanding of the likelihood of them succeeding at an action and the outcome never being arbitrary. All actions, regardless of what they may involve in context, are resolved in exactly the same way – encouraging players to try different things without the additional work of learning new mechanics. Embark on an adventure like you’ve never had before in Grok?!.
Get Grok?! from the game's Itch.io page.
5. Land of Eem
Venture into a world filled with colourful characters and bursting with whimsy
Despite all its British cynicism, Fable still contains plenty of whimsy and charm to it. There really is nothing like strolling through the pastoral beauty of Fable’s quainter areas, bumping into jolly villagers and chatting with enchanted creatures. A similar feeling of delightful cuteness can be found in Land of Eem, a fantasy TRPG that feels like the result of a collaboration between The Muppets and The Lord of the Rings.
In Land of Eem, players create and take control of a band of unusual characters who travel in search of adventure, gathering loot, crafting items and fighting assailants along the way. Players will be able to create characters from a variety of playable species, including skeletons and gelatinous goos, as well as pick from a collection of classes such as the royal chum and the rascal. As their newly-created characters, players will be able to experience all manner of wonderous things – from discovering the ruins of a lost civilisation to planning a heist against a wealthy baron. Land of Eem is not an RPG that’s primarily concerned with combat – though there are combat mechanics in it. Rather, it’s a game about collaboration, with players encouraged to tell the story together alongside the game master.
Playing Land of Eem sees players rolling d12 dice in over to resolve various contests, with players using modifiers for their characters key skills of vim, vigour, knack and knowhow, depending on the scenario. Succeeding in contests requires players to roll on or above a target number, with any one or twos resulting in immediate failure and 12s equaling a complete success. It’s time to discover untold wonders in Land of Eem.
Get the Land of Eem quickstart guide for free from the game's online store.
6. Thirsty Sword Lesbians
Form rivalries and find romance in this queer TRPG about sword fighting
The Fable series has always allowed for queer relationships, ever since the developers behind the original decided to leave in the option for same-gender relationships after a coding error. Players have been free to woo, marry and live with almost any male and/or female characters in every mainline iteration of Fable, with the series remaining iconic for its ‘romance scenes’ featuring an all-black screen and suggestive dialogue. We’ve included Thirsty Sword Lesbians on this list of RPGs like Fable because it’s literally a tabletop roleplaying game explicitly about sex and romance.
In Thirsty Sword Lesbians, players become swordfighters searching for connection and a worthy-enough opponent to challenge them in battle. As the name suggests, characters in the world of Thirsty Sword Lesbians are overtly queer, with the option to interact with other characters by either fighting them or flirting with them – sometimes both at the same time. The characters of Thirsty Sword Lesbians live exciting and dangerous lives filled with thrills and romance, but are also looking for a fundamental sense of meaning. That meaning might be found in the arms of another person, or it could be found fighting for a cause they believe in.
Players choose from a selection of nine character types, each one revolving around a key emotional conflict they will explore throughout the game. Players will have connections with the other characters featured in the world of Thirsty Sword Lesbians, with the opportunity to deepen or cut-off those relationships through various actions. Indulge in the steamier side of roleplaying with Thirsty Sword Lesbians.
Get Thirsty Sword Lesbians from the Evil Hat Productions online store.