Upcoming RPGs 2023: Every tabletop roleplaying game you should play this year
Play in a world of your imagination.
As the tabletop RPG industry and audience continues to grow, we’ll be seeing bigger hats being thrown into the ring when it comes to making upcoming RPGs. Larger names getting involved in the tabletop RPG space means more money and more impressive releases. However, it’s important not to get blindsided by the pizzazz of licensed properties and new editions when there are so many incoming indie releases to take notice of.
To help you stay on top of all the tabletop RPG releases coming out in 2023, we’ve compiled a list of the most exciting roleplaying games slated to either release or launch crowdfunding campaigns this year.
Whilst licensed RPGs are definitely the big ‘thing’ in roleplaying games at the moment, they're not the only type of tabletop RPG worth getting hyped about. Fans of Monty Python and Warhammer have plenty to get excited about in 2023, but so do players and game masters who love original roleplaying games – lovers of rules-heavy and rules-light alike.
Upcoming RPGs 2023
- Gloomhaven: The Roleplaying Game
- Tales of Primordia
- The Walking Dead Universe Roleplaying Game
- Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme
- Marvel Multiverse Role-playing Game
- Warhammer 40,000: Imperium Maledictum
- King Arthur Pendragon: Sixth Edition
- Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast
- Old Gods of Appalachia RPG
Whether you’re looking for the next terrifying horror RPG to scare your friends or you’re after something a little more wholesome to vibe with, there are plenty of tabletop RPGs coming up this year worth getting hyped about.
Prepare your polyhedral dice, organise your notebooks and get ready to plan for the best upcoming RPGs in 2023.
1. Gloomhaven: The Roleplaying Game
The popular dungeon-crawling series is going all-in on storytelling
Announced during PAX Unplugged 2022, the Gloomhaven RPG really feels like the next logical step for the tabletop series. The 2017 board game has a group of players controlling a party of characters as they embark on quests in and around a fictional fantasy city. When you consider that the board game already has a number of RPG-esque elements – narrative choice, character classes and customisation, plus a rich story – it makes a lot of sense that it’s being adapted into a roleplaying game.
The really interesting thing about Gloomhaven: The Roleplaying Game is that it’s not only adapting the universe and concept of the board game, but also several of its gameplay mechanics. With the upcoming RPG’s sourcebook, players and the GM - or Gloom Master - will be able to use their actual copy of the Gloomhaven board game alongside the roleplaying game.
Those familiar with the board game will be happy to know that the Gloomhaven RPG will be utilising its combat, with players using a hand of cards to perform various abilities and actions on their turn. On top of this, players will be able to perform grand feats not included in their deck of cards for something a little more narratively exciting.
Character creation in Gloomhaven: The Roleplaying Game will enable players to choose from all of the ancestries or classes featured in the Gloomhaven board game, with players able to create any combination of those two elements in their characters.
Players who love the gameplay system used by Gloomhaven and enjoy RPGs that feature some more mechanical elements will probably enjoy the Gloomhaven RPG.
A crowdfunding campaign for Gloomhaven: The Roleplaying Game will launch in April on Backerkit.
2. Tales of Primordia
Become a dinosaur in the next release from the My Little Pony RPG studio
Tales of Equestria, the official My Little Pony tabletop roleplaying game, is surprisingly good. Providing an fantastic entry point for younger players, Tales of Equestria is the perfect example of how you can get newbies into the hobby without forcing them to fight through an intimidating rulebook first. River Horse, the studio responsible for publishing Tales of Equestia, has a brand new rules-light RPG coming to crowdfunding this year: Tales of Primordia.
Rather than being based on an existing licence like Tales of Equestria, Tales of Primordia is an original roleplaying game that looks to provide a similarly accessible experience to the My Little Pony RPG. Set in the prehistoric world of Primordia, players become dinosaur friends who are free to explore, meet new people and, hopefully, make the land a better place.
The dinosaurs in Primordia unfortunately share the world with the Dum Dums – also known as humans – who have wrecked the environment through their selfish actions, which sounds very familiar. As dinosaurs, the players will be encouraged to help others and make a positive difference to the environment.
Though players will be able to do unique things depending on whichever type of dinosaur they’ve created, Tales of Primordia aims to be very light when it comes to rules-learning. Tales of Primordia sounds like the perfect roleplaying game for younger players who want to become dinosaurs, explore an imaginary world and experience their first RPG.
Tales of Primordia’s crowdfunding campaign will launch later in 2023.
3. The Walking Dead Universe Roleplaying Game
Beloved zombie comic book series gets adapted into an RPG
The Walking Dead comic book series has seen its fair share of adaptations already, from a video game series by Telltale Games to the long-running television show - so it’s hard to know what else could be done with the universe.
If there ever was a studio able to find something new in the Walking Dead universe, it’s Free League Publishing. The team behind several great licensed RPGs, such as the Alien and Blade Runner roleplaying games, Free League is a veteran of turning well-loved franchises into fantastic RPGs. So, The Walking Dead is in good hands.
Taking place in an apocalyptic world in which the dead, well, walk, The Walking Dead Universe Roleplaying Game will be based more closely on the 11-season television series than the original comics, with network AMC working directly alongside Free League.
Built on the Year Zero gameplay system – the basis for many of the studio’s other RPGs – The Walking Dead RPG will push player characters’ physical and mental elements to their limits. Players and GMs can expect to come across new story aspects not yet seen in the comics or TV series, as well as recognisable characters they might be familiar with if they’re already a Walking Dead fan.
Besides all the exploration and survival elements one would expect to see in a tabletop RPG based on The Walking Dead, players and GMs will also be able to play around with base-building aspects – constructing a safe spot to rest, recuperate and maybe even try and build a life around.
The Walking Dead may already be a well-trodden franchise, but if any company can find something fresh to say about it it’s Free League.
A Kickstarter campaign for The Walking Dead Universe Roleplaying Game will launch in spring, ahead of a retail release in autumn.
4. Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme
Sure to be one of the most bizarre roleplaying games seen in recent years
Though certain members of the classic comedy troupe Monty Python have outed themselves as arseholes in recent years - here’s looking at you John Cleese and Terry Gilliam - the comedic impact of Monty Python cannot be understated. From Monty Python’s Flying Circus – who hasn’t heard of the Spanish Inquisition? - to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the British group has certainly left a legacy of laughter in its wake.
However, Monty Python certainly is an odd choice for a licensed RPG considering there’s no cohesive world or set storyline to adapt. Yet the creators of upcoming Monty Python RPG, Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme, don’t intend to make a by-the-numbers adaptation. Rather than being an RPG based on a set Monty Python property, such as Holy Grail or Life of Brian, the upcoming roleplaying game will instead provide GMs and players with a toolbox with which to run and play storylines that feel Monty Python-esque.
The RPG sourcebook will feature references to specific sketches, jokes or elements found across the history of Monty Python – for example, the main religion of the world is Brianism and the Spanish Inquisition is an active organisation – that players will be able to interact with in their adventures. Nevertheless, GMs and players will be encouraged to form their own comic storylines and sketches, rather than play out already existing Monty Python material beat-for-beat.
Fans of the comedy troupe – and lovers of humour in general – should get their hands on a copy of this weird-sounding RPG.
Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme pre-orders are open on Backerkit, with the Kickstarter version estimated to arrive in October.
5. Marvel Multiverse Role-playing Game
Play through your very own Infinity War and Endgame with this Marvel RPG
Several tabletop roleplaying game adaptations of the Marvel comic-book universe have been released over the decades, with the latest one – Marvel Multiverse Role-playing Game – looking to capitalise on the continued fervor for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvel Multiverse RPG enables game masters and players to play out their own storylines set in the many worlds of the MCU, including creating their own superheroes. For many Marvel fans, this could be a golden opportunity to let their imaginations soar by incorporating all their favourite elements into one massive campaign.
Built on the d616 system, the Marvel Multiverse RPG has players roll three six-sided dice whenever their character attempts to perform an action that faces resistance or is difficult for them to do. Player characters being successful will depend on whether the roll result meets or surpasses a target number given by the GM, with more difficult actions resulting in a higher target number. Rolling a six on the game’s Marvel dice will lead to some unusual effects depending on the character performing the action: with either an epic success or failure occurring.
Besides being able to make their own original characters, players can choose to control a pre-generated character, such as the one and only Spider-Man. Those who get their hands on a copy of the roleplaying game can look forward to an adventure collection called The Cataclysm of Kang this summer, which will tie-in nicely with the current Marvel Cinematic Universe’s plans to focus on the multiverse-hopping villain.
The core rulebook for the Marvel Multiverse Role-playing Game will release in June, with The Cataclysm of Kang arriving in July. A playtest version of the RPG is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
6. Warhammer 40,000: Imperium Maledictum
A Warhammer 40k RPG where you conduct investigations as ordinary citizens of the Imperium
Upcoming RPG Warhammer 40,000: Imperium Maledictum will not be focus on the wars between major factions in the grimdark universe, but ordinary citizens carrying out investigations into mysteries and plots taking place in the Imperium. It’s rare that players get to see the world of 40k outside its tabletop miniatures battlegrounds, so Imperium Maledictum is sure to be a treat to fans of the franchise.
Imperium Maledictum is being published by Cubicle 7, a studio that has already made several different Warhammer roleplaying games – including Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - Soulbound and the latest editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and 40k RPG Wrath & Glory – so there are some responsible hands behind the wheel. This, plus the fact that Imperium Maledictum is based on classic Games Workshop RPG Dark Heresy, means that there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the upcoming RPG.
As Imperial citizens, players will be operating on behalf of a patron: a powerful individual who has vested interests they want the player party to investigate. Before the game begins, the players and the GM work together to create their party’s patron by selecting from one of the several factions vying for power in the Imperium. Which faction their patron is a part of will affect the kind of matters their patron wants them to look into and influence their decision-making.
Imperium Maledictum looks to be the perfect roleplaying game for Warhammer 40,000 players who are interested in worldbuilding and lore of the franchise outside of all the battles.
Warhammer 40,000: Imperium Maledictum will release in January.
7. King Arthur Pendragon: Sixth Edition
The ultimate edition of the epic fantasy RPG about wizards, knights and nobility
The King Arthur Pendragon series might have started life using the same gameplay system as the influential ‘70s RPG RuneQuest, but it has since developed its own identity.
Inspired by classic Arthurian myths and legends, Pendragon is a fantasy tabletop RPG that takes place in a version of medieval Britain ruled by Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. The upcoming sixth edition of the RPG looks to be the most comprehensive edition yet, with late creator Greg Stafford describing it as being the “ultimate edition” of the game.
With the title back in the hands of original publisher Chaosium, Pendragon 6E is built on the bones of the version developed by Stafford around 10 years ago. Whilst the fundamentals of the RPG will remain the same, Pendragon 6E will include a number of subtle changes that result from almost three decades of development. What the changes are exactly remains to be seen, but refining what makes the Pendragon series great is arguably the best game masters and players can ask for.
Although a large number of fantasy roleplaying games take at least some inspiration from Arthurian fantasy, Pendragon is unique in that it directly tackles the genre itself – in ways that actually challenge its central concepts of knighthood and chivalry. Don’t sleep on possibly the best edition of one of the best fantasy roleplaying games out there.
King Arthur Pendragon: Sixth Edition will release in early 2023. A quickstart is available to download for free from the Chaosium website.
8. Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast
Wanderhome creator’s next RPG looks to be just as charming and experimental
Beyond just changing what kind of dice people roll and when, Jay Dragon is a designer who wants to fully re-invent the act of roleplaying itself. Wanderhome, the designer’s most recent project, is a GM-less RPG – meaning that there is no game master pulling the strings and narrating the story – that has players collaborating to tell a shared story.
Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast is an upcoming RPG that is also GM-less and takes place in a strange hotel that’s visited by a plethora of interesting guests. Inspired by the likes of Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away and cult-classic Cartoon Network animation Foster’s Home for Imaginary Kids, Yazeba's sees players collaborating to tell the stories of a collection of the hotel residents.
While there is no GM in Yazeba’s, one player, the concierge, will be responsible for guiding players through each of the 12 chapters that form a complete playthrough of the RPG. Rather than making their own characters, players will have a cast of unusual friends to collectively manage, each with their own unique reasons to call the hotel their home.
Every character in Yazeba’s will have their own set of Bingos and Whoopsies for players to choose from: ways for characters to assert themselves and flaws they find themselves indulging in. Whilst the hotel residents are under the control of the party, there are also guests that players will be able to interact with to further the residents’ respective narratives.
Players who want to take a break from being GM and try something new should give Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast a go.
Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast is due to arrive with backers in August, with copies available via the RPG’s Indiegogo page.
9. Old Gods of Appalachia RPG
The cryptid podcast gets adapted into a tabletop roleplaying game
The Old Gods of Appalachia podcast is an anthology show in which stories are told about the Mountains and the surrounding area, often concerning disappearances, weird sightings and otherwise odd occurrences. Inspired by real-world events and histories surrounding the area – such as the impact that industrial mining has had on the environment – The Old Gods of Appalachia seeks to scare, intrigue and inform its audience.
Monte Cook Games, the tabletop publisher behind RPGs such as Numenera and Invisible Sun, is turning The Old Gods of Appalachia podcast into a playable RPG. Based on the Cypher System – which has players rolling a d20 and adding relevant modifiers to the result in order to pass skill checks – the Old Gods of Appalachia RPG will have players hunting down strange creatures who call the mountains their home.
Characters in the horror RPG will be created using statements players generate to describe them, with each description element giving players a chance to modifier relevant rolls. When hunting for Haints – the creatures spreading evil across the land – players will need to be aware that missions will be likely more complicated than a simple track-and-kill.
Taking place during the early 20th century, Old Gods of Appalachia’s setting is inspired by the real history of the region, including the multitude of different cultures that existed in the area at the time.
Fans of modern horror, cryptid stories and folktales – especially people who are familiar with the podcast the RPG is based on – would do well to learn more about the Old Gods of Appalachia RPG.
Old Gods of Appalachia RPG are estimated to arrive with Kickstarter backers in May, with late pledges available via its campaign page.
Critical Role’s DM designs his own roleplaying game
Critical Role is one of the biggest names in tabletop roleplaying. An actual play series currently on its third season, Critical Role has grown to include its own animated TV adaptation, whose second season is currently airing on Amazon Prime, and several tabletop adaptations. The studio responsible for publishing some of those tabletop adaptations is Darrington Press.
One of the studio’s upcoming projects is Syndicult, a roleplaying game designed by Matthew Mercer – the dungeon master for Critical Role. Far from simply just running the campaign, Mercer is responsible for building the entire world of Critical Role, which seems to require a heck of a lot of imagination considering just how expansive it is. This is why the prospect of Mercer creating his own original TRPG, one that isn’t tied to Dungeons & Dragons, is so exciting. Mercer already has plenty of experience when it comes to tabletop RPG design, including both worldbuilding and gameplay elements - with Mercer helping to create several unique subclasses for D&D 5E.
The concept of Syndicult revolves around a world featuring a ton of magic and several warring mob gangs, which is certainly an interesting combination. Players can expect to see storytelling mechanics that are driven by dice rolls and opportunities to get involved in some magic-casting themselves. However, besides that, the rest remains a complete mystery. There unfortunately hasn’t been a lot of information made available about Syndicult since it was announced. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty to be confident about considering it’s in the hands of Mercer.
Syndicult is set to be released later in 2023.