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What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?

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I know some may say that Pathfinder is that game, but Pathfinder is D&D.  If your game is six ability scores, and armor class, you’re just D&D.  Even RPG Pundit’s own Lion and Dragon, or Star Adventurer are still D&D derived rules.

I’m talking about a game that has rules different enough to be its own thing. 

To me the Palladium series of RPGs was that game.  It was my system growing up, and I still love it.  My brother and I still have all our books, which is a stack that’s a few feet tall.  Rifts alone fills two milk crates. 

But, maybe now it’s Savage Worlds?   

David Johansen:
If we're talking about being able to overtake D&D in the modern marketplace or out compete it as a traditional fantasy rpg.  I suppose Modiphius has something 2d20 flavoured that might fit the bill.  Cubicle 7's The One Ring certainly has some popularity and production values.

Looking for the number one spot in the market without being fantasy specifically, Star Wars usually does well as long as FFG can iron out their production issues.  Warhammer 40k is always there and maybe the Age of Sigmar rpg.

Historically I'd say Rolemaster in the eighties had a pretty strong license in Middle Earth and a much better system than Palladium.  (okay that's naked trolling, I'll admit it) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay certainly go a boost from the bland and acceptable to people who don't buy our products D&D 2e.

In the nineties White Wolf was hitting it pretty hard and Ars Magica or Vampire Dark Ages might have been a candidate.  Of course, in the nineties, Magic The Gathering was the real and literal D&D killer.

In the naughties, I think there was a huge opportunity when fourth edition D&D crashed and burned.  Pathfinder managed to capitalize on it by being the previous edition of D&D but I think something like GURPS Dungeon Fantasy might have done very well both when 4e came out and when WotC ditched it as even the scraps of D&D are huge for other companies.


--- Quote from: David Johansen on June 26, 2022, 10:30:44 PM ---Star Wars usually does well as long as FFG can iron out their production issues.

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FFG doesn't do RPGs anymore. Star Wars is now in the hands of Edge. They might evetually put something new out, but for now, they are just churning out reprints. To be fair, that's better than FFG could handle towards the end.

Shawn Driscoll:
Maybe if World of Warcraft came out with a coffee table RPG book that didn't use D&D rules?

In Japan, it's already there.

--- Quote ---In Japan, [Call of Cthulhu] is immensely popular - so much so that whereas 'roleplaying game' is synonymous with Dungeons and Dragons in many other countries, in Japan roleplaying = Call of Cthulhu,” Chaosium tweeted in July 2019.
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