Greetings Guardians, welcome to a new series of articles I like to call Controllers to Crits! In this little run, we’ll be covering Video game Franchises that could use the licensed Tabletop Game release treatment.
Tabletop gaming has a long and diverse tradition of licensed material. As far back as 1982 with FASA’s Star Trek tabletop RPG. While others are out there, Star Trek represents one of the earliest combinations of most popular in a wide release.
Other notable franchises have followed, from Star Wars to Supernatural. These franchises have opened up their worlds, providing endless adventure for those brave enough to tackle a new game system.
The small screen’s collection of tabletop links is constantly expanding. Recently we’ve seen video games get in on the fun. Some licensed tabletop games include Dragon Age from Green Ronin, Fallout from Modiphius, and recently a Dark Souls game was announced. The latter was met with some dismay, with some Dark Souls fans not liking the game using the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition ruleset for the survival masterpiece.
This series of articles will cover some popular games and franchises that could use an official tabletop release. Some of these could benefit from the resources and official lore access that comes with links to the game’s producer! Although these lists will by no means be comprehensive, they’ll still be fun to talk about and wish out into the world.
Starting with one of the most popular genres of gaming today, first-person shooters! This genre has the potential for deep worlds and varied sub-genres. Mixing action and problem solving, often with deep worldly lore, shooters are more than just Call of Duty. Although, a Call of Duty TRPG would be pretty amazing too.
Bungie has some of the gaming world’s coolest franchises. But between Destiny and Halo, the epic science fantasy wins out. Destiny is a game about humanity’s future and its place in the universe. In this post-apocalyptic future, we’ve gained dramatic advancements from the influence of an extraterrestrial god-like entity known as The Traveller. This led to humanity gaining a magical power known as The Light and incredible technologies like the AI drones that assist Guardians known as Ghosts.
However, we weren’t the only ones that know about the power of The Traveller. While we were advancing, countless alien armies began entering our solar system, taking out our colonies and isolating us on earth. Now it’s years later, and Guardians are the last line of defense between humanity and the varied horrors of the universe. Insectile Hive Magicians, four-armed space pirates, massive warlords, and even space gods of darkness threaten humanity from all around.
For my part, I’d love to see a Destiny game made by Green Ronin. Their proprietary AGE system is a class-based system, that features a myriad of powers, traits, and other deep customization. Where AGE shines is the stunt system. While rolling dice for actions you have a chance to generate Stunt Points, which are used for cool customization of your actions. Utilizing the stunts not only from the core book, but adding in custom stunts themed to the world of Destiny would be amazing.
If you wanted to scratch that Destiny itch, while playing at your table, there are plenty of ways too! While there is already an unofficial Destiny TRPG hack, it is built for the D&D 5e system. There is nothing wrong with that, as 5e is a fun and clean system, but it would be amazing to see it brought to life by another system and company. If you just wanted that awesome Destiny-Like experience, Starfinder is a deep space fantasy that ticks a lot of the games boxes!
Much like Destiny, Borderlands is a game that’s already packed with RPG elements. Borderlands arguably has more and relies on them more heavily. The major difference is the whole vibe of Borderlands. While we’ve already seen the potential of what a TRPG world would look like within Borderlands. Both with Borderlands 2 and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep and with the upcoming Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. The creators of the game are inspired by the myriad of crazy gaming options already out there.
Class and equipment customization are hallmarks of many TRPG games. Borderlands has this in abundance! With recent forays into various tabletop games, Borderlands already flirts with many hallmarks of the ever-growing industry. Having an official tabletop RPG wouldn’t seem that far out of place.
It should be noted that a Bunkers & Badasses game is getting a wide release. However, I think that only covers the more fantasy side of the Borderlands games.
I can see the approach previous Star Wars games have taken to the franchise. Have your core book, featuring classes and backgrounds. Follow up with equipment, Siren Powers, corporation, and planetary expansion books. I can see a supplement being a massive tome dedicated to creating wacky and random weapons.
Borderlands lends itself to class-based systems, with plenty of options for each class. Pulling back from a video game allows for deeper explorations of other forms of play. Maybe you want your team to be a corporate squad, utilizing boardroom shenanigans over gunplay. Of course, you could always just tackle the game in a traditional way and be a Vault Hunter. The possibilities are endless, as endless as the universe.
Metal, demons, and bloodshed, oh my. Doom is a game franchise that has seen a long and powerful life. From its early days expanding what Wolfenstein started, to its most recent 2016 series, which saw the classic format updated with intense visuals and a smashing soundtrack.
While Doom itself is a story about a lone soldier single-handedly eliminating the hordes of Hell, the world itself is ripe with adventure. The kind of lore expansions the 2016 series gave us alone, can really set the tone for what a Doom TRPG could look like. Play as UAC troops, exploring a Hellgate, or maybe a security team on Mars keeping scientists safe from the weirdness of the experiments. Play as outsiders on Earth, in the dystopian hellscape the UAC has made, or perhaps you’re a UAC crack squad, searching for people trying to do their own, dangerous Ardent experiments.
I’m visualizing some awesome quickplay mechanics, maybe more narrative in design. Bonus points if it can run on the same system a potential Animal Crossing game would run on. That way the fandoms could slay demons and build furniture together!
That wraps it up for this installment. This small collection merely scratches the surface of potential games. In the next installment, we’ll tackle a different genre, and maybe revisit Shooters again eventually.
In the meantime, what are some of your favorite shooter games? What genre of video games would you like to see some TTRPGs from?