A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: RPGs

The holidays are right around the corner, and it’s not always easy to shop for the gamer in your life. Don’t fret. I’m here to help. I’ve prepared a series of gift guides to help you navigate the waters of games and accessories that are sure to please both new and veteran gamers alike. Each guide will be tailored to a different crowd, and each of them will contain links to the other as they get posted. Whether it’s stocking stuffers you’re after or a mega game to put a smile on their face, I’ve got you covered.

Role-playing games make great gifts as they’re relatively inexpensive for hundreds of hour’s worth of entertainment. This list will contain a few great RPGs that have come out in recent years and starter kits for more well-known titles out there. It’s amazing how much quality content is constantly released and how hard it was to choose only a handful of books to recommend this year.

Other 2020 Gift Guides:
[A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: D&D] [A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: Family Games] [A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: Expansions] [A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers] [A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: Board Games] [A Pawn’s Perspective 2020 Gift Guide: Cornerstone Games]


I don’t hide the fact that I’m a big fan of Free League Publishing, especially their games using the Year Zero Engine. One of their newer titles, Vaesen, is based on Nordic folklore and old myths of Scandinavia. It’s a dark, gothic setting where the old ways still pervade as the new world rises around them. Enter 19th-century Europe where monsters are real, and the dark is something to truly be afraid of. Based on the artwork of Johan Egerkrans, Vaesen combines the quality you’d expect from a Free League production with the narrative fluidity of the Year Zero Engine.

VAE ENG cover


Built on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules, Fateforge is a new RPG from Studio Agate that combines the familiarity of 5e with fresh new ideas and mechanics. The core set is two different books, Adventures and Grimoire, containing the core rules and the rules for magic and other advanced systems. Fateforge is set in the richly detailed world of Eana and is packed full of amazing artwork and lore. Fully standalone, it can also be used to supplement any other 5e game. You can read my Fateforge review here.

Fateforge Books

Black Void

Set in a world where humanity was all but destroyed in the distant past by a dark cataclysm, Black Void sees the remains of the human race scattered across the cosmos. Existential horror never looked so good with over 400 pages of lore, dark artwork, and a fascinating look at what lay worlds beyond The Void. At the bottom of the social structure of sentient races, humanity must do what it does best. Adapt. You can read my Black Void review here.


Tiny Supers

One of the latest games in the TinyD6 series of RPGs by Gallant Knight Games, Tiny Supers is a family-friendly game in a minimalist package. Highly narrative, all you need is 3d6 and a character sheet that can fit on an index card, and you’re ready to play! Tiny Supers is meant to have you up and playing in a concise amount of time, so people of all ages can enjoy playing their ideal vision of a superhero. The TinyD6 engine is another system I’m a huge fan of. You can read my Tiny Dungeon 2nd Edition review, another game in the series, for my thoughts.

RPG Starter Sets

If you’re looking to purchase an RPG for someone you think may be interested but aren’t sure, a starter box is a great way to go. They usually contain a pared-down version of the rules along with pre-generated characters, dice, an adventure, and everything you’d need to play right out of the box. They’re a great way to dive right in with minimal investment. Here are some of the more popular starter sets out there.

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit

While there is a Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set on the market, the Essentials Kit pretty much makes it obsolete with how much content and flexibility it includes for the price. It contains the core rules, including making your own character, a DM screen, maps, dice, the Dragon of Icespire Peak adventure, and rules for playing with a DM and only one player. There’s never been an easier or more affordable way to get into the world’s most popular RPG.


Tales From the Loop Starter Set

Fresh of the press is the Tales From the Loop Starter Set from Free League Publishing. Using the award-winning Year Zero Engine, Tales From the Loop follows children of the 80’s on strange adventures in a small town built over The Loop, a scientfic facility working on amazing things. Fans of the Amazon Original series will surely love this one. Inside the box is the core rules, The Recycled Boy adventure, pre-generated characters, a fully illustrated map, and custom die.

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Shadowrun: Sixth World Beginner Box

Cyberpunk fans can now jump into the latest edition of Shadowrun with the Sixth World Beginner Box. The box includes an adventure, map of Seattle, dice, pre-generated character folios, and just enough of the 6th Edition rules to get you from point A to point B. While not as inclusive as the other two boxes on the list, it’s presented in a way that gets you right into the game. You can read my Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box review to get a better feel of what it includes.

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