Since 1986 my friends and I have played a variety of games. We had fun with each and every one of them but, for the most part, they just acted as a brief distractions between D&D campaigns of one stripe or another. Following are a few we enjoyed most…
Elfquest: Yes, we played the Elfquest Roleplaying Game. We loved the comic and thought it would be fun to play Cutter and his wolfrider clan as they fought for survival in the hostile world of Two Moons. Our main campaign was one where one of the players changed canonical history by stopping the burning of The Holt. Our struggle became one of dominance within the forest competing for resources against the savage encroaching humans. This game never stuck, really, but we tried it time and time again.
Marvel Super Heroes: We played both the basic and advanced versions of the game. We always enjoyed the change-over from equipment dependent characters (in D&D) to super powered mutants (which is generally what we played). More often than not, playing Marvel became an excuse to create knock-offs of our favorite comic book heroes and/or to fraternize with the spandex-clad super-heroine hotties. My favorite story-arch involved our characters being contacted by Professor X to rescue his X-Men from the mutant-hostile nation of Genosha. Good times.
Robotech: We were children of the 80s which meant we loved the Robotech cartoon as kids. As pre-teens, it just made sense to try out the rpg. We enjoyed the heck out of it at first, but killing Zentraedi got old rather quickly. Still, we ended up shoe-horning other play styles (especially horror) into this system. My favorite series of games was right after a friend had seen the movie Night of the Comet. He took the concept and set it in space. We ended up exploring a gigantic city-like space ship populated by flesh eating space zombies. It was a blast.
Star Wars: We played the original D6 version of the game. We had a blast and it really stretched our imaginations. My longest lasting Character was Cain, a former Crimson Guard imperialist turned smuggler. But he was more Snake Plissken than Han Solo.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: This was long before the TMNT were the pizza-munching, “Cowabunga” yelling, stereotypes they became in the 90s. The rpg was based around the comic which was much darker than most would imagine. This was another one that never stuck long terms but we had some really fun one-offs. My favorite character was a porcupine who escaped from a governmental genetic engineering research facility. In what other game can you play a bipedal porcupine dual wielding Desert Eagles?
Thieves' World: More of a setting than a system, I know. We loved the books and thought we’d love the rpg. We didn’t, really. Although, we once made characters of ourselves set in the city of Sanctuary (literally, we played our teenage selves). That was fun since the name of the game was not so much “thrive” as “survive.”
There were others but these became the “go to” games when we felt D&D burnout creeping in. Sometimes our forays into these other systems would last just a week or two, other times months or even a year. So, what games do (did) you play to take a break from D&D?