This is the first annual Garibay’s Natural 20s (2016 GN20). It is a list of Tabletop Roleplaying Games where the creators rolled a Natural 20 in the creation of their Tabletop Roleplaying Game. Scott Garibay recommends each of these games for play in 2017.
All entries (with the exception of the Free Category Element) on the 2016 GN20 meet the following criteria:
- Is a Tabletop Roleplaying Game
- Is a Core Rulebook (not a sourcebook)
- Is not already an entry on the current or a previous GN20
- Was published in 2015 or 2016
- Was selected by J. Scott Garibay
Note – 2015 is included to give the first GN20 a bit more of an on-ramp for selection options.
There are three categories on the 2016 GN20: Themed, Non-Themed and Attribute.
- Category Element – Game Name – Publisher – Highlighted Creators
- Fantasy – 7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition) – John Wick Presents – John Wick
- Modern – Feng Shui 2 – Atlas Games – Robin D Laws
- Science Fiction – Traveller Core Rulebook – Mongoose – Matthew Sprange
- Period – Baker Street Roleplaying in the world of Sherlock Holmes – Fearlight Games – Bryce Whitacre
- Horror – The Nightmares Underneath – Red Box Vancouver – Johnstone Metzger
- Space – Red Planet – Evil Hat Productions – Jess Nevins
- Humor – The Doctor Who Roleplaying Game – Cubicle 7 – David F. Chapman, Alasdair Stuart
- Superhero – Masks: A New Generation – Magpie Games – Brendan Conway
- Post-Apocalyptic – Through the Breach RPG – Wyrd Miniatures – Author
- Mystery – BubbleGumshoe – Evil Hat Productions – Emily Care Boss
- Shade – Fragged Empire – Design Ministries – Wade Dyer
- Tide – Shadow of the Demon Lord – Schwalb Entertainment – Robert J. Schwalb
- Blaze – Symbaroum Core Rulebook – Jarnringen – Mattias Johnsson, Mattias Lilja
- Pure – White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying – Barrel Rider Games – James M. Spahn
- Verdant – Exalted 3rd Edition – Onyx Path Publishing – Susann Hessen
- Fluff – Shadowrun Anarchy – Catalyst Game Labs – Randall N. Bills
- Crunch – Cypher Rules System – Monte Cook Games – Monte Cook
- Art – FAITH: the Sci-Fi RPG Core Set – Burning Games – Jeffrey Lee
- Writing – Dragon Age RPG – Green Ronin – Chris Pramas
- Free – Sky Wars: Edge of the Kingdom – Redshirt Down – Author
The reason I made this list is because I have grown to have a strong appreciation for Core Rulebooks as well as a wary dislike for sourcebooks. The wide and vigorous praise for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition was, in my opinion, largely based on the simple elegance of a system that had yet to be diluted by sourcebooks. I have found that no matter how well a sourcebook is executed, it increases a games appeal to power gamers and simultaneously makes it more difficult (sometimes close to impossible) for new players to jump in. Also, power creep is a constant threat from each sourcebook. Assembling this list taught me that the Tabletop Roleplaying Game Industry is awash in sourcebooks. Core Rulebooks are fairly rare and when they are encountered, they should be celebrated. It is clear that some power players have emerged in the industry at the company level – Monte Cook Games, Evil Hat and Green Ronin consistently put out strong entries at the Core Rulebook level. Please take a look at these great games in the New Year, and I wish you epic adventuring! Thank you.