It’s pride month this June. A month for celebrating personal autonomy, identity, and endurance in the face of persecution. It’s no surprise that a truly massive number of TTRPG players are also a part of the LGBT+ community, since creativity, teamwork, and personal actualization are all common themes in most tabletop games.
Large-scale publications have come a long way towards acknowledging and including their queer players in the last few years. Games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Mutants and Masterminds, and Vampire: the Masquerade have all embraced playing as characters of any gender and sexuality, and incorporated a more understanding and hopeful world into most of their settings.
But sometimes what you want isn’t a world that just happens to include you. Sometimes you want a story that is written specifically about people like yourself – something where you and your friends are more than just a passing aspect, but a highlighted feature. I know that I certainly do. And indie TTRPGs have come up in droves to fill that desire. Here are 4 queer TTRPGs for you to try out this pride month:
Thirsty Sword Lesbians
Running on the simple-but-effective Powered by the Apocalypse system (a 2d6 relative-success system which is also used for a huge variety of other games) Thirsty Sword Lesbians focuses on combat and queer relationships (each one more dramatic than the other). You play as one of a variety of ‘playbook’ character archetypes: The Beast, The Nature Witch, The Chosen, etc. All are fairly standard fantasy tropes, which you customize to make each character your own, with their own abilities and goals. You can fulfill those goals to advance, or choose your own.
Thirsty Sword Lesbians is fairly open-ended, with colorful, trendy art, a variety of supplements available (Lovers and Lesbians one such massive sourcebook), and an easy-to-use game system. If you play TTRPGs for interpersonal drama and storytelling, and want something fantasy and sapphic to do it with, this is a great game for you.
Sapphic Space Pirates
Maybe you prefer science-fiction to fantasy for your roleplaying games. There’s a lesbian TTRPG for that, too! Sapphic Space Pirates is a dramatic conversational game that runs without dice or even a game master. In it, you play as members of a crew of space pirates struggling against the law, the void, extraterrestrial Grecian horrors, and your own interpersonal conflicts as you share stories, skirt the edges of society, and find companionship among the stars. Instead of dice, actions are taken by simply deciding to do them, accepting the vulnerabilities that come with each one, and progressing the story in the most interesting way that you can.
Sapphic Space Pirates is even more narrative-focused than many indie TTRPGs. Since you don’t have a GM to create a story or conflict for your group, you’ll need to be pretty proactive about giving yourself obstacles, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and telling a compelling story. If you have a soft spot for space opera, this is a great game for you.
Not really a fan of fantasy or sci-fi? How about super sentai? The Japanese genre that inspired Power Rangers, and a variety of other colorful teamwork stories works just as well for a super-powered tabletop game system. In QUEERZ! TTRPG, you play as a member of just such a team, fighting against ignorance (literally, the enemies are called Ignorants) using powers inspired by queer identities and cultures. It uses the acclaimed City of Mist gaming system, a 2d6 system with modifiers.
If you’re a fan of superheroes, super sentai, or various anime, this is a fun and (relatively) lighthearted genre to pick up. It’s colorful and chaotic in the best way, and you can even download a free demo off of Drivethru RPG to get a sense of the mechanics before you commit to the rulebooks. If you want high action, modern-day heroics, this is a great game for you.
Of course, the LGBT community isn’t just a product of the modern day, confined to the fantastical world of science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes. We’ve been around forever, hidden in history, except for those exceptionally brave individuals who made themselves known. Lavender Marriage is a game about just such a reality – with a humorous twist on it. In this 4-player game (without dice or a GM), you and your friends play as a Lord and Lady in a ‘lavender marriage’ (a historical marriage of convenience to hide one or both spouses’ sexualities), as well as both of their lovers, and any side characters that might be relevant.
Like Sapphic Space Pirates, Lavender Marriage doesn’t have a GM, so you’ll have to be proactive about generating conflict and interest for the story. Don’t be shy about it, give characters conflicting goals that they’ll have to fight against and with each other to complete, and you’ll have a great time. If you’re a fan of historical romances, comedies of manners, and interpersonal drama, this is a great game for you!
Have you played any of these queer TTRPGs before? How did you enjoy them? Did we miss any that you particularly love? Let us know in the comments below!