Find Tabletop Roleplaying Games to Play

Just as there really are no best books or movies, there are no best tabletop roleplaying games, or even best in a particular category. But if you’re looking to find interesting new games to play, this selection should help.

These were selected to cover a wide spectrum of game mechanics, settings, and play styles. Some are well known, others relatively obscure. Some are licensed from video games, movies, TV shows, or books. Even if you primarily play one kind of game, exploring new games is a great way to find new approaches that will help improve your play.

More Info: This will take you to a full writeup about that game, including overview information, three of the things that make the game stand out out, purchasing information, and links to reviews and community sites.

Free Quickstart: Many game companies provide stripped-down versions of their rulebooks as free PDFs. These free quickstart rules provide the core mechanics, and often include pre-generated characters and a short adventure, so you can test the game without spending your hard-earned cash.

Note that if you are looking for a specific game and it’s not shown in the genre you’re expecting, it may be listed under another heading (Eclipse Phase, for example, has strong Horror elements but is listed under Scifi, Steampunk and Post-Apocalypse).


Fantasy

7th Sea
Magic meets swashbuckling 17th Century adventure in this alternate Europe setting.
More Info | Free Quickstart

13th Age
This game by two D&D 4e/5e designers combines old school mechanics with new influences.
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A Song of Ice and Fire
Take your place in Westeros as the Game of Thrones envelops your noble house.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Atlantis: The Second Age
Slay foul creatures, confront twisted villains, and gain glory in this game of swords & sorcery.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Beyond the Wall
Dangers are lurking outside your village, and brave young adventurers must face them.
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Blades in the Dark
Pull off heists, investigate mysteries, and amass coin on the haunted streets of a fantasy-industrial city.
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Bunnies & Burrows
Intelligent rabbits face many threats in this Watership Down-inspired game of survival.
Free Quickstart

Capharnaum
Myths blend, cultures clash, and magic abounds in this game of gods, heroes and dragons.
Free Quickstart

Castles & Crusades
This OSR game has been likened to a “cleaned up” and improved version of AD&D.
Free Quickstart

Conan
Cross swords and wits with rivals, battle ancient horrors, and seek glory in this game of pulp action.
Free Quickstart

Dragon Age
The Blight has returned and the nations of Thedas need a new generation of heroes to fight evil.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Dungeon Crawl Classics
DCC stands out from the OSR crowd for its mechanical twists and gonzo aesthetic.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Dungeon World
Players help create the world in this low-prep game that strives to evoke the feel of early D&D.
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Dungeons & Dragons
The classes, spells, and races from the original tabletop RPG are known even outside the hobby.
More Info | Free Basic Rules

Earthdawn
The inhabitants of Barsaive are emerging from their kaers and exploring, but the Horrors are not all gone.
Free Quickstart

Ehdrigohr
Tribal people strive to heal and unify a broken world while struggling against the vile horrors.
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Forbidden Lands
Discover lost tombs, fight terrible monsters, wander wild lands and try to tame them.
Free Quickstart

Golden Sky Stories
Henge, small creatures with small magic, help others and teach friendship in this nonviolent game.
Free Quickstart

HackMaster
This started as parody but has evolved into a unique OSR game with an emphasis on fun.
Free Quickstart

Hero Kids
If you want to get younger kids into fantasy roleplaying, this game may be just what you need.
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Iron Kingdoms
Steam, sorcery, iron, explosives, gods, creatures — tackle a world steeped in conflict.
More Info | Free Quickstart

King Arthur Pendragon
Create your own multi-generational Round Table sagas in one of the most influential RPGs of all time.
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Legend of the Five Rings
Rokugan is in turmoil, and the honor of the seven Great Clans is being put to the test.
Free Quickstart

Michtim
This game promotes equality, fairness, and understanding for players of all ages.
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Mythras
Multiple fighting styles and many types of magic make this game suitable for a variety of settings.
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Part-Time Gods
Create your own gods and explore who and what keeps them tied to their humanity.
Free Quickstart

Pathfinder
Known for character customization and detailed mechanics, this game is back in a new 2nd edition.
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RuneQuest
Build a character with deep ties to clan, cult, and kin, then face the wonders and dangers of Glorantha.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Scarlet Heroes
This game of old school swords & sorcery was created for duet (one player and one GM) play.
Free Quickstart

Shadow of the Demon Lord
This game is made for fast character advancement and campaigns of about eleven sessions.
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Spears of the Dawn
African-inspired classes, creatures, and magic give this OSR game a distinctive feel.
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Swords & Wizardry
One of the original retroclones, this OSR game takes the first version of D&D as its inspiration.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Symbaroum
Seek fortune in the dark forest of Davokar, but beware — there are dangers worse than the monsters.
More Info | Free Quickstart

The Burning Wheel
Complex subsystems, unpredictable outcomes, and belief-driven character advancement make this game unique.
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The Dark Eye
Explore a low magic alternate Earth in this popular German game that is now available in English.
Free Quickstart

The Princess Bride
Wesley and Buttercup aren’t the only adventurers in Florin. Tell your own stories of daring and romance.
Free Quickstart

Tiny Dungeon
These streamlined rules are suited to pickup sessions or campaigns for gamers young and old.
Free Quickstart


Generic, Situational, and Universal

Basic Roleplaying
Use the core mechanics behind Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest to create your own setting.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Cypher System
Create your own settings and stories using the mechanics that power Numenera and The Strange.
Free Quickstart

Elemental
Mix a wide range of skills, spells, psionics, and superpowers to build your own setting.
Free Quickstart

Fiasco
Create a Coen Brothers-style saga of flawed characters discovering their limits the hard way.
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GURPS
Build your own rules and setting with this framework and dozens of available supplements.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Hillfolk
Story mechanics power this game of Iron Age conflict and additional included settings.
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Microscope
Many groups use this unique game to create a setting and history as the prequel to a campaign.
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Mini Six
These lightweight rules are designed to evoke the feeling of kinetic TV and movie action.
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One Dice
This rules-light game is aimed at gamers of all ages and is supported by genre supplements.
Free Quickstart

Pip System
This rules-light system is designed to be approachable for younger players and newcomers.
Free Quickstart

Risus: The Anything RPG
Four pages give you everything you need to play, making it well-suited to introducing newcomers.
More Info

Savage Worlds
This game emphasizes low prep, and quick play. It is particularly well-suited if you use minis.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Shooting the Moon
Love triangles happen in any setting, and that’s what this GM-less game for two or three players explores.
More Info


Historical and Modern

Cartel
Play bold narcos, naive spouses, and dirty cops tied to the Sinaloa cartel in a game built for short campaigns.
Free Quickstart

Modern AGE
This is the Adventure Game Engine tailored for settings ranging from the Age of Sail to the near future.
Free Quickstart

Night Witches
Antiquated planes, sexism, dangerous missions — all part of the job for WW2 Soviet women aviators.
More Info


Horror

Call of Cthulhu
Investigate strange events, visit weird locales, and face unspeakable terrors in this classic RPG.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Delta Green
Covert operatives, secret agents, and law enforcement veterans face dark horrors and pay the price.
Free Quickstart

Demon: The Descent
You are an Unchained, a former servant of the God-Machine who has defected to the human race.
Free Quickstart

Dread
No dice, no cards, just a Jenga set. The suspense builds as the pieces climb higher.
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Infected
You’ll need to employ strategy, cunning, diplomacy, and willpower to survive the zombie infestation.
Free Quickstart

Mage: The Ascension
Follow one of the Traditions, serve the Technocracy, or search for the Ascension on your own.
Free Quickstart

Monster of the Week
People don’t believe in monsters. They’re still real and they still need to be stopped.
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Night’s Black Agents
Jason Bourne-style burned agents tackle the most dangerous quarry of all: vampire conspiracies.
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Vampire: The Masquerade
The blockbuster 90s goth RPG is back in a fifth edition. Beware of others, beware of yourself.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Xas Irkalla
You are the last of your kind in a world haunted by the nightmares of dead psychics.
Free Quickstart


Scifi, Steampunk, and Post-Apocalypse

3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars
In this low-prep game Space Troopers protect the home world by wiping out any and all threats.
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Apocalypse World
Survival in the ruins is more about social dynamics than it is about guns & gear.
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Atomic Highway
If Mad Max had a tabletop RPG tucked away in the Last of the V8s, it might be this game.
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Clockwork Dominion
Uphold the British Empire in the face of technology, mystical practices, and a seeping chaos.
Free Quickstart

Cold & Dark
Humanity occupies a new galaxy, and on its fringes many fearful dangers lurk.
Free Quickstart

Coriolis
Its “Arabian Nights in space” setting makes this galaxy-spanning far-future game stand out.
Free Quickstart

Degenesis
Five centuries after a meteor strike, a quarrelsome humanity faces an even greater threat.
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Doctor Who
Jump through time and space, fight injustice and use your wits to tackle thorny problems.
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Eclipse Phase
Change bodies, explore the solar system, gatecrash, and confront existential threats to transhumanity.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Era: The Consortium
Play as one of five species serving The Consortium or the The Resistance in the far future.
Free Quickstart

Flatpack: Fix the Future
The apocalypse happened, but there’s a way to rebuild, and it’s up to you to do it.
More Info


Fragged Empire
Four genetically-engineered races rebuild a century after a genocidal war destroyed an empire.
Free Quickstart

Hunt the Wicked
Save the galaxy from villains, uphold the Archon’s laws, and make a profit along the way.
Free Quickstart


John Carter of Mars
Travel, battle, and romance your way across the wondrous world of Barsoom.
Free Quickstart

Lady Blackbird
Looking for a no-prep intro to newcomers? Download, print, and start playing this scenario+game.
More Info

Legacy: Life Among the Ruins
After the apocalypse individuals, families, and factions struggle across generations to survive.
Free Quickstart

Mindjammer
Fans of Iain Banks’ Culture novels will find many familiar elements in this transhumanist far-future game.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Mutant: Year Zero
Venture into the Zone, retrieve technology, encounter weird threats, and help your Ark.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Numenera
A billion years in the future Earth is unrecognizable and advanced technology is magic.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Polaris
Humanity has made a new home beneath the waves, bit it’s an unforgiving one.
Free Quickstart

Paranoia
The Computer is your friend and infallible ruler, but everything goes wrong in this darkly comedic game.
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Star Trek Adventures
Explore the galaxy and defend the Federation in this licensed adaptation.
Free Quickstart

Star Wars
Try your luck in the criminal underworld, take on the Empire, master the Force.
More Info | Free Quickstart

Tales from the Loop
Technological wonders in this alternate 1980s have a dark side, and only the kids can stop it.
More Info


Superhero

City of Mist
You and your colleagues must use the amazing powers you have been given to keep your city safe.
Free Quickstart

Godlike
War is hell, even for super-powerful soldiers. Fight fascists in this gritty, deadly WW2 supers game.
More Info | Free Quickstart

High Plains Samurai
Here’s a genre-bender for you: Post-apocalypse steampunk samurai wuxi gangsters.
Free Quickstart

Icons
Create your character, build your world, and embark on adventures with these streamlined rules.
More Info

Mutants & Masterminds
Many setting and adventure supplements have been published for this popular game.
More Info

Valiant Universe
Play as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Shadowman, or other favorites in this rules-light game.
More Info | Free Quickstart