Here is a list of the top ten pen and paper RPGs of all time. Although there is no scientific way to prove the ‘best role playing games‘ ever, this list takes into account the general popularity of pen-and-paper RPGs since the industry was created.
10 – Gamma World – It’s a post-apocalyptic game, but not Mad Max style. This game fits more in the style of a scientific fantasy game. You could play all sorts of random mutated creatures, as well as people who were mostly normal.
9 – Vampire the Masquerade – Some may argue which is the best World of Darkness product. But Vampire the Masquerade was the game that put White Wolf on the map. Vampire the Masquerade has also become the number one live action RPG in the world. Go LARP’ers!
8 – Rune Quest – This game was considered as one of the ‘Big Three’ at some point. The big three are D&D, Traveler, and RuneQuest. It provided a different setting and system than other fantasy RPGs at the time.
7 – Champions – Although it may no longer be the most popular comic book-themed RPG of all time, this game has been around for a long time since it was first published in 1981. The game laid the foundation for many other RPGs related to comics and superheroes.
6 – Tunnels and trolls – Right after D&D was T&T. Tunnels & Trolls was the second role-playing game ever made. The game was created as an alternate and hopefully easier to play version of Dungeons & Dragons.
5 – GURP – The Universal Generic Role Playing System is capable of adapting to any gaming environment. Any configuration you can think of has been created for the system. Its creator, Steve Jackson, is one of the best-known game designers in the industry thanks to this game.
4 – Star Wars – Based on the movies of the same name, the Star Wars role-playing game was first created by West End Games using the d6 system. It eventually moved on to other companies and saw some playtime under the d20 system, and finally the Saga Edition. It is the first sci-fi or space opera themed RPG due to George Lucas dominating the minds of nerds all over the world.
3 – Traveler – Not as famous as his other friend from space opera, Star Wars. This game, however, emerged as a role-playing game system before George Lucas’s creation. Traveler was first created in 1977 and has been going strong ever since. The game is definitely considered one of the “original” RPGs.
2 – Call of Cthulhu – A unique entry in this list. This horror-based RPG is based on the works of HP Lovecraft. There really isn’t a popular and comparable game on the market right now. Instead, different game companies have chosen to create Call of Cthulhu on a variety of different systems under a variety of different publishers.
1 – Dungeons and Dragons – The most famous pen and paper RPG of all time. This fantasy game still dominates the market in all its various incarnations, from the original D&D to 4th edition. The creators of D&D, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, are legends in the industry, as is the game itself.
Some people may not agree with the general placement of some of these games. Others may ask why certain games are here. Why haven’t other games been included, like Shadowrun, Robotech, Palladium Fantasy, Rifts or many newer games? Well, they weren’t. This list was created by veteran players and they apparently had a bit of nostalgia in them. So what do you think of the list? best role playing games ever?
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