What's the best RPG?

Nagol

Unimportant
That’s fine! But which is best? That was the question. Give some examples.
There is no clear 'best' or I wouldn't need multiple choices at the table. They have different feel; they fill different niches. RPG is too wide a category to achieve a 'best'.
 
Ugh these wishy washy answers stink.

Pick a game, people!

;)
Why? I have a collection of games I consider very good at what they do (in no particular order RC D&D, D&D 4e, Apocalypse World, Blades in the Dark, Monsterhearts Dread, Fate, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying). But asking for a best would be like asking me to pick a favourite food. I couldn't eat chocolate cake every day.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Why? I have a collection of games I consider very good at what they do (in no particular order RC D&D, D&D 4e, Apocalypse World, Blades in the Dark, Monsterhearts Dread, Fate, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying). But asking for a best would be like asking me to pick a favourite food. I couldn't eat chocolate cake every day.
But you can say what makes them the best. The OP said to pick a game and say why it’s the best.

What is it that makes Apocalypse World a good choice? Why would you choose that game for a campaign? What would make you choose Fate instead?

I’m not saying I disagree that there are different games that are good for different reasons, but I think actually picking a game and saying why is a bit meatier than everyone saying whatever game works best, or whatever game gets them together with friends.
 
Fair enough.

The best thing about Apocalypse World is the rhythm; it is based on the rules causing minimal disruption to freeform roleplaying. This means that, especially with new gamers and freeformers the dice and mechanics slide in, enhancing the experience with conflict resolution and extra details while not breaking flow. (This applies less to experienced tabletop RPGers who have learned the flow of e.g. D&D and may have to fight what they have learned). And for running it's in many ways a joy - the game does so much work and leads to highly intense stories while not requiring much GM preparation. Monsterhearts is a distilled version of the same basic experience focused on the teen horror genre rather than a post-apocalyptic setting.

If I'm going to break out the battlemap and have tactical combat in my RPG I want to be using D&D 4e. It has an insane amount of character customisation (I feel cramped by comparison in both 3.5 and Pathfinder - and yes I know both pretty well) and details how characters move and what they do under pressure in ways no other game I'm aware of. And what you do when the rubber meets the road is roleplaying. If you want short, snappy combat use something else (preferably not a WotC produced version of D&D).

The Rules Cyclopaedia meanwhile is the other end of the D&D spectrum (there's a good case for Labyrinth Lord instead). Fast, snappy, and with XP for GP it encourages a highly mercenary playstyle with characters graduating from going in mob-handed with hirelings to big damn heroes to lords. And combat is fast and lethal.

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying may soon be superseded by the Sentinels Comics RPG, but is really the system to date that's let me play comic book characters and feel like it's a four colour superhero comic complete with appropriate balancing, and that things are going wrong in the right ways.

Blades in the Dark has a resolution system that's taken over from several others for me. It has the advantages of single sided character sheets, and fast flowing mechanics that create complications, allowing for low prep GMing and lots of interesting choices and characterisation, with stories that spiral fast out of control normally in the best ways.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
That’s fine! But which is best? That was the question. Give some examples.
I did. See post #11.

Now if you want to know about my favorites, that's different (& not the question). That's AD&D 1e. But I'm not going to argue that it's the best.
 

Stormonu

Hero
Savage Worlds. It's tagline says a lot - "Fast, Fun, Furious". I haven't yet found a genre it can't handle, and making encounters and NPCs can be done on the fly with it - even converting from other systems.
 

Ulfgeir

Explorer
Ugh these wishy washy answers stink.

Pick a game, people!

;)
I would say best game in terms of presentation is either Dresden Files rpg or Atomic Robo rpg. Both are much better than the normal FATE-rules imo, and they are both very fun to read. They do have some slight problems, but nothing serious.

For simplicity I would say Call of Cthulhu. BRP is a system that doesn't get in the way of playing. I would say that the version used in The Troubleshooters is more modern, but it is not quite as simple.
 
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shawnhcorey

Villager
GURPS for hard-core simulations, especially combat.

FATE or FAE for easy play, both for players and GM.

Hârn for deadly medieval combat.

Rifts for weird post-apocalyptic settings.

Mouse Guard, 7th Sea, etc. for their settings.

Risus for quick one-shots.

Why play just one system?
 

uzirath

Adventurer
GURPS (or it's recent child, the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game) has been my favorite RPG since discovering it in the 1990s. I love the character generation system and the simple skill-based mechanic. I love the flexibility of a toolkit; I've used an ultra-simple version of the rules for play with young children and I've turned up the complexity—especially of tactical combat—for players who love the crunch. I appreciate the fact that the default system is designed as a reasonable approximation of reality, but there are plenty of options for emulating less realistic genres.
 
What's the best RPG?
Well, that implies a single answer, and that excludes all sorts of "...at this or that" qualifiers, which means a candidate would have to be at least applicable for every possible use or permutation or desired quality, goal or agenda of RPGing.

If we're not charitable, and don't consider the whole range of a 'core system' like d20 or BRP to be a single game, that excludes virtually every RPG ever made.

The remaining contenders might arguably be FUDGE or Hero/Fuzion or something.
Universal systems.
I'd go with Hero System, obviously, probably the first universal version: the 4th-ed BBB/HSR.

If we are charitable, d20, BRP, d6, d10/interlock, Fate, PbtA, Savage Worlds, Gumshoe, GURPS and I'm sure quite a few other core systems or multi-genre or even just highly-adaptable RPGs might be considered.
 

Gradine

Polymorphed Self
Masks has the most elegant design in terms of concept-&-theme-to-mechanics. Sure, it has a very specific milieu (young adult superheroes) but every piece of the game, from character creation to interaction, really reinforces that theme of a fluid identity fighting against forces that seek to shape you in their own image (or their own image of you, at least). It may not be my favorite PbtA hack, but for my money it is the best.

FFVI isn't even the best Final Fantasy on the SNES, let alone the best JRPG. That honor goes to an underappreciated gem called Vagrant Story (or, if we're sticking to a more traditional definition of JRPG, with the parties and the menu-based battles, then it's definitely Chrono Trigger. Or Lost Odyssey, maybe).

Planescape:Torment is the best CRPG and I don't understand how this can even be in debate
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
What it says up there.

Interpret "best" in whatever that says to you. There's no wrong answer.

Include a sentence to say why.
In reject the concept of a universally best, or even personal best, RPG, because I love the diversity of the games I've got, and many have some aspect they do better than others at, but all have things they aren't good at.
 

aco175

Adventurer
5e, I get to play it with the limited time I have. Eventually 6e when that comes out and we will convert like we did with 3e and 4e. After all these years D&D still offers my group things that other games we tried never gave us.
 

pogre

Adventurer
For my players right now and my situation it is 5e.

If I could design my players and had much more time to devote to gaming it would be Ars Magica.
 

overgeeked

Explorer
AD&D is the best RPG because it got me into the hobby.

Call of Cthulhu is the best RPG because it has kept me in the hobby all these years.

Paranoia XP is the best RPG because Friend Computer said so. And it's funny. Except for zap play. Zap play isn't funny.

Doctor Who RPG is the best RPG because it's the RPG of the best television show in the galaxy.

WFRP is the best RPG because it has one of the best fantasy settings in all of TTRPGs.

Over the Edge 3rd Edition is the best RPG because you can do any-damned-thing-you-want with it and it'll work.

Atomic Robo RPG is the best RPG because it's the most flexible pulp RPG and can handle a Hellboy / Atomic Robo crossover with only a little reskinning.
 
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Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I would have to say 5e. Not only because that's what we're playing every week, but also because I've been able to bring an unprecedented number of people into the hobby with it (at least for my table). I'm currently in 3 campaigns and of those, 2 of those tables are at least half composed of players for whom this is their first TTRPG. Heck, if it weren't for all the demand, I don't think I'd even be running right now.

That said, there are a ton of fantastic games out there that I would love to play. Monsterpunk, The Dawnline, Stars Without Number, etc. Maybe one of these days.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
That’s fine! But which is best? That was the question. Give some examples.
Not picking a single isn't "wishy-washy" (and accusing others of such isn't exactly going to encourage people to answer). It's an acknowledgement that not every game is good for every genre. The majority of "one game to rule them all" people are D&D fans, followed closely by Pathfinder fans, then (in my experience) Palladium fans and GURPS fans (but I'm not certain which order between these two).

Many of the non-"One game to rule them all" people consider "One game to rule them all" to be a delusional view point. Many more consider it simple ignorance, and hope to cure it by encouraging the One Game types to try something, anything, else.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
Many of the non-"One game to rule them all" people consider "One game to rule them all" to be a delusional view point. Many more consider it simple ignorance, and hope to cure it by encouraging the One Game types to try something, anything, else.
To be fair, most of the posts in this thread don't seem to be from people claiming that one system rules them all. I mentioned GURPS as my favorite system, but was very careful not to suggest that it outshines all the others. With some regularity, I've played various D&D flavors, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, FATE, Savage Worlds, Lasers and Feelings, and more unique homebrews than I can keep track of.

From a player's perspective, I've never understood people who are only willing to play one game. It's relatively easy to learn the rules of other systems and you don't usually need to invest any money upfront to join a game as a player. As a GM, though, I understand settling on one (or a small number of) system(s). It takes time and money to learn to run different games effectively. There was a time when I loved reading new RPG rules. Not so much anymore. I just want to dive in and play, which is easier with systems that I've had a lot of experience with.
 

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