What's the best RPG?

Tony Vargas

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.

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The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
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

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.


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.


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.


B/X Known World
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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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

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.

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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