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"Best RPG to introduce beginners to the genre?" Topic

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585 hits since 9 Apr 2022
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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2022 10:56 p.m. PST

What's a great game to introduce beginners to the role playing genre? Something that is not overwhelming in either rules or gaming aides & materials.


Fitzovich Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2022 3:11 a.m. PST

Tunnel and Trolls

John Armatys10 Apr 2022 5:26 a.m. PST

Possibly "One Sheet Rules" found on this blog which is well worth looking at for simple ideas.

PzGeneral10 Apr 2022 5:26 a.m. PST

I love Tunnels and Trolls. Very fond memories of RPG days gone bye. But we found the combat system to be kinda flawed….either you win or lose. Or draw after draw after draw… we instituted the '6 is always a hit' rule. Made it slightly better.

We did however just finished a campaign using "Basic Fantasy RPG".

It's free, but we all bought a softcover book. I think my brother splurged for a hardbound copy. We're all experienced role-players, but we played this so we could 'dumb down' our difficulty and we found ti to be a lot of fun. Uses d20, d100 and I believe d6.

There is TONS of support for this game online, new spells, new races, etc.

I highly recommend it for introducing people to role-playing or for relief from the bloat and societal awareness of the current most popular role playing system.


PS, I ran a Halfling Cleric named Burratoe. He worshiped the God "T'Bell", the God of the Fourth Meal. Burratoe eventually became the "Grand Gordita" for the local city…

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2022 6:33 a.m. PST

I am assuming adult or older teen players. For kids, you could get some additional ideas of animal anthropomorphic games, some of which have funky mechanics but would be fun for younger players.

I think a "clone" of the classic B/X (or BECMI version) D&D rules of some type would be a good choice, though you can find PDFs of the classic rules and even some print on demand options. "Basic Fantasy" is a slight twist on this type of ruleset, because it incorporates a few changes of the more recent D&D editions, but the presentation is not *quite* as evocative and complete as some others. But it is a very good set of this type, and recommended for veteran players who want to play a "lighter" ruleset.

I would recommend either Labyrinth Lord or especially Old School Essentials" rulesets, either the Advanced or the Basic versions. Both are reformatted versions of the D&D so many people played in the 1980s, and the Advanced versions incorporate much of the additional options of AD&D without all the crunchiness of the Dungeon Masters Guide. You can also get the terrific one-volume Rules Cyclopedia form Drivethrurpg in print on demand format, which may be the best one volume classic set, though it is slightly more crunchy than these others options I mention (because it is a repackaging of the BECMI version of D&D, which added to the B/X ruleset).

I think using an rpg with classes and levels is a good idea with beginning roleplaying. It helps them imagine and play a character more easily, and the leveling up mechanic gives them a character-focused set of goals for advancement along with whatever story-focused goals you create with adventures. I would not start beginning players with skill-based character systems from many other games, as good as those games are. I used to run games for pre-teens, and have also brought some new players into the hobby, and all of them preferred classes and levels at first.

Thresher0110 Apr 2022 6:39 a.m. PST

The original 3-box, Traveller rules are great for SciFi.

They've just recently released these again, with white covers, instead of the original all black covers (LBB – little black books), so you should be able to get them for a reasonable price.

Mister Tibbles10 Apr 2022 6:53 a.m. PST

Check out Magpie's website. They have free quickstart packages for their Root anthropomorphic RPG based on the hugely popular board game, one for the animated series Avatar, another for Superheroes. Good stuff.




Mister Tibbles10 Apr 2022 6:59 a.m. PST

Plus check DriveThruRPG for lots of free stuff and quickstart rules.

Not sure what age the players will be or your preferred genre.

Also Open D6 systems is good. It's the old WEG system used in their Star Wars game. Everything is free, with PDF books for every genre. I always liked the d6 system.

I love the Mouse Guard comics. They have a nice RPG. I own but haven't played it.

A fun way to get people of all ages into RPG style of thinking is the Mice & Mystics board game. It even have awesome miniatures. It's been a huge hit with us. link You can get it discounted via online game stores.

To further that a bit, Gloomhaven: Jaws of The Lion is a great boardgame co-op adventure board game. Amazon had been running it with a coupon to make it $27 USD, but seems that expired last week. Now its $32. USD Each scenario teaches more rules. Plus, it has minis and standies, all of which can be used in other games. Just needs a Plano box to sort the bits.


DisasterWargamer10 Apr 2022 8:11 a.m. PST

Basic Melee and Wizard are easy to get into – basic stats are easy and one can add as you go

Personal logo Inari7 Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2022 8:11 a.m. PST

Index Card RPG, really easy and has some of the BEST DM advice you can get. Even if you don't use the rules read the DM advice it's well worth it!

Cormac Mac Art10 Apr 2022 10:12 a.m. PST

Hero Kids is a lot of fun and easy to grasp. Ages 4-10.


Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2022 2:41 p.m. PST

Both Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder have boxed starter sets that do a great job of introducing players to the genre and the game rules. The former is probably easier to play and teach. You can buy the DnD starter either at the game store or Target. There's also a follow up boxed set of they want to move up called Essentials.

CeruLucifus11 Apr 2022 4:01 a.m. PST

You don't provide any demographics on your beginners.

If there is any chance your beginners will go on to roleplay with other groups, you will greatly ease their transition by teaching them a common baseline RPG most other groups are familiar with. The most widely played RPG is D&D 5th edition, and the basic rules are available for free:
This way when your beginners join other groups they can say "I've played D&D before" and thereby ease their transition from a familiar baseline to whichever game the new group uses.

In fact all of the D&D 5e rules are available online in the System Reference Document:

On the other hand if your beginners are entirely captive and will never play with anyone but you, then by all means use something simpler. I'm not familiar with many of the rules posted above but something that's on one page sounds attractive.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2022 7:22 a.m. PST

HeroQuest. It's back, so it's viable, and it's perfect for ages 10+. Covers all the basics— a character who has different abilities from other characters, dungeon crawling, fighting monsters, using magic, finding treasures, acquiring magic items, searching for traps and secret doors… Of course, that's entirely a fantasy setting, and it's not so much about *role*playing— there's literally no aspect of presenting a "character" or pursuing a scene (as negotiating with monsters), but they'll get the gist. And for younger players that level of role play isn't going to happen.

After that, Mentzer's Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (aka "the Red Box") has the best introduction to the game and the concepts of roleplaying ever written. And yes, it's available at for $9.99 USD (IIRC).

There's nothing really wrong with the 5e D&D Starter Set. I don't think it's as well done as Mentzer's work, and it's far too focused on elements of the Forgotten Realms setting for my taste, but it's a strong contender, if you like 5e and the New School style of play. But I think it skews older than my other two examples, as the setting and elements are much more complex than the classic game. It's doable with 12+ with an experienced DM, but where a bunch of kids are all newcomers to the game, I'd say 14+ just to get through all the concepts 5e adds in, especially for the DM.

Branching away from the fantasy trope, the old Marvel Superheroes Role Playing Game from TSR is an exceptionally good intro to roleplaying. The FASERIP system is easy to grasp and fun to play, and young kids are quite ready to be Spiderman web-slinging his way through Manhattan and fighting Doc Ock. It's now out there as a fan system, including all the original modules and accessories. Go with the original "Yellow Box" game, not the Advanced game, which isn't as suitable as an introductory game.

Star Frontiers (sold as Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn) isn't a bad starting place either. Simple character creation rules, and an introductory adventure in the "box"— and again, you can find it on the web as well.

Andrew Walters11 Apr 2022 9:23 a.m. PST

The Fantasy Trip. You only need to know three or four things to start, and you can learn and learn and learn as you go along. Fun details with little overhead.

Whirlwind23 Apr 2022 11:24 p.m. PST

Advanced Fighting Fantasy & QUERP would both work. I love Heroquest, but there isn't much actual role-playing in it.

QUATERMASS28 Apr 2022 9:45 a.m. PST

Savage worlds
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