Tabletop Role Playing Games for Beginners
Tabletop RPGs can be intimidating if you’ve never played before. In this article we select some games with lighter mechanics that will allow you to get some experience in RPG improvisation without being overwhelmed by rules or math. Below are some of our favorite tabletop role playing games for beginners.
Lasers and Feelings
Lasers and Feelings a very light weight science fiction TTRPG created by the game designer Rodney Thompson. The game is designed to be played with a group of 2-5 players and relies heavily on improvisation on the parts of players and GM. In Lasers and Feelings players take on the role of crew members on a spaceship, each with a unique set of skills and abilities. Players work together to complete missions and solve problems. The game uses a simple, improvisational ruleset that emphasizes storytelling and character interaction over complex game mechanics. This one is often mentioned as a great starter for people who have never played an RPG. Give Lasers and Feelings a try!
Monster of the Week
Monster of the Week by Michael Sands is an action-horror TTRPG that puts players in the shoes of hunters on a quest defeat supernatural monsters. Based on the popular Apocalypse World RPG system, this game allows players to create and explore their own action-horror adventures. Whether hunting high school beasties a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer or investigating government anomalies like Mulder and Scully, Monster of the Week can emulate any of your favorite weekly serial adventures. Read more in our profile of Monster of the Week.
Blades in the Dark
Blades in the Dark is a Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TTRPG) created by John Harper which immerses players in the steampunk-inspired, crime-riddled streets of an industrial city known as Duskvol. Players take on the role of a crew of criminals, each with their own unique abilities and motivations, who are trying to make a name for themselves in this dangerous city. The game’s setting is rich and diverse, and it provides endless opportunities for players to explore and discover new things. The game has gained a dedicated following since its initial release in 2015 and features a unique system of mechanics with strong emphasis on player choice and consequence. Read more in our profile on Blades in the Dark.
Star Trek Adventures
Star Trek Adventures is a beginner friendly tabletop RPG set in the Star Trek universe. It was created by Modiphius Entertainment and was first published in 2017. The game uses a 2d20 system, where players roll two twenty-sided dice to determine the outcome of actions and resolve conflicts. Character creation and advancement is based on a point-buy system, where players choose skills, abilities, and traits for their characters. The game also includes extensive background material and guidelines for running a variety of different scenarios, allowing players to experience a wide range of adventures inspired by the Star Trek universe. Read more at Modiphius.
Tales from the Loop
Tales from the Loop is a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) set in an alternate version of the 1980’s that is based on the art book of the same name by Simon Stålenhag. The game was published by Free League Publishing in 2017 and is set in a retro-futuristic world where strange and supernatural events are commonplace. Players take on the role of kids living in this world and explore their surroundings, encountering strange machines and even stranger creatures as they unravel the mysteries of the Loop. These mysteries happen around a small town called the Loop, where the residents live in close proximity to a giant underground particle accelerator. Read more in our profile of Tales from the Loop.
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu is a horror tabletop role-playing game created by Chaosium and first published in 1981. It is based on the works of American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and takes place in his created universe of cosmic horror known as the Cthulhu Mythos. In CoC, players take on the role of investigators who must uncover and confront the dark and sinister secrets of the Mythos. The game features a mixture of investigation, puzzle-solving, and horror elements. There is a strong emphasis on atmosphere and suspense and less crunchy mechanics than games like D&D.
The game uses a percentile-based system for determining success or failure of actions, with a strong focus on character development and player choice. The game also includes extensive background material and guidelines for running a variety of different scenarios, allowing for a wide range of play styles and experiences. Call of Cthulhu is known for its dark, brooding atmosphere and is considered one of the classic and influential TTRPGs in the horror genre. Read more about CoC at Chaosium.