Top Product: Pathfinder Beginner Box (P2) | $31 | Amazon
I, like many others, got really into tabletop RPGs online in the past year. With the public restrictions put in place to protect against the spread of COVID, many like myself looked for new hobbies to engage with remotely. I have been playing D&D for several years now, but have doubled the number of groups I’m playing in as more friends have wanting to get into it as bar hopping on weekends became a thing of the past.
Playing D&D across video calls honestly helped us get through the overwhelming amount of shit we’ve all faced this year. And even now that things are opening back up and we are feeling more comfortable gathering in groups again, we’re not talking about which bars we want to hit up. We’re talking about which AirBNB to book so our fantasy characters can hit up the bars but in person.
Earlier this week, we asked our readers what their favorite tabletop RPGs for in-person play are. We’ve gathered several of the favorites along with what you’ll need to get started your first time playing. I’ll be renting a cabin with my buds and cannot wait to dive into some of these.
I’ve played Chaosium’s “Call of C’thulhu” since 1982 and they’ve put out an amazing boxed Starter Set reminiscent of the first edition that will take you from zero to insane in a few short steps. - Bill Watches Movies Podcast
As the name implies, [GURPS, or Generic Universal RolePlaying System] is designed for whatever sort of game you feel like running. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Western, Low Fantasy/Historical, anything. This also lends itself to ‘reality hopping’ games, if that’s your thing.
A lot of folks are put off by the daunting amount of rules and staggering amount of world books. The trick is realizing that most of the stuff is optional, fluff, or just there in case you actually need specific rules for an unusual situation. You really only need a fraction of them to play, especially once character creation is done. - RobinBobcat
Numenera Starter Set | $20
Numenera to me is more narrative and RP friendly than a lot of other TTRPGs. There’s no pressure to equip certain things just because they’re “better” even if they don’t fit your character. I also find that character creation is simple, but full of potential for rich back story that actually affects your character and their abilities.
Numenera (and by extension Cypher System) is often described as “rules light” so as to not get in the way of a good story. For some people that’s awesome, but for people who are looking for the TTRPG equivalent of video games with complex stat calculations, metas, etc., it likely won’t be for you. - Omers
The full core rulebook + Bestiary as the starter if you’re experienced or the beginner box if you haven’t really played/run a game like this and want some place to start. Advanced Players Guide also adds a ton of player options for those who really want them, and the Gamemastery Guide has a bunch of good advice and alternate approaches to rules for GMs who want that. PF2 checks a lot of boxes that are hard to check:
- Classic fantasy RPG experience
- Lots of options to customize your character
- Relatively easy to build a character and get started
- Relatively easy to GM
- Balanced classes with encounter design math that actually works
- Functional play even at high levels
- Engaging tactical combat with a simple action economy
- Lots of available content for GMs to draw from
- Modern worldbuilding for the published setting that is actively trying to remove tropes that hurt real people
- Decently modular rules engine where a lot of things people love/hate (like alignment) can be entirely removed with official suggestions published by the designers
- Whatevs, it’s not like I’m ever posting again