Your Top Ten RPGs

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Tom B

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The order varies depending on whim and genre...

Shadows Over Sol - SF Horror RPG by Tab Creations. Set within our solar system, very limited expansion beyond. The Expanse was one of the inspirations, and you could easily run an Expanse-type campaign with this system. It uses cards instead of dice, so we were skeptical. It rapidly became one of our favorite systems, though. The cards are very flexible in the information provided when you flip a card, and it provides a lot of flexibility. Excellent setting and system.

Age of Ambition - Late Rennaissance/ Early Industrial Fantasy RPG, also by Tab Creations. Uses a variant of the same card mechanic from Shadows Over Sol. Interesting because it's set later in cultural development than many fantasy games, in a society that is beginning to advance quickly (thus the name).

Shadows of Esteren - originally a French RPG, it's described as "gothic fantasy horror", using "horror" in a more classical and literary sense; that is to say, a feeling of dread, blended with admiration in front of a vertiginous reality. More Medieval than Age of Ambition, it is inspired in large part by Celtic myth and legend. It's set in a world where invading religions and belief systems are colliding with ancient traditions and ways of life.

CORPS - 'Complete Omniversal Roleplaying System' by BTRC. One of the oldest game on my list, and it's my go-to system for grittier or more realistic games where I like the setting but not the mechanics. I really enjoy the CORPS mechanics, which are basically simple but with additional (optional) levels of complexity if you desire.

HarnMaster - Fantasy RPG, the oldest game on my list. Excellent for running a grittier fantasy campaign. It has a flexible magic system and has an incredible wealth of source material and maps. It's not my choice of game as GM because I prefer to run more epic-scale games, but it's fun to play, and for those who enjoy running that type of game.

A|State - This is hard to classify as it has a very unique setting. A new edition of this using Forged in the Dark is in Kickstarter development. Looking forward to this. The setting is "The City". There are no other cities, and anyone who leaves The City is never seen again. It's been here for centuries, and nobody remembers how or why. All was lost in the chaos of its earliest history. Living conditions/technology ranges from almost medieval in the slums to high-tech corporations in the city center.

Darkurthe Legends - long out of print fantasy RPG. I enjoy this for the setting more than the mechanics. It turned out to be the most popular campaign setting in my group, and I've run several long campaigns in Darkurthe over the years. Enough information for atmosphere, flavor, and plot hooks galore, but enough white space to customize and develop it how you like.

Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium - modern-day horror RPG. Also described as Splatterpunk. Demons have arrived in a cataclysmic event, but remain mostly hidden. They work subtly in many cases, corrupting and polluting the world. Take a group of people with nothing to lose, boost their abilities, and turn them loose to track down, research, and fight the Demons. Simple but effective mechanics, an incredible variety of truly original and horrifying demons, and magic that is nearly as terrible as the demons you fight with it. If you want your horror game to include jumping through a plate glass window while emptying twin Glocks at a tentacled horror, then this is the game for you. This was a lot of fun. There are more recent editions, the latest of which is called 'Pandemonio'...but I actually prefer the original.

Artesia: Adventures in the Known World - a richly imagined fantasy setting with great illustrations. I believe this is also being re-released using a new set of mechanics. The original mechanics were fairly complex, but I enjoyed them. I'll wait and see regarding the new mechanics, but this game was also a lot of fun with a very unique and detailed setting.

D&D 5e - I'm including this out of fairness. D&D hasn't been on my top 10 list in decades, since I stopped playing 1e AD&D in 1983. 5e has finally removed much of what I disliked while keeping what I did. Add in the incredible wealth of material and the digital assists such as D&D Beyond and material for VTTs, and this has finally re-entered my top list.
 

Majestic

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Did you use any particular house rules for it? I still have (somewhere) the Halls Of Fire HS but is there anything else you used?
I ask because I really liked CODA LotR.

We had very few house rules for it. Of the top of my head, I couldn't remember any. When I got home I double-checked, and it was a single page of pretty minor stuff.

I liked lots of the stuff in the Halls of Fire and I actually printed out like a dozen of the issues (still have them). I recall the 'Mook Rules' being interesting (might have even used them occasionally).
 

SavAce

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1.) Mythras: This game is a bit heavier feeling than I tend to prefer, and maybe if I had more experience with other BRP variants I might prefer a somewhat lighter take, still... I played in at least one excellent campaign with it.
PROS: Satisfying combat that feels like you have options, but isn't a list of special powers you set off (ala WotC D&D IMO), also pretty gritty no matter how experienced your character is. The cult, magic, and even a little the combat systems really lend themselves to crafting a setting that the rules really lock in with. The passions can give your character some flavor, something needed in a d100 skill-based system.
CONS: I found myself loathing creating characters for some reason. A lot of point twiddling. The levels of success and maneuvers are a bit of complexity to learn, but not excessively.

2.) Heavy Gear 2e: A game that sold itself as both a war game and an RPG... in the mid/late 90s! Beautiful art, mecha-anime vibes. Also, it had a real... serious tactical and tech vibe that sold the military part of the setting. I like the tactical rules a slight bit better in 2e, though I also found it added unnecessary skills over 1e. They are pretty even with each other overall.
PROS: You get an RPG & a Mecha Minis game in 1 book! Great setting material. Good rules for the military action. Great anime flavor through the art, setting and conflicts. High quality supplements overall.
CONS: It does have a metaplot, though you can always ignore those. While the layout is cool, print can be a bit small (though not as completely tiny as Dream Pod 9's other future sci-fi mecha game, Jovian Chronicles!)

3.) Castle Falkenstein: R. Talsorian's proto-steampunk game that uses cards for resolution. I really enjoy the fairly simple character creation for this, along with the survey questions you are asked. Also the game entertainingly stats up a number of historical and fictional characters we know from the time period. It feels hard to play this game as your... default character you might slip into. Something about the game has always drawn me to really come up with something well suited to the era and location.
PROS: Very evocative setting. Easy to resolve mechanics. The magic is very flavorful and fits well with the setting. The magical orders... easy to create your own, easy to make interesting.
CONS: Possibly a bit too fluff-heavy and not as well organized as it could be. Also, the core mechanic as written doesn't scale as great with tons of players, and as written seems to make "Just use all of your cards every time" seem like the thing to do almost always. Fairly easily houseruled to fix though.

4.) Traveller (Original & Mongoose 1/2e tie): The character creation and whole vibe are refreshing still. Especially in the original you are kind of a retired sci-fi version of a 20th century military vet seeking adventure in civilian life. The character creation gives you an interesting sketch you build up a character around (Mongoose version does this more fully than the original). For a change of pace I like the idea of taking what the game gives you in that way. I also like that it isn't about... RPG power curve. Advancement is not assumed, and when available is scaled down to something reasonable, not like so many other RPGs. Nice simple core rules that people have managed to do a lot with
PROS: Roll 2d6. Your character can fit on an index card with ease. Yet... still manages to feel like its simulating a whole sci-fi universe.
CONS: Original has some rules tucked away in skill descriptions and isn't as sleek as it could be. Nice simple core, but the exceptions are a bit scattered around. If you take the default setting, it's not the most interesting, nor are the aliens for the most part.

5.) Star Wars (WEG 1e): I might have chosen Ghostbusters here if I owned it. Interesting in how it kept Star Wars alive in the down time between the original movies and the prequels, how the materials contributed to the extended universe. As for the game, the character creation was the definition of simplicity. The game seemed to support the seat-of-the-pants vibe of the original movies. Interesting for being a game without a real formal initiative system in the original rules, but it still worked.
PROS: It's Simple, it's Star Wars, chuck a bunch of d6. Also, being pre-prequels, you can just live in your own "original trilogy" head canon without later stuff being there reminding you of the bad times.
CONS: Some people feel the 1st edition was a little lacking and sketchy in the rules, though later supplements and editions addressed these issues. I've also heard it said that you can advance to a "too powerful" state after a period of time, but I don't honestly have enough experience with the system to judge it in long term play.

6.) The Fantasy Trip: A great, fun fantasy game. I believe it is the earliest point buy style of character creation in an RPG? If so, it does it pretty well right out of the gate. The Talents provided in the game support a large range of character types, way beyond what you'd expect. This game was originally assembled out of "Melee" and "Wizard", which were played on hex maps and were battle games. A side effect of this is that Wizards and Adventurers are balanced for one-off arena battles with each other. This doesn't negatively effect the game in my opinion, but does shape it in noticeable ways. Wizards tend not to be able to have long sustained effects compared to other games, for example. Wizards are forced into interesting bluffs, etc. due to costs of spells of real things vs. illusions and so on.
PROS: Different yet good magic system compared to other games. Supports a lot of character types. Characters are well balanced.
CONS: The original is pretty poorly organized. A lot of rules you might consider applicable to everyone are hidden in various Talents. In some ways it is "unrealistic", in that it is concerned with its balance as a game on a hex-board from its "Melee" & "Wizard" origins over being strictly realistic. Easily overlooked by me, but true.

7.) James Bond 007: I have barely played this, but the rules do really grab that Bond vibe.
PROS: Everybody says the chase rules, and they aren't wrong. Also, rules for card games. The whole skill system and how it tracks time, interrogations & torture, "the Seduction Sequence" , and how that can fit into the limits of an ongoing mission in a way that almost reminds me of the structure provided by old D&D 10 minute Dungeon turns.
CONS: There is a chart, but it isn't too bad. Definitely on the medium crunch side.

8.) Marvel Super Heroes (All versions tie): The original set of this I believe was my 2nd RPG ever (after... MegaTraveller?), the 1st I GMd.
PROS: Handles a wide range of power quite well. Power FEATs idea makes customizing powers interesting. Has many character creation possibilities, including the arguably primary and inarguably best method of "Just describe the character and we'll set the stats that make sense", which, especially at the time, almost no RPG trusted players to do. Health rules and rules for genre enforcement are nice at bringing out play that feels the kind of super it is aiming for.
CONS: Some of the power descriptions in the Advanced Set (or especially the "Ultimate Powers" book) are too particular and kinda broken in various ways that the Basic and Basic Revised sets don't break with their more general power guidelines. Sometimes Body Armor and Force Fields making certain folks unassailable can feel a little off too.

9.) DC Heroes (2/3e tie): The best supers game I ever played in was DC Heroes. It was, like... 3 or 4 years ago now and I'll never forget it. It was everything I'd ever wanted supers RPGing to be.
PROS: Just the MEGS system itself. It runs up to the line of being too crunchy, but lands on the good side of the line for me. It pays off with its flexibility, and how those Hero Points work, and how they make it feel like your character sometimes is really struggling to pull out the win. Playing it with the right powers can really feel like your character has to get creative to make it happen against formidable foes. The system also works well for social and other tasks in a way very similar to the Hero Bashing bits.
CONS: Until you get used to it, you really will be looking at that chart to see how many Hero Points to spend to get into a column, or what to roll. or see what your RAPs are. There is a rules and lingo hurdle. The saving grace is the consistency of the system, but it is a game of points and 2 charts. Likewise, character creation is a bit of a chore that involves spending a few hundred points and a bit of complexity.

10.) Street Fighter: As already stated by an earlier comment, the best game White Wolf ever made. I don't think there is a better game for martial arts action where each character feels like a really unique kind of fighter. I'd probably choose this game over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness to play the TMNT, or I'd use it for a lot of other street level action adventure. The attitude and fight system are the main course here, the rest of the system is just a workable enough version of the original early WoD system.
PROS: The fighting somehow strongly evokes the video game, giving an analogous feeling of tactics and occasional guessing games. As far as I can tell, absolutely unique in its combat card system that brings a lot of tactics out by having maneuvers with various static Initiative values (Initiative is not rolled or per-side, each individual maneuver has an Initiative value based on its modifier plus the character's Dexterity). Also, the game leans into the silliness of its crazy action, has no official rules for death, keeping things pretty light and action-y.
CONS: The art! Some nice official Capcom art, but otherwise some pretty not great stuff. Unique Backgrounds, introduced in the Players Guide, are broken. Just remove them (except possibly Elemental). The Rank system doesn't make sense. Honor and Glory could work better.


Honorable Mention: Marvel Universe RPG - I really liked this when I played it. The stones led to some interesting juggling a couple times. As many people say, though... it really needed a 2nd edition. I can't honestly give this a top 10 spot, but I just found the ideas really intriguing.

Honorable Mention 2: Star Ace - A Pacesetter game, using the same system as the original Chill. A super space opera kind of game that really pushes my buttons, though some say, not without reason, that feels a little Star Wars clone-ish. For me, it just feels generally Space Opera, but overall I couldn't give this the game over the WEG Star Wars. I also haven't played it enough to be able to say.
 

Ben Adams

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We had very few house rules for it. Of the top of my head, I couldn't remember any. When I got home I double-checked, and it was a single page of pretty minor stuff.

I liked lots of the stuff in the Halls of Fire and I actually printed out like a dozen of the issues (still have them). I recall the 'Mook Rules' being interesting (might have even used them occasionally).
I'm not sure if it originated from HoF but there was a decent pdf of rules to make LotR 'playable' but it came out after my game ended. It was about 10 pages or so.
 

Yeti Spaghetti

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Honorable Mention 2: Star Ace - A Pacesetter game, using the same system as the original Chill. A super space opera kind of game that really pushes my buttons, though some say, not without reason, that feels a little Star Wars clone-ish. For me, it just feels generally Space Opera, but overall I couldn't give this the game over the WEG Star Wars. I also haven't played it enough to be able to say.

Check out the Pacesetter fan group on MeWe. It's mostly devoted to Chill/Cryptworld but you'll find Star Ace fans too, although I'm unsure how many in the group currently play it.
 

AsenRG

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Street Fighter: As already stated by an earlier comment, the best game White Wolf ever made. I don't think there is a better game for martial arts action where each character feels like a really unique kind of fighter.
Just one question: are you familiar with Fight! the Fighting Game RPG (any edition) and/or Musha Shugyo RPG:devil:?

(I mean, I'm sure SFRPG was good, but when you claim "no better game for unique martial artists"...I'd like to see your reference points:shade:!)
 

SavAce

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Just one question: are you familiar with Fight! the Fighting Game RPG (any edition) and/or Musha Shugyo RPG:devil:?

(I mean, I'm sure SFRPG was good, but when you claim "no better game for unique martial artists"...I'd like to see your reference points:shade:!)
Aye, I bought Fight!, then backed the Kickstarter for Fight! 2e. I am not familiar with Musha Shugyo. I am familiar with other martial arts-y games like Feng Shui, Ninjas & Superspies, Wu Shu, Exalted, Final Stand, Weapons of the Gods, Qin, OVA, Thrash, etc. as well. I prefer Street Fighter to Fight! I suppose my statement is more about my opinion on the "better game" half than the "unique martial artists" half. I mean, you can make pretty much anything with Street Fighter, at least in flavor, but it doesn't have a point build system where you invent moves and powers Champions-style (well, except for a fan supplement called C.H.A.M.P.S. that personally isn't my bag).

I'm just a sucker for its "Select a move, then reveal" style system with the cards and fixed maneuver initiatives, and the feel of that gameplay. I've also seen plenty of instances where defeating a character that can regularly defeat a 3rd character is in no way a guarantee that you could defeat that 3rd character, because there is enough tactical variety where you have good & bad match-ups. Fighting another character isn't always just "Do that thing you're best built to do", sometimes it's "Oh no, what do I have in my toolbox that could counter what's happening right now, if I'm lucky?" Then it comes along with the Capcom Street Fighter Universe, which I like in particular more than... something more broadly anime-flavored I suppose. It was a $15 full color 185 pg. game. It was 1994. A time in my life, all of that.
 

AsenRG

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Aye, I bought Fight!, then backed the Kickstarter for Fight! 2e. I am not familiar with Musha Shugyo. I am familiar with other martial arts-y games like Feng Shui, Ninjas & Superspies, Wu Shu, Exalted, Final Stand, Weapons of the Gods, Qin, OVA, Thrash, etc. as well. I prefer Street Fighter to Fight! I suppose my statement is more about my opinion on the "better game" half than the "unique martial artists" half. I mean, you can make pretty much anything with Street Fighter, at least in flavor, but it doesn't have a point build system where you invent moves and powers Champions-style (well, except for a fan supplement called C.H.A.M.P.S. that personally isn't my bag).

I'm just a sucker for its "Select a move, then reveal" style system with the cards and fixed maneuver initiatives, and the feel of that gameplay. I've also seen plenty of instances where defeating a character that can regularly defeat a 3rd character is in no way a guarantee that you could defeat that 3rd character, because there is enough tactical variety where you have good & bad match-ups. Fighting another character isn't always just "Do that thing you're best built to do", sometimes it's "Oh no, what do I have in my toolbox that could counter what's happening right now, if I'm lucky?" Then it comes along with the Capcom Street Fighter Universe, which I like in particular more than... something more broadly anime-flavored I suppose. It was a $15 full color 185 pg. game. It was 1994. A time in my life, all of that.
That's a very good argument, and a very good selection of martial arts RPGs:thumbsup:! Most of those I'm also familiar with (I did join once a Ninjas-amp-Superspies PbP game...that never got off the ground), though I wouldn't call OVA "a martial arts game". Though it can be that if I'm running it...:grin:

Though you misinterpreted my question. It was about the "unique martial artist" part, and precisely because of the "build your own Special Move" part of Fight!, as you can guess. Hard to rival that, IMO:devil:!
(I did once, just for fun, make a boxer-style character who only had variations of the jab as his starting moves. "Float away like a butterfly, jab them to death" was his moto...OK, I was planning to give him a left hook as well, eventually:tongue:).

Regarding the "reveal simultaneously" kind of system, it is a good choice...but I admit I don't wholly like it. Why? Because* there's usually no way to account for the fighters guessing what move might follow (and cancelling is tied to a resource, as in Street Fighter, while IMO it should be allowed to every reasonably competent fighter). Different tastes and all that:shade:.

*Well, that, and there's nobody that's willing to run such a game for me, apart from PbP. And simultaneous reveals fail hard in an asynchroneous medium...which just might be influencing my own attitude. I don't think it is - I've disliked the idea of "scripted actions" in Burning Wheel for over a decade now, and back there there were people who were willing to run the game - but I felt I should include a disclaimer:gunslinger:.
 

Dammit Viktor

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My favorite game has (mostly) always been D&D, but there are a lot of different versions of D&D and again, for the most part, I like all of them or like something about all of them.

I'm going to allocate my entire top three to D&D, covering vale tudo BECMI and heavily curated late AD&D and Dragon Fist and the entire ecosystems of the OSR and 3pp PF1 publishers. And you can't stop me.

Street Fighter will always have a place on this list. As will Shadowrun 3e and 4e.

There are some nostalgia picks I'll always remember fondly, but likely never play again: Alternity, any version of Rolemaster or HARP, Star Wars d20...

Barbarians of Lemuria and Cortex Prime are still my go-to games for "surprise, you're running tonight" and "you've got a concept but not a system" games.

Reckon d00 Lite is catching up there.

Depending on how you count, that may or may not be approximately ten.
 

chuckdee

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Most of my Favorites are Generic Systems- it's hard to put them in order, so I'll just list them:

Operators
Pros: Has one of the most interesting die mechanics using Fate dice. Really nails the action conspiracy genre
Cons: Some parts, while cool, don't work in a group setting (Hand to Hand)

Fate Accelerated/Core/Condensed
I cheated here, as Accelerated and Core/Condensed really aren't the same thing.
Pros: Very hackable, very easy prep and improv
Cons: Not very granular. Advancement isn't really a thing

Cortex+
Pros: Very Hackable and very easy to tailor to make the system fresh while still the same
Cons: Top end is hit really quickly.

Gumshoe (Fall of Delta Green, Night's Black Agents, Swords of the Serpentine)
Pros: Best investigation
Cons: Combat works, but I won't say it's elegant

Rolemaster
Pros: Nostalgia. The swings get the adrenaline going.
Cons: The Swings can go both ways. Character creation is very crunchy.

Band of Blades
I really could put FitD/PbtA here, but that's not what I'm here for - it's the Black Company to a large extent, and I'm here for it.

GURPS
Pros: Flexible and the 3d6 curve works well.
Cons: Can have problems in scaling. Point buy is very intensive.

Drama System
Very adaptable and definitely knows what it is going for. However, if you're looking for crunch, look elsewhere.

Delta Green
I hate the % system, but I love Delta Green. Great material.

Amber/Lords of Gossamer and Shadow
Diceless for whatever that means good or bad, but great for pbem and it's a lot more than a writing exercise and more than what many think it is.
 

The Butcher

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I am pretty sure I have answered a thread like this one before, but I am okay with answering it again; our own tastes vary across time.

Here's eight of them. I'll think about the other two.

Godbound. Kevin Crawford is a clever bastard. Imagine this vaguely D&Desque game that takes the old school D&D endgame (domain management) and the new school D&D endgame (cosmic heroism), mashes them together and makes them the starting premise, mostly just as a big “fuck you” to Exalted (a rare instance of an elfgame that deserves a big ol’ “fuck you” in my book). No way I was not going to love this.

Vampire: the Masquerade. Look. Nowadays it’s easy to forget just how BIG it was when it came out. And it was bigger still for us, fresh out of D&D. It was a whole fandom. We had arguments over the finer points of the setting like who was prince of X and whether NPC A could kick NPC B’s ass. We also played a ton, both tabletop and LARP, and there is a direct causal link between the latter and me losing my virginity, so there. Are my impressions colored by nostalgia? You bet they are. The GM advice is atrocious and the system is indifferent at best, buggy at worst. But the game works. I haven’t run or played it in ages but I’d do it again in a heartbeat, which is more than I can say about some of my favorite nostalgia talking points (Rifts, I’m looking at you). Ruleset of choice: VRev (haven’t really given V20 a fair shake)

Savage Worlds. Came to me at the cusp of d20 burnout and wowed me with its practicality — a game that sits dead center into my crunch comfort zone. And yes, it’s gimmicky as all hell, but that’s how I like it. Not perfect (core Powers system, I’m looking at you) but it immediately became my choice of system for the scenarios I never had a system for. And the published settings! So much good stuff. Ruleset of choice: I pretty much only ever played Explorers’ Edition. Read but never played Deluxe, and never even read SWAG. Might look into it in the future.

Traveller. The fun thing about Traveller is that both the ruleset and the implied setting pose meaningful choices at every turn. Should you go for another term at character creation? (Risk dying and/or age penalties, but difficult to pick up new skills later.) Should you pick up that expensive illegal cargo and sneak into an Amber Zone, or play it safe? (You’ve got a mortgage to pay!) And so on. Ruleset of choice: Mongoose Traveller, 1st edition and/or Cepheus Engine.

Runequest. It's become my go-to system for fantasy settings when D&D doesn't quite cut it. I really like how moddable it is and how you can dial magic up and down and choose from a plethora of systems. And the combat! Ruleset of choice: Mythras (duh)

Call of Cthulhu. Let's stave off the inevitable extinction of the human race and/or go crazy and/or die trying, one percentile roll at a time. Yes, it's an 80s design. Lots of crisper, cleaner, fancy-schmancy modern designs to do the same, knock yourself out. I'll be here with my flappers and tommy guns and baseball bats and dynamite sticks -- and of course blowing through SAN to banish the monster of the week. Never, ever gets old for me. Ruleset of choice: Call of Cthulhu, 6th edition.

WFRP. D&D with a thick coating of AD2000 dystopian grime and Terry Gilliam farcesque gallows humor. Possibly my favorite example of “what if I take D&D’s core building blocks and do some funny stuff with it.” Ruleset of choice: WFRP, 2nd edition. (Jury still out on Zweihänder — some good ideas but Christ, what an overwritten mess)

D&D. Being the first at anything means it gets real tricky to judge you but you know what? The formula works. And pop culture is littered with evidence. Dungeons, monsters, treasure. Character classes. Experience and levels. Beholders, owlbears and gelatinous cubes. D&D is not going anywhere and it makes me happy. I am very, very partial to TSR/OSR iterations (both in terms of ruleset but crucially also fond of the heady mix of Manifest Destiny, Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee that made its way to the game, probably via REH) but I’ll play just about any edition. Ruleset of choice: D&D Rules Cyclopedia and/or ACKS, but Castles & Crusades, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and even D&D5 all have a place in my heart.
 

Trippy

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Thinking on how my own current collection, through a lot of selective chopping and changing over the years, adds up and I could easily match most of it on Top 10s for major genres:

Fantasy:
  1. D&D (5th edition)
  2. Runequest
  3. Stormbringer
  4. King Arthur Pendragon
  5. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
  6. Ars Magica
  7. Prince Valiant
  8. Castle Falkenstein
  9. Everway
  10. The One Ring
Science Fiction:
  1. Traveller
  2. Paranoia
  3. Twilight: 2000
  4. Star Wars (WEG)
  5. Cyberpunk
  6. Space: 1889
  7. Over The Edge
  8. HŌL
  9. Doctor Who
  10. Dune
Horror:
  1. Call of Cthulhu
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Aquelarre
  4. Vampire: The Masquerade
  5. Werewolf: The Apocalypse
  6. Mage: The Ascension
  7. Wraith: The Oblivion
  8. Puppetland
  9. Delta Green
  10. Kult: Divinity Lost
Supers/Alternative/Other:
  1. Champions
  2. Toon
  3. Amber Diceless
  4. Feng Shui
  5. BESM
  6. The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  7. Nobilis
  8. Fate
  9. Scion
  10. Fiasco
I have a few other games, like Mythras, Apocalypse World stuff and Mörk Borg, recently, but actually I could finish on just the list above and be fully happy.
 
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Warthur

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Here's my current top 10.

10: Fighting Fantasy. Kind of bobbins as an actual tabletop system, but as a gamebook system it was my gateway drug to this whole crazy hobby. Honourable mentions to Advanced Fighting Fantasy for making a game attempt to make it more viable as a system for multi-player trad RPGs, and for Troika for leaning into the shakiness of the system.

9: Paranoia. 2nd edition for the classic, archetypal presentation of the setting, or XP for the deepest bench of material for referees to draw from. The ultimate comedic one-shot/short campaign game. Honourable mention to Goblin Quest by Grant Howitt for being living proof that the bits of RCE I don't like almost certainly are not Grant's fault.

8: Old School Essentials. D&D and similar are things I only dip into for nostalgia reasons, so a presentation of (in my opinion) the most solid old-school rules designed for maximum clarity is pretty much ideal. Honourable mentions to 2E and the Rules Cyclopedia as the versions of D&D current when I started out.

7: Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. Adding generational play to Apocalypse World is a genius idea, shifting post-apocalyptic gaming away from the immediate question of survival to longer-term questions of rebuilding. Honourable mention to World Wide Wrestling for a great adaptation of PbtA to the world of staged fighting contests - both the onscreen contests and the backstage soap opera.

6: Spire. Both for its smart application of modern cutting-edge design principles influenced by PbtA and Blades In the Dark and for being engineered specifically for medium-term games where the PCs are living on borrowed time and have to make the best of it while it lasts. Honourable mention to Blades In the Dark for laying some of the conceptual groundwork.

5: Unknown Armies. For providing a better take on postmodern magic than Mage: the Ascension, and a refreshingly alternative take on horror roleplaying. Honourable mentions to Mage: the Awakening, for being a better Mage than Ascension, and to Kult in the "horror roleplaying which isn't a rehash of Call of Cthulhu or classic Hammer Horror monsters" category.

4: Ars Magica. Less for what it started out as and more for the game it evolved into in the hands of the fandom and Atlas Games - yes, there's wizards, but few other games show so much love for a richly evoked historical era. Honourable mention to the various versions of Maelstrom for putting a big emphasis on real-world history as being just as fascinating a source for roleplaying as any fictional world.

3: WFRP. Specifically the 4th and 1st editions, for being a fantasy RPG with a truly distinctive voice. (2nd and 3rd were forced by Games Workshop mandates to veer more towards the then-current tone of the wargame, and so lose this a little.) Honourable mention to Dark Heresy 1st edition for being the Warhammer 40,000 answer to WFRP, and to Wrath & Glory for being actually a better-engineered, better-scaling 40K RPG.

2: Pendragon. Set a new bar for serious-minded treatment of literary subjects in roleplaying. Honourable mention to RuneQuest, whose 2nd edition was the system ancestor of this and a close enough cousin that the latest edition borrows some concepts like Passions, and for being another game where the system really supports and encourages the player in becoming enmeshed in the culture and world presented.

1: Call of Cthulhu. Horror roleplaying ground zero and investigative roleplaying ground zero as far as I am concerned, and still a very adaptable system for it. BRP might not be super modern, but it's sufficiently adaptable to different time periods and realistic settings that it's perfect for this purpose. Honourable mention to Delta Green for providing a very solid fork of the system.
 
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