[Top 10] Best TTRPGs for New Players

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10 great games to kickstart your TTRPG obsession

The world of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) is a daunting one, but once you manage to break into that world it is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable formats of gaming. However, because it is so intimidating and overwhelming many are discouraged from giving them a go. So the question is; where do you start? This is a list of the ten best TTRPGs for complete beginners and where to find them.

10. Ryuutama: Natural Fantasy

Ryuutama introduction and gameplay

Ryuutama is a roleplay heavy, collaborative, narrative RPG, that focuses on travelling and exploration. It is a heartwarming and studio ghibli-esk style of game that will suit lovers of JRPG video games. 

A couple of unique aspects of Ryuutama is that the whole table creates the world collaboratively. This takes a lot of the pressure off of the DM in terms of world-building. Ryuutama provides the wonder of a homebrew world without needing a lot of legwork. Equally unlike most RPGs, the ‘classes’ in Ryuutama are more akin to NPC jobs. You have a choice of seven classes: Minstrel, Merchant, Hunter, Healer, Farmer, Crafter, or Noble.

You are travellers struck with wanderlust and are desperate to explore, exp is given depending on how far you travel and how many new places you discover. It is not combat dependent which makes a nice change to other TTRPGs. 

One of the elements that can put people off is that there is an equipment management aspect to the game. Tools and items can break and need to be repaired. Rations and herbs get used up and therefore need to be kept count of. Everything you gather needs to be added to your pack, its size and weight need to be taken into account. So if resource management is not for you Ryuutama is probably not a game for you.

With an emphasis on wholesome and happy vibes, Ryuutama is a nice game to play if you are in need of some cute exploration.  

It is available here


9. Starfinder

Starfinder Gameplay

Although Pathfinder is an incredibly adaptable system Paizo Publishing did release a specifically sci-fi version titled Starfinder. There are a few differences in the gaming system like the split between HP and stamina HP, however, if you can play Pathfinder, you can play Starfinder.

Starfinder does have its own beginner box which takes you through character creation, the system, and includes both a solo starter adventure and a group adventure. 

You can find the beginner box here


8. Pathfinder

Pathfinder Gameplay

The second most popular TTRPG currently available, although on the more complicated end of the spectrum Pathfinder has a big enough community and a rich enough history to accommodate new players. Any question you think of has probably already been answered. There is a starter set available that takes you through the basic principles of what you need to know and really lays out how to play.

Pathfinder is not drastically different from DnD and offers a lot more customisation options when it comes to character creation. Pathfinder also simplifies the action economy which can get a little confusing in DnD, so in that instance, it is a little more newbie friendly. 

The gaming system used is the D20 system which utilises a full set of seven dice. D20 systems are very easy to grasp once you know what you are looking for. Thankfully in the starter set each of the players get a cheat sheet that takes some of the pressure off of your memory. 

Typically Pathfinder is given a high fantasy setting but it is a widely adaptable system that you can truly build to suit the style of your table. 

If you want to give patherfinder a go, you can find the beginner box here


7. Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu Gameplay

For those who prefer a more creepy and chilling setting, Call of Cthulhu is the TTRPG for you. This Lovecraftian world calls to all lovers of mystery and horror, you play as investigators tasked with uncovering dark secrets.

In the starter set, you get three books, to help you learn the game. The first book is a solo introductory adventure, sort of like a choose your own adventure book, which is a brilliant way to set new players on the road to Keeper (Game Master). The second book is a light rule book, the ruleset has been condensed into its basic components. The final book in the set is a couple of starter adventures so that you and your friends can actually get started.

 Also in the starter set are some pre-generated characters so you can really dive straight into the adventure and worry about character creation later on. Considering that Call of Cthulhu is a percentile-based game system it is a little bit more complicated than a lot of the other games on this list but the way the starter box sets you up it is easy to pick up.

The starter set is available here


6. Beyond the Wall

Beyond the Wall Character Creation and Gameplay

Beyond the Wall is a brilliant game that is simple enough that you can sit down, create a character and jump straight into gameplay within the same session. There are only three classes, Mage, Warrior, and Rogue, however, there are infinite customisation options. 

A lovely element to Beyond the Wall is that you are given a playbook that provides you with all the information needed. You roll on several tables that customise and change your character. For example one of the tables decides what your parents did for a living and this determines which stats are increased. Perhaps your parents are farmers and therefore your strength is increased due to all the manual labour you did on the farm. 

There are a lot of playbooks and scenarios available for free as well as the core book and supplements. If you really fall in love with this TTRPG there is an abundance of content  to choose from and jump into. There are also guides available on how to build your very own playbooks, although there are over 40 to choose from!

Beyond the Wall is available here


5. Dungeons and Dragons (5E)

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Gameplay

Dungeons and Dragons is currently the most popular tabletop role-playing game out there. There have been various editions but the most recent is the 5th and it is the most streamlined and newbie friendly version available. 

Although the rule book is hefty and pretty intimidating there is a starter kit available that condenses the rules into a manageable chunk. With premade character sheets the starter kit allows you to get a taste of DnD without the whole daunting book. 

DnD can be adapted to any setting, it is universally adaptable and every table can make their game whatever they wish. The starter kit is an amazing beginning point and sets you up to really expand and get your teeth into the full game.

There are many pre-written modules to go through. So if you aren’t ready to dive in with your own writing yet the modules are a great place to start.

You can pick up your own starter set here


4. Crash Pandas

Crash Pandas Gameplay

Next up is the fantastic Crash Pandas, a brilliant one page RPG. Who doesn’t want to play a game all about street racing racoons? This is a zany and energetic game in which the players need to work together as a team in order to win a big street race. The setting is modern day LA so is a little different from other RPGs in that it is based somewhat in reality.

Everyone’s choices affect the outcome of each action and no one gets outshined. This aspect is perfect for newbie GMs that don’t necessarily know how to control or hold the attention of a table yet. They can get into commentating on a ridiculous and exciting race.

Crash Pandas is a D6 based gaming system that is a great introduction to using stats. The driving aspect is a little bit complicated to start with but it is easy to pick up and leads to some belly-busting laughter. All players decide at the same time and without discussion what they want the car to do at each turn. Each decision counts, it isn’t a majority vote! This leads to utter mayhem as someone yanks the wheel left, two people yank it right, and everyone else speeds up. 

If you fancy playing this high-energy ttrpg Crash Pandas is available online here.


3. Paranoia

Paranoia Character Creation and Gameplay

If you liked the sound of Goblin Quest but fancy a little more of a scifi and horror based setting then Paranoia is the game for you. You must suspect everyone, never question the computer, and most of all don’t waste your clones. 

You must strive to appease the computer while hiding your mutation and society membership from everyone. Mutants are traitors, and traitors must be killed or arrested. Members of secret societies are traitors, and traitors must be killed or arrested. Hail computer. 

Right from character creation the tone is set for the game: tentative teamwork and backstabbing. Every player has a couple of secrets they need to keep from the team and most of all from the computer. 

If you would like to hail the computer Paranoia is available here.


2. Honey Heist

Honey Heist Gameplay

Honey Heist is an adaptable game that can take place in any setting, the only requirement is that there must be bears. Fancy a high fantasy game? Magic bears. Sci-fi game? Space bears. Horror game? Spooky bears. Whatever your heart desires there can be a game of Honey Heist based on it.

The player characters are -of course- all bears and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on some honey. So don your human disguises and get to stealing some delicious golden goodness.

In terms of gameplay, Honey Heist is very simple, it only has one sheet of rules! Once again it is a system based solely on D6s, and there are only two types of rolls: bear or criminal. If you want to sniff out a scent, roll for bear, if you want to pick a lock roll for criminal, it is a nice easy game that doesn’t put too much pressure on the GM. It is a great starting point for players and for whoever wants to give GMing a go.

To build your bear you just need to roll a D6 a couple of times in order to decide what kind of bear you are, the role your bear plays in the motley crew, and the title you take on. In my first game, I was a Washed-Up Polar Bear who was the Face of the operation. It was my first and best experience as a polar bear.

If this all sounds great to you, you should prob-bear-ly check out the rules page. Honey Heist is pay what you want and available online here


1. Goblin Quest: a Game of Fatal Incompetence

Goblin Quest Introduction and Gameplay

Goblin quest is a high fantasy game in which the player controls a clutch (group) of five freshly created goblins that have been magically given a quest. It is a narrative based game that doesn’t get bogged down by timely combat systems or complicated stat blocks. This is a short snappy game full of silliness and childish fun.

The gaming system itself is nice and simple, it only requires the use of D6s and requires minimal maths. You either pass, fail, or spectacularly fail. Goblins are, unsurprisingly, fragile creatures and will die after suffering two injuries. There are no hit points, it is simply; get hurt twice and that goblin is done. But don’t worry you have four more! A unique aspect of Goblin quest is death is encouraged! 

To start the game you need to create your Goblin clutch and pick the quest that you want to tackle. First things first of course you need a name for your little group, then decide on four things: an expertise, a quirk, a dream, and a family heirloom. The rule book provides some great examples for what to have for these but you can go as off the wall as you would like, this is a ridiculous goblin game after all.

If all of that sounded good to you Goblin Quest is available as both a PDF document and as a physical softcover book, both can be found here


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