This is a list of the ten pen and paper roleplaying games. They are widely considered the best RPG games ever. As you can see, the list is a little bit skewed towards older games. But all of these games have huge fan bases and have been time-tested. Without further ado, here is the ten best pen and paper RPG games ever.
10 – Gamma World – A science fantasy roleplaying game that was first published by TSR in 1978. This game was the first roleplaying game to be created in the post-apocalyptic genre. So far, it has seen publication in six different editions over more than thirty years of gaming.
9 – Vampire the Masquerade – This was the flagship product of White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting. Since its inception, the game has spawned numerous other similar games, such as Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, and many others.
8 – RuneQuest – This game was considered as one of the ‘Big Three’ at some point. The big three being D&D, Traveller, and RuneQuest. It provided a different setting and system than other fantasy roleplaying games at the time.
7 – Champions – This was the original comic book / super hero roleplaying game. Many others have followed, like Marvel Super Heroes, Mutant’s and Masterminds, Heroes Unlimited, and more. But Champions was the first game to break the mold and put the player in control of a comic book super hero.
6 – Tunnels & Trolls – This game was created in 1975 making it older than the author of this article, as well as older that all other roleplaying games (except for one!). Also known by its shortened name of T&T, this game has long played second fiddle to the original fantasy roleplaying game.
5 – GURPs – The Generic Universal RolePlaying System is able to adapt itself to any game environment. Any setting you can think of has been created for the system. Its creator, Steve Jackson, is one of the most well-known game designers in the industry because of this game.
4 – Star Wars – Based on the movies carrying the same name, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game was first created by West End Games using the d6 system. Eventually it moved on to other companies and saw some play time under the d20 system, and then finally the Saga Edition. It is the premiere sci-fi, or space opera, themed roleplaying game due to George Lucas dominating the minds of nerds all over the world.
3 – Traveller – It was the original space opera roleplaying game, but it definitely isn’t necessarily the most well known. That distinction belongs to a product George Lucas created. Despite this, Traveller was one created in 1977 making it one of the first roleplaying games ever made.
2 – Call of Cthulhu – The only horror-based roleplaying game on the list. The campaign setting comes from the terrifying work of author H.P. Lovecraft. The roleplaying version has seen many different companies build the game under different systems. But they all share the one same element, horror.
1 – Dungeons & Dragons – This game is bar far, the number one pen and paper roleplaying game in the world. It first claimed dominance in the roleplaying niche by being the first game in the niche, before it was a niche! Got it?! Since that beginning, the game hasn’t lost any stride and continues to be the number one best-selling roleplaying game of all time.
This list tends to be a little bit more biased towards older games. If you split up the different editions and counted each edition, for each game, as a separate game, this list would look very different. Overall, it gives you a good idea of the general popularity of specific pen and paper roleplaying games since the creation of pen and paper roleplaying games many years ago.