Top Ten RPG Games

10) After The Bomb

This unique RPG by Palladium Books was originally titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and like the comic books and cartoons which featured those characters, this RPG revolves around creating your own mutant animal hero. A flexible character creation system allows you to create virtually any type of animal you can think of, from a raging, super-strong rhino, to an ultra-intellectual chimp named Bonzo.

9) Unknown Armies

This creepy RPG allows players to be part of their very own cult, and unlike Heaven's Gate, players can actually acquire some pretty cool powers for being a follower. One of my favorite aspects is that magic in this system can be powered by some interesting things, like alcohol or sex. Give this RPG a try, just don't drink the cool-aid.

8) Serenity

Based on the very popular sci-fi show Firefly, this space-western RPG does an excellent job at mimicking the feel of the show. It allows players to build a ship, get a crew together, and start earning money. This RPG works off of a variant of the Cortex System, in which players assign die values (ie. D6,D8,D12) to their stats and skills. Much less complex than Traveller, but the game play is so much smoother because of it.

7) Vampire: The Masquerade

White Wolf's best game ever, period!

6) Rifts

This is Palladium Books' shining gem. If you didn't read my review of this system, look here. It is one of the few games that has successfully fused sci-fi and fantasy into one setting. Here's to the Megaverse!

5) MERP (Middle Earth Role-Playing)

This older system from ICEs (Iron Crown Enterprise) is one of the best to emulate the action and feel of J.R.R. Tolkiens' The Lord of The Rings. MERP is basically, a cut-down version of ICE's Rolemaster system, but they did a good job modifying a lot of their monsters and classes to give the game that Middle-Earth feel. Please do not confuse this game with the D20 version, which is a horrible system and will easily make the list for the top 10 worst RPGs ever.

4) Star Wars D20 Revised Edition

There have been several attempts to create an RPG that can encompass the geekdom that is Star Wars. Many have fallen short, but in my opinion the D20 Revised edition comes closest to the mark. This system was built on a modified Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rule set, and in some ways its modifications make it superior to D&D 3.5. What's great is that they treat force powers as skills instead of magic spells in this system. Also, the multi-classing that D&D offers works well with Star Wars because many of the characters from the movie take arching paths that lead them from one way of life to another. If you want to give this one a try, then May the Force be with you!

3) Call of Cthulhu

This RPG is based on the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, a horror story writer from the 1920's. What is wonderful about this game is that it plays so differently than many other RPGs out there. Because it is in the horror genre, characters are much more likely to die during an adventure. This element always keeps players on their toes and thinking about the consequences of their actions. This is not a bash-down-the-door type of game. This game also introduces the concept of Sanity points. So, even if the players manage to survive the adventure, they may be stark raving mad by the end. This system treats magic very differently. While spells may be very powerful, they often exact a price on the caster and will eventually cost him his sanity. In all, this is a great mood-driven game.

2) GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System)

This amazing RPG by Steve Jackson, father of Munchkin and many other games, is the first truly universal RPG. This is the only game out there where a game master can build whatever his heart desires. If you want to play a game where characters are super heroes battling in World War II, it can be done. If you want to play a game where people travel back in time to correct the errors of the past, it can be done. The system is so flexible, pretty much anything can be accomplished. The only downfall is that creating these worlds takes a lot of work, everything has to be built from the ground up. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will be well rewarded with this system.

1) Dungeons & Dragons 3.5I'll admit, I was a die-hard AD&D 2nd Ed. fan for a long time. I bashed D&D 3.0 to no end when it first came out. I finally cracked when 3.5 was released and began to see the potential of this new system. D&D 3.5 was one of the first games to balance combat and skill systems. It made combat more than just swinging a sword, and it made skills a rich and diverse system, not just background information for you character. The amount of source material for this game is astounding, providing a lot of information and resources for new DMs. Unfortunately Wizards of the Coast got a little full of themselves and made D&D 4th edition, possibly the worst RPG ever, but more on that next time. 3.5 is probably the easiest RPG for starting players and the richest RPG for advance players, offering them infinite option in a fantasy setting. In my opinion D&D 3.5 is the best RPG currently in print.