[RPG] Recommendation for first-time-ever RPG group


Me and some friends are looking for resources to help us begin playing a RPG. Preferably themed fantasy (magicians, etc…)

Problem is, none of us ever did this sort of thing. But we are set on doing this by ourselves, i.e. not introduce someone else into our group (including a DM). So, any ideas?


  1. We want fantasy. Think Tolkien, D&D, Final Fantasy games, etc. (Setting only, not rules or anything.)

  2. For the rules, I just had a look at Risus, (found a link on the "duplicate" question). This is interesting, but I would prefer something a little bit beefier in terms of combat mechanics/ character evolutions rules: experience levels, special abilities/spells, etc.

  3. Team composition: need to be flexible enough. Not all wizard, though.

  4. We all are quite imaginative, (I think), but I would appreciate some module, prewritten story to begin with.

Best Answer

The trouble with recommending RPGs is that they are, in very large part, a matter of taste and there are thousands of RPGs to choose from. You've already identified D&D in your question, and there's nothing wrong with just playing D&D! It's extremely easy to find, and it's definitely a rolelpaying game. Even if it's not the "perfect" game for you, it's a great place to start and you'll be in good company—most roleplayers got their start with some edition of D&D, and it hits all four of your requirements.

However, since you mention D&D but you're still asking, I'm going to continue with the assumption that just picking the default isn't what you want to do. (But if D&D works for you, go for it, really.) And recommendations aside, there are lots of resources of the kind you're asking for that I can point you to.

The best answer to this would be a tool that would guide you through the process of not only selecting your first RPG, but also learning what the relevant features are that you can base your choice on.

Fortunately, I don't have to write that! Someone has helpfully already written it here: Learn Tabletop Roleplaying Games. There is also The Beginner's Guide to RPGs, which is also good but contains different material. Finally there are the pair of guides by game designer Greg Stolze, How to Play Roleplaying Games and How to Run Roleplaying Games, which won't give you any game recommendations, but will explain what roleplaying games are like and how to be a good player or good GM in pretty much any game you eventually pick.

Two other tools that aren't obvious now but will be invaluable later can help you, as a group, figure out what your preferences are in RPGs. You don't know one RPG from another right now, but you'll very soon discover that there is a lot of variation, and the experiences that different RPGs deliver can be extremely different, as different as the experience of reading a poem is from reading an engineering textbook is from reading a romance novel. To figure out what your tastes are, these two tools are very useful:

  • The Same Page Tool – helps you decide as a group what kind of RPG experience you're aiming to create, and prevent anyone from being surprised by it
  • Metagame Rewards, or the Different Kinds of Fun – a way of understanding what different people enjoy in RPGs and hopefully enable you to tailor your gameplay to accommodate the desires of as many of your group as possible