Tabletop role-playing games are having a renaissance. Getting together with a group of your best friends to enact mutual fantasies together is a time-honored tradition, and every day more people get interested in playing tabletop RPGs. The world of tabletop gaming can be dense to navigate for the uninitiated, though. There are so many variants to the format, and investing in a particular game world can involve dozens of source books. That’s why we’re ranking the best beginner tabletop RPGs in today’s article!

We’ll cover games both old and new that newer players might enjoy more. Whether it’s from their simplicity, ubiquity, or from just having a hook that catches less experienced gamers more easily, these ten games are some of the best TTRPGs for beginners to play.

10 Best Beginner TTRPGs

Let’s jump right into our list of the best tabletop RPGs for beginners!

10/10

Dungeons & Dragons 5E

D&D 5e is a great beginner tabletop RPG because there are so many resources available to learn from.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • System: D20 System
  • Buy It: Amazon

Easily one of the most beloved and copied tabletop RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons reigns supreme for plenty of reasons. It’s been a classic tabletop RPG since it was first published in 1974. It’s gone through multiple editions since then, but the current fifth edition is widely regarded as the best, most complete, and easy-to-understand system that Wizards of the Coast has ever published.

Though the sheer amount of available resources might make the game seem complicated, they actually make DnD one of the best beginner tabletop RPGs out there. There are plenty of source books, homebrew, and real-play podcasts to guide you as you get started.

Plus, out of the huge library of books, you only really need to pick up a kit like the Starter Set. This includes everything you need to play immediately, complete with five pre-generated characters. This will take you all the way to Level 3, and if you want more, you can go ahead and pick up the holy trinity of DnD books — the Player’s Handbook, DM’s Guide, and Monster Manual.

9/10

Pathfinder 2e

Pathfinder is D&D's biggest competitor.
Image: Paizo
  • Publisher: Paizo
  • System: D20 System
  • Buy It: Amazon

Pathfinder is one of DnD’s biggest competitors, and for very good reason. It was originally based on WotC’s 3.5e after the contentious 4e was released, but has since developed its own identity. Just like DnD, it’s set in a Tolkienesque high fantasy setting, complete with elves, dwarves, and dragons. The biggest difference is in the character creation, with Pathfinder giving a wider range of options. This could be overwhelming for players that want more simplicity, but might be very welcome for players who want more choices than DnD’s rigid class system provides.

Just like DnD’s Starter Set, Pathfinder’s Beginner Box contains everything you’ll need to get started. It includes an 80-page handbook for generating characters and learning to play the game, a solo adventure, and a 96-page game master’s handbook. Once you’ve got some more experience, you can pick up the Advanced Player’s Guide.

8/10

Mouse Guard

Mouse Guard is an excellent beginner tabletop RPG.
Image: Oaklore, Inc.
  • Publisher: Oaklore, Inc.
  • System: Burning Wheel
  • Buy It: Amazon

Next up on our list of the best beginner tabletop RPGs is Mouse Guard. Based on a multiple Eisner-award-winning series, Mouse Guard features a medieval world where humans never existed. Mice in this world are protected by groups of fighters called the Mouse Guard, which your character joins on patrol against predators like snakes. Cute, specific, and engaging, this game is very well-built and an easy, whimsical introduction to tabletop gaming.

Mouse Guard uses fewer dice than other tabletop games, only requiring a set of d6s for most maneuvers. One potential drawback is the game’s very rigid turn structure, with the game master taking a whole turn before the players do. That said, this game is a great intro to GMing, as some storytelling is relegated to the players. This makes things a little easier on you while you’re first getting started.

7/10

Numenera

Numenera is a perfect beginner tabletop RPG if you're a sci-fi lover.
Image: Monte Cook Games
  • Publisher: Monte Cook Games
  • System: Cypher
  • Buy It: Amazon

Numenera steps out of the fantasy setting and into sci-fi. In this game, you take control of one of the denizens of the Ninth World, a paradise full of the scattered remnants of the eight worlds that came before. You’ll need to brave the dangers of this world to gain access to the unimaginable technology of the ancients.

This game uses a set of rules called the Cypher System, which shared between the other games created by Monte Cook Games. The Starter Set that has everything you need to get started playing the game, and a quick-start version of the rules are available for free online.

6/10

Blades in the Dark

Blades in the Dark has a Victorian setting that's great for beginners.
Image: Evil Hat Productions
  • Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
  • System: Forged in the Dark
  • Buy It: Amazon

This game places you in a Victorian setting, following violent street gangs trying to make their fortune on the mean streets of Doskvol. Players fill the roles of these gangsters, performing heists and fighting off both other gangsters and the police.

You can pick up the whole game in a single book for relatively cheap, a pattern you’ll notice among the offerings from Evil Hat Productions. This generous company also offers character sheets and some basic rules for free on the Evil Hat Productions website. Anywhere from 3–6 players can get in on the action this way, and you’ll be pulling off daring capers in no time.

5/10

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

Edge of the Empire is a great beginner tabletop RPG for Star Wars fans.
Image: Lucasfilm, Edge Studio
  • Publisher: Edge Studio
  • System: Narrative Dice System
  • Buy It: Amazon

This game is actually one of three different Star Wars TTRPG settings, all of which follow one singular ruleset. Edge of the Empire follows scoundrels and bounty hunters, letting you live out your Han Solo and Boba Fett fantasies. Force and Destiny is about the last remaining Jedi and force-sensitive individuals trying to avoid the Empire, and Age of Rebellion is about rebel fighters trying to obtain independence from the omnipresent imperial Storm Troopers. Because of the familiar setting, any fans of Star Wars will have an easy time adapting to the rules of this world to play out their interstellar fantasies.

You’ll need to choose which setting you prefer, but picking up the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook is a great place to get started. It’s a little older than the other rules settings, and a bit simpler by default. One very cool part of this game is the way each character eventually has their own unique path of progression, so no two campaigns will ever be the same.

4/10

Fate Accelerated / Fate Core

Fate is a great TTRPG system for beginners to learn.
Image: Evil Hat Productions
  • Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
  • System: Fate
  • Buy It: Amazon

Fate is considered one of the best beginner tabletop RPGs through its sheer customizability. The Fate system is incredibly versatile, letting you roleplay as literally anything via their systems. With an incredibly long list of traits and exceptional abilities, this game is built to be able to let anyone dive into whatever setting and life they want.

You can pick up Fate Accelerated online for cheap. Once you’re sure you like the flexibility of the Fate system, you can shell out a little bit more to pick up Fate Core, a more expanded version of the game. The modern edition of the game actually started as a Kickstarter with a lowly goal of only $3,000. It ended up raising over $40,000 in a massive outpouring of support from fans of the game.

3/10

Dungeon World

Dungeon World is a great beginner tabletop RPG for players who like dungeon crawling.
Image: LaTorra & Koebel, RNDM Games
  • Publisher: Sage Kobold Productions, RNDM Games
  • System: PBtA (Powered By the Apocalypse)
  • Buy It: Amazon

Kicking off the top three of our best beginner tabletop RPGs, we have something a little more exploratory. Dungeon World is all about getting into the meat of the dungeon-crawling action quicker. The narrative-driven game system eliminates the need for a lot of the clunky, time-consuming math of other tabletop games. It’s very good at keeping the story moving forward without much hassle or debate about the specifics of the rules. It also depends entirely on one pair of dice (sorry, dice gremlins), which means a relatively low bar to entry.

You’ll be able to play this game with the core rulebook and not much else. Any group of 3–6 players can get a game going within a couple of hours, making this an excellent choice for single-session one-shots or long campaigns alike. Dungeon World is easy to pick up, and you can even access a lot of the character sheets you need on their website.

2/10

Fiasco

Fiasco is a great one-shot RPG for beginners.
Image: Bully Pulpit Games
  • Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
  • System: Fiasco
  • Buy It: Amazon

This game is one of the best tabletop games you can play in one session. Fiasco feels like playing in a Tarantino or Coen Brothers movie, following a group of “ordinary people with exceptional ambition and poor impulse control.” So long as all the players stick to this central tenet, the game should go off without a hitch. Best of all, the game doesn’t require a GM to play, just 3–5 fans of pulp crime.

The newest edition of Fiasco is even more beginner friendly than before. It’s removed dice from the game altogether, transferred many of the rules onto easily-accessible cards, and contained the entire game in a single box for easy transit. The game advertises itself as only taking about as long to play as it would take to watch a whole film of the source material.

1/10

Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest is the best beginner tabletop RPG.
Image: Grant Howitt
  • Publisher: Rowan, Rook & Decard
  • System: Goblin Quest
  • Buy It: Amazon

Finally, topping our list of the best beginner tabletop RPGs is Goblin Quest! This is an absolute blast of a game, taking dungeon crawling a little less seriously than its competition. You’re unlikely to find deep character moments, as the doomed goblins you control will barely ever make it through a session. Slapstick combat abounds, revolving around the knowledge that you have five lives to spend every time you play. There’s even a particularly ridiculous variant wherein you play five versions of Sean Bean attempting to survive a single movie.

All you need to play this game is some pencils, pens, a handful of d6s, and a copy of the main guidebook. This game can be wrapped up in the course of two hours and your players are likely to be really satisfied. If you want a night of joyous violence and raucous laughter, this is a fantastic pick for you and your party of wannabe adventurers.

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With this list of the best beginner tabletop RPGs, you and your group of friends can roll dice and collect loot until you’ve taken the high ground. For more information you’ll need to get the most out of your gaming time, subscribe to our newsletter and follow High Ground Gaming on all social media.