When starting out in the hobby, deciding what game to play can be pretty daunting. More often than not you will probably settle on the game you have heard most about, which will most likely be Dungeons and Dragons. D&D is certainly not a bad game and the current edition is the most beginner friendly one yet, but there are many more games out there that can introduce new players much better. Here are four RPG's which are great at doing just that.
1. Pathfinder Beginners Box
Pathfinder was released back in 2009. Based on the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition rules, It aimed to resolve many of the problems of its D&D counterpart and has certainly done a great job establishing itself as a major force in the RPG world. Recently Paizo released the Pathfinder Beginners Box and as the name suggests its intention is to help introduce new players to Role Playing Games. It does this by providing a streamlined version of the rules that offer a simpler and faster way to play, that some people argue should be the definitive rule set. The rule books explain how to play the game better than any other system I have read.
So if you're looking for a well established, highly supported yet still simple game to start with, this is probably the one for you.
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2. Tunnels and Trolls
Tunnels and Trolls was first published way back in 1975 as a more accessible alternative to Dungeons and Dragons. Though it never gained the same recognition as its competitor, that isn't to say it isn't still an awesome game. Currently in its 7th edition T&T is a great and simple game. Character creation takes minutes, combat is fluid and fast paced and there are few rules to get bogged down with. But probably the most important reason this game is so good for beginners is that it is fully capable of solo play. There is actually more community support for solo adventures than there are for Game Master adventures.
So if you really want to play an RPG but can't get a good group together yet, with Tunnels and Trolls you can still play!
Free Abridged 5th Edition rules from DriveThruRPG
7.5 Edition Expanded Boxset from DriveThruRPG
3. Savage Worlds
Savage Worlds was first released in 2003. It is a setting-less rules system, allowing you use the rules to play any game that you want. Though many settings have been released for it. It is known for speed of play and simplicity, which is great for new players. A little bit more investment may be needed in order to get the rules and a pre made setting but Savage Worlds definitely has the most room for expansion once you have gained some experience.
If you're looking for a fast paced game in a non-traditional setting then Savage Worlds may just be for you.
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4. Wrath of Ashardalon
Wrath of Arshardalon along with Castle Ravencroft and Legend of Drizzit and the recently released Lords of Waterdeep are Wizards of the Coasts attempts to turn Dungeons and Dragons into a board game and therefore making the game as a whole much more accessible. Some could see these board games as more diluting of the D&D franchise but personally I think they are a great idea. The rules are simple, using cards to indicate powers and magical weapons, each game box comes complete with rule books, dice and miniatures, everything needed to play not only the board game but the proper D&D game as well. So without even realising it players learn the basics of D&D mechanics and get a good taste of what an RPG is like.
If you are completely and totally new to RPG's and would prefer to learn to crawl before you walk then Wrath of Ashardalon or any of the other D&D board games are definitely the way to go.