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Which Fantasy Roleplaying Game is the Best?

Reading this article, I felt that the "Best Fantasy Roleplaying Game" discussion was a good overview, but needed a little more.  The author mentions Pathfinder, Dragon Age, Swords and Wizardry, D&D 4th Ed, Tunnels and Trolls, and Runequest 6th ed, and points out that there are many others.   I think he had a good overview of what he included, but here are some salient points I think I would add to the mix:

  • There are kits for getting started with D&D Red Box and Pathfinder Beginner Box.  For getting started in a new RPG, these boxes are a good way to go, including starting with pregen characters and a reduced rule set.  I'm not sure if there are others, but these starter kits are a good way to introduce new players.
  • Savage Worlds is a nice rules-light RPG that can easily be used for fantasy.  When I went looking a light rule set, this one seemed well-supported and very flexible.
  • When we speak of best Fantasy RPGs, you can't leave out Burning Wheel.  Its an award winning take on fantasy RPG that really is different.  It has heavily influenced the way the industry looks at role-playing games.  It seems like an involved ruleset to learn, so it may not be for beginners.
  • The other aspect that I thought was left out was the expense of the RPG materials.  Sure, you can get lots of stuff for Pathfinder and D&D, but what is the minimum you can play with?
    • Savage Worlds can be played reasonably well with a $23 core hardback book (PDF for $9.99).  
    • D&D 4th Ed has a $126 Core Rulebook Set, though a player can probably get away with a $23 player's handbook.
    • Pathfinder comes in a little steeper at $33 for the monster Core Rulebook (576 pages), but the entire core rulebook set (that's 9 books so far) is online for FREE.  In addition, many of the adventure path rules can be found on the Pathfinder SRD also for free.  This is a huge reason why I use Pathfinder, because my gaming group has gotten used to bringing their electronic devices and access all of the rules for free in real-time.  Many other games are going to require the players to buy at least 1 core book.
  • Old versions of D&D are becoming available in PDF.  As pointed out in this article, $20 can go a long way with PDFs in one of these old editions, and there are tons of resources for them.

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