Your Top 3 RPG's

@Fafhrd and brought this up on the upcoming episode 272.

You are on a deserted island,no FLGS or Internet access. Just hang with me on this.

What three tabletop role-playing games would you have in your possession?

Doesn’t matter if you own it or not. Doesn’t matter if you’ve played them or not. You don’t have to list specific books - core or splat, just the game. If you want to say why you chose them, that would be great but ok if you don’t.

Thanks for playing along!


First, any addition of D&D. Reason I just have a D&D brain.
Second most likely Call of Cthulhu. I always enjoy this game when I get to play.
Last, probably DCC, because of the odd ball comic relief aspect of the game. Also to help remind me not to do stupid stuff while trying to find a way off the island.


HackMaster 5e- My current favorite system. Low magic/ power. Active defense. Not round based
Cyberpunk- I like fun tech stuff, and don’t like magic in my techno. Quick, fast, brutal system.
uhhh… HackMaster 4e? It’s really a tidy house rule set for AD&D, and if we’re stranded, there is a TON of material in AD&D to play through, and I like this ruleset for it better.


Old-School Essentials for D&D-ish fantasy, Traveler for sci-fi, and I’d give Tunnels & Trolls a go because if it’s a deserted island, I’m going to need rules for solo play.


Some version of D&D. Probably not 4e. It’s what I know… it hits the “comfort zone”.
Burning Wheel. It’s a game that puts solid mechanics to your character’s beliefs, goals, and drives. Pure gold for those long-form campaigns on a deserted island…
Dungeon World. I enjoy this for short arcs/campaigns. While there is a system, it gets out of the way and puts a heavy focus on the narrative/fiction. I think I like it because it’s like a GMing exercise… it forces me to think/run differently than I’m used to.

1 Like

5E, although I’d bring Into the Unknown for more of an O5R feel. 5E is what I’ve played the most in my adult life.

DCC - I could spend endless days reading books and supplements for it like Lankhmar.

AS&SH - Same as DCC for that Appendix N/Sword & Sorcery feel.


Good point about the solo play with T&T. I’ve played the original version of Goblin Lake with T&T before.


This is, like, painfully hard.

Dungeons and Dragons 5e–Because D&D is what got me into RPGs, and 5e is probably my favorite implementation of the rules.

Fate–Because if I’m only going to pick three games, I need one that is going to be flexible enough to pick up a lot of different genres, and I really like the ebb and flow of how Fate emulates narrative beats.

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying–Marvel Super Heroes was the second RPG I ever played, and Marvel Heroic is the most “on brand” supers game I’ve ever run or played, so I feel like one of these slots should be a supers game.

All of that said, there are so many really good games that emulate a more narrow genre very, very well, that I would dearly miss if I could only pick three games to have available for the rest of my miserable life.

1 Like

Don’t see that one much. Are you talking the Cortex version or FASERIP?

Cortex Plus. That game system helped me to realize how much I enjoyed more narrative games, and it felt so perfect for the feel of a comic book RPG to me.

1 Like

Gamma World 1e. If AD&D 1e washed up on shore - fine. I don’t need anything else.

DCC, my number 1 for so many reasons, most of which I’ve stated in other threads. A lot of gaming in one book.

D&D - I’m torn between 5E which I could easily strip back to a more basic game or just take one of the basic rule sets or whitebox clones.

Savage Worlds because it feels like it’s the best option for me for various genres and is distinct from the D&D base systems I usually lean toward. Also being on that desert island mean I might finally get round to playing it!


DCC, because it’s foundation is very close to the B|X version of D&D I first played and have much love for, but also because it can be spun into any game you want (e.g. you want SF? StarCrawl or Phantasmagoria; you want post-apocalyptic? Crawling under a Broken Moon or MCC; Weird West? Dark Trails; etc, ad infinitum)

Cyberpunk 2020, because I was 18 when Neuromancer was published (and thanks to OMNI magazine I read almost every cyberpunk short story published to date as Ellen Datlow, the SF editor there at the time, knew something was going on in this new sub-genre and may have created the genre by giving Gibson et al a voice). The impact this fiction has had on my life is immeasurable.

Traveller, because if the entire universe is your sandbox you have no excuse for not finding something to do.

I tried to choose one from each genre I’m interested in but only hit fantasy/cyberpunk/SF…missing out on horror. If I were allowed four I’d add Call of Cthulhu, but I made my list and I’m sticking to it.

1 Like

Gamma World is all you need. So you’re a pretty big fan of that game? :slight_smile:

Do you follow Fraser Simons? He’s created The Veil,a pbta cyberpunk rpg. I think he’s done others, but he’s a big cyberpunk fan and rpg designer.

1 Like

Yeah, because anything is possible.

D&D is like an apocalypse ie forgotten city, abandoned castle, dark magic threatens to wipe out existence…“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” - Arthur C Clarke.

Also like that it’s small and leaves a lot of elbow room to the GM and Players

Do you follow Fraser Simons?

I do now - thanks!

Just three? Brutal. Fine. FINE.

The Black Hack
For all my my fundamental D&D / OSR needs. Nice and light, familiar and fresh at the same time.

Shadow of the Demon Lord
For a game that includes an amazing setting, fantastic character generation, excellent foes and a familiar but streamlined d20 system. Core book has it all, but you can also go nuts with the supplements if the desert island has bookshelves.

Fate (Core or Accelerated)
For everything else. Mecha, supers, noire, pulp action, cyberpunk, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, you name it.

Honorable mentions to Tiny Dungeon, Barbarians of Lemuria, and Forbidden Lands.

Respect for Fate , bruthah.
I need to play MHR Cortex. The lack of an objective chargen system has kept me away, but I only hear people who know the system rave about it…

1 Like

Middle-Earth Role Playing (the Rolemaster version)


Star Wars (d6)

Reasons? Just one: 100% nostalgia. Even if RM and Hero System are too crunchy for me now—hey, I’m on a desert island. I have plenty of time!

1 Like