Learn to Play Tabletop RPGs

It’s a book. It’s a game. It’s improv theater. It’s social. It’s awesome!

Ever seen celebrities playing D&D and wondered what it would be like? Ever overheard classmates or coworkers talking about how much fun their last game night was? Well, you can play too!

How to Play


See how you can grab some friends, find a game, and get rolling.


Level Up


No matter how long you’ve been playing, there’s always more to learn.


54 Games


There’s an amazing universe of games beyond D & D. Here are a few to try.


Tabletop Roleplaying in a Nutshell

Tabletop roleplaying games are a form of collaborative storytelling that leverages dice to introduce randomness. The dice add an element of unpredictability and drama that makes every game session unique.

In a tabletop roleplaying game, one player (the gamemaster) constructs a world full of peril and opportunity. The other players each assume the role of a character in that world with unique motivations and capabilities. Sitting around a table or using online collaboration tools, the players create a story in this world. Whenever characters undertake something difficult, a roll of the dice determines the outcome.

Genre and Setting

There are hundreds of different tabletop RPGs on the market, and they vary widely by genre and mechanics. Fantasy is the most popular genre, followed by science fiction, horror, superhero, historical, and other traditional milieus. Because tabletop roleplaying is so flexible, games covering genres like steampunk and urban fantasy often arrive on the tabletop well before they make it into computer games. This adaptablity also perfectly serves genre mergers and mashups like the science fantasy of Numenera, the spells & cyberpunk of Shadowrun, and the spies vs. vampires of Night’s Black Agents.

Play Style

Some roleplayers get together once a week or more, some play only occasionally. Some run extended campaigns – the tabletop equivalent of popular book and movie franchises – while others prefer a session of Fiasco here and a night of Lady Blackbird there, with perhaps a handful of Valiant Universe sessions for good measure. Games can be serious or comedic, scary or lighthearted, pulpy and freewheeling or tightly-focused. Usually there’s at least a bit of each, but the exact mixture depends on the game and the people playing it.

Mechanics

Every roleplaying game is designed with mechanics to support a particular combination of genre and play style. Fate Core’s rules give focus more on the flow of the story than on meticulous realism, and are well-suited to pulpy, cinematic adventures featuring heroic protagonists. Dungeons & Dragons centers on character progression from competent to legendary, so the mechanics are build around a challenge and reward cycle. The extremely detailed sci-fi setting of Eclipse Phase is supported by rules that meticulously describe the elements of the game world.