There are a lot of different tabletop systems out there. My current favorite is Open Legend.
Open Legend is completely open-source which means all the rules are available online for free. It is also system-agnostic so the rules work just as well for a far-future science fiction like Star Trek as it does for a standard fantasy setting.
If you’re brand new to gaming, I recommend giving Open Legend a try. And if you want some extra help getting started, consider buying a copy of the campaign setting Amaurea’s Dawn.
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is currently the most popular and commonly played tabletop RPG out there, and the Dungeon Master’s Guild has everything you need for a lifetime of adventures. On their website, you can find all core rulebooks, adventures, character options, and special bundles. This site has everything you need except for paper, pencils, and dice.
The other thing I love about the Dungeon Masters Guild is that, in addition to selling the books published by Wizards of the Coast, they also support content from independent authors and game developers. There is actually a lot of incredible content built and sold by people like you and me.
While the Dungeon Masters Guild has everything you need to play using the D&D rule system, DriveThruRPG has what you need for practically every other RPG system out there.
I’m not kidding. They have content for Shadowrun, Battletech, Blades in the Dark, The World of Darkness, The Call of Cthulhu, and more. And just like the Dungeon Masters Guild, DriveThruRPG also hosts and sells independent content. And I’m all about supporting independent writers.
TTRPG Shows and Podcasts
Whether you’re you’ve just heard of tabletop RPGs or a seasoned player looking for another way to scratch that gaming itch, I’ve got you covered. If you have any interest whatsoever in TTRPGs, I’ve got a couple of shows you should check out.
Bombsquad: A fun family live-play using the Open Legend game system. Available on youtube.
Critical Role: A bunch of nerdy voice actors sitting around and playing dungeons and dragons. Can be watched live or followed on youtube or their Critical Role podcast.
High Rollers: A UK-based D&D group playing in the homebrewed land of Aerois. Similar to Critical Role, they live-stream, publish on Youtube, and have a podcast of their adventures.
TTRPGs are tons of fun to play, but there are never enough people ready and willing to take on the role of Dungeon Master (or Game Master, if you prefer).
That’s totally understandable. Running a game is a lot of work, but I encourage you to take the plunge. To help you take the plunge with as little difficulty as possible, I’d like to introduce you to Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master.
Like I said, running a game takes work, but it doesn’t have to take nearly as much as you might think. In this book, Michael Shea walks you through the eight-step process he uses to prep for his games. This book has cut my prep time in half and also gave me a lot of great tips and examples to help me be a better Game Master.
If you can’t game to play in, running one yourself.
Misc. Game Master Tools
DonJon Tools: this site contains a variety of random generators, map builders, and tools helpful to any Game master, regardless of the system used.
Roll20: We can’t always meet in-person to play. When that happens, Roll20 can keep your group together and your adventure moving.
Syrinscape: If you’ve been wanting to add more sound effects, atmospheric music, and more, then check out Syrinscape.