The 5 Best Modern Tabletop RPGs With Contemporary Settings

It’s not all science-fiction and fantasy! There are some excellent modern tabletop RPGs out there, and we’ve picked the best of them.

There are plenty of tabletop RPGs with fantasy and science-fiction settings. Dungeons & Dragons is the first tabletop game that comes to mind for most people, but there’s a wealth of other games and systems out there.

One place that’s a bit lacking in terms of tabletop RPGs is those in modern settings. Because most players want to escape reality when they play an RPG, most game developers tend to focus on the fantastical. However, there are some modern-day tabletop RPGs out there, and we’ve picked the best of them.

1. d20 Modern

If you like the way Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 plays, but you want to play in a modern setting, d20 Modern is the perfect system for you. It still has some fantasy elements, so it’s not completely set in the real world. However, there’s something super satisfying about fighting monsters in urban settings that feel like the world in which we live.

The problem you might have with d20 Modern is finding a copy of the physical rulebooks. You’ll probably have to dig up a used copy somewhere, but they’re out there if you’re willing to look. If you’re okay with digital copies, you can get them on DriveThruRPG for quite cheap.

2. Spycraft

If you’re a fan of sneaking around and, well, spying, then you’re sure to love Spycraft and the deep RPG system it offers. It uses the d20 and OGL systems with some tweaks that make it interesting. It’s an incredibly well-made game with tons of character options, skills, and intricate systems.

You can snag the Spycraft 2.0 Rulebook on DriveThruRPG in both digital and print versions.

3. Fiasco

Are you having a hard time finding a GM for your RPG sessions? If so, then you’ll love Fiasco, as it’s a game that doesn’t require a game master at all. Instead, 3-5 players can come together and play through a game without anyone actually running it. It’s a modern game of small-time capers gone wrong, and it’s quite fun.

You can get everything you need to play Fiasco Classic on DriveThruRPG for $12, which is quite reasonable for what it offers. You can also snag a physical copy on Amazon if you prefer to go that way.


GURPS is short for Generic Universal RolePlaying System, which is one of the most well-rounded RPG systems that can be used for just about anything you can dream up. It has deep mechanics that’ll keep hardcore RPG players happy.

As far as getting your hands on GURPS, you can snag various parts of the game from DriveThruRPG. If you want to play in a modern setting, you can check out GURPS Tactical Shooting, GURPS City Stats, or just the GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns.

5. Fate Core

The Fate Core system is incredibly versatile and can be used in all sorts of settings. That means you can easily adapt it to work in a modern world that’ll feel right at home. If the vast possibilities offered by the Fate system are too much for you, you can try out The Dresden Files, which is a game that uses the system. It has a modern setting with lots of fantastical elements that make it quite fun.

As far as availability, you can the basic system on DriveThruRPG at any price you’re willing to pay (yes, that includes $0). If you prefer physical books, you can snag them on Amazon for a really good price.

Let’s Get Modern!

Not everyone likes fantasy and science fiction, but anyone can enjoy the fun mechanics offered by tabletop RPGs. That’s where these modern games come into play. They have all the depth and awesome gameplay offered by games like D&D, but they get rid of the orcs and elves in favor of somewhat realistic settings.

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