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.

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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 areas that’s a bit lacking in terms of tabletop RPGs is modern settings. Because most players want to escape reality when they play an RPG, most game developers tend to focus on the fantastical—but modern-day tabletop RPGs are out there! You just have to know where to look. Here are some of the best.

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 an affordable 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.

Buy Core Rulebook on Amazon

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.

Buy Core Rulebook on Amazon

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.

Buy Core Rulebook on Amazon

4. GURPS

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 any online retailer. The ones that are most relevant to a modern setting include GURPS High-Tech, GURPS Tactical Shooting, and GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns.

Buy GURPS High-Tech on Amazon
Buy GURPS Tactical Shooting on Amazon
Buy GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns on Amazon

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 to create your own campaign, you can try out an existing one like The Dresden Files that makes use of the system with a modern setting plus fantastical elements.

Buy Core Rulebook on Amazon

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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