There are plenty of tabletop RPGs with fantasy and science fiction settings. Dungeons & Dragons might the first—and only—tabletop RPG game that comes to mind for most, but there's a wealth of other games and systems out there.
That said, one area that's a bit lacking when it comes to tabletop RPGs is modern settings. Since most players want to escape reality when they play RPGs, most game developers tend to focus on the fantastical.
But modern-day tabletop RPGs can be extremely fun and far from mundane! You just have to know which ones to play. Here are some of the best modern tabletop RPGs worth checking out.
10. 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.
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.
8. Covert Ops
Frontline soldiers aren't the only ones fighting in war. Covert Ops casts players as a group of agents who parachute behind enemy lines.
You can play almost any spy or action movie trope you like, from the smooth-talking agent to the demolitions expert to the all-important hacker. Everyone is important to the mission and gets a chance to shine.
The mechanics are very light, employing rules known as d100Lite. It's a fast and simple system to learn that allows you to create a character and jump into your first mission within half an hour.
You can go full action film and jump from an exploding building or keep things subtle and avoid leaving any traces of your actions. The flexibility of this system is really where it shines.
7. Conspiracy X 2.0
The second edition of the Conspiracy X tabletop RPG takes place in a world that's very similar to our own but with the potential to be something much more.
By default, this game feels very similar to The X Files, with players taking on the roles of various agents uncovering a world of secrets.
Who is that guy ranting about the CIA down the street and what does he really know? Why do some people suddenly become famous overnight? Is the President even human?
The amount of fantasy or science fiction you incorporate is entirely up to your group's personal preferences. You can play things completely straight and take on more grounded conspiracies, or you can take the fight directly to the lizard people.
The system only uses d10s for its rolls and the overall rules are fairly light on crunch. You can play just about any spy movie trope you can think of without worrying about breaking the system.
Are you having a hard time finding a GM for your RPG sessions? Or maybe you're always the GM but want to take a break? If so, then you'll love Fiasco, as it's a game that doesn't require a game master at all.
Instead, three-to-five 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!
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.
4. Monsterhearts 2
Growing up is hard. Growing up as a monster in a normal high school is even harder. That's what you're getting into with Monsterhearts 2.
This setting might feature a lot of classic monsters—like vampires and werewolves—but the focus is firmly on the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.
Players will need to build connections with each other and use them to become better versions of themselves. And just as in real life, "better version of oneself" differs according to each individual.
If your group is looking for a Buffy-style setting where there's something sinister hiding just out of sight, Monsterhearts 2 is definitely one of the best tabletop RPG settings for that.
Equally, there are countless opportunities for teen melodrama to take the forefront of the story, which is where this system really shines. Just as much interest is paid to big events like Prom and Homecoming as to the dangers lurking in the shadows.
3. d20 Modern
If you like the way Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition plays but you want to play in a modern setting, d20 Modern is the perfect system.
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.
2. Kids on Bikes
This one might be pushing the definition of "modern" for some since it draws heavily from the 1980s. But if you ever wanted to experience Stranger Things as a tabletop RPG, this is as close as it gets.
Not only do players get to build their own characters in a sleepy town hiding a dark secret, but they have a hand in creating the very town the kids live in. From the school to the key residents to the local bully, everything is crafted in a very collaborative way.
That collaboration means that not only is this a pretty easy game to run, but it gives players an equal stake in building the world.
And since everyone has a hand in building the world, it's more likely that everyone will be able to take a turn at running a session, making this a great modern tabletop RPG for groups with a rotating GM.
1. Masks: A New Generation
If you like comic books like Teen Titans or Young Justice, then Masks: A New Generation is the perfect tabletop RPG for you.
It takes place in a modern setting where multiple generations of superheroes have come and gone. The system allows you to play almost any teen hero archetype as you set up your own hero team to keep the streets of Halcyon City safe.
Every roll in Masks consists of two d6 with some small bonuses or penalties applied, making the math involved extremely simple.
The focus is firmly on the relationships, rivalries, and friendships that spring up within any comic book team as you all play a group of heroes looking to forge you own identities in the world. It's a fast and loose system that works great for collaborative storytelling.