RPG a Day 2023 – Favorite RPG of All Time

Rather than just go with my gut instinct for “favorite RPG of all time”, I decided to run the numbers.

The numbers are, admittedly, a bit skewed. D&D 3rd Edition includes a bunch of d20 supplements (at least, those who survived my 3e purge) including hardcovers and splat books. I don’t have nearly as many 3rd party supplements for D&D 5th Edition, Savage Worlds, or Pathfinder. And a bunch of my D&D 2nd Edition and 1st Edition books didn’t survive to the present day, lost when I lent them to friends or donated them to my college library.

Still, here are the numbers (print only; PDFs would badly skew the results and I’m heavily biased toward print books when running games).

So … by the numbers, D&D 3rd Edition is my favorite edition – though D&D 5th Edition is a close second (and will likely surge into first place after my birthday and Christmas in 2023). This isn’t surprising. I’ve been playing various editions of D&D for most of my life, and 3rd Edition was a particular juggernaut for myself and my group.

After the rules mishmash that was 2nd Edition, 3rd brought cohesion and consistency to the game. Although today some people see it as overly complicated with too many fiddly bits, at the time it was clean and straightforward. To be able to play the game without having to argue about which of the four versions of grappling rules you were going to use was huge! Now, the grappling rules in 3e weren’t great but at least there was only one set of them.

Ok, forget the numbers … what do I feel is my favorite RPG of all time?

Savage Worlds. It’s a game I don’t get to play as much as I’d like, but I love it every time I do. It has some funky bits that throw people when they start playing it (like having to count by multiples of four to see how well you did on a task) but I’ve never had a bad session of the game. It’s easy to adapt to a variety of genres, though it excels in the pulp/action settings.

With Spring MEPACon not that far away, I’ve been thinking about what Savage Worlds goodness I could run. The lead candidate is The Curse of the Moaning Mists, a pirates/horror/scifi one-shot that I’ve been kicking around since … oh, 2017? And then there’s always the possibility of another Day After Ragnorak scenario…

And that’s what I truly love about the game (and what makes it my favorite RPG of all time): So. Many. Possibilities!!

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A snapshot of my Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rulebooks. Credit: Ken Newquist.

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