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 Single Book RPG Recommendations


Both Cute and Stealthy
Validated User
I'll second Everywhen, Coriolis, Feng Shui 2, Bubblegumshoe, Godbound, and Stars Without Number. I'd throw Tales From The Loop, Fear Itself, The Unexplained, OneDice Universal, Unknown Armies 2nd edition, and Teenagers From Outer Space into this mix too.


Rascally Rabbit
Validated User
Empire of the Petal Throne, Pendragon, Toon, Ars Magica, Zenobia, Mythras--off the top of my head. I'm sure there are others. Also, I think it's worth remembering that some of the early multi-book games that were sold as boxed sets were really not any longer in pages or word-count than many one-book games would be today. That would be the case for OD&D or the original Traveler, for instance.


Both Cute and Stealthy
Validated User
I would suggest Now Playing instead. Same general system without the specific setting tropes.
I considered that, and I'm a big fan of both, but I just remember there being something better in either the presentation of the rules or the writing in The Unexplained. Quite possibly that's because of some quirk, or quirks, unique to me. Please don't ask me for the specifics though as it's been a long time and I really don't remember now! Mostly I use both books for reference now and don't do much more than flick through them.

The Unexplained was the first of the two that I read and I read it with the intent of using it as a generic Fudge implementation. It certainly struck me as perfectly good in that regard and was also the best version of fudge that I'd read and I haven't found anything to change my mind there. Realistically, if I'm going to run Fudge, I'm going to grab The Unexplained off my shelf first and then Now Playing. I might grab the 10th Anniversary book too. Three books kinda breaks the rules a bit though, right? :p

Willy Elektrix

Registered User
Validated User
I think the FFG Star Wars and Warhammer 40k games are remarkably complete in one book. Both have lots of character options setting info, monsters and NPCs, gear, and a complete adventure.


Validated User
Blades in the Dark. Everything you need to run a fantastic game of spooky Regency heists. It’s one of the few games I’ve seen that isn’t only self-contained, it’s ao complete that any attempt at expanding its scope feels overkill to me!

I’d also say 13th Age. Sure, there are tons of supplements and they’re all good-to-amazing, but you really only need that one core book.

Also Whitehack. Full OSR experience in 64 pages. Dig it.

Chris Tavares

RPGnet Member
Validated User
For those who want a mordern D&D, 13th Age is a great single book game. All the core mechanics, classes, magic items, a bestiary and campaign setting in one fantastic book.

The supplements are amazing and you should buy them, but you don't need them for a complete game.


Part Time Dilettante
Validated User
Thousand Suns
Marvel Heroic

The single volume version of Bushido (is that cheating?)
Angel (Eden Studios)

Tango Samurai

Dance Warrior
Validated User
Shadow of the Demon Lord was written for this purpose.
And the is a ton of support material. But the main book is inclusive as a single game.
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