Monday, April 12, 2010

The 10 Best RPG Supplements

At theRPGsite a couple of weeks ago, forum users again posted their lists for the 10 favorite and least-favorite RPGs of all time. Along with that, we also voted on the Top 10 RPG supplements of all time! The criteria was that it could be any adeventure, module, sourcebook, etc.--just not any sort of "Core Rules". Here was my list:

10 Best RPG Supplements

1) Keep on the Borderlands, TSR
2) World of Greyhawk, TSR
3) Classic Traveller Supplements Reprint 1-13, Far Future Enterprises
4) ...and a 10-Foot Pole, Iron Crown Enterprises
5) Cities, Midkemia Press
6) Kellri's amazing old school supplements
7) Silk Road, Expeditious Retreat Press
8) Greyhawk Gazetteer, Wizards of the Coast
9) Castle of the Mad Archmage, Joseph Bloch/Greyhawk Grognard
T10) Baalgor Wastelands/Adventures on the High Seas/Northern Hinterlands, Palladium Books (Palladium Fantasy)

Of course, you could make arguments for so many different supplements making this cut. What would be on your list? What wouldn't be from the list above?


Tim Shorts said...

1. The Citybooks by Flying Buffalo have always been a favorite of mine.

2. Tomb of Horrors because that's what started my fascination with this hobby.

3.The Desert of Desolation series (I3-5) because it was the first series of modules that told a story. Even though it was a series of railroad adventures.

4. Pretty much and GURPS book. They are all very good.

5. AD&D Sourcebook for Villians. Even though I never played 2nd edition this and others in this series were great.

6. Judges Guild, City-State of the Invincible Overlord. This definately could be higher in the list. No map has ever captured my imagination more than this one.

7. Pendragon, Knights Adventerous and several of the others. I love the books and the atmoshpere they capture. I based a three year campaign not off the system, but the attitude they captured.

8. Points of Light, it was the first gaming product I worked directly on and I think its pretty good.

9. The original Forgotten Realms campaign setting. I was never a fan of Grayhawk. FR opened up a lot of possibilities and I think suited my style of play.

10. There are so many to choose from, but I'm going to go with Ravenloft because it shifted the focus in fantasy gaming. Not only for the mapping techniques, but also the infusion of horror, instead of fantasy as the main element.

Gleichman said...

Only one item from that list: ...and a ten foot pole

I'd include the original edition of Ninja Hero although the fifth edition Ultimate Martist Artist could almost take its place.

Ravenloft (the original)

I've have to lump all the ICE Middle Earth products into a single pick. Difficult to split out just one.

D&D Supplement II Eldritch Wizardry just for its cover... what? Ok, maybe that was a joke.

DeadGod said...

1. The Ravenloft campaign setting boxed set. It showed me a different D&D paradigm than the dungeon crawl.

2. Dark-Matter for the Alternity system. Another paradigm-changer that took a sci-fi game and turned it into a dark modern conspiracy.

3. One-Shots for Unknown Armies. It is a handful of mind-bending short adventures. I think I've ran all of them more than once, most of them in different systems than UA.

4. The Technocracy for Mage: The Ascension. Unlike the typical "you get to play the villains" book, this supplement started out by saying, "by the way, we are actually the good guys."

5. One of the Living for All Flesh Must Be Eaten. An RPG book that deals seriously with long-term survival after a zombie apocalypse is +10 in my book.

6. Deities and Demigods. This one inspired me to run games based in real, historical cultures. (Before this it had all basically been Tolkien.)

7. Don't Lose Your Mind (for Don't Rest Your Head.) From the Evil Hat description: "Don't Lose Your Mind is like Naked Lunch as told by Edward Gorey on a meth bender. It will rear up on its 26 alphabetic legs and kick you in the mental junk."

8. The Psionics Handbook (for 3ed D&D.) While not as profound as any of the previous entries, this edition made psionics fun.

9. GURPS Magic. Basically required if you want to run any sort of fantasy in GURPS.

10.Azagar's Book of Rituals (for 4ed D&D.) An excellent toolkit for 4ed ritual casters. Also, I contributed to this book so I'm a little biased. :)

Jason Richards said...

The lack of Rifts World Book 28: Arzno - Vampire Incursion on your list disturbs me. :)

Zachary The First said...

Jason—this was a list for supplements, not Life-Changing Tomes That Redefine Your Very Ideas of Gaming.

That’s probably why. ;)

Wally said...

Silk Road, Expeditious Retreat Press

Fascinating and excellent choice! Have you tried the other 'magical society' books (ecology, magical medieval, monster builder)? How do they stack up, in your mind? I gotta say, the line as a whole embodies one of the best RPG supplement ideas I've ever seen, but I wonder how many people actually make use of these extremely dense works...

Panzerblitzer said...

"Cities, Midkemia Press"

ZOMG ... I thought I was the only person in the world who ever heard of this. I'm surprised to see you can still get copies of it

adeptgamer said...

Allow me to fall in love with you (and I don't even know your gender). Putting Keep on the Borderlands in the number 1 slot was so wonderful I cried a little. That module CREATED my love for fantasy and RPGs. I can't think of a better module, I know it's subjective but that's why I said "I".

Siskoid said...

I'd have run a different list for adventure scenarios, though I suppose they do count as "supplements". My own list would probably include GURPS Time Travel, the Planescape rule set, DCHeroes Who's Who, the Kafer sourcebook, Blood Brothers for Call of Cthulhu, the Fighter's Handbook, One Shots for Unknown Armies is a good call, Grimtooth's Traps Too, and HIL Sector Blues.

Not saying they're the best, only that they're favorites.

Zachary The First said...

@Wally: I have tried others, but none really struck me as Silk Road. For trade and the wonders of trade routes, caravans, and merchants, Silk Road was really inspiring.

@PanzerBlizter: My copy is old, secondhand, and the staples are rusting. Well worth tracking down, though!

@adeptgamer: I can think of few products as informative, instructive, reusable, and entertaining all at once as Keep on the Borderlands. Still the standard, to my mind.

@Siskoid: An adventures-only list looks quite different for me, that’s for certain.

Wally said...

My own list would probably include GURPS Time Travel

Ever read the new Infinite Worlds book by Ken Hite? I'd say more but it's Ken Hite, for god's sake. He's a hair's breadth from being the Radiohead, or at least the Flaming Lips, of RPG writers.

Johnn Four said...

Forgotten Realms box set
Hackmaster Combat Wheel
Basic D&D Character Sheets
Unearthed Arcana
Castle Amber

Ryan said...

In no particular order:

1. GURPS Time Travel (GURPS)
2. Mekton Zeta Plus (Mekton Zeta)
3. Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering (no specific game)
4. The Random Esoteric Creature Generator (Old school fantasy games)
5. Ascension's Right Hand (Mage: the Ascension 2nd edition)
6. Night Music (In Nomine- it was both a module and a supplement)
7. Spell Compendium (D&D 3.5)
8. Demon Hunter X (Old World of Darkness)
9. Mysterious Places (New World of Darkness)
10. GURPS Steampunk

paul said...

Thanks for sharing that list. It's nice to know the best RPG supplements out there.

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