Distinguishing RPGs Chart

New Version! The chart done as an isometric dungeon! Available for free as a large image or as a poster print. (On the linked page, scroll down to the 600-pixel thumbnail version and click it for the 300+ pixel version.)

Distinguishing RPGs Chart

Distinguishing RPGs Chart (Click to Enlarge)

This chart distinguishes between 100 (or so) traditional role-playing games. Some decisions are distinguished based on game mechanics,  some by setting and some are funny quips based on popular opinion. Start in the green diamond.

If you have suggestions of games to add, please suggest them in the comments! But please also include one or two things that differentiate the game you’re suggesting.  Also feel free to mention more/better ways to differentiate the games already on the chart.  Keep in mind not every game can be included: popularity (this isn’t designed to be centered on the small press), varying game mechanics, and setting/genre are the primary factors.

Also, while you’re here take a look at the square graphic links to the far right for a slew of other useful free RPG tools (a coat of arms design tool, random map generators for cities, villages, dungeons), inn menu/patron/floorplan generators, magic item shop generators, full featured RPG Map Software for hex/wilderness maps as well as dungeon/building maps, etc.) hosted here.  —->

By the way, hot-linking directly to the image is turned off so you need to link to the page.  This ensures people always see the latest version.  (The web site software versions the files, so linking directly would otherwise go to the old version.)

17 comments on “Distinguishing RPGs Chart
  1. Austerity says:

    I think you’re missing Toon.

    “World of Darkness” technically covers Wraith (sort of, a bit) but also lumps Changeling and Mage (both White Wolf properties) even though both of those have little to do with Gothic vampire/wolf kissy face stuff.

    There’s also a psionics world one that I have the source book for at home (I’m at work) that I believe you missed.

  2. Roxysteve says:

    How about “Trail of Cthulhu” for Call of Cthulhu lovers who always miss their “spot” rolls?

    And Cubicle 7’s “The Laundry” for those who want their Modern Horror With Shoggoths and a side order of ISO 9000-qualified Bureaucracy?

    Thank you for this. I thought I’d soil myself when I read “Do you like points-based systems?” – “Yes! With Fractions!” pointing to GURPS Supers. I laughed so hard I got busted for goofing off at work.

    Well done.

    Well done.

  3. Roxysteve says:

    (typo alert – not for publication) Hackmaster Basic misspelled in top left brown section of wonderful, wonderful diagram.

  4. LordEnigma says:

    Aberrant for “superheroes” non-d20 win.
    Exalted for high fantasy/anime-style win.

  5. JebPotly says:

    Very cool! Love it! In fact, it’s so cool that I made a quiz webpage to generate the results of the flow chart. Just pick your choices and it’ll tell you what RPG best fits you.


  6. Joel says:

    A suggestion:


    “Combat- or Drama-Based?” “Combat”–> continue to existing branches.

    “Drama”–> “What kind of drama?”

    “Face front, true believer!” (Alternatively, “Lee & Kirby”) –> Capes

    “Soap Opera” –> Smallville

    Or, if you want more mechanics-based choices:

    Drama –> “GMless?” “yes” –> Capes “no” –> Smallville

    But I think the first set of more branches is more interesting. 🙂

  7. Joel says:



    “Mix in Some Steampunk?” No –>

    “Religion and Supernatural?” Yes –> Dogs in the Vineyard

    No –> Aces and Eights


  8. Nick says:

    What about:
    Other Suns,
    Bunnies and Burrows,
    Space Opera,
    Land of the rising sun,
    Revised recon
    Outlaw for RM/SM
    Rapiers Point for RM
    Also What about all the variants of:

  9. Joe says:

    Sorry all… but all of those are probably too niche. Maybe a couple will get on the chart in the next update but it is unlikely.

  10. Ben says:

    Good times!

  11. Christopher says:

    I think you’ve got the “Dice Pools?” answers reversed for WFRP2/3.

    Or you’re making a joke about how suffering permeates the setting, so people that like dice pools should play the one without dice pools and vice versa. 😀

  12. Taliesin says:

    How about Unknown Armies, a (post)modern underground occult game described by TVTropes as “If David Cronenberg, Tim Powers, Christopher Nolan, Thomas Pynchon and the late Robert Anton Wilson met at a role-playing convention, that’s what they would play.”

  13. Klicrai says:

    How about diceless games like Everway?

  14. Balrog28 says:

    You forgot ‘Kobolds Ate My Baby’ – cmon guy! Just kidding – great chart!

  15. dunerat says:

    You’re missing BattleLords of the 23rd Century. i assure you, it is definitely different from the listed options, and is the single best independant Sci-Fi game in the last 15 years. Also, i notice you have ShadowRun but not BattleTech. Seconding the note about the World of Darkness. WoD is a setting rather than a single game, incorporating 6 major properties (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Wraith, and Demon) and an easy dozen or more subtitles spread between them.

    Awesome chart, i will be sharing this with all my friends, ha ha!


  16. Michael says:

    Great chart! (I’d love to see one just for versions of Traveller!) One proble, tho – how exactly does one get to the Fudge/Fate boxes, hmm? I think that corner could use a bit of re-work in the next version.
    Thanks again!

  17. Ben says:

    I was disappointed not to see any Middle Earth RPGs up there. The more recent attempts at it haven’t been spectacular, but the old MERP game was pretty popular and had dozens of supplements. It was based on a simplified version of the Rolemaster engine. I’d also like to see The Riddle of Steel up there. It’s an indie game, but it’s notable for its realistic combat (endorsed by ARMA!), priority chart character creation, and use of dice pools.

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