Earlier, I alluded to a simple RPG system that I would use to ease you into the world of tabletop RPGs. It would be absurd of me to start you off with a complicated system like D&D 5th Edition, after all! Without further ado, welcome to Lasers and Feelings!
Lasers and Feelings is just about the simplest RPG system I know of, but that doesn't mean it isn't a ton of fun. In essence, it has one rule - you pick a number between two and five, and that is your one stat. A high number makes you better at lasers (technology, logic, thinking), while a low number makes you better at feelings (charisma, passion, intuition).
Whenever you need to do something risky in the game, the GM will ask you to roll a six-sided die against either Lasers or Feelings, depending on the action and situation. If you're rolling against Lasers, you want to get your number or below, while if you're rolling against Feelings, you want to get your number or above.
To help with getting the numbers you want, certain things will allow you to roll more dice. You get to roll an extra dice if you're prepared, and another if you're an expert. You get different levels of success depending on how many dice succeed, and a special effect if you get your exact number, as detailed in the image.
To make things simpler for both GMs and players, Lasers and Feelings allows and sometimes even encourages you to roll for attributes related to character and story, instead of having to come up with them yourself. This allows you to come up with some truly wild characters and stories.
Another advantage of Lasers and Feelings is that it is published under a Creative Commons licence, which means it can be shared and modified freely. As such, if you don't feel like doing a space adventure, there are numerous hacks of the game that use the same basic rules. You can go looking for them online, but I've also collected some of the best ones in this Google folder. The selection on offer is...
- Quickdraws and Longshots, based on the Wild West
- A Good Day to Roll Die, based on Die Hard and other similar action movies
- Power and Responsibility, based on superheroes
- Agents and Ciphers, based on spy stories
- Blood and Chrome, based on post-apocalyptic stories (mostly Mad Max)
- Scrolls and Swords, based on classic high fantasy
Side note: some of these have slight typos on their sheets - in all cases, you should be picking a number between 2 and 5. These games all work on the same basic framework as L&F though, and you should start to recognise patterns in how they're designed.