Regardless of why you find the genre attractive, our list of the top 10 best RPGs that you can play on Linux is here to help you pick your next adventure. The list includes only RPGs that run natively on Linux or work flawlessly with Wine, a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications.
Open World: The Elder Scrolls Series
The Elder Scrolls series is perhaps the most popular RPG franchise in the West. It started with the release of The Elder Scrolls: Arena in 1994, but its popularity exploded with the release of Morrowind in 2002 and Oblivion in 2006. The latest main entry in the series, Skyrim, has sold around 30 million copies, making it one of the top 20 best-selling games of all time (the top spot is occupied by Minecraft, which has sold 240 million copies so far).
They are best known for their detailed open-world environments; each of the three most recent games in the Elder Scrolls series can provide you with hundreds of hours of entertainment full of dungeon crawling, questing, and item hunting. Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim run flawlessly with Wine, and they don’t cost much these days because of their age.
Isometric Fantasy: Baldur’s Gate Series
The first two Baldur’s Gate games have set the standard for isometric fantasy role-playing games. They take place in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, which dates back to the 60s when it was designed by Ed Greenwood for his childhood stories.
But Baldur’s Gate I & II are certainly no games for children. They deal with mature themes and have complex gameplay mechanics that take some time to master. You can get the original releases to work on Linux using Wine without any issues, and there’s also Baldur’s Gate I & II: Enhanced Edition, which supports Linux right out of the box.
Third-Person Fantasy: Neverwinter Nights
When Neverwinter Nights was first released in 2002 by BioWare and Obsidian Entertainment, game critics praised it for its expansive campaign, polished gameplay mechanics, smooth 3D engine, and multiplayer features. While we take some of these things for granted these days, Neverwinter Nights still holds up surprisingly well after nearly two decades.
An enhanced edition of Neverwinter Nights with support for Linux was released in 2018, but it wasn’t received too well, with players criticizing it for not fixing glitches present in the original games and even introducing several new ones.
Post-Apocalyptic: Fallout Series
The Fallout series of post-apocalyptic turn-based role-playing games is set in a world destroyed by a global nuclear conflict that left behind nothing but scorched earth, mutated animals and humans, destroyed cities, and a handful of survivors who were hidden inside large vaults when the worst happened.
Fallout 1 and 2 are isometric RPGs, and they work perfectly well with Wine. Fallout 3 is a first- or third-person RPG that has bought the series to the masses, and it also runs great on Linux. Unfortunately, the latest entry in the series, Fallout 4, runs horribly with Wine, so you better avoid it unless you’re ready to be disappointed.
Cyberpunk: Shadowrun Series
If you love cyberpunk as much as we do, then you should do yourself a favor and play at least one game in the revived Shadowrun series. We recommend starting with Shadowrun Returns because it was released the first, is relatively short and has simpler gameplay mechanics than the two subsequent titles, namely Dragonfall and Hong Kong.
The good news is that all Shadowrun games run natively on Linux, and you can get them on GOG. They are set in a futuristic urban setting where technology and magic exist side by side. As with all good cyberpunk stories, you get to explore the fringes of society and see their contrast with powerful mega-corporations.
Dungeon-Crawler: Legend of Grimrock
There was a time when most RPG players spent their days crawling dungeons filled with deadly monsters and even deadlier traps in search of treasure, glory, or the way out. Legend of Grimrock is a throwback to those times, a first-person dungeon crawler with modern graphics but old-school gameplay mechanics.
As the player character, you are limited to grid-based movement as you explore a vast network of ancient tunnels to find a way to survive in the dungeons of Mout Grimrock. Even though your movement is limited, your reflexes must be quick because the game features a highly tactical real-time combat system that’s guaranteed to
Classic Action RPG: Diablo 2
Many older action RPG players consider Diablo 2 to be the absolute pinnacle of the genre, even though the game was first released in 2000. Back then, reviewers and players alike were spellbound by the dark fantasy setting Diablo 2 takes place in, the addictive hack-and-slash gameplay mechanics, as well as the huge variety of loot the game allows you to discover and use for different purposes (but mostly to kill things faster).
Unlike in 2000, Diablo 2 no longer ships on physical media. Instead, Blizzard Entertainment distributes it via its Battle.net digital distribution platform. Fortunately, the Battle.net launcher downloads the installation file, so installing the game on Linux using Wine isn’t a problem at all. What will likely be a problem is running the upcoming remastered edition of the game, Diablo 2 Resurrected, but we digress.
Modern Action RPG: Torchlight 2
Torchlight 2 has a lot in common with Diablo 2, but it’s set in a much more vibrant, quirky world, making the game more appealing to players who don’t like their games to be too grim. It also works on Linux without any hacks or third-party tools, which is always a huge plus.
You can enjoy Torchlight 2 on your own, but the game features both online and LAN co-op multiplayer with drop-in, drop-out functionality, so crawling dungeons with friends and online strangers could hardly be any easier. Since Torchlight 2 was released in 2012, you don’t need a powerful computer to run it maxed out and without any lag.
Turn-Based: Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity: Original Sin is developed by Larian Studios, the video game developer responsible for Divine Divinity (2002) and Beyond Divinity (2004), this turn-based RPG is a love letter to all fans of classic RPG games who like their role-playing adventures to be extensive, turn-based, and full of lore.
We recommend you get Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition instead of the original release because it features thousands of enhancements and dozens of new features, including split-screen cooperative play. Drop-in, drop-out multiplayer is also supported, so there are many ways to enjoy the game besides playing it solo. Linux is fully supported, and translations into ten or so languages are available.
Alcoholism: Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is the most innovative RPG on this list and perhaps on any list. You play as a detective who has lost his way in life (as well as his memory), and your goal is to solve a murder mystery while potentially redeeming yourself in the process. Unlike virtually all RPGs ever created, Disco Elysium doesn’t revolve around combat. Instead, all encounters with friendly and hostile characters alike are resolved through skill checks and dialog trees.
As a player, you can influence your character’s beliefs and attitudes, become a millionaire or a drug addict (or perhaps both at the same time), explore a world that’s alive with characters with real depth to them, and much more. The game is fully voiced, which greatly helps with immersion, and subtitles in several languages are also available.