View Full Version : Free RPG Systems - Any Love?

February 28th, 2009, 09:24
I'm intrigued by the idea of RPGs made as close to story telling as possible. One question I have is about a game with no entry costs. Something under very liberal licenses or public domain that becomes whatever the players\DM make of it.

The web has a whole bunch of free RPGs of different approaches and quality but some are winning my interest. Still it makes me wonder if you could sustain a game without glitzy magazines and beautiful books.

If you set out to buy a copy of all the artwork in a typical RPG book, you'd certainly pay more than the cost of the book. There's also a lot of writing, editing, etc... in many of the commercial books. This makes me wonder if a free game without all the eye candy and publisher support could survive. (Who doesn't know the joy of a new RPG book?)

Does anyone know of established user bases for some of the free RPGs?

If you don't know what I'm talking about that's also pretty telling...


March 2nd, 2009, 17:47
Like Tri-Stat?

The Alchemist
March 11th, 2009, 14:08
If you could start up a new system, and make it workable and unlike current systems in place even without all the product advertisement and all that fluff that they use to sell games and systems today I think you could gather a good following in a short amount of time. Especially if you released it under some simple to gain formats with a lot of basic stuff covered from the get go. Say if you release it in a PDF on a website with a couple sample adventure scenarios, you would be able to gain a few people from whoever came over it. Advertise on some gaming forums, you get more, Release a ruleset for FG and then you could possibly get an even wider community right here that would play. But the harest part of it all is not stepping on the corporate toes.

Wizards for example, if you make a new 'free' PnP RPG system, someone from there will eventually find it and pick and prune it until they can find something that they can assume cuts into their intellectual property rights.

(read the GSL for 4e, I can assure you they are not trying to let 3rd parties make money off of 'their' game this time around)

April 2nd, 2009, 10:07
Hmm, I don't know that this 'fits' your criteria very well... I kind of think it doesn't seeing as they sell books for it... but - it's very much a system that 'borders' on 'no glitz' at least.. the books are pretty much all text, paper back and relatively in-expensive.

the community support is pretty good, with the internet forums providing the base (it looks like.)

I speak of the burning wheel system, found at http://www.burningwheel.org/
I guess for truly free, it would have to be something that some one made on the internet and didn't ever publish... the only thing is that if something gets real popular on the internet.. there is always some one standing by waiting to publish it heh.

anyway, this was what first came to mind when I Read your post... and even though it doesn't fit 100%, I think that it demonstrates that such a thing 'might' be possible.

zWolf -out.

April 6th, 2009, 02:40
IMHO, The best free rpg is Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (http://www.basicfantasy.org/). The community is strong and the detail work and expansions have that good old feel to it.

August 28th, 2009, 22:21
IMHO, The best free rpg is Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (http://www.basicfantasy.org/). The community is strong and the detail work and expansions have that good old feel to it.

I like this one alot too. Our group is using it for a play by post game I'm in. i think the simplistic rule set lends itself well to a play by post.

August 29th, 2009, 00:44
Ars Magica 4th edition. http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=AG0204 Yes, this is pretty much the same as the 5th edition. And it is free.

- Obe (Who loves his Ars Magica VERY VERY much. )

August 31st, 2009, 07:51
I always thought the 'Basic Fanstasy Role-Playing (http://www.basicfantasy.org/downloads.html)' system would be great with that 'sheet of paper' character sheet someone made up. It looked like a sheet of notebook paper with a blue handwriting font. Had holes punched in it and everything :)

I would add some tokens that look like unpainted metal miniatures and a background with a picture of some books, pencils, dice, and a mountain dew ring on a table. Maybe some badly drawn fantasy pictures colored with markers for the book icons.

August 31st, 2009, 18:53
Eden Studios' WitchCraft is another good roleplaying game offered for free by the publisher. It uses the Unisystem, which I've got an FGII ruleset for.