Starfinder Playlist
  1. #1

    Resource Listings for the Creation of Rules Sets

    I'd like to try and begin a new thread, hopefully a long-term one, for users to list game systems that have either received permission from the owners to be used for freely-distributable rules sets, or for systems that have had their trademarks or copyrights cancelled/dropped/lapsed over the years, and are now effectively open source. Several of my favorite games now share that status, and it occurred to me that they could be worked-up, and that there are likely numerous others out there that potential "architects" could choose from if desiring to create new rules sets for Fantasy Grounds.

    I'd also like to suggest limiting ourselves to listing games that were formally published, since there are already numerous sites on the web for listing free amatuer RPGs (some of which are actually quite good, but listing them here could easily flood the thread with material already easily accessible).

    I'll kick things off myself.

    Powers & Perils

    In my opinion, the best FRPG you never heard of. Interior artwork sucked (covers were nice, though), and the rules were so badly edited they'd give you a headache at first, but once you got past all that, you were treated to the most ingenious and realistic set of game mechanics ever put to print. Formerly published by Avalon Hill, the author Richard Snider has allowed the fan community to post and share all the rules and material, including various revisions and updates. A v2 of the game is also in the works. Everything for this game can be downloaded freely from the Powers & Perils website.

    Two other excellent systems worth mentioning are DragonQuest and Universe, originally published by SPI. Updated, expanded versions of both of these games are now supported and distributed freely by their respective fan clubs. These games were originally acquired by TSR when they bought SPI's catalogue, and the rights kept changing hands (TSR/Hasbro/WotC). WotC allowed the trademarks to expire several years ago, abandoning the material. The name "Universe" was scooped up by a company called Tower Ravens for a new, unique sci-fi RPG. I spoke to a WotC rep a few years ago when the Universe trademark was re-registered by TR (some of us were considering trying to raise funds to buy the old games outright), and although they still own the actual material, they have no intention of reviving either game, and really couldn't care less what we do with them. They are both, effectively, open source (although I wouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth by trying to reprint and sell anything, heh heh).

    Several mirrors for both of those games are easily found through Google, or from the respective Yahoo Groups sites. To make things simpler, though, and avoid the chances of links changing, I'll mirror those two myself later and add the links if anyone wishes to tackle either of them for rules sets.

    I'd like to also mention some games that I think may be worth looking into, but that I don't know the actual status of.

    Blue Planet is now defunct, and it would be worth looking into. FFG seems a pleasant enough company, and I'd be willing to bet that even if they wouldn't let us use the 2nd edition rules, they'd give the green light for using 1st edition. Hey, worth a shot. They've stopped production on Fireborn now, too, and I'd kill a puppy for a rules set of that. lol (kidding)

    And does anyone remember the original CORPS from BTRC? Not the Omniversal system he later made and reused the name for, but the devilishly wicked conspiracy RPG. Greg sold the rights to another company a couple of years ago (I'd spoken with him before that, and knew of an embarrassing little fact: he'd accidentally thrown out or lost the saved TIFF files of the game books, and had recently sold or destroyed the last of the overstock, so didn't have any copies of his own game left!). The new company (can't recall the name) made a newer version for their Active Exploits system, but it tanked (I looked at it, and no wonder it failed, it didn't have the sense of humor Greg puts into his stuff). I'm not sure of where that original version actually stands now. The Active Expliots guys made an entirely new version, and BTRC now uses the name for their universal system, so I'm betting there's a very good chance whomever holds the rights to the original material wouldn't mind a bit if we used it for a rules set. Definitely worth looking into.

    Plenty of stuff out there, that's for sure. How about 1st edition rules for Twilight 2000? Now there's an awesome idea. The owner of T2K sells CDs of the entire run of the game for pocket change (compared to the usual online fare), and they're working on another, newer version of the rules, so I wouldn't be surprised a bit if they OK'd using an older set of rules. (Hey, I really like 1st edition rules!)

    Anyway, dive right in. If you know of anything that can be legitimately used, please add your post.

  2. #2
    When FG2.0 arrives, I'd really like to see a version of Rolemaster. I've never seen better rules anywhere, and if you could automatize some of the table referencing, it would be a dream come true.

  3. #3
    Edit -button didn't work, so more posts...

    Almost forgot, Rolemaster is very closely related to MERP (Middle Earth RP). If someone's into that kind of setting, you should check it out.

  4. #4
    I'm pretty sure neither of those will be allowed. MERP certainly won't, as the Tolkien Estate lawyers are very demonstrative in their quest to stamp out any sort of free access to even the slightest amount of material they deem "theirs." MERP materials used to be available online, but they made them stop. (Note: Don't confuse the Tolkien Estate lawyers with the actual family. The Tolkien family are actually very cool about all this, and are supportive of the fan community and sharing of the old game materials, but have no control over the estate lawyers.)

    As for Rolemaster, that's a tough one to guess at. The newer versions of the system are still very similar to the old, enough so that it would be hard to see them accepting the idea that older versions are alright for public usage without it competing with their current product. Now, should they ever drop RM altogether and put all the focus on their new HARP system, I could see them going for it.


    Oh, I've remembered another system that's available for making a rules set. TSR's old Star Frontiers. That line, in its entirety, was released to the public for free several years ago. I don't remember if it was a case of rights reverting to the authors, or if WotC was simply doing something cool for a change, heh heh, but either way, there's an entire game line that can be worked-up and posted legally.

    I haven't bothered to look for current download links for that material, but if someone wants to take that one on, and can't find the links, just PM me. I got all the files back when they were released, and can easily re-post them somewhere.

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