Free RPG List: open-license

newuniversalrules-litelonglive-actiononlinesupplementpreviewwotc-d20worldgenreopen-licensehorrormodernscififantasytraditionalpostapocalypticsuperheroIndex

The Action! System by Mark Arsenault, Patrick Sweeney, and Ross Winn
Keywords: universal long preview open-license
A universal system, whose version 1.1 is released under the WotC Open Gaming License. There is an extended commercial version (released in print or for download) with 10 extra pages and added artwork. The rules are similar to the Fuzion system. Action resolution is by stat + skill + 3d6 vs difficulty. Character creation is limited point-based. 92 pages free rules (PDF or RTF), plus ~60 pages supplements and variants (RTF format).
Animalball Melee
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional rules-lite open-license
A simplified d20 combat engine for quick and easy gladiator fighting. 32 pages rules (PDF).
A+ Fantasy (v1.4) by Jeff Moore
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite open-license
A minimalist fantasy system released under Creative Commons. It uses four attributes (Agility, Brawn, Cognition, Determination) each rated from "A" to "D" representing +3 to +0 die modifier. There are two levels of skills, basic and advanced, with their own effects. Resolution is by rolling 2d6, where a single six is a basic success, and two sixes are a critical success. The player may apply modifiers to each die, but no more than a one point difference between die mods. It includes magic as weapon techniques, but no monsters. 32 pages rules (PDF).
Argh!: The Supernatural RPG, v1.01 by Joshua Macy
Keywords: genre fantasy modern long open-license
A modern-day supernatural thriller RPG inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other works of the genre, released under Creative Commons. It uses the same step die system as Kapow! and Zap!. Resolution takes the higher of two rolls, with an option to add to your roll by taking a hindrance or losing stamina. Character creation includes picking a templates (Mundane, Badass, Magician, and Unique are default) that define your attributes and power choices - customized by adding three Boosts. The core rules includes sample characters, GMing notes, and a 16 page bestiary. 233 pages core rules (PDF).
The Basic Fantasy RPG by Chris Gonnerman
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview open-license
An "old school" variant of 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons. 159 pages core rules (PDF).
Castles & Crusades Quick Start by Davis Chenault & Mac Golden
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview open-license
A quickstart version of the commercial RPG from Troll Lord Games that emulates early Dungeons & Dragons using a variant of the WotC OGL rules. The rules include character creation rules with four classes (fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric) and three races (human, dwarf, and elf), combat rules, and a 3-page mini-adventure. There are no advancement rules, but the rules otherwise cover through level 4. 25 page preview rules (PDF)
Cat RPG
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite open-license
A humorous Public Domain game about modern-day cats who fight Snufles -- invisible jellyfish that threaten humans. Characters have 10 stats: Leap, Bat, Pounce, Patience, Speed, Climb, Hear, Love, Transcend, and STWCNBS (See That Which Can Not Be Seen). Resolution is by 1d20 + stat vs difficulty. 7 page rules (PDF) plus 7 pages introductory scenario (PDF).
Circe by Bryce Harrington
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy long open-license
A medieval fantasy system, with some parts designed with computer aids in mind (although it is not required). Released under the GNU Free Documentation License. Character creation is a mix of random-roll attributes and point-bought skills and extras. 143 pages core rules (PDF or MSWord).
Core Elements, Toolbox Edition by Butch Hargrove and Butch Curry
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A minimalist adaptation of Wizards of the Coasts' "D20 System", with brief appendices for supernatural powers, action points, insanity, and others. 18 pages rules (PDF).
D20 System Reference Document, v3.5
Keywords: genre fantasy long open-license
The basic mechanics for the popular commercial game, Dungeons & Dragons, 3.5th edition, from Wizards of the Coast. The SRD is not a full game as presented, but contains most rules necessary for play as well as stats (but not descriptions) on a host of monsters, items, and more. 200+ pages rules and stats (RTF)
D20 Modern System Reference Document, v3.5
Keywords: genre modern long open-license
The basic mechanics for the commercial game, D20 Modern, from Wizards of the Coast. The SRD is not a full game as presented, but contains most rules necessary for play, as well as stats (but not descriptions) on a host of monsters, items, and more. 200+ pages rules and stats (RTF)
Dominion by Scott Gray and Sharon Tripp
Keywords: fantasy traditional long open-license
A fantasy genre boffer LARP (live action role playing game), including a low fantasy setting ("Uruk"), analogous to the Middle East. With only humans and rare magic. ~90 pages (HTML).
DQ Open Source
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy open-license
A version of the out-of-print commercial game DragonQuest, released by the "DQ Players' Association", without using any trademarks. 40 pages (PDF).
Draft by Pitt Murmann
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A simple fantasy-oriented universal system released under the Open Content license. The PDF of version 0.4 is still available, but unfortunately earlier versions and editable copies were lost in a disk crash. Action resolution is skill + 1d10 vs difficulty. Character creation is limited point-based, splitting attribute points among the nine attributes, and skill points among skills (with costs based on controlling attribute). The basic rules include a brief magic system. 32 pages rules (PDF).
Dungeonslayers by Christian Kennig
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional rules-lite open-license
Billed as "an old-fashioned roleplaying game", this is a simple fantasy RPG of dungeon-delving. Characters are described by 3 attributes (Body, Agility, and Mind), with six associated abilities. Resolution is based on roll under attribute + ability + modifiers on 1d20. 20 pages rules (PDF)
Eclipse Phase by Rob Boyle and Brian Cross
Keywords: genre scifi long open-license
The creative-commons-licensed version of the commercial sci-fi RPG released in 2009, set in a far future. It uses a percentile skill-based system (roll under skill on 1d100). 402 pages rules and background (PDF format).
Epitome by Pitt Mumann
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A universal system, released under the Open Content License. It uses a symbolic character sheet with a circle representing "self", with an outer band of "demeanor", a middle band of "nature", and an inner circle of "soul". It uses primarily diceless resolution relying on GM judgement. 11 pages (PDF).
The Face of Angels (Pre-release 3) by Clinton R. Nixon
Keywords: genre modern superhero rules-lite open-license
A storytelling game that aims for a cross between superhero comics and teen drama movies. The player characters are ordinary teenagers who always begin the story graduating high school. The mechanics use playing cards, and the only stats are your hand of cards, your relationships, and your character's personality type, rated as Jack, Queen, King, or Ace. ~24 pages (HTML).
FATE: Fudge Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment by Rob Donoghue and Fred Hicks (Evil Hat Productions)
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A variant of Steffan O'Sullivan's Fudge, which is a standalone game but recommends familiarity with the original. Like the original, it is now released under the WotC Open Gaming License. Character creation is by five phases in the life of the character, with a literary "aspect" and four skill points for each. It includes several sample magic systems. 90 pages rules (PDF).
Fire and Sword by Raymond Turney
Keywords: genre fantasy long open-license
A fantasy RPG released under the Free Art License. It uses a skill-based system, with resolution by rolling under skill on 1d10, 1d20, or 1d30 depending on difficulty. Character creation is by choosing a primary and secondary archetype, distributing 84+2D6 points among attributes, and two additional skill picks. 163 pages (PDF).
Four Colors al Fresco v1.0b by woodelf
Keywords: genre superhero rules-lite open-license
An alternate-history superheroes game about golden-age style superheroes in Renaissance Italy, released under an open license. It uses a simple narrative system where each character has a die type for four of five basic aspects (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20) -- and the fifth is their superpower aspect. Resolution is by defining which of the five aspects applies to a situation, with modifiers by penalty dice. 83 pages (PDF).
Fringe (Free and INtegrated Game Engine)
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A universal system released under the GPL open license, currently under development by the Free Roleplaying Community. It is not currently complete. It suggests action resolution of attribute + skill + 1d10, and limited point-based character creation. ~20 pages (HTML).
Fudge by Steffan O'Sullian
Keywords: universal rules-lite long open-license
A well-written and long-standing set of freeform rules, released under the WotC OGL license (the Fudge SRD) as well as a limited free license for non-commercial use. The complete rules are available free as well as in print from Grey Ghost Games, who also print Fudge supplements, special Fudge dice, and Fudge Expanded Edition. 90 pages rules (PDF, text, or HTML).
Genesys v0.7.3 by Jeff Clough
Keywords: universal long open-license
A universal RPG system released under Creative Commons. Character creation is open point-based, spending 20 Build Points on the six attributes along with skills and advantages. Resolution is by rolling 3 Fudge dice and adding the total of appropriate attribute and skill, compared to difficulty. 65 pages rules (PDF).
Gods & Monsters by Jerry Stratton
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long open-license
A fantasy RPG compatible with TSR's AD&D (1st or 2nd edition), released under the GNU Free Documentation license. The system is similar but with many changes and simplifications. 100 pages basic rules (PDF, RTF, or HTML).
GRAPE: Generic Roleplaying All-Purpose Engine by Scott Gray
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A purely freeform system which includes the option of die rolls. 1 page HTML.
Grey Lotus by Andrew Williams
Keywords: genre fantasy long world open-license
A fantasy RPG released under the Open Publication License. It is set on the fantasy world of Gaia, which is inhabited by humans, faerie races, and alien races. It uses a skill-based system. Action resolution is to roll d10's equal to skill and take the highest + attribute versus difficulty. Character creation is semi-open point-based, assigning 7 priority points among four categories, then spending points within each category. 110 pages core rules (PDF,HTML,LaTeX) plus 23 page magic supplement (PDF,HTML).
JAGS-2 by Marco Chacon
Keywords: genre universal long open-license preview
A universal system, the "rules-medium" version of JAGS. It has a version released under the GNU Free Documentation License, and also has a print version available. It uses roll under attribute or skill on 4d6 (dropping 6s). It uses open point-based character creation, with 3 primary attributes and 9 secondary. Skills have a 4-level expertise rating (Beginner, Average, Expert, Master) which determines usage as well as a number to roll under (0 to 20). 65 pages basic rules (PDF).
Kapow! by Joshua Macy
Keywords: genre modern superhero long open-license
A superhero RP designed to scale to many different levels. Stats and powers are defined relative to the Scope of the game - from 1 (normal) to 12 (cosmic). Character creation includes picking one of four templates (Standard, Powerhouse, Jack-of-All-Trades, and Minimal) that defined your attribute and power choices - customized by adding three Boosts. The four attributes are three resistances (Toughness, Will, and Stamina) and Actions (number of choices per turn). Powers include any active abilities including skills and gadgets. Action resolution uses a step-die system, taking the higher of two rolls - with option to add to your roll by taking a hindrance or losing stamina . The dice rolls are from d4 to d8. Power Level 6 rolls 1d6+1d6; PL7 rolls 1d6+1d8; level 8 rolls 1d8+1d8; etc. 267 pages (PDF).
Kids Easy Play Fantasy RPG by Steven Ruske
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy rules-lite open-license
A brief RPG based on the D20 System rules, but greatly simplified for play by younger kids. 32 pages rules (PDF).
Lycadican by Sheldon Lee Wen, Monte Lee Wen, Ricardo Bare
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy long world open-license
A fantasy game set on the world of Khardan, released under the Open Content License. The system is a percentile skill-based with required professions. 363 pages rules (PDF) plus additional worldbook.
Malls & Morons by Orion Cooper et al.
Keywords: genre modern open-license
A humorous RPG about teenagers in the mall, based on the D20 system -- with classes like "Computer Geek", "Football Player", and "Trekkie". The rulebook is implemented on a wiki. ~30 pages rules (HTML).
Microlite20 by Greywulf
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite open-license
A very rules-lite variant of the D20 system, with only three attributes and four classes. There are four adventures available for download in addition to the basic rules. 2 page Core Rules, 2 page GM Guide, 2 page Monster List, 2 page Spell List, 2 page Modern Rules, 3 page Expert Rules.
Midgard by Ben Redmond
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite open-license
A viking RPG. Character creation is limited point-based, choosing a Birthright and Legend template, spending 14 points on attributes ("runes") and 13 points on skills. Resolution uses a set of tokens distributed among runes on your sheet. You get automatic tokens equal to your skill, then roll a number of d8s equal to attribute -- with each 1 adding to a problem pool, each 3-5 added to one of three result pools, and 6-8 to your distributable token pool. Combat includes a dozen maneuver options and detailed weapon stats (Damage, Speed, AP, Hard., Str.). 26 pages (PDF).
Midian
Keywords: genre fantasy long open-license
A dark fantasy genre RPG released under a home-grown open license, in a world populated by dwarves, elves, trolls, ghouls, hobgoblins, warrior gaijin, reptilian Killians, and humans. Character creation is random-roll attributes with different rolls based on race. Action resolution is based on 1d20 for combat, or 2d20 roll under stat. 212 pages (HTML/PDF).
Myriad by Ashok Desai
Keywords: universal long open-license
A collection of customizable mechanics for putting together an RPG. Action resolution uses a dice pool: roll d6s equal to attribute and take the highest, add skill and compare to difficulty. There are several variations of character generation, including open and limited point-based, random and templates. 74 pages (PDF).
Mystery Men! by John M. Stater
Keywords: genre modern superhero rules-lite open-license
A simple superhero RPG based on the Swords & Wizardry system by Matt Finch. It uses character classes and levels, with the three classes being Adventurer, Sorcerer, or Scientist. It includes over 200 superpowers, often similar to fantasy genre spells. Resolution is by adding attribute + 1d20 and comparing to either 10 + opposing stat or calculated Defense Class (for combat). Released under the WotC OGL. 44 pages rules (PDF).
OpenD6 by George Strayton / West End Games
Keywords: universal rules-lite long open-license
A variant of West End Games' D6 system used for the commercial games Ghostbusters and Star Wars, released under the WotC Open Game License. 83 pages system book (PDF), 146 pages modern-day adventure genre book (PDF), 146 pages fantasy genre book (PDF), 146 pages space genre book (PDF).
Opening the Dark by Malcolm Sheppard
Keywords: genre horror long open-license preview
This is the core mechanical system for a commercial modern dark fantasy/horror RPG, closely based on White Wolf's World of Darkness games, but released under an open gaming license. It uses a dice pool system, rolling d10s equal to attribute plus skill, where every result from 7 to 9 is one success, and every result of 10 is two successes. 116 pages rules (RTF).
OpenRPG
Keywords: universal online open-license
This is a project for an open-source Internet application that allows people to play RPGs in real-time over the Internet. It is currently in release 1.2.1 (July 2002).
The Osprey Roleplaying System by Christopher A. Goodwin with Ron Hale-Evans and Marty Hale-Evans
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A role-playing engine released under an Open Content license. It uses a point-based, skill-based system. 28 pages PDF.
OSRIC v2.2
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long open-license
OSRIC ('Old School Reference and Index Compilation') is an effort to make a WotC OGL version of first edition AD&D mechanics without violating copyright. 404 pages PDF.
Owl Hoot Trail, Playtest Edition 2 by Clinton R. Nixon
Keywords: genre preview open-license wotc-d20
A game set in a fantasy version of the American Old West, using a variant of the Microlite20 system. It includes Humans, Half'ins, Ferals, and Hill Folk as races - along with Lawman, Scout, Gunslinger, Ruffian, Scoundrel, Gadgeteer, Mentalist, Preacher, and Shaman as classes. 22 pages playtest rules (PDF).
Prima by Hugo Garcia-Cotte
Keywords: genre fantasy long open-license
A French-language fantasy RPG released under Creative Commons 3.0 non-commercial, share-alike. The player characters are fledgling gods. Characters begin with one spell and one physical alteration, and after some scenarios you can decide your apperance. It includes two magic systems. 419 pages rules and background (PDF).
The Shadow of Yesterday by Clinton R. Nixon
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite open-license
A fantasy genre RPG, released under a Creative Common license, set in world nearly destroyed by a astronomical disaster which destroyed the moon. Action resolution is 2d6 plus skill plus modifiers, where level of success is from a universal success chart. Character creation is limited point-based, with attribute-like pools of points and skills. ~40 pages rules (HTML).
Simple20 by James D. Hargrove
Keywords: universal rules-lite open-license
A simple set of universal rules based on the D20 SRD. 15 pages rules (PDF) plus 6 pages appendices (PDF).
Slayer of Dragon by Grant Gigee
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy rules-lite long open-license
A martial arts RPG released under the WotC Open Gaming license. Action resolution is to 2d6 on a universal table of effective skill vs difficulty. Character creation is limited point-based. (Formerly the the semi-generic "IT" RPG with Robert Ogden.) 24 pages core rules (PDF).
Star Blades: Roleplaying in the Worlds of Tomorrow, V2 by Dragon Trove LLC
Keywords: genre scifi long open-license
A science fiction game inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune, using a variant of the original edition Dungeons and Dragons rules emphasizing combat without guns and political intrigue. It is published under the Wizards of the Coast Open Gaming License. Character classes include Empath, Face Dancer, Mentat, Telepath, and Star Warrior. 126 pages (PDF).
Sword & Wizardry by Matthew J. Finch
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy long open-license
A clone of the original 1974 RPG created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson using the WotC OGL, along with supplementary material. 118 pages (PDF).
Treasure RPG by Thistle Games
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional open-license
An RPG using custom card mechanics that can be played as a traditional tabletop RPG, but can also be played as a boardgame or an inexpensive Collectible Card Game. Action resolution is by rolling 2d6 plus stat or level aka "Stars," where 9+ is a success. The game uses many visual icons to indicate options. Character creation is limited point-based, using icons for "Gems and Jewels." ~150 pages (HTML).
True20 Quickstart Rules
Keywords: universal preview open-license
A brief preview of the True20 rules from Green Ronin, with a sample adventure adapted from their D&D adventure, "Death In Freeport". There are no character creation rules, but four sample characters are included with the adventure. 6 pages quickstart rules (PDF) plus 32 pages adventure (PDF).
Two Worlds Tabletop RPG by Charles Rice and Chris Davis
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long open-license
A fantasy-genre RPG adapted from the computer game "Two Worlds", set on the world of Antaloor, using a variant of the "D20" from D&D third edition. The game includes character creation, simplified combat and skill rules, and 14 monsters. 72 pages rules (PDF).
Violence: the RPG of egregious and repulsive bloodshed by Greg Costikyan
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite open-license
A parody of RPGs in which the PCs are madmen in the modern world who kick down apartment doors, murder the people inside, and take their valuables. This is a free release under the Creative Commons license of the 1999 published game from Hogshead Games. It has a minimalist system: random-roll attributes, roll under skill on a step-die based on difficulty. 34 pages (PDF).
The Wanton Role-Playing System (WaRP) by Jonathan Tweet, Robin D. Laws
Keywords: universal open-license
A version of the mechanics from the commercial game Over the Edge, released by Atlas Games under the WotC Open Game License. It uses a simple system of picking four player-defined traits: one central trait (4d6), two side traits (3d6), and one flaw. Resolution is by rolling your trait dice, possibly along with penalty or bonus dice. If you have bonus/penalty dice, remove high or low dice from the pool equal to the bonus/penalty. The total is compared to a difficulty number. 28 pages (PDF).
Warrior & Wizard, v0.10 by Chris Goodwin
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long open-license
Described as a "fantasy role-playing game and combat game" that focuses on fantasy combat. Resolution is by rolling under attribute on 3d6 (alternately, 4d6 or 5d6 for higher difficulty). Character creation has two classes (warrior and wizard), and is point-based - spending 32 points among the 3 attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence) and picking a number of skill slots equal to Intelligence. Wizards may pick spells equal to INT, but have only half as many skill slots. 51 pages (HTML).
Wushu-Open
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview open-license
An action-movie / martial arts RPG, the free version of the full Wushu RPG. This uses a simple dice pool system (roll d6's equal to trait and take highest) along with the "Principle of Narrative Truth". There are added wrinkles for combat, splitting your dice into Yin and Yang (i.e. defense and offense). Character creation is simple point-based, spreading 5-8 points among roughly 3 player-defined traits, and choosing a weakness. 10 pages rules (RTF).
Yags by Samuel Penn
Keywords: genre fantasy long world open-license
A generic fantasy system released under the GNU Free Documentation License. It includes an adaptations for an original fantasy world (Habisfern), including brief magic rules. Action resolution is skill + 1d20 vs difficulty. Character creation is open point-based. 57 pages rules (HTML/PDF).
Zap!: The Science Fiction RPG, v1.01 by Joshua Macy
Keywords: genre scifi long open-license
A generic science fiction RPG inspired released under Creative Commons. It uses the same step die system as Kapow! and Zap!. Resolution takes the higher of two rolls - with option to add to your roll by taking a hindrance or losing stamina. Character creation includes picking a templates (Crew, Badass, Scientist and Unique are default) that define your attributes and power choices - customized by adding three Boosts. 115 pages core rules (PDF).
Zombiepocalypse by Spalls Hurgenson
Keywords: genre horror modern rules-lite open-license
A post-apocalyptic game set after zombies have taken over the world. Character creation is by taking binary "player's option" choices which may taken at any time. It uses a simple dice-pool system, rolling d6s based on complexity of the action, where 4-6 indicates success, modified by difficulty and possibly an application option. ~20 pages HTML.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Tue Sep 1 20:59:33 2015