Free RPG List: preview

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).
Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying by Brett Bernstein (Politically Incorrect Games)
Keywords: universal rules-lite long preview
A universal diceless system. Action resolution is based on spending Luck, Discipline, and Revelation points. Skill lower difficulty, while attributes add to the total. Character creation is limited point-based. There are four free setting books, 20-30 pages each: a modern-day monster-hunter setting ("The Shaded Veil"), a dystopian sci-fi setting ("Overworld"), a modern conspiracy/horror setting ("Harlequinade"), and a medieval Europe setting ("The Kingdom of Norweign"). In addition, there are three commercial settings: HeartQuest, CORPS, and Dreamwalker. 36 pages core rules (PDF) plus 90 pages free settings (PDF).
"Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook, 3rd edition" by Chris Perkins et al.
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy preview long
An author's take on what 3rd edition AD&D should have been, borrowing from Castles & Crusades as well as the first three editions of D&D. 162 pages basic rules (PDF).
Aera Preview by Christian Fricke, Tobias Mannewitz, Stefan Koch, Sebastian Fricke
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
A German-language fantasy RPG, the preview version of the commercial game. 100 pages basic rules and background (PDF).
Ambarquenta: Tales of Fate in Middle Earth, release 7.0 by Georg Witrisal and The Heren Turambarion
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview
A preview release of an RPG set in Tolkien's Middle Earth. The PDF is password protected, requiring a password given over email by the creator. Character creation is limited point-based, and resolution is 2d10 + skill. Heroic results can come from use of the Ambar trait. 300 pages (PDF)
Altus Adventum Demo by Roderic Waibel
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional rules-lite preview
The preview version of a fantasy RPG set on an original fantasy world -- the continent Algerian on the planet of Azorath, inhabited by humans, elves, dwarves, and gnomes. It uses the "InertiaX System" which emphasizes flexibility and speed of resolution for combat. Action resolution is a stepped dice pool (1d4, 2d4, and on up to 4d20, 5d20). 23 pages (PDF).
Ars Magica, 4th edition by Jonathan Tweet, Mark Rein*Hagen, Jeff Tidball, and John Nephew
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
This is the complete and up-to-date version of the full commercial RPG, made available for free in PDF form by Atlas Games. It is set in a mythic version of medieval Europe, and the PCs are magicians who gather in secret covenants to learn their Art. It includes a highly in-depth magic system widely regarded as a classic of design. 272 pages rules and background (PDF).
Arumo: the Kingdom of Wilted Flowers by Kyle Marquis
Keywords: genre traditional scifi fantasy rules-lite preview wotc-d20
Preview of a fantasy RPG set in a world of organic technology. The current edition uses the WotC "D20" system, with additions specific to the world. ~10 pages HTML rules plus ~18 pages background.
a|state-lite by Malcolm Craig
Keywords: genre scifi fantasy long preview
A dark science fantasy RPG set in a place known only as "The City", the preview version of a print RPG to be published in 2003. It has advanced technology but also is plagued by the remnants of a magical cataclysm known as "The Shift". It uses a percentile skill-based system (roll under stat/skill on 1d100). Character creation is limited point-based (attribute points and skill points), with various origins and occupations offering suggested skills. There are no ads/disads. 62 pages (PDF).
Aurora Quick-Start Guide by Stephen Mulholland
Keywords: genre scifi long preview
A hard science-fiction spacefaring RPG -- the abbreviated version of the published game available on CD-ROM. Action resolution uses the concept of "Failure Dice". You can choose to roll any number of d10's. That number is added to your skill, but any die which is that number or less is a failure which subtracts 2 from your total. Thus, more dice allows better results but is riskier. Character creation is open point-based. 56 pages quick-start guide (PDF), plus several additions including two 28-page alien species guides.
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).
Basic Roleplaying Quick-Start Edition
Keywords: universal preview
This is a free version of the commercial Basic Roleplaying system from Chaosium. It includes introductory character creation and resolution systems, along with seven introductory mini-adventures. 48 pages rules (PDF).
Bid-It Diceless Roleplaying System by Michael Coe
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
No longer a free RPG, but a cheap $2 download for the playtest version of a diceless system where the player spends task points to succeed, paying the difference between his skill and the difficulty. 16 pages (PDF).
Blue Rose Fast Play by John Snead and Steve Kenson
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview
A preview version of a commercial romantic fantasy RPG. The rules are based on third edition D&D / "D20", with major modifications including hit-point-less damage. The full version also includes a hero point system (Conviction Points), but it is not in this preview. This includes a brief adventure and sample characters. 20 pages (PDF).
Breaking the Ice Playtest by Emily Care Boss
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview
The playtest version of a game for two players about modern dating, now available in commercial form. It is GMless with narrative rules where each player takes turns setting up a scene and then rolling for the result on the level of attraction. ~7 pages rules (HTML).
Capes Lite by Tony Lower-Basch
Keywords: genre modern superhero rules-lite preview
The preview version of a GMless superhero game. Instead, there are mechanics for narration of conflicts. There are a set of conflicts represented by index cards, each with two d6s (of different colors) on them. 10 pages rules (PDF).
Cartoon Action hour Demo by Z-Man Games
Keywords: genre scifi superhero rules-lite preview
An RPG in the genre of 80's style action cartoons. Actions resolution is by stat (rated -4 to +4) plus 1d12 vs difficulty, though super-abilities replace 1d12 with 2d12 or more. These preview rules have basic combat but no character creation rules. 7 page preview rules (PDF) plus 15 page introductory scenario.
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)
Changeling: The Dreaming Preview
Keywords: genre modern fantasy preview
A freeware introduction to the commercial game by White Wolf, where PCs are fay creatures (elves, gnomes, trolls, etc.) secretly operating in the modern world. 25 pages (PDF).
Chivalry & Sorcery Essence by Colin D. Speirs, David Blewitt, and Steven Turner (Brittannia Game Designs)
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional rules-lite preview
A short introduction to the commercial C&S system. It adapts concepts from the full game but with simplified rules. Action resolution is by roll under (attribute plus skill minus difficulty) on 1d20. Character creation is random-roll attributes, picking a social class and vocation. 4 pages rules (PDF).
Chronos by Francois "Roboduck" Suter
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
A French-language RPG, a preview of the published system by les Createurs Genevois. ~15 pages (HTML).
Conspiracy X Demo Kit
Keywords: genre modern scifi rules-lite preview
A demo version of the published modern conspiracy RPG by Eden Studios. PC's are agents of Aegis, a secret organization at work within the U.S. government fighting alien and supernatural menaces. It uses a simple system with 5 levels of skill and difficulty. If your stat is greater than the difficulty, success is automatic. If it is equal, you must roll 7 or less on 2d6. If it is one less, you must roll 4 or less. 16 pages (PDF).
CORPS Nutshell Download by Greg Porter
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
This is the `nutshell' version of the commercial CORPS universal RPG by BTRC. It is available in 7 languages (English, French, German, Finnish, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese). The system is skill-based emphasizing a minimum of die-rolling. The difficulty you succeed at is essentially skill + 1d10 / 2 (round down). Character creation is limited point-based. 4 pages rules PDF format (for each language) plus two post-apocalypse supplements: 9 pages and 6 pages PDF format.
Danger Patrol BETA by John Harper
Keywords: genre scifi rules-lite preview
A playtest document of an action/adventure retro sci-fi game in the vein of the old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials. The player characters are members of the elite Danger Patrol — super-powered crime fighters who protect Rocket City from various threats. Character creation includes picking a Style (Alien, Atomic, Ghost, Intrepid, Mystic, Psychic, Robot, or Two-Fisted) and a Role (Agent, Commando, Daredevil, Detective, Explorer, Flyboy, Warrior, or Professor). Resolution is by a dice pool system using a mix of dice (1d4 to 1d12), where every 4+ is a success and every 1-3 is a danger. 35 pages playtest rules (PDF).
Dark Dungeon, 2nd Edition by Jaap de Goede
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy rules-lite preview
A fantasy genre game, the "Freeware Lite" version of a not-yet-published commercial game. Action resolution is skill + 1d10 vs difficulty. Character creation is open point-bought. The lite rules are generic fantasy, but there is a shared world ("Yaddrin") under development. 25 pages rules (PDF).
deGenesis by Christian Gunther
Keywords: genre postapocalyptic scifi long preview
A German-language post-apocalyptic RPG, a free download with identical content to the commercially published book. It uses a system based on 2d10 roll-under-skill. 380 pages rules and background (PDF).
DL CORE, version 0.12 by Lonnie Ezell et al.
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
A universal set of mechanics (short for "Dragon's Landing Cinematic Open Role-playing Engine"). Character creation is by choosing backstory packages for Childhood, Education, Passion, and Career; plus four free points. Alternately there is limited point-buy. Advancement is by fulfilling certain "keys" which reward points to improve. Resolution is by rolling 1d10 + attribute + skill vs difficulty. 50 pages (PDF).
Dragon Age Quickstart Guide: Dark Fantasy Roleplaying by Walt Ciechanowski
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
A free introductory version of the commercial fantasy RPG from Green Ronin Publishing by Jeff Tidball, based on the video game from BioWare. It includes condensed rules, an introductory adventure, and five pregenerated player characters. 35 pages rules (PDF).
Dread Quickstart by Epidiah Ravachol
Keywords: genre horror rules-lite preview
The preview version of the published horror RPG, Dread, which uses a diceless resolution system based on pulling blocks out from a tower of blocks (such as the game, Jenga). 4 pages (PDF).
Dreamknights, 24-hour edition
Keywords: genre fantasy horror rules-lite preview
A fantasy-horror role-playing game, the first draft of a planned commercial game. It is set in the modern world with PCs who can psychically enter the "Dreamscape". Character creation is random-roll attributes and point-bought skills for real-world attributes, and point-bought dreamscape stats -- where your total points is inversely proportional to your real-world stat total (people weak in the real world have stronger dream selves to compensate). There are four attributes (Appeal, Mind, Action, and Body) and four corresponding classes of dreamscape self (Chargemaster, Dreamshaper, Dreamwarrior, and Gadgeteer). Action resolution is attribute + skill + 1d10 vs difficulty. 20 pages RTF.
Dreamwalker: Musings by Peter C. Spahn, David Griffin, and Michael Patton
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A free version of the published Dreamwalker RPG (a 33 page free version vs the 152 page full version). You play a psychic in the employ of a government project, entering the dreams of others to rid troubled minds of the Taeniid infestation. It uses a percentile skill-based system. The free sample includes basic rules, a sample adventure and sample characters, but no character generation rules. 33 pages (MSWord).
Dying Earth Quickstart Rules by Robin D. Laws, John M. Snead, and Aaron Allston
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A short introductory version of the newly published fantasy RPG based on the novels by Jack Vance. Character creation is free point-based. Resolution is by simple 1d6 (1=worst to 6=best), where you get a number of re-rolls based on your "ability pool" (which refreshes every 2 to 8 hours). 32 pages PDF.
Earthdawn Preview by Greg Gorden and Louis J. Prosperi
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A short introductory version of the out-of-print system. ~12 pages zipped HTML rules plus sample characters and adventure.
Enchanted Worlds Starter Kit by Matthew J. Rodgers and Daniel Price
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy rules-lite preview
The preview version of a published small-press RPG. This is a introductory fantasy version of the universal rules, and includes a short magic system and bestiary. Resolution is by rolling under attribute+skill on 2d8. Character creation is limited point-bought. 21 pages PDF.
Endland by BSI Productions
Keywords: genre postapocalyptic long preview
A German-language post-apocalyptic RPG. It was a commercial RPG that is now out of print, and the full rules are now available for download. 297 pages rules and background (PDF).
Epoch: Age of Magic (Demo) by Chris Rutkowsky
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
The free demo version of a published RPG. Epoch is a fantasy RPG using a percentile skill-based system. Character creation is random-roll race, social class, and attributes -- plus skill points which also be used to modify rolls. ~37 pages MSWord format.
E-RPG by Ruel K. Knudson
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
The core rules of a generic fantasy RPG, offered for free in preview of the general E-RPG system. Action resolution is a step die, skill-based system. Character creation is either random-roll or limited point-bought attributes, and limited point-bought skills. 173 pages fantasy player's guide, plus 64 pages GM's book.
Evient by Chris Lynch
Keywords: genre superhero rules-lite preview
The preview/playtest rules for a superhero RPG system with no set skills and variable scaling (the GM sets "Q-units" of difficulty/damage/etc.). It uses a dice pool system for rolling successes. ~24 pages HTML.
Exalted Quickstart by Robert Hatch, Geoffrey C. Grabowski, et al.
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
The free introductory kit to the commercial fantasy game Exalted. This includes 13 pages of background to the setting as well as basic character creation, resolution rules, and three half-page adventure seeds. 28 pages rules (PDF).
Fantasia Quickstart by Matthew deMille (New Dimension Games)
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long preview
The preview version of a commercial fantasy RPG. Action resolution is stat + 1d6 vs difficulty for ability checks, or 1d20 + modifiers for combat. Character creation is random-roll attributes, choice of class, and point-bought skills (d12 skill points). Advancement is level-based. The preview version includes a limited magic system and selection of monsters. 52 pages preview rules (PDF).
The Forge Primer by Basement Games
Keywords: fantasy traditional rules-lite preview
This is a short preview version of the commercial game Forge: Out of Chaos. 11 pages (PDF).
Fuzion v5.02 by "The Fuzion Group"
Keywords: universal long preview
A universal system loosely based on a merging of the HERO system (from Hero Games) and the Interlock system (from R Talsorian Games). It is identical to the commercially available rules in Champions: The New Millenium and other games. The free core rules have no background, but there are two commercial downloadable fantasy-genre systems using Fuzion ("Shards of the Stone" and "WildBlades"). 50 pages core rules (PDF).
Fuzzy Knights Lite by Noah J.D. Chinn
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
The preview version of a humorous fantasy RPG about animated stuffed animals. It uses a simple system with three attributes (Strength, Reflex, Intelligence) and freeform skills. Action resolution uses roll under attribute + skill + modifiers on 1d20. PCs have Story Points (combined hero points and experience), and the GM has corresponding Irony Points. 13 pages core rules (PDF).
Godlike Quick-Play Rules
Keywords: genre modern superhero rules-lite preview
A free introductory version of the printed game. It is a superhero games set in the era of World War II. PC's are "Talents" with paranormal abilities who aid in the Allied war effort. It uses a dice-pool system where you roll d10's equal to stat + skill and look for matches (i.e. dice with the same number). 36 pages (PDF).
GORE - Generic Old-school Role-playing Engine by Daniel Proctor
Keywords: universal long preview
A variant of the original Basic Roleplaying system, similar to Call of Cthulhu, based on an adaptation of the RuneQuest rules released under the Wizards of the Coast Open Gaming License. The book is also available in print. 58 pages rules (PDF).
GURPS Lite by Steve Jackson and Sean Punch
Keywords: universal rules-lite long preview
A "lite" version of the published RPG. It uses 3d6 roll under skill, with open point-based character creation. 32 pages PDF.
Harp Lite
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview
The preview version of the HARP (High Adventure Role Playing) system from Iron Crown Enterprises. This is a generic fantasy game. It includes simplified character creation rules, with four classes: one Cleric type, Fighter, Mage, and Rogue. Action resolution is stat plus a percentile roll to determine level of success (with anything over 100 being success). 98 pages (PDF).
Haven: City of Violence by Louis Porter, Jr.
Keywords: genre modern long preview
The demo version of a published modern action RPG set in a fictional city ("Haven") on the eastern coast of the United States. Action resolution uses rolling under attribute or skill on 1d20. Character creation is skill-based, using templates for various professions. 39 pages (PDF).
Heimot Mini-Rules, version 1.1
Keywords: genre scifi rules-lite preview
A Finnish-language "space noir" game set in far future 500 years after a great disaster decimated and divided humanity. This is the free version of a published game, using simplified d6-based rules instead of the d10-based rules presented in the commercial Heimot RPG corebook. 30 pages rules and background (PDF).
Hellas RPG Quickstart Rules
Keywords: genre scifi preview
A preview of the commercial RPG Hellas: Worlds of Sun & Stone, a space opera game in a setting inspired by Greek myth. It uses a variant of the "Omni System" from Morrigan Press. Resolution uses skill or attribute minus difficulty + 1d20, interpreting the results on a universal degree of success table. There is also a hero point system to change rolls. 22 pages rules and sample adventure (PDF).
Impresa, Express Version by Brett M. Bernstein (Politically Incorrect Games)
Keywords: universal rules-lite long preview
The preview version of a universal, modular game system. It uses a dice pool system: roll a number of d10s equal to attribute, where each roll less than skill is 1 'step'. Difficulty is expressed as the number of steps required to succeed. Character creation is limited point-based (attribute points and skill points). There are six attributes (rated 0 to 6): Fitness, Awareness, Creativity, Reasoning, Influence, and Luck. There are also 39 skills (rated 2 to 8). 11 pages core rules (PDF).
Ingenero second draft by Steve Mathers
Keywords: universal long preview
A universal system emphasizing cinematic style and dramatic action. Character creation is point-based, including allocating 8 points between 2 and 4 broad proficiencies (like Pirate or Nobleman), along with defining Motivations in each of 5 categories (Beliefs, Desires, Issues, Influences, and Dispositions); and allocating 8 points between the two attributes (Body and Soul). Resolution is by rolling d10s equal to proficiency and taking the highest die, plus advantage or signature play versus opponent's roll. 70 pages core rules (PDF).
Instant Oz by Mike Conway
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
The quickstart rules for the commercial "Heroes of Oz" game, set in L. Frank Baum's Oz setting. It uses a variant of the Fudge/FATE rules, using Story Points that players can use to modify rolls or edit the game world - although it does not have Aspects. 24 pages (PDF).
In the Name of Justice by Guy McLimore
Keywords: genre superhero long preview
A free mini-game preview of a superhero game from Plaid Rabbit Productions. 112 digest-size pages (PDF) plus cards and two maps (PDF).
Iridium System Core Reference
Keywords: universal long preview
The free core rules of the system used by other Hinterwelt Enterprises RPGs such as Roma Imperious and Nebuleon. Character creation has random-roll attributes, character class, and point-bought skills. Resolution is 1d20 + bonuses versus defense for combat, or roll under percentile for skills. 66 pages core rules (PDF and RTF).
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).
Labyrinth Lord by Daniel Proctor
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long preview
A variant of the original Dungeons & Dragons game, mimicking the original basic game circa 1980 based on the third edition rules released under the Wizards of the Coast Open Gaming License. The book is also available in print. 138 pages rules (PDF).
Lace & Steel Preview by Paul Kidd
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
An HTML conversion of the commercial game rules, available for downloading on the web. It is a swashbuckling fantasy game, set in a fantasy world with centaurs and such but with an approximation of the culture of 17th century France a la "The Three Musketeers". It includes only character creation rules, however. ~25 pages HTML.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess, version 0.1 by Jim Raggi
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
The preview/playtest version of an upcoming fantasy game, which includes only bare rules. Action resolution is stat + 1d6 vs difficulty + 1d6. Character creation is open point based, spending 100 or more points on attributes (5 physical, 4 mental), cheats (the hero points), exceptions, and skills. 38 pages rules (PDF).
Legacy: War of the Ages by Brandon Blackmoor and Susan Blackmoor
Keywords: genre long preview world
A free HTML preview of a published game: complete but with no illustrations, imperfect formatting, etc. The game is about immortal humans similar to those of Highlander, in the near future (a "Techno-Gothic" world). ~225 pages HTML.
Legends of the Ancient World
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A simple fantasy role-playing game similar to Steve Jackson's "The Fantasy Trip". Character creation is point-based, splitting 7 points among three attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence), and binary skills (1 point each). Action resolution is roll under stat on 3d6 (or Nd6 in some cases, with N varying with difficulty). 12 pages rules (PDF).
Legends of Alyria Quickstart by Seth Ben-Ezra
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
The preview of an upcoming storytelling fantasy game. It has broad attributes (Force, Insight, and Determination) and moral qualities rated in phases of the moon (new to full). It recommends modified d10s with phases of the moon pasted on them. It emphasizes cooperative authorship and narration. 12 pages rules (PDF) plus scenarios.
Lost Roads of Lociam Light by Rasmus Strand
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional long world preview
The free version of a commercial fantasy RPG, set on the world of Lociam - populated by elves, dwarves, giants, and animal-peoples as well as humans. The free version lacks many optional rules as well as character creation rules. The rules are based on percentile skills for most activities, and binary skills for knowledges. Experience is gained on individual skills based on use. Light version rules 102 pages (PDF).
MECHA Quickstart Guide by Chris Perrin and Clint Krause
Keywords: genre scifi preview
A free preview of an upcoming anime scifi game. It uses a dice pool system, rolling a number of dice equal to attribute, where every roll that is equal or lower than skill is one success. Any die that comes up "1" counts as a success and is rerolled. Any roll with 8 or more successes lets the player define a "cut scene" and take and extra action. Players also take turns defining personal scenes (either social, field ops, or repair) to improve stats. The quickstart has four pregenerated characters but no character creation rules. 24 pages rules (PDF).
Mekton Alpha by Christian Conkle
Keywords: genre scifi rules-lite preview
This is a free introductory set of rules for the R Talsorian giant-mecha anime RPG, Mekton Zeta. 8 pages PDF.
Metascape II (v2.0.1) by Blake Mobley
Keywords: genre scifi long preview
A free sci-fi space opera RPG with commercial supplements (for Specialization, Artifacts & Omega Powers, Aliens, and Mobile). It uses a complex skill-based system with open-ended rolling. Most rolls are one die multiplied by a special 16-sided "doubling die" (with eight 1s, four 2s, two 4s, one 8 and one 16). 346 pages Player rules (PDF), 312 pages GM guides and setting (PDF).
MSF High RPG: Free Version by Joey Fanning
Keywords: genre superhero long preview
A humorous anime-inspired RPG set in MSF Highschool, a training ground for teenage superheroes, including both alien and magical races. This is the preview with all the basic rules and character creation, but missing most of the advantages, disadvantages, races, facets, spells, animals, items, and the GM section. The rules are playable, but a bit limited in this version. 90 pages (PDF).
Omnifray Lite, Public Playtest Edition by Matt West
Keywords: genre fantasy preview long
A generic fantasy system, the simpler version of the longer commercial RPG Omnifray. Character creation uses a mix of random-roll and point-buy. Resolution uses 1d12 + attribute versus opponent's roll, or a double roll which does two such rolls simultaneously and compare both rolls individually. 210 pages rules (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).
Organic Rules Components: Vanilla ORC by Brian St.Claire-King
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
The core rules system used in two commercial RPGs: the cyberpunk RPG "Fates Worse than Death" and "Tibet the RPG", from Vajra Enterprises. Character creation is limited point-based: choose personality traits and worldviews, split 80 points between eight attributes, choose class, and split 100 points among skills (with costs based on class). Action resolution is attribute + skill + 1d20 vs difficulty. 30 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).
PDQ System Core Rules by Chad Underkoffler
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
The "Prose Descriptive Qualities" system is the core system that is used in several commercial games including Truth & Justice, Dead Inside, and Zorcerer of Zo. The free system barely covers character creation as point-based, and mostly only explains resolution and conflicts. Resolution uses 2d6 + quality rating versus difficulty. 13 pages PDF.
POW! Core Rules
Keywords: universal rules-lite long preview
A free simple universal system, the same system used for the commercial RPG "Power Grrrl" and others. It is intended as a fast cinematic system. Character creation is open point-based -- 20 points among six attributes and "specials" associated with attributes. Action resolution is stat + 2d6 versus Difficulty. 20 pages rules (PDF).
Providence Demo Version by Richard Binek, Nicolas Jequier, Jeff Mackintosh, Michael Scott, and Lucien Soulban
Keywords: genre superhero fantasy rules-lite preview
A demo version of the published RPG which mixes fantasy and superheroics. It has no character creation rules but includes a sample adventure including pre-made PC's. 35 pages PDF.
Psychosis Nutshell Rules
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A diceless RPG in a surreal genre where sanity can't be trusted. It uses a tarot deck for resolution in the genre of shifting reality for the PC's. The full version was published by Chameleon Eclectic but is now out of print. ~4 pages rules (text-only).
Red Shift Lite by Paul B. Spence
Keywords: genre scifi long preview
The free version of the commercial science fiction game, with a system similar to GURPS. Character creation is open point-based, including a selected profession and race, fifteen attributes, skills, talents, advantages, and disadvantages. Action resolution is roll under skill plus modifiers on 3d6. The free version includes combat and psionics rules, but no background and only brief stats on equipment. 32 pages rules (PDF).
Reel Adventures, Version 0.1 by Iain McAllister
Keywords: universal preview
The playtest version of a simple GMless system for playing out a cinematic adventure divided into four acts. The players each have a character and take turns introducing threats into the script. A player whose PC is confronted rolls d6s equal to attribute (rated 1 to 3), plus relevant background or connection traits. Each 4+ is a success, and the number is compared to the opposition rolling d6s equal to difficulty plus the current momentum based on the act. 13 pages rules (PDF).
Rêve Book One: Journeyers
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview world
The first book of the published RPG Rêve: the Dream Ouroboros. This is the complete character generation and action resolution rules. The commercial game adds in Books Two and Three which describe the magic system and world background. ~50 pages (PDF).
The Riddle of Steel Quick-Start Rules by Stephen Barringer
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
A preview for the published fantasy RPG. It is set on an original world, Weyrth, which is briefly described in the quickstart rules. It focusses on a realistic, turn-less combat system. It uses a dice pool system where you roll a number of d10's against a target number, counting number of successes. 41 pages (PDF).
Rune Jump Start Rules by Atlas Games
Keywords: genre fantasy traditional preview
This is a free preview of the published game Rune, a combat-heavy RPG of Scandanavian myth. 8 page Jump Start Rules (PDF) plus 22 page Preview Kit (PDF).
Savage Worlds Test Drive, v6
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
The preview version of the commercial "Savage Worlds" system from Pinnacle Entertainment. It uses a step-die system where stats are measured from d4 to d12. Action resolution uses an open-ended die roll plus modifiers, where 4 or greater is successful. The test drive rules include character creation with abbreviated edges and hindrances, along with combat and advancement rules plus brief sample magic. Test drive rules 16 pages (PDF).
The Secret of Zir'An Quickstart
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite preview
A sample adventure, sample characters, and quick-start rules for the upcoming commercial fantasy RPG. Action resolution is attribute + skill + 1d10 vs difficulty (where 1 is auto-failure and 10 is auto-success). 22 pages (PDF).
Seven Leagues Demo by Hieronymous
Keywords: genre fantasy rules-lite long preview
The preview version of a fairy-tale RPG, with simple mechanics based on a roll of 2d6 + attribute + modifiers. Character creation is limited point-based. The rules emphasize abstract mechanics for narrative conflict. 50 pages (PDF).
Shadowrun Quick Start Rules
Keywords: genre modern scifi fantasy long preview
A free PDF quick start for the commercial Shadowrun Third Edition system. This includes a brief version of the rules, a sample adventure and eight pregenerated characters. 66 pages rules (PDF).
Sixcess Quickstart by Benjamin Rogers
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
Preview of a universal system using d6 dice-pool resolution, where every result over the target number (TN) is one success, and every six rolled is five successes. Character generation is not included, but four sample fantasy characters and a sample scenario are included. 22 pages quickstart rules (PDF).
SLA Industries, 1st edition
Keywords: genre scifi long preview
The original 1993 edition of the commercial game, "SLA Industries" -- a science fantasy RPG of futuristic urban horror, set in a distant future (the "World of Progress") where an amoral arms corporation ("SLA Industries") has taken over the universe, headed by a power being named "Slayer". PC's work as agents for the company, based on the world-city "Mort". There are 7 races, including users of "The Ebb" -- a magical power that permeates the universe. The system uses 2d10+skill+modifiers to determine success (11+ is a success, 21+ is a notable success). Character creation uses race (1 of 7) and career (1 of 9) templates followed by point allocation. 304 pages rules and background (PDF).
Snowball by Alexander Cherry
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
A storytelling RPG, a variant of The Pool originally designed to handle playing in reverse time -- i.e. each scene coming before the last, as in the movie Memento. 6 pages rules (PDF).
SOAP: The game of Soap Opera Mayhem
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview
A storytelling GMLess mini-RPG which is played for 60 minutes at a time, the free preview for a very cheap game (a 31-page PDF file). Each player takes a character in a soap opera, with five words as traits. There is no GM, but instead there are rules for entering a Scene, adding sentences, and so forth by spending Plot Tokens. ~12 pages (HTML).
SOL Lite by Keith W. Sears
Keywords: universal rules-lite long preview
The free "lite" version of the commercial game from Heraldic Games. A universal system using stat+d10 vs difficulty and exponential scaling. 45 pages PDF.
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Quick-Start by Robert J. Schwalb and Steve Kenson
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
A preview of the commercial game, that includes general resolution and combat rules, plus sample characters and an introductory adventure -- but no character creation. It uses an additive dice pool system -- i.e. roll a number of d6s equal to your ability rating and add them together. 36 pages (PDF).
Sorcerer: Apprentice version by Ron Edwards
Keywords: genre modern fantasy rules-lite preview
A modern magic game, the "Apprentice" version of published RPG rules. It uses a minimalist system, using highest-roll dice pool with only simple attributes (no skills). 16 pages "apprentice" rules (PDF).
Sovereign Stone Quickstart by Don Perrin and Lester Smith
Keywords: genre traditional fantasy rules-lite preview
The "quickstart" rules for a fantasy game envisioned by Larry Elmore, set in his fantasy world Loerem. Magic is based on the elements (Air,Earth,Fire,Water plus evil "Void" magic). The system is Attribute die(d4 thru d10) plus Skill die versus difficulty. 28 pages PDF format, including sample adventure and characters.
Spycraft Lite by Patrick Kapera (AEG, Inc)
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview wotc-d20
This is the preview version for a modern espionage game using the "D20" system from 3rd edition D&D. This includes six new base classes, along with complete rules summary for skills, feats, combat, and chases. 32 pages (PDF).
Squadron UK Basic
Keywords: genre modern superhero preview
The basic version of a 40 pages rules (PDF).
Star Wreck Roleplaying Game by Mike Pohjola
Keywords: genre scifi rules-lite preview
The full English-language text of the published game, an adaptation of the Finnish Star Trek parody film of the same name. The PCs are members of the P-republic, an advanced society of "radical godless commie feminist liberal pinkos". It uses a simple system where you roll 2d6 and try to get higher than your Inability score -- which is one of Stupidity, Obliviousness, Clumsiness, Repulsiveness, and Weakness. There are four classes: Incompetent Idiot, Annoying Nerd, Psychotic Loud-Mouth, and Frustrated Grouch. Your class grants you from 0 to 2 special talents. 30 pages rules (PDF).
Stuperpowers! by Carson Jones and Fred Van Lente
Keywords: genre modern superhero rules-lite preview
An abridged rulebook of the published parody superhero RPG, playing "third-rate heroes" with less than spectacular powers like "Induce Vietnam Flashbacks". The basic game mechanic is either toss a coin (you call it, you succeed) or rock-paper-scissors. Damage has 5 levels, but you can gain them back by playing "Truth or Dare". Extra material includes 23 new powers, 4 new adventures, and 11 new characters. ~8 pages preview rules (HTML) plus ~24 pages expansions (HTML).
Super Powers Unlimited, Basic Version by David Michaels
Keywords: genre modern superhero preview
The basic version of a superhero RPG published as a browsable website with character sheets as spreadsheets for Excel or Open Office. It uses a combat-focused resolution system, where actions usually have fixed result from spending energy points. A roll of 1d20 is used to determine criticals for an action - a 20 is a critical hit (200% of standard result) while a 1 is a critical failure (50% of standard result). Character creation is limited point-based, spending 100 points among the four primary attributes (Health, Energy, Attack, and Defense), 25 points among the five secondary attributes, and 6 "slots" among power, equipment, skills, pets, and property. ~60 pages online HTML browsing only.
SURGE by Mark Leaman / Merrymeeting Games
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
"Simple Universal Relative Gaming Environment". This is a free version of the commercial RPG from Merrymeeting Games. 25 pages preview rules (PDF).
Svavelvinter Quickstart by Tomas Härenstam
Keywords: genre fantasy preview
An English-language including an introductory scenario for the Swedish-language commercial game, whose title translates as "Winter of Brimstone", based on the fantasy novel series by Erik Granström. 21 pages quickstart rules, 28 pages adventure, 8 pages characters (PDF).
System DL (Freeware Edition) by Christopher Casey
Keywords: universal rules-lite preview
A diceless system, but with quantified skill where variations result from spending luck points. This is the free 16-page preview of a 98 page commercial download. The freeware rules include a brief 1-page magic system and a medieval fantasy equipment list. 16 pages freeware rules (PDF).
T20 Lite
Keywords: genre scifi long preview
The free preview version of a commercial adaptation of the D20 System for the Traveller science fiction setting. It uses the D20 license and thus does not include complete rules for character creation and advancement. It presents a single class (Merchant) along with skills, feats, various rules for combat, technology, travel, and alien worlds. 65 pages rules (PDF).
The Third Kingdom by Todd Leback
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
A fantasy genre system set on an original world, the continent of Onsuulan colonized by the Thenarian people for the past five centuries -- with the parallel worlds of Faerie and the Spirit World alongside the material. Resolution is by adding your attribute score (from 1 to 30) and the result of your attribute rank dice (d5, d10, or d10+d5), along with a bonus equal to aptitude if the character knows the skill. Character creation is open point-based. 198 pages Player's Handbook, playtest edition (PDF).
Traveller20 Lite by Martin J. Dougherty
Keywords: genre scifi long preview supplement wotc-d20
This is a preview version of the Traveller20 game, which is an adaptation of the original Traveller RPG (from Far Future Enterprises) to the "D20" system from D&D third edition. The lite rules include complete listings for all skills and feats. However, it refers to the D&D Players handbook for basic combat rules, which it modifies extensively. It also includes only the Merchant class, as opposed to 16 classes in the non-free game. 64 pages (PDF).
Trinity RPG Quickstart by Andrew Bates and Ken Cliffe
Keywords: genre scifi preview
A free introductory version of the commercial sci-fi RPG Trinity, where the players characters are superheroes - called Psions - in in the 22nd century who defend the Earth from twisted "Aberrants". It uses a version of the Storyteller dice pool system. 28 pages rules and background (PDF).
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).
Unsung: A Role-Playing Game of Ethics on the Battlefield by Kirt Dankmyer
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview
A simple story-oriented RPG about behavior in war -- the demo version of a commercial independent game. There are five attributes: Savvy, Sense, Guts, Meat, and Responsibility. Action resolution is roll under attribute on 1d20. An important concept is rolling on Responsibility to avoid a Lapse where the character does something reprehensible. Also, a player can affect the story of other PCs by spending Gift Points. Character creation is limited point-based. 25 pages rules (PDF).
Vampire: The Masquerade QuickStart
Keywords: genre modern horror preview
A freeware introduction to the commercial game by White Wolf, where PCs are vampires among numerous competing clans secretly operating in the modern world. 29 pages PDF.
Warlock: Black Spiral by Brandon Blackmoor
Keywords: genre fantasy long preview
A free HTML preview of a published game: complete but with no illustrations, imperfect formatting, etc. The game is about warlocks in a near future world. The system uses a simple roll under (attribute+skill+mods) on 1d10. It also includes conversions for the Fudge and Fuzion systems. ~100 pages backgrounds, rules, and GM's guide (HTML).
Waste World Lite by Bill King
Keywords: genre postapocalyptic scifi preview
A free HTML version of the commercial anime-inspired, post-apocalyptic roleplaying game. ~28 pages (HTML).
Witchcraft Quickstart Rules
Keywords: genre modern rules-lite preview
A preview version of the published urban fantasy system from Eden Studios, about practitioners of magic in the modern world. 24 pages (PDF).
Wordplay Draft Rules by Graham Spearing
Keywords: genre universal long rules-lite preview
A preview of an upcoming universal system, using player-defined descriptive traits rated from 1 to 9 dice, divided into three categories (Body, Mind, and Soul). It uses pools of d6s, where every 4 or 5 is one success, and every 6 is two successes -- rolled in a contest with opposing difficulty dice. 121 pages draft rules (pDF).
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).

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