Free RPG List: universal

newuniversalrules-litelonglive-actiononlinesupplementpreviewwotc-d20worldgenreopen-licensehorrormodernscififantasytraditionalpostapocalypticsuperheroIndex

The 3D RPG by Scott J. Compton
Keywords: universal rules-lite
"Dice and Deck Designed RPG". It uses (2d12)x10 + 1d10 for its base roll, and involves skills, professions, and other world-specific items being written out on cards. 10 pages (HTML or MSWord format).
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 Roleplaying Mechanics (ARM) by R. E. Bridson
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple (but not quite minimalist) system using logarithmic scales a la TORG and (1d6-1d6) resolution similar to Feng Shui. 16 pages (ASCII only).
Alacrity by Adam McKee and James G. Walker, Jr.
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple percentile system, which concentrates an fast resolution (hence the name). Action resolution uses roll under stat on d100. Character creation has random-roll attributes and point-bought skills. ~15 pages HTML
Alternacy by Kizig
Keywords: universal long
A generic RPG using 2d5 skill rolls and broad talents/skills. Uses 16 general talents instead of attributes. Skills are derived from the talents, but values are decided by the referee using a question system (how long has the character trained the skill, how important is the skill to the character, etc...). There is a universal chart for determining special results. 36 pages (MSWord and text).
Alternate Realities by Carter Butts, Karim Nassar, and Brian Rayburn
Keywords: universal long
An "object oriented" roleplaying game, which uses percentiles with some rather advanced math subsumed in a universal table ("DRF"). Character creation uses description, points, or random rolls for attributes and skills. 88 pages (HTML, PDF, MSWord, PostScript).
Alternative Roleplaying Concept (ARC) by Alex `Dabugas' Armstrong
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A diceless RPG which uses a 7-step scale for rating attributes and skills. Action resolution is by comparing the sum of relevant traits and the difficulty, though there is an optional random factor using cards. ~15 pages HTML.
Argument Diceless Roleplaying by Rainer K. Koreasalo
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal diceless system, which uses a narrative method of resolving skill vs difficulty. It includes brief support for fantasy races, magic from the Kalevala, and vampires. 32 pages (PDF).
ARPLE by Altin Gavranovic
Keywords: universal rules-lite
The "All-purpose Role Playing Logistics Engine", which uses a simple dice-pool system. Attribute rolls are roll 2d6 under attribute, skill rolls are roll d6's equal to skill vs a target number, combat is roll d6's equal to skill: (1-2: nothing, 3-4: defense point, 5-6: offense point). If your offense is greater than opponent's defense, you hit. ~10 pages HTML.
Aurea by Boudewijn Rempt, Irina Rempt, Frank N. Rieter, Jasper W. Leedekerken, Martijn Spruit, and Richard van Rijswijk
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A generic RPG system. It uses a universal table with percentile rolls. Character generation is fairly free-form. This version is translated from the original Dutch. ~20 pages HTML.
The Awakening Rules Engine v2.1.1 by Dan Regewitz
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A universal RPG. The basic rules are freeware (optional $3 charge), with two commercial background settings for $6 each. It uses a point-based, skill-based character creation, emphasizing freeform discovering things about their characters. It uses a simple system with a general dice pool (starting at 2 dice) to split among all actions, resolving stat+dice vs difficulty. 75 pages rules (RTF).
Awesome! The Storytelling Game
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A storytelling game with a Director and set of player, that uses a single stat ("Awesome!") that starts at 20. A player takes a turn narrating, and the other players vote thumbs up or down. If the result is mixed, the player rolls 1d20 for their new Awesome score. If it is higher than their old score, their narration turn ends. There are additional rules for Signature Schticks, Tagging Out, and Weaknesses. 7 pages rules (PDF).
Bamf RPG by Brett A. Paul
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A simple percentile system developed partly for Play-by-Email. Roll under skill on percentile dice. Combat has a chart showing varying levels of success. In other skills, your attribute determines number of re-rolls allowed. Includes a system of special abilities (magical/superpower/etc.). 67 pages 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).
The Basic System Core, Version 3 by J. Parker and Jay Libby
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system with seven attributes (Intelligence, Spirit, Charisma, Agility, Strength, Endurance, and Speed) and skills. Both are rated eitheras flat numbers or in named superheroic step similar to Marvel Superhero (Below Average = 5, Average = 10, up to Incredible = 40, Awesome = 50). Action resolution is attribute number + skill number + 1d20 vs difficulty. Character creation includes either random-roll or point-bought attributes (10+1d10 each or N points among them), and point-bought skills. It includes some miniature rules as well, and extended combat options like hit location. 38 pages (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).
Blur: The Hand is Quicker than the Die by Daniel Pond
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal system. ~10 pages (HTML or MSWord).
CARDS by Leonard Tai
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple homebrewed role-playing system where the only materials involved are ordinary playing cards. Emphasis is placed on story-telling skills, speed and ease of play. It includes supplements for the animated video series "Saber Marionette R", "Slayers", and "Children of the Blue Star". ~8 pages core rules (HTML) plus ~25 pages supplements (HTML).
CARE by Chris Parlevliet
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system. It uses ordinary playing cards for resolution: players draw a number of cards based on skill and check how many are over a target number. Character creation is either a priority system or an open point system. ~30 pages (MSWord or HTML).
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).
Cineflex v2.2 by Dariel R. A. Quiogue
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A cinematic universal system. It uses a d20 dice pool for action resolution, roll 1-3 d20's over a target number. Character creation is by selecting a focus ability, up to four secondary abilities, and disabilities. The rules include a generic magic system, and vehicle/mecha rules. There are three developed settings for use with it: The Twilight Age (a science fantasy setting), Barsoom (an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's early sci-fi), and Red Branch (mythic pre-Christian Ireland). ~30 pages rules (HTML) or 16 pages rules v2.1 (PDF), plus ~75 pages Twilight Age background (HTML), ~30 pages Barsoom background (HTML), ~30 pages Ireland background (HTML).
City of IF
Keywords: universal online rules-lite
An online roleplaying site with forum "storygames" -- where there is a primary author who writes chapters, but at the end of each chapter all players suggest options, which are decided by poll. ~2 pages instructional FAQ (HTML) plus the forums.
Combat Monster by Jeff Wiker
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A parody game. 4 pages (text-only).
Combat Stats-D12 Core Rules by Weyns Peter
Keywords: universal long
A universal system, the core mechanic of the commercial "Tri-Worlds Universe." The core rules include three races: humans, supernaturals, and demons. Character creation is limited point-based, spending one pool of points on the three attributes (Strength, Dexterity, and Mental) ranging from 1 to 12; another on talents/advantages; and a third on skills ranging from 1 to 5. Resolution for skills is by rolling under attribute + skill minus difficulty on 1d12, or in combat by rolling 1d12 + bonuses and beating opponent's defense. 98 pages (PDF).
Continuum by Travis Casey
Keywords: universal long
A straightforward skill-based system, using skill+attribute+1d6-1d6 vs difficulty. It uses point-based character creation. It includes a generic magic system and a short superpower system. ~60 pages (text-only).
CORE Rules by David F. Nalle
Keywords: universal rules-lite
``Character Oriented Role-playing Engine.'' A minimalist skill-based system, where you roll under skill on 2d6. ~4 pages ASCII text.
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).
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.
Cosmic Synchronicity v3 by Joseph Teller and Kiralee McCauley
Keywords: genre modern scifi universal long
A universal system, which balances PC's by the principle that a more powerful PC (i.e. higher total attributes) will have critical failures happen more often. Actions are resolved by rolling under (stat or skill)*4 on percentile dice. There are personality traits ("Aspects") that determine the points available in different skill groups. It includes a setting book entitled "Earth Unmasked" -- about an alternate 2025 where aliens and supernatural monsters have emerged. 119 pages core rules (PDF or HTML) plus 151 page setting book (PDF)
Cosmos
Keywords: universal long
A universal system, built to address problems with D&D. Character creation includes random-roll attributes and point-bought skills. Action resolution is percentile roll over skill. ~80 pages rules (text-only)
Cychosys, Version 9.0 by William Straight
Keywords: genre universal rules-lite
A universal system, sketchily described. Resolution is based on a series of 1d12 rolls, with special meaning for rolls of 11 and 12. Character creation is open point-bought. 54 pages (PDF).
Cyno's Roleplay by Chieh Cheng
Keywords: universal genre fantasy modern scifi long
A universal system. Character creation is random-roll attributes and point-bought percentile skills. It includes four genre books: (fantasy, modern, near-future). ~33 pages core rules, plus four ~10-15 page genre books (HTML).
d6GE RPG by 3Muse
Keywords: universal superhero rules-lite
A universal RPG. Action resolution is by stat plus 2d6 vs difficulty. Character creation is purely random-roll stats in the basic system. It includes a brief superpowers supplement. 9 pages rules (PDF) plus 8 pages superhero supplement (PDF).
Daidalos by jochen eid
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A German-language diceless RPG, with an emphasis on dramatic storytelling. 69 pages rules and background (PDF or HTML).
DCS by David Chart
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system, using stat+1d10 vs difficulty. Characters have three basic attributes (physical/mental/social) and freeform abilities. It includes personality mechanics, fate points, and crafts rules. There are also notes on using it with Columbia Games' Hârn setting. ~30 pages rules (HTML or text-only).
Death or Glory by Alexander Trofimov
Keywords: universal long
A generic percentile system similar to Runequest, with supplements for firearms, magic, and medieval background. ~20 pages rules (ASCII text only), plus 20 pages supplements.
A Description-Based RPG System by Charles Ryan
Keywords: universal rules-lite
An experimental attempt to create a numberless system, while retaining die rolls against an assigned difficulty. 12 pages HTML.
Destiny - a decision driven roleplaying game by Lance Dyas
Keywords: universal rules-lite
The draft version of a diceless GM-judged system, which uses various stats to guide the GMs decisions -- including a scale of 0 to 7 of goal importance which the player ranks, selection of strategic method (from 5 options), and allocation of deep resources (Mana and Adrenaline points) and Luck (Serendipity and Karma). Character skill advancement is managed by allotting man-hours. ~15 pages rules (HTML).
The Destiny System by J. Scott Pittman
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal RPG system, which uses GM-designed roles (including occupation and race) and player-defined skills. There is a system of sand points representing sand running through an hourglass for the character, which measures progress towards the character's Destiny. 40 pages rules (PDF).
Diceless by Mark William Henshaw
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A deterministic diceless system where players spend "Luck Points" to succeed (stats+luck points spent vs difficulty). ~10 pages HTML.
Dimensioni by ??
Keywords: universal rules-lite
An Italian-language generic RPG system, with a focus on ease of learning and narrative play. It is structured in tree difficulty levels, going to the easiest one (playable even without dice) to the most complex one (for player that love to roll some more dice). There are two manuals: the Dimensioni rules manual and the Dimensioni Arcane manuals with the magic system. ~140 pages core rules and magic system (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).
D-Quest by Dylan Craig
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple generic system intended for fantasy. It uses a dice-pool system: 2d6 with bonus or penalty dice, taking the best or worst 2 from the dice rolled. Resolution is stat + roll vs difficulty. There is no background, magic, or ranged combat rules. ~6 pages rules (HTML).
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).
Drama by jim pinto
Keywords: universal rules-lite
An experimental roleplaying story game for 4 or 5 players. Players take on the roles "Protagonist," "Antagonist," "Supporting Cast #1," "Supporting Cast #2," and possibly "Background". Play works by writing plotlines on index cards, where each plot card can go through up to six steps to get to Resolution. The mechanic works by all players roll five 6-sided dice and keep them. Players then take turns making a plot development using one of the five dice. 4 pages rules (PDF).
Dramatic License by Simon Seah
Keywords: universal rules-lite
Direct download of a universal RPG system. It is cinematic in style, with stats for Coolness and so forth. Action resolution is by attribute + skill + die roll vs difficulty. The die roll by default is d6, but can optionally be changed. Character creation is open point-bought. 98 pages RTF.
DUDE by Mark Hughes
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system, used for "The Alan Smithee Project": the RPG of Hollywood gone wrong. Characters have a single attribute called "DUDEness" which is how good they are at nearly everything. Resolution is by standard playing cards and chips. ~10 pages HTML rules.
Dvreem RPG by David V.S.
Keywords: universal fantasy rules-lite
A diceless storytelling RPG. It gives detailed guidelines for GM judgment but no numerical resolution mechanics. Character creation is skill-based, spending 40 points among the 16 skills. It roughly outlines four genres: Frontier, Technology, Steampunk, Intrigue/Horror. It also has a sample setting, the fantasy world of Creagadier. ~31 pages rules (HTML)
DzsókeRPG by Ullrich Gergely
Keywords: universal long rules-lite
A Hungarian-language RPG using a simple universal system called "Szabályok" (meaning "JokeRPG"). The core rules take up only 10 pages, while the remaining sections ("Ötlettár" and "Mesélõk Odúja") are optional expansions. The system was inspired by the Nameless system by Daniel Pond. Characters are defined by "vonás" (traits, personality), "erény" (merits or advantages) and "korl´t" (flaws, disadvantages or defects). Each stat has a level from 1 to 5, with 2 being average. Resolution is by adding 1d10 and the modifier for the relevant stat, where modifier is two times stat in one version, or the cumulative sum in another version (i.e. +1,+3,+6,+10,+15). 51 pages core rules (PDF).
EGO: Endless Gaming Options by Tom Doolan
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple dice-pool system: rolling d6's where 5 or 6 counts as a success, and difficulty is by number of successes required. ~18 pages HTML.
Elegant Role-playing by Gregor Hutton
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system with three attributes: Mastery, Wisdom, and Power. Action resolution is attribute plus 1d6 vs difficulty, or attribute plus best of two or three d6 rolls if specialties/ skills apply. Character creation is limited point-based. 8 pages rules (PDF).
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).
Ergo by Ian Millington
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
An experimental collaborative RPG -- meaning without a GM. The system is a Fudge variant. ~40 pages ASCII text.
Essential Spectra by Eric Kimball and Robert A. Rodger (Arrogant Game Design)
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system, which rates characters in subjective ratings designated by six colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Each character has a number of dice which are special six-sided dice with colors for faces (so one character might have a die which is red/ red/ red/ orange/ green/ blue). Action resolution uses these color die rolls. Character creation is limited point-based. The basic rules include short systems for psionics, aliens, and magic. 45 pages rules (PDF).
Eternal Soldier by Christopher Arnold, Rob Arnold, and Joe Mays (Tai-Gear Simulations)
Keywords: universal long
A full generic system somewhat similar to Chaosium's "Basic Roleplaying". It uses a skill-based percentile system, using other polyhedral dice as well. Character creation allows attributes to be generated by several means, with point-bought skills. ~50 pages (HTML).
Ex Mortis V 1.0 BRPS by Michael J. Cheney
Keywords: universal long
A percentile skill-based system, using open-ended percentile rolls. Character creation is partly class-based, with random-roll attributes and point-bought skills. ~60 pages HTML.
Fable by Ben Sones
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple system using a step-die approach (i.e. roll a d6 for Average skill, d10 for Great skill vs a similar die for difficulty). Character creation involves writing up freeform traits, and then assigning ratings to them from a pool of points. Point cost is based on GM-assessed usefulness and rating. ~28 pages (MSWord).
Fables by Will Nesbitt et al
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A storytelling game using a variant of the Fudge rules. It uses a variety of fortune points represented with poker chips, and determines turn order from a deck of cards. ~20 pages (HTML)
FaLoR: Fast and Loose Roleplaying by Peter Kisner
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system. Action resolution is 2d4 + a broad stat ("role") vs difficulty. Character creation is freeform determining of the role and its rating (1-5). 15 pages core rules (PDF).
FAST by Steve Bruns
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal RPG, using a simple dice-pool system. Roll d6's equal to skill: each "6" counts as 2 successes, each 2-5 counts as 1 success. It also includes a starship combat system and various optional rules. ~2 pages Quick-Start rules (HTML), plus ~10 pages optional rules.
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).
FERpg by Nathan Hill and Mystic Ages Online
Keywords: universal rules-lite
"The Fast and Easy RPG". A simple set of rules where each character has 3 freeform skills (one at 2d4+2, one at 1d4+2, and one at 1d4). Resolution is by rolling under skill on 1d12. ~10 pages HTML.
FFRE or Sagatafl by Peter Knutsen
Keywords: universal long
A universal system still under development. It uses a dice-pool system, rolling a number of d12s equal to stat, with successes equal to the number of dice rolled over difficulty (from 2 to 18). Character creation is an extensive open point-based system. 36 pages basic rules plus 23 pages magic expansions (PDF).
Five by Five (version 3) by Jeff Moore
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system. Character creation is by defining five ranked Traits and one Trouble Trait. Traits are ranked in named levels with corresponding numbers (0/2/4/5/6/8/10/12/15/20). Resolution uses a "d5" which is 1d6 where the 6 is counted as zero. Resolution is by rolling 1d5 times 1d5 under the appropriate stat. 48 pages rules (PDF).
Foresight by Tonio Loewald
Keywords: universal long
A generic system concentrating on character description and sci-fi elements. It is no longer available for free, and is due to be published (supposedly in 2006) by Shrapnel Games -- cf. the Shrapnel Game ForeSight Forum. 80 pages (PDF).
Formless by James Hargrove
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal minimalist RPG. It is diceless (using a 3-step "Rule of Common Sense") with an optional rule for using die rolls. 13 pages rules (HTML or PDF).
Freestyle RPG by George DeMuth
Keywords: universal long
A universal RPG system, with genre sourcebooks for post-apocalyptic ("Fall of Darkness") and superhero ("Super Cyber") along with supplements for martial arts and modern combat. Action resolution is by rolling 3d6 on a universal table. Character creation is limited point-based (attribute points and skill points), with an option for random-roll attributes. 83 pages basic rules (PDF) plus 79 pages supplements (PDF).
Fresco by Salkaner il Nero
Keywords: universal scifi horror rules-lite
A minimalist universal system in both English and Italian. Character creation is by random-roll of 7 attributes. Resolution is by attribute minus 2d6 minus difficulty. It includes a small sci-fi setting ("Star Fresco") and a horror setting ("Frigor Mortis"). 4 pages core rules (HTML and PDF) plus 5 pages sci-fi setting (PDF) and 3 pages horror setting (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).
FU: the Free, Universal Roleplaying Game by Nathan Russell
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal RPG. Character creation is by choosing four non-numeric descriptors (one each for Body, Mind, Edge, and Flaw) - and two iconic items of Gear (each described by an adjective and noun). Base resolution is by "beating the odds" - the player rolls 1d6, hwere evens (2, 4, 6) are successes while odds (1, 3, 5) are failures. Each number has a distinct meaning: 2 is "Yes, but..." with a cost to success; 4 means "Yes..."; 6 = "Yes, and..." with an extra benefit. Failures are similar. The player can roll an extra die for each helpful Descriptor, piece of Gear, Condition or Detail -- but loses a die for unhelpful traits. 23 pages rules (PDF).
Futura
Keywords: universal rules-lite
An Italian-language universal RPG system, using a very simple system and one mechanic for all actions. ~13 pages SWF format (with FLASH Macromedia).
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).
GAME: Greatly Abbreviated Mechanics, Etc. by Eric C. Garrison
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A rather more mechanically inclined system, which defines stat and difficulty levels. ~2 pages rules (HTML).
GAMERS: the generic Six-Letter System
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal set of mechanics based on the original Traveller game from GDW. Resolution is 2d6 + skill versus difficulty. 8 pages rules (PDF).
Game Engine Manual (GEM) by Neale Davidson
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A simple but complete d6-based generic game. Action resolution is roll under stat+skill using Nd6 where the number depends on difficulty. Character creation is either random-roll or point-bought attributes and point-bought skills. 32 pages basic rules (PDF) plus 32 pages GM's Guide (PDF), plus several supplements adapting anime material (~80 pages).
Generic Destinies by Dylan Craig
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal RPG system. Action resolution is by rolling two dice from d4 to d12, where attribute is the "tens" die and skill is the "ones" die. Character creation is limited point-based, with freeform skills. There are also freeform advantages and disadvantages. ~25 pages rules (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).
GENRE by Gerald Williams
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system, using additive dice pool: roll (attribute) in d6 plus skill, comparing the total with difficulty. Character creation is open point-based, with advancements in levels. ~12 pages rules (HTML).
GLARPS: The Generic Live-Action Role-Playing System by Kyle Marquis
Keywords: universal rules-lite live-action
A universal, no-touch live-action RPG system using rock-paper-scissors as its basic mechanic. ~23 pages HTML rules.
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).
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.
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.
Halo by Richard Wallace Garner
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal RPG, used as the basis for the sci-fi RPG Metalface. It uses limited point-bought character creation (nine attributes plus skills). Action resolution is by rolling a number of d6s (one to five) based on difficulty. A total less than attribute + skill indicates success. 3 pages rules (PDF).
Harpe by Craig Critchfield
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
The "Hugely Adaptable (Action/Anime) Role-Playing Engine". Characters are described by freeform "abilities" which go from 1 to 8 or so for normal humans. A typical ability might be 2d+2. The dice give 1 success for each even number rolled. 125 pages (PDF).
Heritage by Norbert "Bulletshower" Matausch
Keywords: genre universal rules-lite long
A semi-diceless, drama-based system, similar to Theatrix. There are also several genre-specific supplements for the game, which tend to have more rigid dice-using rules. ~22 pages core rules plus ~75 pages genre supplements (zipped HTML).
honorabilis lex ludi by Blum, Michael Deflize, and Jan Sachers
Keywords: universal long
A German-language universal RPG system. It includes rules for development and supernatural powers, but not for starting character creation. ~75 pages HTML.
HYPeR by Michael Sachau
Keywords: universal long
A universal system, using percentiles (roll under 50+stat on percentile dice). ~60 pages HTML or PostScript.
Imaginality by Callisto, Gurth, and Hilde Hoogland
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system using standard playing cards. Each player has a hand of up to 7 cards, where card played must be greater than the difficulty. It has a very simple characters: 3 attributes and binary freeform skills. 22 pages (PDF,MSWord).
Imagination's Toybox by Berin Kinsman
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal RPG system which works to simulate cinematic genre adventures. Action resolution is 1d10 plus stat minus difficulty, where +1 or more is a success. Character creation is open point-based. 22 pages (PDF format).
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).
Infinite Horizons by Trawna Publications
Keywords: universal long
A skill-based percentile system. It includes a brief outline of a magic system, but no other genre expansions. ~50 pages core rules (HTML) plus ~10 pages magic system.
The Infinity Project by Matt Savigear
Keywords: universal long
A universal RPG system, including a magic system. It uses a detailed character creation system, with 7 core attributes each with 4 sub-attributes (28 total). Character creation uses either point-bought or random-roll attributes and point-bought skills. Resolution is by rolling percentile dice under skill, with ranges for critical and superior indicated on a universal table. It has an involved tactical combat system. 121 pages core rules (MSWord) plus 21 pages magic rules (MSWord).
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).
In Media Res by S. Isaac Dealey
Keywords: universal long rules-lite
A universal system available for free download (formerly called "Synergy"). A skill-based system with no attributes. 100+ pages HTML rules.
Instant Game, Barebones Edition v0.3
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal system, where actions are resolved by rolling 3d6 and adding the level of an applicable freeform trait (or the level doubled) plut ease modifier, and the results compared to a results table, where 10 is a minimal success and 14 is normal success. 10 pages rules (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 by Marco Chacon
Keywords: genre universal scifi fantasy superhero long
A universal skill-based system with many genre supplements: Magic, Cyberpunk, Fantasy, Horror, Supers, Psionics, Chi Martial Arts, and Steampunk. It is quite detailed, but there is a "rules-medium" version: JAGS-2. Action resolution is roll under attribute or skill on 4d6-4. Character creation is open point-based, 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). 200 pages basic rules (PDF) plus 150+ pages of supplements (PDF).
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).
Jazz 4.0 by Brandon Blackmoor
Keywords: genre universal
A universal system, released under an open license. It uses a additive dice-pool system where you roll d6's equal to your trait, and succeed if the total beats the difficulty or opposed roll. Character creation is open point-based, buying traits from a total number of ranks - where "Fringe Traits" like magic cost double. 6 pages core rules (PDF).
Kathanaksaya by Shawn C. Harris (aka "Green")
Keywords: universal genre fantasy rules-lite
A diceless RPG set in a world ("Kathanaksaya") where all dreams, fables, and myths are true. Character creation is by collecting Story Points for description and hooks, then spending them on freeform abilities (Specialties). Actions are resolved by players bidding Story Points, where highest Specialty + Story Points wins the bid and determines how that action is resolved. 8 pages (PDF).
KISS, 2nd ed ("Keep It Simple, Stupid") by Wilf K. Backhaus
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A very simple skill-based system. The current "d2" version uses a set of coin flips equal to attribute. There is an older d20-based version somewhere which uses roll under attribute on d20. 27 pages PDF.
The Ladder by Paul Elliott
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal system. There is a 5-step stat scale, used by rolling 1d6, where a 1 indicates a poor result, 2-5 average, and 6 good. Character creation is by choosing 6 freeform stats: two at "Expert", four at "Good". 17 pages rules (PDF).
LAFFS: Ludicrous Action/Fast and Free System by Mike Petty
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A comedy RPG system, using three attributes (Moves, Brains, and Personality). The primary part of the combat system is rolling to see which way you stumble when dazed. ~8 pages HTML.
Legion Universal RPG
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal RPG system. ~25 pages (HTML).
Levity 2.0.8 by Roberto Grassi
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple set of rules. Character creation involves rolling 2d6+12 for Life Points, then rolling 3d6 and distributing each die to a freely-described skill. Action resolution is 3d6 + skill vs difficulty. There are no rules for magic, non-humans, or other options; though there are some notes on techniques for "storytelling". 14 pages rules (PDF).
LIQUID by Marcus Johanus, Markus Voht, and Jakob Schillinger (Blacknet Publishing)
Keywords: genre universal fantasy long world
A German-language free universal RPG system, with sourcebooks for seven worlds: AD 2309, Endland, Freeya, Narvalon, Scoutz!, Thyria Steamfantasy, and Schattenmeister. Character creation is limited point based. Checks are made by rolling 1d10 under the sum of an attribute and a skill value, with degree of success equal to the die result of a successful roll. The basic rules include a magic system. 339 pages (RTF).
The MGF Rules System: Maximum Game Fun by Michael O'Brien
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple minimalist system, with a focus on character creation. Character creation includes seven descriptive lists like "Five things everyone knows about you" and "Three things you believe are true". ~4 pages (HTML).
Mini Six by Ray Nolan and Phil Morris
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A variant of West End Games' OpenD6 system. 38 pages rules (PDF).
Mirima Tyalie by B. Lee Adamson, Jr
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A modular skill-based RPG, released under the Open Publication License. It uses a dice-pool system, rolling d10's equal to skill, where each roll that is less than the attribute is a success. The GM rolls d10s equal to difficulty rating, where each roll of 5 or less is an opposed success. Character creation uses either random-roll or point-based attributes, and point-bought skills. Optional rules include a free-form magic system, skill advancement through use, armor partial coverage and damage, and multiple damage types. There is a preliminary steampunk genre supplement. 24 pages rules (PDF).
Mnemonic by Kizig
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A very simple RPG using 1d12 to roll under the sum of 2 freeform traits. ~16 pages (MSWord).
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).
The Nameless RPG by Daniel Pond
Keywords: genre scifi fantasy universal rules-lite long world
A simple universal RPG system. Actions resolution is by drawing a playing card (or rolling 1d10) under attribute + skill. Modifiers are by adding bonus or penalty draws -- keepign the best/worst of the cards. Players can spend Karma points for successes. It includes three settings: a cross-genre setting (All-Worldz), a dark fantasy setting (Erebus), and a adaptation of "The Matrix". There are also two adventures. ~15 pages basic rules plus ~80 pages background (HTML).
New Realms by ReapermanX
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A "universal anime" system. It uses a simple system of rolling under attribute + skill on 1d20. 15 pages RTF.
No Dice - The Core Book by by Leo Stableford, Suzanne Jordan, and Justin Wyatt
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
The free PDF release of a print game available through Lulu. This is a diceless system, consisting mainly of advice for the GM guiding decisions. 248 pages (PDF).
Nova by George Chatzipetros
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A generic RPG engine based on d6 dice pools with a twist. You have several target numbers (such as 456), and then roll a number of d6's equal to the number of target numbers, where each die that is greater than or equal to its target is a success. Dice open-end high (6's reroll and add) and low (1's are rerolled for a chance of critical failure). Character creation is point-based with some randomness (you allocate dice to attributes and skills). It includes supplements for magic, psionics, cyberpunk, vehicles, equipment, and options. 24 pages basic rules (PDF), plus 117 pages supplements (PDF).
Nugget by Tim Gray
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple two-page universal system, the preview of the system used in the shareware game Legends Walk!. It uses a dice pool where you roll a number of dice based on difficulty + attribute (-1 to +2) + skill (1 to 4), and +1 for each advantage. Each result of 4-6 is one success. Character creation is limited point-based. 2 pages (PDF).
Omega by Klaus Mogensen
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system: point-based character creation, roll d6's equal to Difficulty and roll under skill. ~12 pages HTML.
OmniRole by Robert Clemens Praetzler
Keywords: universal long
A universal system in German and English. It uses a percentile system of stat + modifiers + 1d100, where a total over 100 is a success. Character creation is open point-based, with a variety of ads/disads and options. It includes a magic system, psionics system, and a vehicular combat system (land, air, and naval). 270 pages English rules (MSWord only).
One Brain Cell RPG Rules by Canis Publishing
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist RPG where the player rolls a number of d6's based on the GM's subjective rating of the PC's ability. ~3 pages HTML.
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).
Open Form RPG by Nuerodragon and The Frost Siva
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist system using roll 1d20 under stat. ~5 pages HTML rules.
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).
Opera: Beholders Lost in Alternative Realities by Leonardo Andrade and Rogério Godoy
Keywords: universal long
A Portuguese-language shareware universal RPG with a partial English version. Action resolution uses either 2d6 roll under attribute, or 2d6 plus attribute vs opposed roll. Character creation is limited point-based, buying attributes and skills. 188 pages (PDF).
OPIGS: One Page GamIng System by David Mar
Keywords: universal superhero rules-lite
A minimalist system using only attributes: Beef, Brains, Hammer, Coruba, and Luck. Resolution is based on d12 + stat on a universal table for results (one for combat, one for other skills). Includes a one-page superhero supplement by Andrew Arensburger. ~2 pages (HTML).
OPUS: The One Page Universal System for Roleplaying Games by Dragon Trove LLC
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal system. Resolution is by rolling 1d6 versus an opposed 1d6. The player may add one additional d6 if the character has an applicable skill and/or item, and one additional d6 from a pool of experience dice. Characters start with 3 skills, 3 items, and 3 experience dice. 1 page rules, ~6 pages sample characters and adventures (PDF or HTML).
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).
Oroborus by David F. Nalle (Ragnarok Press)
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A free HTML version of a published game. A skill-based percentile-based system, developed from the Ysgarth fantasy RPG. ~24 pages HTML.
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.
The Paganini Universal Storytelling Game System by Nathan E. Banks
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple dice-pool system taking highest or lowest die from a set. ~13 pages rules (text-only).
Paradigm Shift by Greg Poehlein, Michael Nunn, and D.B. Lincoln
Keywords: universal long
A free, generic version of the rules used in the published games Supermegatopia the RPG and UNSanctioned, from Nightshift Games. Resolution is by roll under skill on 2d10. Character creation is open point-based, with three primary attributes: Mind, Body, and Agility. 64 pages PDF.
Paradox RPG by Faight Industries
Keywords: universal long
A percentile-based generic system, also available printed. Resolution is percentile, with chance equal to 1/3 of attribute plus skill. Character creation is open point-based. It includes systems for magic, cybernetics, and robot characters. 50 pages basic rules (HTML, MSWord, or RTF) or 123 pages advanced rules (HTML, MSWord, or RTF).
Pathwanderer by Karl Thornley and David Collins
Keywords: universal fantasy long world
A universal system. Character creation is either random-roll or point-bought attributes with point-bought skills. Resolution is mostly percentile: roll d100 + skill + modifiers, where over 100 is a success. It includes a supplement ("world unit") for early medieval Ireland, between 410 and 793 A.D. 66 pages core rules (PDF), plus 136 pages supplement (PDF).
Pathways by John Buczek
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A simple percentile system using 3 attributes and various ads/disads. It includes a default psionics and magic system. 42 pages PDF.
Paul's Poker RPG by Paul R. Dillinger
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple idea for mechanics based on poker hands. PCs have player-defined abilities rated as General (like Melee Combat), Specific (like Swords), or Exact (like Katana). An ability is rated from 1 card draw to 5 card draw, while more exact gives an extra draw and discard. 3 pages rules (HTML).
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.
PCSIK System by Chris Freeman
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system. Action resolution is by rolling under stat + skill using a number of d10s based on difficulty. Character creation is open point-based, spending 100 Story Points on statistics, abilities, skills and equipment. 36 pages rules (PDF).
Pinion by Kenneth MacArthur
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A universal skill-based system. Action resolution is to roll under your skill on 2d10. Character creation can be either random-roll or point-based attributes with points-based ads/disads and skills. 53 pages PDF format.
Plain English Roleplaying by Michael D. Mearls (Adept Games)
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple game based on rolling d10+Traits+Skills and comparing the result to either someone else's roll or a target number. Traits are free-form (i.e. "Honorable+1"). ~8 pages (HTML).
Plate Glass RPG by Nathan E. Banks
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist system derived from Fudge, but with a 9-step rating of traits, and the roll is 1d6 minus 1d6 instead of 4dF. 2 pages rules (PDF).
PLUS, 5th edition by Joseph Steven Coleman
Keywords: genre universal scifi fantasy long rules-lite world
"Player's Labor-Saving Utility System". This is a simple dice-pool system where you compare the total to a target number, with open-ended results. Character generation uses random-roll core attributes (Luck, Body, and Age) , and point-bought attributes and skills based on these. It includes numerous setting adaptations, including an adaptation of the Jorune setting from Skyrealms Publishing and of Space 1889 from GDW. 41 pages basic rules (PDF or text-only) plus 175 pages setting adaptations.
Pollies by Ethan Greer
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system based on a step-die system of rating stats and difficulties by a size of die (from d4 to d20). Actions are resolved by rolling one die for stat and one die for difficulty. ~8 pages (HTML).
The Pool by James V. West
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system, using freeform traits (rated in d6's) and a general pool of dice. Resolution is by rolling a number of d6's based on difficulty plus dice for applicable traits, with each "1" counted as a success. You can also gamble dice from your general pool of dice. ~4 pages core rules plus ~15 pages variations (HTML).
Portable RPG by Craig "Pandemonium" Griswold
Keywords: universal genre rules-lite
A simple RPG system: attribute+1d10. It has the unusual feature of being designed for optional use of LEGO figures and accessories. There are three genre systems: space opera, swords & sorcery, and samurai. 3 pages core rules (MSWord) plus 12 pages genre supplements (MSWord).
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).
Powergame 5.5 by Mikko Kauppinen
Keywords: universal rules-lite
This is a rules-lite system developed over many years. Stats are described on a 0 to 8 scale of Power Level (PL). Action resolution is by rolling number of d6's equal to your PL vs a roll of d6's equal to the difficulty number. It has skills, ads, and disads as well. 38 pages rules (MSWord format).
Prism by Frank J. Perricone
Keywords: universal long
A modular skill based system. It is not quite complete, needing a combat system (by default it is intended for use with Rolemaster's Arms Law). It includes a number of supplements, including adaptation for GDW's "Space 1889" setting and Columbia Games' "Harn" setting. ~120 pages illustrated plus ~30 pages supplements (HTML).
Profile by John Buckmaster
Keywords: universal rules-lite supplement live-action
This is a free live-action conversion of the Silhouette game system (used in "Gear Krieg", "Tribe 8", and other games by Dream Pod 9). It requires one of the main rulebooks of those systems for character creation and other aspects of play. 16 pages PDF.
RATIOS by Scott J. Compton
Keywords: universal rules-lite
"Roleplaying And Tactics In One System". A percentile system with 26 attributes, one for each letter of the alphabet from Agility to Zeal. ~15 pages (text-only).
RealTime: Playing Against The Clock by Frank J. Perricone
Keywords: universal rules-lite
This is an RPG intended to be run in strict real time, where game time exactly matches the real time passing. Action resolution uses skill + 2dF (Fudge dice numbered -1, -1, 0, 0, +1, +1) vs difficulty. Character creation is limited point-bought: 30 points among eight skills, plus defined specializations. 24 pages core rules (PDF), plus ~50 pages introductory adventure (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).
RIP (Roleplaying the Infinite Possiblities) by Kalle Marjola
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A freeform universal system. It defines simple point-based character creation, and a generic rule of "roll 2d6 : higher is better". It has genre expansions which give more detail for characters and background. It has three genre expansions: dark future (cf. Syndicate), fantasy, and modern horror. ~6 pages basic rules (HTML), ~60 pages genre books (HTML).
Risus: The Anything RPG by S. John Ross
Keywords: genre universal superhero fantasy rules-lite
A cinematic "rules-lite" system which rates "cliches" as number of dice (1-6) which are summed vs difficulty. It includes a 27-page solitaire introductory adventure ("The Ring of Thieves") and links to a number of third-party sites on using it for different genres, including Supers, Mecha, and Fantasy. 5 pages basic rules (PDF, RTF, or text-only) plus ~50 pages supplementary material.
RORPS by Duck of Doom
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A humorous universal RPG system. The four attributes are Buffness, Breath, Hair Color, and Bowel Control. ~11 pages rules (MSWord).
RPG Office by Christian Loidl
Keywords: universal long
A set of freeware computer based RPG utilities for Windows. It comes in 4 versions: fantasy, scifi, horror, and historical. Each version has a similar core with different modules.
Rules of Thumb by Berislav Lopac
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A nearly-minimalist system using 2d10 versus difficulty, modified by skill or attribute. 4 pages PDF.
s3 by snikle
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A brief universal RPG, designed partly for online gameplay (since it uses imaginary die types of d14, d16, and d18). Six attributes are rated d2 to d20, and skills are rated 1 to 20. Resolution is by rolling the attribute die plus skill vs difficulty. Character creation is by random-roll attributes and point-bought skills. ~4 pages basic rules (HTML) plus ~4 pages fantasy supplement.
Saga Basic Rules
Keywords: universal rules-lite supplement
This is a universal system adapted from the out-of-print TSR games "Dragonlance: Fifth Age" and "Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game". The rules are complete but use a special Fate Deck for action resolution (which can come from either of the games). Players have a hand of cards, which they play from for each action: attribute (1-9) + skill (0 or 4) + card total vs difficulty. The suit of cards and the PC's Edge may allow more than one card to be played. ~10 pages (HTML or MSWord).
SAGA: Simple And Generic Adventures by Eric C. Garrison
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist dice-pool system. You roll a number of d6's for your attribute, skill, and subskill. For attributes, only a 6 counts as a success, while for skills it is 5-6 and for subskills it is 4-6. ~2 pages (text-only).
S.A.G.E. (Story Advanced Game Engine) by Obi Ortega
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A freeform diceless system based on spending "Karma points" which are allocated to your freeform attributes, skills, and powers. ~10 pages (HTML).
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 SCORE RPG by Jacob E. Boucher
Keywords: universal rules-lite
Skill-based universal system, based on a d100+skill or stat bonus task mechanic, and point-based character generation. ~10 pages HTML.
Scriptor by Dariel R. A. Quiogue
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A system geared for running PBEMs. Characters have only their 7 attributes, or "Styles" for styles of solving problems. Action resolution uses a dice pool system: total of (attribute) d6's vs difficulty, plus possible bonus dice for well-written posts. ~15 pages (HTML).
The SHELL Roleplaying System by Chris Harwood-Jones
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A generic "shell" of a system (i.e. including only core rules), developed out of Chris' former "Cran Fantasy" system. Posted to "rec.games.design" in 1992. It uses roll 3d6 under attribute or attribute + skill. Character creation is open point-bought. 20 pages (text-only).
Sherpa by Steffan O'Sullivan
Keywords: universal rules-lite
Another RPG from the creator of Fudge, intended to be easy to play even under difficult conditions, such as when hiking outdoors. It includes a one-page summary card you can carry with you. ~14 pages full 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).
Simply Roleplaying! version 2.0 by Bob Portnell and Guy McLimore (Microtactix Inc.)
Keywords: universal long rules-lite
A universal system. Action resolution is by rolling under skill on 2d10. Character creation is limited point-based, with a set of attribute points and skill points varied based on age, along with advantages and disadvantages. 110 pages core 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).
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).
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.
The SORD, 6th Edition by Scott J. Compton (Fractal Dimensions)
Keywords: universal long
A formula-heavy RPG with many stats. Character creation is mixed random-roll and choice. Resolution is roll 1d20 under skill. ~65 pages rules (text-only).
SOUPS by Mike Epstein with Rob Carlson
Keywords: universal long
"Skill Oriented Universal Playing System". A universal percentile-based system which handles everything purely in terms of skill values (i.e. no attributes). ~40 pages rules (text-only).
SPEED Rules by Joseph Steven Coleman
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system. Action resolution is by rolling 3d6 under skill to succeed. Bonuses and penalties are by rolling extra dice and taking the highest 3 or lowest 3. Character creation is limited point based. 14 pages rules (PDF).
Spiral by Michael Tangherlini (Starfish Games)
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A single-player (and single GM) mini-RPG where the main character is an everyman who receives some kind of power (called Influence) that can range from supernatural to political to anything else that sets the character apart from other people. Play proceeds by framing into explicit scenes. Scene resolution can be either by using power or humanity. Using power, resolution is by 1d6 + (number of powers) - (number of humanities). Using humanity, resolution is by 1d6 + (number of humanities) - (number of powers). The game has an inevitable progression where every third scene, new powers can be gained, but humanities can only be lost. 8 pages ruls (PDF).
Stones by Patrick Riley
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple RPG based on the published collectible-dice RPG Throwing Stones (by Jeff Siadek). ~2 pages HTML.
Stories System v1 by Mike Jones
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A minimalist universal system, where actions are resolved by rolling 3d6 and adding the level of an applicable freeform trait (or the level doubled) plut ease modifier, and the results compared to a results table, where 10 is a minimal success and 14 is normal success. 9 pages rules (PDF).
Story Bones by Christian Aldridge
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A "bare bones" version of the published Story Engine rules from Hubris Games. It has very loose description-based rules. A pool of dice are thrown to check the number of odd rolls. 6 pages PDF.
Sundered Epoch: Generations by Randal P. Snyder
Keywords: genre scifi universal long
A universal RPG with a default setting of a dark near-future in the year 2010. Current genres include a dark future in 2010, a cyberpunk year 2050, and a fantasy setting. Action resolution is 1d20 roll over (Difficulty minus Skill). Character creation is open point-based. 101 pages PDF.
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).
Swift by Doyce Testerman
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal system. Action resolution uses attribute + d20 vs difficulty (with options for other die types). The attributes are "Vocation" along with Body (Muscle + Agility), Mind (Memory + Reason), and Soul (Will + Perception). PCs also have one "feat" and one "flaw". Character creation is open point-based. 18 pages rules (PDF).
Synthesis (version 1.8) by Mike Holmes and J B Bell
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system, using a freeform dice pool system. Character creation is by distributing points among freeform traits -- one of which must be the special trait "Self". Action resolution is by rolling a number of dice based on trait and modifier, where every even result is a success. This is compared against a similar roll for the task difficulty. ~25 pages core rules (HTML).
The System, 2011 Edition by Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr.
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal system designed with an early 1980s feel (originally developed in 1986). Resolution is by rolling under stat on 4d6, or rolling on an "Odds Table". Character creation is open point-based, buying 11 attributes (including Luck) along with various calculated abilities, and 5 skills with subskills. 34 pages core rules (PDF).
SYSTEME D by Stéphane de Decker
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A French-language simple universal system, using a step-die system, where stats and difficulties are rated from D4 to D20. In character creation, the player assigns different dice to broad categories: fighter, alchemist, pilot, assassin, healer, technician, etc. 4 pages rules (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).
Theatre of the Adsurb by Jeremiah McDonnell
Keywords: universal long
A universal percentile system. Action resolution uses roll under skill on percentile dice, consulting a universal table for degree of success. It includes a set of character creation and GM helper programs, although they are not required. Character creation is point-based. 115 pages rules (MSWord format).
Toaster by Patrick Riley
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A universal skill-based system. Action resolution is based on attribute + skill + d10 vs difficulty (10 is standard). Character creation is limited point-based (spending attribute points and skill points) with open-ended ads/disads. There are rules for a variety of weapons and optional combat but no magic or other sci-fi/fantasy rules. 37 pages (PDF).
Token Storytelling by James Hargrove
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A universal minimalist RPG where you roll from a pool of d6s in a freeform manner for resolution, with each 5 or 6 counting as a success. The only stat is your pool of dice, which is formed by adding dice for different types of character description. 4 pages rules (PDF).
Too Much Coffee Roleplaying System by Clinton R. Nixon
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple, freeform system with no fixed stats -- based closely on Fudge. 9 pages PDF.
Tri-Stat dX: Core System Roleplaying Game by Mark C. MacKinnon
Keywords: genre universal long
The complete core rulebook for the Tri-Stat dX system from Guardians of Order. The rules are a variant of the Tri-Stat system from Silver Age Sentinels and Big Eyes, Small Mouth. This is not specific to anime, and adds in scaling rules to allow for low-power realistic play as well as superheroes. The "DX" refers to using different dice depending on the type of campaign: D4s for low-power play, up to d12s for superheroes. It has three core attributes of Body, Mind, and Soul. Character creation is open point-based. 106 pages (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).
TUGS by Aina Rasolomalala
Keywords: universal rules-lite long
A generic game with a sci-fi bent, inspired by Jorune, Space Opera, and CORPS. ~16 pages rules (HTML or text-only), plus ~16 pages in a world-specific sci-fi supplement.
TV Action
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A system for role-playing in the genre of action/adventure television. It uses an adaptation of Ian Marsh's Timelord system, with cinematic modifications including Screen Presence from Matt Wilson's Primetime Adventures, and Kickers from Ron Edwards' Sorcerer. 19 pages rules (PDF).
Twilight: The Rapid Tactical Role-Playing Game by Benjamin D. Richards
Keywords: universal long
The demo version of a universal system under development. It has mechanics based on allocation of 5 time increments among tasks, designed for tactical play. You roll (attribute+skill) d6s where each roll less than or equal to the increments spent is a success, with a special open-end rule if more than half the dice are successes. Character creation is limited point-based. The demo version includes basic skills, modern and historical equipment, and extended examples of play; but only incomplete samples of the rules for magic and innate racial skills. ~64 pages HTML.
Universal Combat System by Jesse Carlucci, Josh Brown, and Joshua Carey
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple miniatures combat system intended for any setting (fantasy, modern, etc.) It has a point system for building armies out of units, with units rated in level from 1 (weak but fast) to 10 (tough but slow). ~8 pages rules (HTML).
VRAANZANNTH (anonymous)
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A generic pure mechanics system, which uses two-step mechanic: roll under stat on 1d12, then determine result by rolling 2d6-7 on a table to find a multiplier for your effect. Character creation seems to be an open point-bought system. ~11 pages HTML.
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).
WEM3 by "steveb"
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A simple universal RPG system. Character creation is by limited point-bought attributes and skills. Resolution is by best roll from a pool of d6's. ~12 pages HTML.
The Window by Scott Lininger
Keywords: universal modern horror fantasy rules-lite long
A simple, drama-based system (in English and French). Action resolution is by rolling a step-die (d4 to d30) based on skill under difficulty. Character creation is freeform. It includes two settings: a modern horror setting ("The Stage") and an angels-in-the-modern-world setting ("Children of Fire"). 42 pages base rules (PDF or HTML), plus 18-page modern horror setting (PDF or HTML), and a 57-page urban fantasy setting (PDF or HTML).
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).
The X RPG by Chris Fleming
Keywords: universal long
A complex generic RPG, using exponential ratings (from Mayfair Games' DC Heroes) and offering a choice of several dice-rolling methods. ~185 pages HTML.
The X6 System by George Chatzipetros
Keywords: universal
A universal dice-pool system. Resolution is by rolling d6s equal to attribute or skill, where each 3 or 4 is one success, and each 5 or 6 is two successes. Character creation is open point-based, buying up the 15 attributes along with skills and talents with 1500 starting experience points. 25 pages core rules (PDF) plus 3 pages wealth expansion (PDF).
Zehn Core Rules by Robert Towell
Keywords: universal fantasy modern long
A universal system, with powers and characters provided for a fantasy background or superheroes. Action resolution is by stat + 3d6 versus difficulty, and uses a general logarithmic scale where each +10 stat is x10 units. Characters creation is open point-based. 78 pages rules (PDF).
Zen and the Art of Mayhem by Dave Zyn
Keywords: universal long
A universal system focussing on Japanese anime. Action resolution is attribute + skill + 1d10 vs difficulty. Character creation is open point-based with optional random-roll attributes. It has a sample sci-fi setting, Pangea. 124 pages core rules and background (PDF).
ZIGZAG by Jow Lindsay
Keywords: universal rules-lite
A combination RPG and drinking game, where actions are resolved by how much alcohol is consumed rather than by dice or cards. ~10 pages HTML.

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