KEYWORDS EXPLAINED

The keywords list is my attempt at some sort of categorization of the Free RPGs into logical groupings. With over 300 Free RPGs that are available, it is hard to really find what you want. However, I do not have time to read all the entries in any sort of detail, so I am extremely reluctant to try to apply tight categories.

My approach is to try to define very broad keywords that I can quickly attach to a game by a brief overview. I try to define keywords such that they apply to a large set of games and are non-exclusive. I do not want to have to judge whether a game is an "anime" game vs a "cyberpunk" game, say. Trying to define an exclusive genre I find is not very useful.

Thus, a game with both high-tech and magic will have both the "scifi" and "fantasy" keywords. Thus a well-documented game with a simple core like FUDGE will appear as both "rules-lite" and "long".

The following are my keyword definitions:

"new"
This means that the entry was added or changed in the past 3 weeks or so.
"long"
This means that the work in question is over 30 pages. Of course, the meaning of a "page" for HTML or ASCII works is fairly arbitrary, so the line is rather loose.
"rules-lite"
This is a somewhat subjective category, by which I mean a game that is at least as simple as FUDGE. By default, any work which is less than 40 pages I will say is "rules-lite". If I have additional information I may alter that.
"universal"
This means that the system is intended for use as a universal system: i.e. working for a wide variety of settings and/or genres.
"genre"
This means that the system is intended for some particular genre or genres. It is possible that a "universal" system could also be "genre" if it includes significant genre-specific material with the universal system.
"supplement"
This means that the work is not a complete standalone game -- i.e. you will need other (usually commercial) RPG books in order to play it.
"scifi"
This means that there is speculative elements based on modern science in the game.
"fantasy"
This means that the game is set in another world which includes magic and other supernatural elements.
"traditional fantasy"
This is a subset of "fantasy". Due to the popularity of the D&D game, there are many a great many free RPGs of a similar fantasy genre. I define "traditional fantasy" as having a European-like, medieval-era setting with two or more of the elements: dwarves, elves, character classes, clerics, or "monsters" as expected opponents.

John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Sun Nov 10 10:18:27 2002