Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Discussion: Your Favorite Free RPG

Another Friday, another catatonic blogosphere. I would think blog traffic would be higher on Fridays, what with people slacking off at work, but that's just never the case.

Let's get a little discussion going and get this thing warmed up. Our question for discussion today: what is your favorite free RPG? What do you like about it, aside from it being free?

(Don't worry, Rob Lang. I'm not muscling in on your territory).

Let's discuss below! Free PDF copy of Introduction to Irrin goes to a random commenter!

22 comments:

Rob Lang said...

What kind of insane question is this? :) I'm glad others are taking note that the free stuff out there is absolutely fab.

How am I supposed to answer the unanswerable? I nearly always wax lyrical about whatever the last thing is that I've read. So that is normally my default favourite. I see the free games I discover as my children, who need nurturing and I would normally refuse to pick a favourite on those grounds. But that's a cop-out. I'm waffling to buy time...

Ahhhhh.... this is tough! Alright, at the moment, I think it's Zenobia by Paul Elliot as it's probably the one I'm most likely to run. If it was going to be fantasy, it would be like this.

Gah! I hate you for making me do this, Zach. ;)

P.S. If anyone needs a list of Free Blogs to choose from, check out my blog.

Mad Brew said...

My favorite free RPG - Violence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed.

It's a satirical game by Greg Costikyan, for those that have never heard of it. It used to be published by Hogshead Publishers, but now its available under a Creative Commons license.

Viriatha said...

Mine isn't quite free yet... but the D6 system that was so popular with Star Wars is supposed to be going OGL, which will make the basic system free.

I like it because a) the combat is fast instead of tactical and b) it's VERY adaptable.

noisms said...

Definitely Risus. It's incredibly easy to get to grips with and can be used for anything you choose. The humourous surface conceals a good rules-lite system that you can do serious gaming with just as well. And it's endearingly unpretentious.

Alex Schröder said...

I like Fudge (the subjective version), and I liked reading Risus, but my players liked D&D. Right now I'm running a game of Labyrinth Lord and that's working out very well.

Wyatt said...

Lesbo Jet Fighters, because who could resist being a half-little girl half-WW2 fighter plane?

Jeff Rients said...

Encounter Critical

MountZionRyan said...

Risus. It hits me exactly where I like to game: lite and on the fly.

Joseph said...

Call me old fashioned (and with a blog with the word "Grognard" in the title, I wouldn't blame you a bit if you did), but I'd have to say OSRIC. If you can't go with straight-out AD&D, it's the next best thing.

Badelaire said...

Mazes and Minotaurs, because it takes an idea that, usually, would just be a bit of a "woah yeah that'd be cool, right?" idea, and carried it forward and completely, and in a very cool way. Not only is there a "basic" version, there's an "advanced" three-book version, plus added supplemental books and a quarterly magazine. It's a LOT of great content, a great idea, a very cool system, and plenty of idea fodder even if you don't run the game.

Ryan said...

I've got to go with Fudge; it just appeals to the tinker in me. I've only run it a handful of times but it has always been a good time.

That being said, Swords & Wizardry White Box is a close second. To me, S&WWB has somehow managed to encompass the essence of everyone's D&D. I like all the little optional rules and the "flavor to taste" feel of it.

Golgotha said...

Speaking of Mr. Lang, Icar absolutely rocks. What I like is how the game gives you this huge galaxy to play in, without either forcing a metaplot down your throat or leaving GM's hanging for ideas. The setting is believable and workable: the tech is what the inhabitants would actually use, not just page after page of guns & spaceships. I like how character downtime and development are linked, and how they function in a gaming sense. I like that there is lots of new content being added. I really like how organisations are handled in the game. And the Icar's bionics are superior to anything I've seen in any other game.

But for my absolute, all-time favourite game, I have to go with Midian. It's not just that the setting lives and breathes, it will spit in your face and call you names. Like Icar Midian features mechanics for groups, but focuses far more on interpersonal stuff. The game system is both well integrated and highly tweakable. Elements of both system and setting are comfortable enough for most games. This both minimises the learning curve, and lulls you into a false sense of security for when the GM throws something really horrifying at you. I like the community of gamers who actually share parts of their home campaigns for participation by the wider community, not just tell you about their paladins.

I definitely love Midian, but then again, I am admittedly a bit biased.

Chgowiz said...

Man, this is a hard choice because there are so many freebies out there.

I'd have to say my favorite is microlite20 and microlite74. I group them both together because they are basically the same game. There is so much OGL/SRD material that I could probably run a different microlite20 or 74 game each night for a few years.

However, ironically, the campaign I'm running is OSRIC-based. My wife's solo game just moved from microlite74 to Swords & Wizardry because I wanted to move her closer to a more typical old school system that has the standard stats and "feel" to it.

Geordie Racer said...

Redbox Hack by is my favourite, there are cool character creation and tactical combat minigames in the rules as well as an exotic implied setting-flavour - while still remaining rules-light and accessible for beginning gamers. Also the ability to 'hack the hack', houseruling it to suit the gamers' preferred setting has engaed many players who like the hobbyist OD&D approach.

Gleichman said...

So why is Friday so dead in the Blog world? I've only be playing in this sandbox for a couple of weeks and I've noticed it.

Quite interesting. Likely because people are more interested in getting ready for their weekend and then having it. Blogs would rate low compared to that.

Rob Lang said...

I am utterly stealing all of these links, everyone! Many thanks for the hot tips. I feel completely evil for pilfering everything. Looks like Risus needs a fat review...

Golgotha, you sweatheart. The cheque's in the post!

Rich Spainhour, LTC, USA said...

Before they got pulled down after the company went under, I would have picked one of Guardians or Order's awesome games (Tri-Stad dX, or the BESM d20 SRDs -- Core RPG rules + d20Mecha).

Nowadays, I'd have to pick Legendary Lives (http://www.hauntedattic.org/legendarylives.html). An awesome blend of Old-School (random-only chargen, loads of Races and Classes, dungeon-crawling, Gygaxian quirkiness) and New-School (unified core mechanic, only players roll dice, improvised cast-on-the-fly magic system) that was once a fairly successful seller in softcover, now available as a free PDF.

Dwayanu said...

Tough call! I'll cast another vote for Zenobia, because it epitomizes what I think of as "old school" but not "old." It strikes me as neither an imitation of something else nor different for the sake of being different.

The mechanics simply do what they ought to do without a lot of fuss, apparently having been chosen to fit the job at hand rather than some overarching "theory." They help convey flavor with more detail in key areas, and leave some other subjects alone.

The volume of alternate-historical background material might seem too much to some, but with a free PDF one can simply not print it out if one wants to skip it. I think it serves well as a source of inspiration in the genre of "peplum fantasy" or "sword and sandal" adventure. It's not to my mind a setting of such particularity as to overwhelm the game's generic function.

It covers all sorts of handy topics, from magic and monsters to desert travel, with admirable economy.

Throughout, the work conveys a sense of the writer's personal vision and style. That not only makes reading a pleasure but helps put things in a context that aids understanding of the intent. Even if one has something a bit different in mind, one at least comes away with a strong sense of how the game should play as written.

I remember Legendary Lives from the first edition, when I played it with the designers. The basic system is pretty neat (with hangups here and there), but the presentation seemed primed for "fantasy heart-breaker" status. Spinoff Lost Souls was more successful, I think -- but there have been times when I've wished I still had LL handy. It's too bad the rougher but briefer 1st edition books are not online, because I think they made the game system more accessible. The "chrome" seems to me less likely to hold wide appeal, because even at the time it was a bit too twee.

Zachary The First said...

@Rich: I was really impressed with Legendary Lives when I read through it. I'd like to find a softcover copy one of these days.

Zachary The First said...

Time to roll the dice for the free pdf copy of Irrin...(d20, reroll if double or unassigned)...

Badelaire! Drop me a line at mail.rpgblog(at)gmail.com so I can send you a copy!

Rob Lang said...

Nice, Zach.

I'll add Legendary Lives into the list. Can't keep doing old-school, though!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving Labyrinth Lord right now, but have been running a game of AssassinX that has had 5 sessions and my players LOVE it.