Monday, August 3, 2009

10 Great PDF RPGs For Under 10 Bucks Or Less

I really enjoyed doing the last Budget Gamer column (has it really been that long?), and so I decided it was about time for another. This time, we've upped the ante to the $10 and under threshold, but I think you'll find these games are still bargains! After all, there's no reason trying out some new PDF games should kill your wallet! Here's the chosen 10, in no particular order:

1) A Game of Thrones: Before Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire, there was this game. It met with general acclaim as a d20 product, but received a "false start" of sorts due to the original publisher going out of business. It remains an impressive game in its own right, one with an interesting Reputation mechanic to emulate the shifting politics of George R.R. Martin's writing.

2) Thousand Suns: This ode to Imperial sci-fi and fiction in the vein of the late, great H. Beam Piper, Thousands Suns is excellent for those looking to build their own space settings (or adventure in the galactic sandboxes others have created). This RPG has a nice learning curve, and I still love that cover.

3) Savage Worlds Explorer Edition: Matching the print version price of $9.99, Explorer Edition is a complete RPG in 160 pages. If you've been following the continual increase in this "Fast, Furious, Fun" game's apparent popularity, this is a great way to give it a whirl (bearing in mind you can also check out the free Test Drive).

4) In Harm's Way: C'mon, you didn't think I'd leave one of my all-time faves off, did you? This Napleonic dynamo of a game features troupe play and some great mechanics for advancing your naval career through daring deeds. In addition, the way the system is set up to balance success, injury, and honor makes this a home run.

5) Barbarians of Lemuria: An expanded version of the free RPG with the same title, this is about as good as Sword n' Sorcery RPGs get. One of the few RPGs in which playing Conan and the Gray Mouser seem equally feasible. Character generation is loose and quick.

6) Chronica Feudalis: That's right, the only 12th-century RPG penned by monks! A thread the other day on this game got me curious, and it certainly is a unique idea. I have to say, the premise works pretty well! The mechanics are light, but shouldn't have troubled appealing to traditional gamers, for the most part.

7) Jaws of the Six Serpents: I really enjoy the simplicity and flexibility of the PDQ system, and Silver Branch's use of it for this dark fantasy RPG is a welcome addition to that system's library. The PDQ also handles sword n' sorcery as well here. Though there's a setting outline included, I could easily using this with a dark setting like Midnight.

8) Modern20: If you enjoyed d20 Modern, but found it lacking in a few areas, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater--take a look at Modern20 instead. Still d20-based, it streamlines skills, renovates the Wealth system, and incorporates changes to make character backgrounds mechanically relevant.

9) Wild Talents: Essential Edition: The One-Roll Engine (ORE) seems to be a hit or miss proposition--some people find it their personal gaming Holy Grail, others don't care for it at all. In 176 pages, this complete RPG shows off the ORE's strengths as applied to the supers genre. At only $5, it's a solid bargain.

10) Squirrel Attack!: That's right. You snicker, but this is one of the best beer n' pretzel (beer n' nuts?) RPGs I've ever played. Further, I've yet to not have fun running this with a group. It's goofy fun all around, and perfect as a fill-in when serious gaming or the regular campaign just isn't going to happen. This is just one entry in the SA! series, mind!

If you do decide to pick up any of these great products, please consider doing so through the links supplied above, which will help support RPG Blog 2. Some of these titles are also available through the Your Games Now PDF Store.

As always, any reader suggestions for other great bargains in this range are quite welcome below!


Verdilak said...

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is only $12.95, but all of their pdf sourcebooks are only $9.99, and the system is excellent.

Seriously, you should check them out, its a wonderful system and the setting like what would happen in Joss Whedon had written Men in Black.

Verdilak said...

Oh, here is their main site,

jerm said...

Houses of the Blooded, PDF is just $5.

Main site

Olman Feelyus said...

Great post idea and just a great, varied list of games. One more example that this hobby is thriving!

Zachary The First said...

Thanks, guys! I’ll have to check out suggestions there. I actually listed Houses of the Blooded on my earlier (5 RPGs for under $5) article. Great bargain, I’d say!

Steven said...

It is not out yet, But I am Surprised you did not mention it, since it will be out in a few days.

Pathfinder RPG PDF For $9.99!!!

576 pgs of Greatness!!!

Zachary The First said...

Steven—You can best believe I am as excited as anyone for the Pathfinder release! But since it was not out yet, I didn’t think it was wise to include it. But yes, in just a few days, Paizo’s master pdf stratagem will be upon us!