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Saturday, March 10, 2012

RPGs: Good and Free

Okay, wow! Somehow, I got totally behind on things, and never actually put out a post for the second half of the week. Grar. Okay, give me about five minutes, and I'll come up with something incredibly compelling to write a post on!

*tick tick tick*

Okay, is time really up? Drat. Okay, then. I guess it's up to me to pull a topic completely out of nowhere. Hmm...oh, I know! Time for a really quick roundup. See, one of my little hobbies is finding cool roleplaying games, and some of the coolest roleplaying games are this lovely little thing called "free". So, before your very eyes, here's a round-up of five excellent (and free) roleplaying games.

Risus: the Anything RPG
Clickable link

Risus is one of the first free games that I stumbled across, and it's a pretty famous one. Designed for lightweight "beer and pretzels" gaming, particularly comedy gaming, it boasts five-minute character creation, eminently flexible character creation, and a simple system to adjucate how the chips fall in an entertaining manner. Plus, the base game has supercool stick figure art.

A Wanderer's Romance
Free from DriveThruRPG

A Wanderer's Romance is truly a game of unique beauty. Designed to emulate the wuxia genre, it uses a "four elements" system as its character attribute mechanic. What's very interesting is how it outlines the elements as applied to tasks, explaining how Fire + Water might be the chosen attributes for one task, while Air + Fire would be better for another task. The game's simplicity contributes to its beauty, and its awareness of genre is to be admired.

Misspent Youth
Free and complete preview is right here

Okay, so I'm technically cheating here. Misspent Youth wasn't made as a free game, it sells for $20 in print, $25 with the PDF attached. However, the author has graciously made available a totally free edition of the print PDF, which isn't the easiest to read...but it is free. And it sold me on the game, completely. Once I have the spare money, I'm buying. This game (warning, not for everyone, contains very strong language) looks and reads incredibly. The premise, the mechanics, the central all comes together in an amazing way.

Swords and Wizardry: the White Box
Get it right here, folks!

Swords and Wizardry is a delightfully ambitious project: a retroclone of the original D&D, with the explicit aim of cleaning it up, making the game far more clear, palatable to everyone, and bringing it in line with modern RPG quality. Including editing. ;) For the modern gamer, it's a nice blast to the past, teaching us a few lessons about the game itself. Oh, and while you're at it, do yourself a favor and pick up the free PDF "A Quick Guide to Old School Gaming". It's well worth the read, for any gamer.

Old School Hack
Quick! Get it here!

Old School Hack: I may have saved the best for last. It's quite possibly the best-looking free game I've seen, and the rules themselves are a thing of beauty. The author melds the old-school D&D philosophy with some shiny new streamlined rules and some slick professional graphic design, resulting in a fantastic product. Oh, and he's got some innovative ideas, too, like a nifty take on combat initiative. Seriously, give this game a read.

Give them all a read, really. I've dug out some very well-produced free games, games with a lot of excellent substance. So, my question is, why aren't you following those links right now? Oh, by the way, speaking of free RPGs...I've been giving thought to a sort of free RPG project of my own, something that's not quite a newcomer here...

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