Category Archives: Legacy D&D

Some free games I found at RPGNow

I am looking for new and exciting games. A simple and cheap way to try out some new games or to at least broaden your horizon is to check RPGNow‘s free game downloads.

Labyrinth Lord (Link)
Labyrinth Lord is one of these new retro-clone games that try to emulate the classic D&D experience by using the OGL fantasy rules.

Labyrinth LordEnter a world filled with labyrinths, magic, and monsters! You can take the role of a cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, or thief on your quest for glory, treasure, and adventure! This is a complete role playing game. All you need are a few sheets of paper and some dice. Welcome back to a simpler old-school gaming experience. The Labyrinth Lord awaits your arrival. Can you survive the dangers of the labyrinth?


OSRIC (Link)

Another retro-clone (these are obviously very popular these days) is OSRIC. And OSRIC is not for the faint of heart. This PDF gives you over 400 pages of old-fashioned crunch for the grognard in all of us. 🙂

OSRICOSRIC is an OGL product, using OGC terms and algorithms from 1980s game systems, to recreate the “old-school feel” of 80s fantasy gaming. This product is meant primarily as a publisher resource for publishing products compatible with OSRIC, and thus other 80s game systems. However, this work is a great resource for players and game masters as well! 




SLA Industries (Link)
SLA Industries was an urban horror game produced by Nightfall Games. When Cubicle 7 Entertainment took over, they released a free PDF version of the 1st edition rules in order to promote the coming 2nd edition. If you are a fan of the original SLA Industries or just interested in another take on the urban horror genre check this out.

SLA IndustriesOperative, Employee, Contract Killer, Necanthrope, Ebon, Biogenetic, Corporate. These are the lifestyles available to you when you enter SLA Industries’ World of Progress.

Society split between truth and deception, conflict and political subversion, style and horror. Television and Insanity. Fighting for your life as an oblivious public watches on, awaiting your last breath between the adverts.

The media channels all the young hopefuls into their vessels. Nihilism is a way of life. Strive for originality in a world of outrage and conformity and diversity. The different get noticed, the truly original survive.

Six o’clock horror, every hour on the hour. Halloween Jack claims another victim. Fifteen minutes of fame for the corpse. Don’t get famous like him. Change. Become. Evolve. This is the way forward.

The Big Picture rewards the loyal. Be true to yourself. Survive. The truth awaits the inquisitive.

Guns kill but so does the truth.


Tri-Stat dX (Link)
One of my most favorite games that I never played was “Big Eyes, Small Mouth” aka BESM. BESM is an anime roleplaying game, a RPG where you can play characters who feel like if they jumped out of your favorite anime or manga. But the Tri-Stat system was much more versatile than simulation japanese cartoon characters. So Guardians of Order released Tri-Stat dX, a core rule set, meant to drive any campaign you could dream of. The rules are pretty good but alas GoO closed its doors shortly before BESM 3rd Edition was released.

Tri-Stat dXWidely regarded as one of the best rules-light role-playing game systems ever published (as presented in over a dozen RPGs), the Tri-Stat Systemis the ideal game engine for all your campaign needs. Featuring a scalable system, point-based character creation, and intuitive combat and task resolution, Tri-Stat dX: Core System is an inexpensive exploration into essential and advanced role-playing techniques and methods. It’s the only role-playing game you’ll ever need.


CJ Carrella’s WitchCraft (Link)
Witchcraft is a game of modern magic from EDEN Studios. They obviously have sold that game for $35.00 at one time, but now they are making it available for free. I haven’t had the time to read the rules and background completely but the artwork at least is worth the download. 

WitchcraftWitchCraft is a game of modern magic and dark secrets. Player characters are the Gifted. Feared for their unique powers, they have been hounded for centuries, and forced to practice their Arts in secret. The time for hiding is over. A Time of Reckoning draws near. It marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one or the destruction of all things. The choices the Gifted make will determine what our future will be like.

WitchCraft is a complete roleplaying game, with rules to create Gifted and Mundane characters, an overview of a modern world beset by supernatural danger, and the Unisystem, a set of game mechanics that can use dice, cards or be completely story-driven to fit the needs and desires of your gaming group. 


There are of course a lot more interesting freebies available at sites like RPGNow and the like. I just picked a few that seemed particularly interesting and well made. Did I miss anything that’s dear to your heart? Have you actually played one of those games and perhaps you can even share your thoughts? If so, please let your voices be heard in the comments.

My thoughts on OGL, GSL and beyond

d20 OGL LogoWhen Wizards of the Coast decided to release the 3.0 (and the following 3.5) Edition of their popular roleplaying game D&D we saw a lot of 3rd party supplements and OGL games. Of course not every book released was of the same quality. And it was appearent that Wizards’ control over what their competitors released using the OGL or the d20 System License was limited at best. So they decided to discontinue the d20 System License with the release of the 4th edition.

The new GSL (Game System License) prohibits anyone from using the OGL at the same time, so if you want to release a book for 3.5 D&D, you can’t release anything for 4th Edition as well. There are of course a few loopholes. You can of course found a new company that handles the 4th Edition stuff while your original company sticks to 3.5 Edition or vice versa. But only a few publishers jumped onto the 4th Edition bandwagon. Paizo Publishing also decided to release an updated version of the 3.5 edition under the name “Pathfinder Roleplaying Game” that should be almost 100% compatible to every other OGL material.

One thing is clear: the OGL has brought us a lot of great games and supplements (and quite a few very bad ones), it’s much easier now for us fans (and bloggers) to write up some new class, race, rule etc. without being in a legal grey area all the time. But the 4th Edition changed all that. When a blogger now posts his homebrew 4E campaign, some rules he came up with etc., he or she is in a legal grey area all the time. Wizards has promised us a fan site policy but it hasn’t been released yet.

In my opinion the OGL was a step in the right direction, but it has not gone far enough. What the community needs is a popular game backed by a large company (or several smaller ones) that is released under Creative Commons preferably of the Attribution-Share Alike (see license here) variety. We all have witnessed how Open Source Software has enriched our daily internet lives. If you need a good browser software, office package, blogging software, etc. you can get it on the net for free and if you are technically-adapt you can even give something back by contributing to the code. 

I am sure something like this could work in the RPG business too. And I am sure it would help to bring more people to the hobby than ever before. When D&D 3.0 was still young I noticed that a lot of people started to use it just to be able to play in all that cool and new settings released by 3rd party publishers. Or they used the SRD to play it totally for free using their homebrew settings. OGL is there too stay but having a set of rules with a less limiting license would benefit us all.

Some companies have made steps in the right direction, FUDGE and FATE used the OGL, Savage Worlds has a pretty nice Fan Works Policy and in the last years a few people have decided to release their games under the CC. But those are mostly games written by fans and they are not as popular as D&D, Savage Worlds and some others. And in my opinion having a almost totally free system for all of us to play with would be a great boon. I am still hoping for an Open D6 System (the one WEG hinted at) released under CC…

What are your thoughts on the subject? Would you be interested in a truely free game system? Or are you happy with the several OGL games and fan site policies?

Scribd gem: Dragon Fist

1999 Wizards of the Coast released a free wuxia-inspired roleplaying game called “Dragon Fist” created by Chris Pramas. The rules have a strong AD&D 2nd Edition feel to it and the setting reminds me a lot of Hong Kong fantasy movies like Chinese Ghost Story, which was obviously intended. Some time ago, Green Ronin has bought the rights to Dragon Fist but haven’t done anything with it and the original free PDFs are no longer available at the WotC site.
But not all is lost. A kind soul has uploaded the Dragon Fist rules to Scribd!

If you are into wuxia, you should check out this rare piece of AD&D history.