Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful For... FREE RPGs!

Pictured at left, a Louis Rhead illustration from the 1916 edition of John Bunyun's Pilgrim's Progress.

Among all of the things that I'm truly thankful for this Thanksgiving (including my beautiful nerd-loving wife, our 2 dogs, our families, our collective health, the other blessings God has bestowed upon us), I'm thankful for the bountiful cornucopia of free RPGs available via the interweb (which, BTW, includes The System, and will hopefully at some point also include The System: Expanded.) I'm also thankful to the people who host them, tend them and/or cultivate their interest!

John Kim's Free RPGs on the Web
John is the man when it comes to organizing them so you can find what interests you. He's got a "new" section, a complete alphabetical listing, and also has them categorized by key words (long, rules lite, preview, supplement, online, open-license, universal, and genre) and genres (fantasy, horror, modern, post-apocolyptic, sci-fi, superhero, and traditional.) While you're there, don't forget to browse the headers up top (including RPG theory, system design, and convention reports.)

1,000 Monkeys, 1,000 Typewriters, and a Ton of Free Games
The man in the kitchen behind 1KM1KT is its benefactor (and Web developer/host/creator) Keeton Harrington, while the face at the front counter (and all over the forums) is Rob Lang. A lot of the free RPGs at 1KM1KT are entries from the contests they sponsor, but not all of them. Even the contest entries are pretty freakin' amazing considering many of them were written and laid out in 24 hours. Granted, many are rules light, but that doesn't keep them from being truly inspired and impressive.

Chris's Compendium of Free RPGs at
Eric "Chris" Garrison adds the RPGs as he finds/is emailed about them, so the organization is a simple "newest on top" comprehensive list. It's not searchable (other than the "find" command on your browser) or organized by any other means, but it's fun to stroll through. The order never changes (newest adds first) so remember where you leave off and you can pick back up there the next time.

The Role-playing Text Archive at
This is an archive of texts from old FTP sites and bulletin boards (from before everybody had the Web Wide World on their computer boxes)--something host Jerry Stratton calls "The Elder Pages." I actually encountered FUDGE for the first time back in 1995 on a BB somewhere and still have a print copy (somewhere) of that ascii text version. A list of the freeware/shareware games from those archives is located here, but you have to copy and paste the text into your browser's address bar (as it isn't "clickable.")

Other Resources
There are plenty of other resources for free RPGs (or free lite/artless versions of other RPGs) available from places like DriveThru RPG, Lulu, and directly from publishers like RetroRoleplaying, but compiling a list like that gets a bit cumbersome and I don't have the patience of John or Keeton or Rob or Chris or Jerry to undertake something like that (and so... I say, "Thanks!")

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