Today I get to play with the Blog Carnival topic, “Pimp A Game”, which gives me a good chance to write about cool games. And who doesn’t like cool games…
“Free” is a good thing right? Many games are free in some way or another, like Facebook games, which make their money from those annoying “in game purchases”. But what about role-playing games? There are loads of free ones out there, and a quick look around will prove a universal truth: “Free isn’t always good for RPGs”. Generally, no income means no support and a poor production quality. Players are likely to disregard a game if they think it’s cheap, which impacts how many people even give the rules a spin. Thankfully, some games break that rule, and build a huge fan base around them which keeps it going and growing. Take the Pokéthulhu Adventure Game as an example. The game is possibly one of the simplest free games around, but its strong community of fans means the game is still available for download today. I got to play it at a convention a few years ago, and man, it was awesome. Hands down the best session I’ve played too.
I’m going to look at three games that got my attention recently. They’re all free. You don’t need to pay a cent, give your email address or pay for additional books to make the thing work.
Heroes Against Darkness
Check out the detail and the production quality of this game; a book full of great looking art, well written and easy to get to grips with. The game is a heavily modified version of the D20 system, so if you like D&D or Pathfinder it’s worth a look. What I like about this game is that it’s compact and streamlined, a sort of compilation of some of the best aspects from past versions of D&D. And do I need to repeat that it’s free?
Justin Halliday, the creator of the game, shows that he knows a thing about game design with this one. Also check out his more recent work, Hero Kids, a neat game aimed at kids between the ages of 4 and 10.
The 9 Questions
This isn’t an RPG, but a system to allow you to play an RPG solo. And yes, RPGs are a unique shared experience, but the 9 Q’s make playing alone fun and challenging. Essentially the system gives you nine questions that you answer as you play out your sessions, which allows for amazing depth and creativity, while providing you with unforeseen challenges that make sense in terms of the story you’re trying to tell. I’ve played two games with the system and even started a campaign, so that should tell you something.
I think this would be useful for anyone wanting to get to grips with a system by playing through a few games alone too.
Okay, shameless self promotion here, but this one’s mine. In the game you play garden variety gnomes (*ahem*, garden gnomes) on their way to the Earth’s Core and the big party at the Earth’s gooey centre. Travelling in a scratch built nuclear powered subterranean vessel you’ll face monsters, lava and, more than likely, death. And death is really the whole point of the game. But you don’t need to take my word for it, others are enjoying it too.
Currently Claustrophobia! is being turned into a shiny Beta test version, and I’m looking for Beta Testers, so feel free to contact me or leave a comment. (Then kiss your sanity goodbye).
If you’re up to the challenge and want to sift through links looking for good free games, then I recommend the following sites:
- Drive Thru RPG’s Free Core Rulebooks: a massive collection of free rules. The staff at DTRPG do some quality control with regards to what people upload too.
- 1KM1KT RPG Collection: this is a strong community of game designers who make RPGs just for the fun of it. Support them.
- www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/freerpgs/: has an index of many, many free games, and a description of each.
Until next time, have fun with free.