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Free OSR Rulesets - Fantasy

Swords & Wizardry comes in four officially supported flavors that are free.

"Swords & Wizardry is the ENnie-Award winning "retro-clone" of the original fantasy roleplaying game created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson."

Swords & Wizardry Light - 4 pages, 4 races, 4 classes and three levels. Free in PDF. Free Print copies are available by joining the Swords & Wizardry Legion on Facebook

Swords & Wizardry White Box - Clone of the OD&D White Box (print copies) - Doc File -

Swords & Wizardry Core - Closer to White Box with the first supplement
RTF file

Swords & Wizardry Complete - Plays similar to 1e if built directly off the OD&D White Box (print copies)

+Martin Ralya does an excellent job comparing Core and Complete at his blog)

Labyrinth Lord comes in two officially supported flavors that are free. A third version of the rules, Original Edition Characters, is $3.95 in PDF

"Enter 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?"

Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version) - Clone of B/X (PDFs available with art as well as print copies)

Advanced Edition Companion (Labyrinth Lord, no-art version) - Add 1e classes and monsters to LL - Not a complete game, you do need the LL PDF (PDFs available with art as well as print copies)

Labyrinth Lord reviews: Review #1

OSRIC is a clone of the 1e rules.

"This book represents a compilation of rules for old school-style fantasy roleplay gaming, and is intended to reproduce the underlying rules used in the late 1970s to early 1980s. A complete game manual in itself, this source reference document (SRD) includes everything the game master and player alike require for beginning to advanced level play."

Also available in epub and mobi versions. Print copies available at original link.

HackMaster Basic - "Designed from the ground up to be played at a table with real life friends, this hard-hitting, old-school game makes no qualms about its heritage. This is the way role playing games were meant to be played and we present to you the best of breed.

This version of the game is 'basic' only in that it serves as a gateway to the dynamic thrill of the HackMaster game. Gone are the days of waiting around for your 'turn', of battling static opponents or of being anything but totally in charge of your own destiny."

Basic Fantasy RPG - "This is the revised 3rd Edition of the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, a rules-light game system based on the d20 SRD v3.5, but heavily rewritten with inspiration from early RPG game systems. It is suitable for those who are fans of "old-school" game mechanics, yet simple enough for children in perhaps second or third grade to play while still having enough depth for adults as well." Large amount of free resources at http://basicfantasy.org/

BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules - "BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules is a table top fantasy roleplaying game that emulates the game play of the original basic rule book, popularly known as the Holmes Edition or simply the Blue Book. The rules in this book allow for characters of 1st to 3rd levels, and include everything the referee could possibly need to create and run a campaign in the Underworld: monsters, magic, treasure, and … well, what more do you need?"

Delving Deeper -"Delving Deeper is an emulation of the original fantasy role-playing game. Meticulously forged over two long years of development, Delving Deeper invites you to recreate the original role-playing experience as it was in its earliest days. Return to a time when three alignments were enough, when a handful of character classes ruled, and when magic swords had their own ideas about who's boss. If you’ve ever read or watched a good fantasy with hungry eyes, then this is the game for you. Right here are all the rules you'll need, none of the rules you won't, and unparalleled room for expansion and growth. Grab your trusty sword, your magic wand, and call the guards to arms! There are treasures in these pages..."

For Gold & Glory - "For players and game masters alike, For Gold & Glory is compatible with the second edition of the "advanced" version of the world’s most popular role-playing game."

LotFP Rules & Magic Free Version - "This is the no cost, no-art version of the Rules & Magic book for the LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Game. LotFP is an old-school or "OSR" game of fantasy/adventure/horror."

LotFP Reviews: Review #1

Dark Dungeons - Dark Dungeons is a retro-clone role-playing game - a game in the style of old-school 1980's and 1990's role-playing games; harking back to the days when rogues were thieves, races were classes, and you could start your adventuring career exploring a few basic dungeons and end up traveling the planes as an immortal being of pure divine power. This book contains the entire game in a single work, so there is no need to cross-reference between multiple rule books and supplements. Grab some dice and form a party like it's 1989!

Myth & Magic Player's Starter Guide - "Myth & Magic is an update and expansion to the 2nd Edition of the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game. It maintains the tone and atmosphere for classic storytelling, yet cleans up and modernizes some of the rules with new and improved mechanics."

Spellcraft & Swordplay Basic Game - "We present a free PDF introductory "Basic Set," akin to those games in the legacy which S&S honors. Containing a streamlined (but complete) version of the rules and character progression to level 3, this 48-page book is a perfect introduction to the new class of old school, ideal for introducing new players to the game, or for just having an extra set of rules at the table!"

Renegade - "Renegade is ideal for anyone looking to start playing the world's most popular RPG with family and friends. This version of Gary Gygax and Dave Arnesons' rules translates instantly into other Old School RPGs and early versions of D&D. The gameplay is fast and easy to learn, but Renegade is a complete system with all the spells, monsters and items needed to play for years. The game includes lots of support aimed at making life/ running games easier for new GMs.

Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11 - "This little PDF is a re-boot of the Crimson Dragon Slayer RPG.  It takes two steps back and one in a slightly new direction.  Less comedic, gonzo, 80's references and more dark, weird science-fantasy. The rules were written as ultra-light as possible, taking more of an Alpha Blue RPG approach.  I wanted something that could be demonstrated in one hour, a taste of paper & pencil roleplaying for those who've never played or those who haven't played in years."

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - "Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is a rules-light, sword & sorcery, old school role playing game inspired by the original fantasy RPG and the Old School Renaissance movement... With this book, you and your friends will be able to play exciting adventures with bold barbarians, witty thieves and cunning sorcerers without worrying about complex rules and tiresome preparations. ATTENTION! Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is not a Simulacrum of an older edition of the world’s most famous fantasy RPG!"

Dungeon Slayers - "Welcome to Dungeonslayers, the role-playing game, in which the characters are slaying monsters and looting dungeons in an archaic and old-fashioned way. The rules of Dungeonslayers were designed to be very basic and simple on purpose, to bring the charming flair of old-school gaming back to life."

Stone Halls & Serpent Men - "Old-School D&D style, swords & sorcery tone, super light system, balanced to run D20®-compatible adventures. Long Referee chapter full of world creation tools and gameplay options."

The Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules (S&W Core)-  "The supplement you are holding in your hands is a subset of the larger Majestic Fantasy RPG to familiarize you with the overall system. It includes only four classes: Burglar, Cleric of Mitra, Fighter, and Magic-User. Four races are presented: Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Man. There are only enough details to create characters of up to 5th level including spells."

Swords & Shapeshifters (SWCL)- A What-if drawing inspiration from the Monster Manual II and using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light engine.

Fiends & Falchions (SWCL) - A What-if drawing inspiration from the Fiend Folio and using the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light engine.

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery - "(It) is a simulacrum of the well known role-playing game that features fighters, clerics and magic-users prowling mysterious dungeons, and combating dragons to take their treasures. It is not a clone of a particular edition (like OSRIC being a clone of “1e”), but a combination of several editions from “classic” to “3e,” to which were added a lot of options."

Microlite## - A series of releases emulating various Old School Editions of D&D - "Microlite74 is a family of free old school tabletop roleplaying games produced by retroroleplaying.net. The goal of Microlite74 games is to recreate the style and feel of that very first (“0e”) fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1974 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions"

King Arthur Pendragon: 1st Edition - "Relive the glory of King Arthur's court. Uphold the chivalric ideals of fair play, courage, honesty, and justice as your caliant knight-character undertakes perilous quests and risks monstrous dangers in legendary Britain. He'll smite bloodthirsty giants and crush treacherous invaders for King Arthur and his own glory. To play the Pendragon roleplaying game, you create and take on the role of squite, knight, or noble of the realm. Armed and armored, you overcome life and death struggles, impossible frustration, and ruthless enemies to join the Fellowship of the Round Table."

Maze Rats - "Maze Rats is an RPG and sandbox toolkit for old-school-style adventuring. It contains a single, compact page of rules, a one-page character creation guide, a hand-drawn character sheet, and eight pages of 36-item random tables, rollable with two six-sided dice. Each page contains 9-12 tables, covering spell generation, monster generation, NPCs, treasures, cities, wildernesses, and dungeons. If you run (or have always wanted to run) open sandbox adventures, Maze Rats offers everything you need in a compact, easily-referenced format. Also included is two pages of advice for preparing and running open-world games in the OSR style."

Old School Hack - "A table-top roleplaying system that's a hack of a hack of the original Red Box version of a certain popular hack-and-slash fantasy game. That's a lot of hacking."

White Box : Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game - "White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game is an easy to learn role-playing game in the style of the Original Edition from 1974 by Gygax and Arneson. It is based on Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox."

Mazes & Minotaurs Players Manual - "Mazes & Minotaurs is what the first fantasy roleplaying game could have been if its authors had taken their inspiration from Jason & the Argonauts (yes, the 1963 movie with all the cool Ray Harryhausen monsters) and Homer’s Odyssey rather than from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts & Three Lions. In other words, Mazes & Minotaurs is... a nostalgic pastiche of early fantasy roleplaying games... a tongue-in-cheek tribute to old-school gaming... (and) a complete and fully playable roleplaying game !"

Iron Falcon Rules for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing - "The earliest fantasy campaigns grew directly out of wargames. There was a point in the development of the first commercial role-playing game when the rules shed most of their wargame roots and assumed a form familiar to generations of players to come. Iron Falcon aims to be that game, reproducing its mechanics and style in all its raw and innovative glory, as it was before the advent of more "advanced" rules."
Additional resources: http://ironfalconrpg.com/

OpenQuest Basic Edition - "In OpenQuest you play fantastic death defying adventurers in search of fame and fortune. Every step of the way you'll be supported by these easy to understand rules based upon thirty years of the tried and tested D100 mechanic, which uses percentages to express the chance of success or failure."


d6 Fantasy - "This book provides the fundamentals necessary to play in nearly
any fantasy setting-low, high, and pseudo-historical-using West End Games' famous D6 System roleplaying game rules. Character Sheet, Creatures and Locations."



Low Fantasy Gaming RPG - "Low Fantasy Gaming (“LFG”) is a tabletop role-playing game built for sword & sorcery adventures in low magic worlds. LFG is rules light (184 pages), with a heavy emphasis on Games Master (“GM”) rulings. It’s a hybrid of old school and modern game design, based on the 1d20 Open Game License."


Legends of the Splintered Realm - "In this quick fantasy RPG system, you make a hero in one minute and go on a quest alone or with a fellowship of player heroes. Kill beasts, take their treasure, repeat. Get more powerful. Fight on. Eventually, you may become a legend."

B/X Essentials: Core RulesClasses and Equipment and Cleric and Magic-User Spells

BX Advanced (No Art) -  "In BX Advanced, you may play a first edition style assassin, barbarian, bard, cleric,  druid,  fighter,  illusionist, magic-User, monk, paladin, ranger, or thief in an old school game of exploration, treasure-finding, and fast to play combat. While B/X systems are used instead of the more complex first advanced edition rules, many of the limits of B/X have been removed: there are 20+ levels instead of 14; race is separate from class, spells go to 9th level instead of 6th, and there are many more monsters and treasure items than in B/X. Be a hero or a rogue: your decisions determine whether your character will retire rich, rule a kingdom, or die before his time."

The Petal Hack - "Tékumel is a place with the politics and intrigue of the Roman Empire, the religions of ancient India and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the magic of the Arabian Nights, the monsters and demons of the Cthulhu mythos, plus ancient ruins containing the technology of a good space opera thrown in just to keep things interesting. The Petal Hack strips the rules down to a minimum so you can focus on character and setting."

ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG - "is an OSR Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay loveletter/retroclone/heartbreaker released under Creative Commons License Share-Alike."

The Basic Hack -  "Conjuring up some of the classic wonder of the Red Box, the Basic Hack is a friendly approach to fantasy roleplaying game based off of Black Hack and other versions of the original fantasy roleplaying game. Experienced players will discover familiar ground with six stats, 20-side dice, hit points, spells, and monsters. New players will begin with a light-hearted solo adventure to introduce the basics of the game."

Talislanta - "A fantasy role playing system and supplement designed for use with The Chronicles Of Talislanta, atlas and lexicon of the magical realm. Featuring: Over eighty different character types. A listing of over one hundred skills and special abilities in nine different fields of expertise. Listing of basic spells, minor enchantments, and magical/alchemical mixtures and substances. Lists of equipment, weapons and trade goods. Stats for creatures and beings native to the world of Talislanta. Information on determining character backgrounds, languages, currencies, chronology, cults, secret societies and magical orders. Ideas for campaign scenarios, plus a sample adventure." Support

Swords & Six-Siders - "Swords & Six-Siders (S&SS) is an ultra rules-lite fantasy roleplaying game inspired by the earliest of tabletop RPGs (0E, BX, and T&T). Unlike typical OSR (Old School Renaissance) games, it relies on a single six-sided die (1d6). It is great for both new roleplayers and old-schoolers alike who are looking to get more gaming done in less time."

Sabres & Witchery (S&W) - "Sabres & Witchery is a role-playing game nominally set in Europe (although it could be elsewhere) from the end of the English Civil War through to approximately the Napoleonic Wars era. It is based on a set of ‘old school’ fantasy role playing rules, which itself was based on the first fantasy role-playing game."


1pot - "for low level OSR style play across your game or retroclone of choice. 1pot is a collection of optional modular rules, house rules, and ideas that can bring a grittier feel to other, especially old-school style, roleplaying games - but that in itself also describes a complete simple, abbreviated and rules-lite RPG. The goal is to extend the risky, one-roll-away-from-death, feel of low level play whilst providing more interesting routes for classes progression to replace 'leveling' - to enjoy finding out what a character might become if you're smart enough to keep them alive."

Flying Swordsmen - "Flying Swordsmen is a game of fantasy martial arts, where characters use swords, fists, spells, and more to battle other martial artists and monsters, and seek out new techniques or magic to improve their martial skill."



The Searchers of the Unknown - "Searchers of the Unknown is a one-page roleplaying game where player characters are entirely defined by a minimalist old school Dungeons & Dragons one line tat block (e.g. "AC 7, MV 9, HD 2, hp 9, #AT 1, D 1d8 mace") something like monster stat blocks in early editions of D&D. All actions are based on those stats."

Torch & Sword - "What are the design priorities of Torch & Sword? Minimalism and fidelity. By establishing a minimalistic framework, give referees a scaffoldaround which to build. It’s easier to add wanted complexity than remove unwanted complexity. The ambiguities and omissions in the original three booklets are important. What is unclear or unwritten is a feature of the rules. Those gaps give referees room to make their own creative rulings. As to fidelity, Torch & Sword hews as closely to the 1974 rules as necessary to make the play experience true to the original."


The Mongoose RuneQuest 1 SRD is available in .doc format (for ease of house ruling) and a spiffy cleaned up PDF.
The editable version of MRQ1 SRD with additional resources:
https://basicroleplaying.org/files/category/52-mongoose-runequest/
Luxury PDF of MRQ1 SRD:
https://www.pundak.co.il/downloads/systems/systems/runequest-pdf/download
https://www.scribd.com/document/317094188/RuneQuest-SRD-Luxury-Edition-pdf


RetroQuest II - is a D100 SRD for creating your own rules and adventures in the vein of everyone’s favourite second-edition D100 roleplaying game. This System Reference Document uses the Open Game Licence and several existing System Reference Documents to re-create the mechanics and play of the first versions of the classic D100 system. See the OGL at the end of this document for more information.

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3 comments:

  1. FWIW, I have a _very_ comprehensive list of OSR/D&D-esque games in a public Google Sheet with links (affiliate links where linking to OBS,that's why I'm hesitant to post the link here). The only reason they don't have descriptions yet is because I keep dreaming about a tag-based searchable database (things like "percentile_thief_skills" and "max_level_14").

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