Role-playing Games (RPGs)

Quickstarts, SRDs, and Free Games

  1. Archmage Engine (13th Age) SRD

    Published by Pelgrane Press. A game flavoured by the tactical nature of D&D 4, but with increased internal support for role-play.

    "One unique thing" and the escalation die are often cited as key differentiating features of this game.

    The SRD is geared toward experienced gamers and game developers.

  2. Blades in the Dark SRD

    Published by Evil Hat Productions. Episodic crew-based play where players undertake a criminal enterprise, heist, etc.

    The game is usually run non-linearly with scenes for flashbacks being part of the games' differentiating mechanics.

  3. Burning Wheel Gold: Hub and Spokes

    Published by Burning Wheel. Comprehensive with regard to character options for creation and action, dice pool game, rumoured to have evolved from Shadowrun.

    The game is often introduced in stages. The rules have been written to support this. Hub and Spokes is the first stage.

    Belief challenges, life paths, and rules like "Let it Ride", and "Duel of Wits" differentiate Burning Wheel from other role-playing games.

    Mouse Guard, Torchbearer, and Burning Empires are other systems related to Burning Wheel.

    Life path based character creation is not part of Hub and Spokes; however, pre-generated characters should be simple enough to find.

  4. Call of Cthulhu

    Published by Chaosium Inc. A role-playing game based on the horrors of the Cthulhu mythos (created by H.P. Lovecraft, and extended by others).

    The core system, also used in other games, is still recognizable, and largely backward-compatible, after decades of refinement.

  5. CAPERS Core SRD

    Published by NerdBurger Games. Super-powered gangsters (or law enforcement) game set in the 1920s.

    The Core Game System (Chapters 2-5) is released under a Creative Commons licence.

  6. Cepheus Engine SRD

    Published by Samardan Press. Classic science-fiction derived from the Traveller ruleset.

    Not associated with Mongoose Publishing, or Far Future Enterprises.

  7. Chaosium Basic Role-playing (BRP) SRD

    Published by Chaosium Inc. A streamlined version of the BRP game system intended to be used by game developers, but complete enough for some styles of play.

    Do not confuse with the older BRP game "compendium".

  8. CJ Carrella's WitchCraft

    Published by Eden Studios. A game involving modern-era magic, and "dark secrets".

    The publisher's game description indicates that dice, or cards can be used to play.

    • entry link
    • Second Edition Revised 2013-10-03
    • 10-sided dice
    • classic unisystem
  9. d20 SRD

    Published by Wizards of the Coast. Dungeons & Dragons, at least the open portions thereof.

    The origin of the Open Gaming Licence (OGL) for role-playing material.

    Rich Text Format (RTF) documents. Online web-based versions also exist.

    • entry link
    • Version 3.5 Revised 2003-08
    • polyhedral dice
    • d&d, d20
  10. Dungeon World

    Published by Burning Wheel (previously by Sage Kobold Productions). A "fiction first" tabletop role-playing game inspired by D&D, but using the Powered By The Apocalypse (PBTA) system originating in Apocalypse World.

    Playbooks provide an easy starting point for players, as they are both character generation, and character sheet. Detailed "Moves" for Players and Game Masters ensure "fail forward" action, avoiding typical dungeon-crawl roadblocks/pitfalls.

  11. Fate Core, Accelerated, Condensed

    Published by Evil Hat Productions. Fate is a single fiction-oriented, role-playing game expressed in three different versions. Core is the version extracted from Spirit of the Century, and effectively exposes all the dials. Accelerated turns the dials way down, providing a simpler/smaller, approach-oriented game. Condensed is somewhere in the middle, and is based on work done in Fate of Cthulhu.

    Fate is a game with the potential for more free-form character creation, and play. Characters are more competent than "start from nothing" or "zero to hero" style role-playing games. Actions are resolved using "the ladder" with shifts from a starting point resulting in the final outcome.

  12. Four Color (4C) System

    Published by Seraphim Guard. A super-hero role-playing game inspired by the 1980's Marvel FASERIP system.

    • entry link
    • 2007-10-26
    • 10-sided dice
    • d100, faserip
  13. FUDGE (1995 Edition)

    Published by Grey Ghost Press, Inc. Fudge is a rules-light, descriptor-based (words as abilities) role-playing toolkit. Fudge dice are similarly marked to Fate dice (+, -, blank) and results also use a "ladder" to interpret.

    Fudge is incredibly flexible, but unless using a published setting, will require setup/configuration to play.

  14. Green Ronin Quickstart Bundle

    Published by Green Ronin. This Bundle includes games that are part of the AGE System (Blue Rose (formerly used the True20 System), Dragon Age, Modern Age, The Expanse) and a d20-derivative (Mutants & Masterminds). These games range from fantasy (Blue Rose, Dragon Age), to the modern era (Modern Age), to science fiction (The Expanse, based on the books/television series) -- and super-heroes (Mutants & Masterminds).

    • entry link
    • 6-sided or 20-sided dice
    • d20, age, ogl

    Published by Pelgrane Press. GUMSHOE is a role-playing system devoted to investigation in settings ranging from supernatural conspiracy/horror, to sword-and-sorcery, to time travel.

    As per Pelgrane Press, "The document is a reference for game designers, and is not tuned to teach the game, or provide a playable game experience."

  16. GURPS Lite (3rd Edition Rules)

    Published by Steve Jackson Games. A lite version of the third edition of the Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS).

  17. Published by Steve Jackson Games. A lite version of the fourth edition of the Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS).

    This edition does not include support for magic.

  18. Lady Blackbird

    Published by One.Seven Design. A lite game, scenario, and pre-generated characters in a ready-to-run, "no-prep" package intended to run 1-3 sessions (or more).

  19. HackMaster Basic

    Published by Kenzer and Company. A full (241 page) fantasy role-playing game for play up to fifth level. This version tones down the (required by licence) "silliness" of the fourth edition.

  20. Ironsworn

    Published by Shawn Tomkin. A 270-page, gritty fantasy game that can be run solo, co-op, or guided (most traditional-like play).

    Inspired by Powered by the Apocalypse, and Dungeon World.

    • entry link
    • 2019-06-09
    • polyhedral dice (6-sided + 10-sided)
    • pbta
  21. Lasers & Feelings

    Published by One.Seven Design. A 1-page game! The game is scenario-oriented, and takes place aboard the interstellar ship Raptor. Captain Darcy is out of commission in a medical pod. Roll for a custom scenario, and see where things go!

    The game is based on the songs of The Doubleclicks.

    Lasers & Feelings has spawned many other games.

  22. Magic World

    Published by Chaosium Inc. A role-playing game based in a world of powerful sorcerers, and mighty warriors.

    The game uses the Chaosium Basic Role-playing system.

  23. Mini Six: Bare Bones Edition

    Published by AntiPaladin Games. A lite, but complete version of the OpenD6 system. The system supports many genres of play, and the book includes a bestiary, and sample settings.

  24. Mythras Imperative

    Published by The Design Mechanism. A universal system based on the open RuneQuest BRP/D100 system produced by Mongoose Publishing, and later used to produce RuneQuest 6 before the RuneQuest rights returned to Chaosium, resulting in Mythras.

  25. Open Adventure

    Published by Kyle Mecklam. A game designed with simplicity in mind, capable of supporting fantasy and science-fiction game play.

  26. Open Legend

    Published by Seventh Sphere Entertainment. An Open Source Role-playing Game designed to support freeform, yet tactical play in multiple genres.

    Open Legend is published under the Open Legend Community Licence (Open Source), and is freely available online, but PDFs, and books for offline use must be purchased.

  27. OpenD6

    Published by West End Games/Purgatory Press. A cinematic role-playing game. This is an open version of the same WEG D6 system used in the 80s Star Wars Role-playing Game, with genre specific books (Fantasy, Adventure, and Space).

  28. Pathfinder SRD (First Edition)

    Published by Paizo Inc. Often considered D&D 3.75, Pathfinder was a response by Paizo to the changes that came about with 4th Edition, both regard to system and licencing.

    Paizo used an open playtest model for developing Pathfinder, which has since proven popular with other role-playing publishers.

  29. Pathfinder SRD (Second Edition)

    Published by Paizo Inc. An update to the First Edition of Pathfinder, meant to clarify rules and incorporate rules refinements.

    Pathfinder Second Edition is not intended to remove customization options, but to streamline play while continuing to offer the same feel/experience.

    • entry link
    • 2019-08-01
    • polyhedral dice
    • d&d, d20, ogl
  30. RuneQuest

    Published by Chaosium Inc. RuneQuest has been through many hands, and has often been paired with the Glorantha campaign setting. It is a Bronze Age fantasy setting utilizing the Basic Role-playing system.

  31. Savage Worlds Test Drive (Blood on the Range)

    Published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group Inc. Savage Worlds is the "fast, furious, and fun!" system extracted from the Deadlands role-playing game. It supports multi-genre, pulp adventure with or without minatures (and tactical tabletop gaming).

    This Test Drive uses the Deadlands Weird West setting, and uses the latest Savage Worlds Adventure Edition (SWADE) rules.

    • entry link
    • 2020-10-27
    • polyhedral dice, cards
    • swade
  32. Savage Worlds Test Drive (Lankhmar)

    Published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group Inc. Savage Worlds is the "fast, furious, and fun!" system extracted from the Deadlands role-playing game. It supports multi-genre, pulp adventure with or without minatures (and tactical tabletop gaming).

    This Test Drive uses the Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser fantasy setting Lankhmar, and uses the previous version of the Savage Worlds rules.

  33. Starfinder SRD

    Published by Paizo Inc. Starfinder complements Pathfinder with a space setting. The standard fantasy races are present, though Golarion has gone missing. There are also new alien races to play, with new classes also in this science-fantasy setting.

    Starfinder is systematically a bit between Pathfinder First and Second Editions.

    • entry link
    • 2017-08
    • polyhedral dice
    • d&d, d20, ogl
  34. Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Edition)

    Published by Sine Nomine Publishing. Old-school, sandbox play in space, complete with a fleshed out setting. Rules are included for starships, psionics, sector hex crawling, factions and more.

    • entry link
    • 2017-12-29
    • polyhedral dice (6-sided dice + 20-sided dice)
    • osr
  35. Talislanta

    Published by various publishers (Bard Games, Wizards of the Coast, Shooting Iron, and Morrigan Press, etc.). Talislanta is offered up by Stephan Michael Sechi in its forms from 1st through 5th edition, and a d20 version. Over 30 years of gaming content is freely available for personal use.

    Talislanta proudly proclaims "No Elves!", although there are several character race options that are elf-like, as well as many that are most definitely not.

    • entry link
    • 1987 - 2007
    • polyhedral dice, 20-sided dice
    • d20, omni, cc
  36. Traveller SRD

    Published by Mongoose Publishing. The Traveller SRD (science-fiction gameplay) has largely been supplanted by the Cepheus Engine SRD as a result of Mongoose publishing a second edition of Traveller, but opting not to continue with trademark licensing supporting 3rd party use.

    Traveller is an old role-playing property with a great deal of information available online, and previous printed materials.

  37. Tri-Stat dX

    Published by Guardians of Order Inc (and later White Wolf). This is a generic version of the rules-lite, Tri-Stat system (Mind, Body, and Soul), used in several licenced anime role-playing games, and the flagship game Big Eyes Small Mouth (BESM). It allows the use of different dice types to represent different power levels.

    • entry link
    • 2004-04-30
    • 6-sided dice (or polyhedral dice)
    • tri-stat
  38. Warrior, Rogue & Mage

    Published by Stargazer Games. A lightweight system without classes, where the standard class descriptions of Warrior, Rogue, and Mage (or Scholar) represent skill sets (as attributes) used during task resolution.

  39. W.O.I.N Rules Reference Document

    Published by EN World Publishing. What's O.L.D is N.E.W (WOIN) is a multi-genre system separated into three books: O.L.D (Fantasy), N.O.W (80s Modern), and N.E.W (Science-Fiction). The system utilizes life-path character generation, and a D6-based dice pool for task resolution.

    • entry link
    • Version 1.2 2019-11-28
    • 6-sided dice
    • ogl

Game Systems

  1. Cypher System
  2. Manifest the RPG
  3. OneDice
  4. Palladium Rifts
  5. Prime Directive
  6. Shadowrun
  7. Symbaroum
  8. TinyD6


  1. Homebrew Campaign Settings
  2. Arduin
  3. Dragonlance
  4. Eberron
  5. Faerûn
  6. Glorantha
  7. Golarion
  8. Greyhawk
  9. Hârn
  10. Iron Edda
  11. Lankhmar
  12. Menzoberranzan
  13. Numenera
  14. Predation
  15. Ravenloft
  16. Rokugan
  17. Tékumel
  18. Terrinoth
  19. The Strange

Canadian RPG Stores

Have Personally Used

  1. 401 Games
  2. Board Game Bliss
  4. Harry Tarantula
  5. Hill City Comics
  6. Imperial Hobbies
  7. Le Valet d'Coeur
  8. Meeplemart

Have Heard Good Things About

  1. The Sentry Box

On My "To Check Out" List

  1. Dragon's Trove
  2. GameKnight Games
  3. Gamers' Vault (site not currently HTTPS)
  4. Imaginaire
  5. Sword & Board