It’s time for our annual unofficial (in addition be being unauthorized and unsanctioned) celebration of Free RPG Day! So once you’re finished supporting your friendly local game store, be sure to check these out:
You might remember Chill as “that horror RPG with the book of adventures hosted by Elvira.” Although that book isn’t available for free online, you can snag a Quick Start adventure and various other freebies online.
The legendary article “Tucker’s Kobolds” is now available as a free download. In it you can learn how some strategy and clever traps can make an enemy best known as easy cannon fodder for new players into a challenging nightmare for experienced players. Speaking of traps, the Amazon previews for Grimtooth’s Traps and Grimtooth’s Traps Fore have some nasty traps which can be used with any RPG system. But their flexibility can also make things challenging for anyone running a game. Grimtooth’s traps may all have ratings to show how lethal they are, but how do you translate that into damage rolls? Figuring out the amount of damage the crossbow in the first linked trap can deal out is pretty easy, but how much extra damage should be factored in for slamming into the wall and getting shot at point-blank range? Thankfully there are other free resources which can be used to help resolve such issues. Hitting up USENET archives using Google Groups or a newsreader service can be helpful. But since we’re discussing stuff from Amazon right now, Castle Oldskull: The Book of Dungeon Traps might help with calculating damage and Random Encounters Volume 4 has some great trap advice. The other free previews for the Castle Oldskull and Random Encounters series are highly recommended, as are the ones for entries in the Kobold Guide series of books.
But Amazon isn’t the only resource online for help with tabletop gaming. The Exemplary DM Podcast offers a range of great advice and Frugal GM has a wealth of money and time-saving tips. D&D Plot Hooks, Encounters, and Concepts also has a ton of great advice, including a way to use dice to create maps! RPGMapShare.com also has plenty of map-related goodies for you.
Although there aren’t any free downloads from Erang this time around, you can stream his lengthy compilations of his original gaming music over at his Erang Dungeon Synth channel:
Individual tracks can be streamed over at his official Bandcamp page, including his recent foray into cyberpunk and horror music Anti Future (which differs with his usual fantasy work). Those who prefer to download music will find some free alternatives to Erang over at Dungeon Synth if they do a little digging.
The Castle Ravenloft board game has a lot going for it. It’s a fun way to introduce people to the idea of playing Dungeons & Dragons since it’s based on the 4th Edition rules and even allows for solo gaming if you want to play but can’t get a group together. But some grow to find it repetitive and others find the rules to be confusing. Thankfully you can find free expansions and alternate rules made by fans! If Hunt for the Fiend or Crypts and Creepers aren’t to your liking, you can find plenty of other expansions online. You can also find fan expansions for Arkham Horror and resources on solo gaming!
What’s better than a free In Dark Alleys adventure complete with Quick Start rules and characters you don’t need to roll up the stats for? Having the official guide to playing the game in adventureless mode as well!
Moving on to the sci-fi side of things, its nature as a Creative Commons RPG means there’s plenty of free resources for Eclipse Phase out there. Resources also abound for the decidedly non-CC newest edition of Shadowrun. Terra/Sol Games also has lots of free stuff available for its science fiction role-playing games (along with stuff for their other game genres).
Those with a taste for darkness and superheroes should check out Godlike and Wild Talents. Prefer pulps? Then be sure to check out the Spirit of the Century system reference document and some fan-made freebies for Savage Worlds!
Let’s ease back into fantasy with the free preview of Chronica: Age of Exploration, which combines fantasy with actual history! Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures bills itself as a “zero-prep” RPG which can be played in a single afternoon and Basic Fantasy prides itself on being light on rules. While we’re on the subject of basic games, Spellcraft & Swordplay has a free basic version available. You should look into Dark Dungeons or Mazes & Minotaurs if you want something just a bit more advanced. Snagging Blood & Bronze is also recommended.
Happy Free RPG Day!
As always, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of downloading from any links given here. Attempt at your own discretion. We make no guarantees about the future availability of the material listed above, so get them while you can. Blah blah blah…