Open SRDs

Open System Reference Documents(SRD). These tend to vary between documents and pages that can list an entire tabletop that was released for free or, for big-name publishers and the like, content released under Creative Commons allowing for creators to reference and create content using uncopyrighted items.

What this means for the everyman, however, is that there is a whole smorgasbord of free tabletop role-playing games out there that you can just dive right into without blowing a truckload of money on Core books. Give it a shot before you(eventually) spend all your money on dice!

Every link here has been submitted to the Wayback Machine, by the way. It means that these links last as long as this page does. I’ll also be submitting this page to the Wayback Machine so you’ll be able to find an archive of a collection of archives even decades from now!


—Individual Games

I want to preface this section with the fact that I haven’t actually played all of these. There’s a lot, man. So I can’t really give too much commentary on them unless it’s warranted. So keep an eye out for that.

Adventurer Conquerer King System(ACKS). Brought to you by reddit user langlo94. “[It has a bunch of things] like domains, strongholds, sanctums, and mercantile stuff.” Good if you want to make a kingdom?

Archmage Engine. Powered by 13th age!

Basic Fantasy Role-playing Game. Based off 3.5, with a touch of 80s RPGs. Apparently, their website sells their book at cost! It’s a 170+ page book for $5!

The Black Hack 1st Edition. Very OSR. I don’t know much about it, but I do appreciate that it’s in eight different languages. Brought to light by reddit user brunobord.

Blades in the Dark. Very fun system. You play as a group of scoundrels/thieves in a gang. It can get a bit samey with the setting/goals/missions, but it’s a highly unique system and offers a lot to it.

Bulletproof Blues.

Cepheus Engine. Technically a ‘free’ DriveThruRPG game. Throw money at em.

d6 Dungeons.

d20 Modern.

Delta Green: Need to Know. Submitted by reddit user klintron.

DramaSystem SRD.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Fully compliant, but the real kicker here is the Divine creation rules. If you ever wanted to make your characters into gods, ho boy did 3.5 know how to deliver.

Dungeon World. A Powered by the Apocalypse Hack with fantasy elements. Looks under Downloads: Play Kit. Submitted by reddit user Eldhrimer for its simplicity and clean look.

Eclipse Phase 1st Edition. Eclipse Phase! Transhumanist future in space. It’s actually really really interesting and I’ve been a fan of the setting for a while. Submitted by reddit user certain_random_guy.

Gunship. I think it’s about being on a ship? Comes recommended by reddit user/creator LeigusZ. “It’s got an automated character sheet + low down-time combat.”

FATE. One of those games I can’t recommend enough. Incredibly fun, and it’s all open-sourced!

FATE 3.0 – Spirit of the Century. One of FATE’s first big settings. Has the old school 3.0 rules so you’re certain to get a treat reading this.

Final Fantasy D20. Do you like Pathfinder? Do you like Final Fantasy? Do you like massive amounts of content one guy just did that’s super cool, balanced, and playable? This has literally everything you need to run a full Final Fantasy campaign. The last FFTTRPG thing you’ll ever need. Ever.

Fudge. Grey Ghost Press’ 2005 SRD of the game that FATE built off of. There’s a lot of history here and it is an absolute delight to go through.

Godbound. Suggested by reddit user RyeonToast.

GUMSHOE.

Ironsworn. Don’t know anything about it but it comes recommended by reddit user ronfrazier. “Ironsworn is a fate / pbta blend that lends itself to a unique play that can be solo, co-op gmless, or traditional gm led game. There are quite a few nice tables.” It’s also pay-what-you-want on DriveThruRPG.

Lancer. Mecha piloting! Think if into the breach had solid roleplay and HIGHLY customizable mecha.

Lasers & Feelings. Honestly, one of the cleanest games to pick up & play, and one with a TON of HACKS. Loosely based off of this song!

Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Brought to you by reddit user Dern_Zambies. I had no idea LotFP even had an SRD?? Another case of those ‘gotta go through the cart’ deals.

Magic Goes Awry. I stumbled upon this one while I was doing research. I need to look into it; it looked verrryy interesting.

Microlite20.

NetBattlers. A Megaman Battle Network tabletop! Still in beta 6.

Nicotine Girls.

OpenD6.

Open Legend RPG. Recommended by reddit user GrokMonkey.

Psi-Punk. Based off of Fudge.

PokeRPG. Pokemon! It’s a modified d20 system and hosted on Google Drive. Submitted by creator Isaac_Ostland.

Pokemon Tabletop United. I mean it’s RIGHT THERE. Updated with a newer/actually existing tabletop. Currently has Alolan pokemon, and currently in development too!

The Resistance Toolbox. Technically a free SRD for The Spire. I’m a bit uncomfortable/guilty having to go through a check-out cart, but it is technically free. Recommended by reddit user klintron.

(Unofficial) RWBY Tabletop. After years in the making, it’s finally done! It’s a link to the reddit post for v19.6.30 for now, and I’ll keep it updated if I can, but here’s a direct link to the PDF, the Character Sheet, and a Reference Sheet. It’s a fantastic piece of work.

Soft Horizon RPG. Brought to you by reddit user klintron. “…the system used for VCSA’s King Machine. […] it appears to be a streamlined, narrative-focused system heavily inspired by the Powered by the Apocalypse engine.”

Spite RPG. Pulled out using the Wayback Machine.

Stars Without Number. Suggested by reddit user RyeonToast.

Talespinner. A “setting-agnostic, classless, modular and non-linear Tabletop RPG system.” It has a lot of terminologies unique to it and heavily based around skills.

Tango RPG.

Trophy. A spooky looking game that reminds me a LOT of 10 Candles, which is a massive plus to me! Submitted by reddit user sachagoat. Text link: [here] and a Character Sheet: [here]

Warrior, Rogue & Mage. Fantastic system and somehow both OSR and rules-lite. I fell in love with this back into 2015 and it’ll always have a place in my heart.

Wushu.

Year Zero Engine[File]. The engine behind Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, and other systems. It’s a google doc so I don’t know how long it’ll stick around. Update me if the link breaks. It was surprisingly hard to find. Suggested by reddit user Dzinko.


—Major Collections

A few websites and collections that already have a bunch of SRDs. Hit them up!

Archive of Nethys

A collection with an actually fully legal partnership with Paizo/Pathfinder. It has literally everything under Paizo’s name aside from the specific fluffing and high-quality print. The perfect place for all your Paizo goodness.

  • Pathfinder 1e. Where 3.5e players went to flourish. A bit overly complicated, but probably the most anime game on the market. Yes. Even more anime than the anime tabletops.
  • Pathfinder 2e. Cleaned up and raring to go, 2e is what I want to say Paizo’s first dive into a truly unique system all of their own and god they came out swinging.
  • Starfinder. Pathfinder. But in SPACE. There are laser guns and it’s great.

Open Gaming Network

“The Open Gaming Network is a family of wiki-like rules reference websites for various Open Gaming Licensed game systems, or similarly-licensed RPG systems.”

While not every page is https safety compliant, the OpenGN does collect a lot of highly sought after collections. The full-page has more games, but the ones I’ll link here are the ones that are safe under https security.

FOSsil – Tabletop Game Library

“This page only shows free, libre and open tabletop games.”

This page has a MASSIVE collection of old school and indie games circa pre-2015. It has a lot of resources and main publisher websites as well, but you know what you’re really here for. Also not https compliant as it’s pretty old, but absolutely fascinating for a dive.

Free & Open Works – Tabletop Library

Apparently the updated version of the Tabletop Game Library but I’ve got no confirmation if this is by the same people responsible for the FOSsil Bank. Check it out if you’d like!

Yaruki Zero Games

Run by Ewen “It sounds like Aaron” Cluney, Yaruki Zero Games has a bunch of his anime-themed games that he dabbles around with in his spare time. Great place for weebs. I spent a lot of time playing Magical Burst and can recommend his other stuff 100%

  • Magical Burst. A personal favorite of mine. If you ever wanted to play dangerously unstable magical girls ala Madoka Magica, this is the game.
  • Sixtacular. Pretty much FIREBALL the dice system, but for every roll. Intense.
  • Slime Story. Monsters pop up in our world and teens have to FIGHT THEM FOR MONEY.
  • Thrash. An older game from 2007, but exciting all the same. It’s like if Street Fighter was a tabletop.

Yall see a tabletop that should be added here? Get into contact with me through my Contact page, my Email, or my Twitter.