Inspired by the similar thread on La Locanda, I’d like to set aside a list of games released under Creative Commons or similar licenses.
This post is a wiki. You can edit it and add games to the list. If you do, leave a comment.
Right now I’m missing English descriptions for the games, if you’re knowledgeable about any of these, feel free to edit and contribute one.
Dungeonpunk: A weird mixture of OSR principles and PbtA framework.
CC-BY - Creative Commons Attribution
24XX: An SRD for the 2400 series of self-described micro RPGs by Jason Tocci. A light system wherein risk rolls consist of a single die roll of varying size (determined by character skill or status) vs. static target numbers for tiered results. In Spanish.
4D4S - Stands for “4 days, 4 seasons”. A card based journaling game engine.
Adventure Hour!: Simplified rules inspired by Maze Rats and Electric Bastion to introduce the very young to Old School RPGs.
Aspire RPG - A “framework for designing narrative TTRPGs” involving playing cards and dice.
Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game, 4th Edition: Retroclone of 80s’ D&D, it features most of the common and well-known mechanics of the genre. Largely compatible with B/X the lingua franca of the OSR movement, it has its own series of adventures. Past editions are under the OGL
Caltrop Core: A lightweight d4 system that has inspired a number of hacks.
Capers: A playing card-based supers system set in the roaring 20’s with an expansive SRD.
Carta SRD: Framework to build an explorative solo RPG by playing card prompts.
Charge RPG: It uses a quick dice resolution mechanics inspired by Forged in the Dark games, but with an entirely new spin, using clever ways to make the players want to engage with the game as much as possible.
Circles of Power: A PbtA game by Jason Pitre about powerful magic-users from various types of marginalized communities working toward equality for their people. While the linked DTRPG game is a stable version, the game is still under active development. You can find the newest experimental version on the publisher’s website (at least for the current version, it looks like you still need the stable game as a reference for the non-updated parts). Also, quite oddly, the text of the game indicates it claims to be released under Creative Commons only until February 2027. (This term is of questionable validity.)
D&D 5.1: A SRD of the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition ruleset, released under CC-BY after the OGL fiasco of January 2023.
DramaSystem: A system by Robin D. Laws for extended dramatic play. This diceless system relies on a narrative currency to shift tensions between petitioner and granter, roles that are fluid from scene to scene.
Dungeon World: An early PbtA adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel. Resolution is governed by Apocalypse World-style “moves” and a 2d6 + stat roll against static target numbers for tiered results.
DURF: A rules-light classless OSR game where the stress you take in a dungeon reduces the amount of loot you can carry out.
Fate: A game toolkit from Evil Hat Productions by many authors. Based on the Fudge system, resolution uses a pool of custom dice, the results of which range from -4 to +4, modified by character and circumstantial mechanics, to arrive at a success number indicating how well or poorly the character fared.
Fantasy World: Fantasy World is a PbtA game designed by Alessandro Piroddi and Luca Maiorani with a focus on dramatic fantasy adventuring.
Forged in the Dark SRD: A system by John Harper meant to support cyclical, mission-based play with an emphasis on faction interactions. Resolution is based on a d6 pool with the highest number indicating a result tier.
For the Queen: A card-based story game system by Alex Roberts. A deck of prompts drive fiction and character-building until a special card in the deck causes the story to reach a conclusion.
Freeform Universal: A light and flexible generic role-playing game based on descriptive tags and answers to closed questions.
Froggy’s The Pool—A Learner’s Version: A compressed version of The Pool meant for use in learning the roleplaying medium. The Pool was a very influential game, and it features a system where characters are defined by a Character Story with underlined Traits, and have a Pool of dice that they can gamble during rolls. Conflict winners can opt for narrating the outcome using a Monologue of Victory.
Grok?!: Grok?! is an adventure roleplaying game that builds upon the principles of the OSR and delivers a gonzo world with strange threats. It features a minimal ruleset and a quite colorful setting.
Guided by the Sun - A GM-less card based system where protagonists undertake a journey and make friends along the way.
GUMSHOE: A system by Robin D. Laws geared toward collecting clues and solving mysteries. Resolution often is an automatic success along with an expenditure of points from a pool, but can also depend on a single d6 roll against a (sometimes hidden) target number.
Ironsworn: A mixed-dice PbtA-influenced iron age system based around solo and GM-less exploration, using momentum tracks to chart progress. Has a dungeon crawling module, Ironsworn: Delve, and a space opera revision of the system, Ironsworn: Starforged.
Journey - A tarot-based solo RPG engine.
Knave:A rules toolkit for running old school fantasy RPGs without classes. Highly compatible with OSR games.
Lasers & Feelings: A lightweight, one-page system by John Harper. Characters are mechanically defined by a single number which must be rolled under or over (depending on circumstance) using a limited die pool.
Loner: A minimalist and generic solo game using two pairs of dice and a tag-based resolution. Based on Freeform Universal.
Masks: A New Generation: A PbtA game by Brendan Conway about teenage superheroes. It uses Apocalypse World-style playbooks, moves, and resolution, but the traditional stats are replaced by “labels” whose values are raised and lowered during play.
Maze Rats: Minimal, classless system written by Ben Milton and derived from Into the Odd. The game mechanics are based on d6s and it has a veritable wealth of random tables for basically everything fantasy-wise.
Named - A light system focused on character traits.
Offworlders - A rules-light spacefaring RPG with PBTA elements.
Push: A generic lightweight set of rules with a quirky push-your-luck mechanic. Very simple to hack.
Powered by Sentinel - A dice-and-cards system based on the Sentinel RPG from Meghan Cross.
Resistance Toolbox: A system (and design guide) by Grant Howitt and Christopher Taylor explaining the core rules underpinning their game Spire about an underclass fighting against an oppressive dominant culture. Resolution involves a limited d10 pool with the highest number indicating a result tier.
Sad Press Games collection - A collection of several simple CC-BY game engines for free use. Each are also presently available on Google Docs. (Project for future: import all of these games under this heading.)
The Plant: Solo game by Jason Morningstar where someone you love has gone missing inside a plant. Your job is to get them back.
Trophy: What could go wrong? A rules-light d6 horror-fantasy toolkit for telling stories about ambitious and doomed fortune-seekers, based on the framework of Cthulhu Dark. Used as the basis for Trophy Dark and Trophy Gold, alongside a plethora of other hacks.
Tunnel Goons: A light weight 2d6 system that can be applied to many different genres and settings.
The Worlds of Legacy: A PbtA system by Minerva McJanda from her game Legacy: Life Among the Ruins. Players alternately play an entire family group and members of that family throughout history that are attempting to rebuild after a world-shaking disaster. Aside from the alternating scales of play (family and individual), it is mechanically similar to Apocalypse World-style moves and resolution.
Wretched and Alone: A design document by Matt Sanders based on Chris Bissette’s game Wretched. The system is for solo journaling games about a single character struggling through a hopeless situation. It uses a single die plus a standard deck of playing cards for journaling prompts and an endgame mechanism and a tumbling block tower as an additional endgame mechanism. A related SRD, Second Guess, has also been produced for shortform games.
CC-BY-SA - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
Apocalypse Keys - A PBTA game of planetwide threats falling in love, finding their humanity and averting other planetwide threats.
Cairn: An adventure game with a strong implied setting (a Dark Wood). Characters are defined by their current equipment and grow by changing their in-game positioning rather than levelling up. There are multiple hacks to play in different setting. A second edition is in the works.
English Eerie - Requests attribution to the “Eerie System”, a rules-light folk horror game. Link is to the Second Edition.
Fellowship 2nd Edition - It should be noted that essentially the entire game line of this fantasy epic RPG is released under Creative Commons, not just the corebook.
GIST!: a very freeform and streamlined RPG ruleset intended to be used in any setting or genre. The system is designed to be very flexible and hackable. Based on Traveller.
GLOG Hack: A mix up of the GLOG (see below) and The Black Hack (see below). A class-based system aiming at simplicity an low math and bookkeeping. It exists in two version, v0.2 which is just GLOG + Black Hack, and v0.5 which includes lots of stuff.
The Happiest Apocalypse on Earth - A PBTA game set in a theme park after a terrible apocalypse.
Impulse Drive - A PBTA space adventure game. A PWYW version is also available.
In the Light of a Ghost Star: In the Light of a Ghost Star packs within 20 or so pages an ultra-minimal ruleset and an adventure with a hexcrawl, factions, NPCs, and even a dungeon. The setting is a small region of future Earth, after being abandoned by human people, with several weird creatures inhabiting it.
Liminal Horror: A Cairn hack (see above) to play investigators in a supernatural horror modern setting. Think something like The Laundry Files.
Marshmallows and Monsters: Post-it sized game to play a bunch of campers in a monster-infested wood. Extremely simple mechanics based on d6s, it’s oriented for one shots and doesn’t have a character growth system.
Minimald6: An extremely lightweight universal 2d6 system.
Never Knows Best - A PBTA game of youth in a repressed, depressed town.
Paladin: A game of holy warriors facing temptations and trials. It comes with its own setting , but has rules to create your own, ranging from Knights Templars to Star Wars’ Jedi. There’s also a Risus version under the same license.
Plerion: A sci-fi hack from Cairn designed to play radiant space opera.
Roamers of the Dream: Players will take on the role of Roamers who will have to live, survive and find a way to wake up before losing their lucidity for good. Based on GIST!.
Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn - A psychedelic sf PBTA game.
Supernatural Stories 80 - A simplified paranormal/horror system.
Thálassa: Players act as fearless explorers of the Mediterranean of the Mythical Age, studded with mysterious islands, thick forests, legendary creatures, labyrinths and dangers. Based on Cairn.
Thirsty Sword Lesbians - A PBTA game of crossing swords and hearts, from Evil Hat and Gay Spaceship Games.
Uncanny Echo - A set of interrelated PBTA games about the uncanny and occult intruding onto ordinary people’s lives.
Uncharted Worlds - A PBTA space adventure game.
The Veil - A PBTA literary cyberpunk game.
Worlds in Peril - A PBTA supers game.
WuShu: a dice pool game designed to play over the top action such as the Matrix, Big Trouble in Little China, etc.
Undying - A PBTA game of scheming, monstrous vampires.
CC-BY-NC-SA - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
The link goes to the 4.0 version of the license; be careful as historically released material may have used an earlier version of the license. Though for most applications of interest to RPG creators, the version numbering is not significant.
Black Seven - A stealth action game engine.
Bloodstone: an action-packed horror tabletop roleplaying game with a dark, gothic feel. The players are a group of hunters sent to the city of Heliwyr on a blood moon night to hunt down an Apostle attempting to ascend, opening a gateway to the realm of the Ancients.
Bootleggers - A PBTA game of mobsters during prohibition.
GLOG: The Goblin Rules of Gaming, a toolkit for building your own fantasy game. More hackable than complete, you’re expected to build your own by stapling together bits and pieces. It comes in many flavors and has a vibrant community.
Into the Dungeon: Revived: Expanded version of the original game that became Into the Odd. ItD:R is a pretty classical fantasy ruleset, with an interesting twist on classes and magic. Very compact but complete.
Lady Blackbird: The first of a collection of games by John Harper, Tales from the Wild Blue Yonder. The Wild Blue Yonder is the setting shared by the three titles (Lady Blackbird, Magister Lor, Lord Scurlock), a vast acidic sky on top of which airships and floating planets and isles host nations, pirates, and smugglers. Each game sports pre-generated characters tightly linked by several sources of conflict. It gave rise to a big amount of derived works, the so called “hackbirds”.
The Void - WildFire’s space Lovecraftian horror game.
OGL 1.0a - The Open Gaming License
2d6 SF - Universal Machine Publications seems to be defunct but their OGL materials are still available for this Traveller-a-like on DTRPG.
Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game, 3rd Edition: Retroclone of 80s’ D&D, it features most of the common and well-known mechanics of the genre. Largely compatible with B/X the lingua franca of the OSR movement, it has its own series of adventures. Since the 4th edition it switched to CC-BY.
Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures: A BX-inspired fantasy game of young heroes saving the village they grew up in. It’s zero prep, as character creation is also intertwined with the creation of the setting and the setting up of the scenario. Any BX-speaking module can be plugged in with minimal effort, as well as characters from Through Sunken Lands and Other Adventures and Grizzled Adventurers which use the same system but with different themese.
Cepheus Engine: a retroclone of Classic Traveller based on Mongoose Traveller SRD.
Cepheus: Faster than Light: a streamlined version of Cepheus Light, in turn streamlined version of Cepheus Engine.
Cepheus Quantum: A yet very streamlined version of Cepheus Light, this time in one-page only meant to be played at conventions. It spawned a series of games that gained complete autonomy from the Cepheus line, includi Barbaric, Cepheus Atom, and Quantum Starfarer.
Cthulhu Eternal - An attempt to make a system-a-like to BRP that used the OGL instead of Chaosium’s more restrictive license.
Crazy 8s - A rules-light game primarily aimed at fantasy action, using d8s.
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0, 3.5, D20 Modern, Starfinder and Pathfinder were all released under OGL 1.0a. It’s a little hard to find the text of D&D3 and Pathfinder 1e specifically, the closest is probably in the online D20 SRD website. Note that in each of these product lines there were multiple books that were released with share-able material and many that weren’t, so seeking open material deeper in these product lines is often (but not always) productive. Pathfinder 2e has also been announced to be re-released under the ORC license, which was recently finalized. This framework was the dominant OGL framework for some time. Below are some “related” open gaming products with the following criteria: 1) they themselves contributed much or all of their text to open gaming content, 2) they also need at least one of the above core texts to work:
Arcana Unearthed/Evolved - Monte Cook’s “total conversion” of D&D 3 and 3.5 to be more caster-centric. Cook also published Mike Mearls’ Iron Heroes, also placed in open content, which attempted to flesh out melee combat. Mearls eventually took Iron Heroes to Fiery Dragon.
Blood and ______ - RPGObjects’ series of genre-focused d20 games (Blood & Circuits (cyberpunk), Blood & Brains (zombies), Blood & Fists (martial arts), etc.)
Castles and Crusades - Troll Lord Games’ attempt to thread the needle between Wizards-era D&D and TSR-era D&D. It should be noted that in early 2023 they indicated they would no longer use the OGL for C&C but no specific release under another license has been made.
Darwin’s World - RPGObjects’ postapocalyptic game. This game would later move to Misfit Studios and be re-released under a Savage Worlds license/system.
Mars - Adamant Games’ planetary romance game.
Sidewinder - The Dog House Rules game of cinematic Western action. Link is to the “Recoiled” edition, the final updated D20 Modern SRD edition.
Testament - Green Ronin’s game of “roleplaying in the Biblical era”
Veil of Truth - Eradinus Games’ space opera adventure game.
Fudge - The predecessor to Fate and an early adopter of more permissive gaming licensing (though before the OGL it did still have some requriements.)
Iron Falcon: An Original D&D retroclone, it’s generally less supported than BFRPG and has yet to be updated to CC-BY like its sibling system.
Legend - Mongoose’s attempt to create a OGL engine based on the Runequest 2e engine. Swordpoint is an example of a Legend-engine game, from Gallant Knight. It should be noted that during the OGL struggles of early 2022, some questions were raised about Legend’s status, but Mongoose has not made any official clarification.
Mutants and Masterminds - Link is to the second edition of Green Ronin’s d20-based OGL supers game, aiming to split the difference in superhero-construction games between the complexity of HERO-era Champions and lighter games like Icons. There are three editions of varying openness in the game lines.
Opend6 - The classic d6 system from West End Games was put under the OGL very early in the OGL’s life.
Opening The Dark SRD: An SRD for making games compatible with White Wolf’s Storyteller System, used in the World of Darkness and Exalted.
OSRIC - An early OSR system, eventually released under the OGL.
Spycraft - Although the first edition was published as an SRD closer to D&D3, the second edition was a fully standalone OGL game of d20-based action espionage roleplaying.
True20 Adventure Roleplaying - Green Ronin’s hitpointless, three-class version of d20, intiially created for their Blue Rose setting but expanded to many others (some of which were themselves fully placed in open content.)
Whitebox: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game: An hack of Sword&Wizardry to retroclone the Original D&D from 1974.
The Black Hack: Based on OD&D, it streamlines it to make play easier in terms of mechanics. It has been hacked multiple times into different games.
Quintessential BX: a stripped-down version of Old School Essentials, meant to be a skeleton to build your game upon.
ORC - the Open RPG Creative license
A FAQ for the license was created at the same time and released at the same time as the license.
Badger + Coyote SRD - An asymmetric dice-based system for duet games by Andrew Boyd designed for two-player narratives featuring two characters with different outlooks working together.
Basic Roleplaying SRD - Chaosium’s percentile-based house system, used for everything from Call of Cthulhu to Runequest. (Previous open license listed in “Other” below.)
Active Exploits - Precis Intermedia’s diceless game. Licensees are limited from altering the core text, but can publish anything compatible with it.
Basic and Generic - Creators may publish related works if they include a credit to the original game.
Basic Roleplaying SRD - Chaosium’s percentile-based house system, used for everything from Call of Cthulhu to Runequest. OGL differs from the OGL 1.0a text in that it explicitly reserves certain mechanics from inclusion.
Cypher System Open License - Monte Cook Games’ house system, a level- and keyword-based system with an in-house license that is similar to the OGL.
Dominion Rules - A d12 roll-under system designed for historical fiction roleplaying. Released under a proprietary Dominion Rules License that grants permission to freely distribute and modify the rules.
EABA Open License - Blackburg Tactical Research Center’s open license for its light d6 RPG system, EABA. Comparable to the OGL but includes requirements for provision of copies of published material to the licensor.
Green Dawn Mall SRD - Permission given for free use of this “united group of characters explores a large, strange place” game.
Pandemonio - Open Sores License - A horror game that permits roleplaying material to be produced openly, but not video games, fiction and others.
Pip Worlds Creator’s Agreement - The Third Eye Games Pip System (light d6-based game) allows publications so long as character creation has to be conducted with the actual Pip system book.
Wu De - Wu De: The Five Powers is the free-to-use version of the Elemental system. It can be used freely, with attribution.
Year Zero Engine License Agreement - Free League Publishing’s house system, used for Mutant Year Zero and others. The license excludes video games.