OSRIC (Old School Reference & Index Compilation) offers a free fantasy role playing game inspired by first edition Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not the first effort I’ve seen trying to recapture the magic of 1st edition, before the life was sucked out of it with the bloated later editions.
I recently played this semi-role playing game with my AP Political Science students and we all enjoyed it very much. In Executive Decision, the players each take on the role of a member of the president’s cabinet and try to promote their agenda as critical events unfold in real time. Highly recommended.
I am a huge fan of the old Metagaming series “The Fantasy Trip”, which included Melee and Wizard. I remember first seeing them in a hobby shop in Fort Collins, Colorado, and still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I get out my little plastic bags.
Sentimentality aside, they’re also great games. I’ve used them for both role playing, and miniatures skirmish games. Sadly, they are long out of print. Metagaming folded and inventor Steve Jackson went on to found Steve Jackson Games. You can find .pdf files of the games in various plaes on the internet, but I am sure that they are in violation of copyright. I’d love to host copies here on MiniatureWargaming, but have no idea who does hold the copyright.
Until then, there is a legal and FREE alternative: Dark City Games’ Legends RPG. It uses the same mechanics and has the same light tactical feel.
Rough Magic is an RPG with an interesting setting:
Rough Magic is a role-playing game of magic, mystery, and guns in 1960s Europe. Europe is united under the polished boot of the Franco-Prussian Empire, and hex use is ruthlessly regulated and (as a result) enormously profitable.
Think of a cross between Casablanca and Angel Heart.
Play is very loose, and players are encouraged to take initiative rather than simply hanging around and waiting for someone to kick in the door, guns a-blazing. Players are also encouraged to flesh out the setting and be creative, rather than passively accepting what has already been described.
I loved Space: 1889. The setting was fantastic, and I also liked the RPG system. But for those who prefer a more nuts and bolts operation, you could try this GURPS conversion for Space: 1889