Showing posts with label free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

#AtoZChallenge2024: Z is for the Z-Library (of Dungeons & Dragons)

Ok a bit of a change for the last post of the A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons today. First off, I want to thank everyone who came by, commented, and shared my links. You all are the reason I love doing this.

So, for that, I want to give back to you all.  

If you have been involved in academia in the past few years you likely know about the infamous "Z-Library." This is a "shadow library" (which admittedly sounds cool) that gives you access to 1,000s of books. The legality of this, though, is on the questionable side to outright piracy. So no, I will not be linking out to it. 

But what I can do for you, my readers, is provide you with a 100% free and 100% legal, and in many cases with the author's express permission, access to books so you can play or discover Dungeons & Dragons on your own: A Dungeons & Dragons Z-Library.

Part of my Library

Again, all these titles are free, 100% legal, and 100% safe for you to download and begin playing.  Often all you will need is pencil, paper and some dice.

Don't have mult-sided polyhedral dice? No worries, Google's Dice Roller has you covered.

Dungeons & Dragons for Free

D&D Beyond has a portal where you can read the rules and create (up to 6) characters for free. This is for the current edition of 5e.

IF you don't mind a little work and don't care about art, the entire D&D 5e system has been released to the Creative Commons. It is free to grab and use as you like.

DriveThruRPG has many free items from D&D's current publisher, Wizards of the Coast, for free. In particular, they have the following for older editions:

The last two 4e titles can be combined into a fairly robust version of 4e. 

Other D&D-like Games for Free

These games are often referred to as "Retro Clones," and they emulate older forms of D&D. While they are not 100% D&D, they are close, and ALL offer the same sorts of experiences. You could play one of these, call it D&D, and everyone would be happy.

Since I have been talking about the various editions of D&D all month long, I will organize these Clones by the edition they are most similar to.  Some are full games, and others will be "quick starts," which are usually just an introduction to the game. 

Note: This is not everything, but it is many free ones. Many of these also have paid versions as well.

Original Edition

These games mimic the original Edition of the D&D game.

Delving Deeper. This game mimics the original three books of OD&D. It is free from it's website and from DriveThruRPG.

Iron Falcon. This game mimics OD&D and its first supplement, which made the game the one we recognize today. Iron Falcon comes to us from the same team that gave us Basic Fantasy, so everything is 100% free. The print books are at cost. In terms of giving back to the community, none is better than Basic Fantasy/Iron Falcon. I like to support them for these reasons alone. 

White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game. Based on the Swords & Wizardry rules. Not exactly OD&D but very close. 

Dungeon Crawl Classics. This is an odd one. It has the feel of OD&D, some of the mechanics of Basic D&D, and the game play of AD&D. All with the grit turned up to 11.

Basic Edition

These games are most like the Basic-era games, so Holmes, Moldvay, and Mentzer versions of D&D Basic.

Basic Fantasy. This is the gold standard when it comes to free content and community. It is most similar to Basic D&D, but not Rules as Written, but more like how we actually played it back in 1980-2. EVERYTHING for it is free. The print books are sold at cost. There is a ton of material for it, and it really is the best game for learning to play a Basic (and basic) D&D game. I highly recommend it.

BLUEHOLME™ Prentice Rules. This game very specifically was designed to emulate the John Eric Holmes edited version of the D&D Basic rules. So great for that 1977 to 1979 gaming experience. This version is free, if you like it then there is the BLUEHOLME™ Journeymanne Rules for $10.  I reviewed them both here.

Dark Dungeons and Dark Dungeons X. These books emulate the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, the Basic era RPG that covered the Basic, Expert, Companion, and Masters rules from level 1 to level 36! The first book is free, and DDX is "Pay What You Want" with print options. The name is an homage to the notorious anti-D&D Jack Chick tract.

Holmes77. A free RPG based on the Holmes version of Basic. I don't know a lot about it, really.

Labyrinth Lord. One of the premier Basic D&D clones with a ton of support.

Mazes & Perils RPG. Another Holmes-influenced retro clone. I reviewed it here.

Old-School Essentials Basic Rules. Old-School Essentials is one of the current favorites of the Retro-Clone games. It is a pretty faithful replication of the Moldvay Basic / Cook-Marsh Expert rules from 1981. The OSE rules have some fantastic production values, and these free rules are a great example.

Shadowdark RPG Quickstart Set. The newest darling of the Retro-Clone scene. It is a combination of Basic and 5th edition D&D. This one might easier to find a game going on than most of the others.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition

OSRIC. The Old School Reference & Index Compilation was one of the very first retro-clones produced and was one of the test beds of the concept of a clone game.  It is the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules but reorganized.  Designed as a tool to publish new AD&D 1st Ed rules, it does work as a game. 

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook. This is the player's book for the Castles & Crusades RPG. It is a presentation of the D&D 3rd edition rules designed to play like the AD&D 1st edition rules.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

For Gold & Glory 2e Core Rules. A good emulation of the AD&D 2nd Edition game.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

3.5 d20 SRD. The D&D 3.5 System Reference Document is the rawest version of the D&D 3.x rules. No thrills, no fluff, but everything you need to play a D&D 3 game.

Pathfinder d20 SRD. Same as the SRD above, but with the added Pathfinder material. 

NOTE: The SRDs are not games per se, but they are all the rules. They do not have art, no explanations, no examples. Just the rules. 


I would be remiss if I didn't at least promote my own game here. 

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars is a modern supernatural urban fantasy role-playing game.  If you liked shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and  Vampire Diaries as well as Friday the 13th the series,Tales from the Darkside, and horror movies, then this is the game for you.

AND you can try it out (up to 4th level) for free!

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit

The title is Pay What You Want, but I urge you to give it a try.


Regardless of which one you choose, and you can choose them all, the most important thing when playing any role-playing game is to remember to have fun. 

And that is it for another A to Z Challenge! I hope you enjoyed my rather geeky exploration into the last 50 years of Dungeons & Dragons.  Come back all year long and I will be doing more of the same. May will be Sci-Fi month so I am going to talk about sci-fi RPGs related to Dungeons & Dragons. October is my huge Horror month, so I am going to talk Ravenloft. June I typically save for Basic-era D&D (B/X and BECMI) but not sure yet. 

So come back all year long!

The A to Z of Dungeons & Dragons: Celebrating 50 years of D&D.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day Weekend Gaming

Had a fairly packed weekend game wise.

Friday was our local Public Library sale.  Sometimes we can find some gems, but this time all we found was this book on potions.

Saturday was Free RPG Day.  We all went and got some books.  Of course, we still ended up buying a bunch of stuff too.

Sunday, Father's Day, we went back to the Nentir Vale to finish off the Blood Reavers.  The Demon Slayers found some more clues and are headed to the Well of Demons now.

We want to add more 4e feel to this game.  Just like our Order of the Platinum Dragon 5e game is more "old school" in feel and the Second Campaign has more of a 3e feel.

I have some Encounter Cards I want to use and I'd love to work "Bloodied" into our combats.  I think that might be fun.  Using some 4e stats the monsters are much tougher and these characters are already having more issues than their other 5e counterparts.

For reasons too various to name, our gnome druid, Dimbel Timbers, has adopted this has his theme song:

Every character should have a theme song.

Monday, June 19, 2017

FreeRPG Day Haul

 Really busy weekend.

Free RPG day, Father's Day, grilling, playing D&D.  It was packed.

Here are the books I got at my FLGS.

I am most excited about Runequest. I have not played it in YEARS and have been itching to do so more with it.

My hat is off to +James Raggi.  I admit I have been critical of his products and style over the years.  The truth is his style is not my style. That is not good or bad, just different tastes.
But  ALL that aside, giving out a free HARDCOVER book? Holy shit dude.
Plus his Vaginas Are Magic is actually really, really good.

It galls me, and makes me happy, that he keep proving me wrong by being good.

I might not ever play Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but damn. His production values are through the roof.  He even pulled in +Stacy Dellorfano and +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul to help him on this book.  I trust their opinions and judgment. I am going to have to dig into his book a bit more. Ok. A lot more.

So +James Raggi, it took me a while, but I think I finally "get it".  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Quick one and emails from me

Nothing ready for today yet.  Work has me pretty busy.

- I was at FreeRPG day, got some great books.
- Went to my local public library and got a box full of 70s and 80s fantasy book for $5.00.  Cant' wait to get into that.

Also an issue came up that I don't know how to solve. Mostly because I am not sure what the problem is.

So how many of you are getting email notifications from me about posts?

Does anyone know how this is set?  I'd prefer NOT to clutter your inbox every single time I post.

Please let me know.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Complete

Frog God Games has announced that it is giving away Swords & Wizardry Complete.
Not a no-art version or even limited version, but the entire game free of charge.

You can go to their website and grab a free PDF (print still costs you).
or you can also get it here (from my downloads).

You can also get copies of their other rule sets based on it for free as well.

While not my go-to game, it is a lot of fun and great set of rules for old-school gaming.

Though I do have to admit that Erol Otis cover is rather cool.

If you have The Witch or Eldritch Witchery then you can download my S&W conversion guide to play a Swords & Wizardry Witch.