Each of these quick-start PDFs is designed to introduce a game by providing stripped-down mechanics that give a feel for how the game works. Note that they vary considerably in target audience; some are designed for newcomers to tabletop roleplaying and some are not.
Download a few of these free PDFs, share them with your friends, and look through them so you can get a feel for which genre and style of play might appeal most to your group. If you like the teaser, odds are you'll also enjoy the full version of the game.
Edge of the Empire focuses on the grim and gritty portions of the Star Wars universe. This 40-page PDF contains quickstart rules, the Under a Black Sun adventure, and four pre-generated characters.
If you haven't read the books, you may have heard of the wildly successful Game of Thrones TV series. This 32-page PDF includes the Journey to King's Landing starter scenario, characters for players to use, and enough of the core rules to get a taste of the game.
Clockwork: Dominion is a steampunk roleplaying game set in a Victorian world of gothic horror. This 73-page PDF contains quickstart rules, an adventure, six pre-made characters, and additional material.
Fools Rush In is a 47-page quickstart adventure with streamlined rules, pregenerated characters, and everything you need to check out the Full Metal Fantasy world of Iron Kingdoms.
The publisher is releasing this 28-page PDF, which includes quickstart rules and an adventure, ahead of the expected August, 2014 release of the full ruleset.
This 34-page PDF contains quickstart rules for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the zombie survival horror game, plus six pre-made characters and The Waking Dead adventure.
Characters defend transhumanity from horrific threats in this mind-bending game of transhumanism, conspiracy, and horror. This 41-page PDF provides simplified rules, ready characters, and Mind the WMD, a fully detailed starter scenario.
This 50-page gamebook is provided in PDF, ePub, and Mobi formats. FAE is a stand-alone game system suitable for any genre. Note that the publishers make it available under a pay-what-you-like plan, so if you wind up using the game frequently please put a few bucks in their tip jar.
This 16-page PDF includes the Savage Worlds Test Drive rules, a fully detailed modern horror scenario called The Wild Hunt, and printable game aids. Savage Worlds is a universal system with expansions to cover a variety of settings. It emphasizes easy prep and a fast, cinematic style.
Cosmic Patrol is about fast-paced "rockets and rayguns" sci-fi as imagined in the pulp era. The emphasis is squarely on story, and players take turns as Lead Narrator. This 24-page PDF includes characters and everything needed to run The Khan Protocol adventure.
Based on BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins dark fantasy computer game, this 35-page Quickstart Guide contains a highly condensed version of the core rules, a reference sheet, an adventure called An Arl's Ransom, and five pre-generated player characters.
A mashup of fantasy and cyberpunk, Shadowrun takes place in a gritty world of intrigue and corporate warfare. The game mixes magic, advanced technology, and fantasy races like elves, orks, and dragons. This 31-page PDF includes pre-made PCs and a straightforward introductory scenario.