Each of these quick-start games is designed for newcomers. 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. These are teasers intended to show you the basics of how a system works; if you like the teaser, odds are you'll also enjoy the full version of the game.
For information about the full version of any of these games, check out the Fantasy games page.
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.
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.
For information about the full version of any of these games, check out the Science Fiction games page.
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.
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.
A mashup of fantasy and cyberpunk, Shadowrun takes place in a near-future world of intrigue, corporate warfare, and threats of all kinds. 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.
For information about the full version of any of these games, check out the Universal games page.
This is a stripped-down version of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying, a universal system that can be used to play adventures in any genre. This 48 page PDF includes seven brief scenarios: a swashbuckler, two sci-fi scenarios, a dungeon raid, a bank heist, a WW 2 mission, and a post-apocalypse adventure.
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.
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