Germany’s answer to D&D as well as one of the best sandbox Sci-Fi RPGs out there right now are both available for free on DriveThruRPG.
The DriveThruRPG extravaganza continues with more titles being made available for free to folks stuck at home during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Today we’re taking a look at two of the more prominent titles on the list: The Dark Eye, one of the best fantasy games out of Germany, and Stars Without Number, one of the biggest “sandbox” sci-fi RPGs out there, complete with its own rules for creating your own galaxy full of interwoven and competing factions. Let’s take a look.
The Dark Eye is a fantasy roleplaying game wherein you and your friends play the leading roles at the center of heroic action. Travel the land as a virtuous knight, elven ranger, or erudite mage. Rebuild the war weary Middenrealm, marvel at exotic wonders in the Lands of the Tulamydes, discover lost ruins in the steaming jungles of the South, or try to drive back the evil of the Shadowlands. Rescue innocent victims from the cult of the Nameless One, navigate labyrinthine plots and intrigues at the Court of the Empress, or stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the brave defenders of the border cities to repel the ever-growing Orc Storm. Experience the breadth of Aventuria, The Dark Eye’s immersive fantasy world crafted by those who grew up steeped in medieval lore amid ancient forests, forbidding mountains, and fairy-tale castles.
The Core Rules presents all of The Dark Eye’s refined, time-tested game system. Character experience earns additional skills, new spells, and special fighting styles to face ever greater challenges. To get started, all you need is pen and paper, dice, and this book. Build the characters you want to play, or choose from a large selection of customizable character archetypes.
Enter the classic, fantastic world of The Dark Eye. Glory and adventure await!
The year is 3200 and mankind’s empire lies in ashes.
The Jump Gates fell six hundred years ago, severing the links between the myriad worlds of the human diaspora.
Now, the long isolation of the Silence falls away as men and women return to the skies above their scattered worlds.
Will you be among them once more?
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition is an old-school-inspired game of sci-fi adventure, one built from the ground up to encourage sandbox play and simplify a GM’s job in providing it. Familiar mechanics are employed to forge new worlds and explore new possibilities, guidelines built on long experience used to help a group venture in wholly new directions. Within the full-color pages of Stars Without Number: Revised Edition, you’ll find… .
- Backwards compatibility, as the Revised Edition is built to work cleanly with existing Stars Without Number supplements and materials. The new systems slot in smoothly, and you can take or leave them individually as your group prefers.
- Expanded character creation, with PCs now customized by special talents and character foci, new options for psychic characters, and new ways to make your hero mechanically distinct. Yet the process is still smooth and quick, with a special quick generator spread to create a hero from nothing more than a half-dozen die rolls.
- Refined psionics, with more options to distinguish your psychic hero’s powers and more flexible choices for their abilities. Tailor your psychic to your concept, whether as a cynical gunslinging brainguard or an ascetic psychic healer from a world of austere psionic scholars.
- Improved starship combat, with decisive roles for every member of the party. Build your own starships with the included system and employ new hardware and new starship mods to make your ungainly crate the fastest contraband runner this side of the Veil Nebula.
- New systems to support additional types of play, including rules for hacking, remote drones, and expert technical modification of gear and starships.
- Upgraded tools for sandbox sector creation, with forty new world tags to help define a GM’s stellar creations, guides for adding additional system points of interest, and material to help a GM define the interesting traits of the worlds they create. These tools aren’t just a clump of random tables, they’re a framework to boost your own creativity and help you make fast, good, playable material for your game.
- Augmented adventure creation guidelines. Aside from a hundred piping-hot adventure seeds that mesh smoothly with the world creation tools, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition also includes content to help you turn your vague ideas into a playable evening’s adventure. Guidelines on challenges, rewards, and complications in play are all aimed toward the working GM, the man or woman who’s not just theorizing their adventures, but actually responsible for making something fun for the whole group.
- Tools for creating aliens, Virtual Intelligences, and hostile human foes, with guidelines for handling potentially-hostile encounters and creating the kind of fearsome xenobeasts that can challenge the doughtiest explorer. Or perhaps you want to be an alien or robot? You’ll find the tools for that in Stars Without Number: Revised Edition.
- Faction rules, for handling the background warring and intrigues of hostile groups. Need to add life and motion to your stellar sectors? Sprinkle in a few factions to make news for the PCs to respond to, or use these rules to handle the colonies, spy agencies, mercenary companies, or other enterprises your heroes establish.
And these things? They’re all in this free version. Yes, just like the original edition, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition has a free PDF edition to share with your friends and pass around to interested parties. Those daring stellar freebooters who want more can grab the deluxe version right here, gaining….
- Transhuman tech, with rules for bodyswapping, digital identities, post-scarcity economics, and just as importantly, GM guidelines on making exciting adventures when all the old pillars of familiarity have fallen away.
- True AIs, the vast and terrible intellects that can bring forth wonders and ruin in equal measure. Playing a synthetic VI or aspiring organic godmind? Learn how your PC can accumulate the tech they need to ascend to this new plane of being.
- Mechs, for those GMs who relish the thunder of steel titans on their far-future battlefields.
- Heroic PCs, for groups that want to trade the gritty, lethal tone of a standard campaign for classic space opera, with larger-than-life heroes and superhuman skills.
- Society creation, customizing a world or a hab with its own culture and history, pre-designed with fault lines and conflicts to engage your heroes. You’ll get more than a dry recounting of details; you’ll get the information you need to build adventures that fit with this world’s smouldering tensions.
- Space Magic, with rules and guidelines for introducing sorcerous powers and old-school magic into your starfaring adventurers, with sagacious Magisters, versatile Arcanists, and Adepts graced with supernatural powers.
So leap forward, brave adventurer! The stars await you, and the wild glories of an untamed sky!