Author Resources

If you're looking to create an RPG of your own, then you might find the following information useful.

Free Use and Licensed RPG Systems

The following RPG systems are available for people to freely use in the creation of their own games, or can be used subject to certain licensing restrictions. If you want to make an RPG but don't know where to start, try these first.

The D20 System (Wizards of the Coast)
For the seriously old-school gamer who isn't afraid of complex mathematics and can't get away from Dungeons and Dragons, the D20 system continues to be one of the mainstays of the RPG industry. Fourth Edition is due in 2008.
License: OGL

RuneQuest (Mongoose Publishing)
Another grand-daddy of the hobby, the most recent version of RuneQuest is now available on the OGL from those nice people at Mongoose Publishing. If you prefer percentile dice, then it's a good, solid option.
License: OGL

Savage Worlds (Great White Games)
Still reminiscent of its Deadlands origins, Savage Worlds provides an interesting alternative to the more traditional systems out there. Check out its license requirements first though, as I can never wrap my head around them personally.
License: Complicated

FUDGE (Grey Ghost Press)
A fine little system that needs a fair amount of tinkering with, but nevertheless provides an excellent skeleton and some really solid advice on creating your own games. Plus, it's free!
License: OGL with simple additions

Myriad (Sane Studios)
I wrote this one, so of course it's got to be great ;) Seriously though, Myriad is a toolbox game system that gives plenty of advice and tips on creating a functional RPG. And it's also free!
License: Creative Commons

The Shadow of Yesterday (Clinton R. Nixon)
One of the princes of the Indie gaming scene, TSoY is particularly notable for the elegant way in which it encourages players to act out their characters' personalities.
License: Creative Commons, non-commercial, share alike

Wushu (Daniel Bayn)
A fast-n-lite ruleset that has risen to astounding popularity amongst homebrewers, Wushu majors in emulating the improbable stunts of Martial Arts movies, though it lends itself to all high-action, low-realism ventures.
License: Creative Commons

Action! System (Gold Rush Games)
A well-documented and popular Indie game system that is good for general homebrewing, with a wide selection of additional modules on the market to help get you started.
License: OGL with simple additions

Vs: Monsters (Ronin Arts)
For those who prefer the minimalist approach, so that a game's rules really don't get in the way of the story, VsM offers a petite backbone on which to grow your own system. Great for short indie products.
License: OGL