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I would really like to get into Pen and Paper RPGs that are more combat and rule heavy than storytelling. I would play D&D but don't want to put much money into it before I get a feel for the genre. Are there any free or close to it RPGs "online" (i.e. rules and/or print-offs downloadable)?

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What have you looked at? There's the Pathfinder SRD, for starters. –  okeefe Aug 7 '13 at 23:15
What do you intend to use the rules for? This is critically important; seeking out rules is not an end in and of itself. Is this just for combat? –  Emracool Aug 7 '13 at 23:39
@TheDiamante Consider that playing Dresden Files is very rules-involved, and it's a system for storytelling. Hence why we need you to specify what you want the rules to be for. –  Jonathan Hobbs Aug 7 '13 at 23:42
Thank you for the eye-opener on how vastly broad my question and the genre is. I am going to try Pathfinder or D&D 3.5 first. Thanks! –  The Diamante Aug 7 '13 at 23:54
This question is on hold because it's too broadly scoped. As you explore the literature, edit it, and I'll reopen. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 8 '13 at 0:22
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closed as unclear what you're asking by Jonathan Hobbs, Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 8 '13 at 0:21

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Both Pathfinder (D&D 3.75) and D&D 3.5 have freely available online rules, with everything you need to get started and get into the game without spending a penny.

I would recommend Pathfinder by Paizo. It made many improvements to D&D, and they make more of their rules available online for free by releasing the the Pathfinder Reference Document. You can check out the rules on the Paizo website here.

The D&D 3.5 rules were released under the System Reference Document, any search on Google will find a slew of sited hosting it. My client personal favourite is d20srd.org, however it really is just personal preference which site you use.

One thing to note is that just because a system is rules-heavy, that doesn't mean it has to be story light. Both systems have in depth rules covering most situations you will come across, however of can still tell fantastic stories whilst using these rules. The point of any set of rules is not to interfere with the story, but to enable it to be told one way or another.

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As a note at the time of posting this it seems the Paizo site is currently unavailable. –  Styphon Aug 7 '13 at 23:50
There's also d20pfsrd.com, which has the same rules as Paizo's site, organized in a different way. I would reccomend Paizo's site for new players, though, since it makes it more obvious what the 'base' rules are. –  starwed Aug 7 '13 at 23:55
I know Pathfinder and D&D are oriented toward multiple player experiences but can either be played solo? –  The Diamante Aug 7 '13 at 23:57
By solo I assume you mean with a single player character and a DM? If so then yes, whilst the rules are written with a party of 4 in mind, they do work for a solo person. –  Styphon Aug 7 '13 at 23:59
Although it is a colloquial thing to call Pathfinder "D&D 3.75", considering this is targeted at a new player, I think we should leave that part out. Pathfinder is in most ways an upgrade to D&D 3.5 - but it's also a different system by different people, it is not the same product as D&D, and it doesn't sit within D&D's versioning. Calling it D&D 3.75 could be confusing, and you've already expressed that it's an upgrade and improvement on D&D 3.5 :) –  Jonathan Hobbs Aug 8 '13 at 1:32
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