I love tabletop RPGs, but I don't have the resources to go out and buy rulebooks and DMing guides and kits. Are there any free (open-source, for lack of a better term) D&D clones I can get my hands on? I'll mostly be playing with friends online via chat.

If not, are there any resources/skeletons out there for creating my own? I know "just use your imagination" is a tempting road to go down, but most people don't appreciate the planning and intricacies that go into these games - I can't just sit down with a glass of wine and pull something worth playing out of my ear.

Any advice and/or opinions are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Lots, oh my goodness. You have very innocently asked this, but there are so many that this is unanswerable. :) You might like to search this very site for "clone"—the first hit is Overview of D&D retro-clones. The vast majority are free. That should get you started! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 4 '13 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hahaha, I kind of felt like I was opening pandora's box before I even asked. Any you particularly recommend, @SevenSidedDie? \$\endgroup\$ – CodeMoose Feb 5 '13 at 0:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you want to convert this into a system-recommendation question, you can edit it to provide your requirements. Include at least the edition you're interested in (since they vary quite a bit), and preferably also how many/few/detailed rules or supplements you want, what you (dis)liked in editions you've played, and things like that. Otherwise you'll get just a random assortment of people's favourites in the answers and it will get closed as "not constructive", since the site format doesn't do "potentially endless list of possible answers" questions well at all. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 5 '13 at 0:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, there are many. Please check our guidelines on system-recommendation questions (via the tag wiki or meta) so we can get you a good meaningful answer. See meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1070/…, and specifically for this question, meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1475/… \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 5 '13 at 1:02

Legend is a fanmade attempt to polish up 3.5 D&D. The PDF is very clean, the rules are very clear, and it is strongly focused on gameplay. In addition to the book itself, there's a number of free additions to the system that fully flesh it out. Should be excellent for internet play.

If that isn't close enough to D&D for you, why not actually play D&D 3.5? All important rules are contained on this site except for XP requirements for leveling, which aren't neccessary. It is pretty bare bones on flavor and DM advice, however.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks pretty solid @shatterspikel - exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – CodeMoose Feb 5 '13 at 0:09

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