[Game Mastering Secrets]

Gamemastering Secrets

The Gamemaster's Web

Gaming Resources: Rules Systems

There are a number of generic rules systems that are easily used with a wide number of different games and genres. Some people don't like them, but some find a rules set that they like and stick with it for nearly every game they run.

Free Generic Systems

  • Fudge, by Steffan O'Sullivan is an free generic rules system which is very easy for players to learn, and is very flexible for gamemasters to customize. There is a printed commercial edition of Fudge (Fudge Expanded Edition) published by Grey Ghost Press (the publishers of this website); you can also download the entire core rules of Fudge for free in various different formats.

  • Simply Roleplaying!, by Bob Portnell and published by Microtactix, is a complete generic rules system (and extensive collection of advice on adventure design and running games) published electronically. The 2.0 core rules are available as a free PDF download.

  • d20 is the much-ballyhooed gaming engine published under the "open gaming license" by Wizards of the Coast, and used for the latest editions of its Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars roleplaying games. All of the system reference documents are available for free download (though as RTF files, so if don't use a word processor that has good support for that, good luck to you).

Commercial Generic Systems

With Fully Playable Free Previews

  • GURPS, by Steve Jackson, is one of the earliest generic systems, and remains one of the most popular. It also has a very highly regarded line of supplements. A completely playable version, a 32-page PDF entitled GURPS Lite, is available for free download.

  • CORPS, by Greg Porter and published by BTRC, is another conceptually simple generic system. It is available as both a free PDF download and in a printed edition. At BTRC's site there is a 4-page "Nutshell" preview available for download.

Commercial Generic Systems


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Last modified: 2002-July-28
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