Free is not a four letter word

Well ok it is a four letter word, but only due to linguistic accident, nothing more. The word comes from the Old English Freon meaning “to love or set free”, and even further back in time to the Sanskrit Priya, “dearest, beloved”. If you love something set it free, indeed.

Over the past week or so, some of the greatest role-playing games and game aids of all time have done just that – been set free by the people who love them. I’m talking about Talislanta, the Classic Traveller Starter Set, and One Monk Miniatures’ entire line of stand-up paper figures. Each for their own reason, the creators and owners have decided to release these goodies into the wild.

Let’s start with Talislanta. This isn’t so much a rules system (in fact, multiple editions of the rules, including the acclaimed d20 edition) as a unique world populated with creatures, races and cultures unlike anything you have ever seen. This is a massive gift to the RPG community and SMS well deserves our thanks and praise for releasing it. Regardless of which system, genre or playstyle you prefer, there will be at least one book or supplement which will draw you in, and I guarantee you will take some of its style with you into your own games, and perhaps even make Talislanta your permanent home.

The goal appears to be to scan and offer up everything that’s been published for Talislanta and they’re well on the way with perhaps 70-80% of the products already up there in both Original and Optimized PDF form. There’s world guides, bestiaries, rule books and adventures all there for the taking – enough to fill your reading and game time for months to come.

Recommended? Oh yes!

Next up is the Classic Traveller Starter Kit, and kudos to Randall at RetroRoleplaying for shouting out about this one. Watch out – you’ll need to go to the My Account –> “View all products I’ve purchased, with download links” section to grab the other two books once you’ve hit the “Get it Free” link – RPGNow only shoots you the first book automatically.

Don’t be fooled by the “Starter Kit” tag. This is the whole thing complete with the Core Rules, Charts and Tables and Adventure books; character generation, sector/subsector generation, ship generation and encounter generation are all there in their entirety – just add d6s and you’re ready to play.

This also happens to be the exact same edition of Classic Traveller that’s sitting on my bookcase in dead tree form in a raggedy-tatty box, so I can vouch for its completeness and quality. Of all the editions of Traveller, I’d argue that this is the simplest to get into and the fastest (and deadliest!) to play. Chargen is immersive, fun and quick, and even ship generation doesn’t require a doctorate to be able to understand. There’s next to no Imperium backstory to get in the way too  – this provides the raw tools with which you can make your own universes. Have at it!

I’ve been meaning to do a Classic Traveller RPG Week for a while now – maybe this is just the impetuous to get me started. We’ll see…

Finally, One Monk Miniatures. I love these guys and the funky angular artstyle, and applaud the decision to make it a hobby once again. If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing for fun! We have standies covering all the major races, goblinoids, undead and more than your fair share of obscure monsters, not to mention awesome Sci-Fi figures, Knights of the Round Table and entire frickin’ armies. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at some real old school fantasy wargame goodness, track down a copy of the wonderful Hordes of the Things rules, set your printer to overdrive and you’ll be clashing spears with the rest of us. And not an unpainted mini in sight.

If you’re a 4e (gamer (or any other mini-using rpg’er, for that matter), this should be one of the first places you head to to boost your mini collection. These suckers look darned sweet when printed out!

There you have it. Three great free things. Ain’t life grand?

Free love. I love it!

6 Comments on “Free is not a four letter word”

  1. @Jay Synchronicity is a wonderful thing :D

    @Chris As far as I can tell, Classic Traveller is still very much under copyright – the terms haven’t changed, only the price.

    However, I did hear a rumour that Talislanta is now released under the Creative Commons. That’s something I need to check out and verify.

  2. @Elton Very true, but it does mean that the copyright holder has granted rather more freedom to use his works than is usual or standard under law.

    According to the footer, Talislanta is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License which means anyone can share, copy and distribute the work (provided you do it with attribution), and to do anything further (modify, sell commercially or derivate) you must contact the author for permission.

    Sounds fair to me :D

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.