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There are so many quality Free RPGs on the Internet that, even though Free games are considered for the Indie Game of the Year Award, they really deserve their own category. This category honors the game designers who make their works of passion and then offer them for free. Note: If a Free game wins the main award and this Sub-Award, the runner up for this Sub-Award is chosen instead.


THE SHADOW OF YESTERDAY / with 93 points

Selected Peer Feedback (Note: More Feedback on many of these games can be found in the Indie RPG of the Year: Runners Up section):

"TSOY stands head and shoulders above the other free games. Not only is it well presented but you can feel the hand of design and understand the thought that has gone into making this a playable fantasy heartbreaker."

"The Shadows of Yesterday combines some of the best mechanical innovations that the indie scene has produced, all in one game."

"Curse you, Indie Games, and your realization that you are worth my gaming dollar!"

"Hopefully The Shadow of Yesterday qualifies, what with its free online read. Clinton continues to throw around serious weight in the indieverse with Shadow. It's smart, sexy, and brings us more mechanics that plenty of folks are going to be stealing in the years that come."

"The fact Clinton opened "The Shadow of Yesterday" under the Creative Commons could easily be taken as proof of an inferior game. On the contrary, it stand as testament to not only how much Clinton wants people to play and enjoy his game but how good it really is."

"The Shadow of Yesterday, free to read online, introduces one of the most original and useful concepts in RPGs ever: The ability to customize what allows your character to earn XP, with a big XP bonus if the character grows beyond that style of play. Simply brilliant."

"The Shadow of Yesterday is the finest example of an author respecting his audience and sharing his absolutely phenomenal creativity with the world."

"SHADOW OF YESTERDAY is a terrific potpourri of design choices that almost hit their mark every time."

"The Shadow Of Yesterday combines some of the best game system concepts with a cool fantasy setting, and all under a Creative Commons license. Better than free! Better than most to-pay-for games!"

"Think what Clinton did with creative commons was great. Really inspiring."


JAGS-2 / with 54 points

"JAGS-2 is a decent enough generic game that is just different enough from GURPS, and suffer slightly less from system bloat, to deserve inclusion."

"JAGS 2 -- I applaud this FREE game's dedicated support and investment."

"Good and free!"

"JAGS-2 is great at doing what it aims to do, which is awesome, if not my bag of nuts."

BATTLEAXE / with 32 points

"Battleaxe has insane production value."

"Battle Axe has production values that exceed most for pay games, even most of those on the best RPG list."

BASIC SYSTEM / with 28 points

"The basic system is a very adaptable system that one can recreate any genre or setting."


"An absolutely hilarious game, high in production values and great for one-shot play. You really have to see this thing to believe it!"

FORMLESS / with 15 points

Andy's Note: Again, interesting to note that FORMLESS didn't make the cutoff to be registered, but it received a lot of write-in votes from peer voters, enough to place in a few categories!

"Formless (by James Hargrove) is a new take on RPGing, requiring no GM, dice, or numbers. It is abstract, yet describes how to maintain order and adapt it to supplement other systems."

HAVE-A-GO HEROES / with 9 points

"Some of the free games this year are just too rules heavy for me, but as usual Simon's rules are as simple as is possible and the game as fun as is possible."


the farm: quot;The Farm - Freaky deaky shit. Sorenson should be locked up for this."

CODE OF UNARIS: The PDF for the Code of Unaris is now available for free. This is the first serious attempt I've seen to make an RPG adapted to the IRC/chat medium, taking special advantage of the way such Internet-run games work. And if that wasn't enough, it has one of the most strange and original fantasy worlds I've seen in a while.