- It's license free
- The artwork is all by gamers for gamers
- They even supply an MS Word file of the rules so you could hack your own ruleset--how cool is that!
In any case, it came up that one of the commentors had the happy dilemma of trying to figure out what type of bare-bones RPG to give to a nephew: a box set or a booklet. The box set has the distinct advantage of being this cool little kit of goodies. And I'm all about the goodies!
So here was my idea:
STEP 1: Get a box! I'm thinking about 9.5" x 6.5" x 1.25".
STEP 2: Make a top and back cover for it using free fantasy art. Try also Library of Congress using "monster" as your keyword.
STEP 3: Download the free PDF of Swords and Wizardry box set (or which ever version you prefer). Don't forget to get some character sheets!
STEP 4: Bookletize the PDFs; customize the cover with some more free art.*
STEP 5: Throw in some gaming dice, some nice inexpensive minis, and voila! You have a nice little gift set for your favorite little eye-gouger!
Now you could do all kinds of things to dress up the box set. If it's a gift, you likely could take artwork from anywhere like Deviant Art, etc. Just DON'T sell it--since it belongs to someone who worked hard to create it. Or better yet, make your own artwork (if you're more talented than say, me...)
You could also go nuts on minis (Reaper or D&D), dice, etc. Personally, I'd like an "advanced" set to have some dungeon tiles and maybe treasure/item cards, just to make it fun.
Variation: Superhero RPG
I learned to play RPGs on the old TSR Marvel Super Heroes game. A few tweaks with the art using free comics covers and some supers (via ebay if it's Heroclix, cause they went under). There are plenty of other hero minis too. Ostensibly you could do this with any theme, but the idea of a vintage comic cover as a 'game' is just extremely awesome in every way possible.
...now if only they still made the dice you had to color in with crayons like in the old days...
They DO! They DO SELL THEM!!
*Props to Eiglophian Press for the booklet idea.