So yesterday I spent a little bit of time reading up on a game I had downloaded a while back called "Dungeon Squad" but had never taken the time to really look at very closely. It strips the idea of something like D&D down to its essence in quite an interesting way.
The game was originally written by Jason Morningstar, author of such games as The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach and Grey Ranks, as part of a 24 hour rpg design challenge. According to the wikipedia entry on Dungeon Squad the idea came from an unsatisfying session of D&D 3.X which he ran for some kids at the local library. Dungeon Squad tries to cater to younger roleplayers by providing a fun and rules lite system with lots of rolling dice, killing monsters, and getting gold.
It looks like it could be a blast to play and its given me a kick in the butt to actually finish Dungeon Battle!--my ongoing dungeoncrawl boardgame project.
Here's a link to Morningstar's original draft of "Dungeon Squad":
Here's a thread on Dragonsfoot from a while back with some discussion of the game as well as some great links. Meepo's version is quite good as it keeps the stripped down quality of the original with just a little bit of expansion:
Here's are some of the various versions of Dungeon Squad which people have made posted at the 1000 Monkey 1000 Typewriters website:
Here another little fantasy game called "Adventurer" which looks kind of nifty too:
Here's a link to the brilliant Microlite 74 which is a distillation of the D20 system down to its essence so that it closely resembles the earliest editions of the world's most popular fantasy game:
Here's a link to the 1000 Monkeys 1000 Typewriters website which hosts lots of cool free rpgs--poke around I think you'll find some interesting stuff.