(Consider this my Joesky Tax for the last rant)
They call it Empire Galactique!
In my neverending quest for free rpg goodies I found THIS site for EG, a French language scifi RPG originally published in 1984. In 2005 the author decided to make it free for all and has been slowly making the gamebooks available as PDFs on line.
Although I haven’t had time to read the entire books or play a game myself, EG is written clearly and has that great Heavy Metal 1980s style French comic art seen in works of Moebus and his colleagues. The rules are simple but comprehensive and explained in an easily understandable fashion. The core mechanic is stat + or – difficulty – 2d6, with a negative result being failure and positive being success.
These are the books currently available as they appear on the website (click on them for download, then on the pictures):
Les règles de base (Basic rules)
Le livre du Rôle (Gamebook)
Le livre du Maître de jeu (GM’s Book)
L'Encyclopédie Galactique (Galactic Encyclopedia)
Tome I : Histoire et organisation de l'Empire (History and organization of the Empire)
Tome II : Espace & Triche-Lumière (Space & lightspeed)
Tome III : Varlet & Lehouine (I dunno the context, but these may be place names)
Catalogue des vaisseaux (prochainement disponible !)(Coming soon, catalogue of vessels)
Tome IV (prochainement disponible !) (Coming soon)
Les pirates de l'amas de Gion (Pirates of the cluster of Gion)
Le cas de l'ambassadeur trop bien protégé (The case of the over-protected ambassador)
L'astéroïde (The asteroid)
La nuit des bourrins (Night of the horses)
L'honneur des Corsaires (Honor of the corsairs)
Le dernier des Kandärs (prochainement disponible !) (Coming soon – The last of the Kandars)
Even if you can’t understand French, give EG a download, look it over and be inspired.