For those of you who couldn’t make it Free RPG Day at Pair A Dice went off pretty well. The store opening time was 10am but by 9:45 we had at least ten people waiting outside in line. Shawn, Gail and I volunteered to run the freebie/swag table to make sure everybody only took what they were allowed. Everyone got one item, store Royalty Rewards members were allowed a second item and anyone who purchased at least $10 from the store was allowed one additional item.
It was encouraging that most of the people in the first hour were already members. There was a nice assortment of booklets, many of them from Catalyst Game Labs. I personally picked up Cosmic Patrol which is a light RPG based on the new Cue System from Catalyst. The interesting thing about this system is that it doesn’t have a traditional Game Master, instead it has a Lead Narrator which passes to each player when a new scene begins. The setting is a 1930s-1940s pulp science fiction theme something along the lines of Flash Gordon or Commando Cody.The second freebie I grabbed was the Valiant Universe system also from Catalyst. Interestingly this one also uses the Cue System but is based on the Valiant Comics universe and is also scheduled for a fall release. I don’t need my copy of the quick start rules so I’ll bring it with me to gaming, just hit me up if you are interested in it. You can also download the electronic copy from Catalyst as well as the Bloodshot and Generation Zero supplements for free.
My third choice (since I bought Takenoko that morning) was the two-sided Battletech/Shadowrun booklet which was also from Catalyst. I have played a previous version of Shadowrun but this booklet was for the new(ish) Fifth Edition and contains the Spoiled Rotten adventure. Just like the other two mentioned above this one contains plenty of player characters in additions to the NPCs so that you can truly play a basic version of the game using just this booklet.
The other half of this book (when you flip it upside-down) is Battletech: A Time of War. This is the reason I grabbed this booklet since I haven’t played this game before. The tagline on the cover is “In the Draconis Combine, a Fraud Mechwarrior must be dealt with in CHARACTER ASSASSINATION!” The inside cover says that it “is the one-source reference for rules governing the role-playing aspect of the [i]Battletech[/i] universe”. There isn’t a dedicated page for the RPG stuff but you can visit the main Battletech page instead.
There were several demo games being run. I played in The Laundry which was run by Tyson, it is based on The Laundry Files books by Charles Stross which you could think of as a cross between Hunter: The Vigil and the Lovecraftian mythos but based on technology based magic. Just imagine using your smart phone as a ward against magic or a basilisk gun that could paralyze its targets. I hope I get a chance to play in a campaign of this game sometime.
The only other demo I know for sure was a Numenera game that was scheduled to start at noon but I didn’t catch the name of the guy who was running that one. I am sure that there was at least one if not two other demos being run that day.
Looking forward I would like to help the store do some advanced planning for next year’s Free RPG Day. I put a reminder in for myself to talk to Rob around March or so so that we can start lining up GMs to run demos. One thing that I liked about this year is that they held the larger items like the dice towers and full-sized books for the people who volunteered their time to run demo games in the store. I think that if we do some legwork ahead of time we could get sign-up sheets for the demos in the store at least a month ahead of the event which has two benefits: it helps get GMs prepare for how big a game they will have to run but it also might help get more people into the store that day.
If anyone already knows they want to run something please post in the forum thread or keep it in mind for next spring. I would love to see 3-4 demos ready to rock at about 10:30 or 11am next year with fully prepped GMs and players ready to go. I am hoping that I might be able to run a demo of Eclipse Phase myself next year (but we’ll see, I still have a lot of reading to do).