Saturday was Free RPG Day, an annual event in which special product is given away free at a variety of RPG stores. These freebies weren't inventory-clearing back catalogue items but specially designed and are predominantly quick-play scenarios, often with basic rules included so newbies can get started straight away. There are also sometimes other little oddities like dice, cards or what have you.
Inevitably the product ties into games which are either current or upcoming - it's not uncommon for the quick-starts to be preview for games expected to launch in the next couple of months. Unfortuantely for the last few years Dungeons and Dragons has not participated officially - Wizards mostly run their own events these days rather than join in the general purpose gaming ones - and with a lack of any hugely exciting new games launching lately it hasn't felt quite as big a deal to me as it was a few years ago when it was a "get to store as quickly as possible" kind of event to get the preview of the new Changeling/Paranoia/Warhammer 40,000 systems.
|Just next to the Clydesdale bank where Games Workshop used to be. But you knew that already.|
Still, I came along to a local shop this year because they weren't just giving away free product but also hosting an open GM space. Geek-aboo, more a geek clothing and accessory shop but with a small RPG section, set aside a few tables and asked for GMs to turn up to run some bits and pieces. Anyone could run what they want, though of course they'd prefer you use the quick-starts since they ordered the things in especially!
I answered this call, because if there's one thing RPGs lack it's public events to entice newbies in. RPGs can be a tough thing to get into unless you have an experienced person to show you the ropes - the classic D&D beginner boxes in toy shops are a thing of a past and while they helped get me into the hobby these days there's nothing really like that. If you aren't already visiting your Statics, Dragon & Georges or whatever you're unlikely to bump into the hobby and without a university gaming society you'd struggle to assemble a group of like-minded friends.