I arrived at my friendly local gaming store in Montreal an hour after opening to see how Free RPG Day was going – and I was almost to late for the fun!
All CD-ROMs were gone, there was a crowd around the giveaway table, and the standing game tables were filled with quartets of customers running one of the new games…and rolling the last of the free dice! It was good to see people staying and playing the products instead of just grabbing and running.
The quality of the products continues to improve and impress: full-colour covers, attractive, illustrated layouts, and quality paper stock. The Pathfinder Bonus Bestiary and Rogue Trader game (set in the Warhammer 40K universe) were the most attractive books, featuring full-color interiors, but I would have gladly paid for any of these (thoughI’m glad I didn’t have to!). I’m a sucker for booklets, so I especially enjoyed the trio of offerings from Mongoose Publishing: Paranoia, Dragon Warriors, and Corporation.
All the quick-start games delivered as advertised: enough rules to play the game, enough flavour text to describe the setting, and sample characters and an adventure to run quickly. The Geist: The Sin Eaters game from White Wolf did a great job of helping novice players and GMs run through the adventure by providing character and storyteller goals for each section of the adventure.
(As for the adventure tile included with the D&D module Khyber’s Harvest, WotC’s introduction to the 4th Edition version of the Eberron setting, my daughter decided that the gemstone mine looked like a flower garden, and is currently using it as a Princess/Transformer picnic ground.)
Dice and software aside, the only items I couldn’t find were the Hero’s Handbook: Immortals / Amethyst: Hearts of Chaos flip-book from Goodman Games, or the latest quickstart for the Castles and Crusades Primer from Troll Lord Games.
If you missed out on Free RPG Day in your part of the world, go back to the store and see if they have any leftover books, or visit the individual company sites to see if they offer the books as PDFs. Visit the official Free RPG Day site for a list of participating stores and companies.