I went straight into a game of Eleventh Hour, Fantasy Flight Games’ introduction to their upcoming Only War RPG. In Eleventh Hour you play a group of Imperial Guard in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k setting, trying to escape the boundaries of an area set for orbital bombardment. The scenario provides four pre-generated characters and two additional characters were made available via the FFG website. While the rules don’t deviate much from the rules provided in FFG’s other Warhammer 40k settings (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, DeathWatch, Black Crusade), they do allow for more roleplaying than I’ve seen in the DeathWatch and Black Crusade games I’ve been involved in recently. Our demo group quickly got in to our characters and were shiving comrades with better equipment and desperately trying to avoid the ever watchful eyes of the commissars.
My second game was an introductory Pathfinder demo, not the one provided for Free RPG Day, I’ll come to the Pathfinder Free RPG product later, but one made to introduce players new to roleplaying in general. Using a tiled map and figures, our group took the standard four adventuring characters on the road and into a dungeon. It was a fantastic introduction adventure, and was great for getting to grips with the characters and rules. However I’m not a big fan of tiled maps for roleplaying games, it moves away too much from the roleplaying for me, but for those new to roleplaying, I can see its merits.
I got to keep my copy of Eleventh Hour for playing in the Only War demo, but I also grabbed a copy of Catalyst’s Battletech/Shadowrun Free RPG product, which includes a full introduction to both games with sample characters. The quality of the booklet wasn’t of the same quality as the Pathfinder or D&D products (no card cover), but rather than just be an adventure, it contains two full demo games for two different systems. Catalyst obviously saw an opportunity to showcase two of their biggest games.
It is worth noting the quality of the Pathfinder module – Dawn of the Scarlet Sun (Level 5) and D&D adventure – Dead in the Eye (Levels 8-10). Both books are full colour with card covers. The D&D adventure has full colour maps inside and the Pathfinder module is illustrated. This highlights how much both Paizo and Wizards of the Coast believe in Free RPG Day.
I asked Mike from Leisure Games if the store saw improved sales and he replied “Actual sales on the day in many ways were irrelevant, as I think that the atmosphere on the day was very good which hopefully will encourage people to come back again and again.” Indeed everyone I spoke to enjoyed the day and the Fiasco game seemed in very good spirits while our Only War demo was going on.
So if you want your local store to get involved in Free RPG Day next year, get on to them now and point them in the direction of the Free RPG Day website. Or even better, book the day off to attend Leisure Games’ Free RPG Day event which will probably be on Sat 15 Jun 2013.
Did you attend a Free RPG Day event? What did you think? Which Free RPG Day product did you go for?