Monday, June 20, 2016

My Free RPG Day Good Deed

Saturday, I was able to participate in Free RPG Day for the very first time. In the past, I've always been out of town (or out of the country) and could never partake of the free stuff. This time, even though the closest participating store was an hour-and-a-half away, I happened to be in the area for a wedding. It worked out perfectly.

I got this version.
I was really excited to pick up the Goodman Games release, because I'm super, super excited about Mutant Crawl Classics. I've got another post brewing on that front, just waiting for the official Kickstarter announcement. My fingers are crossed that we'll hear something from Goodman on that front soon.

I also got a copy of the free Call of Cthuhlu adventure, The Derelict, for my oldest son, who couldn't come to the store with me. I realize that the point of Free RPG Day is to get people into stores to buy stuff. I had a little extra cash set aside, so I picked up The One Who Watches From Below and another DCC module. Not much, but a little something to support the store that was supporting the event. While I was reading this rather spirited post from another blogger, it occured to me that I may have accidentally done an even better thing for my favorite hobby.

There were a couple of kids in the store with me, also perusing the RPGs. They were, I'd guess, 12 and 15 or so, brothers, and they both seemed kind of lost. They had a copy of Hoard of the Dragon Queen and a 5E Player's Handbook and seemed to be picking up other products totally at random, discussing them, and then putting them back on the shelves. I could pretty easily tell that these kids had no idea what they were looking at and just wanted D&D stuff. In other words, total newbies. Since there wasn't an employee to be found anywhere, I lent a hand.

"Hey, what are you guys looking for?"

"Oh. We're looking for maps. For D&D."

"Sure," I said, "I play a bunch of D&D and other games. I can help you out. Are you looking for specific maps, like for the DM, or maps to use with miniatures at the table?"

"Maps at the table."

So I showed them the Paizo flip maps, which were in abundance at this particular store. They told me that the didn't think those were right, since they weren't playing Pathfinder, so I explained the generic nature of the 1-inch-gridded maps. I also pointed out the Gaming Paper. I was kind of tempted to tell them that 5E doesn't really need minis and battle maps, or to try and sell them on some of the other great games on the shelves, but I bit my tongue.

These kids didn't need DCC or Dungeon World or whatever new or weird thing amused this old Grognard at the moment. They were at square one, which is D&D 5E, and that's a pretty darn solid game. Heck, I'm not a 4E guy, but if they were playing that I would have helped them find the out-of-print games boxes on the other side of the store. I was just glad to see some young players getting into the game.

I told them about the free stuff upstairs (they had no idea it was Free RPG Day. They had never heard of Free RPG Day) and wished them well. A few minutes later, I heard the younger brother urging the older to ask me something. They were working up the courage to talk to me about something else.

"Sir," the brother asked me, timidly, "Do you know where they have dice?"
Yup...that should be just about enough.

"You can't play D&D without dice, guys! Sure, I saw it upstairs, in a big display case. Ask the dude behind the counter if you can't find it."

They thanked me and scurried upstairs. My wife, who was upstairs corralling my youngest, later confirmed that the two brothers got their dice and left. I saw them a little while later, counting out the money they had leftover and deciding where to eat. It was like someone gave them a handful of twenties and told them to go buy what they wanted and get themselves food, too.

It wasn't until much later that I realized the role I'd played. Hopefully, they get D&D home and have a great time with it, maybe have hours of adventure this summer with some of the younger guys middle school friends or their cousins or whatever. Hopefully, a couple of those kids like the game so much they keep playing it and games like it well into adulthood, like I have.

I think I did a good turn for the hobby on Saturday, on Free RPG Day, and I didn't even mean to. So here's to you, brothers with the dyed green hair. I don't know if you're actually brothers, or if you were the newbies I thought, or anything else really. I do hope you guys have as much fun with D&D as I have.

Oh, yeah, and I'm back to blogging again. ;-)

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