Post Free RPG day report 2014
After reading the inevitable post free rpg day post on dispatches from kickassistan, It reminded me of experiences I have had and I wanted to share how it can go down, and what a difference an awesome FLGS makes. My first experience with Free RPG day was in 2011. At the time, the only participating store in this area was mainly a comic book shop where RPGs were available, but clearly not the main focus of the shop. That year I asked if I could run one of the modules if I could find some players, at which point the owner responded, “I guess… how long is that going to take?” Nevermind. I just took my free stuff (Dark Sun 4e adventure, and DCC adventure starter) and left.
The next year, there were rumblings of a new shop opening up where RPGs and boardgames would be the main focus. The Wyvern’s Tale attended that year’s GeekOut, and shortly there after announced the grand opening of the shop would be ON free RPG day. Now we’re talking! I spoke with the owners about running some games during the day, and not only did they enthusiastically agree, they provided the adventure from that day to me a week early so I could make it the best game possible and not just read it cold. WOW! Once the shop opened up, it quickly became apparent we had something special that is worth supporting.
Most game shops dedicate most of their space to merchandise, with maybe a table or two in the back if you are lucky. In this case, the Wyvern’s Tale is in an old house off of a bustling main corridor north of Asheville. The lower floor is all boardgames, RPGs, miniatures, and dice. The upstairs is ALL gaming space. On big game days this means at least 6 or 7 tables in the various rooms running at the same time! With days like free RPG day there are two slots, so it’s like having a mini gaming con in your hometown FLGS. Here is the schedule from this free RPG day: 1st slot – 13th Age, DCC, Pathfinder, Fate, Monsters Monsters. 2nd Slot: Pathfinder, Age of Rebellion, Shadowrun, Lamentations of the Flame Princess. There was advertising in-store and through social media as well as advanced table sign-ups on warhorn to reserve your space at the table.
This is how it is done, people. True, we benefit from a unique space and have a higher per-capita population of awesome RPG gamers. But people were traveling HOURS to get here and be a part of the event. I think the reason we have such a vibrant gaming scene is thanks to having such a supportive gaming community. That gaming community is fostered and nurtured at places like the Wyvern’s Tale. It encourages people to stay, play, and buy awesome stuff! I have heard the horror stories from the owner about people saying, “This is cheaper on Amazon…” and I know, dear reader, you would never be that guy, but it bears repeating: DON’T BE THAT GUY! Spend an extra dollar or five to keep an awesome business in the community. A place where you can talk about games, share stories about incredible sessions, meet new players, and spread the love of this awesome hobby.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a place like the Wyvern’s Tale in your community, go out and support them. If you are anywhere near Asheville, North Carolina, stop in and see the best gaming store in the region. If you have a store that could use a little community-building, try and get something going. With the cooperation of a business owner who has the vision to build a gaming scene you can meet some great people and have some truly memorable games!