Though they are a wonderful hobby, roleplaying games are still arcane and mysterious. If you haven't played a role playing game before, the presentation of statistics, abilities, powers, hit dice, skills, and combat resolutions systems can look as daunting as statistical notation. Neither are actually difficult to understand when you know what you are looking at, but both are nearly incomprehensible to the neophyte. Let's face it. People who play roleplaying games are friendly, but roleplaying games themselves are sometimes elitist snobs. This creates an obstacle for new players, and sometimes an obstacle to existing players trying new things.
How many people hate the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons partially because it has "new fangled" and arcane ways of handling things? (ex. "What do you mean Fighters have powers? They're Fighters, not spellcasters.) How many people avoid the Indie RPG movement because if it's obsession with terminology like "gamist, narrativist, simulationist?" Assuming x a person who hates/avoids based on the criteria given, I think the answer to both of those questions is:
We can be thankful for the fact that there are plethora opportunities for us to recruit new players or try out new games...without spending a dime.
That's right. There are free games out there.
I'm not just referring to the many free role playing games one can download at 1000 Monkeys 1000 Typewriters. Nor am I just referring to great free games associated with children's literature. Though I am referring to both of those.
In recent years, there has been a wonderful event each June entitled "Free RPG Day." The event is coordinated by an ad agency that gets game companies to sponsor the event by offering products. These products often include basic rules of the game, and are often beautifully designed (textually and visually) professional projects. If you go to your local game store on Free RPG Day, you can pick up Free RPGs.
But what if you missed the Day?
Thanks to the Internets. Every day is "Free RPG Day."
You can download games from this year's "Free RPG Day" from the internet for free right now. Why not use this as an opportunity to talk all of your friends into a crazy Labor Day Weekend gaming session?
Here is a list of games/adventures from "Free RPG Day 2011" that are currently available:
- Eden Studios
All Flesh Must Be Eaten Quickstart & Adventure
- Exile Game Studios
Hollow Earth Expedition Quickstart & Adventure
- Fantasy Flight Games
Black Crusade Quickstart and Adventure and characters
- Goodman Games
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Quickstart
- Green Ronin
“We Be Goblins!” Pathfinder Adventure
- Paradigm Concepts
Arcanis RPG Quickstart & Adventure
Savage Worlds Quickstart & Adventure, titled “The Wild Hunt”
- Stone Tablet Games
Aspect Quickstart Adventure
- White Wolf Publishing
World of Darkness Quickstart
I highly recommend the DragonAge and Savage Worlds offerings.
Have some fun!