This is Audio EXP for the 25th of July 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘Free RPG Day’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #54]
Today is Free RPG Day, and it’s a special one for two reasons.
The event is all about encouraging people to visit their local gaming store. It’s called Free RPG Day because if your local gaming store is taking part in the program, they will have been sent a limited number of freebies to give customers.
Why would publishers pay for that? Well, because it’s tough getting gaming groups to put down their favourite RPG and try something new. Being able to offer your own carefully designed freebie to someone who is at least considering playing something new is an excellent opportunity for publishers.
Also, in fairness, many games publishers want to support local gaming stores.
Up until last year, a company called Impressions ran Free Gaming Day. Impressions were then bought by Flat River Group. However, Aldo Ghiozzi the owner kept hold of Free RPG Day. Later on, Free RPG Day was subsequently sold to a newly created company called Gaming Days LLC.
2020 is Gaming Days’ first chance to bring Free RPG Day to life in the way they envision. However; COVID-19.
There was a very real risk of Free RPG Day being cancelled this year. Instead, Gaming Days held their nerve and moved the event. In previous years, it was June 13th for the event, but for 2020, Free RPG Day is July 25th.
I’m interested to see whether they move it back for 2021.
There’s the FreeRPGDay.com site if you want to see if yuor local store is taking part.
If you can’t go, if it’s not yet safe for you to go outside or you are unwilling to wear a mask, then there’s still 24 hours on DriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July sale. At least, that’s the case when this podcast is released. There are many freebies in that sale.
In fact, there are about 58,000 RPG products and supplements in that sale. It’s giant. That’s excluding the other Onebookshelf sites taking part too.
A good tip is to visit a site like DriveThruRPG and search for quickstart whenever you’re curious. Increasingly, publishers put out free or pay-what-you-want quickstarts for Kickstarter campaigns, or as teasers, and it can be a cost-effective way to dabble in a new RPG.
It feels like it’s been a cosmopolitan week of news. I’m going to use Star Trek as a bridge for the rest of this podcast.
Which is your favourite Star Trek alien? Geek Native asked this question last year when I had a copy of the Official Guide to the Animated series to giveaway and provided a shortlist of races to pick from.
I’m slow, so have only now published the list.
What I’ve done is re-opened the poll, so if you visit the link in the show notes, you’ll be able to click through and cast your vote.
For the 2019 poll, I’ll give you the bottom and top three.
In bottom place, with a tie, we have the Andorians and the Bajorans. Beating them in popularity are the Changelings with 4.57% of the vote.
What do you think the top three races are?
In third place, with 17.81% of the vote, are the Vulcans.
In the second place, with 20.09% of the vote, are the Klingons.
That means, in the first place, with 23.74% of the vote, are the Borg.
The new poll hasn’t been open very long, but already the Klingons have taken some territory.
Re-opening the poll after one of these surveys can be exciting. In last week’s Audio EXP we looked at stats from 2019 as to whether D&D was past its heyday. Back then, most people thought so, but I re-opened that poll and so far the results are heading in a different direction. The new survey, at the time of recording, has over 60% of people suggesting that D&D will continue to get more popular.
Also in Star Trek news, we have a trailer for the new animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks and Modiphius giving away the Kobayashi Maru supplement as a freebie for the Star Trek Adventures RPG.
Other trailers worth knowing about this week include Project Power from Netflix.
Project Power is a super-powered crime mashup. There’s a new drug on the street which gives people unique super-powers. You won’t know what type of super you are until you take the drug.
It’ll star the likes of Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and it looks like a fresh take.
Bill & Ted 3 also got a trailer and some news.
In this sequel, Bill & Ted have had families, continue to rock out in their garage but have not yet united the world in peace. The pressure is growing.
The studio has decided that on the 2nd of September that they will release the film. Cinemas can have it if they want. Who knows what the state of the local lockdowns might be.
However, and this is the gamble, on the 2nd of September, the film will also be released as a video on demand.
That’s a gamble because cinemas, especially in America, like to have things as an exclusive for a while. It’s also a gamble because we might all be fed up of watching things on the cyclops box at home.
What do you think? A wise move? Is Bill & Ted 3: Face the Music enough of a fan film that it’ll surely do well enough even if cinema chains don’t touch it.
Fans of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg will be pleased to see that Amazon has given their co-scripted and co-starring series Truth Seekers a bash.
It’s a show in which some paranormal investigators actually manage to stumble on to something. They stumble onto a conspiracy which endangers the world.
There’s a video trailer of the forthcoming The Umbrella Academy board game too.
The game is an official project from Dark Horse and Studio71. The style is that of the comic book, not the Netflix series.
If you think you’re likely to back the Kickstarter then sign up to the newsletter as that’s the way to get an exclusive and metallic Five card. I’ve done it because there’s a non-zero chance I’ll back the game. The link is in the transcript.
There are two other interesting bits of comic book news that I want to share.
One is that Keanu Reeves is working on a comic called BRZRKR. When you see that written, you’ll see it’s missing all the vowels. I don’t know if that’s significant, but it could be.
In the comic book, which is being co-written by Matt Kindt and published by Boom Studios, The Berserker is the son of the war god Mars and a human. This gives him humanity’s desire to answer questions but also his father’s impulses towards violence. He’s also hundreds of years old.
The other bit of comic news comes from Dynamite Entertainment.
I’m afraid it’s more culture wars stuff.
Talent has begun to leave Dynamite over the publishers apparent support for Comicsgate.
Comicsgate is a group that moans about what it sees as forced diversity in comic books. They don’t mean publishers deciding to do a mutant comic book because there’s not been a new one in a while. They mean that they don’t want to see women involved or people of colour represented. You won’t be surprised to know that they’ve been linked to some harassment campaigns.
Mark Russell who wrote Red Sonja has quit. Karlo Pacheco, who worked on Bettie Page, has left and donated the proceeds of the comic books to charity.
Dynamite’s CEO has taken part in Comicsgate streams, and the company was about to put one of Comicsgate’s characters on the front page of a comic. That front page has now been cancelled.
We’ll have to see what Dynamite does next, and it’s worth remembering that we’re talking about people’s livelihoods here. It’s not an easy thing being a comic book creator and walking away from a publisher like Dynamite.
I guess it’s also worth noting that Keanu Reeves’ BRZRKR is with Boom Studios. That’s a publisher who has had a whole string of successes this year.
Oh gosh. If we’re talking about money and success, let’s also mention that Pikachu Illustrator card.
A Japanese auction site has a new world record for the most expensive Pokemon card. There are only 10 Pikachu Illustrator cards in existence, experts calculate, and one has just sold for $233,000.
I’ve taken a look at the online auction page. It’s brutal. No returns! No questions! Look at the photographs and make your bid because that’s all your getting.
Despite all that, someone found nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the card. That’s $40,000 more than the previous record for a Pokemon card, and that was set by a Pikachu Illustrator last year.
Those Pikachu Illustrators can’t be used in the game. They were invented as prizes as a way to get people into Pokemon. We’re back to the spirit of Free RPG Day, I suppose.
D&D still has to think about getting people into the game. This week they confirmed the Adventure Begins board game that Geek Native wrote about at the start of the year.
Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins is a game for 2 to 4 players and of ages 10 and up. It’s due out in October.
If you’re not a beginner, then there are a couple of new RPGs to watch out for that I’m going to mention in this podcast. One was only announced this week, and that’s Lords of the Middle Sea.
The original Lords of the Middle Seas was a 1978 Chaosium war game. It was set in a post-apocalyptic future when wars have destroyed the planet’s ecology. It was a steampunk-ish game of battleships.
The new RPG, for which no publication date has been given, will use the Basic RPG system and is being written by John Snead. Snead has worked on games like Exalted, Eclipse Phase and Blue Rose.
The other is Green Ronin’s Sword Chronicle.
Green Ronin invented the Chronicle System for their Game of Thrones license. That license is over, but COVID made it necessary to get inventive.
We have our first look at the system, and we see that they too are going to use ancestries rather than races for their fantasy RPG, having a system that supports mixed and multiple ancestries.
It’s not copying Pathfinder, as Malcolm Sheppard points out he did this back in 2010 for a White Wolf project when he insisted on the use of “peoples” instead. That’s a phrase you can see used again in the Modern AGE RPG.
Lastly, and as a bit of fun, I put a whole bunch of innocent phrases to terrorise your players into a random generator.
Do you the sort of phrase?
Here’s an example; “Ok, so who’s the one that will enter first?” or “As far as you can tell”.
Players hate it when GMs have phrases like that in their arsenal of responses. If you have suggestions for any more, please let me know.
And on that note, let’s call it a wrap. Keep safe, keep well and see you next week.
What are your thoughts? Strike up a discussion and leave a comment below.