Announcing the Free RPG Day 2020 Publishers!

Free RPG Day is coming Saturday, June 13, 2020, is the first RPG event fully executed by new owners, Gaming Days, LLC. Last year, I spoke with Paul Alexander Butler, co-creator of the Overlight RPG and own of the co-owners of Gaming Days, about their acquisition of Free RPG Day (here). As a major event for RPGs, I’ve spoken to some of the publishers that participate in Free RPG Day in GAMA’s magazine, Around the Table. In this article, I talk to Paul about the publishers participating in the 2020 iteration of tabletop roleplaying games’ largest annual event.

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What is Free RPG Day? Quoting from our interview last year, Paul said this:
Free RPG Day is a worldwide event where participating brick-and-mortar retailers provide exclusive new printed content for a variety of roleplaying games. With brand new adventures or supplements, quick-start rules or even some accessories, we have a wide variety of publishing partners, and all of these items are free to consumers. We hope to help facilitate exciting events in stores around the world, and in turn inspire gamers to try new games, resulting in increased sales at these stores.”
What kind of content can you expect through Free RPG Day? Here’s my review of last year's offerings. Alternately, my copy editor at d20 Radio, Linda Whitson, has some excellent reviews of prior year’s content: 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

In 2020, 16 publishers are participating. 1985 Games, 9th Level Games, Cubicle 7, Dave Taylor Miniatures / Mantic Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Goodman Games, Green Ronin Publishing, Magpie Games, Modiphius Entertainment, Paizo Inc., Pelgrane Press, Q-Workshop, Renegade Game Studios,, Steve Jackson Games, and Wizkids. Here’s an alphabetical list of the publishers, links to their site, what RPGs and accessories they’re known for, some quotes from them, and a few teases from Paul.
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1985 Games, publishers of Dungeon Craft terrain sets and more. 9th Level Games are known for their ENnie nominated, The Tragedies of Middle School, as well as The Excellents, Kobolds Ate My Baby, and more. Paul Alexander Butler said this of their contribution:
“I would like to take the opportunity to highlight Level One, which is an indie-RPG anthology that’s being produced by 9th Level Games. This is a new yearly publication that will be part of FRPGD going forward. Micro-RPGs, stand-along adventures, one-page dungeons, and more could all be a part of Level One. We hope this gives us the chance to shine the spotlight on some of the amazing work being done in the indie RPG realm, and even give some talented new designers some broader exposure. More information can be found at [their site].”
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Cubicle 7 licenses some of the best intellectual properties available for your tabletop from Warhammer to Doctor Who while producing great original RPGs such as Victoriana. When asked about their participation in FRPGD, TS Luikart of Cubicle 7 said this:
Free RPG Day cheerfully answers that most perennial of gaming questions, ‘is there more than D&D?’ Yes there is... and here's a slice to whet your appetite.”
Paul used to work for Cubicle 7. I asked him if that connection made getting them to join Free RPG Day easier?
“One of the things the Gaming Days team prides itself on is our relationship building. I’m proud to say that a number of publishers and retailers have expressed a renewed desire to be a part of Free RPG Day because of our involvement. But sure! Having existing relationships with the CB7 team certainly helped, but the other members of Gaming Days are well known as well.”
Dave Taylor Miniatures / Mantic Games produce some of the finest miniatures in the hobby. Fantasy Flight Games, known for the Star Wars RPG and Legend of the Five Rings, are confirmed as a contributor. I asked Paul if there were any concerns about their contribution since the rumors are that they’re exiting RPGs. Paul Alexander Bulter of Gaming Days, LLC:
“No. I can’t really speak to any announcements or rumors on that front, but I can definitively say that they’ll have a printed booklet as part of Free RPG Day this year. They’re on schedule for delivery and I’ve had confirmation from folks pretty high up the chain at the organization. I’m personally pretty excited for what they’ve got in store.”
2020-03-11 UPDATE: Per the GAMA trade show, FFG's RPGs have been transitioned to Asmodee's imprint Edge Entertainment. You can read more here.
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Goodman Games is back for another Free RPG Day and they’re bringing more Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC). Goodman Games’ Joseph Goodman said this about the event:
Goodman Games is excited to support Free RPG Day once again! As many people know, Goodman Games was the first publisher to support the first Free RPG Day, and we are the only publisher to have participated every year since the beginning. In fact, Free RPG Day was the idea of Joseph Goodman, who originally pitched it as Free Adventure Module Day! With the extensive retailer experience of the new owners, we think 2020 should be yet another amazing year for this event. Gamers should mark their calendars in June for an exciting new DCC module from Goodman Games!"
Green Ronin Publishing, the force behind Mutants & Masterminds and Freeport as well as the AGE system of games (Dragon Age RPG, Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, and The Expanse RPG), will participate this year. EN World columnist and RPG veteran, Owen KC Stephens, is the Line Developer for their Fantasy AGE RPG. Their 2019 offering rolled out their official Modern AGE setting, Threefold, so it’s easy to believe they’ll have another great product for 2020.

Magpie Games publishes Masks, Bluebeard’s Brides, Zombie World, Root: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game, Pasión de las Pasiones, and more. While they’re offering has not been announced yet, there’s a good chance we’ll have a Powered by the Apocalypse option to simple.

Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of Star Trek Adventures, Fallout, Conan, and more, will have two free titles coming out this year. I’m excited because their library of possibilities is deep. I’ve spoken with them about their Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition book, Fall of London, and talked jobs with the CEO. EN World columnist and amazing game designer, Andy Peregrine, is the Line Manager for their upcoming Dune RPG.
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Paizo Inc., publisher of Pathfinder, Pathfinder 2nd Edition, Starfinder, and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, are planning two free products this year. Their Marketing and Media Manager, Aaron Shanks, shared this:
Paizo believes in the vital importance of creating high quality gaming event opportunities to game stores around the world. Many of us first discovered RPGs at our favorite local game store, as so many people do today. Providing consumers with free, exclusive, printed content for both our Pathfinder and Starfinder tabletop roleplaying games—internationally—is an excellent way to welcome new gamers into our community and that’s why we’ve been a long-time sponsor of Free RPG Day.”
Since Paizo is a Free RPG Day anchor and has produced a number of Free RPG Day Pathfinder and Starfinder products over the years, I asked Paul if, as a gaming retailer, he’d like to see those adventures collected into a product to sell between Free RPG Days?
Paizo has been, and continues to be, a fantastic partner for Free RPG Day. As for a compilation of some sort? That’s honestly a question that I don’t think has ever come up. There’s certainly a lot of content at this point. I’ll take that idea back to the parties involved. It’s certainly compelling.”
Pelgrane Press is the home of GUMSHOE, DELTA GREEN, 13th Age, The Yellow King, and so many great games, all of which would make for amazing games to try out. Q-Workshop makes dice in a variety of options such as Cyberpunk Red dice, Halloween dice, Fudge dice, and so many more types of dice. Renegade Game Studios, publishers of the aforementioned Overlight RPG as well as Kids on Bikes, Outbreak: Undead, and one that I had fun playing, The North Sea Epilogues. Sara Erickson, Director of Sales and Marketing at Renegade Game Studios, talks about the three titles they’re offering this year:
Free RPG Day is a great yearly reminder to celebrate cooperative storytelling, sharing time together around a table, and the imaginative experience that is role-playing. We greatly appreciate retail stores offering their space for fans to get together and enjoy the exclusive content we’ve created for our games including Kids on Bikes, Overlight, and our newest addition, Wardlings. We can’t wait to hear about their adventures on June 13th!”
Since Paul published Overlight through Renegade, I asked him if we should expect more Overlight in 2020? Paul replied:
“There is definitely a new Overlight Quick-Start as part of Free RPG Day this year. As for other new stuff, my co-creator George Holland and I are still, slowly, working on Feather & Leaf, the first large supplement for Overlight. We hope to publish it this year, as would Renegade! They’ve been fantastic partners, but George and I are slow, and it’s pretty much just the two of us driving new content for the setting. Alas, Overlight isn’t remotely a full-time job for either of us and we find time for it as best we can.”
Roll20 is a great online option to play your tabletop RPGs on. EN World has shared their statistical data over the years (here and here, as examples). Steve Jackson Games publishes GURPs, The Fantasy Trip, Munchkin, TOON, and so many more. I’ve spoken with their CEO, Phil Reed, about their quickstarters and The Fantasy Trip. I’m interested to see what SJG produces for 2020.

Wizkids make HeroClix, Dice Masters, D&D Icons of the Realms, and other miniature collectibles. I asked Paul if fans should expect one or more 3rd party products supporting Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition during the event? Paul shared this:
“It’s certainly possible. We’re still finalizing the exact offerings from some of the publishers. We definitely have some non-branded accessories in the 2020 kit that I imagine will be most appealing to players of traditional dungeon-crawl style RPG adventuring. We’re aiming for some time in May to really start revealing specific titles, maybe even sooner. We’ll likely roll them out one at a time to give each publisher a chance to shine.”
Beyond Free RPG Day, Paul shared one of the other gaming-related events that they’re planning:
Gaming Days is always looking at other events for the calendar. This year we’ve added BGX, the Board Game Expo, which is taking place in 100 North American stores in just a few weeks on April 4. As Gaming Days gets our logistics streamlined, we’re absolutely looking at more dates during the year, and themed events are part of the conversation, including RPG-focused ones.”
Gamers, retailers, and publishers can learn more about how to participate in Free RPG Day at their website. The contents of retailer kits will be announced in May. Free RPG Day 2020 happens on June 13, check with your friendly local game store for participation.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program. This program provides advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG.
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry


The only "local" store of that I know who participated in recent years required you to make an X $ purchase per "free" product. I understand the needs of retail business, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Hopefully these products will be available as downloads from these companies later.

I like the way Pelgrane has done some products in the past. a "Flip booklet" with an adventure for one game and the other side an adventure for another game.

It's a shame when a FLGS cannot participate or has to redeem the cost of participating in any method. That said, I understand the economics of keeping the doors open, so I do not hold it against them. For those that missed out in years past, here's a DriveThruRPG affiliate link to some of past Free RPG Day products. It's not every option, but it touches on an excellent selection of the good that FRPGD produces. :)

Jon Lamkin

Best game store ever, or best game store ever?
There are so many game stores I have been too. But the Source is by far one of my favorites and one of the best game stores I have been to. It is also one of the friendliest.

Do I call it the best game store ever.. sure. If it isn't the best game store ever.. it is one of the best I have been to and always will be :) How is that?

Dire Bare

It's a shame when a FLGS cannot participate or has to redeem the cost of participating in any method. That said, I understand the economics of keeping the doors open, so I do not hold it against them. For those that missed out in years past, here's a DriveThruRPG affiliate link to some of past Free RPG Day products. It's not every option, but it touches on an excellent selection of the good that FRPGD produces. :)

The stores in my area who do not participate blame the cost of the kit, but I suspect that it's really more about not utilizing "Free RPG Day" well as a marketing tool. If you just purchase the kit, and put out the free stuff on a table . . . . then no, Free RPG Day is probably not worth participating in for your store.

But if you leverage the free advertising and event status of the day . . . it can be one of your busiest retail days of the year! Run some sales, advertise in your local area. host gaming events!

Essentially, IMO, if your store isn't participating in Free RPG Day and/or is convinced it's not worth the cost of the kit . . . it is not a very well run store.


I crit!
I have several great stores around me. The Game Shoppe is my fav. Dragons Lair is cool. Hobby Town in Lincoln rocks. There are others that I haven’t spent enough time in or haven’t been to yet. Several actually. That sound great too.

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