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Free RPG Day 2021 – What’s On Offer?

Free RPG Day 2021 happens on Saturday, October 16. During this event, friendly local game stores give away tabletop roleplaying supplements to encourage more RPGing. Pushed back from its normal June date due to the pandemic; nevertheless, this year offers an excellent assortment of tabletop RPG options for new and existing fans. Each year (2019 product review, 2020 publishers, 2020 interview), I highlight this event because it is the single biggest spotlight that tabletop roleplaying games get each year. I want to thank Free RPG Day and all of the publishers and retailers that make this happen every year. If you’re interested in picking up these games, check the Free RPG Day site here to find participating retailers.

Free RPG Day Logo Green.png

Modiphius Entertainment​

Modiphius Entertainment provides three quickstarts available at many friendly local game stores:
  • Wormsign: The Dune Quickstart is coming just in time for the new theatrical version of Dune. This product gives you the basic rules for their RPG including writing from EN World’s own “Game Design Masterclass” columnist, Andrew Peregrine. If you’re a fan of Dune, this is the Free RPG Day product to pick up.
  • Star Trek Adventures: The Roleplaying Game Quickstart Guide gives you an introduction to the core rules, a mission, and six pre-generated character. If you want to bring Star Trek to your table, this is a great way to sample Modiphius’ version.
  • Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 Quickstart is a 48-page set of rules, characters, and setting for the RPG involving Cthulhu and Modiphius’ 2d20 system.

Goodman Games​

Goodman Games offers two adventures:
  • Tomb of the Savage Kings for Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC RPG), a level 2 adventure designed by Stephen Newton.
  • Fifth Edition Fantasy: The Sunken Tower of Set for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. This level 7 adventure by Chris Doyle ties into the Dark Tower module, an adventure for 5e and DCC.
  • For more information, Goodman Games has a preview on their website.
  • Check out past Goodman Games Free RPG Day PDFs at their site.

Paizo Inc.​

Paizo is giving away two new adventures for their systems:
  • The Starfinder Four vs. The Hardlight Harlequin for Starfinder offers a SF version of the many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that pitted the crew against a lethal holodeck. In this adventure, you save the characters from a simulation gone wrong.
  • Threshold of Knowledge for Pathfinder Second Edition offers an adventure in Paizo’s Magaambya setting. It’s always nice to get new Magaambya material to play with.

Cubicle 7​

Cubicle 7 has two adventures:
  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound: Reap and Sow gives an introductory adventure for players interested in visiting the Mortal Realms in Soulbound. Great for Age of Sigmar fans.
  • Victoriana: Going Underground gives the world a look at the new version of the steampunk Victoriana RPG coming to 5e. This adventure is set on the first electrified tube train in an alternate 1887. I think Victoriana will be a hit once it’s brought over to 5e.

HIT POINT PRESS​

HIT POINT PRESS has a flip book offering two Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition adventures:
  • The Heart of Dako is for their Humblewood setting.
  • Big Bad Book: Zara Harlowe
  • This flip book is one of the better kept secrets of Free RPG Day 2021 and I’m looking forward to what it offers.

Free RPG Day Books Courtesy of Tyche's Games.jpg

Other RPG Books​

  • Green Ronin Publishing shares the Blue Rose Quickstart. Using their AGE system, this quickstart includes a romantic fantasy adventure to get into the setting and rules. National Coming Out Day was October 11th and Free RPG Day is October 16th making the timing for a free Blue Rose booklet very close to perfect.
  • Magpie Games is offering a free quickstart, Root: Bertram’s Cove. This booklet includes a new quickstart ruleset, pre-generated characters, and a clearing to play in. If you’re a fan of the Root: The Roleplaying Game and its Powered by the Apocalypse engine, this one is worth hunting down.
  • 9th Level Games, as is their tradition, has another indy RPG anthology. This one, level 1: We All Wear Masks, offers games about anyone that wears a mask from superheroes to performers to robots. If you’re looking for an indy RPG, this anthology has content from a variety of creators. For more information about level 1 and how you can participate in creating a game for it, visit 9th Level Games’ website here.
  • Infinite Black offers Vast Grimm: Into the Würmhole. Like many of the offerings this year, this is a quickstart ruleset and adventure so you can sample this world and play in it. I had a chance to play this game before it crowdfunded and it’s sci-fi meets MÖRK BORG, which is a great combination. If you’d like to learn more, I interviewed Brian Colin, the creator of Vast Grimm, about his crowdfunding campaign on GameFound in July (here).
  • Privateer Press offers Iron Kingdoms: An Echo in the Darkness. Using the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition engine, this expands on their Iron Kingdoms: Requiem setting. They are running a IRON KINGDOMS: BORDERLANDS AND BEYOND Kickstarter during Free RPG Day. This booklet is a great opportunity to sample the world via their free product before checking out their Kickstarter.
  • Fabula Ultima TTJRPG from Need Games! This one interests me because it’s an Italian publisher and they’re bringing their tabletop version of a JRPG to Free RPG Day. It’s JRPG with magic, mysteries, and monsters, and you can try a sample of it here.
  • Edge Studio is offering Twilight Imperium: Ashes of Power. This product gives you a taste of the board game as an RPG. This adventure uses the Genesys system.
  • Talisman Adventures: Tales of the Realm: Curse of the Rat Queen from Pegasus Spiele. If you’re a fan of the Talisman board game, Pegasus Spiele has an RPG version. This product offers an adventure to try out the setting.
  • Zombicide: Chronicles from CMON. As with a few others on this list, this product provides a free introduction to the RPG version of the Zombicide board game. If you’re a fan of the board game, this is worth seeking out to see what’s similar and different in the RPG.
  • Epic Encounters: The Hills Have Legs from SFG. This dungeon crawl lets you fight goblins using the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition system.

Dice and Accessories​

In addition to the RPG booklets, here are some of the related items that come in the case. Keep in mind, these are limited in quantity and likely to go fast.
  • Steampunk Clockwork from Q Workshop gives you some more dice.
  • Free RPG Day Dice from Sirius Dice gives you a dice tray. With this one, there’s one per case so I wouldn’t expect this to make it past the first customer.
  • How To Build a Boss Fight Final Chamber from manic and Dave Taylor Miniatures gives you a booklet on how to paint miniatures as well as a treasure pile to paint.
  • DnD Frameworks Grim Cottage from Wizkids gives a miniature and a paper cottage ideal for your Dungeons & Dragons adventures.

UPDATE 2021-10-16
  • For Free RPG Day, author Michael Terlisner (GMMichael in the EN World forums) provided a free PDF of the second edition of his game, Modos 2, deluxe edition. He calls it, "A rules-light, universal game that uses PC-friendly action resolution and action-based, versus turn-based, combat. Open-source rules make it easy to add your favorite rules, even from other games, for a custom gaming experience."

Image of the Free RPG Day book covers provided by Tyche’s Games in Athens, Georgia. Used with permission. Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry



I haven't been to FreeRPG day in a while, do they offer free PDF versions of these things for people who can't get to a retailer, or in areas where retailers don't participate?
Good question. Most do. They tend to roll them out over the next 60 days. A few already have them out as PDFs on their sites. As well, some online retailers make these available with purchases.
 


univoxs

That's my dog, Walter
Supporter
I am running Vast Grimm for my shop. Its Mork Borg sci fi. I had my pick of the litter on which to run but I chose it because it was the thinnest book in the lot. I already have too much on my plate. I am disappointed no one will be running Root at my shop as I wanted in that.

What happened to Wrath and Glory though? That was supposed to be part of Free RPG day. Don't see it pictured here and my shop didn't get it either.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I've never gone to a FLGS on Free RPG Day... can you literally just take a copy of every one of the free offerings? That seems insane!

I will by the way be purchasing something for real while there, I'm not just taking free stuff and then leaving :).
 



GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I haven't been to FreeRPG day in a while, do they offer free PDF versions of these things for people who can't get to a retailer, or in areas where retailers don't participate?
I don't know about the other creators, but I'll add a bullet to @Egg Embry 's list for a free pdf:

Other RPG Books on PDF​

  • Author Michael Terlisner shares Modos 2, deluxe edition. A rules-light, universal game that uses PC-friendly action resolution and action-based, versus turn-based, combat. Open-source rules make it easy to add your favorite rules, even from other games, for a custom gaming experience.
 



I think most shops let you have 1 book.
Every shop I've been to, it's 3 items from the specific Free RPG Day items. They're purchased as loss-leaders.
THe store is payling little more than shipping and handling, and the publishers are providing the product for free.
Normal books are not free.
Going back a few years (2013?), The Eiger Agenda adventure for Cosmic Patrol includes only a handful of PC templates, and only its own threat beings, plus enough of the core to learn the game and run the adventure. A more recent offering, Atlas Games' Hong Kong Task Force 88 is a QS for Feng Shui 2, an excellent adventure, and enough template PC's to create a good choice. If I make it early enough to grab the STA and Dune ones, I'll see if anyone wants me to run them.
 

darjr

I crit!
This free rpg day may be different because the company has changed hands but before it wasn’t free, the rpg companies provided free things or extremely low cost things, but it cost the stores. Way more than just shipping.
 


I am running Vast Grimm for my shop. Its Mork Borg sci fi. I had my pick of the litter on which to run but I chose it because it was the thinnest book in the lot. I already have too much on my plate. I am disappointed no one will be running Root at my shop as I wanted in that.

What happened to Wrath and Glory though? That was supposed to be part of Free RPG day. Don't see it pictured here and my shop didn't get it either.
univoxs,
It is a shame about not getting to join in on a game of Root. That would be fun! :)
I enjoyed playing Vast Grimm. I'm sure your table will enjoy it! If everything works out, I'll meet up with Brian Colin, creator of Vast Grimm, at a FLGS this Free RPG Day. Fingers crossed! ;)
 

I don't know about the other creators, but I'll add a bullet to @Egg Embry 's list for a free pdf:

Other RPG Books on PDF​

  • Author Michael Terlisner shares Modos 2, deluxe edition. A rules-light, universal game that uses PC-friendly action resolution and action-based, versus turn-based, combat. Open-source rules make it easy to add your favorite rules, even from other games, for a custom gaming experience.
GMMichael,
Modo 2 is your project, correct? Providing that for free is very generous!
 



TimHuckelbery

Villager
I am running Vast Grimm for my shop. Its Mork Borg sci fi. I had my pick of the litter on which to run but I chose it because it was the thinnest book in the lot. I already have too much on my plate. I am disappointed no one will be running Root at my shop as I wanted in that.

What happened to Wrath and Glory though? That was supposed to be part of Free RPG day. Don't see it pictured here and my shop didn't get it either.
That was done last year. You can download it here now: Wrath & Glory: Rain of Mercy PDF – Cubicle 7
 

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