RPG Holidays Part Three – Additional RPG Holidays?

In the first two parts of this three-part series, I listed the observed tabletop roleplaying game related holidays. Not convention-related events, these are events and dates like Free RPG Day, Gary Gygax Day, and RPG Zine Month celebrated throughout the year. Each holiday allows gamers to come together, whether at a friendly local game store (FLGS), at a friend’s house, or online, to celebrate and play our favorite RPGs. Whether it’s the chance to proclaim the artform, play some games, or literally roll dice for National Dice Day, it’s nice to honor our games and reflect on how much fun they are.

While I’ve covered the ongoing RPG holidays, what about the one-offs that occurred one time and have yet to be repeated? More than that, what isn’t on the calendar at all? In the final installment of this three-part series, I’ll look at what options happened one time as well as new RPG holidays we might see in the future.

Zine Month 2023.png

ONE-OFFS & YET TO LAUNCH HOLIDAYS

In the first part I listed all of the currently observed RPG holidays, but what about the past events and one-offs? What follows is a sampling of events that were celebrated once or inconsistently or are so new that they haven’t quite reached the level of a fan observed holiday.
  • Observed once – APRIL: Shadowrun Goblinization Day occured on April 30th, 2021. It was commemorated that year to coincide with Shadowrun’s mythology and the date that the non-human species began appearing in the Sixth World setting. Unfortunately, it’s not an ongoing holiday, likely due to the event occurring during the height of the COVID pandemic. Regardless of why, we were robbed of an excuse to sling fistfuls of d6s every April 30th.
  • Observed sporadically: Worldwide D&D Day is a series of random dates originating during the Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition era that showcased the game. Needless to say, they didn’t stand the test of time as Wizards of the Coast no longer employs this strategy.
  • Observed on many a Thursday: GURPS-Day happens on Thursdays (“Thurpsday”) and received a wider push on January 21, 2016. It was a promotional initiative from Gaming Ballistic that Steven Jackson Games shared with its audience of GURPS gamers.
  • Honorable Mention – JULY: Free League Publishing, Ockult Örtmästare Games, and STOCKHOLM KARTELL’sMÖRK BORG doesn’t have a “day” yet, but unofficially it’s on July 7th (7/7) each year. The choice of 7/7 is a reference to the end of the game when the campaign falls into doom. Time will tell if this date catches on as a recurring holiday or not, but there is hope. I wrote this article around July 7 and there was a post in the TALK MÖRK BORG Facebook Group celebrating the day, which I take as a good sign for the date’s future.
Gary Gygax Day - Unofficial Banner.png

UNREALIZED RPG HOLIDAYS?

Despite the number of tabletop RPG-related days and months on the calendar, should there be more? There are quite a few holidays already and even some that promote a similar purpose (Gary Gygax Day, Dave Arneson Game Day, and Blackmoor Campaign Day all touch on our shared love of the game that they created). But if there were additional RPG holidays, what would they celebrate? What are we missing? What follows are proposed, hypothetical, unofficial dates, and vague ideas for RPG holidays that need to be workshopped before they’re ready to appear on anyone’s calendar.

As a hobby, there are several notable gaps in gaming holidays. If you look at RPGs as a popularity contest, then it’s clear some of the most beloved RPGs and RPG categories don’t have annual spots to mark their greatness. As well, some indie darlings might benefit from the spotlight of a single day in order to boost their status.

Let’s start with the glaring omission: D&D. 2024 is the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. While I expect a celebration of the game with the roll out of the newest version/edition of D&D, I’m curious if Wizards of the Coast will tie the publications to a specific date and promote a wider celebration? Prior to the 50th, there have been sporadic Dungeons & Dragons Days (Worldwide D&D Day during the 4th edition era or January 26th marking the likely publication/to-market date for the first print of D&D). However, Wizards of the Coast does not promote an annual event. From a marketing standpoint, having a dedicated holiday can be a real retail rallying cry. I’m not saying that a hypothetical date like Dungeons & Dragons in December (D&DnD) would be at the same level of importance that Disney and Hasbro sees from sales for May The Fourth Be With You, but it would give Wizards of the Coast, retailers, and gamers a date to build towards year after year.

Switching from D&D, a Pathfinder/Starfinder Day would give additional spotlight to those RPGs. As major players in the RPG industry with organized play networks in the Pathfinder Society and the Starfinder Society, Paizo could push this holiday in a way few other publishers have the resources to direct. Between their organized play and their established retailer relations, Paizo, their publishing partners like Dynamite Entertainment and Mirrorscape, as well as the third party Pathfinder and Starfinder publishers, and their fans might benefit from a well-supported holiday. In addition, they might tie the event to PaizoCon in May/June. The overall push might boost the RPG’s profile. Paizo is uniquely positioned to craft a holiday with original games to get more players to the gaming table and a network to run those adventures. That said, they’re very active during Free RPG Day and that event may be a better fit for their marketing.

Savage Worlds Day. Along the same thought process as a PF/SF Day, a hypothetical Savage Worlds Day could be supported by Pinnacle Entertainment Group and the third part publishers that build original books using their system. It could reach a variety of fans if there was solid coordination among the publishers that back the Savage Worlds engine.

A dedicated OSR Day beyond Blackmoor Campaign Day might find an audience among the massive old-school fanbase. OSR publishers looking for a way to promote their games could push the date as a major event. Exalted Funeral and other indie distributors might be an option to coordinate and provide adventures to fans of the many different OSR RPGs.

Flipping to non-OGL indie RPGs, a Powered by the Apocalypse/Forged in the Dark Day combo might find a solid fanbase. This proposed date could be titled 2Day6 in reference to the PbtA core mechanic, and would happen on February 6 (2Day6, or the second month sixth day) during Zine Month. The hypothetical holiday would celebrate indie RPGs and, along with Zine Month, cement February as Indie RPG Month. February as an indie RPG haven would be inline with the views of articles by Polygon, Gizmodo, and Dicebreakers, so I feel the placement has momentum even if the title could use refinement. With support from Indie Press Revolution, Indie Game Developer Network, and other indie distribution networks and publishers, this could grow into a solid, if niche, holiday.

Let me take a moment to offer a counterpoint to February as Indie RPG Month. On the Dungeon Craft Youtube channel, Professor DM proposed July as “Independent TTRPG Month.” Throughout July, he suggested that other Youtubers cover RPGs that are not Dungeons & Dragons. A holiday for indie RPGs is a good suggestion. However, July has a built-in conflict: Gary Gygax Day. Gary’s day is the most D&D holiday on the calendar, and it’s observed on July 27. Indie going head-to-head with D&D each year might undercut the spirit of the event. But, time will tell if his suggestion spawns a new annual event.

Going deeper on the indie side of RPGs, let’s consider an even more obscure option. Since there’s a date for dice, another indie RPG option would be Diceless RPG Day. Diceless RPGs are a limited category within tabletop gaming. Most “diceless” RPGs are literally diceless but they keep the randomization factor via cards or another mechanic. Spiritually, “diceless” RPGs are randomization-removed games like Amber, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, Nobilis, Dream Askew, Dream Apart, and Exodus, to name a few. Despite the options, few gamers, even dedicated fans of the craft, have ever played a randomization-removed diceless RPG. For this holiday’s date, let’s go the opposite of National Dice Day on December 4. Diceless RPG Day should be April 12 (12/4 to 4/12). Regardless of when, this holiday would bring attention to an innovative but under represented part of the market.

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MARKING THE DATE

With the current variety of calendar events, there isn’t enough time to give each speculative date its due. Adding more dates to the calendar as seen in the first and second articles in this series, especially in June or July, would further constrain many fan’s ability to celebrate each day. Still, it’d be nice to have the option, to be able to choose from a wide array of gaming opportunities. With all of the known dates and a few more proposed, what tabletop roleplaying holidays would you add to the calendar? If you have an event or date, in the spirit of May The Fourth Be With You, what clever name and/or date would you give it? Let me know in the comments.

Here’s a recap of the TTRPG-related holidays:
  • New Gamemaster Month – January (full month)
  • RPG Zine Month – February (full month)
  • GM’s Day – March 4
  • Blackmoor Campaign Day – April 17
  • Traveller RPG Day – May 1
  • International Tabletop Day – 1st Saturday of June
  • Free RPG Day – 2nd or 3rd Saturday in June
  • DCC Day – 2nd or 3rd Saturday in July
  • Gary Gygax Day – July 27
  • H. P. Lovecraft Day – August 20
  • Month of Darkness – October (full month)
  • Dave Arneson Game Day – October 1
  • Warhammer Day – 1st Saturday of October
  • Cyberpunk Day – November 12 (with another version on October 10)
  • National Dice Day – December 4
TTRPG holiday-related DriveThruRPG sales:
  • New Year, New Game (full month of January)
  • Teach Your Kids Holiday Sale (most of December)
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

bulletmeat

Adventurer
I think we need a November 9th National RPG day.
1) before holiday this gets parents and friends discounts to spend before black friday & cyber monday.
2) when it's cold outside and schools are calming down for the holidays you want something to occupy their minds if they can't go out as much.
3) once thanksgiving is around you can say i'm thankful for (insert book name here) which will get the table of family/friends/voices in my head talking about rpgs.
 

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This isn’t totally clear in the article, but IIRC all of the Worldwide D&D Game Days during 4E coincided with product launches. I remember attending them for Player’s Handbook and Player’s Handbook 2, and I think for one of the Monster Manuals as well. So the dates weren’t completely random, they were marketing events driven by the release schedule for 4E.
Good call out about their product tie-ins. :)
 

I think we need a November 9th National RPG day.
1) before holiday this gets parents and friends discounts to spend before black friday & cyber monday.
2) when it's cold outside and schools are calming down for the holidays you want something to occupy their minds if they can't go out as much.
3) once thanksgiving is around you can say i'm thankful for (insert book name here) which will get the table of family/friends/voices in my head talking about rpgs.
National RPG Day on November 9th sounds like a fun time for gamers! ;-)
 



Peter BOSCO'S

Adventurer
The problem with picking a specific day is that it will not always fall on the same day of the week, and that is bad for player availability and for promoting it in stores. It might be better to go with something like "A Saturday in June (and the pandemic isn't dire)" date range that Free RPG Day uses.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Do we know when the original brown books were actually released? You'd have the anniversary of the game rather than any given creator whose actions will no doubt be further criticized as time goes on.
 

Do we know when the original brown books were actually released? You'd have the anniversary of the game rather than any given creator whose actions will no doubt be further criticized as time goes on.
January 26, 1974 is the date that some sources cite.
 


aramis erak

Legend
I think we really need to REDUCE the number of days - I'd like RPG Day, Free RPG Day, and GM Day.
RPG day should be the release date of D&D.

All the penny-ante ones just create social clutter, not social engagement.
 

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