By Christopher Helton
On a rainy afternoon in Florida, I braved the thunder and lightning to check out the Free RPG Day festivities at Serenity Games here in "sunny" St. Petersburg, FL. While Free RPG Day doesn't have the size or impact of Free Comic Day or Geek & Sundry's Tabletop Day, it is still an event with meaning to local retailers and tabletop RPG communities.
I have only visited Serenity Games a few times, despite it being so close to me, despite having a number of friends speak highly of the store and the organized play events that the store hosts. I know that this is something that I should change.
Serenity Games' owner Michael Suchan talked with me a little bit today while dice clicked and monsters were dispatched around us.
Suchan said that he was happy with the results of Free RPG Day on the local level because it helps to create a tight-knit community that is "able to come together in a social environment." Suchan said that it gets "a lot of support from the "local player base because they want to feel that they are represented in fandoms."
In fact one of the reasons that Suchan started Serenity Games was to create a place for "RPG gamers to hang out" in an area where he felt that they were underrepresented. It is this sense of community that drives Suchan's involvement with both Free RPG Day and Tabletop Day. "I have no reservations or regrets over supporting the event," Suchan said. "I think that our customers are happy with it."
I picked up a couple of the Free RPG Day goodies available. Even though I don't play it, the Dungeon Crawl Classics GM's Screen by Goodman Games was just too pretty to pass up, and since I play a few "old school" games it should be usable for those, and the Castles & Crusades adventure from Troll Lord Games will probably come in handy at some point.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics. He also has a crowdfunding page to help offset costs of this summer's Gen Con coverage.