RPG Support for Beginners
On the weekend, I heard about a 15yo who met someone at Ettin Con and is now part of their weekly Dungeons & Dragons group in Katoomba. This lead to a conversation with their science teacher and now they’re playtesting the teacher’s own system at lunchtimes — these stories make me very happy, & coincide with a bit of a focus for the convention next year.
Over the years, we’ve been using small amounts of event proceeds (and now Patreon proceeds) to purchase library games and resources, either through Kickstarter, distributors, or local shops. Board games are one side of this (and the majority of our table space), but our convention was originally driven by a love of role-playing games, and we are always looking at how we can support that side of the tabletop gaming hobby. Today’s post is mostly about providing physical resources, but also touches on how we’d like to help people learn, teach and organise RPG sessions both within & without our events.
Local designer Justin Halliday donated a copy of his Hero Kids RPG to us early on, both in softcover & a bundle of PDFs to round it out with adventures. You can borrow the core softcovers from our library at each event, and if you’re planning a session ahead of time, we can provide PDF access to adventures, plus a small amount of printing in conjunction with that commitment. It’s a simple system designed specifically to introduce young kids (ages 4–10) to the basics of rolling dice and being heroes in a fantasy setting. Over the course of 2019, we hope to have a few more kid-centric games available, already downloaded (both free and purchased), awaiting either printing or delivery in coming months. Amazing Tales (we picked it up on sale for $2.99) is another streamlined storytelling system headed to the library.
Two copies of No Thank You, Evil! (plus supplementary materials) are on their way to us, one for the library & one for a future raffle prize. It’s a system for players aged 5 and up, and tailors to three levels of complexity so that older kids and parents can still be interested when playing alongside younger kids learning the ropes. It also gives the younger ones something to aspire toward!
Any moment now, our library copy of Thornwatch should be arriving. This is a card-driven RPG which bridges the gap between traditional RPGs and modern board games — so it’s as good a place to dip your toe as any — mixing a comic-art-panel play area with icon dice and character cards, you won’t need a pencil or eraser to track your abilities, combat order or injuries.
Local Luminaries Hayley and Vee from Storybrewers Roleplaying completed their amazing second kickstarter, this time for Good Society, a more developed version of the first game they ever ran at Ettin Con. It’s a Jane Austen RPG with two cool expansions, and we backed a hardcover copy for the library, partly out of the reward budget we use to compensate GMs like them for their time donated to running games — we figured the best way to reward them was to help them print this lovely game, and get it into your hands.
In addition to the games mentioned above, as many free games as we can print for the self-service table, boxes of pencils, erasers & scrap paper, we have something special for anyone running fantasy RPGs for kids (or at least characters who are kids) — a full set of Wardlings miniatures you can borrow for a session (or more). There are six classes available, two variants of each (loosely gender-based but easy to gloss over) and each variant has a miniature to represent a pet or spirit companion. I used the first six of these to run a session last Winter, and am planning more for next Winter, but we’d love to see these used, either for D&D, Hero Kids, or anything else! I was using a second iteration of a custom ruleset for all ages, and the third iteration looks promising to release for others to use next year.
We’re not intending to increase the number of RPG tables or spaces at this point (noise is our biggest obstacle there) but growing the hobby as a whole (across ages, genders, and every other existential spectrum) is my personal project since before Ettin Con began. The goal of running some conventions across two days in the future should be sufficient, I hope!
In terms of getting people together, we’re still holding out hope that between social media communities, alongside Discord and GameFor, we can be a hub through which more gamers meet each other and have more fun (and friends) in their lives. If you’re interested in learning a system, or teaching it, it’s only a matter of asking in any of these spaces, or if you’re shy, send us an email and we’ll be happy to act as your proxy.
If you have any ideas about supporting RPGs at Ettin Con, please send us an email via info@EttinCon.org, we’d love to hear from you!
Con Org for Ettin Con