New shelf space for RPG’s

Jim Raggi stopped by on Tuesday and left us some goodies, so I thought it only right and proper to redo the whole role-playing game section of my store. Granted, the pickings are still a bit slim, but its a good start. I think it looks quite good. What do you think?

In case you’re having trouble seeing what’s on the shelves, here’s a list of sorts:

* LotFP modules
* LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing
* D&D Miniatures
* Expeditious Retreat Press OSRIC modules
* Material from various OSR publishers
* Pathfinder RPG and Pathfinder Chronicles
* WHFRP, Dark Heresy, Dragon Age RPG, etc.

Ropecon 2010

Ropecon, the annual Finnish role-playing convention is once again over and done with. As convention reports are rather tedious affairs, I won’t bother with a very detailed account. Many old friends were met, a lot of fat was chewed, and hard-earned money was spent on role-playing products, most of which likely won’t see much practical use any time in the foreseeable future, as it seems I’m stuck in a perpetual role-playing limbo.

The high point for me was running an eight hours long demo session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing. Not really a demo as such, as it didn’t really differ noticeably from one of my normal game sessions. The original plan was to run of Tower of the Stargazer, the introductory module included in the LotFP box set, but as it had already been run at least twice on the previous day, I instead opted for Matt Finch’s Tomb of the Iron God. I had a rotation of a total of maybe eight players participating, two of which stayed for the whole duration. The module itself is a fairly decent and well-written entry level dungeon adventure, with enough content for at least three or four normal game sessions. As it were, the adventurers only managed to explore about half of the first of three dungeon levels before fatigue set in and time started to run out.

One of the high points of the adventure was the doom that befell the first party to venture forth into the dungeon. Went something like this: A grey ooze dropped on the party’s Fighter, devouring him within seconds. The other party members (two Magic-users, a Specialist, and an NPC guide) panicked and legged it. One of the Magic-users and the guide managed to run in the right direction, but the other Magic-user and the Specialist made the mistake of running deeper into the dungeon. Reaching the lower level, their torch sputtered and died, after which they were surrounded by ghouls who proceeded to tear the poor adventurers into tasty, meaty morsels. Rather than get disheartened by this, one of the players got up, strolled over to the vendors’ room, bought himself a copy of LotFP, returned to the table, made himself a new character, and continued exploring. All in all, the game, and the rules system was very well received, and great fun was had by all.

To cap things off, here’s a list of the RPG-stuff I purchased at Ropecon. First the new stuff:

* The Cursed Chateau, by James Maliszewski
* Ice Tower of the Salka, by James Carl Boney
* The Secret of Smuggler’s Cove, by Chris Doyle
* The Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom, by Matthew Finch
* The Spire of Iron and Crystal, by Matthew Finch
* Tomb of the Iron God, by Matthew Finch

These ones were bought second-hand for the ridiculously low price of 25 euros total:

* Wonders of Lankhmar
* Prince of Lankhmar
* Slayers of Lankhmar
* Avengers in Lankhmar
* Lankhmar City of Adventure
* Five Shall Be One
* Isle of the Ape
* Nightmare Keep
* Sons of Azca
* The Mines of Bloodstone
* The Bloodstone Wars
* The Throne of Bloodstone
* The Bloodstone Lands

Interesting times

It has been some time since I did a blog update. The main reason for my hiatus is actually gaming related, as I’ve started regular work as a store manager in a Finnish gaming retail chain with stores in Helsinki, Espoo, Porvoo, Kouvola, and soon to be opened new stores in Mikkeli and Kerava. It has been a steep learning curve, and the past few months have just flown by.

The store chain isn’t role-playing centered as such, as that area just isn’t big enough to support any kind of business in Finland. Instead, our main areas are miniatures wargaming (mainly Games Workshop and Battlefront), and console (and pc) games, with RPG’s, board games, science fiction -related merchandise, and genre movies and literature on the side. I’ve done my best to promote RPG’s in my store, in the high hopes that some day I’ll be able to have a wider range of products on the shelves, but at the moment the RPG shelf consists mainly of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing, Dark Heresy, some D&D, and a batch of second-hand RPG books. The most recent development in this area has been the addition of James Raggi’s Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG and modules, of which my store will be stocking a fair selection. We’ll see how it goes from there. I’m working on getting the work of other Finnish publishers on the shelf as well, as I think supporting the Finnish RPG scene is something worthwhile. I’ve been in talks with Burger Games and a few others, so we’ll see what happens.

How to sell RPG’s is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot. As a sales article an RPG game isn’t the fastest moving item by far, as most gamers seem to be content with whatever game system they bough way back when. One idea I’ve come up with is, that in order to make selling role-playing games feasible, there is a need to attract new customers, and the best way to do this is demoing and pro-active promotion. Trust me on this: There are a lot of gamers (be it console, miniature or card game) out there who have no clue what role-playing is about at all. There is a whole generation out there who’ve never sat down with a bunch of friends, rolled up a character, and went adventuring.

How do I reach this “lost generation”? One idea I have is a regular RPG night at the store, maybe bi-weekly to start with. For this all I’d need is a few brave men.. er.. veteran game masters with time on their hand, to run pick-up games for people who’ve been drafted into gaming via posters and fliers. I’d have the volunteer GM do an ad for his adventure, make a poster of it, put it up on the notice board, and wait for interested people to put down their John Hancocks. The store has ample space for gaming, as we have miniatures gaming tables aplenty, so that’s not really an issue.

Any thoughts on this subject, or some input on my RPG night idea? Any volunteers? 😉