I just had a little brainstorm of sorts. There was a post on the LibGaming forum
where a librarian asked about an introductory package to D&D
called "Dungeons & Dragons
in 10 Minutes" (or something similar).
I wasn't aware of any such thing (and if you are, please let me know so I can pass it along), but it started the old gears turning.
One of the things that can hold someone back from starting a roleplaying program at a library is the amount of time and material investment - buying the books and dice, and spending the time to learn the rules, create characters, and write a scenario. All of this comes with the risk that no one will show up to the first session, or continue to come afterwards.
There is actually a solution to this problem available to all of us - the quickstart RPGs that many publishers offer to promote their games. In most cases they're free, are available to download online, and include characters, a simplified version of the rules, and a short scenario to run for the players.
These seem like an almost perfect fit to the problem. Not only are the time and resource investments low, but they would be a great way to gauge interest in a roleplaying program - if a good crowd shows up and demands more, then the library can look into purchasing the full rulebooks and making a bigger investment.
My idea would be to compile a page of links to the best RPG quickplay packages that librarians and volunteers can browse to see if anything sparks their interest. "Best" is always subject to opinion, but the more common candidates would include as many of the features I mentioned as possible - free, downloadable, with simplified rules, premade characters, and a scenario.
So, what do you think? And what are your favorite quickstart RPGs? Post them in comments or drop me an email