I was somewhat disappointed that the Comic Book Shoppe here in Ottawa wasn't going to participate in Free RPG Day stuff, but I could understand their reasons for not doing so, but but somewhat shocked to find that only one store in Ottawa, Fandom II, was participating in this year's celebration of the day when the goal is to inspire gamers to pick up a new roleplaying game and to get non-gamers interested in the hobby by giving away a short adventure for various game systems with quick-start rules.
Since I was in no position to go down to Fandom II in the morning hours, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go there until some time in the middle of the afternoon, and after spross got off work, we went down around 3:15 pm.
I was surprised to see the place so relatively empty, to be honest, but then again, it's never really crowded in there when I go in on a Saturday afternoon. It turned out that the guys at Fandom II didn't set up a small table where one could pick up the Free RPG Day products at will, but kept them behind the counter, where they doled them out to any folks that wanted some stuff. However, you didn't get whichever Free RPG Day one that you wanted... The guys had each person roll two six-sided (2d6) dice, and had a chart listing what each dice roll gave you. The store owner claimed they were doing it this way because they had limited amounts of the various products for the day, but whether this was true or not I have no idea. spross was not happy with the two items that he could get based on his rolls, and initially took no free rpg products. For some reason, the guys didn't make me roll, but gave me the copies of the Free RPG Day stuff for Castles & Crusades and Hollow Earth Expedition. It turned out I got the last copy of the HEX free adventure, much to spross's annoyance.
What bothered me more, however, is the fact that the store has a couple of large rooms on their lower level that are used for gaming and the like. But the owner of the store doesn't allow any roleplaying games to be played in the store (after a bad experience or three with rpgs back when), so on Free RPG Day, there were games going on down below - miniature games and board games! I talked to the guys at the store a little bit about this, suggesting that perhaps Free RPG Day was the perfect day to allow some roleplaying game play in the store, perhaps even of the adventures being hyped by the companies on this day, but got jeers, scoffs, and an almost "Ain't gonna happen!" attitude from the store owner.
After looking around for a bit, spross and I took off from the store, and I've grown somewhat more disillusioned about the place.