Now in its fourteenth year, Free RPG Day in 2021, after a little delay due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, took place on Saturday, 16th October. As per usual, it came with an array of new and interesting little releases, which traditionally would have been tasters for forthcoming games to be released at GenCon the following August, but others are support for existing RPGs or pieces of gaming ephemera or a quick-start. Of course, in 2021, Free RPG Day took place after GenCon despite it also taking place later than its traditional start of August dates, but Reviews from R’lyeh was able to gain access to the titles released on the day due to a friendly local gaming shop and both Keith Mageau and David Salisbury of Fan Boy 3 in together sourcing and providing copies of the Free RPG Day 2020 titles. Reviews from R’lyeh would like to thank all three for their help.
LEVEL 1 – volume 2 2021 is a slim, digest-sized book. Although it needs an edit in places, the book is well presented, and reasonably illustrated. In general, it is an easy read, and everything is easy to grasp. It should be noted that the issue carries advertising, so it does have the feel of a magazine.
As with LEVEL 1 – volume 1 2020 before it, LEVEL 1 – volume 2 2021 is the richest and deepest of the releases for Free RPG Day 2021. Not every one of the fifteen games in the anthology explores its theme of masks, but for the most part, the fifteen are interesting, even challenging, and will provide good sessions of roleplaying. The standouts are ‘Ball of the Wild’ and ‘Tiny Tusks’ as these nicely explore to issue’s theme to its best. Once again, despite the variable quality of its content, of all the releases for Free RPG Day 2021, LEVEL 1 - volume 2 2021 is the title that playing groups will come back to again and again to try something new each time.