LibraryBox Followup

LibraryBox logo.During A Fistful of Carnage, I set up a LibraryBox loaded with free-to-distribute RPG materials. It’s a wireless router loaded with customized firmware that acts a document repository accessible independently of your typical free wifi. Internet access got murky last year at Carnage, so I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone took advantage of another source of information, or found a collection of free RPG stuff interesting. LibraryBox counts the number of times any given file is accessed, so I have a rudimentary idea of what visitors found of interest.

The top hit was a Fiasco playset, Bookhounds, though I think that was because it turned out to be corrupt and people tried repeatedly to access it. After that was the public domain film His Girl Friday, which I think mostly came from neighbors at home when I was testing the set up. Third was the Book of Forbidden Lore, a fan work bringing monsters into Pathfinder, followed by the Open d6 system book, then Sapphire, by Vermont’s own Hunter Green.

Those are the high points, but the numbers indicate that there weren’t many total users. A large number of files were accessed once, which I presume is one user making a clean sweep of everything vaguely interesting. After that, out of 59 possible files, about a third were downloaded two or more times — and of that third, seven were accessed more than twice.

For a real sense of whether this was utilized, I’d have to set the LibraryBox up again next year. That’s no trouble at all, since the only thing that will have changed is adding more free material to the collection. The most labor-intensive part of the set up was putting up flyers around the convention space to alert convention-goers there was a LibraryBox available, and just what that is. I have a year to think about it.

LibraryBox of Role-Playing Delights

LibraryBox logo.This year at Carnage, I’m trying something new: a LibraryBox serving up free role-playing content wirelessly. The LibraryBox is a wireless router with custom software loaded that turns it into a self-contained data repository. In the context of a game convention, I’m collecting materials like quickstart packets, character sheets, system reference documents for open games, and whatever else has been released under a Creative Commons license allowing redistribution and similar frameworks; Held Action Theatre will be in there, of course. Anyone in the router’s signal radius will be able to access the LibraryBox with a wifi-capable device, download what interests them and leave a note in the chatbox, if they like.

The idea for this application came from Ross Peyton, over at Role Playing Public Radio. He set up a PirateBox at a convention recently to make his podcast more readily available to people than relying on shaky hotel wifi. The more gadgets gamers bring into a room, the less anyone can actually access. So why not lighten the load and provide the chance for people to discover something new?

Setting up the LibraryBox was a snap. It was about fifteen minutes between unpacking the router and being able to browse the LibraryBox for files. Now I’m filling up the storage with whatever free to distribute materials seem like they might be of interest: public domain fiction like Lovecraft, Dunsany and Hodgson; freely available role-playing games like Pathfinder, Eclipse Phase and Basic Fantasy Role-Playing; and whatever else I can fit in there.

If you have any suggestions for role-playing content to include that is freely distributable, please mention in the comments below.