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Created by WJWalton4715 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Thu 30 of Oct., 2014 19:51 PDT
(371 Posts | 1319360 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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Dragons in the Stacks - A librarian's guide to RPGs

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 30 of Oct., 2014 19:51 PDT
Here's an interesting project that has recently come to my attention, and is relevant to the interests of many Escapist readers, I'm sure:

Tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) are a perfect fit for library teen services. They not only hold great appeal for teen patrons, but also help build important skills ranging from math and literacy to leadership and dramatics. Role-playing games are cost-effective too. Dragons in the Stacks explains why RPGs are so effective at holding teenagers' attention, identifies their specific benefits, outlines how to select and maintain a RPG collection, and demonstrates how they can enhance teen services and be used in teen programs. Detailed reviews of role-playing games are included as well, with pointers on their strengths, weaknesses, and library applications. Coauthored by an experienced young adult librarian and an adult services librarian, this is the definitive guide to RPGs in the library, and the only one currently available.

We've known for some time that RPGs can be a great library activity, but it's great to see a publication that may help to promote that idea even further. Find out more, and buy a copy, at Amazon.

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Crowdfunding Watch: FitXP and Dragonwars of Trayth

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 23 of Aug., 2014 19:50 PDT
A couple of nifty RPG related crowdfunding projects popped up in my inbox recently, one of which will be wrapping up very soon:

- FitXP: The Journey is a fully customizable fitness tracker that plays like a role playing game. The story follows a lead character as he progresses through a fantasy world wrought with encounters, enemies, and challenges. As you complete reps and sets of your favorite exercises, you gain XP (better known as experience points), thereby leveling up our hero. As you get through more and more workouts, your character gets stronger and farther into the main story. As the main story progresses, you'll encounter "side quests", challenging you to incorporate extra activities into your workout. FitXP isn't only a fitness book, it's a fully immersive experience. It's designed to allow you to workout any way you want without waste.

FitXP will be published in book form, rather than as an app, which seems to put it closer to a tabletop RPG than a videogame. This one ends on August 27th (in 4 days as of this writing), so if you want to pledge, you really need to act fast!

- Dragonwars of Trayth is a series of adventure modules for Pathfinder and OSRIC, and the Kickstarter has an intriguing stretch goal - if it reaches $40,000 by October 13th, any surplus will go to the funding of a Gygaxian museum in the Lake Geneva area. Visit their Kickstarter page for more details.

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Dark Dungeons' new edition

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Mon 18 of Aug., 2014 21:18 PDT
Those folks at Chick Publications sure are sneaky ones. They put out an updated edition of their Dark Dungeons anti-RPG tract back in August of 2013 without hardly anyone noticing. The changes include some revised text and - I kid you not - two wardrobe changes. The results are a little bit baffling, which is par for the course with anything coming from Chick, when you think about it.

Find out more on the Escapist's Dark Dungeons page.

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The Escapist 20th Anniversary Video Project

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 16 of Aug., 2014 20:00 PDT
As you may be aware, this site will turn the venerable age of 20 in December of 2015. I've been prepping some changes to the site that I'm hoping to have ready by then, and today I had the idea to put together a video about the history and origins of the site. As I mulled it over, I thought it might be cool to get other gamers involved, too.

So, if you'd like to be a part of the Escapist 20th Anniversary Video Project, all you have to do is record a short clip of yourself wishing The Escapist a happy 20th anniversary. Be sure to state your name(s) and where you're from (I'll also add captions for each clip). You can get your whole gaming group involved (in fact, I'd love to see shots of folks in mid-game!), and feel free to mention your club/company/blog/podcast/product (as long as they're all RPG-related of course). Try to keep all clips under 20 seconds or so, unless you have an incredibly cool idea that requires more time (in which case, email me your pitch before you start on it!).

There's no big rush at this point, as the official anniversary is more than a year away, but I figured I'd put the idea out there and give people plenty of time to come up with something creative.

You can send your video clips to me or share them through Dropbox at

EDIT: Oh yeah, almost forgot. You have to give me permission to use the video on the site and in any related projects and stuff like that.

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Random Encounter Table - 08/15/14

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Fri 15 of Aug., 2014 16:15 PDT
Once again, I’ve had a backup of RPG advocacy articles piling up on my desktop while I go about my merry way dealing with other things, and once again I have compiled them into a handy little Random Article Table. So get those percentile dice warmed up and let’s see what’s behind that dungeon door...

- Gaming the System: Robert M. Geraci, Professor of Religious Studies, discusses the formative benefits of playing D&D in this column for the Oxford University Press.

- Iconic Role-Playing Game Hits Middle Age: A well-meaning article from the Wilmington, NC StarNews Online that gets a few things wrong (Gygax was in an episode of Futurama, not The Simpsons), and is a little heavy on the hyperbole (“The scent of acne medication is strong.”).

- Dungeons & Dragons Saved My Life - a great recap of the hobby and personal testimony of its positive effects by Jon Michaud.

- How Dungeons & Dragons fired up a generation of creative minds - A brief piece on the 40th anniversary of D&D, featuring a classic 80s-era anti-RPG clip from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

- Role-playing games - all human life is there... or so it sometimes seems - An article on the problem-solving skills that can be developed when creating and portraying a D&D character.

- If only Dungeons & Dragons was still a concern - Reporter Chris McGathey yearns for the good old days, when D&D was one of our worst worries.

- There have been a few articles on how playing D&D can hone writing skills on Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Techdirt, and the New York Times, not to mention MTV Geek News article on George R.R. Martin’s gamer roots.

- A visit to the basement where Dungeons & Dragons was born - Playing at the World author Jon Peterson narrates a short film of a 40th anniversary game of D&D in the basement of the former Gygax home.

- DnDnG: A Short Documentary is a 7 minute film about adding girls to a gaming group of all boys and watching what happens. The results, at least to me, are unsurprising - but then, I’ve always had females in almost every gaming group I’ve ever played in, and I taught my own daughters to play before my youngest could even read. I’d like to see this mini-documentary encourage more grownups to bring their kids into the hobby regardless of their sex.

- ...and some good advice for gamers - Topless Robot’s 8 things that ruin D&D games, Catthulhu’s rant on why people don’t play RPGs, and Look, Robot’s excellent list of 11 ways to be a better roleplayer.

And that does it for this rather extensive Random Encounter Table. I’m off to watch the live stream of the ENnie Awards in which, in case I haven’t made it painfully clear in the last few weeks, The Escapist has a Best Website nomination. Wish me luck!

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Of Dice and Men - the movie

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 07 of Aug., 2014 20:45 PDT


Back in September of 2011, I interviewed Cameron McNary, the author of Of Dice and Men,a play about a group of thirtyish gamers who find themselves coming to grips with some real world situations when one of them enlists to serve in Iraq. (You can read the interview here in case you missed it.)

The characters and emotional situations in the play struck a chord with a lot of people, gamer and non-gamer alike (including the mother of Tycho from Penny Arcade). I've had a chance to read through the script myself, and enjoyed it so much that I've considered presenting it to the local community theatre where I volunteer.

Now it has made the next logical step - the big screen. Of Dice and Men - the movie - will be screened at Gen Con on August 15th & 17th, and at Dragon*Con (dates and times to be announced).

You can find out more about the Gen Con screening - and watch the trailer - at ofdicemen.com/gencon. If you have the chance to see it, don't miss it. It looks to be very promising.

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French talk show seeks gamers who have turned to drugs and alcohol

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 31 of July, 2014 17:36 PDT
My friend Shanya sent me this link recently - it's a page for Tout Une Histoire, a French talk show, requesting guests that have attempted to escape reality through video games and roleplaying and subsequently turned to drugs and/or alcohol.



The original French from the page:

POURQUOI FUIENT-ILS LA RÉALITÉ ?

APPELS À TÉMOINS
-Depuis des années, vous faites tout pour fuir la réalité. Vous vous êtes créé une bulle dans laquelle vous aimez vous réfugier

-Pour vous évader, vous vivez dans un monde parallèle. Vous êtes accro aux jeux vidéo ou aux jeux de rôles

-La réalité ne vous satisfait pas, alors vous avez tendance à enjoliver votre quotidien auprès de vos proches

-A force de vouloir fuir les difficultés, vous avez basculé dans l’alcool ou dans la drogue

-Fuir la réalité a fini par vous porter préjudice. Aujourd’hui, vous tentez d’apprendre à vivre normalement

Pour participer à l'émission contactez notre équipe


And the roughly translated English from Google Translate (sorry guys, my high school French classes were very long ago, and I didn't do well in them anyway):

WHY THEY FLEE THE REALITY?

APPEALS TO WITNESSES
-For years, you do everything to escape reality. You have created a bubble in which you enjoy refuge

-To escape, you live in a parallel world. You are addicted to video games or role playing

-The reality does not satisfy you, then you tend to beautify your daily with your family

-By trying to escape the difficulties you have switched to alcohol or drugs

-Escape reality eventually harm you. Today, you try to learn to live normally

To participate in the program please contact our team:


It seems like a pretty specific, narrow situation - people who escaped from reality through video games and roleplaying, then moved on to the "harder stuff" - but when you watch the typical episode of Maury, you'll realize it's not that different that what we have in the States.

It's difficult to tell if they're trying to suggest causation between fantasy and drugs and alcohol. It's also hard to find out more about the show without dealing with more badly translated French, so I can't tell if it deals in sensationalized stories the way that so many American shows do. If there are any French fluent Escapist readers out there who can shed some light on this, please let me know.


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D&D Documentary team to host a panel at Gen Con

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Wed 23 of July, 2014 08:08 PDT
The people working on the upcoming film Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary will be hosting a panel at this summer's Gen Con, and have graciously asked if I would pass along their press release. If you happen to be going to Gen Con in August, consider stopping in to talk to the team and catch a preview clip of the documentary.

If you're into roleplaying or tabletop gaming then you've maybe, just maybe, heard about a game called Dungeons & Dragons. And if you've followed our Kickstarter then you've heard about a film called Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary. A film about the godfather of contemporary gaming and even entertainment; everything from True Dungeon to League of Legends.

We've been in production for our documentary that explores the origins of the game, the story of its founders, and how it continues to influence so many aspects of today's culture. From how we interact at live events like Gen Con, to how we are helping educate our children and even mental health. According to one of our interviews, if you're on Facebook, then you're roleplaying.

Some exciting news for us — we will be hosting a panel at GenCon where we will screen a 12-minute clip of the film and do a Q&A with the filmmakers. We're currently at a crucial point in the edit of the film and therefore will welcome your support. Why does Dungeons & Dragons speak to you? What aspects of our screener would you like to see more of?

If you're at Gen Con, our panel will be on Saturday, August 16th, at 2pm, at the Westin: Capitol I. More info for Gen Con account users at https://gencon.com/events/66470.

If you come by please know that your time and your support will be graciously appreciated. We want to get to know you and understand why Dungeons & Dragons has gained your curiosity!

To learn more about our film, please visit our website.

Come by and visit! If you can't, please feel free to email us at:

Thanks so much!

Anthony Savini and The Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary team


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The Escapist got another ENnie Nomination!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sun 20 of July, 2014 17:26 PDT

The Escapist has landed another nomination for Best Website in the 2014 ENnie Awards!

Voting opened today and runs through July 30th - hit the booth and cast your vote for your favorite RPG advocacy website!


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Random Article Table - 04/11/14

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Fri 11 of April, 2014 06:39 PDT
As usual, I have a bunch of great articles backing up in the queue, but other projects have been keeping me from getting to them. So let's pack them up neatly into another Random Article Table, shall we? Give me an initiative roll, because you're about to have an encounter...

- The Geekly Report: One Kid’s Plan to Save His Youth Center With Dungeons & Dragons - A nice little piece that starts out explaining the benefits of the hobby and the absurdity of the Satanic panic over them, then tells the story of a young man who is attempting to keep a Prince Edward Island youth center from closing down, through a fundraiser and the promise of building a gaming community there. Info is provided for anyone willing to participate.

- Dungeons & Dragons and Television Misfits is an examination of the portrayal of roleplayers in popular sitcoms versus the real thing.

- Probation in jeopardy for kids-on-car-hood dad - So, it goes like this: a guy strapped four children to the hood of his car and took them for a joyride. He was given a suspended sentence and probation. He has tested negative for drugs and alcohol since then, but failed to remove weapons from his home as he was instructed to, and now his probation may be revoked. So, naturally, reporter Rebecca Green had to tie this to Dungeons & Dragons in some way - "But his love of the game Dungeons & Dragons and his collection of weapons related to that game led to Allen County probation officers asking for his probation to be revoked." Sigh.

- Inside Dungeons & Dragons - A nice little nod to the hobby from Leeds Student, the weekly newspaper of the University of Leeds. As usual, college newspapers and news sites are much better at getting their facts right then the major news outlets.

- Jury delivers guilty verdict in Weaver murder trial - A man involved in a 1999 home invasion is found guilty of capital murder, after testifying that he did not intend to kill anyone, only to rob the home. Torrance Vincent broke into Damian Wright's home while Wright and others were playing Dungeons & Dragons. I'm posting this because there was a time when this story would have been used as another example of the dangers of roleplaying, even though the victims of the crime were gamers, not the culprits. Don't laugh. It has happened before.

- What leaders can learn from Dungeons & Dragons - Australian business magazine BRW gives us five lessons that D&D can teach leaders. But we knew all of this already.

- Tabletop strategy games still popular, create sense of community - A positive little piece from Chicago's Beacon-News about tabletop games (including D&D) and the sense of community that they help to inspire.

- The great 1980s Dungeons & Dragons panic - A pretty extensive look at the moral panic over D&D during the 1980s, and contrasting those attitudes with today's general perception of the hobby. We're seeing more of these sorts of articles that look at the moral panic era as a curiosity, and I think that's a very good thing.

...and that does it for this installment of the Random Article Table. Now which one of you moved all of the figures around while I wasn't looking?

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B.A.D.D. pamphlet gets some attention

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 10 of April, 2014 21:36 PDT
It looks like my section on B.A.D.D.'s pamphlet on the dangers of D&D has been getting passed around on several blogs and sites, including these:

io9 - How We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons

A Lesson in Stupid Moral Panics: The History of Dungeons And Dragons Bans

disinformation - Mazes, Monsters, Charlatans, Satan and Suicide: A Short History of the Satanic Panic

Slacktivist - Go and learn what this means: Lawful evil, chaotic good and B.A.D.D. theology

The increased attention has brought some more critical eyes to B.A.D.D.'s anti-RPG manifesto, and one reader pointed out something I had completely missed. The pamphlet's claim that half of the early suicides by D&D players occurred during full moons is completely false - NONE of them did!

For more, check out As BADD As It Gets, Page 1.

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Congressional Candidate negatively "outed" as a gamer

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Wed 02 of April, 2014 06:24 PDT
Candidate Jake Rush has been getting some negative press after entering the Republican primary for Florida's third congressional district, but it's not all about the issues at hand. As it turns out, Rush is a former Vampire LARPer, and his opponent Ted Yoho is using this as ammunition against him.

While Rush did attempt to erase some of his gaming history from the internet by deleting photos and blog posts, he did come clean about his hobbies to the press:
“All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination, from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains,” Rush continued. “I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theater background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare.’
You may remember a similar situation in 2007, when game designer John Nephew ran for councilman of Maplewood, Minnesota, and found himself targeted for previously producing a card game titled Let's Kill. For the record - he won.

Having an interest in games and role-playing really shouldn't be an issue in deciding who would be best at making our laws, and the fact that someone can still consider this a worthy strategy just proves that we still have a little further to go.

Links:
Jake Rush Defends Role-Playing Hobby, Attacks Ted Yoho
Florida GOP Candidate Jacob Rush Is a Big Fan of Vampire Role-Playing
Jake Rush Launches New Ad Even as his Vampire RPG Details Get National Notice

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D&D turns 40 this month!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sun 05 of Jan., 2014 19:25 PST
Dungeons & Dragons, the game that launched a whole new form of entertainment while unleashing our imaginations, turns 40 years old this month. While the exact release date of the game is difficult to pin down, Jon Peterson (author of Playing at the World), comes up with a pretty good justification on his blog for recognizing January 26th as D&D's "birthday."

For four decades now, D&D and other tabletop RPGs have helped bring people together, forge new friendships, promote reading, storytelling, art, and creativity, and much more. So I'd like to commemorate the occasion with a special little section of the site, and I'd love it if you would help.

I'd like to do a sort of collage of pictures, quotes, and stories - pictures of your group enjoying a game of D&D, quotes about how D&D affected your life, and stories of positive experiences that you've had with the hobby, such as meeting friends or discovering new ways to look at the world.

If you'd like to participate, you can send any of the above to me via email, post them to the Escapist's Facebook page, Google+ page, or Twitter account. And just to keep things tidy and polite, here are a few guidelines:

- Please keep everything family friendly, including language.
- Limit stories and quotes to ~100 words. (But if it's such a good story that can't be told in 100 words or less, send it anyway, and we'll talk.)
- If you're sending a picture, please make sure that everyone in the picture has our permission to have it displayed on the site.

I'll reveal the finished page on January 26th, and continue to post new items to it through the remainder of the year - so be sure to spread the word!

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It's been tested already, ladies.

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Fri 13 of Sept., 2013 14:03 PDT
Bob Larson's Teen Exorcists are getting a bit more attention these days, thanks to a recent BBC documentary. While I'm not certain that they've specifically mention RPGs in the documentary, when I heard this comment uttered during the trailer for it, I couldn't help but turn it into a memepic.



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"This Must Be the Only Fantasy" - an RPG-themed short film

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sun 18 of Aug., 2013 09:50 PDT
"This Must Be the Only Fantasy" is a well-done short film by Todd Cole that starts out with a group of gamers waiting for a wayward player, then turns into an urban fantasy that reminds me a little of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. The film appears to have been sponsored by a fashion company, which may very well be the first time that RPGs have been used to help promote a clothing line. But I could be wrong.

Also - look for a nifty cameo near the end!







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