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Created by WJWalton4831 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Tue 04 of Aug., 2015 21:42 PDT
(376 Posts | 1770469 Visits | Activity=2.00)

An open letter to Warner Brothers regarding the upcoming D&D movie

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Tue 04 of Aug., 2015 21:42 PDT
To any and all involved in the production of the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie:

I know you're probably very busy, so I'll keep this brief. I'm no screenwriter or movie production professional or anything like that. I'm just a guy who really enjoys D&D, and has for a very long time. Recently, news has been going around that, after a bit of legal wrangling, a new Dungeons & Dragons movie will start production.

Let's be frank. The last attempt was a disappointment. For me, the major problem was that it wasn't really a D&D movie, but just another fantasy movie with the D&D name slapped on it.

So here's my suggestion to make this next effort a true D&D movie: Show the players. Maybe start with a group of gamers getting together to start a gaming session, then fade to the shiny CGI fantasy scenes once the game gets underway. Make cuts to the player reactions when something big happens. Maybe even wrap it up after the big climax, with the players congratulating each other on a good game, and packing up their things to head home. The gamers like myself would really enjoy it, and the non-gamers would likely find themselves identifying much better with the characters.

Those are the sorts of things that would make it a true D&D movie. But don't take my word for it. Ask Vin Diesel. He can help you out. He knows.

Thank you for your time,
WJ Walton

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Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Fri 31 of July, 2015 19:30 PDT won a Gold ENnie Award tonight.

When you submit your entry for the ENnie Awards, one of the things that they ask you is what song you'd like them to play in the event that your entry is a winner. This was my choice. I wasn't there to hear it in person, but I'm listening here at home, and having my own little award party with coffee and Fig Newtons. Won't you join me?

Thanks again to everyone who voted. It really means a lot to me.

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Next project - #postyourRPG

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Mon 27 of July, 2015 21:32 PDT
We're part of the way through the second Read an RPG Book in Public Week, and just finished celebrating Gary Gygax Day (July 27h), which inspired me to push forward with the next little project on the site, something I call #postyourRPG

The idea is simple - encouraging roleplayers to post about the games they're playing, running, writing, prepping, and organizing on their social media accounts (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc...) Blog your RPG, tweet your RPG, share your RPG, tag your RPG, selfie your RPG... and so on.

The goal, just like RaRPGBiPW, is to make their participation in the hobby more visible, to show how much fun they're having, and possibly even encourage others to ask questions and maybe even try it out.

No special dates, just a simple idea, promoted year 'round. I'm planning to make a simple page for it here on the site, maybe with some images that people can use to promote it.

So, what do you think? Let me know your opinions and ideas on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, or at

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The Escapist 20th Anniversary Video Project

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Fri 06 of Feb., 2015 16:40 PST
The site's 20th birthday is coming up this December, and late last year I proposed putting together a video about the history and origins of the site, and possibly getting other gamers involved, too. 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. It could be...

- A shot of yourself
- A shot of your gaming group
- A shot of your gaming group enjoying some tabletop RPG or LARP
- A shot of your hometown/home country (especially for gamers from outside the US!)
- A shot of your Army/Air Force/Marine/Navy company enjoying an RPG (and/or a shot of where you're stationed)
- Something funny or silly (acting out edition wars or scenes from Dark Dungeons or Mazes & Monsters, holding a wake for a deceased character, trying to cast spells from the Player's Handbook a la Spellcasting 101,* etc.)

...or whatever strikes you. (But probably not a video of someone striking you. Unless it's with a boffer weapon or something.)

When you send clips, be sure to state your name(s) and where you're from (you can say them in the video, or I'll also add captions for each clip). Feel free to mention your club/company/blog/podcast/product (as long as they're all RPG-related of course, and I'll put them in the caption if you prefer it). 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!). You'll have to give me permission to use the video on the site and in any related projects and stuff like that.

You can send your video clips to me or share them through Dropbox at I'll be compiling everything in late summer and autumn, so get those videos in as soon as you can! I look forward to seeing them!

  • Please do not attempt anything dangerous. I will not be held responsible for any damages to people, animals, and/or property.

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Hey 19!

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Mon 15 of Dec., 2014 04:09 PST

Today is the 19th anniversary of the day I cobbled together a slapdash AOL user website about the misconceptions and benefits of the roleplaying hobby. The site has come a very long way since then, and I'm planning to take it even further in the coming year, in time for its 20th anniversary.

To all who have read, responded, and participated in the site over the previous 19 years - thank you!

Now if you'll indulge me, I feel that this calls for some Steely Dan...

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Dragons in the Stacks - A librarian's guide to RPGs

Posted by WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 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 WJWalton4831 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:


-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):


-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 WJWalton4831 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

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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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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