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Created by WJWalton4654 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Sun 20 of July, 2014 17:26 PDT
(363 Posts | 1067723 Visits | Activity=2.00)

Two more educational RPG blogs, and a gaming-with-kids wiki

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Wed 29 of Sept., 2010 20:35 PDT
Posting about David Millians' Games and Education blog reminded me that I had some other blogs and a wiki that I have been meaning to write a post about:

- Ruthless Diastema is an exploration of games in the classroom. Mad Mister Pete Figtree explains his methods in using roleplaying games to teach. I particularly like the syllabus and character sheet that he passes out to each student. (Oh, and the old-school punk in me really likes his Black Flag spoof icon.)

- Homeschool RPG: Scott Duncan blogs about contributing to the education of his three homeschooled daughters through RPGs. His posts are well written and very enjoyable to read.

- Instant Roleplay is a little wiki devoted to simple plots that you can use with any RPG system to run adventures for kids. This is a great idea that needs to really take off - there are a handful of plots posted now. but there haven't been any updates for a while. I'm planning to submit a couple when I have a bit of time, and so should you!

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David Millians has a blog!

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Tue 28 of Sept., 2010 20:17 PDT
And here it is: Games and Education.

David Millians teaches history in an elementary school in Georgia, and has been known to use RPG and LARP elements in his lessons. To read or hear about them is to wish you'd had the opportunity to roll up a character and join in. (You can hear an interview with David, including some accounts of his classroom adventures, on Sam Chupp's Dragonkin podcast right here.)

His blog also covers other types of games as educational tools - but of course, the RPG posts will be my favorites. If you are even the slightest bit interested in teaching through RPGs and other games, be sure to subscribe to David's blog.

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week is here, again!

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Sun 26 of Sept., 2010 06:59 PDT

Today begins the third and final Read an RPG Book in Public Week of 2010. Time to dig out some of your favorite RPG books, take them with you when you go out this week, and read them in public!

This week was chosen to coincide with two other events - the birthday of Dave Arneson (October 1st) and the American Library Association's Banned Book Week (since RPGs have been banned in schools and libraries in the past). So this week, we're doing it for Dave and all of those gamers who weren't allowed to play D&D in their schools back in the 1980s.

For more about this thrice-yearly event, visit the official page at If you're on Facebook, you can join the official FB group and RSVP for the event here.

There is also a Flickr group to post pictures of yourself and others reading RPG books in public -, and if you use Twitter to make tweets about the books you're reading in public, remember to use the #readrpgs tag, and follow the official Escapist account: @RPGadvocate

If that's not enough, there's even a YouTube video to help spread the word. Feel free to post it, mirror it, remix it, autotune it, and whatever else it is you crazy kids do these days - as long as you leave the links at the end intact:

Now get out there, spread the word. and read some RPG books in public!

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Just like old times...

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Tue 31 of Aug., 2010 10:23 PDT
This is not a repeat from the mid-1980s: A young man committed a heinous crime, and detectives are investigating the connection between his acts and a popular game.

Tyler Savage raped and killed a 16-year-old mentally disabled girl, then went to a friend's house to play some Dungeons & Dragons Online to help "cope" with what he had done. Now detectives are considering the possibility that Savage may have been inspired by the game to commit the crime.
Detectives investigating the strangulation death of 16-year-old Kimmie Daily are trying to determine whether her accused killer might have been acting out a violent fantasy from Dungeons and Dragons.

The video game theory comes from something Tyler Savage himself said to investigators. He talked about playing a video game to cope with what he'd just done. Detectives now want to know if that game somehow became his point of reference on reality.

If Savage had mentioned playing basketball, golf, chess, or poker to "cope" with what he had done, there would be no similar investigation. This is total speculation on my part, but I think the name "Dungeons & Dragons" may have something to do with this.

Then we see a classic example of an article that doesn't agree with its headline:
Detectives are working with an expert in sexually violent fantasies to explore the video game motive, but the true cause for this crime is still unknown. They aren't blaming a game for this violence, but they are trying to understand what triggered this murder and why.

"(Detectives) aren't blaming a game for this violence" doesn't exactly match the title: "Detectives: Murder motive may have been video game fantasy." This happens a lot with stories like these, when the journalist writes the story, and the editor decides what the title will be.

The odds are that when this comes to trial, Savage's lawyer will attempt a game defense, which has never worked. When it doesn't, they'll switch to something else, like an insanity plea. History will likely repeat itself due to those who refuse to learn from it.

Read the full article here.

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Reading RPGs = free coffee!

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Fri 27 of Aug., 2010 08:20 PDT

How is this for a great Read an RPG Book in Public Week promotion? (from Twitter):
The café my brother works at now has #readrpgs Sunday: everyone who reads an RPG book in public gets the first drink for free!

After I replied, I found out more about how and where it's happening:
The name of the café is "Coq d'Or" (the golden cock). I want to rename it "The golden Cockatrice"! My brother who started the idea and got the "go" from his boss is called Michael. It's in Olten, Switzerland.

I love it! It promotes public RPG reading and coffee consumption all at once! I couldn't approve more!

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Gamers for Humanity's 28k Project

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Fri 20 of Aug., 2010 10:13 PDT
Gamers for Humanity has recently revamped their website, and revealed the 28k Project, to encourage gamers to log 28,000 hours of volunteer work over the course of the next year.

Here's the full story in their own words, taken from their monthly newsletter:
With the new website comes our newest program, a project that is all about celebrating you and your contributions to your community. The 28k Project is our latest attempt to encourage community involvement, and to encourage people to share their stories about the volunteer work they do.

There are two ways to get involved:
1. Logging your hours
2. Telling your story

The easiest way to participate is to volunteer in your community, and then log your hours at our website. We are trying to reach the challenging goal of 28,000 hours of volunteer work between now and next August... so we need to log as many of your hours as we can get.

If you want to go one step farther, you can volunteer, then come tell us your story. Posting a story about your volunteer work—who you worked with, what you did, who you met — will enable visitors to vote for your story. The best stories each month win prize packages donated to us by some great companies.

The rules and necessary forms are all on the new website, whether you want to tell your story or just log your hours. Everyone is welcome.

I know for certain that there are many of you out there who already volunteer your time and energy to helping your community, so this would only be a matter of logging the work that you already do, and maybe even sharing a story that can inspire others. For the rest of you - get involved! It's not difficult to find some way that you can help - I have a lot of suggestions on the BeQuest ideas page. Pick something, dive in, log your hours, and share your story!

You can find out more at 28k Project page, and be sure to let them know that The Escapist sent you!

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More Chick Comics spoofery: Waxman's Warriors

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Tue 17 of Aug., 2010 15:21 PDT
About a month ago, I made a post about Dark Dungeons, a retro-clone RPG that contains a few subtle references to the Chick Publications comic of the same name.

Right after I made that post, Steve from Hex Games sent me a copy of their adventure "Waxman's Warriors" for the QAGS rules. It is set in the world of Chick comics, where a motley group of sinners in Hell find a way to escape to Heaven with the hopes of "renegotiating" their eternal arrangements.

Two of the characters are semi-direct references to the Dark Dungeons comic, and there are tons of nods to other comics from the Chick canon. It is very irreverent, and will likely offend a few people - but the target here really seems to be the violent, paranoid fantasy world of Chick comics, and not the Christian faith.

Find out more (and get your copy, if you are so inclined) here: Waxman's Warriors (But I must include a word of warning - this product is most definitely not for young people.)

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School's in! (...mostly...)

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Mon 16 of Aug., 2010 07:54 PDT
We're halfway through the month of August, which means that in many places, school is starting again, or will be in the next couple of weeks.

At his blog Gaming Brouhaha, MJ Harnish talks about how he is preparing for another year of his school gaming club, what he hopes to accomplish this year, and a few of his previous successes.

If, like MJ, you are planning a gaming club at your local school or library, be sure to let me know - and if you're considering it, be sure to visit the Reading Writing and Roleplaying and Terra Libris projects!

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LA Times interviews "Never Split the Party" winners

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Fri 13 of Aug., 2010 08:17 PDT
The Los Angeles Times' Noelene Clark conducted an interview with Jason Vickery, Greg Goldmeier and Ben Howe, the winners of Wizards of the Coast's “Never Split the Party” contest, which looks to reunite old RPG groups at the Gen Con Game Fair.

It's a very RPG-positive piece that touches on the benefits of the game...
"I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for D&D sparking the imagination to draw," he said. "I personally think (D&D has endured due to) the ability of the kids' imaginations. I know the three of us have really vivid imaginations. We drew our characters and came up with all kinds of stuff."

...and the infamous reputation it acquired...
"We were children of the '80s, when Dungeons & Dragons was under a lot of misconceptions," Vickery said. "I heard about a lot of anti-D&D movements as a kid. I’d tell people I played, and I get these weird looks, like, 'Oh, isn’t that dangerous?' There were all these weird notions of ties to Satan and devil-worship. Parents didn’t understand it, so they didn’t let their kids explore all that it has to offer."

As I say so often these days, it's good to see more and more media coverage of the roleplaying hobby that addresses the real benefits, and puts the myths and misconceptions into the proper context, rather than giving them any sort of credibility.

Read the full story here: [article | archive]

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D&D and cryptozoology

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Thu 12 of Aug., 2010 08:39 PDT
Here's another article from my friend Lee Williams: "The Monster Manual," published in Fortean Times magazine, compares the naming and classification of new and unknown species to folklore, legend, and the classic Dungeons & Dragons creature atlas.

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German LARP draws 7000 participants

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Tue 10 of Aug., 2010 21:25 PDT
Conquest 2010, a LARP event in Brokeloh, Germany, drew over 7000 gamers from Europe, Japan, and the United States during its five-day run from August 4th through the 8th.

The event was so big, that it gained quite a bit of media attention, with a lot of fantastic photos:

- Thousands of computer game enthusiasts gather for live action role play (Metro)

- Brokeloh: Where fantasy turns into reality! (MSN India)

- 7000 people participate in "Conquest 2010 LARP" in Germany (Xinhuanet - photos)

- Photos: Massive role-playing battle brings orcs to Germany (Vancouver Sun)

Thinking about joining in the fun next year? Here is the official site of Conquest:

(UPDATE: Rolf Elak passed along two pages of "official" pictures from Conquest - you can see them here and here. He also adds that Brokeloh means: "Wooded hill in the swamps.")

(Thanks to Lee Williams for the link!)

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The Escapist has a YouTube channel!

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Fri 06 of Aug., 2010 07:57 PDT
I've set up a YouTube channel for The Escapist, and posted a couple videos to it - one for Read an RPG Book in Public Week, and this one, introducing the site for those who may not know about it:

Here is the link to the channel - Feel free to subscribe, friend me, post comments, send video responses, and all that other fun YouTubey stuff.

I'm taking suggestions for what sort of videos I should add in the future. You can post them in the comments on YouTube, here on the blog, or email me at .

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Mazes and Monsters movie review

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Thu 05 of Aug., 2010 05:28 PDT
The Spoony Experiment put up a pretty funny video review of Mazes and Monsters. But please be aware - there's a bit of profanity among the ranting and raving. Here's the link - please click responsibly.

(Thanks to Matt for the link!)

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RPGs and the Creativity Crisis

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Wed 04 of Aug., 2010 07:48 PDT
Michael Tresca shared this Newsweek article a little while ago, and I've been meaning to pass it along. It's called The Creativity Crisis, and it addresses a downward trend in "CQ" (creativity quotient) scores that started in 1990.

Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”

The article is pretty quick to blame videogames for the trend, with a lack of creative nurturing in schools running a close second:
One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.

But you can likely guess, based on where you're reading this, what sort of activity is encouraged to foster creativity:
In early childhood, distinct types of free play are associated with high creativity. Preschoolers who spend more time in role-play (acting out characters) have higher measures of creativity: voicing someone else’s point of view helps develop their ability to analyze situations from different perspectives.


In middle childhood, kids sometimes create paracosms—fantasies of entire alternative worlds. Kids revisit their paracosms repeatedly, sometimes for months, and even create languages spoken there. This type of play peaks at age 9 or 10, and it’s a very strong sign of future creativity. A Michigan State University study of MacArthur “genius award” winners found a remarkably high rate of paracosm creation in their childhoods.

It's not news to us, but maybe the rest of the world will eventually catch on that roleplaying is a positive way to foster creativity, teamwork, socialization, and problem-solving.

Read the full article here.

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Mazes and Monsters: The RPG

Posted by WJWalton4654 points  on Wed 28 of July, 2010 07:33 PDT
File this under "It was only a matter of time": Rory at Blog of Holding is convinced that the novel and made-for-TV movie Mazes and Monsters were based on an actual RPG of the same name. Unable to locate a copy, he has decided to create a retro-clone, based on any information that can be gleaned from watching the movie:
It's been suggested that there never was a M&M game - that the Mazes and Monsters movie is an excoriating criticism of a fictionalized version of D&D. If so, it is a dismal failure, because as we can see from the movie, MAZES AND MONSTERS IS NOTHING LIKE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. Therefore, unless we are to assume that Rona Jaffe and everyone involved in the movie are total idiots who didn't bother to do the most trivial speck of research, we must assume that the movie is an excoriating criticism of a real game called Mazes and Monsters that I have just never heard of.

Rory is doing quite a thorough job of recreating the true Mazes and Monsters experience. I can't wait for the PDF, so I can get a print copy to put on the shelf next to Dark Dungeons!

Read the current posts here (more are on the way): Part 1 - Part 2

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