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Created by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Wed 23 of July, 2014 08:08 PDT
(364 Posts | 1070388 Visits | Activity=2.25)

Happy GM's Day!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 03 of March, 2010 22:09 PST
It's March 4th, which since 2002 has been recognized by many roleplayers as GM's Day, a day to show appreciation to the folks who put so much time and effort into bringing us amazing adventures.

So to all dedicated GMs - Happy GM's Day! And to all of you players - do something nice for your GM today!

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The Steve Jackson Games raid, 20 years on

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 02 of March, 2010 22:53 PST
Today's Steve Jackson Daily Illuminator reminds us that it's the 20 year anniversary of the day that an RPG rulebook was instrumental in protecting our freedom of speech on the internet.

On March 2nd, 1990, the United States Secret Service raided the offices of Steve Jackson Games and the home of one of their writers, looking for evidence of computer hacking, and seizing files for a roleplaying rulebook (GURPS Cyberpunk) that they would later describe as "a handbook for computer crime."

The raid nearly ruined SJGames as a business, but they persevered - GURPS Cyberpunk still saw print later that year, and they have continued to make great roleplaying, board, and card games ever since.

The incident did have one very positive result - the creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the legal recognition of electronic speech as free speech, equally as protected by the First Amendment as any other form of speech.

You can find out more on the case at SJ Games Vs. the Secret Service, which includes a lot of links and supplemental material at the end, and The Top Ten Media Errors About the SJ Games Raid, which sets the record straight on some of the rumors and misconceptions that arose after the incident.

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Advice needed for a library LARP for teens

Posted by wjwalton4660 points  on Sun 28 of Feb., 2010 19:43 PST
Aaron posted the following request in the Terra Libris forum, and I'm reposting it here to give it some more exposure:

My wife & I are organizing a LARP event for teens at our public library. We are basing it on a general sci-fi setting which allows each participant to create character backgrounds, including planet & alien species, and attend in costume. The event is nominally a political meeting which will feature social conflict & interaction but nothing combat oriented.

I'm looking for resources to structure the event & provide guidelines and system mechanics for social interactions. Most of what I've looked into is along the lines of NERO fantasy & vampire LARP which is more combat oriented than what we need. And, of course, this is an event at a public library for teens, so we certainly don't want to promote any violent behavior.

Does anyone out there know of any LARP events already done in this environment or system which might work with this sort of event? Thanks for any feedback.

If anyone has any tips for Aaron, you can post them in the original thread or send them to me at Thanks!

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week is here!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 28 of Feb., 2010 08:42 PST
Read an RPG Book in Public Week is here! Get "caught" reading your favorite rulebook or supplement in public this week!

While doing so, don't forget that there's a Facebook group that you can join, a Twitter hashtag to use with your tweets (#readrpgs), and you can help spread the word on StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit.

If you are so inclined, you can also purchase Read an RPG Book in Public t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and more at CafePress (proceeds go towards the maintenance of the website).

Most importantly - share your experiences whenever you can, on Twitter, Facebook, or in the forum or blog comments right here. Tell everyone what you're reading, and where you're reading it. Post pictures when possible. But most of all, have fun!

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D&D 101 at the Dice Dojo

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 26 of Feb., 2010 19:59 PST
This one slipped past my radar until recently - the event itself is over, but the article is still a good positive piece on D&D:

Phil Kalata of the Chicago Nerds Social Club, talks with the Onion A.V. club about their "Dungeons & Dragons 101" event, and why now is the time to start roleplaying.

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CareerBuilder: Don't mention D&D at your next job interview

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 25 of Feb., 2010 06:14 PST
CareerBuilder has recently released a list of "outrageous" mistakes that interviewees have made during job interviews.

While most of these are undeniable - wearing flip-flops with a business suit, filing fingernails or staring at the ceiling during the interview, and mooching food from the breakroom after the interview is over - there's one item on the "outrageous" list that I take issue with:
Candidate used Dungeons and Dragons as an example of teamwork.

Roleplaying is a powerful tool for teaching people to work as a team in a difficult situation, something that is common in sessions of Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs.

Not only that, but roleplaying is no stranger to the business world - many businesses use it in meetings, seminars, and other functions to help their employees hone skills, solve problems, and learn to work as a team.

There are even businesses who specialize in organizing role-playing sessions for other businesses. Consider HRDQ, a company that once made "training and development resources" that were essentially RPGs packaged with model kits:
In Jungle Escape, for example, you play in a group of unfortunates who have crash landed in a rainforest. Your goal is to build an escape helicopter using spare parts, your wits, and whatever teamwork you can scrape together. In Mars Surface Rover, you build and race a vehicle across the surface of the red planet, using differing levels of leadership and authority.

(Read more in the Escapist 1999 Archive - look for "Gaming in the Boardroom.")

It may seem silly on the surface, mentioning D&D as a potential example of teamwork building - but it's not something that could be considered outrageous, especially when compared to filing your nails or wearing flip-flops with a business suit.

CareerBuilder may do well to consider the positive benefits of the roleplaying hobby instead of dismissing it outright.

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week is taking off!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 24 of Feb., 2010 16:18 PST
Read an RPG Book in Public Week has been taking off, far better than I ever expected!

- The official page is now in three additional languages, Spanish, German, and Portuguese, thanks to volunteers who translated it for us.

- The Facebook group is nearing 700 members as I write this - which seems low compared to some of the groups on Facebook, but is really not bad at all for such a specialized topic. Right now it seems to be attracting nearly 200 members a day! (On top of that, there are some very familiar names in the membership list: Monte Cook, George Vaiskalos, and Sean Patrick Fannon, to name a few...)

- On Twitter, I've created a hashtag for tweets concerning the event - #readrpgs - and it caught on immediately! Tweets have now been spotted in Portuguese, French, German, and Russian.

- Links: The event has gotten mentions on Boing Boing, and Make, as well as a bunch of roleplaying blogs: I Waste the Buddha With My Crossbow, Troll and Flame, Worlds in a Handful of Dice. Jeff's Gameblog has been displaying one of the RARPGBIP buttons.

- And a Google search for "Read an RPG Book in Public Week" returns a bunch of comments on blogs and forums from all over.

I am more than pleased with the results... but naturally, I want more. I've submitted the page as a suggestion to the Steve Jackson Daily Illuminator (as did one of my fellow CAR-PGa members). I'd really like to see if I can get someone from Wizards of the Coast to mention it. I'm looking for other places that may help spread the word.

But most of all, I want Wil Wheaton to blog about it. This is going to happen.

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 21 of Feb., 2010 06:59 PST
It is my pleasure to announce the latest roleplaying advocacy project here at The Escapist: Read an RPG Book in Public Week!

This is a thrice-annual event that happens on the weeks surrounding March 4th, July 27th, and October 1st. During each of these weeks, gamers are encouraged to take their favorite RPG rulebooks to a public place and read them somewhere where they can be seen by others. The goal is to make the hobby more visible, accessible, understood, and maybe even encourage some new people to try it out (or bring back some of the old grognards who have been away for too long).

Want to know how you can get involved? Wondering why I chose those three dates? Looking for ways to promote this project on your site or blog? All of these requests and more are answered on the official page of Read an RPG Book in Public Week at

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Writers praise the benefits that D&D had on their creativity

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sat 20 of Feb., 2010 07:12 PST
BoingBoing directs us to this column of comments from writers who extol the creative benefits that playing Dungeons & Dragons has on a young person (not the least of which is learning how to properly use words like 'extol'!).

This one is my personal favorite, but the column is chock full of others:
"I got into D&D about the same time I was becoming religious, when I was 13," said Roth. "I was in this Orthodox Jewish youth group with a bunch of my friends. We started playing on Saturday afternoons at the rabbi's house. We couldn't write anything down, of course, but we had our sheets, we could roll dice, and the DM, my friend Mike Seltzer, had all these charts and maps that he would try to keep hidden from us. Then the rabbi's six kids would run in, and all the tiny kids, the kids of anyone who was there visiting the rabbi, would come in and want to play. In a few months, there was this whole flock of tiny yeshiva boys who were schooled in D&D."

You can read the entire column here.

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More on Amy Bishop

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 19 of Feb., 2010 08:45 PST
Two more pieces on Amy Bishop hit my inbox recently:

- E.D. Kain at True/Slant picks apart the Boston Herald's handling of the story:
Remember the whole fear-craze over Dungeons & Dragons back in the 1980’s (and still a little in the 1990’s until violent video games began taking the spotlight)? Well it appears the Boston Herald missed the bit where people stopped thinking that role-playing games make you into crazed satanic killers...

- The Patriot Ledger goes back into the Bishop family's past with an article on Amy's brother Seth and his untimely death in 1986: Friends Recall Brilliant Young Man.

Seth, it turns out, played Dungeons & Dragons as well, and was accidentally shot to death by Amy with a shotgun their father had recently purchased to protect their home. Somehow, the Patriot Ledger manages to avoid connecting the game with his death, however (due to lack of evidence, perhaps?). Instead, it mentions it as one of the positive things he enjoyed with his friends.

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Another positive gaming article from a college paper

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 17 of Feb., 2010 12:38 PST
Here's another positive column on roleplaying games by Andrew Massey at Rhode Island College's The Anchor: I’m here to roll die and eat Cheetos... and I’m all out of Cheetos:
The game isn’t just a bunch of nerds gathering in someone’s basement and pretending to be elves or space commandos (though it certainly is that), it is also a great social experience. In fact, for people like me who do not like parties or dealing with drunken people, Dungeons and Dragons is their primary social outing. I run my game once a week and it is almost always a good time.

I'm not sure if it's coincidence or a deliberate effort to counteract the recent negative gaming press generated by the Wisconsin prison case and Amy Bishop - but either way, it's good to see it.

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Scrutinizing the 'evidence' against D&D

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 17 of Feb., 2010 08:23 PST
One thing is consistent about the majority of the claims against roleplaying games - they never stand up well to close scrutiny.

During the recent court case that established that "for some individuals, games like D&D can impede rehabilitation, lead to escapist tendencies, or result in more dire consequences," several other court cases were cited as evidence to back up this claim.

Michael Tresca at The Examiner has taken it upon himself to examine each case, one by one, and see if they really do prove this claim.

The first case? No dice, if you'll pardon the pun.
At no point does this case actually reinforce the validity that Dungeons & Dragons is somehow harmful. In fact, it makes an excellent argument that the feeble mental defense that Dungeons & Dragons somehow made Meyer commit the crime was entirely unreasonable – so much so that his own legal team abandoned that tactic.

Tresca plans to pick apart the rest in future installments, and I'm really looking forward to reading them.

(Thanks to Paul W. King from the CAR-PGa for the link.)

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Positive gaming article in the Indiana Statesman

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 17 of Feb., 2010 06:55 PST
Once more, a college campus newspaper brings us a story on the positive elements of the roleplaying hobby, without resorting to sensationalism:
“It’s a good way to spend time with some friends and joke around and create a story together,” she said. “As a writer, it’s great to share my own creativity with others and get to interact with their creative output. If you find the right group, the experience really is something very special.”

There's even a mention of gaming controversy that is handled with more tact and maturity than most major news sources can muster:
“My dad and my sisters still can’t get past the stereotype about gamers that was fed to us all by Hollywood,” she said. “However, with the exception of my mom, they really don’t have a problem with it, but they’re not really involved in any way. To them, my gaming is about as separate from them as what kind of shampoo I use and how I like my tea.”

Perhaps Kaiulani Anderson-Ligget and the Indiana Statesman could teach the Boston Herald a thing or two about...

...ah, nevermind. Who am I kidding, anyway?

Read the full article here: [article | archive].

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NEWS FLASH: Killer played D&D once!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 16 of Feb., 2010 19:32 PST
The Boston Herald brings us the shocking news - an unnamed source has revealed that the accused Alabama college killer Amy Bishop used to play Dungeons & Dragons while she was a biology student during the early 80s, and even met her husband at their D&D club.

According to the source, which remains nameless, “They even acted this crap out.”

James Anderson, Bishop's husband, denied that the game was anything more than a social activity.

In other news, the Boston Herald denied that they were having an extremely slow news day, and were resorting to publishing pointless old rumors from anonymous sources.

Read the full story here: [article | archive]

(Thanks to Jason McCartan, Monica Valentinelli, and the Quilt City OGREs for the link.)

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Back from the internet blackout

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 16 of Feb., 2010 16:52 PST
I'm back from a month-long internet blackout at home, and over the next few days, I'll be working through answering your emails and posting updates to the website.

Thanks to all for your patience!

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