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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 | 1774542 Visits | Activity=2.00)

Read an RPG Book in Public Week is here!

Posted by WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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 WJWalton4831 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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DriveThruRPG Raises over $175,000 for Haiti relief

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Tue 02 of Feb., 2010 12:21 PST
The title says it all, and it also answers ol' Bill Schnoebelen's comment from "Should a Christian Play Dungeons & Dragons?":

I would just ask them where are the rescue missions ... started by D&D gamers?

I think you're looking at one, Bill.

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$147,000 and counting...

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 28 of Jan., 2010 13:45 PST
As of this writing, DriveThruRPG has raised over $147,000 for Haiti relief - and there are still a couple days left to do your part! If you would like to help a good cause, and get a ton of gaming PDFs as a thank you, follow that link!

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More thoughts on prisons, gangs, and D&D

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 28 of Jan., 2010 12:41 PST
(My internet connection is temporarily down at home, so my posts may be somewhat sparse for the next week. Please bear with me.)

I've been thinking more about the recent Wisconsin case, in which a prisoner was denied the right to play Dungeons & Dragons because the dynamics of the game (a Dungeon Master and a group of players) too closely resembled gang members taking orders from a gang leader.

Of course, those of us who have played or even witnessed a game of D&D know that this isn't how the game works at all, and if the people involved in this decision had done any amount of research, they would have learned the same thing. This isn't the first case of a prison banning RPGs for flimsy reasons - the CAR-PGa previously exposed a prison that refused the game because the hard covers could be ripped off and used as shivs, and the artwork in the books could inspire prisioners to get fantasy-themed tattoos. (It would be interesting to see if there was a sudden drop in tattooing after the game was denied, but I doubt anyone bothered to do THAT study...)

I haven't been able to read a lot of commentary on the issue, but I can imagine that a lot of people hold the attitude that prisoners shouldn't have the rights to play any games while incarcerated, let alone D&D. There was probably a time when I would agree, but I've changed my mind since then.

Years ago - right before I started this website, to be a little more exact - I attempted to start my own business, buying and selling used and out-of-print RPG books through the mail. This was shortly before eBay came along, and squished my little business model, so it didn't last for very long. But in the few months that I was in operation, I couldn't help but notice that most of my customers were prisoners - easily 80% of them, if not more. Somehow, word of my business had gotten out among the prison gamer community.

They were always polite and grateful for the service I was providing, and sent me their wish lists on prison stationary. Most of them would buy most any modules or sourcebooks I had available, they were so desperate for material. I also recall a story in an early issue of the Knights of the Dinner Table comic in which a prisoner shared how they made polyhedral dice out of paper and adhesive tape.

It's all too easy to discard people who have done wrong, but keep in mind that this decision affects all prisoners, even those with lesser charges than homicide, and even some who have been wrongly incarcerated. It's not just a case of one accused murderer wanting to play an RPG. Giving prisoners small comforts like these can aid in their rehabilitation and desire to stay out of prison after release. If they have the right to play chess, read books, play sports, watch television, go to church, and exercise, they should be allowed to play Dungeons & Dragons if they choose to.

In a more rational world, we would see an investigation into the benefits of RPGs on prisoners and their rehabilitation rates, instead of flimsy excuses like this one.

This was actually a topic I had been meaning to bring up some time ago, when I discovered the Destination Unknown blog, and Christian's efforts to get RPG material into the hands of prisoners. If you're interested in more on the subject, be sure to check out his blog.

In the meantime, here are a handful of more news stories on the prison D&D ban that have popped up in my inbox lately. Thanks to all who have forwarded info on this case to me.

Chicago Tribune
Minneapolis City Pages blog
USA Today
New York Daily News
National Post
Chicago Now
Chicago Reader blog

My good friend Bob Mueller recommends this post at the Volokh Conspiracy, and the comments that accompany it. Looks like a LOT of legal geeks are also gaming geeks, which should surprise no one around here.

EDIT: And as usual, Penny Arcade knocks it out of the park...

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