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Created by WJWalton4445 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Fri 11 of April, 2014 06:39 PDT
(362 Posts | 745643 Visits | Activity=3.00)
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Afterschool D&D club - for the teachers!

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Wed 02 of Dec., 2009 20:20 PST
The Monitor from South Texas brings us this great little story about a group of professors, a lab technician, and a school bus driver who meet after school for an ongoing game of D&D:
UTPA philosophy professor Jeffrey Zents did not get into the game until 2005, though he had been reading fantasy and sci-fi books since his youth. He said that discovering D and D has brought him back to a childhood filled with supernatural characters and magic.

“Who hasn’t wanted, at some point, to really believe that there was magic, and you could do it?” Zents asked. “Even if they’re realists and know that it’s never going to happen.”

Read the full story here: [article | archive]

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A Witch's Invitation

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 30 of Nov., 2009 20:13 PST
The one and only Jason L Blair sent me a link to this video today. It's a little difficult to sit through - mostly because it's so hard to make out the "lyrics."



For those with less patience than myself, I'll supply a brief synopsis: A Christian fellow receives an invitation from a male witch to come over to his spooky Munster-esque house and discuss the merits of the dark side over the light side. While there, our protagonist spots many "occultic symbol(s)" in his host's home, including a crystal ball, Ouija board, and - you guessed it - a "Dungeons & Dragons game set"!

Looks like the prop department was lacking some good RPG props, however - all they could drum up were some dice and old copies of Manual of the Planes and The Arcanum (which isn't even really a D&D book!)

(If you're straining to hear the words, you can find the complete "lyrics" in the info box on the YouTube page.)

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LHC scientists = D&D geeks

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Fri 27 of Nov., 2009 07:11 PST
Check out one of the questions in this interview with Dr. Paul Jackson, a particle physicist who is working on an experiment with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It looks like when the scientists there aren't accelerating particles and making miniature black holes, they're chucking d20s and hoping for crits:
Are the people who work there into games?
"There is definitely a big gaming contingent, with a lot of talk of Dungeons and Dragons. There's a lot of roleplaying, World of Warcraft and console games, and there are those that balk against that because they don't want to appear to be so geeky."


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Thu 26 of Nov., 2009 09:53 PST
Here in the U.S., it's Thanksgiving Day, when lots of people take the time to appreciate what they have. In our family, we always make a point of saying how we are thankful TO people, just to make sure that they know they are appreciated. So, in that tradition:

- I'm thankful to all of the readers of the site, the people who write in with suggestions and comments, the gamers who submit interviews for Tell Me About Your Character and participate in the forums and comments.

- I'm thankful to the Big Two, Gygax and Arneson, who began a hobby that has given us all so much pleasure - as well as the many game designers who have carried on the tradition, and brought us a myriad of new rules to play and worlds to have adventures in.

- And I'm thankful to my family - my three gaming geeks, and my three favorite people to adventure with!

Thanks go to all of you. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a great one - and if you don't, have a wonderful day!


(P.S. Did anyone besides me happen to see the giant 20-sided die balloons in the Macy's parade today? Sure, they didn't have numbers on them, but I knew what they were supposed to be...)

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Geek's Dream Girl plays D&D at the library

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 16 of Nov., 2009 14:53 PST
Over at Geeks Dream Girl, there's a brief chronicle of a library D&D game: D&D at the Library: The Adventure of Little Rogue.

When the first room was cleared, Little Rogue had a bright idea. He wanted to roll a big rock down into the pit and squish some of the creatures in the room below. He did so, and TheMainEvent described what happened. Little Rogue piped up, “I get experience for that, right?“


It's great to see some RPGs represented at National Gaming Day @ Your Library. Did you run or play in an RPG at a library on Saturday? Let me know about it!

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D&D as a warning sign for computer crime

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 16 of Nov., 2009 06:30 PST
The Thurston County Sheriff's Office website would like you to be aware of some possible warning signs that your child could be a victim of computer crime - or even worse, the culprit!

Some of those signs include a sudden interest in hard rock music, satanic posters, words replacing "f" with "ph," files ending in GIF, JPG, and BMP, and "(a)n obsession with fantasy adventure games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Trade Wars."

It appears to be an older document that's been dusted off and (very barely) updated before being posted to the site The page doesn't appear on an archive.org search, though the Thurston County site's archive goes back to 1998. There are a ton of references to outdated or completely extinct online terms and concepts (Compuserve, Prodigy, SYSOPs and BBSes), and these are contrasted with a single mention of MySpace.

To be fair, it does state rather plainly that these are warning signs, and not evidence of a problem. But it still makes you wonder - how is (or WAS) D&D a warning sign of computer crime, anyway? And why no mention of GURPS Cyberpunk? That's the REAL how-to manual for hacking and phreaking and all others sorts of things that replace the "f" with a "ph"...

(via FARK)

UPDATE: It looks like the page is gone completely. Maybe someone took notice of all of the Fark traffic.

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RPGs, in libraries, in Brazil

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Fri 13 of Nov., 2009 19:35 PST
Today, I posted an update on the Escapist Twitter account about National Gaming Day @ Your Library. This prompted a gentleman named Marcelo to contact me, asking for advice about promoting the RPGs in libraries concept in Brazil.

Since that's a subject that requires much more than 140 characters to discuss, I asked if he would take it to email. Here's the message that he sent:
Greetings,

As a roleplayer, RPG author and Psychologist (who defended a paper regarding the similarities between RPG characters and their player), I've been intrigued about the seemingly success of your endeavor of playing RPGs at libraries.

Here in Brazil the public libraries are not that accessible. I don't know if it's a matter of public policy, or if it's the bad ideas the media ensures about roleplaying games in general (one state forbid selling RPGs for a while based on the premisse "RPG leads to murder)...

But I'll have the chance of taking part in a librarian conference in the next weeks, and I may even talk face to face with my city's Secretary of Education. How should I adress the "RPG in libraries" matter? Any tips regarding that?

Warmest regards,
Marcelo


I've responded already with a few simple ideas - brush up on your RPG defense and myth debunking, grab some resources and positive studies from the RPG Studies site, and make a list of the benefits of playing RPGs.

I'd really like to give him some more input. What else should he consider? How else should he prepare himself? What sort of approach should he take?

We're interested in hearing from everyone, but I also know that I have more than a few readers from Brazil out there - do any of you have any experience with the library system in Brazil, and know the best way to approach this? Have you run RPGs in libraries before, and if so, could Marcelo use you as a possible reference?

This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference in a part of the world that has long appreciated the roleplaying hobby. Please post your ideas in comments, or email them to me, and I'll pass them along.

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National Gaming Day @ Your Library

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Tue 10 of Nov., 2009 13:12 PST
Don't forget - this Saturday, November 14th, is National Gaming Day @ Your Library! Hundreds of libraries across the country will be participating. Check with your local library to see if they are one of them. If not, ask about volunteering!

This is a great opportunity to meet other gamers in your area, and maybe even gauge interest in playing RPGs at the library the rest of the year. Don't miss it!

Find out more about Natioanl Gaming Day at ngd.ala.org!

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Character Sheet Résumé

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 09 of Nov., 2009 19:35 PST
Artist Sean McNally has posted his résumé on DeviantArt, and from the looks of it, he got his style pointers from the Player's Handbook.

(via Laughing Squid)

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Gamers (with PhDs!) respond to the Orangeville Citizen article

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 09 of Nov., 2009 09:13 PST
You may recall a previous post in which I mentioned an article from the Orangeville Citizen titled Family still feels pain of children's murder 25 years ago: [article | archive] In it, the author drew a connection between Dungeons & Dragons and military combat training, and claimed that "the debate continues" on whether RPGs can cause some to kill others and destroy themselves.

Well, Greg Gillespie from Discourse & Dragons submitted a letter to the editor as a response to the article, as did Tim Brannan of the Other Side blog. Both are excellent, well-written rebuttals (though Brannan earns bonus points for providing a list of resources AND including The Escapist among them).

It's always good to see others defending RPGs from careless attacks like these, and even nicer when the defenders have PhDs after their names!

Read the responses here: [article | archive]

(I do have my doubts about Brannan's claim that Al Gore has played D&D - I know his daughter played, but I don't know that Al himself has ever done so, other than in that episode of Futurama...)

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Tell Me About Your Character: Ryan Shelton

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Fri 06 of Nov., 2009 05:48 PST
The latest interview at Tell Me About Your Character is with Ryan Shelton - a.k.a. The Olfactory Kid!

Read the interview here. By the way, this is the 80th interview since the feature began back in 2005. Who will be the 100th? Could it be YOU?

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A role-playing simulation to reduce poverty

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Wed 04 of Nov., 2009 21:31 PST
Role-playing has been used in business, government, and the military to accomplish a wide variety of tasks - and now it's being used to raise awareness of poverty (and hopefully reduce poverty levels in the process).
The poverty simulation has 80 different roles for people to play, representing 22 families and individuals. "It's an interactive, role-playing adventure where people become a typical poor person," Plant said. "People will be grouped as couples, individuals and families. So you might be a child, mother, father, senior citizen or a homeless person."

The task of each "poor" person will be figuring out a way to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities of life.


Read more here: [article | archive]

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Dungeon Master at Work

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Tue 03 of Nov., 2009 04:43 PST
The Arizona Daily Star has a daily feature called the Tucson Time Capsule, which features a photo and caption from their archive. Today's Time Capsule is from 1979, and is titled "Dungeon Master at Work."

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Taking D&D to the street

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Mon 02 of Nov., 2009 10:36 PST
Last week, Laughing Squid posted about a free street D&D game that happened on Market Street in San Francisco.

This unusual event was a promotion for an upcoming graphic novel series called King of RPGs, but it also introduced a few newcomers to the hobby, and accomplished one of my favorite tasks - it made RPGs just a little more visible to the public.

It has me imagining RPG demo tables at street festivals and other public events. It's a crazy idea that really should catch on. Have you ever organized such a thing, or are you planning to? If so, tell us about it!

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Happy Halloween! Beware of demon candy!

Posted by WJWalton4445 points  on Sat 31 of Oct., 2009 10:02 PDT
I realize that I send out this same message almost every year, but it's that most awesome of holidays once again, and I know from experience that most (if not all) gamers celebrate Halloween.

Halloween and RPGs have so much in common - they both involve pretending to be someone else, they both promote eating things that aren't all that good for you, they both have accumulated myths and legends about originating from infernal traditions (when in reality, both were created by Christians), and both seem to always attract some people who just want to spoil all of the fun.

There is a special warning that has gone out recently, however, that I think I should bring to everyone's attention. A columnist for the 700 Club's website has been trying to make everyone aware of the possibility of demon possessed candy!
(M)ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches ... Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.

It looks like the message has been removed from the 700 Club's website - no doubt from some of the demons and devils possessing the internet. Luckily, some clear-headed, industrious folks have preserved the heart of the message, so that we don't miss it.

Just please, be careful, and if you happen to visit one of those locations that offer free x-rays of your candy, ask if they have an exorcist on hand as well.

(Is it just me, or does the idea of demon-possessed candy sound like a great plot idea for Little Fears or Monsters and Other Childish Things? We really need to get some of these people writing RPG supplements for us!)

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