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Roleplaying advocacy news and website updates for The Escapist.

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 | 1072250 Visits | Activity=2.25)
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Taking D&D to the street

Posted by WJWalton4660 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 WJWalton4660 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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Tell Me About Your Character: Gaby Lopez

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 30 of Oct., 2009 09:45 PDT
The latest interview at Tell Me About Your Character is with Gaby Lopez - and it's the first interview of the series with someone from Cancun, Mexico! (Gamers really are everywhere!)

Read the interview here. And if you haven't submitted yours yet, what are you waiting for?

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D&D paranoia in Canada: The more things change...

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 29 of Oct., 2009 13:15 PDT
Over a year ago, I posted two YouTube videos of the 1985 60 Minutes story on Dungeons & Dragons, which today stands as a reminder of the high level of paranoia and misunderstanding that the public had about the roleplaying hobby.

Last week, Discourse and Dragons posted links to a similar news report from Canada's CBC that aired the same year. Most of the same myths and legends are trotted out, but in this report, it seems that the gamers themselves get more of an opportunity to defend their hobby:







While I was preparing this blog post, a new article from the Orangeville Citizen in Ottowa, Canada, came to my inbox: Family still feels pain of children's murder 25 years ago: [article | archive]

It begins as the story of the Babineau family, who lost two of their children to a 16-year-old killer in 1984, and tells of the grief that they continue to experience 25 years later. Because of youth offender laws in Canada, the killer's name and other details are not permitted to be released - except the detail that he played D&D.

Despite a brief mention that the killer was found mentally ill by psychiatrists, the last half of the article mentions nothing but D&D, and the "possible" connection it had to this and other crimes. It even takes a four-word phrase from a D&D module and attempts to make it appear like a chilling command to another young man who committed suicide in 1985.

The phrase "forget life, forget light" comes from the AD&D module White Plume Mountain, and those words instruct characters to explore the caverns beneath a steam-spouting mountain in search of three magical weapons. It doesn't command anyone to destroy themselves in a forest. (The adventure doesn't even take place in a forest.)

The article closes with the following:
If the military commanders "act out," so to speak, some of the things they have learned in the games, does it follow that the characters in role-playing games are likely to act out the fantasies they have learned in the games? The debate continues.

No, it doesn't follow at all. Military training and recreational roleplaying are two very different things.

The debate does not continue. History has taught us that roleplayers work quite well in society. If the claims of people like Radecki had any truth to them, we would see a markedly increased level of violence among gamers.

We would also see markedly increased levels of violence in actors and actresses of stage and screen - after all, they are playing characters in the same way that gamers do.

We also would NOT see testimonies from psychiatric experts denouncing the connection between violence and RPGs (including a representative of Health & Welfare Canada) - which are, for some reason, always ignored in stories like these.

This is certainly not meant to be disrespectful to the Babineau family, or insensitive to their loss. But the pain of their loss came from a person with a real problem, and not a game.

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D&D - The Opera?

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 28 of Oct., 2009 09:10 PDT
Add this to the list of things I haven't seen before - an opera about gamers!
This is a rare opportunity to witness Tripod’s latest epic unfold before your very eyes. Scod (a wizard), Yon (a priest) and Gatesy (a fighter who dreams of being a bard) invite you to join them for a sneaky look at their greatest musical yet … sorry, opera … as they prepare for its World Premier in the US next year.

Unfortunately, I'm on the other side of the planet, so I'll have to wait for it to come over here before I can try to see it. If you've seen this show, or know more about it, please give me some more details!

(via Purple Pawn)

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Playing catch-up: Horror RPGs, a zombie LARP, a Pittsburgh politician, and a shiny Surface

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 27 of Oct., 2009 10:15 PDT
The last week has been very busy for me, and I've had a lot of articles of interest piling up in my inbox. So before I get too far behind, here are some brief, bite-sized gaming advocacy news items:

- You can usually rely on university newspapers to give the public a positive look at RPGs and LARP. The University of Georgia's Red & Black covers a horror gaming night at a local game store - [article | archive]

- Speaking of universities, students at Binghamton U are preparing for a nine-day Humans vs. Zombies LARP, and Pipe Dream has the story - [article | archive]

- Franco Dokmanovich Harris, who is campaigning to be Pittsburgh's next mayor, let a little bit of his geek show in an article in the city's Post-Gazette: "Like his Hall of Fame running back father, Mr. Harris has knee and foot problems (they shop for orthopedic shoes together), with a chronic injury to his right knee. But Harris the younger got his in a medieval role-playing game, after catching his cleats on a rock while running with a padded sword made of plumbing products." [article]

- The perfect test of any new technological advance should always be how it can be used to innovate playing Dungeons & Dragons. Microsoft Surface is a classic example. Watch the video on Wired GeekDad and imagine when we'll all have one of these in our home. [article]

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Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 19 of Oct., 2009 20:00 PDT

Here's something I'm pretty sure that I've never seen before - a young adult novel about a young woman going through changes, as so many teenagers do, and one of those changes is a sudden interest in Dungeons & Dragons:

It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .

Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?


Find out more here
.

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Gamers on FIlm

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 15 of Oct., 2009 10:33 PDT
I'm currently revamping the Escapist Video Movie Review Report and including sections on films and television series and online films and shorts that pertain to RPGs and LARP - whether they're about the game settings, or the games and gamers who play them.

(I'm mostly focusing on original works here, so you won't see things like "remixes" of existing videos or the myriad incarnations of the Dead Alewives sketch.)

Take a look at the pages I've linked to, and if you happen to know of any that I've missed, please let me know.

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An Interview with Meghan Gardner of Wizards & Warriors™

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 13 of Oct., 2009 07:24 PDT
Meghan Gardner is the founder and CEO of Guard Up! Inc. and Wizards & Warriors™ Camps. Her job is one that many of us would consider the perfect one - creating plots, props, and costumes for LARP adventures for young people.

She took some time out of her schedule to answer a few questions about her camps, the effort that goes into them, the challenges that must be met, and where you can sign up.

You can read the interview here.

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Wil Wheaton's Dwarven Dungeon Delve of Doom! benefits Child's Play

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 07 of Oct., 2009 14:01 PDT
Wil Wheaton just announced that he will be hosting a D&D Dungeon Delve at RinCon this weekend.

He will be running two games, one on Friday and another on Sunday, with five seats in each. The entrance fee is $50, and the proceeds go directly to Child's Play.

Fifty bucks is a mere pittance for what you get out of this - a spot in a Dungeons & Dragons game run by Wil Wheaton, a special bag of goodies from Wizards of the Coast, a set of engraved dice, and the pleasure of knowing that you will be helping out a great charity!

(Speaking of Wil, this is day 261 of Operation Get Wil Wheaton to Blog About The Escapist. If you somehow find yourself in a seat at one of his games, be sure to let him know that he should blog about The Escapist!)

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National Gaming Day @ Your Library is coming soon!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 06 of Oct., 2009 11:06 PDT
It's that time of year again - National Gaming Day @ Your Library will happen in a little more than a month, on November 14th of this year.

Libraries all over the country will be participating, hosting events of board games, video games, and even some tabletop RPGs - though in many cases, roleplaying games are underrepresented, or not present at all. This will be an excellent opportunity to promote roleplaying games to new and experienced players, to raise awareness of what they are and how much fun they can be, and even gauge interest in potential RPG clubs at the library.

If you are a librarian who would like to participate, be sure to visit ngd.ala.org, and if you are a non-librarian who would like to volunteer, contact your local library and offer your services!

And as always, whenever you host any kind of RPG event at a library, let me know about it, and I'll promote it on the Terra Libris page.

(While you're here - don't miss Liz Danforth's excellent poster that she created to promote the event. I'm happy to see some RPG dice represented there, along with popular board and video game icons!)

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An Interview with GameHearts

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 05 of Oct., 2009 19:34 PDT

A couple weeks ago, I made a post about GameHearts, a volunteer group in Montana that provides a game club as alcohol-free alternative entertainment for people coping with addiction.

I had the chance to speak with Ron and Tom from GameHearts to find out more about the inspiration for the group, how they operate, and how someone could start a similar program in their community. You can read the interview here.

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There can be only one!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 02 of Oct., 2009 19:27 PDT
You find the coolest things on Google Street View.

(If the image doesn't show, I've posted a snapshot here.)

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Author Greg Rucka got his start as a DM

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 02 of Oct., 2009 08:34 PDT
I just found this brief article from The Californian about the author of a graphic novel that recently held a screening of a film based on the work.
"When he was a kid in junior high school, all Greg wanted to do was role-play and play Dungeons and Dragons," said Greg's father, Mike Rucka, of Corral de Tierra. "He always wanted to be the Dungeon Master, and now that's what he does for a living. He gets paid to have fun."


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Banned Books Week and RPGs

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 29 of Sept., 2009 16:51 PDT
We're in the middle of Banned Books Week, when libraries all over the U.S. raise awareness of censorship and our precious freedom to read what we choose.

I've always been a big fan of Banned Books Week, but this year, it's given me the idea to connect it to promoting the roleplaying hobby.

Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs, as you may know, were banned from a few schools and libraries during the early to mid 80s, and challenged in many others. These days, we don't see nearly as much concern over RPGs, mostly because more people have played them or been exposed to them and understand them a little better as a result.

But the hobby still isn't as "public" as it could be, and there are a lot of gamers who tend to "keep it in the basement," hiding their pasttime from others.

So, I'd like to propose a roleplaying advocacy effort to run parallel with banned books week. It goes like this:
- Read an RPG book in a public place - at a library, on a park bench, in school or work (only during free time, please), on the bus or train, or anywhere else where people will notice you. Choose whatever book you prefer, but try to stick to things that won't cause alarm (no Book of Vile Darkness or Traitor's Manual, please).

- Politely answer any questions you get from anyone. Explain what the book is for, and what you do with it. Answer any questions as best as you can. Most importantly, be succinct - break things off politely if it looks like someone is getting bored with hearing about your hobby. DON'T tell them about your character, unless they ask you to.

(You may wish to bring along some copies of the Facts and Fictions about RPGs PDF to give out to interested parties.)

- Email me with any interesting stories that result! I'll share the best ones on the site.

Not only will you have the opportunity to enlighten some people about the hobby, you may even find some fellow gamers, or some who are interested enough to try it out.

If this takes off even a little, maybe we can give it a name, and set some regular dates for it. Once a year seems too infrequent - maybe we could do it again around March 4th (GM's Day) and another date sometime during the summer.

So, what do you think? Tell me in comments, or drop me an email - and if you happen to give it a shot, be sure to let us know about it!

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