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Roleplaying advocacy news and website updates for The Escapist.

Created by WJWalton4708 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Sat 23 of Aug., 2014 19:50 PDT
(370 Posts | 1180179 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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National Gaming Day @ Your Library

Posted by WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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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