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Created by WJWalton4724 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Thu 30 of Oct., 2014 19:51 PDT
(371 Posts | 1362052 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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LARPing in Rio Grande

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Thu 17 of Sept., 2009 19:09 PDT
Rio Grande's Monitor published a piece on the High Fantasy Society, a LARP organization in South Texas:
A medieval game of live-action role-playing, or LARP, the organization has many members throughout Texas, with “kingdoms” organized in different parts of the state. In South Texas, the Silver Spire kingdom is thriving with young men, women and children who don costumes and take on various fictional roles who turn Bill Schupp into a realm of warfare every Sunday.

There are the usual comparisons to D&D and World of Warcraft, and in all, it's a positive article on the hobby.

Read the full story here: [article | archive]

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Classic 80s D&D commercial

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Thu 17 of Sept., 2009 07:22 PDT
Here's a classic D&D TV commecial from the early 80s (the grognards among us will notice Jamie Gertz from Square Pegs sitting among the gamers):




It's funny how this comes from the heyday of D&D satanic-panic paranoia - but now that most of that nonsense has died down, you really don't see commercials for D&D or any other tabletop RPG on television anymore.

Or maybe I just don't watch enough TV...

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GameHearts - Promoting adult sobriety through gaming

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Mon 14 of Sept., 2009 07:35 PDT

MJ Harnish at Gaming Brouhaha mentioned a project based in Montana called GameHearts, which works to help adults maintain their sobriety by offering alternative, engaging entertainment:
The program achieves its directive by providing free and low cost gaming activities in a supervised non-alcoholic, sober environment, along with access to gaming accessories that are provided without cost to the participants. In fact, beginning players can learn and obtain free gaming materials solely for playing.

Currently, the focus seems to be on colletible card and miniature games, but according to founder Ron Glick, that may expand to cover tabletop RPGs as well:
The primary games that the program uses are tabletop customizable games, such as card and miniature games (CCGs and CMGs), though there is also a strong interest in promoting role playing games (RPGs), as well.

I love hearing about projects like these, because they're the sort of thing that the BeQuest project is all about. GameHearts covers all of the bases - it provides assistance to those in need, it gives gamers the opportunity to help others, and it clearly demonstrates not only that gamers are productive members of society, but also how RPGs can be beneficial, as well as fun.

If you're in the Kalispell, Montana area, consider getting involved in GameHearts. If not, you can help out in other ways, including making donations of game materials to the project. Visit the GameHearts (external link) website to find out more.

And if you think your community could use a project like GameHearts in your area - steal this idea! Start one of your own! And if you do, be sure to let me know about it!

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RPGs in schools: Norway and Brazil

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Fri 11 of Sept., 2009 20:06 PDT
Matthjis, one of the good people who follow my Twitter account pointed out two great sites on roleplaying in schools - one that I knew about and had been meaning to mention, and another that was completely new to me.

I saw a website for the Lærelyst method about a year ago, but their website appears to be down. There is a site called Nordic Serious Games that mentions APlay Motivation, which uses the Lærelyst method - but there's not a lot of information available:
Lærelyst uses traditional tabletop role-playing within a motivational framework to structure and reward schoolwork. Teachers run role-playing scenarios, and intersperse them with learning exercises. When students work through their exercises, they gain points to use in the game. The exercises can easily be differentiated, so that students can be challenged on their own level. Teachers can create their own exercises or download them from the Ratatosk database.

(I seem to recall seeing some unusual dice on the original website - d10s with pips that didn't go higher than 5 or 6, and I'd love to know more about how they are used.)

Next is a PDF I was unaware of - Role-playing games and education in Brazil: how we do it, brought to us by the intriguing website LARP, the Universe, and Everything:
While still a minor phenomenon, role-playing game techniques have increasingly found a use in education in Brazil. In this article we will present a brief historical survey, focusing especially on teaching materials such as adventure books, tabletop books and some of the larp techniques used by educators inside and outside of classrooms. But we also aim at presenting some examples of how these techniques work in practice, including our own experience of them, and we will argue the importance of having a strong basis in educational theory to guide such interventions.

What follows is a brief history of RPGs in Brazil and a listing of various textbooks that feature roleplaying in one capacity or another - including a series of GURPS books that teach history. The article is brought to a close with a section on considerations on using RPGs to educate.

Great stuff. If only we could find a way to encourage these methods in other countries - especially here in the States. If you know of other such programs, or even know more about the ones I have listed here, please let me know about them - in comments, email or through Twitter.

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Tell Me About Your Character: Ambrose

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Fri 11 of Sept., 2009 04:17 PDT


The latest Tell Me About Your Character interview is up. Say hello to Ambrose!

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RPGs in schools: Roleplaying studies course in Finland

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Thu 10 of Sept., 2009 18:42 PDT
The blog Worlds in a Handful of Dice featured a post about a course in roleplaying studies that is being offered at the University of Tampere, Finland:

(The course) is worth six study credits and only includes the lectures, a 3,500-word study diary and, I kid you not, playing or running a roleplaying game session. The list of approved games is fairly short, but of the seven games, four (Under My Skin, Fat Man Down, the LARP Prayers on a Porcelain Altar and The Upgrade) are distributed in PDF as study material, and the other three (Praedor, City of Itra hah! and “Joutomaa”, out of Juhana Pettersson’s Roolipelimanifesti) I own.


The university website's page for the course is in Finnish, and Google gives a passably good translation into English.

The author of the post promises to post updates about the course as it unfolds. I can honestly say that I've never heard of such a course being offered here in the States. Could we ever see such a day?

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Villains for Kids at the KORE blog

Posted by DrAwkward16 points  on Thu 10 of Sept., 2009 05:26 PDT
Dr. Awkward here. The esteemed Mr. Walton has given me permission to make log entries in his electronic journal as I wish, to bring you any news items that I happen upon that could be of interest regarding adventures with young people. And I think I have just such an item for you now:

The electronic journal of the KORE role-playing game has begun to post weekly entries on "Villains for Kids." These are descriptions of bad guys that can be dropped into an adventure game for young people - no statistics are given, so you can use them with the rule system of your choice.

The series begins with first dastardly fiend, The Tricky Trickster, and more are promised each week. Kevin, the author, has even been kind enough to tag the log entries for ease of reference. Just visit www.korpg.com/blog/?tag=villains-for-kids when you're in need of a good bad guy.

Keep your dice dry! Awkward out.

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Planning a mini RPG convention at a library

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Wed 09 of Sept., 2009 20:03 PDT
Patrick Benson at Gnome Stew is planning a mini RPG convention at his local library, and he's looking for your advice. Visit the post to read more about it and join the discussion, if you are so inclined.

It's a great idea, if planned and executed well. A mini-con like this could be an excellent way to meet new roleplayers in your area and maybe even try out some new RPGs. You could even try to get local game stores and other businesses involved, too.

Have you ever organized a mini-con? Let us know about it!

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RPGs in schools: a 10-year-old email

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Wed 09 of Sept., 2009 11:39 PDT
I was going through some old papers in my filing cabinet last night, and I found a printout of the following email, sent to me nearly ten years ago by a professor at a university in São Paulo, Brazil.

In it, he discusses his success with using RPGs in high school education, especially with encouraging youths to apply what they've learned to situations - and he mentions taking the same plan to the university level.

I'd love to know if he's had any further success. I tried to contact him at, but the email bounced instantly. While I'm not to surprised by this, I am a little surprised that I can barely find any info on him online.

I'll keep searching, but in the meantime, here is that decade-old email, which I'm posting both to inspire roleplaying educators, and to act as an internet beacon if Professor Bogsan ever Googles his name!

Subj: RPG as a tool for education !
Date: 12/16/99 2:28:05 Eastern Standard Time
From: (Silvio Cesar Bogsan)


Hi,

I'm a professor at Ibirapuera University, Sao Paulo, Brazil. I'm trying to use RPG as a tool for my students here.

We need to find a way so the students could have practical training before they go to work. Specially here in Sao Paulo where a degree is very important. So I'm a player since 1989. GURPS and Vampire mostly of the time. In this year I found some students who used to play, and we formed a group and I mastered for them. They were very stimulated by the game. They did a research of 200 hours at internet, about hackers and counterfeits.

Nexy year I will apply RPG to a whole class (almost 100 students) in a big adventure and I'm collecting suggestions. I'm thinking about Cyberpunk genre, or maybe something involving our real world, but applying their knowledge.

The students will be at the Computing degree. I hope this e-mail will be published as some kind of "news from Brazil."

We have a few cases involving RPG's. I've heard about nothing bad at all. In a high school near here, Magic the Gathering was considering "Interesting and contributes to the development of the youngers" the director said.

I'm using RPG as a tool for the high school classes since 1997, but I'm starting at University now, and I find it very useful.

Thanks for "hear" me. And I hope I can contribute more with you all.

Prof. Silvio Cesar Bogsan - MBA - Universidade Ibirapuera - São Paulo - Brazil


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NZ Defense Force trains with roleplaying

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Wed 09 of Sept., 2009 07:36 PDT
Soldiers and workers in the New Zealand Defense Force are preparing for a reconstruction mission to Afghanistan by doing some role-play simulation:
This week in Waiouru the team have been doing role-playing exercises using stand-in actors as local tribesmen, playing out meetings with the PRT engineers in a tribal village scenario.

Read more here: [article | archive]

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RPGs in schools: MJ Harnish

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Mon 07 of Sept., 2009 08:00 PDT
MJ Harnish at Gaming Brouhaha replied to my call for folks running RPGs in schools and libraries. I linked to a blog post of his a few days ago, but he gave me a few more details of his gaming plans:

I've run a gaming club at an international school for the past 6 years. The first few years we focused largely on miniatures gaming but over the past 4 years we've been gradually expanding the club's roleplaying activities.

Currently we have about 20 members, with 12 regular roleplayers, ranging in age from 12 to 18. Although we've run a variety of traditional RPGs in the past (e.g. Red Box D&D, 3E & 4E D&D, Savage Worlds), these days I tend to focus on games where the players have a lot of narrative control in order to encourage the students to participate more creatively in our games.

This year we've started off with several sessions of InSpectres, which they've all loved. Next up is either "A Penny for My Thoughts" or "Sign-in Stranger." I also have plans to run "Swashbucklers of the 7 skies", "Mouse Guard", "The Princes' Kingdom", and perhaps "Big Eyes, Small Mouth."

Right now I'm in the process of trying to train a GM or two because a single group of 12 doesn't allow the students enough individual screen time and tends to lead to very chaotic games.


MJ promises to post regular updates on Gaming Brouhaha, so if you're interested, be sure to subscribe to his feed!

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College 'LARPers' arrested for rough play

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Sat 05 of Sept., 2009 18:34 PDT
Seventeen University of Tennessee students and members of the Campus Crusade for Christ were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on September 3rd during what appears to be some sort of "ultimate LARP championship."
Sharp (director of UT's chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ) said men, all members of the on-campus Christian group, were playing "Fugitive," an outdoor tag-like team game popular with many UT students, Sharp said. It was a social activity planned for male students following a regular Thursday night Bible study, he said.

But there seems to be some confusion about the name of the game.
But Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk contends the men told the officers they were playing Fuzion, a role-playing game involving combat, and said they were "fighting and running down Cumberland Avenue" around 10 p.m. when officers intervened and ordered them to sit on the ground.

Or maybe "a role-playing game involving combat" makes for more interesting news than "a bunch of guys horsing around and playing too roughly."

Just for the record: for those who may not know, there is a tabletop RPG called Fuzion - it's not a LARP, and doesn't involve running around and getting your fellow players into chokeholds. These guys weren't playing that.

Read the full article here: [article | archive]

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Tell Me About Your Character: Theodore Dudek

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Fri 04 of Sept., 2009 08:44 PDT
Theodore Dudek of ultimatedm.com gives us the first Tell Me About Your Character interview in nearly a year. Read it here!

And when you're done - submit your own!

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RPGs in schools: the first responses

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Fri 04 of Sept., 2009 07:20 PDT
Since school has (mostly) begun again here in the United States, I've been putting out the call on Twitter and here on the blog for information from anyone who is running (or planning to run) RPGs for kids at schools or libraries.

My plan (as always) is to gather stories, experiences, tips, and advice that others can use if they want to organize such a program - and to give a bit of a nudge to those who have been thinking about it and just need a little push to get it started.

I received the following email from Dan (who, for privacy reasons, has asked that I not name the school where he works):
I am the Network Administrator at a New England private high school. Last year, I ran a D&D game every other week. Almost all new players, a mix of freshmen and seniors. We played 4th edition, and started on Keep on the Shadowfell. We had about 6 regular players. The only issues we ran into were of a scheduling variety, as the underclassmen don't have a lot of unstructured time, and we don't quite get a 4 hour session, which leads me to the second problem. KotS was too long an adventure for an every other week 3 1/2-4 hr session game to fit comfortably in a school year.

If there is interest I intend on trying to make this a tradition, with a couple of changes.

1. Modules designed for 4-hours. Either delve format or more likely living forgotten realms.
2. One module/session
3. Entertaining the possibility of opening up the game to other genres/systems/games
4. Limiting participation to Juniors & Seniors (Grandfathering the sophomores from last year though)

Things that I learned:

1. D&D 4 is very accessible, to non tabletop gamers (the kids were geeks however)
2. Human Fighters aren't the 'safe' newbie class anymore
3. Explaining power sources and roles are very important to a new player matching up to a class that 'clicks' enough that they're easy to learn (related to #2, the human fighter's player had a really tough time being relevant. After a talk about what she wanted her character to do, she picked a cleric, and took to her really easily)
4. Was surprised that the players gender-ratio was practically 1:1, with a slight favoring of girls
5. There was a fair number of kids who wanted to kibitz. This caused some problems, as they were a distraction to an already too big group. In the future, I'll probably give them NPC's and monsters to run.


I also received an email a little while ago from Eric Basir, who ran the Marvel Super Heroes RPG for a small group of kids as an after-school role-playing club at a parochial school in Illinois. His description of it is too perfect not to share:
My attempt to work with children, teens (and youthful adults) to use their imaginations to interact with one another in a make-believe environment with the purpose of promoting good manners, spirituality and righteous competition.

He has collected the videos into two playlists - you can watch them here and here.

That's all of the response I've seen so far, and while those are two excellent testimonies, I want MORE! Are you running any RPGs at schools or libraries? Share your knowledge and experience with us!

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Nonsense Podcast gives a nod to The Escapist

Posted by WJWalton4724 points  on Thu 03 of Sept., 2009 06:05 PDT
Nonsense Podcast is one of my favorite critical thinking podcasts, and they've just released episode 9, which features a short bit on the Utah hammer attack, and mentions a certain roleplaying advocacy site in the process.

Give it a listen - not because they plug the site, but because critical thinking is good for you! - nonsensepodcast.com

(Fun fact: Andrew, who reports on the story in this episode, starred as Pathos Feralwolf in my 25th anniversary tribute to the Dark Dungeons comic tract!)

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