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Created by WJWalton4715 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Thu 30 of Oct., 2014 19:51 PDT
(371 Posts | 1316721 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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D&D used as a weapon in a child custody case

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 15 of Aug., 2009 19:07 PDT
Forum user Hemlock posted this in the Advocacy forum yesterday:

Well To make a long story shorter my brother is involved in a custody hearing for his son. Dungeons and Dragons has been brought up in a very bad way trying to link it to his religion (not a bad one but not christian) and find him unfit. Basically is there any help out there for this. I really don't beleive his lawyer is qualified enough in this area to help. A psychologist has been called in to testify and he must really hate the game. I also have a feeling it is going to get worse. But as this is a semi-informal hearing it is an anything goes thing. (And from what I am hearing it really will be) Thanks for reading.


Sadly, this isn't the first time I've heard of D&D or other RPGs being used as ammunition in a child custody case.

I've given him all of the advice I can muster, plus a little that some of my friends have suggested. This includes giving links to studies on RPGs and Christian roleplaying clubs to the defense lawyer, and contacting the ACLU and Paul Cardwell from the CAR-PGa.

I've also offered to post his story here, to make it a bit more public, gather some more advice, and to pass it along to him. So if you have any legal experience, or even some good advice, and would like to help, please contact me and I'll pass it along.

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Wanted: MORE pictures of your roleplaying groups!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 13 of Aug., 2009 18:26 PDT

You may remember a couple of months ago, when I requested pictures of your gaming group to post here on the site.

The idea came to me when someone emailed me and suggested that I post pictures of roleplayers in their element, enjoying a game with their friends and family, to put a positive face on the hobby.

Since then, I've gotten four fantastic responses - from Missouri and Oklahoma, Australia and Iraq.

I've posted them on the various FAQ pages for everyone to see while they're getting their frequently asked questions answered.

I'm thrilled with the quality, but the quantity... not so much.

I want more!

So send me pictures of your RPG or LARP group playing a game! Be sure to let me know the names of everyone playing, who is GMing, what game you're playing, and where you're from

I'll post more of them on the FAQ pages, and I'm also hoping to create some sort of feature on the main page - maybe something that displays a different pic and info each day. For that. I'll need a LOT of submissions, to keep it interesting.

If you don't see yourself and your group here, that means you haven't sent yours to me yet.

What's keeping you?



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Gygax memorial attracts a lot of support

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Tue 04 of Aug., 2009 08:00 PDT
A memorial to Gary Gygax may be in the works very soon, according to the Janesville Gazette (external link):

Gygax's wife, Gail, and his children want the local gaming giant to be remembered for his immeasurable contribution by erecting a memorial statue of him in his hometown.
...
Gail is working with a local attorney to form a corporation to begin raising money for the project. She also is planning a fundraiser to be held during Gen Con in 2010.

At that time, some of her husband's personal items, including original manuscripts, will be auctioned off.

She said big names in the gaming, computer and film industries already have contacted her with interest in supporting the project.

She said local businesspeople likely will join the ranks, too.

If approved, the statue may be erected in Library Park, where Gygax spent a lot of time reading and writing.

It's great to see this kind of support from computer and film companies. That's a wonderful recognition of Gygax's contribution to creativity and imagination.

(Now let's see a memorial for Arenson too, please...)

Read the full article here: article (external link) | archive

(Hat tip to Grognardia (external link) for sharing this article)

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Geekdō - The Way of the Geek is open!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Mon 03 of Aug., 2009 16:22 PDT
You may recall my post a few weeks ago about the folks at boardgamegeek.com putting together a new RPG project. Well, it's here: Geekdō - The Way of the Geek (external link)

Sign up and start posting, reviewing, and networking with other RPG fans. And if you'd like to friend me while you're there, my profile is right here (external link).

See you there!

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New on the site: Finding Games and Gamers, comments, and forums!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Wed 29 of July, 2009 17:17 PDT
Here are some new additions to the site:

I've added a new Resources page - Finding Games and Gamers, a list of sites that can help roleplayers network with each other and find game stores and clubs in their area. (If you know of some that I have missed, be sure to contact me and let me know about them!)

Comments have been available on the blog posts for a little while now, but I've waited to go public with them until I was fairly sure I had them configured the way I liked. If you'd like to be part of the discussion, read the posting rules, then sign up and post! (Due to a substantial amount of phony signups, you'll have to wait for approval from me after you sign up, so please be patient.)

Speaking of discussions, I'm also ready to open up the Forums. They're not anything grand - I like to think of them as 'cozy' - but they'll suit the purposes of the site well enough. Head on over to theescapist.com/forums and join the discussion, or start a new one!

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People STILL play that game...?

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Tue 28 of July, 2009 10:10 PDT
Every so often, I'll spot an article, editorial, or review that makes a comment similar to this one -

Most of the time, tech culture slowly seeps in, wafting from the dark, damp corners where the geeks play their Dungeons and Dragons (and they still do this, by the way, even with all the fancy technology and worldwide communication gadgetry, there’s still dudes in basements rolling dice and eating way too many pizza rolls)...

I usually just pass them by without giving it a second thought. I realize that some of it is made in jest and the rest is just ignorance, but it happens so often that it makes me wonder - Why should it come as a surprise to anyone that people still play Dungeons & Dragons?

Is it because many people consider it a passing fad from the 80s? Or were we supposed to chuck our Monster Manual into the nearest recycling bin once we laid our eyes on World of Warcraft?

The fact is, like any other game, many players still desire the face-to-face presence of others, the feel of cards or playing pieces in our hands, and the sound of rattling dice. The fact is, the game was a decade old at it's heyday in the mid 80s, and never really lost all of its devoted fans.

The fact is, people love to play games no matter how long they've been around.

I've drawn up a handy visual aid to help illustrate the point. Feel free to direct anyone to this chart whenever they ask "Do people really still play Dungeons & Dragons?" You may even want to suggest that they replace D&D with any of the other games listed below, just to demonstrate how silly it sounds.



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The ENnies - Six days of voting left!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Mon 27 of July, 2009 14:27 PDT
I'm sure you're as upset as I am that The Escapist missed getting an ENnie nomination this year, but that shouldn't discourage you from voting for the best RPGs, supplements, artwork, accessories, websites, and podcasts of the year. So get out there and vote!

(Besides, there's always NEXT year...)

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Happy 10th anniversary to the Kids-RPG List!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Wed 22 of July, 2009 09:29 PDT
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Kids-RPG mailing list, created by RPG author Sam Chupp to help encourage parents, guardians, teachers, and others to play RPGs with kids.

For ten years now, the list has accumulated fantastic advice and wisdom for anyone who would like to get their kids involved in the hobby. GeekDad has an interview with Sam about the history of the list and his inspiration for creating it. (There's even a mention of the Escapist in there!).

Congratulations, Sam, and here's to ten more years!

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Family reunion evolves into an annual LARP

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sun 19 of July, 2009 08:01 PDT
The Rochester Post-Bulletin shares the story of an annual family gathering that has changed into a fantasy medieval LARP with around 40 members, hosted by Jan and Phyllis Fisher.
Fischer said a safety orientation is given to the participants before the game starts. A basic storyline is devised by game designers that sets the stage for the weekend fun. People under 18 can play as long as they're accompanied by an adult.

Read the whole story here: article | archive

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Study says roleplayers are not neurotic

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 18 of July, 2009 22:28 PDT
...or at least, not more neurotic than your average National Guardsman.

Liz Danforth recently pointed out this unusual 1998 study that can be found on the PubMed website:
Scores of 54 fantasy role-game players and 64 National Guardsman were compared on a neuroticism scale and demographic variables. While the Role-gamers reported daydreaming and sleeping more than the Guardsmen, the popular stereotype that game players are withdrawn, emotionally immature adolescents was not confirmed. The typical game player was male with as many close friends as the guardsmen. Mean neuroticism scores did not appear to differ between the two groups and were not high enough to be considered clinically significant.

Looks like someone needs to inform the Israeli Defense Force!

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Dexcon - "It's great to be a cowboy!"

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 18 of July, 2009 08:31 PDT
nj.com has been giving some excellent coverage to Dexcon, a game convention in Morristown, New Jersey. This article [archive] features a video and slideshow of the many faces of the con.

Together, the video, slideshow, and article show a lot of positive attitude towards LARP. One of the players even mentions how the hobby kept him out of trouble as a young person, and most are given the opportunity to express why they like to play, and what benefits it brings.
"In everyday life, you get to be serious. But you can come here for a couple of days and have fun. It makes you feel like when you were a kid. It's great to be a cowboy, or a space adventurer."

I've had the great pleasure of attending Dexcon before, back in 2005, and it looks like I might be getting involved with some of the kid-friendly LARPing next summer.

More on Dexcon from nj.com:

- Some more colorful imagery from Dexcon 12 in Morristown

- Live from Morristown: The Dexcon 12 gaming convention

- Live LARPing: Dexcon 12 in Morristown

- LARPing the night away in Morristown

- Choirs from Cambridge, starlight movies, late-night LARPs: Another typical evening in Morristown


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Wizards & Warriors - roleplaying camp for kids

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Thu 16 of July, 2009 06:21 PDT
Adam Rodgers passed along this great article (archive) about a roleplaying camp based in Boston.

At Wizards & Warriors day camp in Burlington, though, taking up foam swords and crossbows against a sea of troublesome villains - human and otherwise - is all in a day’s work. And play.

Thus, on a recent afternoon that brought the camp’s first week to its epic finale, two dozen costumed players, some as young as 7, girded themselves for combat. The action was intense, the rebel forces victorious. In the end, order was restored to the fictional realm of Sidleterra.

Camps like these are great for young people - not only because it lets them fight monsters with swords (and gives us 'older kids' a chance to play, too) - but also because it helps them socially. I've seen this same thing happen in the tabletop RPGs that I run for kids:
According to counselor director Christopher Wiley, the biggest beneficiary is a child with an active imagination but underdeveloped social skills. “Most of our kids are kind of introverted in general,’’ Wiley says. “But they become extroverts once they get out there waving swords and bumping into each other.’’

We really need more of this sort of thing everywhere. Imaginative play is crucial to child growth and development, and it helps to create imaginative adults. These days, it's all too common for kids to miss out on this entirely.

(I'm thinking an interview with some of the organizers may be in order...)

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RPG Geek coming soon!

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Wed 15 of July, 2009 07:47 PDT
(Thanks to Jolly Blackburn for passing this along.)

It looks like the folks behind one of my favorite websites ever, boardgamegeek.com (external link), are preparing to open the beta of a new site - RPGgeek!

I'm not sure of the exact details at the moment, but it appears that you can find out more by signing up for the Google discussion group (external link).

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Symbiotic Game Stores

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Sat 11 of July, 2009 21:06 PDT
Recently, an old gaming buddy told me about a new game store that opened not long ago, and while I was out rather late tonight, I stopped by for a look.

The store is called "Heroes," and it's a combination sub shop and hobby store. It was after closing when I pulled into the parking lot, so I only got to peer into the glass to see a sub counter on the left side of the store, a row of glass cases filled with miniatures and cards on the right side, and several gaming (and eating) tables in between.

It reminded me of another game store I used to visit back in the mid 90s, around the time that I first started this website. It was in the front section of an Ace Hardware store in a little town called Frederica. Customers who came in looking for pipe tape, lawn fertilizer, or finishing nails would have to walk between wargame tables and racks of Dungeons & Dragons and Mechwarrior books to get them.

If I had to guess, I suppose I would say that this sort of thing is connected to the low population of gamers in our area - anyone interested in opening a gaming store would have to do so as a sideline to another business. (There have certainly been a lot of dedicated gaming stores that have tried and failed to stay afloat - I can think of at least 5 or 6 that have closed in the last decade.)

The end result - symbiotic combinations like these, where you can get a large Italian hoagie and a new set of dice in the same place.

Do you know of any game stores in unusual places? I'd love to know - post about them in the comments!

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We're not in California anymore...

Posted by WJWalton4715 points  on Fri 10 of July, 2009 09:47 PDT
The LA Times gives us another piece on live-action roleplaying in the military - U.S. diplomats use military role-playing to prepare for Iraq assignments (external link)

The diplomats slept on cots and worked out of a tent on a base surrounded by re-created Iraqi villages. Each day, they strapped on flak vests over their business jackets and clambered into armored carriers to meet with local leaders, played by Iraqi immigrants. They confronted insurgent attacks, corrupt officials and sectarian rivalries.

"You can forget at times that you are in California," said Wesley Robertson, a public diplomacy officer who is trading a post in Chennai, India, for Iraq's violent Diyala province.

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