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Created by WJWalton4831 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Tue 04 of Aug., 2015 21:42 PDT
(376 Posts | 1775821 Visits | Activity=2.00)

Family emergency

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Sat 30 of June, 2012 07:43 PDT
Some of you may have heard the news that my house burned down recently. Rest assured that all of my family members and myself are safe and sound - we were away from the house when it happened. Sadly, two of our cats and our guinea pig did not fare so well.

I have more information about the fire at my Awkward Labs website -

Thanks to everyone for your words of support and encouragment!

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Look for me at Dexcon 15!

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 21 of June, 2012 07:04 PDT
The family and I will be attending Dexcon 15 in Morristown, New Jersey, July 4th-8th! I'll be running four RPG events for the con, hosting an open discussion about raising gamer children, and - a first for us - performing some music with my daughter during the open mic show Saturday afternoon!

Dexcon is a great convention run by some great people. I've only had once chance to attend in the past, back in 2005, and was very impressed by the welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. This year, I'm looking forward to meeting Lizzie Stark, author of Leaving Mundania (Escapist review coming soon!)

If you haven't signed up already but are planning to, you're in a bit of luck - Escapist readers can get a $10 discount on admission by using the discount code RPGAdvocate-D15 during online registration! And if you'd like to meet up, drop me an email or message on Twitter (@RPGadvocate).

Hope to see you there!

My events are listed below, for ease of reference. If you're interested in any of the RPG events, you should register as soon as possible - I'm told that events are filling up quickly all around.

R0239: Ghostbusters/Men In Black; "Facility 67" presented by William Walton. The US Government has a hairy situation on their hands, and they require the help of the nation's finest paranormal troubleshooters to handle it! Friday, 2:00PM - 6:00PM; One Round; All Materials Provided. Beginners Welcome; Silly, All Ages.

R0294: TOON; "A Totally Random Adventure!" presented by William Walton. This adventure is totally random! Using the random adventure generation tables in the TOON rulebooks, this adventure will be generated on the spot by the players and GM. Even the characters will be chosen at random (or, you can bring your own)! Saturday, 9:00AM - 1:00PM; One Round; All Materials Provided. Beginners Welcome; Very Silly, All Ages.

R0337: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness; "Pet Store Rejects" presented by William Walton. They are the former inhabitants of a humble pet store in Paramus that have been mutated from a contaminated bag of pet food - and they fight crime! Saturday, 8:00PM - 12:00AM; One Round; All Materials Provided. Beginners Welcome; Fun, All Ages.

R0356: InSpectres; "Exorcism for Dummies" by Memento Mori Theatricks; presented by William Walton. An INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED GAME - Part of the Indie Games Explosion! When the residents of a downtown apartment building discover that their landlord has been possessed by some sort of evil spirit, they call their local InSpectres franchise to help evict it, preferably without losing their security deposits. Say, do any of you guys know how to perform an exorcism? Sunday, 10:00AM - 2:00PM; One Round; All Materials Provided. Beginners Welcome; Fun, All Ages.

D1012: "Raising Gamer Children" presented by William Walton. Join The RPG Advocate, Bill Walton, as he leads a discussion on the joys and challenges of raising children destined to be gamers. Whether you're a gamer parent, the friend of gamer parents or just an ally to those with offspring, you should participate in this roundtable style discussion. Gather to share resources or war stories in this pre-lunchtime chat. Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM; One Session; Serious, All Ages.

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A completely off-topic, shamelessly self-promotional blog post

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Sun 17 of June, 2012 19:39 PDT
It's possible you may have noticed my blog updates getting a bit thin as of late. I'm writing this post to let you know that they will continue in this manner for most of the summer, because I have a pretty big (for me) non-RPG-related project that I'll be working on, likely until the fall.

I'm writing and illustrating a children's book (which you can read more about here), and am attempting to fund the printing of it through Kickstarter (which you can find out more about here). If you happen to be the type of person who would like to help publish a book that promotes curiosity, the love of learning and the pursuit of wisdom, then please give those links a look, and pass them on to anyone else who may be interested.

But if my shameless self-promotion offends, I apologize.

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Free RPG Day and Cthulhu for charity

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Sat 16 of June, 2012 07:14 PDT
Two items of note that came to my attention recently:

- Today is Free RPG Day! Check with your Friendly Local Game Store to see if they are participating, and see what freebies are available. For more info, visit the official site at

- My friend Jeff Woodall brought this to my attention - Dockside Dogs is a Call of Cthulhu scenario published by Chaosium with the benefits going to Relay For Life UK. For a mere $5 you get a great CoC adventure (with what appears to be a Tarantino heist theme), and the opportunity to help out a great cause. See Chaosium's page for more information, and pick up the scenario at DriveThruRPG. (I'll be getting mine as soon as I'm done with this post!)

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Random Article Table: Wayne Foundation Strikes Again, RPG Kickstarters, Lizzie's LARP book, and D&D on the Western Front

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Mon 14 of May, 2012 06:59 PDT
Once again, I've been caught with very little free time to update the page or post to the blog, and a backlog of great articles has started to build. So without further ado, here's another Random Article Table to roll on:

- First up is a Tumblr blog devoted to RPG Kickstarter projects, for those of you who are interested in supporting the crowdsourcing movement. Updates seem to come pretty regularly (unlike SOME PEOPLE I know...), and there are lots of interesting projects to support. Check it out at
(Thanks to Jonas at the CAR-PGa group for the link!)

- Next, the Wayne Foundation Fundraiser has returned. This is a fundraiser organized by DriveThruRPG to benefit a charity that helps children who have been involved in prostitution. For just $25, donors receive over $235 of quality RPG material, as well as the knowledge that they have helped children who are truly in need. You can purchase the bundle at DriveThruRPG (Hurry, though - the bundle expires on May 18th!), and find out more about the Wayne Foundation at

- Then, Lizzie Stark's new book on the LARP hobby, titled "Leaving Mundania," has been getting a lot of attention, including a couple of great pieces on Wired GeekDad and the BBC News website. She's been a friend of the site for a while now, and I'm happy to see how well her book is being received. Look for it!

- Lastly, but not leastly, is a great piece on The Western Front, the official newspaper of Western Washington University, titled "Interactive storytelling: Dungeons and Dragons." College newspapers are usually very supportive of the hobby (often because the articles are written by gamers), and this one is no exception - it's a very good depiction of the hobby and the positive things it inspires. Thanks to Mindon Win and The Western Front for keeping it real.

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DTRPG fundraiser for National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Mon 30 of April, 2012 05:52 PDT
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and DriveThruRPG has been raising funds for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children with one of their excellent RPG bundles. This one offers you a bunch of great RPG products - Action Planet, Argyle & Crew, BASH Ultimate Edition, The Play's The Thing, The Princess Game, and much more - nearly $150 worth of gaming material for $25, which will go directly to an excellent cause.

The only problem is that your humble host wasn't aware of this fundraiser until very recently, so you don't have a lot of time to pick this one up. In fact, seeing as this is the last day of April, I'd recommend getting it today, before it is taken down.

You can purchase the NCMEC bundle here, and learn more about the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at

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Whatever you do, don't play D&D professionally...

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 26 of April, 2012 04:44 PDT
In "So, What Do You Do?," Huffington Post contributor Emile Hirsch discusses the frequent use of occupation as a conversational topic and how some find it offensive and superficial.

There's a grave danger, Hirsch explains, in waiting until someone offers this information to you, rather than asking for it up front - you may find yourself in a casual conversation with a criminal, or something worse:

When does it become appropriate in a conversation to inquire as to what the person you are talking to does with the bulk of his or her time? Ever? Or should the person simply disclose the information on their own time — although, if this were the case, you would probably be slightly more at risk for fraternizing with criminals and professional Dungeons and Dragons players more than you might feel comfortable with. Most will tend to excuse themselves from saying "I like to deal meth out of my mom's basement," or "I like to hustle knights in my mom's basement" when asked the question.

Of course, since there is no such thing as a "Professional Dungeons and Dragons player," I guess there's not really anything to be offended about here - it's just another case of someone who can't let go of an old, tired meme.

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Three RPG Kickstarters that deserve your attention.

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 19 of April, 2012 05:49 PDT
From various sources come three Kickstarter projects (two live, one pending) that deserve your attention:

First, my friend Jason McCartan pointed me to Attacks of Opportunity, which is basically a d20 in one of those Pop-A-Matic cases. While this may seem like a neat gimmick for the die collector (or someone who wants to burn through a game of Trouble a lot more quickly), it's also a great alternative to loose dice for people who lack motor control. And any effort to help the differently-abled play RPGs is a good thing, in my book.

Second - Witch Girls Second Edition has been funded, but still has 21 days left. It's an excellent urban fantasy/anime-ish RPG aimed at tween and teen girls, a sorely overlooked demographic as far as tabletop roleplaying is concerned. The pledge perks are pretty nifty, so if you're interested in such a project, you really should take a look before time runs out.

And finally - Golden Sky Stories is a Japanese RPG that is currently being translated into English. According to the publishers: "Golden Sky Stories is a heartwarming, non-violent role-playing game that’s great fun for all ages. It takes place in a small town in rural Japan, and players take on the role of henge (pronounced hen-gay, like a chicken that’s happy), animals with just a little magical power, including the ability to temporarily take human form. They do not fight great battles or unearth valuable treasures though; Golden Sky Stories adventures are all about helping others and becoming friends." It sounds like an excellent RPG for young people (and their grownups) who enjoy the Hayao Miyazaki movies. The Kickstarter for this one isn't active yet, but you can visit their website and Facebook page for more information.

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"Fantasy football is like D&D for jocks"

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Fri 30 of March, 2012 05:56 PDT
I'm pretty sure I see this phrase pop in my Google Alerts every single day from a snarky sports columnist or blogger. If I could find some way to take credit for it and get royalties, I could probably retire.

But hey, don't let it stop you, guys. I'm pretty sure there are still some sports fans in the undiscovered parts of the world that haven't had a chance to laugh at it yet.

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20 Sided World: Heikki Holmås, Norwegian Minister of International Development, and champion of RPGs and LARP

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 29 of March, 2012 06:31 PDT

Meet Heikki Holmås, Norway's new minister of International Development. He's a former "D&D champ" (he won a tournament in 1989) and convention organizer, who has recently "leveled up" to his new position. And as you can imagine, he has a lot of positive things to say about the roleplaying hobby:

RPGs can be extremely relevant in putting people in situations they’re unfamiliar with. Save the Children have their refugee games. I have friends in Bergen who’ve run human rights-RPGs. But you have to be professional. You create real emotions when you play role playing games, real emotions that stick, he says.

Holmås also thinks that LARP could help resolve some long-standing conflicts:
...there’s no doubt that you can put Israelis into the situation of the Palestinians and vice versa in a way that fosters understanding and builds bridges. Those things are an important aspect of role playing games which makes it possible to use them politically to create change.

Sadly, however, he doesn't seem to be aware of the Israeli Defense Force's attitude towards RPGs.

Still, it's people like Holmås who will lead to positive change, if anyone can. You can read the English interview at - and if you happen to be able to read Norwegian, you can read the full interview here

(Special thanks to Lee Williams and for the link)

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R.I.P., MAR Barker

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Fri 23 of March, 2012 06:31 PDT
I'm a bit ashamed to say that I've been so busy the past week or more that I haven't had time to make even a brief post about the passing of another roleplaying legend - Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman (MAR) Barker, who authored Tékumel, possibly one of the most detailed fantasy settings in not only the RPG hobby, but fantasy fiction as well.

While his passing will not get the same level of coverage than those of Gygax and Arneson, it has definitely been recognized among roleplayers - particularly the grognards among us.

Thank you, Professor Barker, for giving us the most vibrant, detailed sandbox that anyone could ever hope to play in - and for giving us the tools so that we could build our own as well.

Related links:

MAR Barker's Wikipedia page
Tékumel creator MAR Barker's role-playing game legacy (Michael Tresca)

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D&D program at the Royal Ontario Museum

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Mon 12 of March, 2012 06:07 PDT
The Royal Ontario Museum is offering a five-day program on the historical inspirations for the mythological elements of Dungeons & Dragons that sounds like a lot of fun:
Learn about legends, monsters, scrolls, and weapons from the actual cultures and artifacts upon which Dungeons & Dragons-style games are based. Use your imagination to bring it all to life while playing an on-going campaign in a ROM-inspired D&D world. Create characters, build models, and try to stay on the Dungeon Master’s good side!
The bad news: We're already missing it. The program starts today.

The worse news: The program costs $310 (or just $280 for members!). I'm assuming this is in Canadian dollars - but regardless, that's a lot of money.

The amazing news: IT'S SOLD OUT. (At least, according to the comment thread on, where I found this link.)

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GM's Day, Gygax Day, and Read an RPG Book in Public Week

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Sun 04 of March, 2012 06:43 PST
Today is GM's Day, when players pay homage to the gamemasters who work so hard to bring them excellent adventures at the game table. Gifts are exchanged, RPG carols are sung, people gather together to light up the Dice Tree, and... okay, most of those things don't really happen, but how cool would it be if they did?

To see the history of GM's Day, check out the EN World thread that started it all (thanks to Gnome Stew for the link), and if you're looking for a last-minute gift for your favorite GM, DriveThruRPG is running a lot of specials through the entire week.

March 4th is also the 4th anniversary of the day that we lost one of the founders of our hobby, E. Gary Gygax. So if you and your gaming gang are gathering for a session today, consider marking the occasion with a moment of silence. Or a moment of die rolling. Your preference.

Finally, today marks the beginning of the first week of the third annual Read an RPG Book in Public Week, when roleplayers are encouraged to bring their favorite books with them and read them in public, to make the hobby more visible. Be sure to get pictures if you can, and share your stories and links on the Facebook Page, Google+ page, and Twitter (hashtag= #readrpgs)

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Teen Exorcism Force - ASSEMBLE!

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Sun 04 of March, 2012 06:15 PST
You may have heard me mention Bob Larson on the site before - he's a self-proclaimed demonologist and exorcist who, in an interview for the documentary Uber Goober, once claimed to have exorcised a "Dungeons & Dragons demon" from a person in front of a live studio audience.

Today, it looks like Bob has a new schtick: assembling a trio of pretty teenage girls into TEEN EXORCIST FORCE! He's the Charlie (or the Bosley... not sure which) to these lovely demonbusting Angels! And Anderson Cooper seems to be happy to give them some publicity.

Don't believe me? Click PLAY and see for yourself!

I think I just got an idea for a new RPG...

While they don't mention Dungeons & Dragons specifically, make no mistake - all of the people on this stage believe that anyone who plays D&D is infested with demons that can be easily exorcised with no muss, no fuss, and no bother, for a "suggested donation." He has no reason not to make it a part of the intense exorcism training that these young ladies must endure to become demonbusters.

I visited Bob's website to see if his Demon Test® (no, I'm not being sarcastic - he really puts an ® next to it) makes any mention of D&D or RPGs in general - but it appears the first step you have to take in order to find out if you are the walking vehicle of horned, fanged beasts from the infernal realm is clicking a PayPal link.

Wow. I'm shocked. (Okay, NOW I'm being sarcastic!)

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30 Rock disses D&D, and Forbes consults it

Posted by WJWalton4831 points  on Thu 01 of March, 2012 06:47 PST
Two stories of RPGs in pop culture that hit my radar recently:

First, 30 Rock made fun of D&D players. Yeah, it still happens - sitcom writers run out of ideas, and drag out their old chestnuts. I haven't seen the episode in question (and I'm not sure if I'm very interested to), so I'm not qualified to comment on it, but Michael Tresca at the Examiner has, and you can read more about it there.

Next up - Forbes magazine tries to calculate Smaug's net worth, to see where he ranks in the Forbes Fictional 15. To do so, they find that they have to estimate his body size - since he sleeps while curled around his hoard - and end up consulting the authoritative work on dragon statistics, the D20 System Reference Document (or, the core set of rules for 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons). Read about it here

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