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Created by WJWalton4818 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Mon 27 of July, 2015 21:32 PDT
(374 Posts | 1655029 Visits | Activity=2.00)

Gamers helping with Hurricane Sandy relief

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Thu 01 of Nov., 2012 19:20 PDT
It should come as no surprise to most roleplayers that DriveThruRPG has put together a package of RPG PDFs to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy - they've been raising funds for various causes and relief efforts for several years now. This time around, it's over $400 of RPG supplements and a few other items for a $20 donation, the proceeds of which go directly to the Red Cross. Find out more at DriveThruRPG.

Point of Insanity Studios has put together their own bundle as well, which includes three of their products at a discounted price. You can find out more at their bundle page on DriveThruRPG.

If anyone knows of any other RPG-related hurricane relief charities currently going on, please let me know!

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D&D aids in psychology research - but not how you might think

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Thu 01 of Nov., 2012 09:07 PDT
This story from Discover Magazine tells about Alan Kingstone, a psychologist doing research on the gaze-copying behavior found in humans and animals - the tendency we have to look where others are looking. While pondering the different hypotheses on this behavior, Kingstone mentioned them to his 12-year-old son, who suggested a possible method of testing whether or not humans focused on a subject's eyes or the center of their head - show them pictures from the Monster Manual, including monsters like the Beholder, Otyugh, and Umber Hulk, that have eyes in other places.

It's an interesting article, and a great tribute to D&D as a source of iconic images being used in scientific research.

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Wizards and Warriors needs your help!

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Wed 24 of Oct., 2012 19:08 PDT
Meghan Gardner (whom I interviewed a little while ago) has spent years developing a fantastic collection of LARP camps for young people, and now she wants to license the systems and take their LARP camps nationwide. They're using Kickstarter to raise some funding, which means you can help make this fantastic project a reality! Here are the details, in Meghan's own words:

Guard Up! Inc. just announced that we will be raising funds to license our youth program called “Wizards & Warriors”. This program is designed to engage kids and teens in live, story-based adventures where they play a character in an ongoing storyline. In these adventures, the kids (we call them “Heroes”) fight monsters with foam swords, win treasure and solve ancient mysteries. We also have a futuristic version that uses Nerf Blasters called “Zombie Blaster Adventures”. Both programs involve kids interacting with creatures and characters out of real life history, literature, and mythology.

Please consider supporting our Kickstarter Campaign:

100% of your donation goes towards making our license a reality… which will help individuals and facilities across the globe offer this exciting program to children and teens who would benefit from the opportunity to experience an adventure where they are the hero… and make lifelong friends. Whatever amount of support you can provide is appreciated. And whatever help you can provide is made even larger if you do so within 24 hours of reading this. The campaigns with the most number of donations within the first days of going live have a higher chance of being listed as a “Popular” campaign on the Kickstarter main page. With your help, we can get there!

Thank you so much for your support. This is the start of an exciting journey for all of us at Guard Up and the young heroes we hope to reach!

As I write this, the Kickstarter has only 5 days to go, and is still a bit below their goal - so please act fast!

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PBS Idea Channel: Can D&D can make you a successful & confident person?

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Fri 19 of Oct., 2012 11:01 PDT
I'm still playing catch-up with the stuff that has come in to my inbox the last few weeks. This one has been making the rounds quite a bit lately, so it's likely you've seen it elsewhere, but in case you haven't: PBS's Idea Channel on YouTube recently covered the subject of the benefits of playing Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games:

It's very well done, with an excellent coverage of the benefits of playing RPGs, peppered with lots of references to miscellaneous coolness (such as the Futurama, Community and Freaks & Geeks episodes, the D&D cartoon, and much more. (Bonus points awarded, as always, for the gazebo and Dead Alewives references!)

The request for comments and input brought some great responses, which were covered at the end of the following Idea Channel video, and included a comment from W.A. Hawke Robinson of (starting at around 6:08):

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RPGers raise over $16K for fellow gamer's brain surgery

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Wed 17 of Oct., 2012 09:00 PDT
I'm a bit behind with this one, but it's still a fantastic story of roleplayers helping others - a group of gamers on Reddit are crowdfunding a benefit for a fellow gamer and talented artist who had a brain tumor removed. So far, they have collected over $16,000, and there are still eight days (as I write this) left on the indiegogo project.

Read the full story, including links to the Reddit thread and indiegogo page, here.

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Random article table: D&D Documentary gets funded, Playing at the World, Marines who love Marines, and more!

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Sun 16 of Sept., 2012 18:36 PDT
I've been short on free time lately, which can only mean one thing - tt's time for another collection of random articles!

- D&D Documentary has been funded: My original plan was to write a little blurb about how the Kickstarter for the proposed documentary commemorating the 40th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons was in need of funding, but before I could get this update together, a big push from many geek-friendly blogs and sites helped get the funding over the goal. As I write this, there are just two hours left to participate, so if you want in, you'll have to act fast - Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary

- Marines Who Love Space Marines - This Slate article on the popularity of Warhammer 40K among servicemen gives a bit of attention to the history of modern wargames, with a couple quick stops at Little Wars and D&D. Read all about it here. (Thanks to Ed Rishel for the link!)

- Two articles from Wired GeekDad: The first is an interview with the author of Playing at the World:A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures from Chess to Role-Playing Games by Jon Peterson - a book so thorough on the subject that interviewer Ethan Gilsdorf wasn't able to finish it in time before the interview! Read all about it here.

The second is about Play To Decide, a project that "will research how role-playing games can be used to support organizations and communities in democratic decision-making." Matt Cooperrider, the brains behind the project, is looking for input from anyone who may have some insight on using simulation games in this capacity - or just anyone with good ideas. Find out more here.

- A Tribute: Finally, a very touching post on RPGnet, in which a longtime gamer tells the story of how his mother handled his sudden interest in this strange game that was causing such an uproar in the news. It's a classic example of how parenting is done right, and it reminds me a lot of the way my parents handled my sudden interest in RPGs. Read it here.

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Chaosium wants RPGs for kids!

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Sat 01 of Sept., 2012 06:05 PDT
Chaosium (or "THE Chaosium," as we grognards call them), publisher of the original Call of Cthulhu RPG, is looking for submissions for new kid-friendly RPGs using their BRP (Basic Roleplaying) system:
We believe that gaming is a great way for parents to interact with their kids. It is a wonderful way to spend time together, to talk about things in the midst of the game, and the kids may even learn a lesson or two (Little Timmy! Why do you want to cast that booger-eating spell on that innocent bunny? Is that a nice thing to do?).
They certainly have the right idea about playing RPGs with kids, and the need for new games to support that cause.

If you've been kicking around an idea for a kid-friendly RPG, this may be your chance to see it get published! (I may even try to bang out a submission of my own, if I can find the time.) Submission rules and information can be found on Chaosium's website. Good luck!

(Thanks to Jeff Woodall for the link.)

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RPG-positive story in the Santa Clara Weekly

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Wed 29 of Aug., 2012 07:37 PDT
Here's a nice little piece, complete with a picture of smiling gamers, on the Dungeons & Dragons Encounters events held at a game and comic store in Santa Clara, California.

“Dungeons and Dragons gives you a chance to explore reacting to different situations,” Gravius says. “Something really satisfying about playing Dungeons and Dragons is being able to figure out a difficult puzzle or winning a really tough battle. It’s even more fun when you win with a group of people.”

Gravius brushes off the misconception that Dungeons and Dragons is a game strictly for male players. She insists that women can play the game too. In fact, both men and women participate in the Dungeons and Dragons game playing group at Illusive Comics & Games.

Read the full article here: Dungeons and Dragons Group Fosters Role Playing Fun

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Random article table: Braille Dice, Navy Seal LARP, and two new celeb gamers

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Tue 21 of Aug., 2012 06:59 PDT
It's that time again when I realize I'm behind on posting relevant RPG articles, and have to compile them all into one post whilst making a clever reference to random encounter tables from classic RPGs. So dig those percentile dice out of your battered Crown Royal bag and roll on the following table:

- I've heard of people making Braille dice before, to help provide people with vision impairments the satisfaction of rolling and reading their own dice, but I'm not sure they've been available in any configuration other than the basic d6. Now there's a Kickstarter project that aims to make a full set of Braille polyhedrals available, and it could really use a boost. I know there are lots of dice collectors out there who would love to have a set just for the novelty of it, and every pledge they get goes to a good cause. Visit their Kickstarter page at

- Bin Laden killed repeatedly in a Minnesota Navy Seal LARP: The title says it all, really. Not much more I can add to that, beyond the link.

- Celeb gamer - Anderson Cooper: In a recent "Ridiculist" segment about China banning movies and television shows about time travel, fantasy, and mythical stories, Anderson Cooper made a brief nod to his gamer geek past - or it could have just been one of his writers poking a little fun.
"Now as a former Dungeons & Dragons nerd, I can tell you that this is disturbing to me on a very deep, personal level. No fantasy, no mythical stories? What would I do with my multi-sided die and level 6 orc powers? And if you don't get the references it just means you probably played outdoors as a child and actually had friends."

Watch the video and decide for yourself:

Strange... my first game of D&D was played with three friends (one of them was even a GIRL!), and we played outdoors. I must have been doing it wrong.

- Celeb gamer - Nick Offerman: A site called Uproxx informs us that the Parks and Recreation actor was a Call of Cthulhu LARP enthusiast while in college who won several awards for his participation, and is even credited in the Call of Cthulhu silent film. Uproxx also informs us that anyone knowing what Call of Cthulhu is needs to get a life. Here's the link.

And again, I'm doing it wrong. I've definitely heard of "The Call of Cthulhu," but had no idea who Nick Offerman was. (I don't get to watch very much television these days.) Now that I've read about him on Wikipedia and his personal site, I see that he seems like a pretty cool guy.

Oh, and Uproxx? It's just "Cthulhu," not "THE Cthulhu." Get a life.

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Grimm Wisdom: 5 reasons to play D&D

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Mon 06 of Aug., 2012 05:34 PDT
At the Grimm Wisdom blog, Adam Grimm gives us 5 reasons to play D&D.

They're pretty good reasons, too. I've been preaching them here for the last 16 years, so they're nothing new to us, but it's always good to see someone else who agrees and wants to spread the word.

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James Holmes and roleplaying

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Sun 22 of July, 2012 04:40 PDT
The terrible act of violence in Colorado on Friday morning has left everyone looking for answers, as we always seem to do in these situations. While many of those with an audience have been quick to trot out their pet agendas (evolution, lack of prayer in schools, gun control, lack of gun control, etc.), I'm told that there has been the occasional mention of role-playing here and there.

I did a quick Google search for "James Holmes roleplaying," and most of what turned up seemed to reference online gaming, and not tabletop. The rest of what turned up began to wear away at my faith in humanity - conspiracy theories and suchlike. I closed that tab quickly, before I spotted any bloggers trying to connect the name James Holmes with the Holmes edition of D&D.

I am somewhat limited in my internet access at present, however - so if anyone spots a piece attempting to connect James Holmes to tabletop RPGs, please let me know.

One observation that I read and enjoyed (in a comment on Jolly Blackburn's Facebook wall) was this - regardless of whether or not Holmes played RPGs, the odds are a good portion of the people in the theater that he terrorized have at one time or another.

For the record, I refuse to refer to the killer by the moniker that the media have labelled him with. It is not fair to associate this act with the film and characters that so many people worked hard to develop, and so many fans have come to enjoy. It is not right to give the name of a work of creative art to someone who chose to be so destructive. It does no justice to those artists, the fans of the art, and most of all the victims who were just hoping to be among the first to enjoy a movie featuring their favorite superhero.

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week sneaked up on me!

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Sat 21 of July, 2012 04:54 PDT
Eeep! I've been so busy trying to sort out some life issues that I nearly missed the arrival of this summer's Read an RPG Book in Public Week!

So tell me folks, what are you planning to read, and where? And don't forget to share pics!

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Anti-D&D (and anti-lots of other stuff!) pamphlet at Comicon

Posted by WJWalton4818 points  on Wed 18 of July, 2012 17:56 PDT
Here's a picture that's been getting passed around on the social networks - it's a page from a religious tract that was being handed out by protestors at last weekend's Comicon in San Diego.

Sure, we're pretty well past the days of rampant Satanic Panic, but there are still a few out there who just can't let go of it.

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Family emergency

Posted by WJWalton4818 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 WJWalton4818 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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