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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 | 1228227 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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Whatever you do, don't play D&D professionally...

Posted by WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 Imagonem.org - and if you happen to be able to read Norwegian, you can read the full interview here

(Special thanks to Lee Williams and boingboing.net for the link)

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R.I.P., MAR Barker

Posted by WJWalton4708 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)
tekumel.com

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D&D program at the Royal Ontario Museum

Posted by WJWalton4708 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 reddit.com/r/rpg, where I found this link.)

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

Posted by WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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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The Zen of RPGs and Wizards' new "D&D Parents" community

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Thu 23 of Feb., 2012 20:50 PST
Two great items hit my radar this week:

First, Gnome Stew guest writer Adam Meyers waxes philosophical about roleplaying:
See, back in the ’80s, when the world was convinced Dungeons and Dragons was some sort of gateway drug to the occult, it fell to D&D pioneers to not only explain how RPGs weren’t evil, but how they could actually be good for you. Gary Gygax compared D&D to a chair once on 60 Minutes, and Tracy Hickman wrote a three-fold essay on RPG Ethics.

Read the full article here: D&D, Social Skills, and the Zen of Roleplaying Games.

Second - a Wizards Community user named Roger Nicholls has recently taken over a group on the WotC website called D&D Parents. In his own words:
It's effectively a group of parents who have gaming kids or want their kids to get into gaming. It's there to offer support, advice and a place to simply hang out and share ideas.

Roger is looking for roleplayer parents to help join the community. If you fit that description, or know someone who does, be sure to sign up at community.wizards.com/dndparents

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Catherine Blessing: Gamerati, and our future

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Wed 22 of Feb., 2012 19:11 PST
I've been a fan of the Gamerati videos for quite some time, and I think I've just found my favorite one:

Man, I wanna play in a Mermaid Tale campaign. I don't even mind that I won't be allowed to play a boy mermaid!

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20 Sided World - Robert Oglodzinski on RPGs in Poland

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Wed 15 of Feb., 2012 05:50 PST


At the Game Knight Reviews blog, Robert Oglodzinski tells the tale of the long and winding road he had to take to discover the roleplaying hobby, and how difficult it was to find RPG books in Poland during the 1990s:
It was the early 90s. The US attacked Iraq. Poland was a free country. The USSR collapsed. My cousin was in Germany playing Eye of the Beholder (Editor: Awesome game!). But I didn’t know what was up. I found some people in a nearby town running the local fantasy and science fiction community. They were a kind of rebels. Most of their older friends were just reading books and these young guys brought in this “RPG sickness” that was spreading very quickly.

Read the rest of the story at the GameKnight Reviews blog.

20 Sided World is a series on roleplaying culture around the world. For more information, visit the project's home page. If you have a website or blog that would make a good contribution to the project, feel free to contact me.

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Do not talk about Monopoly club

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Tue 14 of Feb., 2012 06:42 PST
College students being shy about playing RPGs? In 2012? Really?

Louisiana State University's Daily Reveille shares the story of a group of student gamers who used to disguise their hobby - claiming that they're playing Monopoly each Friday night - to avoid being cast as stereotypical nerds:
Almost every week, Hoppens and his friends play the game, though they disguise it as Monopoly. The group also has a secret Facebook page for players under that same guise.

Hoppens said he was initially apprehensive to play the game, given the nerdy stigma people often associate with D&D. But he was eventually lured in after observing friends embark on fantasy-filled adventures.
Thankfully, they eventually gained enough confidence to be a bit more open about it. Sadly, that same stigma is likely keeping a lot of other great potential players away from the hobby.

Read the full story here: Many students hide Dungeons & Dragons gameplay for fear of stereotypes

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Why RPGs are awesome for women

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Fri 03 of Feb., 2012 05:34 PST
In Roll a Strength Check: Why Tabletop Games Are Awesome For Women (And Everybody Else), Becky Chambers examines the stigmas associated with RPGs and the people who play them, and squishes them all with a +3 Warhammer of Stigma Squishing.

As you would probably guess, it's nothing that we don't already know, but it's a great article to share with others who have questions about the hobby - and near the end, she encourages us gamer type people to be proud of our hobby, own it, and do what we can to bring new blood to it. All good advice, in my book.

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RPG philanthropy, then and now

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Mon 30 of Jan., 2012 05:47 PST
It still amazes me how these sorts of things seem to arrive in little clusters like this. This morning, as I settled in with my cup-a-joe to check the ol' inbox, I spotted two stories, spanned almost exactly 30 years apart, about roleplayers using their hobby to raise money for a worthy cause:

THEN: northjersey.com posted a "Back in the day" article from The Record, dated February 3rd, 1982: 40 hours in dungeon nets $750 for Ringwood youths, about a group of teenagers who raised money for a worthy cause through a marathon game of Dungeons & Dragons:
The lawful good youths planned to play the game for 40 to 50 hours straight to raise money for the Leukemia Society of America. They planned on going door-to-door to get sponsors to pledge a set amount of money for each hour they played.

The boys got an almost full-page newspaper spread about their quest, including a picture of nine of them decked out in matching "The D&D Fellowship" T-shirts.

Read the full article here - it's not only a great example of a group of young people doing something good for humanity, it's also a rare specimen of RPGs being covered in the 1980s-era media before it became obligatory to force in some references to suicide and Satanism.

NOW: Things really haven't changed very much in the intervening 30 years. Sadly, we still have cancer - but we also still have gamers who want to do good for others (some of them are even playing the same RPGs from three decades ago!). On the RetroRoleplaying blog, a fund drive has been started to raise money for the medical expenses of a woman who has oral cancer - the goal is to raise $3000 by the end of February, and for each increment of $750 raised, a drawing will be held for some very nice old school RPG goodies, with each donor getting an entry in the drawing for each $10 they donate. Please visit the RetroRoleplaying Blog for more information, and give what you can.


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