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Created by WJWalton4663 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Wed 23 of July, 2014 08:08 PDT
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Reminder: Two days left to vote in the Ogre Awards!

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Sat 29 of Oct., 2011 21:17 PDT
Just in case you've been procrastinating, this is a friendly reminder that there are just two days left to vote for my website, The Escapist, in the Ogre Awards! The Escapist has been nominated in the Website of the Year category for the 2011 Ogre Awards, a series of accolades given by the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts (O.G.R.E.s).

Here's more about the "Oggies" from their website:
The OGRE Awards, most commonly known as The Oggies (after our mascot Oggie the Ogre), are a grouping of awards presented by O.G.R.E.s annually to leaders and members of the tabletop, card, live action, and party gaming industry for their products and services. Unlike other tabletop industry awards like the ENnies or Origin awards, the OGGIEs are not all limited to annual releases. Instead, they reflect the cherished games and people that members of O.G.R.E.s - around 3,000 across three countries - care for. The program began in 2010, and the first actual awards will be up for open voting beginning on September 1st, 2011.
Check out the voting page and, if you are so inclined, please consider voting for your favorite roleplaying advocacy website in the Website of the Year category! The voting page can be found at ogres.wikia.com/wiki/The_Oggies/2011 and voting closes on October 31st.

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Random Article Table: Big Bang Theory, celeb gamers, murder retrial, Google+, and more

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Tue 11 of Oct., 2011 10:05 PDT
Sheldon Rolls Dice with the Universe - I missed the most recent episode of Big Bang Theory, but from what I hear, the episode began with the group playing a game of D&D, and continued with Sheldon using his gaming dice to make all of his life decisions. I'm hoping to catch it in reruns.

YA Author was a "secret gamer" - In an interview for the Daily Herald, Paul Talbot, author of the young adult novel Wizard Magic, discusses his childhood interest in fantasy, and how he was able to work around a parental ban on Dungeons & Dragons:
In the late '80s as Dungeons and Dragons grew in popularity, Talbot's parents deemed it as "bad" and Talbot and his brother Adam Talbot were banned from playing the game. However, creating fantasy worlds was what Talbot did best, so he and Adam created their own role-playing game.

"My brother came up with the character's race, class and the types of monsters while I thought up the spells and magic items," he said.

They referred to their game as "A.P's Quest" or "Adam and Paul's Quest."

Read more here.

John C. Reilly and his D&D past - Actor John C. Reilly briefly mentions how he founded the Dungeons & Dragons club at his high school in an interview for MovieFone: article here.

New Evidence in Savannah murder case - The Savannah Morning News brings us the story of new evidence found in the 1992 murder case of Marine veteran Stanley Jackson. The three suspects, Mark Jones, Kenneth Gardiner and Dominic Lucci, were called "thrill seekers" by prosecutor David Lock, who also said that the three were "acting out a scenario from the game Dungeons and Dragons." Now the sole eyewitness to the crime has come forward to claim that he was never able to identify the suspects, and other facts about Jackson's murder have raised questions about the guilt of the three suspects. Read the full story here.

Something fun for once - Southern California attorney Burt Likko (not his real name) has been asked by some friends to run a role-playing game for them. Rather than go with a published RPG system, Burt has opted to create his own RPG rules, and is asking his readers what they like to see in a set of roleplaying rules. Hopefully, there will be future updates on his progress - I personally think it would be interesting to see the developments as a lawyer sets about creating a set of RPG rules. Read more here.

Google+ gets the D&D test - This is a totally biased opinion: The true test of any new tech gadget is how it can help you play Dungeons & Dragons. Over at DigitalTrends, they put Google's new social network, Google+ to the ultimate test: Read about it here.

And lastly, I have two excellent stories from university newspapers about roleplaying. In Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, the Baker Orange has a story about the Baker Vniversity Lifeless Langvage Association (BVLLA), a language club that hosts the occasional LARP event. (link), and from Dixie State College in Utah, the Dixie Sun has a great article about their Dungeons & Dragons club: (link).

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An interview with Cameron McNary, author of Of Dice and Men

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Fri 30 of Sept., 2011 10:43 PDT
Cameron McNary is the author of Of Dice and Men, a play in two acts about a group of friends and roleplayers who find themselves having to cope with some life-changing, real-world decisions. The show has found some critical acclaim, and even changed some minds about the roleplaying hobby and the people who play it.

I had the opportunity to talk to Cameron about his inspiration for writing the play and the issues that it addresses. You can read the full interview here.

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Romach: Helping troubled youth in Israel with RPGs

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Wed 28 of Sept., 2011 10:25 PDT
From Purple Pawn comes the brief but positive story about an organization called Romach in Raanan, Israel that uses role-playing games as a form of therapy for troubled youth:

The organizers have enlisted a psychiatrist and some therapists for the project. They trained them as to how RPGs work (their RPG of choice is Warhammer Fantasy; 4e is too combat oriented) and they received training on how to run the sessions to ensure that each child encounters situations that can help them work through issues. The sessions, and the club, look nothing like therapy, which is the point.


This is refreshing news coming from Israel - some of you may remember an article from 2005 about how the Israeli Defense Force considers roleplayers a security risk, and how soldiers who admit to playing Dungeons & Dragons are "sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist."

It seems like Romach is sort of a logical response to this sort of ignorance - especially since, as the Purple Pawn article suggests, there are plans to expand the program to give leadership training to the military.

Read the full article here - and here's hoping we'll see a lot more about this!

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Indie RPG bundle supports the Wayne Foundation

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Thu 15 of Sept., 2011 09:00 PDT
The Wayne Foundation Charity Pack - Fifteen dollars gets you an incredible pack of indie RPG products, including Argyle & Crew, Azamar, Toypocalypse, Adventure Idea Factory, and much more - and all of the profits go to a charity that helps victims of human trafficking and child prostitution. From the page:

The Wayne Foundation's vision is for a world without child slavery. Our mission is to provide young women who have fallen victim to commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking with a means of leaving the sex industry for good. The Wayne Foundation is committed to fighting human trafficking, child prostitution & child sex exploitation one victim at a time by providing individuals with a safe home environment that will empower them with the tools they will need to stop the cycle of abuse.

It is our intent to stop commercial sex exploitation within the United States through direct victim assistance, public outreach, and by directly working with those who shape the policies and statutes which impact victims and their abusers.

Every cent of profit made from this bundle will go directly to The Wayne Foundation to help them accomplish this mission. Not only will you get some great RPG and board game products, but you'll be helping Jamie and her foundation get off the ground and in to action.


It's just another example of gamers doing good things in the real world. Please consider contributing.



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Shelly Mazzanoble interview in Forbes

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Wed 14 of Sept., 2011 09:51 PDT
Shelly Mazzanoble, author of Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress, has published a followup: Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons. David Ewalt from Forbes has an interview with her:

I remember taking this psychology class in college and learning that you should watch how people are with waiters and in traffic because that is a good indication of their “human shadow”—the part of ourselves we try to hide from everyone. I think D&D is probably the best telltale for that. I’ve made some of the best friendships of my life because of the relationships my character had in the dungeon.


You can read the full article here

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Three quick updates

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Tue 13 of Sept., 2011 15:08 PDT
- The Grand Masquerade, which is the 20th anniversary celebration of the Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, starts this Thursday and runs through Sunday. Whether you enjoy the game or not, it's still a very impressive event centered around a single RPG. I'm hoping we'll see some great pics and video of the celebration in the coming weeks.

- Chuck Wending explains why writers should play roleplaying games. Chuck uses a lot of grownup words, so please click with discretion.

- Dungeons & Dragons has once again landed a nomination for the Toy Hall of Fame, and again, the other nominees present some stiff competition - the dollhouse, Hot Wheels, Jenga, Pogo Stick, Puppet, R/C Vehicles, Rubik's Cube, Simon, Star Wars action figures, Transformers, and Twister. Only two nominees will make it into the Hall of Fame, and they will be announced on November 10th.



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Speak out with your geek out!

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Thu 08 of Sept., 2011 07:53 PDT
If you are a geek of any degree, you've probably heard the story about the journalist who dated a Magic: the Gathering champion by now. But if not, here's the nutshell version - an internet journalist went on a date with someone she met through a dating site, found out that he was a Magic: The Gathering champion, and felt the sudden need to take a long, hot shower and blog about how gross and icky the whole experience was. Geek rage ensued, and the whole thing turned out to be quite profitable for the judgemental journalist, who was getting paid for each click on her screed (in fact, that may have been the purpose of the whole thing, which is why I will not link to it here).

In a similar vein, Joe Elliot of Def Leppard recently referred to his more angry and unappreciative fans as "idiots who sit in their mother's basement eating Doritos and playing Dungeons and Dragons all day," using a popular pasttime to paint the image of unsocialized, unwashed loners holed up in dark basements, typing furiously on keyboards about how disappointed they are that the band doesn't vary their set list between shows.

These aren't the only examples. Every day, I find more in my inbox - usually ESPN editorials accusing unpopular athletes of playing too much D&D. While flipping through TV channels about a month ago, I chanced upon two shows airing simultaneously - a reality program with repo men trying to collect a vehicle from LARPers who refused to break character, and a Disney Channel show in which a tween girl was horrified to discover that the boy she liked played a popular fantasy card game (no big surprise here - the Disney Channel actually has a long history of this sort of thing).

Now realistically, this is minor compared to other, bigger injustices that are going on in the world. We're not some kind of tragic victims here. We'll live through this, certainly. But that doesn't mean that we can't do something to correct it.

My friend Monica Valentinelli has started an event in response to this type of hatred: Speak Out With Your Geek Out, in which geeks of all types make their status known to all on blogs and social networks and anywhere else they want to let their geek flag fly. Monica explains it much better than I could:

Sometime during the week of Monday, September 12th to Friday, September 16th post about what geeky hobby you love. Then, tell us why we should try it, too. Leave your fears (and edition wars) at the door. Forget about your latest rant. Tap into that well of positive energy and share in the excitement of all things geek.

Let us invite those who would stereotype us to sit at our table and share our interests. Let us combat being used as pawns for internet gaffes with the reasons why we’re awesome, why we love what we love, and why it’s good to be a geek.


The Flames Rising blog has more on the event. If you are on Facebook, you can join the event there, and Twitter users are encouraged to use the #speakgeek hashtag in their tweets.

(The idea is similiar, but not identical, to another geek-related event that will be coming up soon, one that was concocted on this very site - Read an RPG Book in Public Week - and I encourage any and all participants in that event to participate in this one - and vice versa!)

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Learning in the world of Diddorol, and something you didn't know about Anderson Cooper

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Wed 07 of Sept., 2011 10:57 PDT
NPR has the story of Larry Graykin, a Language Arts teacher at Barrington Middle School who has developed a role-playing game that helps his students learn in an exploratory fashion. You can give it a listen here, and visit Mr. Graykin's Diddorol website here.

And on US Weekly's website, one of the 25 things that we didn't know about Anderson Cooper was that he used to be a "D&D geek" as a kid. You can learn the other 24 things here.

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Vote for The Escapist in the Ogre Awards!

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Fri 02 of Sept., 2011 06:23 PDT
The Escapist has been nominated in the Website of the Year category for the 2011 Ogre Awards, a series of accolades given by the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts (O.G.R.E.s).

Here's more about the "Oggies" from their website:
The OGRE Awards, most commonly known as The Oggies (after our mascot Oggie the Ogre), are a grouping of awards presented by O.G.R.E.s annually to leaders and members of the tabletop, card, live action, and party gaming industry for their products and services. Unlike other tabletop industry awards like the ENnies or Origin awards, the OGGIEs are not all limited to annual releases. Instead, they reflect the cherished games and people that members of O.G.R.E.s - around 3,000 across three countries - care for. The program began in 2010, and the first actual awards will be up for open voting beginning on September 1st, 2011.
Check out the voting page and, if you are so inclined, please consider voting for your favorite roleplaying advocacy website in the Website of the Year category! The voting page can be found at ogres.wikia.com/wiki/The_Oggies/2011 and voting closes on October 31st.

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More D&D music: Romantic D&D Encounters (live)

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Tue 16 of Aug., 2011 09:20 PDT
Here's another great D&D inspired song courtesy of Gamerati: Filemon Palero from Washington DC sings about one of the biggest dating dealbreakers ever:



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D&Dish - Simplified D&D for young people

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Mon 15 of Aug., 2011 10:10 PDT
Over at Wired GeekDad, Kevin Makice tells us about his effort to make Dungeons & Dragons more accessible to young people with D&Dish.

If you'd like to skip the formalities and get right to the game, you can download D&Dish here.

(thanks to Jason McCartan for the link!)

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The Gygax biopic, and what I'm hoping it will do

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Sun 14 of Aug., 2011 20:14 PDT
Michael Tresca at the Examiner has broken the news about the upcoming film on the life of Gary Gygax, and if you haven't already heard, here are the juiciest bits - George Strayton (scriptwriter for the Hercules and Xena TV shows and an animated Dragonlance feature) will be doing the writing, the budget is set at $150 million, the plot will switch between details of Gygax's life and the fantasy realm of Dungeons & Dragons, and the lead will be played by a "huge star." (So it looks like at least part of the casting is already complete.)

There have been rumblings in RPG blogs and forums about the feasibility of such a project - will it have any public appeal at all, how well could such a film do at the box office, and could it ever hope to recoup its budget - and I'm sure some excellent points have been made on both sides of the argument.

But I'd like to leave those arguments where they are, and talk about the actual content of the movie. This film could have a lot of potential to help the roleplaying hobby, and I'm hoping that at least four areas will get some attention.

Here's what I'm hoping this Gygax biopic will do:

- Give a bit of time to the negative backlash against the game in the early 80s through the 90s. This is a big opportunity to set the record straight on a lot of the misconceptions that people had about the game, and I hope they take it. It would be helpful not only to the hobby, but to helping everyone improve their critical thinking skills.

- Demonstrate how the game is played. Many people still have a big misunderstanding in this area, and a simple demonstration of how the DM and players interact to create a story would help a lot. Sure, it will be fun to see big and loud fantasy scenes explode across the screen, but I'm hoping that it will be made clear who is really making those things happen - the DM and the players - and how they're doing it.

- Show how much fun it is. This may be a given, or it may not. Since the focus is on the early days of D&D, there may be some temptation to portray all of the players as stuffy science nerds who show no outward signs of enjoying themselves. What I'm hoping for here would be the exact opposite, obviously.

- Demonstrate what Gygax started, not just what he created. After D&D became popular, a few other RPGs sprang up to appeal to fans of other genres, and then the hobby exploded with new games through the 80s and 90s and into the new millennium - from small press affairs of blotchy photocopied rulebooks to full-color hardcover tomes to the self-publishing PDF revolution. The influence on video games, celebrities inspired by the RPG hobby, the Vampire television series, references to D&D on shows like Freaks & Geeks and Community - Gygax provided the spark, but to really do justice to his accomplishment, they should show how far the fire really spread.

Almost eleven years ago, many of us were hoping that the Dungeons & Dragons movie would help inspire a renewed interest in the roleplaying hobby... and were sadly disappointed. Here's hoping that won't happen again.

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D&D grows up, and gets a new theme song

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Sun 07 of Aug., 2011 10:33 PDT
Two great links that I wandered across recently:

First, from Austin 360 comes this very positive article on D&D and the people who play it, Dungeons & Dragons Grows Up:
After spending all day on a computer at work, gamers Brandy Hamblet and Travis Fricke said that sometimes the last thing they want to do is go home and stare at a screen for entertainment.

"It's nice to be able to sit down with several friends at once," Hamblet said. "I probably wouldn't get to see some of these people very often outside of the game. I get social-ed out pretty quickly, but that doesn't happen with D&D. I always want to keep playing."

Read the whole story here: [article | archive]

Next, the very talented Allie Goertz has written a song about enjoying Dungeons & Dragons with her friends and escaping from the stresses of life:



An MP3 of the song is forthcoming, and I'm looking forward to adding it to my RPG geek playlist, along with In the Garage, Cloak of Elvenkind, and Ready to Roll!



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Read an RPG Book in Public Week starts at midnight!

Posted by WJWalton4663 points  on Sat 23 of July, 2011 18:02 PDT

Don't forget - the second Read an RPG Book in Public Week of 2011 starts at midnight!

What is Read an RPG Book in Public Week, you may ask? It's a thrice-yearly event, held during the weeks surrounding March 4th, July 27th, and October 1st, where roleplayers are encouraged to take their favorite roleplaying rulebooks, modules, supplements, and splatbooks with them when they leave the house and read them in public. The purpose is to make the hobby more visibile, promote inquiry and conversation about the hobby, and maybe even attract some new players or bring back some of the lapsed ones.

To find out more about Read an RPG Book in Public Week, visit the official page at theescapist.com/readrpgsinpublic There, you'll find links to the Facebook and Flickr accounts and much more!



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