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Roleplaying advocacy news and website updates for The Escapist.

Created by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 26 of May, 2009 11:35 PDT
Last post Wed 23 of July, 2014 08:08 PDT
(364 Posts | 1072678 Visits | Activity=2.25)
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D&D Documentary team to host a panel at Gen Con

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 23 of July, 2014 08:08 PDT
The people working on the upcoming film Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary will be hosting a panel at this summer's Gen Con, and have graciously asked if I would pass along their press release. If you happen to be going to Gen Con in August, consider stopping in to talk to the team and catch a preview clip of the documentary.

If you're into roleplaying or tabletop gaming then you've maybe, just maybe, heard about a game called Dungeons & Dragons. And if you've followed our Kickstarter then you've heard about a film called Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary. A film about the godfather of contemporary gaming and even entertainment; everything from True Dungeon to League of Legends.

We've been in production for our documentary that explores the origins of the game, the story of its founders, and how it continues to influence so many aspects of today's culture. From how we interact at live events like Gen Con, to how we are helping educate our children and even mental health. According to one of our interviews, if you're on Facebook, then you're roleplaying.

Some exciting news for us — we will be hosting a panel at GenCon where we will screen a 12-minute clip of the film and do a Q&A with the filmmakers. We're currently at a crucial point in the edit of the film and therefore will welcome your support. Why does Dungeons & Dragons speak to you? What aspects of our screener would you like to see more of?

If you're at Gen Con, our panel will be on Saturday, August 16th, at 2pm, at the Westin: Capitol I. More info for Gen Con account users at https://gencon.com/events/66470.

If you come by please know that your time and your support will be graciously appreciated. We want to get to know you and understand why Dungeons & Dragons has gained your curiosity!

To learn more about our film, please visit our website.

Come by and visit! If you can't, please feel free to email us at:

Thanks so much!

Anthony Savini and The Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary team


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The Escapist got another ENnie Nomination!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 20 of July, 2014 17:26 PDT

The Escapist has landed another nomination for Best Website in the 2014 ENnie Awards!

Voting opened today and runs through July 30th - hit the booth and cast your vote for your favorite RPG advocacy website!


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Random Article Table - 04/11/14

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 11 of April, 2014 06:39 PDT
As usual, I have a bunch of great articles backing up in the queue, but other projects have been keeping me from getting to them. So let's pack them up neatly into another Random Article Table, shall we? Give me an initiative roll, because you're about to have an encounter...

- The Geekly Report: One Kid’s Plan to Save His Youth Center With Dungeons & Dragons - A nice little piece that starts out explaining the benefits of the hobby and the absurdity of the Satanic panic over them, then tells the story of a young man who is attempting to keep a Prince Edward Island youth center from closing down, through a fundraiser and the promise of building a gaming community there. Info is provided for anyone willing to participate.

- Dungeons & Dragons and Television Misfits is an examination of the portrayal of roleplayers in popular sitcoms versus the real thing.

- Probation in jeopardy for kids-on-car-hood dad - So, it goes like this: a guy strapped four children to the hood of his car and took them for a joyride. He was given a suspended sentence and probation. He has tested negative for drugs and alcohol since then, but failed to remove weapons from his home as he was instructed to, and now his probation may be revoked. So, naturally, reporter Rebecca Green had to tie this to Dungeons & Dragons in some way - "But his love of the game Dungeons & Dragons and his collection of weapons related to that game led to Allen County probation officers asking for his probation to be revoked." Sigh.

- Inside Dungeons & Dragons - A nice little nod to the hobby from Leeds Student, the weekly newspaper of the University of Leeds. As usual, college newspapers and news sites are much better at getting their facts right then the major news outlets.

- Jury delivers guilty verdict in Weaver murder trial - A man involved in a 1999 home invasion is found guilty of capital murder, after testifying that he did not intend to kill anyone, only to rob the home. Torrance Vincent broke into Damian Wright's home while Wright and others were playing Dungeons & Dragons. I'm posting this because there was a time when this story would have been used as another example of the dangers of roleplaying, even though the victims of the crime were gamers, not the culprits. Don't laugh. It has happened before.

- What leaders can learn from Dungeons & Dragons - Australian business magazine BRW gives us five lessons that D&D can teach leaders. But we knew all of this already.

- Tabletop strategy games still popular, create sense of community - A positive little piece from Chicago's Beacon-News about tabletop games (including D&D) and the sense of community that they help to inspire.

- The great 1980s Dungeons & Dragons panic - A pretty extensive look at the moral panic over D&D during the 1980s, and contrasting those attitudes with today's general perception of the hobby. We're seeing more of these sorts of articles that look at the moral panic era as a curiosity, and I think that's a very good thing.

...and that does it for this installment of the Random Article Table. Now which one of you moved all of the figures around while I wasn't looking?

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B.A.D.D. pamphlet gets some attention

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 10 of April, 2014 21:36 PDT
It looks like my section on B.A.D.D.'s pamphlet on the dangers of D&D has been getting passed around on several blogs and sites, including these:

io9 - How We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons

A Lesson in Stupid Moral Panics: The History of Dungeons And Dragons Bans

disinformation - Mazes, Monsters, Charlatans, Satan and Suicide: A Short History of the Satanic Panic

Slacktivist - Go and learn what this means: Lawful evil, chaotic good and B.A.D.D. theology

The increased attention has brought some more critical eyes to B.A.D.D.'s anti-RPG manifesto, and one reader pointed out something I had completely missed. The pamphlet's claim that half of the early suicides by D&D players occurred during full moons is completely false - NONE of them did!

For more, check out As BADD As It Gets, Page 1.

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Congressional Candidate negatively "outed" as a gamer

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 02 of April, 2014 06:24 PDT
Candidate Jake Rush has been getting some negative press after entering the Republican primary for Florida's third congressional district, but it's not all about the issues at hand. As it turns out, Rush is a former Vampire LARPer, and his opponent Ted Yoho is using this as ammunition against him.

While Rush did attempt to erase some of his gaming history from the internet by deleting photos and blog posts, he did come clean about his hobbies to the press:
“All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination, from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains,” Rush continued. “I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theater background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare.’
You may remember a similar situation in 2007, when game designer John Nephew ran for councilman of Maplewood, Minnesota, and found himself targeted for previously producing a card game titled Let's Kill. For the record - he won.

Having an interest in games and role-playing really shouldn't be an issue in deciding who would be best at making our laws, and the fact that someone can still consider this a worthy strategy just proves that we still have a little further to go.

Links:
Jake Rush Defends Role-Playing Hobby, Attacks Ted Yoho
Florida GOP Candidate Jacob Rush Is a Big Fan of Vampire Role-Playing
Jake Rush Launches New Ad Even as his Vampire RPG Details Get National Notice

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D&D turns 40 this month!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 05 of Jan., 2014 19:25 PST
Dungeons & Dragons, the game that launched a whole new form of entertainment while unleashing our imaginations, turns 40 years old this month. While the exact release date of the game is difficult to pin down, Jon Peterson (author of Playing at the World), comes up with a pretty good justification on his blog for recognizing January 26th as D&D's "birthday."

For four decades now, D&D and other tabletop RPGs have helped bring people together, forge new friendships, promote reading, storytelling, art, and creativity, and much more. So I'd like to commemorate the occasion with a special little section of the site, and I'd love it if you would help.

I'd like to do a sort of collage of pictures, quotes, and stories - pictures of your group enjoying a game of D&D, quotes about how D&D affected your life, and stories of positive experiences that you've had with the hobby, such as meeting friends or discovering new ways to look at the world.

If you'd like to participate, you can send any of the above to me via email, post them to the Escapist's Facebook page, Google+ page, or Twitter account. And just to keep things tidy and polite, here are a few guidelines:

- Please keep everything family friendly, including language.
- Limit stories and quotes to ~100 words. (But if it's such a good story that can't be told in 100 words or less, send it anyway, and we'll talk.)
- If you're sending a picture, please make sure that everyone in the picture has our permission to have it displayed on the site.

I'll reveal the finished page on January 26th, and continue to post new items to it through the remainder of the year - so be sure to spread the word!

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It's been tested already, ladies.

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 13 of Sept., 2013 14:03 PDT
Bob Larson's Teen Exorcists are getting a bit more attention these days, thanks to a recent BBC documentary. While I'm not certain that they've specifically mention RPGs in the documentary, when I heard this comment uttered during the trailer for it, I couldn't help but turn it into a memepic.



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"This Must Be the Only Fantasy" - an RPG-themed short film

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 18 of Aug., 2013 09:50 PDT
"This Must Be the Only Fantasy" is a well-done short film by Todd Cole that starts out with a group of gamers waiting for a wayward player, then turns into an urban fantasy that reminds me a little of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. The film appears to have been sponsored by a fashion company, which may very well be the first time that RPGs have been used to help promote a clothing line. But I could be wrong.

Also - look for a nifty cameo near the end!







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The Escapist won a Silver ENnie for Best Website!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sat 17 of Aug., 2013 13:47 PDT
Thanks to all who voted!



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ENnie Awards voting is open!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 22 of July, 2013 08:27 PDT
Voting for the 2013 ENnies is open! Cast your votes between now and July 31st - and don't miss that Best Website category! (It's all the way at the bottom.)

ennie-awards.com/vote/

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Another ENnie nomination , and a much overdue Random Article Table

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 16 of July, 2013 08:40 PDT
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted a blog update - and has become way too common that I start my updates with how long it has been since the last one. I’ve been very busy trying to get some life issues sorted out, and promoting my first children’s book – but none of that is any excuse, and I apologize for the absence.

First, the big news - The Escapist has been nominated yet again in the Best Website category in the 2013 ENnie Awards! This is the second nomination my lil’ ol’ site has received (the first was in 2011), and I couldn’t be happier with the recognition - not because of the ego stroke, but rather because it helps bring attention to the cause.

Voting opens on July 22nd, and continues through the 31st. All are free to vote, so get those votes in!

www.ennie-awards.com/blog/2013-ennie-awards-nominees/

Okay, now let’s get on with that random article table, shall we? Warm up those dice...

KICKSTARTING EDUCATIONAL LARPS - Seekers Unlimited is a group that I’m just starting to learn more about. They describe themselves as “new company that strives to improve education through live action role-playing games” - which definitely seems to seem like a common purpose to what I do here. They’ve launched a Kickstarter project to develop some educational LARPs, and I’d really like to see them succeed. They have 45 days to go as I write this, but still have a way to go to reach their goal. Consider giving them a boost over on their Kickstarter page - Creating Educational Live Action Role Playing Games

TWO EXCELLENT RPG MINI-DOCUMENTARIES - I’m always happy to see tabletop RPGs becoming more of a part of our contemporary anthropology, and these two shorts are great examples of that. PBS Off Book: Dungeons & Dragons and the Influence of Tabletop RPGs (YouTube) features our friend Ethan Gilsdorf, and People: Heroes of the Tabletop is a finalist in Smithsonian’s 2013 Video Contest. Both are under 9 minutes long, and very well done, and are worthy of your attention.

GAMING WHILE FEMALE - MarvelousMaraW explains in this blog post the problem with being a part of an all-female RPG group playing in a public place - “People outright stare.” Hopefully, we’ll see a day when such a thing isn’t such an oddity.

GAME LOFT GETS PRESS - I’ve been a fan of The Game Loft, a wonderful enrichment program for kids using non-electronic games, for some time now. This article from the Penobscot Bay Pilot gave the program a bit of exposure, which will hopefully bring more participants, and possibly even inspire others to set up similar programs in their communities.

D&D AS A MUSE - Rob D. Young at Lit Reactor gives us this list of 7 Things D&D Taught Me About Storytelling, and even manages to squeeze in an “attack the darkness” joke.

YOUR PARENTS HELP YOU PUT IT TOGETHER - I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and I love to look at old game and toy ads, so this collection of old D&D ads at Gamers and Grognards really made me smile.

RENEGADE RETRIEVED FOR A BOUNTY - My friend David Shepheard asked if I would make it known that Thistle Games is offering many of their products through the “Pay What You Want” model, which seems to be becoming more popular recently. Included among these is their “Getting Started” guide, which is a pretty good resource for introducing new players to the hobby. Their quality retroclone RPG Renegade and its supplements are also available free of charge. Find out more at this thread at The Piazza.


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Disney files patent for 'Role-Play Simulation Engine'

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 15 of March, 2013 06:45 PDT
I'll admit it raised a bit of an alarm when I saw the headline "Disney Seeks to Patent Live Action Role Play for Theme Parks," and I'm sure there will be a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth in some of the forums. But what Disney is actually patenting is a tech-driven system for creating an immersive roleplaying experience for their park guests:

The patent allows for guests to participant in ‘long-form role play’ events in which they interact with performers that are employed by the park to engage the guest in the role-playing activities. The performers don’t even need to be humans either. They can be audio animatronics, for example, or something as simple as a video screen that triggers in response to the guest’s arrival.

All of this information — prompts to performers and responses by guests — are fed into an electronic device/system known as the planner, or game master. The planner then makes decisions on how the rest of the role playing session should play out based on how the guest responds to the game thus far.


There's even a mention of integrating special props that alert park employees to your location via RFID or GPS, allowing them to locate you for "random encounters." It sounds like a lot of fun, and could possibly even generate some interest in RPGs and LARP among people who have never tried roleplaying before.

Speaking of wailing and gnashing of teeth, I had a little chuckle when I saw the patent application number - #20130066608. Yep, there are three sixes in a row in there. If we were still in the Satanic Panic era, you could bet there'd be a televangelist pointing that out to you, and trying to convince you to stay far away from Disney's corruption.

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Read an RPG Book in Public Week 2013 is here!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 03 of March, 2013 06:54 PST

The first Read an RPG Book in Public Week of 2013 is here! So get those books out, and get caught reading them in public!

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My apologies...

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sat 23 of Feb., 2013 12:59 PST
I apologize, faithful Escapist readers. I haven't been posting much to the blog lately, mostly due to that other project that I've been working on. One of you had to remind me that I hadn't announced this year's dates for Read an RPG Book in Public Week (coming soon - March 3rd - 9th!), and my best friend Henry had to tell me that I haven't updated the title graphic, which makes the site look as if it hasn't been touched since 2011.

I am truly sorry. By way of apology, I offer you some quick nuggets of roleplaying awesomeness:

Here are some pictures of a Dungeons & Dragons float at Carnaval in Brazil this year - and by that I mean Saturday Morning Cartoon Dungeons & Dragons!

While you're looking at awesome pictures, here are some awesome wedding portraits from a Singaporean couple who love D&D as much as we do.

And finally, McSweeney's gives us a list of Vocabulary Words We Learned Playing Dungeons & Dragons. Looking over them, I think I can say that I didn't know most of them before I dug into the Dungeon Master's Guide.

That's all for now. Thanks for sticking with me through this! I always appreciate your emails and words of encouragement.

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Another classic 80s anti-RPG clip

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 09 of Jan., 2013 18:35 PST
One of my Facebook friends brought this to my attention today. This is a clip that was part of a 700 Club promotional video titled "Lost Without a Compass" (full video is here) that included a short segment on the dangers of role-playing games.





I'd bet my entire dice bag that the Dead Alewives got their inspiration from their "Satan's Game" sketch on this video.

The caped gamemaster with the massive tome on a lectern, the candleabras, the bouncers that eject you from the game when your character dies, the ambiguous board (how are those pieces supposed to move, anyway?), the "Lord of the Little People" - all of these are good for a chuckle, and easily demonstrate how little the producers of this video really knew about the roleplaying hobby. But this came at a time when many people didn't know what went on during a typical session of D&D, and were much more apt to believe a moral leader like Pat Robertson over those pimply faced teenagers that had been hanging out with your kids lately.

We can all be very thankful at how much times have changed since then.

Now, as a little compare-and-contrast exercise, here's another video that I happened to see on YouTube while subjecting myself to the previous one:





Once again, it's like they took a page directly from the 700 Club, turned up the goofy, and just let the comedy write itself.

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