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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 | 1071537 Visits | Activity=2.25)
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The shocking truth about D&D camp!

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Sun 27 of Sept., 2009 07:22 PDT
I remember hearing people make cracks about getting sent to "D&D camp" from time to time - but I never knew that such a thing was a reality.

Today on boingboing, Cory Doctorow linked to an older post on Gaming Brouhaha about a Dungeons & Dragons camp at Shippensburg College in Pennsylvania.



It turns out that Cory himself attended a similar camp the year after this picture was taken. Don't miss his post on his experiences there, or the great interview and comments in the original post at Gaming Brouhaha.

I started playing D&D in 1981, and Shippensburg was only a couple hours away from my home in Delaware. If I had known about this back then, I would have definitely nagged my parents to send me. I have to admit I'm a little sad that I missed out on this experience.

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Little Fears love in local paper

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 25 of Sept., 2009 17:26 PDT
The Madison, Wisconsin Isthmus published a nice little piece on the Nightmare edition of the Little Fears RPG and the Madison Games Day mini-con, featuring comments from author Jason L Blair and Flames Rising editor Matt McElroy,

Read all about it here.

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End of world postponed (until further notice).

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 25 of Sept., 2009 05:06 PDT
About that whole "world ends tomorrow" thing from a couple days ago? It seems it's been postponed until sometime later this Fall.

So good news, everybody - if you had plans to get together with your RPG group this weekend, it's back on!

(I'm guessing the Powers That Be aren't too upset with D&D after all...)

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Gaming Brouhaha's after-school RPG club reports

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 24 of Sept., 2009 06:03 PDT
MJ Harnish at Gaming Brouhaha has posted two of his weekly reports on running the Mouse Guard RPG for teens in an after-school gaming club.

In Session 0, he guides his players through the character creation process. Here we learn that a couple of his players are almost completely inexperienced when it comes to RPGs, yet they seem to take to it right away.

We also learn something else about his group of players:
One other important bit of information – all of the kids in my group are ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. All of them speak English quite well but aren’t Native speakers. That’s an important to take note of since the game still worked perfectly for them – they could understand the premise, the language, and imagery without any difficulties. They also generated some pretty amazing stuff.

In Session 1, MJ details the first session with a split group (there are too many players in the after-school club to cram them all into one party). Both groups get off to a great start.

These session reports are well written, and include meta-game comments from MJ throughout. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming reports.

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Washington Post parenting blog likes D&D

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Wed 23 of Sept., 2009 06:31 PDT
Brian Reed, in an "On Parenting" column for the Washington Post, gave us a list of toys that he feels are "worth a comeback." Dungeons & Dragons made number five:

All you need to know about my life in middle school is that I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, and that almost certainly delayed my first kiss. Though the Internet (through places like Second Life and World of Warcraft) means that opportunities for role-playing have never been richer, I have to mourn the loss of the social aspect. There was something important about sitting around a table with friends, chatting and clutching 20-sided dice. After all, the dice --in the end — were irrelevant.

Okay, sure, he seems to be unaware of the fact that D&D has been in print in various forms and editions since his beloved 80s - but don't lose the sentiment here. He's praising the social aspects of a game that he enjoyed when he was a young person.

Or maybe he's not unaware. Maybe he's really suggesting that more parents should play RPGs with their kids. And if that's the case, I could not agree more.

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Quickstart RPGs for libraries

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Tue 22 of Sept., 2009 08:00 PDT
I just had a little brainstorm of sorts. There was a post on the LibGaming forum where a librarian asked about an introductory package to D&D called "Dungeons & Dragons in 10 Minutes" (or something similar).

I wasn't aware of any such thing (and if you are, please let me know so I can pass it along), but it started the old gears turning.

One of the things that can hold someone back from starting a roleplaying program at a library is the amount of time and material investment - buying the books and dice, and spending the time to learn the rules, create characters, and write a scenario. All of this comes with the risk that no one will show up to the first session, or continue to come afterwards.

There is actually a solution to this problem available to all of us - the quickstart RPGs that many publishers offer to promote their games. In most cases they're free, are available to download online, and include characters, a simplified version of the rules, and a short scenario to run for the players.

These seem like an almost perfect fit to the problem. Not only are the time and resource investments low, but they would be a great way to gauge interest in a roleplaying program - if a good crowd shows up and demands more, then the library can look into purchasing the full rulebooks and making a bigger investment.

My idea would be to compile a page of links to the best RPG quickplay packages that librarians and volunteers can browse to see if anything sparks their interest. "Best" is always subject to opinion, but the more common candidates would include as many of the features I mentioned as possible - free, downloadable, with simplified rules, premade characters, and a scenario.

So, what do you think? And what are your favorite quickstart RPGs? Post them in comments or drop me an email!

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Balancing things out: Soterion, a Christian RPG

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 21 of Sept., 2009 16:48 PDT
In the interest of keeping things fair and balanced,* I will compensate for the previous post with one about a newly released Christian RPG, Soterion:
Welcome to the world of Soterion where the imagination can reach and explore the impossible. It is a place of exotic races, foreign kingdoms, a two thousand year history, and exciting adventures where one can discover the secrets of Soterion. This fantasy world is not only fun but also a fortress of purity within the world of imagination, where spiritual symbolism and Biblical truth reign supreme. Biblical knowledge, teamwork, and problem solving are but a few of the skills explored and expanded on, while taking part in this fantastic new world.

You can find out more, and order a copy of the book, at www.createspace.com/3394208

(* I'm not really being fair and balanced... I just happened to get links to both of them at the same time.)

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The world ends today! Or tomorrow! Or...

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 21 of Sept., 2009 07:05 PDT
...one of these days, very soon. So says this prolific website, in large fonts, highlighted text, and many, many YouTube clips.

And what would be one of the reasons for the Almighty's "doubling America's punishment" during the end times? Anyone? Anyone?

Yep, you guessed it - "Ouija board games; Dungeons/Dragons"

If you need any more proof of how dangerous those games are, here's another page about how Steve Jackson's Illuminati card game predicted the events of September 11th in 1995, six years before it happened! (Link provided for your convenience, since the world will likely end before you would be able to read through the entire page.)

While you're there, you can sign up for their free newsletter and free prayer list, plus get a free 3-day vacation (ACT NOW!) and other free stuff - just remember to include your credit card number and expiration date in the form provided!

Seriously, don't waste a lot of time looking at this website, unless you're doing so to gather some ideas for an apocalyptic horror campaign - or you need some inspiration for a Paranoia character.

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LARPing in Rio Grande

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 17 of Sept., 2009 19:09 PDT
Rio Grande's Monitor published a piece on the High Fantasy Society, a LARP organization in South Texas:
A medieval game of live-action role-playing, or LARP, the organization has many members throughout Texas, with “kingdoms” organized in different parts of the state. In South Texas, the Silver Spire kingdom is thriving with young men, women and children who don costumes and take on various fictional roles who turn Bill Schupp into a realm of warfare every Sunday.

There are the usual comparisons to D&D and World of Warcraft, and in all, it's a positive article on the hobby.

Read the full story here: [article | archive]

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Classic 80s D&D commercial

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 17 of Sept., 2009 07:22 PDT
Here's a classic D&D TV commecial from the early 80s (the grognards among us will notice Jamie Gertz from Square Pegs sitting among the gamers):




It's funny how this comes from the heyday of D&D satanic-panic paranoia - but now that most of that nonsense has died down, you really don't see commercials for D&D or any other tabletop RPG on television anymore.

Or maybe I just don't watch enough TV...

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GameHearts - Promoting adult sobriety through gaming

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Mon 14 of Sept., 2009 07:35 PDT

MJ Harnish at Gaming Brouhaha mentioned a project based in Montana called GameHearts, which works to help adults maintain their sobriety by offering alternative, engaging entertainment:
The program achieves its directive by providing free and low cost gaming activities in a supervised non-alcoholic, sober environment, along with access to gaming accessories that are provided without cost to the participants. In fact, beginning players can learn and obtain free gaming materials solely for playing.

Currently, the focus seems to be on colletible card and miniature games, but according to founder Ron Glick, that may expand to cover tabletop RPGs as well:
The primary games that the program uses are tabletop customizable games, such as card and miniature games (CCGs and CMGs), though there is also a strong interest in promoting role playing games (RPGs), as well.

I love hearing about projects like these, because they're the sort of thing that the BeQuest project is all about. GameHearts covers all of the bases - it provides assistance to those in need, it gives gamers the opportunity to help others, and it clearly demonstrates not only that gamers are productive members of society, but also how RPGs can be beneficial, as well as fun.

If you're in the Kalispell, Montana area, consider getting involved in GameHearts. If not, you can help out in other ways, including making donations of game materials to the project. Visit the GameHearts (external link) website to find out more.

And if you think your community could use a project like GameHearts in your area - steal this idea! Start one of your own! And if you do, be sure to let me know about it!

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RPGs in schools: Norway and Brazil

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 11 of Sept., 2009 20:06 PDT
Matthjis, one of the good people who follow my Twitter account pointed out two great sites on roleplaying in schools - one that I knew about and had been meaning to mention, and another that was completely new to me.

I saw a website for the Lærelyst method about a year ago, but their website appears to be down. There is a site called Nordic Serious Games that mentions APlay Motivation, which uses the Lærelyst method - but there's not a lot of information available:
Lærelyst uses traditional tabletop role-playing within a motivational framework to structure and reward schoolwork. Teachers run role-playing scenarios, and intersperse them with learning exercises. When students work through their exercises, they gain points to use in the game. The exercises can easily be differentiated, so that students can be challenged on their own level. Teachers can create their own exercises or download them from the Ratatosk database.

(I seem to recall seeing some unusual dice on the original website - d10s with pips that didn't go higher than 5 or 6, and I'd love to know more about how they are used.)

Next is a PDF I was unaware of - Role-playing games and education in Brazil: how we do it, brought to us by the intriguing website LARP, the Universe, and Everything:
While still a minor phenomenon, role-playing game techniques have increasingly found a use in education in Brazil. In this article we will present a brief historical survey, focusing especially on teaching materials such as adventure books, tabletop books and some of the larp techniques used by educators inside and outside of classrooms. But we also aim at presenting some examples of how these techniques work in practice, including our own experience of them, and we will argue the importance of having a strong basis in educational theory to guide such interventions.

What follows is a brief history of RPGs in Brazil and a listing of various textbooks that feature roleplaying in one capacity or another - including a series of GURPS books that teach history. The article is brought to a close with a section on considerations on using RPGs to educate.

Great stuff. If only we could find a way to encourage these methods in other countries - especially here in the States. If you know of other such programs, or even know more about the ones I have listed here, please let me know about them - in comments, email or through Twitter.

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Tell Me About Your Character: Ambrose

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Fri 11 of Sept., 2009 04:17 PDT


The latest Tell Me About Your Character interview is up. Say hello to Ambrose!

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RPGs in schools: Roleplaying studies course in Finland

Posted by WJWalton4660 points  on Thu 10 of Sept., 2009 18:42 PDT
The blog Worlds in a Handful of Dice featured a post about a course in roleplaying studies that is being offered at the University of Tampere, Finland:

(The course) is worth six study credits and only includes the lectures, a 3,500-word study diary and, I kid you not, playing or running a roleplaying game session. The list of approved games is fairly short, but of the seven games, four (Under My Skin, Fat Man Down, the LARP Prayers on a Porcelain Altar and The Upgrade) are distributed in PDF as study material, and the other three (Praedor, City of Itra hah! and “Joutomaa”, out of Juhana Pettersson’s Roolipelimanifesti) I own.


The university website's page for the course is in Finnish, and Google gives a passably good translation into English.

The author of the post promises to post updates about the course as it unfolds. I can honestly say that I've never heard of such a course being offered here in the States. Could we ever see such a day?

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Villains for Kids at the KORE blog

Posted by DrAwkward16 points  on Thu 10 of Sept., 2009 05:26 PDT
Dr. Awkward here. The esteemed Mr. Walton has given me permission to make log entries in his electronic journal as I wish, to bring you any news items that I happen upon that could be of interest regarding adventures with young people. And I think I have just such an item for you now:

The electronic journal of the KORE role-playing game has begun to post weekly entries on "Villains for Kids." These are descriptions of bad guys that can be dropped into an adventure game for young people - no statistics are given, so you can use them with the rule system of your choice.

The series begins with first dastardly fiend, The Tricky Trickster, and more are promised each week. Kevin, the author, has even been kind enough to tag the log entries for ease of reference. Just visit www.korpg.com/blog/?tag=villains-for-kids when you're in need of a good bad guy.

Keep your dice dry! Awkward out.

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