The Escapist Blog is a journal on the positive promotion of tabletop, pen-and-paper roleplaying games: dispelling the myths and misconceptions, educating the public about their benefits, encouraging new generations of players, and more. For more information on roleplaying advocacy, visit the Basic Gaming FAQ.

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Roleplaying advocacy news and website updates for The Escapist.

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 | 1232518 Visits | Activity=2.00)
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Wil Wheaton's Dwarven Dungeon Delve of Doom! benefits Child's Play

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Wed 07 of Oct., 2009 14:01 PDT
Wil Wheaton just announced that he will be hosting a D&D Dungeon Delve at RinCon this weekend.

He will be running two games, one on Friday and another on Sunday, with five seats in each. The entrance fee is $50, and the proceeds go directly to Child's Play.

Fifty bucks is a mere pittance for what you get out of this - a spot in a Dungeons & Dragons game run by Wil Wheaton, a special bag of goodies from Wizards of the Coast, a set of engraved dice, and the pleasure of knowing that you will be helping out a great charity!

(Speaking of Wil, this is day 261 of Operation Get Wil Wheaton to Blog About The Escapist. If you somehow find yourself in a seat at one of his games, be sure to let him know that he should blog about The Escapist!)

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National Gaming Day @ Your Library is coming soon!

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Tue 06 of Oct., 2009 11:06 PDT
It's that time of year again - National Gaming Day @ Your Library will happen in a little more than a month, on November 14th of this year.

Libraries all over the country will be participating, hosting events of board games, video games, and even some tabletop RPGs - though in many cases, roleplaying games are underrepresented, or not present at all. This will be an excellent opportunity to promote roleplaying games to new and experienced players, to raise awareness of what they are and how much fun they can be, and even gauge interest in potential RPG clubs at the library.

If you are a librarian who would like to participate, be sure to visit ngd.ala.org, and if you are a non-librarian who would like to volunteer, contact your local library and offer your services!

And as always, whenever you host any kind of RPG event at a library, let me know about it, and I'll promote it on the Terra Libris page.

(While you're here - don't miss Liz Danforth's excellent poster that she created to promote the event. I'm happy to see some RPG dice represented there, along with popular board and video game icons!)

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An Interview with GameHearts

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Mon 05 of Oct., 2009 19:34 PDT

A couple weeks ago, I made a post about GameHearts, a volunteer group in Montana that provides a game club as alcohol-free alternative entertainment for people coping with addiction.

I had the chance to speak with Ron and Tom from GameHearts to find out more about the inspiration for the group, how they operate, and how someone could start a similar program in their community. You can read the interview here.

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There can be only one!

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Fri 02 of Oct., 2009 19:27 PDT
You find the coolest things on Google Street View.

(If the image doesn't show, I've posted a snapshot here.)

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Author Greg Rucka got his start as a DM

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Fri 02 of Oct., 2009 08:34 PDT
I just found this brief article from The Californian about the author of a graphic novel that recently held a screening of a film based on the work.
"When he was a kid in junior high school, all Greg wanted to do was role-play and play Dungeons and Dragons," said Greg's father, Mike Rucka, of Corral de Tierra. "He always wanted to be the Dungeon Master, and now that's what he does for a living. He gets paid to have fun."


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Banned Books Week and RPGs

Posted by WJWalton4708 points  on Tue 29 of Sept., 2009 16:51 PDT
We're in the middle of Banned Books Week, when libraries all over the U.S. raise awareness of censorship and our precious freedom to read what we choose.

I've always been a big fan of Banned Books Week, but this year, it's given me the idea to connect it to promoting the roleplaying hobby.

Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs, as you may know, were banned from a few schools and libraries during the early to mid 80s, and challenged in many others. These days, we don't see nearly as much concern over RPGs, mostly because more people have played them or been exposed to them and understand them a little better as a result.

But the hobby still isn't as "public" as it could be, and there are a lot of gamers who tend to "keep it in the basement," hiding their pasttime from others.

So, I'd like to propose a roleplaying advocacy effort to run parallel with banned books week. It goes like this:
- Read an RPG book in a public place - at a library, on a park bench, in school or work (only during free time, please), on the bus or train, or anywhere else where people will notice you. Choose whatever book you prefer, but try to stick to things that won't cause alarm (no Book of Vile Darkness or Traitor's Manual, please).

- Politely answer any questions you get from anyone. Explain what the book is for, and what you do with it. Answer any questions as best as you can. Most importantly, be succinct - break things off politely if it looks like someone is getting bored with hearing about your hobby. DON'T tell them about your character, unless they ask you to.

(You may wish to bring along some copies of the Facts and Fictions about RPGs PDF to give out to interested parties.)

- Email me with any interesting stories that result! I'll share the best ones on the site.

Not only will you have the opportunity to enlighten some people about the hobby, you may even find some fellow gamers, or some who are interested enough to try it out.

If this takes off even a little, maybe we can give it a name, and set some regular dates for it. Once a year seems too infrequent - maybe we could do it again around March 4th (GM's Day) and another date sometime during the summer.

So, what do you think? Tell me in comments, or drop me an email - and if you happen to give it a shot, be sure to let us know about it!

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The shocking truth about D&D camp!

Posted by WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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 WJWalton4708 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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