AND UPDATES - 2005 Archive
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THE ESCAPIST TURNS TEN!
also - other stuff...
This week marks the
tenth anniversary of "The Gaming Advocacy Website," a rickety old page
set up on an AOL account that would get renamed as The
Escapist a few months later. In the last ten years, I've
gotten hundreds of emails from around the world, I've jumped off the
roof of a garage and swallowed a live spider to prove a point (and make
a lot of people laugh), and I've had the opportunity to get the word
out at conventions, in newspapers and even on film that role-playing
games are safe, fun, and good for you.
To everyone who reads,
writes in, spreads the word, and makes all of the above possible: Thank
you. I've got some new things planned for the site to commemorate the
occasion, and the first one I'm unveiling is a regular column called Tell Me About Your
Character. Head on over and check it out. There's a lot more
to come, so stick with me!
D&D COURSE, D&D BONDING ON NPR, PARANOID OVER PARANOIA
Barnes & Noble
is offering a liberal arts course titled "Discovering
Dungeons & Dragons" on their Barnes & Noble
University site. From the site:
As a beginning
player, this course will guide you in understanding how D&D
works, explaining the various worlds and characters types that it is
based on, creating a D&D role for yourself, and understanding
how your player role interacts in the world and with other characters.
You will learn the extent of your abilities and the possibilities that
lie ahead for your player, including magical spells, mythic quests, and
epic battles with incredible monsters.
The next session begins
America featured a great story on roleplaying in their
November 12th broadcast, titled D&D Bonding,
in which a father sits down with his son and tries to learn how to play
D&D. In the end, he doesn't really understand the game, but
appreciates the creativity that goes into playing. The show can be
heard through streaming audio here
(story is about two-thirds of thte way down the page).
Costikyan reports in his Paranoia blog about a writer for the
Paranoia RPG who works at a Catholic school, and was recently "found
out" by his boss, who was not happy with her discovery. As a result,
this citizen-who-shall-not-be-named is now doing his best to seperate
his name from his work for the RPG.
It's very disturbing to
see this sort of thing still going on - and painfully ironic to see it
attached to a game like Paranoia. Not only is it offensive that this
school has a percieved problem with an RPG author working there, but
there's also the issue of separating work activity from home activity.
What he does at home is his own business, and RPG authorship isn't
something that he should have to keep in the closet.
The 80s are over, and
while I miss a lot of the music, I think we should all be happy about
November 2nd, 2005
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS GAME DAY - NOVEMBER 5th, 2005
forget - this Saturday is WORLDWIDE
D&D GAME DAY! Find a participating
location near you, sign up to play in The Fane of
Lolth or other adventures, defeat the bad guys, bag up the
treasure, and have a blast!
is a great opportunity to get new gamers involved in the hobby. If you
have friends or family who have ever expressed interest in RPGs, or
seem like they would make a good gamer, bring them along so they can
find out what it's all about. Likewise, it's a great way to show
someone who has misconceptions or doubts about gaming what really goes
on at the gaming table.
love to hear about any positive experiences you have at WWDDGD - if
you've got a great story to share, email it to me at and
let me know if can put it up on the site!
DAY IS HALLOWEEN
the title of a great gaming-positive article that appeared in the
Detroit Metro Times. What makes it even better is that it features a
comment or two by your kind and humble host! Read all about it right
ANNIVERSARY IS ONE MONTH AWAY!
New features are coming!
Excitement! Thrills! Chills! I can barely contain myself!
July 13, 2005 -
NEW PAGE FORMAT & DEXCON
I've finally got the new
page format in place - this is the new look for The Escapist! I'm sure
I haven't gotten all of the bugs out yet, and most of the rest of the
site is still using the old format, but I'm hoping to have everything
updated by December when the site turns 10! Take a look around, let me
know what you think -
My Origins report will
be posted when we get back from Dexcon
this weekend. If you happen to be going, be sure to look for me!
June 15, 2005 -
DEXCON, ORIGINS, & FANS FOR CHRIST
I have been invited to
be a guest at Dexcon
8 in East Brunswick, NJ, July 13-17, 2005. If you're in the
New Jersey area and looking for a great con this July, stop on in and
look me up! The folks at Dexcon are even giving a $10 discount on
memberships for Escapist readers. To get your discount, go to their registration
page, fill out your info, then enter Escapist-Reader
in the Special Discount Code, and $10.00
in the Amount. Now how does it feel to be one of the elite? Hope to see
I'll also be attending Origins 2005
in Columbus, Ohio this year - and I'll be bringing the whole family
again! If you'd like to get together for some games or just to meet up,
be sure to drop me a note at
Steve Weese has put
together a site for Christians who enjoy the varied elements of fandom,
including RPGs. Check out the articles, links, and forums of Fans For
Christ at fansforchrist.org,
and read his own "What is D&D" article here: Christians
6, 2005 - ESCAPIST FORUM IS OPEN!
Architects, the Escapist discussion forum, is now open! Stop on by to
discuss & debate issues such as media coverage of RPGs, kids in
gaming, using RPGs to teach, bringing new players into the hobby, and
& Architects at http://www.kazorum.com/theescapist.html
See you there!
29, 2005 - PA MURDER: "THERE MAY BE A (D&D) CONNECTION, BUT I
CAN'T SAY FOR SURE"
Those are the words of
Pennsylvania district attorney Bruce Castor in reference to a triple
murder case that happened in King of Prussia. John Eichinger is being
charged with the murder of Lisa Greaves, her sister Heather, and
Heather's three year old daughter. The New Jersey resident has also
confessed to killing Jennifer Still in 1999. Still, Greaves, and
Eichinger were all part of a wide circle of friends.
All murders appear to
have the same motive - jealously. Eichinger wanted a relationship with
both women, but was rejected. Police have not ruled out the possibility
that the crime could be connected to role-playing games.
"We are looking into
whether that's part of it," DA Bruce Castor said. "They have many, many
stab wounds. Those Dungeons & Dragons fantasy games involve
swords, and knives and daggers. There may be a connection but I can't
say for sure"
Links to the stories are
here, and I will add them to the archives when time permits:
Man to Face Triple-Murder Charges in Montco
store clerk confesses to 4th killing, in 1999
(Thanks to the
gang of people who forwarded these to me - Lee Williams from the
excellent horror RPG zine Demonground,
Jon Liming, daDiceGuy, and many more.)
Now for my two cents -
It's another sound bite, another earworm that will remain once the
story is long gone. People hear "D&D IS A POSSIBLE CONNECTION,"
and it stands out as the focus of the story, even if it wasn't written
that way. As the story unfolds and the truth is revealed, the papers
and news programs move on to other hot topics and never really follow
up on the real reasons behind the terrible actions of a desperate
person. And all anyone can remember about the murder, even above the
names and dates and places, is "D&D IS A POSSIBLE CONNECTION."
It's a sad situation.
Not only because it propagates the myth - it's more far-reaching than
that. It's sad because it's a statement of how lazy we are to seek out
the real truth, no matter what the topic is. We're happy to have our
'facts' handed to us in bite-sized pieces, so we don't have to warm the
old skullmeat up for too long to process them.
On the subject of
soundbites - I've caught a lot of comments recently about how this sort
of thing doesn't happen anymore - give up the martyr complex - stop
living in the 80s - no one discriminates against gamers - and a host of
other soundbites along those lines. And I'd really like to think that
I, the site, and the work that I do here do not fall into that
stereotype. I'd like to think that there are positive things happening
here that are helping to educate people, to show them the facts - not
to make gamers feel like martyrs, or non-gamers to feel like we think
we're superior. Sharing these news reports and setting the record
straight doesn't make martyrs, but it should demonstrate how much we
desire the truth.
I'd like to think that
I'm not a soundbite. 'Cause if so, then maybe it's time to pack it in.
Okay, that's enough
sermon for now. Please open your hymnals to Hymn 142...
11, 2005 - IDF FROWNS ON D&D PLAYERS, MEDIA RESPONDS BY POSTING
STOCK PICS OF LARPERS: I got whiff of this
one on the 7th, courtesy of our good buddy Nate, but my schedule has
been busy this week and I haven't been able to post an update regarding
it. In that time, it has hit most of the gaming forums and generated
some heated discussion.
If you have missed the
story somehow, I'll recap: It has been revealed that the Israeli
Defense Force has been screening recruits for gamers, whom they
consider "detatched from reality," "susceptible to influence," and
possessing "weak personalit(ies)." If a recruit admits to having an
interest in RPGs, they are sent to a psychologist for evaluation - over
half of them are considered a security risk and given a low security
clearance, which prevents them from serving in certain positions.
story is here, and I'll add it to the Escapist archives once
I get a little more free time. (ED: here
When I checked this
story out earlier this week, it included several pictures of guys
dressed in medieval garb, threatening each other with boffer swords.
Now it appears that most of those pictures have been removed, and only
one fantasy art picture remains in place. A good portion of the
comments beneath the article gripe about the pictures of LARPers meant
to represent D&D players. Some commenters
mention that the original Hebrew article mentions RD&D
and not D&D, and that the translation to
English made this change. I'm still trying to find out what RD&D
is exactly, but from what I can guess, it is something closer to what
those pictures depict - a live-action fantasy game with costumes and
Discussions on this
story have gotten rather heated in the last week. I've been sorting
through them on several sources, and I feel the general points that
need to be made are these:
- The story does not
mention the names of military officials, but readily mentions those of
concerned gamers. Some have pointed out that this could be a sign that
this is a bogus story. On the other hand, it wouldn't be hard to
believe that this came from anonymous sources, or any military people
who did not want to go on the record as making an official statement.
- Assuming this story is
true, the IDF is not "banning" gamers, only checking some that they
feel are a risk group. Recruits are still admitted into the military
regardless of their gaming interests.
- Despite that, any
program that targets any group as a risk is a bad idea. Evaluating any
one group, and then basing your future decisions on that evaluation,
will result in an invariably flawed outlook. The statement "over half
of the gamers we evaluate are security risks" is the the product of
this - but the same results could come from chess players, or hockey
players, or people who prefer chunky peanut butter over creamy.
- As with any other
story where RPGs meet the real world, if the IDF knew about Call
of Cthulhu or Unknown Armies, their
heads would explode.
- If all of the branches
of the US military did this, they'd be reviewing almost a third of
their forces (and I joked to one person that if just the Navy did it,
it would be TWO thirds).
So here we have a story
of discrimination and stereotyping against gamers - one that could
possibly be a farce - and as usual, I'm about to put my positive spin
True or not, it's good
to see people care about this issue. It's good to see gamers and former
gamers speak out against this sort of thought. It's kind of like that
scene in Airheads where the guy in the crowd
stands up and says "Hey! I played D&D
too!" It's just good to know that, for the most part, people still
won't stand for it.
writer/creator of Dork Tower and all-around great guy, brought the
story to his strip:
Used with permission - visit
John's site for more great comics at www.dorktower.com
writer/creator of Nodwick, PS 238, and Full Frontal Nerdity, and
all-around great guy, brought the story to his strip too:
with permission. (Aaron
even said he was "honored" to have me post it here!) Check out more
great comics at www.nodwick.com