AND UPDATES - 2005 Archive
currently reading archived Escapist updates. To see the latest news
items, go to the Escapist main page.
ESCAPIST TURNS TEN!
also - other stuff...
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.
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
Noble is offering a liberal arts course titled "Discovering
Dungeons & Dragons" on their Barnes & Noble University
site. From the site:
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
session begins January 9th.
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.
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
are over, and while I miss a lot of the music, I think we should
all be happy about it.
& DRAGONS GAME DAY - NOVEMBER 5th, 2005
Don't forget - this Saturday
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!
WWDDGD 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
I'd 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!
EVERY DAY IS
That's 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
TENTH ANNIVERSARY IS ONE MONTH AWAY!
New features are coming!
Excitement! Thrills! Chills! I can barely contain myself!
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!
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
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!
Advocates & 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 more!
Visit Advocates &
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
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 boffer
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
- 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
- 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 on it:
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.
John Kovalic, writer/creator
of Dork Tower and all-around great guy, brought the story to his
Used with permission - visit John's site for more
great comics at www.dorktower.com
Williams, writer/creator of Nodwick, PS 238, and Full Frontal
Nerdity, and all-around great guy, brought the story to his strip
Used with permission. (Aaron even said he was "honored"
to have me post it here!) Check out more great comics at www.nodwick.com