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[CAR-PGa] Re: Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

My follow up -- not much to add, just coverage:
http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/critical-fumble-school-board-tries-to-ban-dungeons-dragons#ixzz1KUnu4BrW

On Apr 21, 6:17 pm, Paul Cardwell <hippogriff...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I wrote this last week during the Taylor ISD incident, but on later reflection, thought it might be mined for response to any other throw-back to the 20th century.  Needless to say, I have heard nothing from the school officials.
>
> Copy of: Role-Playing Games
> FROM: Taylor ISD web-generated message
> TO: hippogriff...@yahoo.com
> Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:36 PM
>
> The following is a copy of the message you sent to Dellean Hartmann via Taylor Independent School District 
>
> This e-mail was sent viahttp://www.taylorisd.org/CMSfrom:
> Paul Cardwell <hippogriff...@yahoo.com>
>
> I am chair of CAR-PGa, an international network of researchers into all aspectes of role-playing games - therapy and curriculum as well as recreation. Since 1989, we have studied the allegations of some sort of connection between these games and any manifestation of violence or crime. We have yet to find any case reported in the sensationalist mass media that would hold up under US or Texas rules of evidence. On the contrary, we have a sizeable archive of scholarly documents on the benefits of these games.
>
> I would be glad to discuss this further and answer specific questions on the subject.
>
> Briefly, I would suggest the following:
>
> Lanning, Kenneth V. (1989, October) Satanic, occult, ritualistic crime: a law enforcement perspective. Quantico, VA: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, a brief mention in an 11 page booklet by a Supervisory Special Agent and instructor at the FBI Academy.
>
> Hicks Robert D. (1991). In Pursuit of Satan: the police and the occult. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus. When Pat Pulling was the darling of the satanic panic crowd, Hicks, an anthropologist with the Virginia Deparment of Criminal Justice Services, was assigned to investigate these charges. That agency also published several papers and speeches by him on that subject.
>
> Hübner, Martina (1995). Fantasy-Rollenspiel - ein kreative Medium zur Gewaltprävention? München: Aktion Jungendschutz. Use of RPG in preventing violence in youth. Hübner is a sociologist with the roughly equivalent to county around Munich.  In German.
>
> Matelly, Jean-Hugues (1997). Jeu de Rôle. Toulon: Presses du Midi. Matelly is commandant of the research section of the Gendarmerie de Nîmes. In French.
>
> CAR-PGa has been in correspondence with the authors of the papers cited, except for Hübner, which we got second-hand from our Director for Europe, Carsten Obst, who is archivist for the city of Neüminster.
>
> You will note that all these examples are from the 20th century. The class libel was so disproven back then that we were surprised to find another outbreak. Most of our research in this field has been over sloppy newspaper reporting, which virtually always turns out to be video or online games and not involving classic tabletop play at all. The difference between one person with a keybord or joystick in isolation and a group with face to face interaction is of major significance, not to mention many other differences. And there is no demonstrable connection with the electronic "games" (really puzzles since there is only one solution) and violence either.
>
> In light of the overwhelming evidence, I would urge you not only to continue the club in question, but to utilize it more as a direct adjunct to the curriculum. See the Game Manufacturers Association series on the subject by David Milians (also available online at www. gamesampersandeducation.com. Millians is a 5-6 grade teacher in Atlanta, GA, and a member of CAR-PGa. 
>
> Also of use might be Cardwell, Paul (1993). Role-playing games and the gifted student. CAR-PGa: Bonham, TX. This is an update of the 1995 Gifted Education International, pp 39-46. (The later date than the revision was due to it being lost at GEI for awhile between acceptance and publication!)
>
> Please let us know how we can help in this valuable program. I will be leading a seminar on RPG and curriculum on Saturday, May 21 at the Texicon game convention, Sheriton Hotel, Fort Worth. It is a long drive up I-35, but might be worth the trip.
>
> Paul Cardwell (BA, SMU; MS, UNT; for whatever relevance that may be)

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[CAR-PGa] Help Evil Controllers save the world through gaming

In the April spirit of going green, Evil Controllers is partnering
with high school team Gamers Go Green from Chicago's Whitney M. Young
High School to host the first-ever green Game Hour. Led by students
Daniel Romero, Evan London, Noelanni Alvarez, Courtney Mills, Donte
White, Adam He, and supported by the one and only Evil Controllers,
Game Hour will occur on April 23, 2011.

But what is Game Hour? It's simple. On Saturday, April 23, at any
selected hour of the day unique to each family, Evil Controllers and
Gamers Go Green will ask everyone to abstain from the use of the
electricity in their house. Sound familiar? Maybe, because something
like it has been done before. But what's different about Game Hour is
that during the time span, all families will be asked to sit down
together and play a game, any game, and enjoy it together.

Evil Controllers recommends "electricity should only be used in a
single room, and shut off everywhere else in the house," but tabletop
role-players can do one better by rolling dice instead of turning on a
screen.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Help Evil Controllers save the world
through gaming - National RPG | Examiner.com
http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/help-evil-controllers-save-the-world-through-gaming#ixzz1KJ8O1IrQ

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[CAR-PGa] Help Evil Controllers save the world through gaming Continue reading on Examiner.com: Help Evil Controllers save the world through gaming - National RPG | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/help-evil-controllers-save-the-world-t

In the April spirit of going green, Evil Controllers is partnering
with high school team Gamers Go Green from Chicago's Whitney M. Young
High School to host the first-ever green Game Hour. Led by students
Daniel Romero, Evan London, Noelanni Alvarez, Courtney Mills, Donte
White, Adam He, and supported by the one and only Evil Controllers,
Game Hour will occur on April 23, 2011.

But what is Game Hour? It's simple. On Saturday, April 23, at any
selected hour of the day unique to each family, Evil Controllers and
Gamers Go Green will ask everyone to abstain from the use of the
electricity in their house. Sound familiar? Maybe, because something
like it has been done before. But what's different about Game Hour is
that during the time span, all families will be asked to sit down
together and play a game, any game, and enjoy it together.

Evil Controllers recommends "electricity should only be used in a
single room, and shut off everywhere else in the house," but tabletop
role-players can do one better by rolling dice instead of turning on a
screen.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Help Evil Controllers save the world
through gaming - National RPG | Examiner.com
http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/help-evil-controllers-save-the-world-through-gaming#ixzz1KJ8O1IrQ

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[CAR-PGa] Crypts & Critters - Combat and Equipment

The RPG Examiner provides kid-friendly rules for equipping and
fighting critters -- without killing anybody, of course.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/little-monsters-crypts-critters-combat

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[CAR-PGa] Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

I wrote this last week during the Taylor ISD incident, but on later reflection, thought it might be mined for response to any other throw-back to the 20th century.  Needless to say, I have heard nothing from the school officials.


Copy of: Role-Playing Games
FROM: Taylor ISD web-generated message
TO: hippogriffpub@yahoo.com
Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:36 PM

The following is a copy of the message you sent to Dellean Hartmann via Taylor Independent School District 

This e-mail was sent via http://www.taylorisd.org/CMS from:
Paul Cardwell <hippogriffpub@yahoo.com>

I am chair of CAR-PGa, an international network of researchers into all aspectes of role-playing games - therapy and curriculum as well as recreation. Since 1989, we have studied the allegations of some sort of connection between these games and any manifestation of violence or crime. We have yet to find any case reported in the sensationalist mass media that would hold up under US or Texas rules of evidence. On the contrary, we have a sizeable archive of scholarly documents on the benefits of these games.

I would be glad to discuss this further and answer specific questions on the subject.

Briefly, I would suggest the following:

Lanning, Kenneth V. (1989, October) Satanic, occult, ritualistic crime: a law enforcement perspective. Quantico, VA: National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, a brief mention in an 11 page booklet by a Supervisory Special Agent and instructor at the FBI Academy.

Hicks Robert D. (1991). In Pursuit of Satan: the police and the occult. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus. When Pat Pulling was the darling of the satanic panic crowd, Hicks, an anthropologist with the Virginia Deparment of Criminal Justice Services, was assigned to investigate these charges. That agency also published several papers and speeches by him on that subject.

Hübner, Martina (1995). Fantasy-Rollenspiel - ein kreative Medium zur Gewaltprävention? München: Aktion Jungendschutz. Use of RPG in preventing violence in youth. Hübner is a sociologist with the roughly equivalent to county around Munich.  In German.

Matelly, Jean-Hugues (1997). Jeu de Rôle. Toulon: Presses du Midi. Matelly is commandant of the research section of the Gendarmerie de Nîmes. In French.

CAR-PGa has been in correspondence with the authors of the papers cited, except for Hübner, which we got second-hand from our Director for Europe, Carsten Obst, who is archivist for the city of Neüminster.

You will note that all these examples are from the 20th century. The class libel was so disproven back then that we were surprised to find another outbreak. Most of our research in this field has been over sloppy newspaper reporting, which virtually always turns out to be video or online games and not involving classic tabletop play at all. The difference between one person with a keybord or joystick in isolation and a group with face to face interaction is of major significance, not to mention many other differences. And there is no demonstrable connection with the electronic "games" (really puzzles since there is only one solution) and violence either.

In light of the overwhelming evidence, I would urge you not only to continue the club in question, but to utilize it more as a direct adjunct to the curriculum. See the Game Manufacturers Association series on the subject by David Milians (also available online at www. gamesampersandeducation.com. Millians is a 5-6 grade teacher in Atlanta, GA, and a member of CAR-PGa. 

Also of use might be Cardwell, Paul (1993). Role-playing games and the gifted student. CAR-PGa: Bonham, TX. This is an update of the 1995 Gifted Education International, pp 39-46. (The later date than the revision was due to it being lost at GEI for awhile between acceptance and publication!)

Please let us know how we can help in this valuable program. I will be leading a seminar on RPG and curriculum on Saturday, May 21 at the Texicon game convention, Sheriton Hotel, Fort Worth. It is a long drive up I-35, but might be worth the trip.

Paul Cardwell (BA, SMU; MS, UNT; for whatever relevance that may be)

Category: 0 comments

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[CAR-PGa] Castles and Cauldrons

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

Hooper from the Quilt City O.G.R.E.S. (http://ogres.wikia.com) left a
message on The Escapist's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/
rpgadvocate) yesterday to let me know about an unusual occurrence.
Someone on the Focus on the Family forums expressed a concern about
their children getting involved in role-playing games, and another
forum user replied with a link to the O.G.R.E.S.' RPG Myths page
(http://ogres.wikia.com/wiki/RPG_Myths), a page made from various
'clippings' from The Escapist.

What makes this unusual is that Focus on the Family isn't what you
would call a RPG-friendly organization. In fact, on August 4th and
11th, 1990, they aired a two-part episode of their radio drama series
"Adventures in Odyssey" about the imagined dangers of RPGs.

I was reminded of this when Hooper left his message yesterday, and I
did a search to see if I could find recordings of the episodes
somewhere. As it turns out, FotF sells individual episodes on their
website, and the Castles & Cauldrons episodes (http://www.whitsend.org/
vault/A000000157.cfm
) can be had for just a couple bucks each. I
considered purchasing them to review them on the site, but I have a
hard time giving even a few dollars to an organization like Focus on
the Family.

The good news is that a pretty good synopsis of the episodes can be
found on the site:

"The Barclays have a visitor for the summer: Len, George's nephew.
Jimmy is excited to have his cousin stay with them, especially when
Len shows Jimmy a new game called Castles & Cauldrons-- it's even
better than Zapazoids. Castles & Cauldrons (C & C) is a fantasy role-
playing game. The players become medieval characters who use battle
skills and other means to conquer their enemies. Len is "Luthor the
Magician," and he names Jimmy "Jondel the Apprentice." Jimmy thinks
the game is harmless-until Len takes it a step further, and
imagination starts becoming reality. Plastic swords ring with the
sound of steel; epic battles are fought against the forces of darkness
and won. Jimmy is amazed by these things, but Len wants him to go
further still, into incantations, spells, and conjuring-which sounds
suspiciously like black magic. What's worse, Len swears Jimmy to
silence. He's not to tell anybody about the game, especially his
parents or Whit, because "they won't understand."

"Whit suspects something is wrong with Jimmy after he and Len visit
Whit's End acting strangely. One night, Donna's doll is mysteriously
ripped apart, and she blames Jimmy and Len. Whit questions her about
the boys' activities. Then George tells Jimmy that Len didn't come to
Odyssey just to visit them. His parents thought it would be healthy
for Len to get away from a "questionable group of friends." That
night, Jimmy and Len go camping out in the forest. Len decides to
include Jimmy in the ultimate C & C initiation: a ritual to summon
Shalman, the most powerful magician of all. Len starts the ritual.
Jimmy resists, but Len gets so caught up in it, he begins forcing
Jimmy to participate. Just before things get ugly, Whit and George
show up to put a stop to the ritual-and to Castles & Cauldrons. Whit
destroys the game. Len gets some professional help. The Barclay family
retuns back to normal, and everyone realizes that even Odyssey isn't
immune from Satan's wiles."

In another description of the episode (http://
www.religioustolerance.org/d_a_d2.htm), it is mentioned that a cat
possessed by some sort of evil spirit is the one who ripped Donna's
doll apart, Whit becomes filled with an inexplicable feeling of dread,
and a roast in the oven begins to smoke - all clear signs that
something sinister is afoot at Whit's End.

(You heard right - Whit's End. I would be remiss if I didn't point out
the irony that this and every other episode of Adventures in Odyssey
take place in a town seemingly named for the state of mind that most
of its citizens must be in, due to the weekly barrage of evil that
assaults them in every episode.)

The bad news is, according to the listings on the site, FotF is still
airing these 20 year old episodes - the most recent airing happened on
January 4th and 5th of this year. So even though someone lurking in
the FotF forums seems to have a level head when it comes to RPGs, the
organization itself is still promoting ideas like:

- RPGs make imagination become reality
- RPGs involve real magic that the players - not the characters -
participate in
- RPGs involve "initiations"
- RPG players have to keep their games secret from parents and other
authority figures
- gaming groups are "questionable" people
- playing an RPG can make all sorts of strange supernatural things
happen around you
- it's perfectly okay to take someone else's belongings and destroy
them if you suspect that those belongings might be evil
- people who play RPGs act strangely and need professional help

Discussion questions are included on the site for parents, educators,
and anyone else who is using these episodes for lessons, but they
don't seem to be intended for any sort of open and objective
discussion - one of them is "Why is it a bad idea to play games like
Castles & Cauldrons?"

Here's a discussion question I would like to suggest: Actors and
actresses play roles all of the time, in movies, television, and even
on the radio. If it is wrong to play a role in a fantasy RPG, why is
it okay to play a role in a radio drama of a character that is playing
a role in a fantasy RPG?

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ADVICE FOR EQUITY CASH & FUTURE,COMMODITY GOLD & SILVER AND CURRENCY

Get accurate and return Earning advice for EQUITY CASH & FUTURE
COMMODITY,OPTIONS,GOLD & SILVER AND CURRENCY
Grow your wealth with us , Let your portfolio be perform with us .
Don"t compromise when health & wealth concerns.
Join our Qualified and Expert team.
PARSHWA FINANCIAL CONSULTANCY
MOB NO : 09377757390 = (079) 26404521
E-mail
parshwafinconsult@gmail.com
website : www.parshwafin.in
SF-2/A, URJA HOUSE, SWASTIK CROSS ROAD, NR. GOLDEN TIME SHOW ROOM, C.
G. ROAD, AHMEDABAD.

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: Celebrity D&D

Although I signed up to game on the old school gaming session I wasn't
selected for it, so I was content to just watch. Anything to see
Frank Mentzer, father of the "old school" Red Box Basic Dungeons &
Dragons set, in action. As the players introduced themselves, Frank
cheekily responded "I wrote this game."

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-celebrity-d-d

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: What Makes a Great Villain?

There were a lot of people on this panel. A lot. Brandon Osorio was
there. And it's a good thing too, because when I saw whom I was
sitting next to I nearly lost my nerve. It was thanks to Brandon that
I sat on the panel at all. The Villains panel was an eclectic bunch:
authors, game developers, and actors. Or I should say actress. You
might know her as Tasha Yar/Sela. That's right, I was sitting next to
Denise Crosby on the panel.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-what-makes-a-great-villain

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: Zombies: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Zombies. I love 'em.

I wrote Blood & Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide, back before the
zombie craze turned into a zombie pandemic. It still sells well today.
That led to me founding the National Center for Reanimation Prevention
and Control (NCRPC), a blog dedicated to the Center for Disease
Control's (CDC) zombie-hunting arm. Years after the book was published
the NCRPC is still going strong. I was interviewed by Jonathan Maberry
for his book, Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead.

So while I probably didn't belong on the Villains panel, I sure as
heck did belong on the zombie panel.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-zombies-not-just-for-breakfast-anymore

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: State of the Industry

The panel consisted of Brandon Osorio of Dark Refuge Games, and Oscar
Rios of Miskatonic River Press, whom I paneled with previously. I
finally got to meet Cam Banks of Margaret Weiss Productions, whom I've
corresponded with over RPG.net for years. I hadn't met Eddy Webb,
senior developer of transmedia at CCP Games before and learned quite a
bit about how White Wolf (a subsidiary of CCP) operates, particularly
the synthesis between massive multi-player online role-playing games
and traditional pen-and-paper games.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-state-of-the-industry

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: You Got Your Lovecraft in My Peanut Butter

The blog panel, although sparsely attended (thanks for attending, guy
way in the back!), was quite entertaining for me because George
Strayton and I could talk for hours about blogging. It turned out I
was the only panelist on the next panel and Aaron Rosenberg graciously
swooped in to rescue me from being the sole voice in the room.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-you-got-your-lovecraft-my-peanut-butter

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON Panel: Blog About It

The RPG Examiner visits I-CON to talk about his Examiner column and
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Master's Guide 2, the Xena TV series, and the recent Transformers
movies.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-panel-blog-about-it

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[CAR-PGa] Re: Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

Addendum:
Anyone having trouble with that link can try this instead:
http://tinyurl.com/3tlkwfq

--Alan

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[CAR-PGa] Re: Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

Thanks for the alert, Bill, and the local data, Paul; this will
hopefully stay an isolated case. I'll see about poking GAMA, since
they historically have had an interest in games in education. I also
found a form for e-mailing the executive assistant to the Board
(http://www.taylorisd.org/CMS/index.php?
option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=152&Itemid=592
) and sent along
an e-mail. (See below.) Critiques of my approach are welcome; I don't
think we have enough advice on the nitty-gritty of what you should say
in these situations.

In service,
M. Alan Thomas II

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 20:13
Subject: Copy of: To the Board re: D&D

To the Board:

I am writing in support of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) club currently
being considered for termination. I applaud your concern for the
welfare of your students and the decision to gain first-hand
experience prior to making a decision. I also recognize that there is
a significant amount of negative information and attitudes, however
incorrect, regarding role-playing games in general and D&D in
specific, so I do not blame you for being cautious regarding the game.
However, research has shown that such information is indeed incorrect
and that the major campaigners against D&D in the past have been
misinformed or distorted the facts at their disposal.

D&D promotes cooperation, non-competitive play, math skills, and
strategic thinking through its basic method of play. In addition, it
can be used by a competent moderator (the "Dungeon Master" or "DM") to
teach a variety of additional lessons, including social and ethical
ones. While I have never heard of a moderator attempting to teach a
negative lesson through D&D, were that to happen, it would indicate a
serious problem with the person who wanted to teach such a lesson
rather than the method used to teach it. Overall, I would say that D&D
provides more social and intellectual benefits than, e.g., chess,
which does not involve cooperative play or math and is competitive.
These benefits should be taken into account when considering whether
it should be allowed to continue as an official activity.

As a librarian, I believe in freedom of speech. As someone who was
introduced to D&D by his father when he was 11 and played it with
classmates while attending top schools from junior high all the way
through graduate school, usually as part of official student groups, I
believe that D&D has had a positive effect on me socially and
intellectually and is an acceptable school activity. Please, let your
students continue having access to the same positive experiences as I
did.

Sincerely,
M. Alan Thomas II, M.S. in Library and Information Science

Further reading:
Stackpole, Michael A. "The Pulling Report." 1990.
http://www.rpgstudies.net/stackpole/pulling_report.html
Wiseman, Loren K., and Stackpole, Michael A. "Questions & Answers
About Role-Playing Games." GAMA, 1991.
http://www.rpg.net/realm/critique/gama.html

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[CAR-PGa] Re: Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

The original story is back there in history, but the fact that we have heard nothing since may be encouraging.  I checked my copy of a two-year-old Texas Almanac and find the following about Taylor.

It is in Williamson County, the third largest town entirely in the county, with a 2000 population of about 15,000.  It is essentially a farm market town with all that implies.  The county seat is Georgetown, a college town slightly over twice as large.  The largest is Round Rock with 70,000 back then; its main industry is electronics, particularly Dell computers, and an annual regional game convention each November.  Considering the state of agriculture, I suspect a sizeable ppart of Taylor commutes the 18 miles to Round Rock to work.  The overspill town into the county is Austin, the state capital and by far the most progressive town in the state.

Therefore I think this game-bashing scheme will die a deserved death - if not already, then after the next school board election which should be any day now.

Paul Cardwell


From: WJ Walton <rpgadvocate@gmail.com>
To: CAR-PGa: The Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games <car-pga@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:58 PM
Subject: [CAR-PGa] Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

The school board of Taylor High School in Taylor, Texas made a
proposition to end the schools Dungeons & Dragons club because they
feel it is unwholesome - but the club's sponsor, Mr. Gray, has risen
to the game's defense by pointing out the game's benefits:

" "Let's be real. In the realm of sports and clubs that one could
participate in, the Dungeons and Dragons club isn't exactly the
"hippest" option. It's a fantasy game based on created characters and
imaginary quests, and although apparently addicting, it's relatively
harmless. However, late last week, the School Board made a proposition
to end the D&D club based on the belief that it "promotes death and
violence".

Those who play the game maintain that it has no such effect. D&D
sponsor Mr. Gray said, "They are ignoring all the good things that it
promotes like team building and critical problem solving. Plus, a lot
of the kids playing lack social skills and it provides a safe setting
for them to feel accepted."  "

Thankfully, the issue is under review, and it looks like the situation
is going to be handled in a mature and responsible manner - some
members of the board are planning to sit in on a game before making
their decisions.

Read the full article here:
http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/432136/newspaperid/3556/School_Board_Proposes_to_End_the_Dungeons_and_Dragons_Club.aspx

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[CAR-PGa] Little Monsters: Crypts & Critters - Exploring

The RPG Examiner provides basic dungeon crawling rules for Crypts &
Critters as well as a complete adventure compatible with the Imaginext
Dragon Castle.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/little-monsters-crypts-critters-exploring

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[CAR-PGa] Texas school board claims D&D club promotes "death and violence"

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

The school board of Taylor High School in Taylor, Texas made a
proposition to end the schools Dungeons & Dragons club because they
feel it is unwholesome - but the club's sponsor, Mr. Gray, has risen
to the game's defense by pointing out the game's benefits:

" "Let's be real. In the realm of sports and clubs that one could
participate in, the Dungeons and Dragons club isn't exactly the
"hippest" option. It's a fantasy game based on created characters and
imaginary quests, and although apparently addicting, it's relatively
harmless. However, late last week, the School Board made a proposition
to end the D&D club based on the belief that it "promotes death and
violence".

Those who play the game maintain that it has no such effect. D&D
sponsor Mr. Gray said, "They are ignoring all the good things that it
promotes like team building and critical problem solving. Plus, a lot
of the kids playing lack social skills and it provides a safe setting
for them to feel accepted." "

Thankfully, the issue is under review, and it looks like the situation
is going to be handled in a mature and responsible manner - some
members of the board are planning to sit in on a game before making
their decisions.

Read the full article here:
http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/432136/newspaperid/3556/School_Board_Proposes_to_End_the_Dungeons_and_Dragons_Club.aspx

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[CAR-PGa] I-CON 30's multimedia and gaming guests

The RPG Examiner will be on gaming panels at I-CON this year. Drop by
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http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/i-con-30-s-multimedia-and-gaming-guests

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[CAR-PGa] Little Monsters: Crypts & Critters - getting started

The RPG Examiner begins a column that creates dungeon crawling rules
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knights, and of course monsters.

http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-national/simplecrypts-a-dungeon-crawl-for-three-year-olds

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[CAR-PGa] D&D helped accused murderer curb his violent impulses... or did it?

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

As I've mentioned many times before, I use Google Alerts to pick up
stories in the media about D&D and other roleplaying games. Last week,
something strange happened with my alerts. On March 23rd, it sent me
an alert about Christopher Gribble, a participant in a horrible home
invasion/murder incident that happened in October of 2009. The article
from the New Hampshire Union Leader seemed to suggest that Gribble's
involvement in Dungeons & Dragons was one of the things that kept his
homicidal impulses at bay:

http://www.theescapist.com/gribblearticle1.jpg

This could have been a first. I mean, we've seen an impressive decline
in articles that attempt to connect D&D with criminal behavior, but
this could be one of the first times a news story has directly
suggested that playing the game could have the opposite effect for
someone with extreme violent impulses..

When I clicked the link, however, I discovered that the article didn't
contain any of the text found in the alert.
http://www.theunionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Taped+Gribble+confession+continues+at+insanity+trial&articleId=18045922-4720-4c83-a74e-e2715497bd8d

I did a search for the text on Google, and found a link to the same
article:

http://www.theescapist.com/gribblearticle2.jpg

I had no luck with the Google cache, either, and an email to the
reporter has yet to be answered. I'm guessing that the article had a
quick revision of some sort before I got to view it. This isn't
anything new - the same thing happened at SFGate during the coverage
of the Columbine massacre (http://
www.theescapist.comadvocacy99.htm#0499COLUMBINE-sfgate), and I'm sure
that's not the only time an article has gotten a substantial revision.

If anyone happened to see a copy of the original article, or knows how
I can see it for myself, please contact me. Thanks!

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[CAR-PGa] Rescues and Role-playing

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

A little while ago, an Escapist reader named Jeff Woodall contacted me
and asked if I would be interested in a piece on using role-playing to
teach and reinforce lifeguarding skills. Naturally, I accepted, and
here it is. Enjoy!


Rescues and Role-playing
By Jeff Woodall

Imagine this: a group of mothers decide to take their children to the
swimming pool on a hot summer day. The mothers begin to talk while the
older kids go to the deeper area to play. While the moms are talking
when one of the younger kids about 3-4 years old decides he wants to
join the bigger kids because they seem to be having a lot of fun.
Looking up he sees his mother in deep conversation with the other
moms. He begins walking towards the deeper area when suddenly he is in
water over his head. He struggles for few seconds; unable to call for
help and within moments goes under. He will struggle underwater for a
few more seconds and then go unconscious sinking to the bottom to be
carried by the slight current to deeper water. Meanwhile the moms,
having been in deep conversation for about ten minutes, are unaware
that the child has drowned. This unfortunately happens far more often
than most people think.

And who do we rely on to prevent this tragedy? Perhaps a well trained
Paramedic or firefighter? Nope, we rely primarily on high school kids
working for close to minimum wage.

Keeping these teenagers interested in the training and getting them to
understand the importance of what they are doing can be a challenge.
Additionally when a real situation arises the lifeguard will be faced
with a highly stressful situation that most kids their age are not
used to. More often than not they will have bystanders watching, a
freaked out parent, and little help. If they fail to take care of this
situation not only they will end up with a tragedy in their hands but
the possibility of lawsuit.

The initial training of lifeguards is similar to any classroom
situation they are used to. Basically reading from a book, watching a
video and then practicing the skills. They come out of the class
knowing the information but after a month or two their skills
deteriorate as they forget parts of the training. Ideally the
organization they work for is supposed to provide training for them
about once month, usually called in-service.

A couple years ago I accepted a position where I would be responsible
for a group of about 100 lifeguards. Prior to my arrival they had been
receiving training in order to practice and review their skills every
month. Unfortunately the training was along the same lines- read,
watch a video then a couple of the kids practice on a manikin while
the rest who are supposed to be watching talk about other subjects,
text or play with various electronic gizmos. Dull, boring and
unmemorable. To make matters worse after testing some of them out I
realized they were not prepared for a real life emergency. Things had
to change.

I had come across the concept of using role-playing in training of
lifeguards before and had used it with some success. Usually these
were just limited to a few scenarios that were done over and over in
the same way. What I wanted to do, however, was to take the role
playing game experience and apply it to their training to make it more
exciting and fun, to get them all involved and most importantly
remember what they did and saw. Each scenario would be different in
some way and not become routine. Now obviously I'm not wanting them to
sit around a table and roll dice to see if they are successful at an
action. There are however elements in all RPGs that can be utilized.

In all RPGs we have player-characters, non-player characters and a
setting. For instance your typical fantasy game might include a band
of adventurers (PCs), a group of goblins led by an ogre (NPCs), in a
dungeon complex (setting). As the adventurers gain power and
experience the NPCs become more varied and the settings will evolve as
well. Different games and genres will use different trappings but
those three elements are always found.

To make the scenario for training I would divide the guards up into
groups. One group will be playing the part of the rescuers, the other
guards will take on the parts of NPCs, victim or victims in some
cases, freaked out parents are often a presence, bystanders of all
sorts some making snide remarks on the guards performance or trying to
interfere with the rescue. The setting can simply be the pool or any
other part of the building. We can also add various props (empty jug
of acid, extension cord) in the setting or other circumstances
(electricity went out, there's a fire) that may change how the guards
handle the rescue. Instead of my telling them to start rescue
breathing or do thirty compression and they perform the action I just
give them the cues like a game master would to his players and have
them respond.

A typical training scenario will be along the lines of this:

Prompter "You have just pulled a ten year old child of the deep end
what do you do?"
Primary rescuer "I check for breathing-one, two, three, four…"
NPC freaked out mom "Oh my god my son!"

The other guards hold her back. One attempts to calm her down while
the guard continues checking for breathing.

I have even used some Lovecraft at times:

Guards are performing rescue on an unconscious victim.
NPC approaches "Hello my name is Doctor Herbert West I can take over"

The expressions on their faces are priceless when I tell them that
they have just given up the victim to someone claiming to be a
fictional mad scientist.

If during their scenario they make a gross error, I let them know, as
the victim will "die" or some other horrible incident will occur. This
last part is especially useful, as I find many of the kids are used to
guaranteed success at their other endeavors. They suddenly realize the
importance of the situation.

Much like a rogue character who forgets to check for traps before
unlocking the door you face the consequences of your mistake.

Afterward, we do a follow up go over what went well and what didn't.

With these techniques I have been able to bring in different scenarios
some of which are rarely thought of or practiced at similar
organizations.

Everyone has a part to play in these scenarios, no one gets bored and
they remember it. They have become accustomed to performing the
rescues under stressful conditions, work together as a team, retain
the information, think outside the box and are able to interact with
actual people not just a manikin. They also learn empathy for the
victim and bystanders by playing those parts and have a good time
while doing it. You know, all those things that us gamers say RPGs do.

One thing that has been a surprise for the guards is when I tell them
where I get my ideas. It makes them see role-playing games in a
different light even the ones who are already gamers. Many people can
readily see how history or reading can be used in games and vice
versa. This is one example of how what we learn from games can help
learning in other areas and how we as gamers can show people that
maybe those games can be of more use than just a hobby.

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[CAR-PGa] The Dungeon Adventure - a great intro to RPGs for the little ones

(Cut and pasted from The Escapist Blog - www.theescapist.com/blog)

Wired GeekDad brought this great little game to my attention - The
Dungeon Adventure, a simple dungeon crawling game created by Ben
Garvey, and available for $5.99 at http://www.kidsdungeonadventure.com

The Dungeon Adventure is a set of guidelines for simple dungeon crawl
games. Adults build a dungeon floorplan out of building blocks and
stock it with monster and treasure cards, and the young adventurers
choose their favorite toys to send into the dungeon to complete the
quest. Combat is very simple - there are no attack rolls, players and
monsters just roll 1d6 for damage. When a monster runs out of hit
points, it's dead, and you can help yourself to the treasure it was
guarding.

The PDF set includes a 6-page rulebook, a sheet for tracking heroes
and monsters hit points, and a set of monster cards. The monster cards
are one of my favorite parts - rather than illustrations, the cards
feature colorful pictures of toys (spiders, snakes, dragons, etc.)
that kids will love.

My only issue with the game is that, as written, characters can die.
This could be troublesome for some young children if they become
attached to their heroes. It is easily remedied by allowing the
players to drag any mortally wounded heroes back to the "hotel" and
heal them there (possibly for a substantial fee).

It's a great little PDF package that can be used as a starting point
for many grand adventures, and a good base to build a simple role-
playing game on. What happens when the heroes venture into the
wilderness? Can they use their accumulated treasure to build a
stronghold? What if the monsters surrender and want to join the side
of the good guys? The answers to these questions aren't found in The
Dungeon Adventure, because the real fun is coming up with them on your
own.

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[CAR-PGa] RPGs at StackExchange

Stack Exchange is an organization which hosts and provides the code
for a series of community-based expert Q&A sites. (As they put it,
"like experts-exchange except without the evil.") The site for RPGs is
currently in open beta, meaning it's a live site anyone can
participate in but the Stack Exchange overlords are still scrutinizing
the statistics to see if it's strong enough to survive.

Why am I telling you this? This is of interest to us not merely for
the usual what-an-unusual-experiment, is-this-advancing-the-state-of-
the-art? reasons, but because the "public-relations" tag is being used
to indicate questions that are very much relevant to our advocacy and
defense interests. Those interested in the social aspects of gaming,
from handling problem players to the uses and terms of explicit social
contracts, may find tags such as "social" and "social-contract"
interesting as well.

Obviously there are a lot of questions where people debate specific
rules interactions for specific games as well, of course, but that's
not terribly on-topic for us.

http://rpg.stackexchange.com/
http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/public-relations
http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/social
http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/social-contract

In service,
M. Alan Thomas II

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