Tag Archives | Role Playing Games

Gary Gygax Memorial Fund Receives Financial Shot in the Arm from Wizards of the Coast

Gary_GygaxThis might not be relevant to all of you, but I can certainly attest that an early diet of Dungeons & Dragons pointed me toward a rabbit hole of crypto-creatures, occultism, secret societies and forbidden history – all of the things that the Evangelical nutjobs warned me about, really. This crazy game with no board and weirdly shaped dice was a source of great comfort and enthusiasm for me during a rough childhood, so I feel like I owe its late founder Gary Gygax my gratitude. (Gygax – it even sounds like a fantasy monster: “The Gygax strikes your paladin with a ray of adolescent ostracism. Roll a Saving Throw versus Gateway Geekery or spend your summer holed up in a room reading dog-eared fantasy novels and painting lead miniatures. Minus two Charisma to Opposite Sex until college.”)

I know from the comment section that some of you hail from the same kinds of after-school meet-ups and dingy basements that are the natural habitue of gamers, so I thought you’d like to know that fundraising efforts for the Gary Gygax Memorial planned for Lake Geneva, WI just got a shot in the arm from D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast.… Read the rest

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The Return of Dungeons & Dragons

Black Dungeons and DragonsOf course for some of you D&D never went away, but all of a sudden there’s a resurgence of interest from ad agencies and design firms. Sam Grobart reports for BusinessWeek:

Bust out your graph paper and dodecahedron die, because Dungeons & Dragons is back—and in business. Literally.

In a video that may seem a parody at first, but really isn’t, ad agency DDB demonstrates how using the role-playing game from the 1970s and ’80s can help people understand and design user experiences (UX) for websites.

Vincent Higgins, DDB’s executive director for UX, explains in the video how “Dungeons & Dragons taught me everything about user experience design.” Higgins, who will clearly be played by Fred Armisen in the movie version of this story, says he was “heavily involved” with the role-playing game and its hit points and half-elves while growing up. As a designer of choices and paths a person may take when visiting a website, he realized that his old days as a chaotic-evil gnome (or perhaps he was a lawful-neutral paladin?) could inform the work he is doing today.

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Inside The Neverending Simulated Middle Eastern War At The U.S. National Training Center

simulated warVenue visits the surreal Fort Irwin, arguably the Pentagon’s Universal Studios, where U.S. soldiers spend three weeks role-playing urban warfare in a mock city, complete with gruesome special effects, food markets filled with burqa-clad women, and gamer-style cards which instruct soldiers as to what injuries they must pretend to have:

Fort Irwin is a U.S. army base nearly the size of Rhode Island, located in the Mojave Desert about an hour’s drive northeast of Barstow, California. There you will find the National Training Center, at which all U.S. troops, from all the services, spend a twenty-one day rotation before they deploy overseas.

Sprawling and infernally hot in the summer months, the base offers free public tours twice a month of the simulated battlefields in which imaginary conflicts loop, day after day, without end. Picture paid actors shooting entire magazines full of blank rounds out of machine guns behind simulated Middle Eastern buildings in the Mojave desert.

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World Of Warcraft Gamer Wins Seat In Maine Senate

The 2012 election featured many historic firsts, but surely all pale in comparison to the victory by previously discussed Maine state senate candidate hopeful Colleen Lachowicz. Despite advertising from Lachowicz’s Republican opponent attacking her over her online role playing, it seems that America is comfortable electing a gamer to public office.  Ars Technica adds:

The attacks on Lachowicz’s gaming generated an outpouring of support from around the world. Supporters raised $6300 to promote her candidacy. Because Lachowicz accepted public funds under Maine’s “clean elections” law, she wasn’t legally permitted to accept the money herself. So the money was donated to an independent Political Action Committee.

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Maine Political Race Hinges On Candidate’s World Of Warcraft Alter-Ego

Is the American public finally ready to elect a role-playing gamer to public office? In Maine, the Republican Party is portraying Democratic state Senate hopeful and World of Warcraft devotee Colleen Lachowicz as unfit for office because she “lives in an online fantasy world,” Kotaku writes:

Colleen Lachowicz is running for state senate in Waterville, Maine. She also plays a lot of World of Warcraft. According to Maine Republicans, this means that she is unfit for office. The Maine Republican Party has set up an entire website dedicated to digging up old forum posts made by Lachowicz on Blizzard’s online role-playing game.

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New Real-Life Role Playing Game: Kill Bin Laden

Only in the USA folks, courtesy of ABC News:

Osama bin Laden has been dead for more than a year, but dozens of  people are shelling out big bucks to kill him again in a real-life, role-play game in Minnesota.

Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, which teaches firearms and personal safety in New Hope, Minn., is offering a special, limited-time exercise in which people can enact a SEAL-type mission and kill a fake bin Laden.

Billed as a “Navy SEAL Adventure,” the session simulates an actual SEAL operation. A description on the company’s website says the two-hour operation begins with a briefing in which participants will learn their target is named “Geronimo.”

Geronimo was the code name for the operation that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2, 2011….

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Role-Playing Service Allows Americans To Act Out The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden

The 9/11 mastermind is dying a thousand deaths, in Minnesota, strangely. Via Oddity Central:

Retired Navy SEAL Larry Yacht opened Sealed Mindset, a 10,000-square-feet gun-safety and defense instruction center in New Hope, Minnesota, where he hosts a high-end role-playing game that offers people the chance to shoot and kill terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Since its inauguration in April, 137 people have signed up to take out the Al-qaida leader in a re-enactment of the famous Pakistan raid. A man wearing a white robe and fake beard plays the dreaded terrorist and the would-be SEALS led by Yacht himself have to infiltrate his hideout, reach his room and finally take him out with a few paintball rounds.

The experience of taking out Osama bin Laden in the re-enactment of the famous SEALS raid costs $325, and according to the testimonies of previous participants, it’s totally worth the price.

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Boy Convicted Of Theft For Stealing Virtual Items Within Video Game

videoWell, if the stock market is regarded as real in the eyes of the law, why not an invisible amulet? Via the Chronicle Herald:

The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy’s virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threaten with a knife to give them up.

The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy’s possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.

Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of “virtual goods” — and whether stealing them is real-world theft.

The suspect’s lawyer had argued the amulet and mask “were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value.” But the Netherlands’ highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of “the time and energy he invested” in winning them while playing the game.

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WikiLeaks Supporters ‘Operation Payback’ Wish To Be A Force for ‘Chaotic Good’

WikileaksChaoticGoodAnyone else seeing a clear Dungeons & Dragons reference the mainstream media will be oblivious to? Josh Halliday and Charles Arthur write in the Guardian:

A 22-year-old spokesman, who wished to be known only as “Coldblood”, told the Guardian that the group – which is about a thousand strong – is “quite a loose band of people who share the same kind of ideals” and wish to be a force for “chaotic good”.

There is no real command structure in the group, the London-based spokesman said, while most of its members are teenagers who are “trying to make an impact on what happens with the limited knowledge they have”. But others are parents, IT professionals and people who happen to have time – and resources – on their hands.

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Indie Game Designers Talk About Their Transhumanist RPG FreeMarket

FreemarketLuke Crane and Jared Sorensen talk about their new science fiction role playing game FreeMarket. Via Technoccult:

It also sounds like it’s a more intellectual game than most – you’ve said you can, for instance, play the role of a philosopher and have that be meaningful within the game.

Luke: Yeah, but don’t think you can’t play Soulshitter Killfuck and have fun, too. But, unlike many other games that I’ve played, you can play an artist and have serious conflict about what you do. It’s impossible to just make a piece of art in this game and have it sit there, inert. Art is controversial.

Jared: And conflicts (especially philosophical, critical and artistic) are both internal and external and can have wide-reaching and unplanned repercussions.

Right. So you could do a more typical hack and slash scenario, or you could do something where you’re dealing with post-scarcity speculation. Or maybe both.

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