Thursday, April 28, 2011

Help with RSS Feed

A site that shall remain nameless is poaching blog posts (mine and other blogs) without giving sufficient credit.

Can folks tell me how (and where) to adjust my RSS feed to stop this?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OSR Logo

Stuart Robertson over at Strange Magic has offered his take on the OSR logo.

I think it's magically delicious.

Check out what he has to say.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


So the Toronto OSRcon is August 12-13th?

That Fing figures.

That's like the only weekend of the summer I have something I can't cancel.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Course on RPGs: Lecture and Discussion Topics

I'm starting to settle on a list of lecture and discussion topics for the RPG course.

Here's some of the introductory material followed by a list of topics I hope to address. As you can see, I try to create titles that will help encourage attendance :) I also try to link keywords from the readings into the lecture titles.

This course focuses on tabletop role-playing games, specifically Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). We will approach the course from the dual perspective of cultural history and cultural studies. In addition to the critical analysis of academic research on RPGs, we will review popular material (texts and films), video-conference with gamers and authors, and conduct tutorials of RPG play and basic game design.

Although its antecedents have a much longer history, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson first published the game in the early 1970s. Over the last 40 years, D&D has given rise to the RPG industry, been revised into several editions, withstood a moral panic in the 1980s, the advent of computer RPGs in the 1990s, and the creation of massively multi-player online games in the 2000s.

What makes this game unique? Why do people continue to play this “strange” game with nothing other than with paper, pencils, their imagination, and oddly-shaped dice?

The majority of gamers play RPGs for social reasons. They play for group interaction and affiliation, and enjoy the cooperative style of play the game engenders. Some use RPGs to escape from an increasingly fast-paced modern existence – and to break their sense of the everyday. Set within a hyper-mobile, technology-based society, they express an anti-modern sentiment by eschewing computer games and consoles in favour of face-to-face human interaction. We will examine these questions, and many others, through an analysis of academic and popular sources, as well as experiential learning.

I approach this subject from the perspective of what American fandom scholar Henry Jenkins calls the “Aca-Fan” – an academic who identifies as a fan (or in this case, gamer). I have played D&D since the early 1980s, attended gaming conventions, and participate in online fandom. My academic background, alongside my familiarity with this gamer subculture, allows me to bring a unique perspective to this course.

1. Course Introduction: What is an RPG?

2. Out of the Basement: Where Did D&D Come From?

3. Early Research on RPGs: Fantasy Games as Social Worlds

4. Satan’s Game?: Moral Panic and D&D in the 1980s

5. Liminality and the (Invisible) Rules and Roles of RPGs

6. Quantifying (and Colonizing) the Imagination: Governmentality and RPGs

7. RPG Gamers: Fandom, Fanzines, and Fan Communities

8. RPGS: Women, Animals, and the Environment

9. Why RPGs?: The Heroic Life, De Certeau, and the Everyday

10. Back to the Future: D&D and the Old School Renaissance

There you have it. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Otherworld Minotaur (Variant)

Here's the minotaur (variant) from Otherworld Miniatures.

Double click to embiggen.


Gaming Stores in San Antonio

So I'm going to a conference next week in San Antonio.

I've never been, so I'm wondering if there are any good gaming stores worth hitting downtown? Or perhaps used book stores? I'd be looking for miniatures, out-of-print gaming stuff, and used fantasy fiction.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Course on RPGs: Introducing Newbs to D&D

As you know, I'm teaching a course on the history and culture of RPGs this spring.

I plan on posting the list of readings here shortly, so that you can follow at home if you like.

In addition to the required course readings, I plan on including a list of recommended readings, movies, and fan-films.

If you had to introduce a bunch of early 20s newbs to D&D, what sort of background reading/viewing would you recommend to them?

I'll start with a couple of my own thoughts. I'm trying to pull from the breadth of D&Ds history.

The D&D Experience (documentary)
Community AD&D Episode
Mazes and Monsters (1982)
60 Minutes and CBC Archival News footage (1985 - Check youtube)
Chick Tracts
Dungeon Majesty
Celebrity 4E Sessions

Your opinions/thoughts on the question above?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dungeon! Boardgame Help

Last week I busted out my original classic Dungeon! Boardgame.

As I had a look-through, I noticed that I was down a few cards, mostly monsters.

Does anyone know if there is an itemized list somewhere on the interwebs of the monsters and treasures by level for this game?

Alternatively, if you have a copy of this game and feel confident you have all the cards for all/some of the various levels can you email me or post here?


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Critical Hits and You

In our Northern Reaches campaign we have been playing double rolled damage on a critical hit. That was an extension of how I played AD&D and AD&D 2nd Ed. back in the day. If you rolled snake-eyes for your dmg that was just too bad.

[On a critical miss I have the players must roll on a custom table to see what happens. Formerly, I had monsters roll double damage but it just killed way too many PCs so I dropped the critical hit/miss option for them]

I'm curious, how do you play critical hits/misses in your old school game?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Northern Reaches: Session 14

The 14th campaign session in our LL (D&D .75) game wrapped up the other night.

Scratch the halfling thief opened a chest without checking for traps...yeah, you know how that ended, and Vith died the session before when he was eaten by a mimic.

Go here for The Tale of Woe.

My One Page Dungeon Entry

I submitted an entry "The Bastion of the Boglings" to the one page dungeon contest this year (my first).

The first one I played was "The Ancient Academy" by Stuart Robertson last summer. It was straightforward and fun.

It will be interesting to look through the other entries. I'm already scanning the names looking for possibilities for my own campaign. Too bad they aren't grouped by level. You an find the entries here.