An international network of researchers into all aspects of role-playing games
David Millians, Editor
Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
November is an opportunity to reflect on our blessings and be thankful for what we have. As the recent passing of a player in my high school gaming group reminded me, good health and a supportive family are definitely blessings. Similarly, having a great gaming group who meets with you consistently is an increasingly rare thing in our busy adult world. I’m blessed to have a virtual group who puts aside a few hours on a Sunday night to join my Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons game.
But good health can be fleeting. At the beginning of the pandemic we shared an infographic about how to game safely, and one of the challenges in sharing it was that countries disagreed on how many people you should game with. That seems like forever ago, and now we have more concrete answers. The dreaded winter surge is upon us, when people retreat indoors for the holidays and when tabletop RPGs thrive. In that regard, playing RPGs around a table has much in common with a poker game or board game night: it’s clusters of people sitting within six feet of each other talking (and hopefully, laughing). All of this, we now know, makes games a perfect vector to spread the virus.
And that’s a problem, because in the U.S. the Center for Disease Control has come to the conclusion that it’s not enough to avoid “close contact” (within six feet) with someone for 15 consecutive minutes … it’s a CUMULATIVE 15 consecutive minutes with anyone outside your bubble. As this case in a Vermont prison demonstrates, contact with people who show no symptoms is risky, even if individually that contact was under 15 minutes each.
What does this mean for gamers? If you’re gaming in-person with people who are not part of your bubble, you’re at risk, mask or no mask. We all know not to attend mass gatherings, but now the virus has shown up at our tables. Oregon announced a pause in counties with pandemic spikes, limiting gatherings to no more than six people. That’s the size of my virtual group.
The good news is there’s multiple vaccines on the horizon for 2021. But in the short-term we have to change the behaviors we cherish most, because it’s spreading the virus even faster than before. Until we get through the holidays and can receive a vaccine, if you’re thinking of playing in-person with people outside your bubble, DON’T. There are plenty of virtual options to keep a game going. While it doesn’t beat in-person gaming, it’s better than infecting seven people while playing a dice game.
Please wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay safe.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
It’s a short, sparse issue this month, though with some important words from Mike above, as well as some fascinating links in the New Material just below.
This newsletter runs on input, ideas, reviews, and articles (short or long) from readers, so, please, if you have something you’d be willing to share, I would enjoy hearing from you and disseminating your thoughts to a wide audience interested in a wide range of subjects related to game advocacy.
I wish you all well and hope your 2020 closes well. See you in the new year!
FROM DAVID MILLIANS
Carter, Chase (2020 Nov 10) D&D combat wheelchair designer releases free resources for approaching disability in the Witcher TRPG. https://www.dicebreaker.com/games/the-witcher-trpg/news/witcher-trpg-disability-resources. Expanding possibilities.
Chhabra, Sameer (2020 Nov 20) Dungeons and Dragons is tackling its history with racism, but this D&D master says more needs to be sone. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/covid-19-trial-volunteer-jonathan-salk-on-vaccine-patents-toy-story-turns-25-d-d-tackles-racism-and-more-1.5809626/dungeons-and-dragons-is-tackling-its-history-with-racism-but-this-d-d-master-says-more-needs-to-be-done-1.5809. Interview with Shawn Taylor on the legacy of Tolkien and white creators.
Home-Douglas, Pierre (2020 Oct) Engaging Ethics. http://www.asee-prism.org/engaging-ethics. College-level classes using media, science fiction, and simulations to teach complex, human subjects.
Jeeyon, Shim (2020 Nov 11) a potentially nuanced and productive conversation for POC to have with each other. https://twitter.com/jeeyonshim/status/1326630326341263361. Open discussion of white people playing non-white characters, especially streaming, in light of controversy about Matthew Mercer’s character in Chris Spivey’s Haunted West Game.
King, Darryn (2020 Dec) The Role-Playing Game That Predicted the Future. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/mike-pondsmith-cyberpunk-2077/616924. Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk.
Mehan, Alex (2020 Nov 26) D&D 5E lead designer says improvements to racial depictions will take “several years” to fully implement. https://www.dicebreaker.com/games/dungeons-and-dragons-5e/news/dnd-improvements-racial-depictions-take-years. Interview with Jeremy Crawford on the impact of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and plans for future development.
Rabbit Rabbit (2020 Sep 30) A Game Designer’s Analysis of QAnon. https://medium.com/curiouserinstitute/a-game-designers-analysis-of-qanon-580972548be5. Playing with reality.
Roll20 (2020 Oct 29) Black Lives Matter: Our Progress Update. https://blog.roll20.net/post/633333476019634176/black-lives-matter-our-progress-update. Public accountability featuring Black guest blog, content creators, internal culture, fundraising, and more.
Tidball, Jeff (2020 Nov 30) Why Virtual Tabletop Conventions Fail, and How Organizers Can Fix It. http://www.jefftidball.com/posts/why-virtual-conventions-fail. Timing, scheduling, focus, and making connections.
Verso, Francesco (2020 Nov 16) Let’s Welcome the Future… in China. https://www.blackgate.com/2020/11/16/guest-editorial-lets-welcome-the-future-in-china-2. Energy and imagination emerging in the non-English, non-White world.
FROM HAWKE ROBINSON
Robinson, Hawke (2020 Oct 30) Amazing Month of October. https://www.rpgresearch.com/blog/rpg-research-community-blog-1/post/amazing-october-2020-status-update-8. Lots of news and wonderful updates from RPG Research.
© Copyright 2020 by the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa), ISSN 1071 7129. The CAR-PGa Newsletter is a monthly publication. For more information contact David Millians, Editor, Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA, phone (404) 808-1070, fax (404) 377-3491, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Back issues are available. Contributions of material from the membership are urged, and the byline is responsible for content. Deadline is the last weekday of the month, email preferred. Permission is granted to copy anything in the Newsletter, provided we get a credit line in the publication copying it, and it doesn’t have someone else’s copyright on it. Information, including details on joining CAR-PGa, can be obtained on the Internet at car-pga.org.