CAR-PGa NEWSLETTER, Vol. 33, No. 5, May 2024

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


Hi All,

This month’s guest was Virginia Garcia McShannock. Virginia is an accomplished professional in the tabletop RPG industry, with a wide range of skills in graphic design, editing, writing, and project management. Her impressive portfolio includes working on popular titles such as Fallout, Star Trek Adventures, and John Carter of Mars for renowned companies like Modiphius Entertainment. In addition to her creative work, Virginia is passionate about education and community-building within the gaming sphere, as evidenced by her involvement with The Role Play Haven, the UK’s largest charity fundraising RPG clubs. We discussed the challenges in working with popular intellectual properties, the new Fallout show on Amazon, and how the Role Play Haven operates. You can view the recording of our discussion on our YouTube channel.

Some of you have asked about the status of the CAR-PGA archives in the RPG Museum. Hawke has an update on both the RPG Museum and RPG Research. We’re happy to help our sister organization however we can.

Next month we’ll be interviewing CAR-PGA board member Dave Hartless. Dave was the original engineer for D&D Beyond and most recently the engineering leader for D&D Beyond as part of Wizards of the Coast. I can’t wait to speak with him!


Mike Tresca



RPG Research Update April 2024

By Hawke Robinson

RPG Research has been busy working to keep things afloat.

This includes overhauling our servers, network, and our private and public cloud infrastructure to make many improvements and continue to improve capabilities, capacity, reliability, and usability.

The Spark Central Community Center Drop in and RPG in West-Central Spokane has regular Saturday programs.  Spark Central asked us to do a special series this coming May in honor of the 50th anniversary of the World Expo at Spokane, which is also, of course, the 50th anniversary of D&D, so we’ll be running D&D (Witchlight), Doctor Who (Arrowdown), and No Thank you Evil tables all with themes around fairs and festivals.

Two volunteers are finishing their Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) requirements as months-long internships working full time at Excelsior Wellness running various Therapeutic Recreation and role-playing game activities. One came all the way from Massacheusettes, the other from Florida.

I am currently working 100+ hours per week trying to turn things around. I am a Fractional CTO at Practicing Musician S.P.C. ( ), ManufacturingPower ( ), and iNSUPPLi ( ), and a software developer at WebTPA health insurance third party administration ( ), as well as juggling RPG Research, RPG Therapeutics LLC, and associated endeavors.

Efforts continue on the, the Brain-Computer Interface Role-Playing Game open source project. Thanks to the amazing perseverance of Valerie and her development team, it is looking promising that we’ll have another public demo and potentially a playable minimal viable product (MVP) by some time this summer.

The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Introductory and Training Solo and First-Time GM Modules are on hold while trying to keep things afloat.

Grant applications also continue. So far all have been declined. Several years ago, before we had the property, and we were in a completely mobile (and low cost) model, they said it was because we didn’t have a fixed location for our programs and HQ. So we completely changed from online and mobile model (it took a few years to pivot), but we eventually acquired the property (locked into a multi-year lease until March 2025), which has really put so much of the financial pressure on us ever since. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to get the grants, and we’re applying to as many as we can. However, now the reason they are giving for declining the grants is because we don’t specifically track DEI information. Doing so would cost us far more than we can afford in both money and staffing resources to set up and maintain a system with the level of DEI information they want tracked on the types of systems they want used. We dropped tracking most demographics information years ago when our research through various universities and other settings in the past has shown overwhelmingly that the DEI-related information they want tracked is completely irrelevant to the efficacy of our programs anyway.

Our programs are evidence-based; we go where the data leads us. We do track age and functional abilities through assessments (with baseline and periodic assessments), but we stopped  tracking most demographics on our volunteers or participants years ago, because we found out over our decades of research that those variables are not only  completely irrelevant, they also interfered with getting better quality research, because they require a lot more questions to be filled in by participants or researchers. That interfered with the actual information we needed, and we found out over time that such information did not in any way help further the programs and was just overloading participants with overlong surveys, because they incurred so much more overhead costs for each research project.

We found that the universal measurable results of our programs are not impacted by those variables at all. As long as we’re taking into account functional assessments, then the programs show efficacy no matter what the demographic, with only the developmental age related to functional ability differences needing to be taken into account for variance in outcome and efficacy. In addition to the US and Canada, this has also included research in other countries like Brazil, West Africa, Pakistan, China, and elsewhere.

The RPG Center ( and RPG Museum ( property improvements are underway, as time allows. The RPG Museum collections are still safe. We had started the process of moving them from the ancient cardboard accounting boxes from Paul Cardwell’s Estate (and others) into more water and moisture protecting plastic cases. That has continued in fits and starts when our Archivists are sporadically available to continue the process. All of the archives are safe, though the transfer and scanning are temporarily on hold. We need more donations for more archival storage supplies. We are still in limbo on the knowledge base archives, while our time is tied up with just trying to cover the bills. So our efforts to consolidate the 10,000+ content items on the effects and uses of RPGs is still scattered across 5 different knowledge base repos until we can resume the effort migrating them to a single knowledgebase: .

We are still receiving regular physical donations of additional books and other interesting items (swords, board games, books, magazines, newspapers, GM screens, and much more) from various people donating either to the RPG Research Community Center for use or to the RPG Museum for display or later auctioning duplicates to help us raise funds for the museum build.

We very much need considerably more in donations (or grants) to finish preparing the RPG Museum building (our Building A) to be publicly accessible. We need a LOT of donations of archival protective museum display cases and the like, installing a non-paper damaging fire suppression system, refinishing the floors on this building from the 1890s, and more, before we can open it for public tours and access, but we are still chiseling away at it as best we can each month. It is just taking a lot longer due to the fewer donations of late.

In April, RPG Therapeutics LLC (for profit) ( gained its ninth (part time) employee, Kip, though right now our client base is small due to my own time limitations. With the upcoming CTRS certification ( ) of two more therapists, we will be able to re-open our doors to accepting more clients soon. Currently all profits are donated to trying to keep RPG Research afloat. This isn’t enough unto itself, but every bit helps).

We have also been starting to make progress on,,, and

We are still some ways away from being able to resume work on the game and mobile AR/VR applications.

The Wheelchair Accessible RPG Mobile fleet (RPG Bus and Trailers) (, other than a recent Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to raise awareness and donations, has been parked at the RPG Center and used as additional game rooms at the RPG Center, since we aren’t getting enough in donations for the gas and maintenance our usual RPG Tours (, and mobile Drop In and RPG Programs ( we used to take all over the country, especially to under-served and unserved populations.

After September or so, hopefully, I won’t have to keep working 100+ hours a  week anymore, and I  can become available for more than just Saturday/Sunday. I especially need to be freed up so I can resume work on finishing the critically important Third Edition of the RPG Professionals Workbooks and Study Guides ( and Certifications ( and resume the associated training at RPG Education (

Donations at this time are insufficient to cover the RPG Community Center and RPG Museum for public access. We are now only getting a few hundred dollars a month through Patreon and Paypal, when we need a minimum of $4,500/month (rent: $2,500, insurance: $1,000, utilities and miscellaneous operating costs: $1,000).

The landlord really wants us to outright buy the entire property before the lease is up. He wants to sell it to us very inexpensively for the location, far below market, for around 1/12th of an entire city block lot! The lease can be extended but it keeps increasing by $500/month each year. If at some point we can raise enough to buy the property outright, that would be the best solution for long term stability.

Thank you so much for your concern and support!

Warm Regards,

Hawke Robinson “Grandfather of Therapeutic Gaming”

Founder of RPG Research and RPG Therapeutics LLC.


This is a compilation of articles and other resources that have come to the editor’s attention over the last month. Everyone is welcome to send bibliographic information about anything you discover that fits the mission of CAR-PGa and this newsletter.

Beakley, Paul (2024 Apr 5) Ten Unanswerable Evergreen Discourses. Values, ideas, and gaming and how to decide for yourself.

Big Bad Con (2024 Apr 6) Not Everyone’s a Critic: The Role of Reviewers and Journalists in TTRPGs. Promotion and critique.

Big Bad Con (2024 Apr 6) Why Do Monsters Have Stat Blocks, Anyway? Designing Beyond Colonialism. Colonial legacies and race-building, player incentives, mechanics, emergent gameplay, and the function of violence.

Blanc, Williams (2024 Mar 27) 50 ans de jeux de rôle – 4 – Comment s’invente un univers de fantasy rôlistique. Discussion of Greg Stafford’s Glorantha setting as part of “You are in a tavern…” A REVIEW OF 50 YEARS OF ROLE-PLAYING GAMES conference at Metz, in French.

Brannan, Timothy (2024 Apr 22) S is for Satanic Panic. Hysteria and pain and the passing away of all things.

Cabaniss, Nathan (2024 Apr 7) Gary Ggax’s Comic Inspirations for D&D Explain the Franchise’s Dark Side. Tales from the Crypt and more.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 1) Coloring book style tabletop RPGs. Growing resource page.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 3) TTRPGkids spring 2024 convention/booth schedule. April. May, and June.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 4) Review of Enchanted Blend, a story inside of a story. Delightful reworking stories with tea.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 8) Improving Skills Practice and Recognition Through the Veil of TTRPGs. Helping learning and challenging conversation through play.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 11) Review of Precious Things, a TTRPG about tiny dragons. Easy and cute with dragons.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 15) Shifting from “educational” to “classroom ready” TTRPGs. Reducing the teacher workload and barriers to use with games that deploy smoothly.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 22) Solarpunk tabletop RPG for all ages. Growing annotated list for tech-nature positive games.

Campbell, Steph (2024 Apr 29) Interview with Shelly Mazzanoble, D&D curriculum creator and senior brand manager at Wizards of the Coast. Games, D&D, libraries, schools, and her roles at WotC.

Compendio, Chris (2024 Apr 4) A theater company known for Dungeons and Dragons improv comedy finds a permanent home. SideQuest Theater in Philadelphia.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 8) Dimension 20 will bring The Unsleeping City’s fantasy NYC to Madison Square Garden. Live one-shot set in their game world. Carter explores the controversy about ticket pricing.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 12) Lara Croft Finds A Horde of Trolls In Twitter’s Tomb. New RPG plan excites reactionary backlash, largely from video game fans.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 24) How Do You Read A Tabletop RPG Book, And Other Very Important Questions. Discussion of readers and the experiences with various forms of books.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 24) D&D maker continues to lean on MTG and Baldur’s Gate 3 during 2024’s “turnaround” phase. Little talk of RPGs but mention of losses from OGL Crisis.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 25) Critical Roles investigative horror RPG Candela Obscura will perform live for the first time in LA. United Theater of Broadway, Los Angeles, May 25, 2024.

Carter, Chase (2024 Apr 26) TTRPGS For Trans Rights bundle sells over 500 works for $5 to support LGBTQ+ advocacy in West Virginia. West Virginia’s only LGBTQ+ shelter and advocacy center.

darjr (2024 Apr 5) D&D Cartoon Characters In WizKids 50th Anniversary Miniatures. Miniaturizing the 1980s television show.

Gentz, Graham (2024 Apr 8) Demystifying RP with Kids. Fundamental steps to support kids’ play and playing with adults.

Hewitt, Scott (2024 Apr 11) Once feared by parents, Dungeons & Dragons is ‘incredibly inclusive’ as it turns 50 years old. Community and growth through games.

Jaffray, Chris (2024 Apr 7) Burnley: Women’s group helps to grow popularity of Dungeons & Dragons. Women Who D&D and the many events they have led.

Lueker, Stacy (2024 Apr 9) Dungeons, dragons, dabbling in danger. Collaboration of Neurodivergent Club and Gaming Club at Tarrant County College in Texas.

Maliszewski, James (2024 Apr 11) The True Birth of Roleplaying. Reminiscences of toy soldier army men.

Meehan, Alex (2024 Apr 18) Critical Role’s official Vox Machina-inspired whiskey will let you turn D&D into Dungeons & Drunkenness. Branded liquor Sandkheg’s Hide from a game session.

Merrick, Alyssia, Li, Wendy Wen, and Miller, Dan J. (2023) “A Study on the Efficacy of the Tabletop Roleplaying Game Dungeons & Dragons for Improving Mental Health and Self-Concepts in a Community Sample.” Games for Health Journal, 13 (2) pp. 128-133.

Morrissey, Russ (2024 Apr 19) D&D AI Fail. Machine learning fabricates rumors about WotC leadership.

Morrissey, Russ (2024 Apr 22) Asmodee Owner To Split Into 3 Companies. Major IP owner undergoes corporate restructuring.

Mott, Darryl (2024 Apr 5) Star Trek Picard’s Todd Stashwick Hosting D&D Charity Stream. For pediatric cancer.

Mott, Darryl (2024 Apr 18) Steve Jackson Games Releases Stakeholder Report for 2023. A window into the company and the industry.

Raymond, Victor (2024 Apr 23) 50 Years of D&D, from MIT Press. Essays on the game’s impact and legacy.

Robson, David (2024 Apr 20) ‘Like a film in my mind’: hyperphantasia and the quest to understand vivid imaginations. Ongoing research could provide interesting insight into RPG thinking around everything from access to style of play.

Stuart, Keith (2024 Apr 11) It crawled from below 50 years ago: how the global Dungeons & Dragons empire began in a basment. Homage to a nascent hobby in Lake Geneva 1972.

Teh, Cheryl (204 Apr 16) Amazon is pouring big bucks into geek culture – and Critical Role’s Matt Mercer just dropped a major hint about the series fans have been waiting for. Money and the Mighty Nein.

Tong, Scott & James Perkins Mastromarino (2024 Apr 3) Hasbro CEO on the future of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ after 50th Anniversary. Optimistically thinking big. Commentary from Andrew Girdwood at Geek Native.

Tresca, Mike (2024 Apr 1) Meet the RCRF. Interview with Hal Greenberg of RPG Creators Relief Fund.

Tresca, Mike (2024 Apr 1) The AI DM in Action. Degrees of game support and monetization.

Utbult, Sebastian (2024 Apr 16) Tears in the Rain. Discussion of the difficulty and importance of documenting LARP games, something RPGs struggle with as well.

Whitbrook, James (2024 Apr 16) How Dungeons & Dragons Designed Vecna in a Post-Stranger Things World. Presenting a classic RPG villain for a mass-media audience.

Winters, Mike & Raffi Paul (2024 Apr 24) 36-year-old makes $37,000 a year leading Dungeons & Dragons games: If ‘you’re doing it anyway, you might as well’ get paid. Budgeting a creative career.

Zeoli, Rowan (2024 Apr 2) TTRPG TV Guide’s Creators Believe In A Field Of Dreams For Actual Play. Free streaming calendar is also open to submissions from anyone.

Zeoli, Rowan (2024 Apr 11) The LEGO D&D Special Is Pure Marketing, But At Least It’s Good Marketing. An actual play to promote entry to the hobby.

© Copyright 2024 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, email 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