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Wear Your Geek Badge On Your Sleeve

It’s Read an RPG in Public Week. Again. It’s a thrice-annually occurring event. (I haven’t the slightest idea if that hyphenated word is grammatically correct, but I like how it sounds.) It’s an “event” I wholeheartedly support too. I love D&D. I really do. I wish more people would play and I’m almost heartbroken that more people don’t.

I live in Queens, NY. NYC isn’t really a hotbed of D&D activity. Gamers are largely shunned here. Well, not all gamers, since “everyone” here plays video games. RPGs aren’t huge though. You’d think in a city of millions and millions of people the numbers would be fairly large, right? Well, from my anecdotal evidence, it’s not. We don’t even have many game stores in reasonable distance from the heart of the city.

So I talk about D&D to people I know. I tell them I play and deal with the rolling eyes. If I can convince just one at some point to try it out and they like it, maybe that person will convince another. And that person will convince another. That’s my hope at least.

That’s why I support Read RPGs in Public Week. This week I’m reading the D&D Essentials book “Heroes of the Fallen Lands” on the train on the way to work. I’m getting some cross-eyed looks from fellow passengers but I’ll accept those. My hope is that at least one person will see the cover and think “Hmm, what’s that now? I remember D&D, but I don’t recall the books looking like that.” Perhaps he or she will take a trip to Borders, Barnes & Noble, or even Target (smart job WotC, though I didn’t see it on the shelf at Target last weekend) and see the cover again and think “Hey, I remember that guy on the train reading that” and grab themselves a copy.

This falls in line with the intent of the event. From the official RRPGIP site:

What’s the point?

The point is to make the roleplaying hobby more visible, to get it “out of the basement” and into public areas where more people can see it. This will make others more aware of the hobby – some may ask you what your book is about, giving you the opportunity to explain the hobby to them. A few of those may be interested enough to try it themselves. Former gamers may see what you’re reading and think about the great times they used to have with roleplaying, and possibly even try it again.

What book should I read in public?

It’s your choice. Personally, I like to choose books with nice covers that catch the eye of bystanders. One of the great things about RPG rulebooks is the incredible artwork that can be found on most of the covers. I’ve read books like Nobilis in public places and have always had someone comment on them.

Try to stick to more tasteful RPGs. Most people who aren’t familiar with the hobby might not see the humor in Kill Puppies for Satan or Kobolds Ate My Baby, at least not right away. Don’t read something that will obviously offend most of the people in the environment (such as reading Demon: The Fallen in a church). Sure, these games are as fun and harmless as the others, but it’s counterproductive to the purpose of this project.

Why am I writing about this? It’s simple, I’m encouraging all of you out there to participate! This is a call out to all gamers to promote our hobby and “get it ‘out of the basement’ and into public areas” so others can discover the great hobby that is RPG gaming. It doesn’t have to be D&D. Any RPG is great. Just read it proudly and let others see it. One person at a time, that’s the goal.

This post obviously comes a bit late for this iteration, but there is still time. You have all of Thursday, September 30, 2010 and Friday, October 1, 2010 (and really Saturday, October 2, 2010 if you feel so inclined) to participate. Of course, you can continue to read RPGs in public after the week ends, but definitely try to at least participate this week and for next year’s events.

EDIT: This post was originally written on September 29, 2010 at 11:30AM. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s 3:40PM and a co-worker who stopped by my office just asked me about the “Heroes of the Fallen Lands” book on my desk. He thought it might be a novel, but I explained that it was the actual game. We got to talking about editions and such and I mentioned that Wizards just came out with a new “Red Box” and I could see the nostalgia in his eyes when he told me “Yeah! I used to have that and the Blue Box!”

He asked me if I actually still played, and I told him about my bi-weekly game. His “Wow, cool!” response was exactly the type of response I had hoped for. Who knows? Maybe I just re-introduced someone to the hobby!


AlioTheFool has been "around" D&D for 25 years, going back to the old "Red Box." However, having no one to play with, he simply spent ridiculous amounts of time creating worlds, adventures, and stories. After a D&D "vacation" from high school until around 10 years ago, Neverwinter Nights brought AlioTheFool back to the game. A few years later he found his way to the tabletop via the D&D Miniatures game. As that game wound down from official support, he bought a 4e starter set and gave the game another shot. After being invited by a fellow Minis game player to join his home 4e game, he progressed from player to now DM.

2 Responses to “Wear Your Geek Badge On Your Sleeve”

  • Well.. Not only did I bring RPG books out in public (Pathfinder and 3.5 dnd) I did a demonstration speech for my college class on how to role-play. How about that? It went really well and many of the comments from people afterwards were talking about how they really did have misconceptions about role-playing.

  • @wrathofzombie that is straight up awesome! Great work! And thanks!