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    Gary Alan Fine's early survey of role-playing games found that everybody cheated. But the definition of what cheating is when it applies to role-playing games differs from other uses of the term. Does everyone really cheat in RPGs?

    If you saw the two most recent "Star Wars Story" movies--Solo or Rogue One--a common refrain is that they feel like how Star Wars role-playing game sessions play out. The reason has a lot to do with a shift in franchise-building philosophy and what kinds of stories role-playing games are good at telling.


    Dungeons & Dragons is more popular than ever before. As a result, D&D culture is starting to seep into other activities for grown-up gamers, including their professional lives. Is D&D now being used to network and blow off steam the way adults play poker?



    Dungeons & Dragons is doing better than ever, thanks to a wave of nostalgia-fueled shows like Stranger Things and the Old School Renaissance, the rise of actual play video streams, and a broader player base that includes women. The reasons for this vary, but one possibility is that D&D no longer requires miniatures. Did it ever?



    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts both teach gaming elements as optional badges to their membership. But when it comes to introducing role-playing games, they each take a different approach. With the recent announcement about Boy Scouts accepting girls as members, it's worth reviewing how the two organizations are teaching kids about gaming.



    We previously discussed the "digital line" when a physical product's value online dips to below one U.S. dollar in value, but miniatures are a bit more complicated. 3D printers continue to come down in price, but how cheap do they need to be before the miniature and terrain market is impacted?



    The recent crash in pricing for digital comics provides a data point for the future of electronic versions of tabletop books, 3D-printed miniatures, and terrain. How long can retailers keep their price points for physical product before the dam breaks?



    Ernest Cline's Ready Player One book and movie created a virtual world where winning a game could result in personal riches. There's precedent for a video game awarding real-life riches going all the way back to the 1980s with the Atari 2600, and it begins with a game called Swordquest.



    In Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, real life is intertwined with a virtual overlay that permeates all of society. In the book and film based on it, James Halliday co-created the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation (OASIS) a Massively Multiplayer Online Simulation Game (MMOSG), and its success made him a billionaire. It's hard to imagine now, but we nearly had our own OASIS with an immersive virtual world where every player had an avatar: Second Life.

    Ready Player One posits a future where billionaire James Halliday creates a virtual world that encompasses every form of gaming. He's actually inspired by a real-life game developer who made a fortune off of his games: Richard Garriott.



    Fans of Ernest Cline's novel, Ready Player One, know that there's an entire sequence that takes place in a virtual recreation of a classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Gary Gygax, the Tomb of Horrors. Fans of the book will find that D&D's presence has changed in the film. Please note that this discussion contains spoilers for the book, the movie, and the Tomb of Horrors.


    The term "race" is a staple of fantasy that is now out of sync with modern usage. With Pathfinder shifting from "race" to "ancestry" in its latest edition, it raises the question: should fantasy games still use it?




    Kobolds in Dungeons & Dragons have their roots in mythology, but they have gradually transformed into devious trapmakers capable of routing a high-level party, and for that we can thank a DM named Tucker.



    We've previously discussed the original end goal of Dungeons & Dragons and the rising success of video in boosting the game's popularity, but the enormous success of Matt Colville's Strongholds & Streaming seems like a turning point that brought both of those elements together at the right time. Here's a few theories as to why.


    Orientalism -- a wide-ranging term originally used to encompass depictions of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cultures -- has gradually come to represent a more negative term. Should Dungeons & Dragons, known for two well-received books titled "Oriental Adventures," have another edition dedicated to "Eastern" cultures?



    The roaring success of the recent Black Panther film is another sign that fantasy worlds are changing. The fictional African country of Wakanda as portrayed in Marvel comic books has been isolated and stagnant, a common problem with "Othering" of non-white cultures. The plot of the film addresses its isolationist past and in doing so, blazes a trail for other fantasy universes in how they portray African-like nations.



    Dungeons & Dragons evolved from a miniature wargame with a referee to a role-playing game with as many as 20 players managed by a Game Master, to massive multiplayers where there are no referees at all. D&D's model of play is highly flexible, but its expression in other mediums has shown that the model where "anything can be attempted" has limits before something breaks down, and it starts with the referee.



    So it's finally come to this: Old Spice recently made a class for Pathfinder. This isn't the first time a brand has created a class for D&D and it won't be the last, but it says a lot about gamers -- and the brand -- in how we react to these ads.


    Dungeons & Dragons is well-known for its class advancement system, which over time has iterated from focusing on collecting treasure to defeating foes. And yet there was a time in the First Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons where players were encouraged to play their characters as novices below 1st level, before they became heroes. These were 0-level player characters, and their story illuminates how D&D models a particular kind of fantasy fiction.



    Fantasy is now much more mainstream, so it's easy to forget how influential the debut of the Harry Potter franchise was on the genre. And yet despite the blockbuster success of the franchise we never got an official Harry Potter tabletop role-playing game -- for Dungeons & Dragons or any other system.


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