Last week was the anniversary of E. Gary Gygax’s birthday. For those of you who don’t know, Gary Gygax was one half of the team who originally created the Role-Playing Game Dungeons & Dragons (the other half of that team: Dave Arneson.) We Role-Playing Gamers generally acknowledge Gygax as the father of the Role-Playing Game as we know it. He is honoured in tributes and homages across the gaming world (dedications of books and video games, nods and mentions in television shows) including a memorial fund (google: Gary Gygax Memorial Fund) and two of three “Read an RPG in Public” weeks.
“Read an RPG in Public Week?” you ask, “When and what is that?”
I’m so glad you asked! Read an Role-Playing Game in Public week is an international event spearheaded by the good folks at The Escapist blog. They are advocates for the rights of gamers to play their games, and are helping to raise awareness and dispel myths about Role-Playing Games. One of the things that they do is publicize the three one-week-long Read an RPG in Public events each year. The entire purpose is to get Role-Playing Games “out of the basement,” as they say, and into the light. They want Gamers (players, game masters, storytellers, all of us!) to grab a copy of a Role-Playing Game book (core rules, expansion rules, bestiary, spell compendium, adventure supplement -- anything in print!) and go read it someplace in public. Go sit on a park bench during your lunch break and read the Advanced Player’s Guide to Paiso’s Pathfinder game, instead of that Nora Roberts novel. Whip out your artsy hardcover copy of Archaia’s Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game in your office break room, instead of the newest Sookie Stackhouse book. Print off a copy of your sneak-preview PDF of Ben Gerber’s Argyle & Crew to read during the kids’ nap time at day care. Display your book covers with pride (don’t you dare make paper-bag slip covers for them like you do your smutty novels) and be prepared to answer questions!
Read an RPG in Public Week happens three times a year, so even though one just passed by, there’ll be another one coming up in a couple months, and you’ll get another chance. They go on for a week each, from the Sunday on or before through the Saturday on or after three important dates. The first event each year happens the week of March 4th: designated “Game Master’s Day” since 2008 and also the anniversary of Gary Gygax’s death. The second event falls on the week of July 27th, the anniversary of Gary Gygax’s birthday. The third event of the year is the week of October 1st, which is the anniversary of Dave Arneson’s birthday (he has also passed away), and frequently is also the same week as the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week events. (Considering the history of misunderstandings that Role-Playing Games have suffered, the coincidence that Arneson’s birthday and Banned Book Week are so close is pretty appropriate!)
I’m not saying you need to wait for one of these events in order to have an excuse to read your Role-Playing Game books and supplements in public; do it anytime you want! I am merely suggesting that, if you happen to be trying to decide what to read as you pack your bag to leave the house, and it happens to be early March, late July, or almost October, then consider grabbing an RPG book. Help spread your love for the hobby.
And maybe snap a photo or two. Or share your story about what happened when you pulled that book out of your purse in a public place with the folks over at The Escapist Blog and everyone else publicly celebrating their love for RPGs that week.