Today marks the start of the first Read an RPG Book in Public Week, an effort from WJ Walton of The Escapist to promote and normalize role-playing games in everyday settings. As Walton says:
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.
I have my own funny hang-ups about being overtly nerdy in public. Patches on my bookbag? Fine. Wearing a convention badge when going out to eat? I waver about 50-50 between taking it off and leaving it on. But I get squirrelly when it comes to reading a role-playing game book anywhere less isolated than my favorite reading rock by Lake Champlain. Even when I do my adventure writing at Muddy Waters, it’s on a plain old laptop in an innocuous Open Office document.
We’ll see if I can get the gumption up to break one out at Muddy Waters some weekday evening, say. I’m working my way through The Unexplained at the moment, and there’s still an unhealthily tall stack of other supplements demanding my attention. Fortunately, if I don’t find the nerve, I can try again in July and October. Yes, Read an RPG Book in Public Week is a tri-annual event, because the hobby needs the positive exposure, frankly.
But please, like WJ Walton says, don’t “freak the normies” with Kill Puppies for Satan or World of Synnibar. Role-players have enough of a undeserved bad rap without giving people valid ammunition.