One of the things I really love about the geek community are the holidays we have made for ourselves. It’s something I’ve not noticed other hobbies doing, but possibly because I’m just not in that group. Do model railroaders celebrate the anniversary of the creation of HO Scale? Do football fans have a National Pigskin Week, celebrating the inventor of the football, Sir Alistair Pigskin? Maybe, but I’ve never seen it, and extensive Googling research indicates no.
But us nerds create holidays! We celebrate the birthdays of our favourite actors (and sometimes characters). We make days to celebrate the things we love: National Science Fiction Day (January 2, Isaac Asimov’s alleged birthday), First Contact Day (April 5, the date in 2063 when the Vulcans will/did make contact with humans), and of course, Star Wars Day (May 4, as in “May the Fourth Be With You”). And even though Hallmark hasn’t gotten on board with cards yet, I love these geeky holidays. There is a certain sense of community that comes from holidays we make and share amongst ourselves, something religions discovered ages ago.
Of our many created celebrations, none is dearer to my cold metallic heart than Read an RPG Book in Public Week, or RARPGBIPW for short…or not. Created by The Escapist, they happen three times throughout the year, and this year they are March 4-10, July 22-28, and Sept. 30-Oct.6. Each week coincides with a day special to gaming geeks: March 4, which is GM’s Day (another one!), but more importantly the day that E. Gary Gygax, one of the creators of D&D, passed away; July 27, Gygax’s birthday; and October 1, birthday of other D&D co-creator Dave Arneson.
As the name suggests, the goal of the week long celebration thrice annually is to read an RPG book in public and raise awareness of role-playing games. It is hoped by reading our well-loved gaming books where folks can see, we can show folks that role-playing games and gamers are much more popular and populous than they thought. It may even serve to draw new players into the hobby, which is never a bad thing. You may think that streaming and live-play podcasts are doing a great job of that already, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But nothing can replace the personal, one-on-one approach.
If you are a tabletop gamer I hope you’ll take part. Pack a sourcebook to read at lunch or on the bus. Take an hour and go sit in the library or park (granted, park-sitting will have to wait here in Edmonton; winter is coming!), or hang out at your favourite coffee/tea shop, RPG book in hand. If someone approaches you about what you’re reading, be as open as their approach warrants. After all, the purpose of this week-long event is to engage people’s interest; you may need to channel your party’s bard for a while. And keep an eye out for your fellow readers, so you can exchange a knowing smile about our awesome hobby.
And please post about it! If you are on Facebook join the group, if you Tweet then don’t forget the hashtag #readrpgs. Post pics in your Instagram feed or blog about the event. And hey, if you do post something please drop me a link in the Comments, I’d love to see it and pass it along.