Pacifist Role-Playing Game

Lotus Dimension is a new tabletop RPG up on Kickstarter that explicitly frames the game as pacifist — they’ve removed all the combat dynamics traditionally included in such games:

“If you can’t kill it, get creative” is the first thing any novice D&D player would learn during their maiden venture into its world. Lotus Dimension is simply removing step one. If you know you can’t kill it from the beginning, what else can you do? In Lotus Dimension, that question underlies the whole game. As the Kickstarter states, it “[replaces] violence and weaponry with empathy and ingenuity.” You’re forced to work around combat, and in an adventure game like this, that mentality can completely change the way you play the game.

What possibilities do you see in games that attempt to foster empathy?

Week Ahead: 2

2 8/30 Sign up for your domain and install and configure WordPress.
9/1 Bogost HTDTWV “Media Microecology” (1-8).Also, create subdomain for this class, install and configure WordPress.
9/2 First sidequest due: Create an Avatar

If you haven’t already, register a domain and install WordPress in it — in the terms of your Homestead assignment, purchase your land and build a small house. (More detailed instructions are included on the Homestead assignment page and there are links from there to even more detailed instructions.) Definitely have that completed before class on Thursday (if you run into troubles, email me).

If you can, also go ahead and create a subdomain for this course and install WordPress in it — in gaming terms, add your Main Hall. (Note: the second time you install WordPress, choose the subdomain you created from the location menu, and make certain you delete the /blog/ subdirectory that Installatron suggests.) Follow the instructions on the Homestead assignment page to configure some of the basic settings for your subdomain (static front page, create a menu and add custom links to your primary domain and to the class page, and add the Meta widget to your site). I’d like you to have this done by class on Thursday, but if it takes you a day or two later than that, it’s okay.

Before class on Thursday, also read the introductory chapter of Bogost’s How to Do Things with Videogames (PDF of those first few pages below). Think about the rhetorical situation for this chapter:

  • What are Bogost’s primary goals? What does he want to persuade his readers to believe or what behavior(s) does he hope to foster in his readers?
  • What is the context for this book? Based on what you know of discussions about videogames, and especially based on the ways in which Bogost characterizes that discourse within the chapter itself, how does this book respond to already ongoing conversations?
  • What audience(s) is Bogost writing for?

I’ve shared two folders in Google Drive with each of you — one folder that includes the entire class and one folder for each student that is shared only by that student and me. Make certain you can access both of those folders. Starting on Thursday, we can begin to take notes together and work in documents together in class.

We’ll also spend a bit of time in class on Thursday going over the first sidequest assignment.

Download Bogost “Media Microecology”

Welcome to Read | Write | Play

Your homework to complete before we meet again on Tuesday:

  • Read over this website very carefully as it constitutes the syllabus for this course. Note that the Syllabus page includes a number of subpages, covering such topics as: how to contact me and course objectives; the texts you need to buy; attendance, participation, and other policies; how you will be graded; and how Domain of One’s Own will impact your experience in this class. There is also a calendar of reading and assignments; and pages describing the major and minor assignments this semester.
  • Add this site to your bookmarks. Make certain that you can find your way back here, because you’ll be spending a lot of time visiting these pages over the course of this semester.
  • Reply to this survey form, which both asks some basic information I’ll need in order to manage communications with you and also asks some questions that will help me get to know you a little bit better.

Once you’ve completed those tasks, begin to establish your home base for this class:

  • Sign up for a domain of your own. (See this post first for a note about choosing a domain name.)
  • Install WordPress on your domain. Give your site a title that is not “My blog.”
  • Configure the settings on your site, making the front page static instead of a posts page.
  • Come back to this post once you have signed up for your domain and leave a comment. Enter your name and email and the new domain address in the “website” line when on the comment. In the body of the comment, ask one question about the syllabus.

On Choosing a Domain Name

You are not purchasing a web site! You are registering a domain name and server space, upon which you can build many other web sites, amongst other things. Therefore, you need a domain name that will continue to work for you after this semester is finished, maybe even after you have graduated from Emory.

The preference is for your domain to be some version of your name (i.e., or or but if you have a very common name you might have to be a little creative.

It is also perfectly acceptable for your domain name to be a short word or phrase that is easy to remember and spell, and which speaks to some interest of yours or an aspect of your character (i.e., my friend Audrey Watters publishes a site called; Kin Lane spends his careers working with APIs and his domain is; or Tanine Allison, a professor of Media Studies here at Emory who is finishing her first book entitled Destructive Sublime: World War II in American Media, uses as her domain name; or one of my favorite art and design blogs, which is called If you’re going to choose a title or phrase as your domain name, make sure you think about it very carefully so you don’t show up on one of those lists of the most unfortunate domain names ever, like the design firm called Speed of Art that ended up with a domain name that sounds like it’s about flatulence in a swimsuit.

Do not include the word “emory” in your domain name. The university brand management office is quite emphatic about trying to keep domains including “emory” only for official university sites.

Do not include my class name or something specific about a course, or even your major, in your domain name. You will add subdomains or pages of your sites that are specific to classes, but your primary domain name should be something that can grow with you.

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