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Role playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons boast fans of all ages. Learn how these games work, and how you can use them to attract teen, new adult, and other players to your library. Explore how you can reach these potential patrons by supporting RPG play. From providing meeting space, to rule books, formal library programs, 3D printing services, and more, discover what level of engagement is possible at your library. Investments for these ideas in terms of staff, time, and budget will be covered, as well as how to market these programs and services to the public and reach the gaming community.
Dungeons & Dragons
becomes the first
Role Playing Game
What are Role Playing Games (RPGs)?
• Game where players assume the roles of fictional characters.
• Players often “act out” their characters.
• A system of rules govern the success or failure of actions.
From humble beginnings
• D&D 1st edition had an Initial print run of 1,000 copies
• Hand assembled
• Sold out of Gygax’s home.
• Gave an acquaintance Brian Blume
1/3 partnership for $2,000 in
To creating an industry
• TSR publishes multiple RPGs
• 1981: 130 employees
• 1982: they break $20 million in sales
• Toy licensing deals.
• D&D is published in 22 countries.
• 1990s: Accessory books each average 150,000 copies sold annually
• 2004: 20 million players and $1billion in sales
What is the basic structure of a RPG?
Player Character (PC)
• Individuals (typically between
2-6) that “run” their character
• Act out their character
• Declare what actions they are
Dungeon Master (DM)
• Individual that “runs” the
overall game & interprets rules
• Narrates scenes.
• Determines the success or
failure of player characters.
• Controls Non-player characters
Dice in character creation
• Dice are rolled to determine ability scores
when creating a character.
Character creation, cont.
• After rolling dice and totaling/assigning scores players:
• Choose a race and class
• Name their character
• Develop a backstory & personality traits
• Draw a portrait
• Assign equipment
• Assign abilities
How else are dice used?
• Dice are used to determine success
of various actions.
• Success in combat
• Successful investigation
• Avoidance of danger (saving throw)
• Order of action
Carry the core rule books
• Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition
• Dungeon Master’s Guide
• Player’s Handbook
• Monster Manual
• D&D Starter Set
• Contains dice
• Contains character sheets
• These can circulate or be placed
Carry the core rule books
• Core Rulebook
• Also available as a softcover
• Can be downloaded as PDF for an
additional charge (approx. $10)
• There are multiple bestiaries!
• Currently 6
Carry supplementary rule books
• Supplementary rule books add
“flavor” to an adventure.
• New lands, dimensions, etc. to explore
• New character options.
• Add history, context to adventures.
Carry Adventure Books
• These are pre-made adventures
• Story outlines are already created
• NPCs are developed
• Encounters planned.
• Adventures are generally intended
for a certain level of adventurer
Libraries can purchase
& consumables, including
Pros and Cons of Insourcing your RPG Sessions
• It can be a money saver.
• You can build connections with
• You can ensure continuity
• RPGS take place over many
sessions over long periods of
• Your resident experts may not
be *allowed* to do programs.
• Outside of game sessions,
there’s a lot of time consuming
planning to be done!
• You may be responsible for
storing lots of character sheets
for a very long time!
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your RPG
• It can be a money saver.
• It can mitigate staffing
• Can provide their own
equipment and supplies.
• You may need to lock into a
long-term contract to cover
the extended nature of RPG
• Who is holding onto all the
Do you have a 3D printer?
• 3D printers have the ability to
inexpensively render RPG miniatures.
• Risk of theft is mitigated by the ability
to reprint & replace.
• Large numbers of files already exist on
• Patrons can also be taught to design
their own miniatures!
If You Don’t Own a 3D Printer:
• Sites like Printable Heroes provide a free paper option
• Searchable database
• Printable PDFs
• Some assembly required.
Passive Approaches to Reaching RPG Players
• Create a welcoming environment
• Book displays
• 3D Printing Display
• Bookplates in your RPG collection
Active Approaches to Reaching RPG Players
• Social media marketing
• Facilitate Facebook events
• Targeted ads on interests such as Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons
• Great for locating interest groups within a geographic location!
"Libraries that are not yet offering
digital services would be well served
by Tanzi's book. Those wishing to
enhance patron experiences with
digital resources are guaranteed to
Library Journal *Starred Review*
(631) 399-1511 ext. 398