Weekend Reading 25

Our Weekend Reading series (brought to you by our Patreon backers) continues with a curated selection of articles—and a few other things—from around the Internet that interested us this week! We’re currently on an every-other-week schedule.

Peter

Shortly after I wrote this week’s blog post on setting design, Grant shared an interesting article about the King James Bible and heavy metal with me. I thought it was an interesting read, so I figured I’d share it with you.

The King James Bible has had an amazing impact upon all aspects of English-speaking culture. We all quote the KJV in our idioms and literature. There is no doubt that the KJV is a huge part of the English language, and many people recognize its influence upon traditional Christian music such as hymns. However, I have never heard of anyone who talked about the King James Version’s relationship with heavy metal music. In fact, many of the people who read the KJV are the same people who say that metal is the “devil’s music”. However, there are many examples of the KJV’s appreciation within metal, and I wanted to write a post that brought that to light.

Gamers with Jobs has a relationship with an actor by the name of Graham Rowat who is very, VERY good at conveying the emotion behind blog posts and articles written by their writing staff. It’s always something special when they get him to read something new; his rich voice and flawless delivery make for very compelling listening, and they’ve got all of his reading concentrated in a single place. If you’ve never listened to Gamers With Jobs, it’s a very good podcast in its own right, but these are highlights within a highlight.

Over the years Graham Rowat has graced us with readings of select articles on the GWJ Conference Call. We’re very pleased to catalog them for you so you can listen to outside the stuffy confines of the podcast. Enjoy!

Finally, there’s this fantastic article about the perspective of Christian faith amid the chaos of history unfolding.

But the world was always falling apart, as even the most cursory reading of history reveals. Sometimes a society’s demise came at the hands of an invading empire that wiped out government, commerce, worship, and culture. At other times, a deadly plague destroyed the known world. Or a devastating economic depression stripped people of their farms, jobs, and hopes for a future. Over the last few generations we learned to live with nuclear threats and terrorism. If we’re paying attention, we have to realize that the world as we know it is always a thread away from unraveling.

Jenny

When I lived in Newfoundland, I attended a High Anglican church there. As with most churches I attend, I was the only person in my age group there (apart from music students who were there for academic reasons,) and the lovely older ladies of the congregation descended upon me at once with love and compassion. But they were also constantly asking me how to get more people my age back to the church. This article by Rachel Held Evans for the Washington Post puts words to what I’ve felt for a long time, and it’s what I wish I could have said to the lovely people at that church.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, among those of us who came of age around the year 2000, a solid quarter claim no religious affiliation at all, making my generation significantly more disconnected from faith than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their lives and twice as detached as baby boomers were as young adults.

In response, many churches have sought to lure millennials back by focusing on style points: cooler bands, hipper worship, edgier programming, impressive technology. Yet while these aren’t inherently bad ideas and might in some cases be effective, they are not the key to drawing millennials back to God in a lasting and meaningful way. Young people don’t simply want a better show. And trying to be cool might be making things worse.

A few days ago I learned about a board/roleplaying game adaptation of one of my favourite childhood movies: Willow. The movie itself has gotten a lot of flak over the years, but I love the campiness and cheese. Though I disagree with the claim that the Willow RPG is the only one that will have you turn into a possum (RPGs are full of near-infinite possibility) I am intrigued by the game. I can only see it going one of two ways: either amazingly well, or amazingly bad.

I also learned about the women who traveled Kentucky on horseback, delivering library books to remote areas.

The Pack Horse Library initiative was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA), created to help lift America out of the Great Depression, during which, by 1933, unemployment had risen to 40 percent in Appalachia. Roving horseback libraries weren’t entirely new to Kentucky, but this initiative was an opportunity to boost both employment and literacy at the same time.

Grant

I never thought I’d link to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog here, since it’s mostly political analytics, but they recently did a statistical analysis of all the D&D characters created over at the new D&D Beyond tools site since its launch. It suggests something interesting: Most D&D characters aren’t actually all that fantastic. Human Fighter is far and away the most common race-and-class combination, for example:

When I started playing “Dungeons & Dragons” five years ago, I never would have chosen the game’s most popular match: the human fighter. There are already enough human fighters in movies, TV and books — my first character was an albino dragonborn sorcerer. But these days I can get behind the combo’s simplicity: It lets you focus on creating a good story rather than spending time flipping through rulebooks to look up spells. Players who are more interested in the action than the storytelling might relish the technicalities of more arcane race and class pairings, watching the dice fall and arguing over whether they have full or half cover. You can play “Dungeons & Dragons” as a pure combat simulator, a murder mystery or even a dating competition. For decades, that open-endedness has brought players back to the table to fill out one more character sheet.

Friend of the show and Gameable Podcast host Kris Newton has been all over my podcast feed lately. For example, he’s recently appeared on two episodes of Pulp 2 Pixel‘s “Dial G for Gamer” podcast to talk about superhero roleplaying. The first was an episode on Palladium’s Heroes Unlimited superhero roleplaying game; and the second was to discuss the World of Darkness games and the superhero archetypes and possibilities of WoD characters. They’re both long, content-rich episodes filled with Kris’s usual gaming genius, and are highly recommended!

Finally, I want to plug something special: Our Discord server. It’s starting to build up a critical mass of users, so if you’re not familiar with it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. I’ve always wanted Saving the Game to develop a community of listeners that talks to each other and develops relationships with each other, rather than only talking to us, and this seems to be working quite well to foster that relationship. Come hang out, say hello, and join us!

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