RPG Books-to-Prisoners aka Against the Slave Lords

RPG Books-to-Prisoners aka Against the Slave Lords

 A3: assault on the aerie of the slave lords

A3: assault on the aerie of the slave lords

To support the recent nationwide prison strike, we are donating of RPG books and materials in solidarity with the incarcerated populations. You may have read the Vice article from last year about how common role-playing games are inside prisons. Most inmates just lack the rule books (they can't have dice inside but have plenty of clever ways around the ban). RPG manuals are on the "most requested" list of almost every prison book donation website and are never stocked by the humorless authoritarian bureaucrats that run what's left of prison libraries. These books are so in demand that when charities are no longer accepting general donations, they will always make an exception for RPG books.

We don’t need to convince y’all of the power of role-playing games. Most of us read the great post by the recreational therapist running a D&D game in California. Other prisoners have written about how their D&D games have helped them deal with life inside and help their fellow inmates. More importantly, if you are an American, you know how needlessly cruel, punitive, and dispiriting prisons are in this country. D&D and other RPGs are for everyone and prisoners need these games more than anyone.

One place that you can mail and specifically needs RPG books right now is Books to Prisoners in Seattle (they also have satellite groups in Portland, Olympia, and Spokane).

Also, here is long list of other programs and charities that send books to prisoners. You will need to check to make sure that they are accepting books and specifically accepting RPG materials. If, like me, you are in Texas then you can drop off books for Inside Books Project in Austin.

Books to donate, in order of how in demand* they are:

  1. D&D core rules (PHB, DMG, MM), 5e > 3/3.5e > 4e > AD&D

  2. Pathfinder core rules (PFCR, Bestiary)

  3. Generic/Universal core rules (d20, FATE, GURPs, Savage Worlds, etc.)

  4. SciFi & Star Wars core rules

  5. Superhero system core rules

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t donate a boxed set or anything with dice or other stuff inside. Books only.

  • Don’t donate books that are in poor condition.

  • Don’t donate books that have lots of writing in the margins.

  • Don’t send books with gratuitous violence on the cover.

  • Do donate core manuals. Don’t donate obscure supplements.

  • Do pressure Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, and other game developers to join the community and donate their books directly to prisons.

  • Do call your state elected officials if you are a Pennsylvanian and get them to reverse the ban on D&D and Pathfinder books in PA state prisons.

  • Do find other ways to support the demands of striking prisoners in any way you can.

Send us a picture of the books you’ve mailed or dropped off for prisoners and we will add them to the gallery!

In solidarity,
DMs Matt & Rob
Dungeon Master of None

*Based off three conversations with a books-to-prisoners volunteers around the country who knew enough to differentiate these books.

 Books donated by Matt’s Texas group.

Books donated by Matt’s Texas group.

Cocktails & Concoctions - "The Goodberry Mule: A Druid’s Drink"

Goodberry Mule: A Druid’s Drink

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It’s Friday and welcome to my first installment of Cocktails and Concoctions, where I make a mixed drink based on something from Dungeons and Dragons!

Drinking and D&D go together like a third edition monk and the mage armor spell.  I hope that the cocktails in this series help your group get in a role-playing mood for your next adventure.

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For my first entry, I want to make a cocktail inspired by one of my favorite classes in Dungeons and Dragons: the druid.  Druids are a bit of an odd bird (who can shapeshift into odd birds) among the game’s classes, in that, unlike many of the other classes, they have a very specific outlook on the world.  Unlike clerics or wizards, druids are based on one very particular interpretation of pre-Christian religion.  Druids are protectors of nature and communities that live near the wilds.  How can we translate this into a tasty cocktail?

 

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Flipping through the druid class, I turn to one of my favorite spells in the game: goodberry.  Goodberry is one of those spells that new players love.  Who doesn’t like making magical berries?  I love berries in cocktails, so now we’ve got some inspiration.  Looking at the components for the spell, goodberry calls for a sprig of mistletoe.  Mistletoe is a big bad idea for cocktails as it is poisonous to humans.  If you want a sprig of something sticking out, go for some nice fresh mint instead.

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A druid-inspired cocktail should have lots of natural ingredients, especially fresh roots, plants, and fruit.  Since I love ginger, and it has medicinal properties in folklore and traditional medicine, let’s start with that.  And now, I have our cocktail: a fresh ginger mule with a berry twist.  It will be refreshing without being too sweet.  Let’s get started on the “Goodberry Mule.”

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Most mules you get at a bar will be made with ginger beer, and while I love ginger beer, mules made with fresh ginger are so much more refreshing.  Let’s make some fresh ginger syrup for our “Goodberry Mule.”

I based this recipe off the Cocktail Chemistry Lab’s spicy ginger syrup recipe.  However, instead of agave, we are using a more druidic ingredient: honey.  To get started, toast a spoonful of peppercorns or cracked pepper in a saucepan until fragrant.

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Then blend 8 oz. of honey, 8 oz. of water, and 170g of fresh ginger, chopped and peeled.  Add this puree to your saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from heat.  Let it stand for about half an hour and then strain with the finest strainer you have.  Get as much liquid out of the mash as you can and you will have a refreshing ginger syrup with a great honey flavor and just a hint of spice.  You can add a splash of this to your tea in the afternoon as well!

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Now that we have our syrup, on to the cocktail.  

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First, to add that goodberry flavor, muddle a couple berries (I’m using blackberries, but raspberries or blueberries will also work) with a couple slices of cucumber.  

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To this, add 1 oz. of your spicy honey-ginger syrup, an 1 oz. of lime juice, and 2 oz. of spirit to your muddled fruit.  I’m using bourbon whiskey, because whiskey is from druid-filled Ireland (but I’m also American, so bourbon), but you can use any spirit that normally goes into a mule, such as a dark rum or vodka.  

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Shake all the ingredients with lots of ice and double strain (there are lots of little bits in here!) into an ice-filled glass.  I think a vaguely earthenware mug looks druish to me or you can use collins glass to show off the color.

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Top it off with a splash of club soda and garnish with 2 more goodberries and slice of cucumber and serve cold! 

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Goodberries? Honey, there're great berries.  

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The Goodberry Mule: a Druid’s Drink

  • Muddle 2 blackberries and 2 slices of cucumber
  • 1 oz. spicy honey-ginger syrup (see above)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. whiskey (or other spirit)
  • Shake with ice
  • Double strain into ice filled glass
  • Top with club soda
  • Garnish with 2 blackberries and slice of cucumber