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Readers' Letters

Well, we recieved another great bunch of letters since last issue. And every time we get a letter telling us what you like and don't like, we get better and better at making this the best magazine on the net. So keep 'em coming! Meanwhile, we've had substantial support for some sort of contact column for gamers. However, we're still debating the hows and wherefores of implementing this. If you've got some ideas on this, or just want to add your support (or even voice your condemnation) for the idea, please let us know.

Actually, I did just want to pass this on...

Dear PTG, PTB Guys,


I've just read through the issues available after stumbling across your site recently. Here's some questions/suggestions I've got:

  1. When's the next issue due? Don't lose your momentum! You're providing a useful service.
  2. When you have 'mailto' links, why not include a default subject for the link?
  3. Go back and fix your errors, note the fixes when they're referred to in future issues, or readers feedback. You've got a 'living' online mag here that anyone can come along to see, at any time. To me, the first issue is 'recent', because I've just read it.
  4. Advertise - use the net resources. I just happened to stumble across this site. Put messages out on and for example.
  5. From the Reader's Feedback, issue 3: Got to agree with Mark: a contact column would be useful. There's nothing unifying in Brisbane that currently supplies this type of service - particularly if you don't go to the gaming stores very often. I think I've been into a gaming shop here in Brisbane about 2 or 3 times in the last year or so - they're inconvenient to get to and/or rarely offer value (compared to mail order).
  6. How about reviews, particularly of conventions and the events at the convention? Try to encourage those who attend to write up reviews for you. Conjure could be a good start...

Well, that's probably enough for now...
Chris Ryan.

1. We're now announcing an estimate for the next issue's release on the front page - or you could subscribe. 2. Because we don't know what subject our readers will want to write about. 4. We already advertise on the net, and are always looking for ways to expand this. 5. See above. 6. See Issue 3 for a review of two conventions, and likewise this issue. Now for the tricky question...

3. We do try and go back and correct any typos we spot in old issues. However, it would be inconsistent with our strong issue-based format (which we think is important to our design) if we were to change anything major in a past issue. The upshot of this is that because we know we can't change things, the mag has to be 100% before we publish it. We like having to work to that, and it makes for a better quality issue for you.

Dear PTG, PTB,
>From the Morphyry article in the last PTG, PTB: "The Hercules/Xena game is still coming from TSR."

Hmmm...isn't the H/X game already available, and from West End Games?
Rob Alexander

Yes, you are quite correct, West End Games did release a Hercules/Xena game using their D6 system earlier this year. However, the game only had a minimal release in the UK and US, and before West End could promote it properly, they went bust. And since West End makes no use of the web, this one got passed us. TSR is also making a H/X game, and it is due out early next year. Thanks very much for catching us on this one, Rob.

Dear PTG, PTB,
I have been reading the excellent article by Steve Darlington on the history of Role-Playing Games which has been appearing in your magazine. But I really must take issue with one statement he has made in Part IV of the article:

"It all began in August of 1979 at Michigan State University, with two separate cases that soon became blurred into one. Firstly, a student called James ran away from the college. He left a confused note that mentioned the steam tunnells (sic) under the university, and the game Dungeons and Dragons, of which James was an avid and obsessive player. James, however, did not kill himself, and was later tracked down by his parents.

"Sadly, Dallas Egbert, a student at the same college, did kill himself. But during the investigation of this case, there occurred another tragic mistake. Through irresponsible journalism, the two cases became confused, and Egbert became the first "D&D suicide". This was despite the facts that Egbert was facing extreme pressure as a child prodigy (he was 16), was an alleged drug addict, and, as was revealed much later, had never been interested in role-playing."

I have done considerable research into the Dallas Egbert case, and there are some innacuracies in this report. First of all James Dallas Egbert III (known as Dallas Egbert) *did* disappear from Michigan State University in August of 1979. I have no knowledge of the disappearance of anyone else named James from the University in August of 1979, but with the exception of Steve's article, I have never seen any mention of this occurring.

Dallas Egbert was recovered by Private Investigator, William C Dear who was retained by the boy's parents. And it is true that in August 1980, Dallas did commit suicide.

Despite Steve's statement, Dallas was interested in roleplaying. He did play D&D. While I certainly agree D&D did not cause his death, it is inaccurate to suggest that he was "never interested in roleplaying."

I wrote an article (unpublished) on the facts behind the Dallas Egbert case, and I have included it with this mail. Please consider it a submission to your magazine, so you may print it if you wish. It does our hobby no good to be presenting inaccurate information on this issue.
Shaun Hately.

The author says:

What can I say? I am a victim of my sources, which unfortunately aren't always the quality I would prefer. I have of course heard of The Dungeon Master and would have loved to have had it as a reference. However, I have been searching for it for years to no avail; I don't believe it was ever released outside of the US, which makes things difficult.

As you probably guessed, the two cases listed in the article are in truth the same case. However, my various sources gave me substantially differing (and occasionally completely false) accounts of the facts, including the name of the boy, his interest in role-playing, and especially his behaviour up to the suicide. Unable to reconcile these differences, I decided they must represent two separate instances. This was, as further research soon indicated, the wrong judgement, but the article had gone to print.

I'd like to thank you for taking the time and interest to correct me on this. It is important to me and all the editors that our facts are all correct, especially when it comes to the history. And the best source for research is our readers. I encourage anyone who has more information about parts of the history to write in, because there will always be only so much that I can get from books and magazines.

Shaun, your article is incredibly well researched, and we will be looking at publishing it some time in the near future. Like you, we believe that this is an important part of our gaming history and everyone should have accurate information about it. Finally, I'm sorry about the error, and hope it doesn't colour your opinion of the rest of the mag!

Dear PTG, PTB,
Hi there,

I have to say GREAT 'zine! I love reading it but have just one problem (and a suggestion). I really enjoy reading the articles but tend to spend a lot of time doing so. It would be great if each issue (in html format) was put in a zip file available for download so readers could enjoy the 'zine offline so they can spend as much time as they like while not soaking up valuable ISP time. Just a suggestion =)
Joel Esler

Great idea, Joel! We're looking at providing a PDF form of the magazine at the moment, and in the meantime, we have now made zip files available so you can enjoy the zine at your leisure.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Stopped by your site - Terrific pages. Great Design. Great contribution to the World Wide Web. I am much impressed. I am awarding your site the Cyber Excellence Award. Stop by my homepage to download the award bearing the words "Cyber Excellence Award."
Ernest Slyman

Thanks very much, Ernest. It's nice to have some sort of tangible testament to the work we've been doing. Now we've just got to find somewhere to put it...

Dear PTG, PTB,
Hi Steve. I just followed a URL attached to a mail message a friend of mine just sent and it was to your page. It was odd visiting your page because, my wife had just cancelled a project to produce an online Australian gaming magazine and sure enough I find that you have been doing one for a few months. Our focus was going to be to concentrate on RPG conventions in Australia. Anyway as I said we have another project but I am realy glad to see someone doing it and well.

One of the things in the works at present is a conference about RPG conventions. A lot of material and discussion papers are going to be presented. Anyway excellent site - keep up the good work.
Grant Chapman

As long as one of us is doing it, eh? Anyway, Grant, if you or your wife still want to keep a foot in the door of mag production, we can always use more help here. For more about the convention conference, see the Local News.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Hi! I was happy to read that you'll be discussing co-operative storytelling in an upcoming issue. I started such a group myself early this year, very loosely based on the setting of Daedalus Entertainment's "Nexus: The Infinite City". You can get the details at

I'd be happy to offer any information you'd like about our group if you have further questions -- I love your magazine and would welcome the opportunity to help out. :)

Dan Davenport

Thanks Dan, as I said above, we can always use help. Your site is looking pretty good, with some good explanations for newbies, but could use some examples of the kind of stories going on. Anyone interested in co-operative storytelling should definitely check out Dan's site.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Can you provide me with the addresses for stores selling role-playing games such as GURPS, Traveller in Sydney and Melbourne? Any information you can provide will be most welcome.

Thank you
Low Kia Keat

We've published this in the hope that those among our readers who live in the respective cities can answer the question better than us Brisbanites. If you can help, please mail us, and we'll pass it on to Low. Cheers.

Do you have an opinion on one of the articles in this issue? Do you feel the need to voice important questions about the gaming industry? Do you just want to tell us that you now own your own weight in dice? Tell us what's on your mind.

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