Grace D. Gipson Submitted photo

Role playing game rules. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — Dungeons & Dragons, a cultural icon of the role-playing game industry, is the next featured topic of the University of Maine at Farmington’s New Commons Project.

First published in 1974, D&D was the first of its kind, and has remained the best-known, most successful and sometimes controversial fantasy RPG on the market. The game has been translated into many languages and in 2017 had 12-15 million players in North American alone.

Originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the game allows each player to design their own characters and embark upon an imaginary adventure where they interact with the setting’s inhabitants and each other. While it has been cited as encouraging socializing and teaching problem-solving skills, it has also received negative publicity for cultural insensitivity and the practice of magic.

The UMF New Commons events featuring Dungeons & Dragons are free and will run between Feb. 17 to March 5, 2021:

Open to the public events:

Due to Covid-19 precautions, the following “Open to the Public” events are all remote. RSVP forms or links to events are included in each event. To learn more about the New Commons Project, and to view many of the events for the first 12 topics, visit the website at:

“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming”

Online Video Keynote by Grace Gipson

“Black Lives Matter” is not just a phrase or way of thinking as it relates to police brutality and racist violence towards Black life, but also necessary in the fantasy and gaming realm. Much like any other art form or popular medium, the world of gaming and fantasy must be open to having a talk about its history of racial and cultural insensitivity, regardless of the pushback. Grace D. Gipson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. As a Black future feminist/pop culture scholar, Dr. Gipson’s area of research interest centers on black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media.

Prerecorded Video available at Vimeo Link ( between Wednesday, Feb. 24 and March 3. Open to the Public.

Online live discussion with Grace Gipson: Join Gipson for a live online discussion of blackness, politics, gaming and fantasy. Wednesday, March 3, 7 p.m. Open to the Public, Zoom Link:

Online D&D Campaign for Beginners with Ian Mooney: Fridays Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5. 6-8 p.m., Open to the Public, RSVP Form,

Zoom Link:

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: