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RPG Research on Dragon Talk 20180122 Transcript

by Hawke Robinson published Feb 07, 2018 01:34 PM, last modified Nov 28, 2022 12:45 PM
As requested, here is the transcript from the January 22nd, 2018 interview of RPG Research members on the Hasbro Wizards of the Coast "Dragon Talk" show, including Hawke Robinson and John Welker. This transcript attempts to help those in the Deaf & HoH communities, and those with visual impairments using screen readers.

Here is the referenced video this transcript is associated with:


This is still a work in progress. It is taking about 2 hours or writing per 10 minutes of show time.

Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragon “Dragon Talk” with RPG Research

Hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble

RPG Research guests John Welker and Hawke Robinson

Live Studio Broadcast January 22nd, 2018

Raw transcript.


Note: An alternate version of this transcript will soon be available with links to all referenced research, at


This transcript was created by Hawke Robinson out of consideration to the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and visually impaired.


This transcript will be used to add closed captions to the video.


For corrections, requests, comments, please feel free to email Hawke Robinson: hawke at


Show host on far left: Greg Tito of Wizards of the coast.

Show host on far right: Shelly Mazzanoble of Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Games.

Guest on middle-left: John Welker, V.P. of RPG Research and Spokane Area Gaming Association.

Guest on middle-right: Hawke Robinson Founder of RPG Research & President of RPG Therapeutics LLC.


Studio setting is flat black room with sound buffers on walls interspersed with red & white D&D logo segments as framed large photos on walls.

In middle is table covered with black tablecloth.

One the table are 4 studio grade microphones in sound buffering stands with pop filter screens.

Also on the table are a couple of tablet computers, one in front of host Greg (on the far left of the scene), one in front of Hawke in the middle-right of the scene. Hawke’s computer has two stickers on it, one with “Synthetic Zen” and the other “RPG Research, studies on the effects of role-playing games –”.

Also on the table, in the rear left of the table is a large red fez hat, belonging to John Welker, who sits just behind that fez, and also has a tan coffee cup in front of him.

In the middle of the table, from left to right, is a purple water bottle slash thermos, a business card stand with business cards for RPG Therapeutics LLC, a tall drinking glass filled to the brim with red dice with white numbers, and a trifold brochure stand with business cards and brochures for RPG Research, and finally, in front of Shelly, an orange water bottle, and in front of Hawke a white coffee cup with water.

Everyone wears full size studio headphones.

Greg is wearing a black T-shirt with grey silk screened logo of Dungeons & Dragons.

Shelly is wearing a tan shawl with a long-sleeve shirt underneath.

Hawke is wearing a dark maroon or brownish long sleeve collared button up shirt.

John is wearing a black polo-style golf shirt with a big red ampersand emblazoned over the right breast, the logo for D&D and organized play.



Greg Tito represented in transcript as GREG.

Shelly Mazzanoble represented in transcript as SHELLY.

John Welker represented in transcript as JOHN.

Hawke Robinson represented in transcript as HAWKE.





GREG: [shouting enthusiastically] WELCOME TOOOO DRAGON TALK!

SHELLY: [laughing] Don’t you love the way he just turns it on!

GREG: [laughing].

SHELLY: [spoofing sad, mellow voice, imitating mock version of Greg]: Hello I’m Greg Tito in real life, blah blah… [suddenly changing to enthusiastic loud voice imitating Greg]: DRAGON TALK!

GREG: I can bring it right up. I’m right into it!

SHELLY: I know, but you’re not really boring in real life.

GREG: It’s true, it’s true. It’s mostly from, this is, pure Jolt cola [gesturing to drinking thermos], that I’ve been drinking.

SHELLY: And you hear that little [clucks tongue several times, once per second, to simulate the metronome sound playved over the head phones in the final 5 second countdown to going on air].

GREG: I know its like it gets me jazzed and ready to go.

SHELLY: Yeah yeah yeah!

GREG: Dragon Talk’s ready. I’m Greg Tito, in case you didn’t know, who we were talking about. Who is the crazy manic crazy person.

SHELLY: Until I… interrupted you.

GREG: You are…

SHELLY: The interrupter!

GREG: The interrupter.

SHELLY & GREG together: Shelly Mazzanoble.

GREG: We’re excited about today -

SHELLY [interjecting/interrupting humorously]: Knock knock.

GREG: - because we are talking to two folks from RPG Research.

JOHN & HAWKE: [smiling and waving hello enthusiastically]

SHELLY: I’m so excited. I have been looking forward to this interview for a very long time.

GREG: It’s true. Exactly.

HAWKE: As have we! [Hawke gestures happily between Shelly & Greg, to Hawke & John].

GREG: That’s right! So we have Hawke Robinson and John Welker, who, just real quick, you guys go around and, and, and, … Yeah, why don’t you go around real quick, what is RPG Research?

HAWKE: Alright, a quick blurb, RPG Research is a non-profit research and community services organization. We study the effects of all RPG formats: tabletop, live-action, computer-based, and solo adventures books and modules. Started research in 1983 and shared online since 2004. We work with populations including: at-risk youth, Autism spectrum, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, depression, drug rehab transition, in-patient, out-patient, and much more.

GREG: Awesome. That sounded a little bit like a drug commercial at the end, [everyone laughs], where you were like listing…

SHELLY: Yeah, just say it faster.

HAWKE: [jokingly in a more affected voice like a drug commercial announcer] The side effects include…

[Everyone laughing].

GREG: Exactly

SHELLY: [indecipherable humorous comment].

GREG: But then you guys also have a trailer… - We’ll get down to the real interview – but you guys also brought a trailer here which is pretty cool to see.

HAWKE: A mobile gaming facility that’s wheelchair accessible. We take all over the – so far the northwest, but around the country eventually.

GREG: Yeah. I love all that. Everything we’ve talked about. it’s super exciting. I have tons of follow-up questions. I promise we’ll get to it.

HAWKE: Yeah, let’s [donning news anchor voice] get to the news.

GREG: In a second. Yes, so! Ah.

SHELLY: He’s good at that. [gestures with thumb toward Hawke].

GREG: Yeah, I know, right!

SHELLY: [in lower voice register imitating Hawke] “And now the news...”

GREG: We gotta, we have a co-host if we ever need to…

HAWKE: I did radio for a few years as well.

GREG: He’s got a voice for radio

SHELLY: You really do have a good voice for it, and a good name for it.

[Everybody chuckling]

HAWKE: Thank you.

GREG: Very cool.

SHELLY: [affected dramatic voice] Hawke Robinson.

GREG: [affected dramatic voice] Hawke Robinson.

GREG: Ah so, what’s going on in the Dungeons & Dragons world? Ah we ah…

SHELLY: You’re asking me?

GREG: I am. It’s a rhetorical question, really.

SHELLY: Hmm, you tell me.

GREG: So, one thing I want to make sure everyone knows about super-cool. People who have been following the Unearthed Arcana articles, that Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford put out there. Some of it has play test material, things like that. Hotly anticipated by, ah, some members of the community, who like to find out about new stuff that might coming down the pipe. That is now available in D&D Beyond, the week after it is published on our site. You can download, if its like a sub-class, or a different kind of race, or something mechanical that you can try out in character building, you can now try that out in D&D Beyond.

SHELLY: That’s really cool.

GREG: That’s pretty amazing.

SHELLY: Now are you trying it out with the intention of getting feedback about it still? Or …

GREG: Yes.


GREG: Yeah, that’s the whole, that was, it was, when we talked about this, we were well we don’t want people to think it is official material..


GREG: … and get confused, but as long as its flagged as unofficial – the real benefit for the team here, in this building, is to get that feedback.

HAWKE: Public beta.

GREG: Yes, exactly! People get to play with it, tell us what doesn’t work.

SHELLY: That’s wonderful.

GREG: ah, we didn’t want to put up any more roadblocks to that. We want people to use it as [unintelligle]...


GREG: ...and they’re in D&D Beyond making characters, why not just make a test character.

SHELLY: Why not.

GREG: If you’re gonna play out.

SHELLY: Now I kinda wanna redo my character.

GREG: That’s right. You can make that – what was the… circle of spores, was a, ah, sub-class for the druid that they just released in the most recent thing. So.. Zagomoi <spelling?>

SHELLY: [unintelligible comment]

JOHN: [speaks, but too far from microphone to be understood on air]

GREG: [gesturing and looking at John] Yeah, right, Underdark

SHELLY: My god. S… [unintelligble]. <Maybe so cool?>

GREG: If you are playing as a Myconid. You really like the wedding, as Shelly really did [Shelly nods enthusiastically], that piece of art we did.

SHELLY: Oh it was so beautiful!

GREG: It is great. Yeah, it was my favorite moment of the game that I played, in “Out of the Abyss” too <or 2?>, that I played, it was one of my favorite moments as well.

SHELLY: Her wedding?

GREG: Her wedding. Yeah, being able to describe as she is walking down with all of her hand people, hand person, hand things… the myconids...

[GREG & SHELLY laughing].

GREG: that ..they’re, they’re crazy. Ah.. ah.. I keep saying crazy. I don’t mean to, but they are…

SHELLY: [she says either something like: “fried-maid-zillas”, or she something like “Bridesmaid-zillas?”, not quite sure which]

GREG: Yeah, yes, exactly, that’s the word.


GREG: Ah, what else is going on in Dungeons & Dragons… What about Avalon Hill? [gestures to Shelly] Do you have any fun things?

SHELLY: Well, I mean, yes. There’s a fun thing that we haven’t talked about yet.

GREG: [quick intake of breath] AH! There’s lots of fun things that we haven’t talked about yet for Avalon Hill.

SHELLY: Well, well, we’ve kind of talked about it, but I’m not gonna tell you when and where.

GREG: Oh man.

SHELLY: [places her right index finger to her chin with a look of “I’ve got a secret” on her face] Ooooooooooo.

GREG: You are the lady of mystery.

SHELLY: But we can talk “Betrayal: Legacy”. [turns to focus on Hawke & John]. Do you guys like board games?


JOHN: I demo “Betrayal On the Hill” at the game store I work at.

SHELLY: Oh really? You work at a game store, as well, as all the other things you do?

JOHN: Yeah. I do Organized Play there.

HAWKE: For D and D.

JOHN: And I run demos for many other games. Um, “Betrayal on the House on the Hill”, and as well as “Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate”…

SHELLY: Yesss….?

JOHN: We love to play that one.

HAWKE: Yeah, he, the whole Inland Empire area, he’s doing the “Organized Play” over there, he’s a representative over there.

SHELLY: Well thanks!

GREG: You’re speaking Shelly’s language.

SHELLY: Thanks for all that.

GREG: It’s good feedback.

SHELLY: You know we’re making a “Betrayal: Legacy” game?

JOHN: That sounds like, ah, awesome. Is it going to be “Baldur’s Gate”, or is it going to be back to the house again?

SHELLY: Goin’ back to the house.

JOHN: Okay.

[Everyone nodding in agreement].

SHELLY: Yep. If you’ve wondered “what is up with this house?” You can find out.

[More nodding from everyone excitedly].

GREG & SHELLY: That’s literally on the box, right? It’s “what is up with this house?” [with exaggerated facial and body expressions as though in a sitcom].

SHELLY: That was supposed to be the name…

GREG: Its like Joey from “Fuller House”, mreh, zoiks -

SHELLY: [laughing] Yeah!

[more striking humorous exaggerated sitcom poses and facial expressions]

SHELLY: What was his “thing”?

GREG: I don’t remember …

SHELLY: He used to say…

GREG: There was lots of catch phrases. We were watching some “Fuller House” over the weekend.

SHELLY: Oh wait. It wasn’t “Fuller House”, it was “Blossom”.

GREG: Oh yeah, that’s right.

SHELLY: That’s who I was thinking of. He… He had a saying.

GREG: [shaking head no, indicating he didn’t know].

SHELLY: [turning toward engineers behind cameras] What was his saying?

GREG: [tapping his computer tablet simulating pushing buttons on multi-line phone system and emulating radio talk show voice] Caller are you there? Can you tell us the saying from… [cracks up laughing].. from “Full House”? Ah… But other than… talking about other things that we watched this weekend…


GREG: I was able to go see a play called “Don’t Split the Party”.

SHELLY: Culture.

GREG: Here in Seattle, and it was very interesting, and I loved it. It was accurate for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, which I thought was admirable, and, ah… ah… you know, just ah…. They did their research, they are definitely players, the people who did it, and it was back and forth.

HAWKE: Is this the theater you talked about [gesturing with hands “in the past”], is this the production, last you were talking about this in the theater you were talking about your production… with a…. limited audience?

GREG: Ah..

HAWKE: Or is it a different theaters?

GREG: No, it’s a different theater.

HAWKE: Okay.

GREG: This is one here by ah, the… It was actually right by the uh, um, stadiums here in Seattle. So it was like a small black box. It was kind of cool. It just kind of like [looking now at camera] like this room, where it was black box, maybe three times, four times, this size, and they had a game room setup, and it was like shelves in the background. The set was awesome, cause I was like [pointing with finger at imaginary bookshelves] “oh yeah, I know that game… I know that game…

SHELLY: But what was it about?

GREG: It was a group of ah, adult, you know, 25 to 30 who had played weekly D&D for a long time and something happened in their last session, three months ago. And the Dungeon Master kind of, tricks everyone to show up at his house, we’re not leaving until we resolve the issue that came up.

SHELLY: So you find out what this issue was and they…

GREG: Yeah.

SHELLY: And they go through the steps to try to resolve it?

GREG: Right.

SHELLY: Within the game?

GREG: With – both. Both within the game and outside the game.


GREG: There was a lot of back and forth. It was admirable in that they had like, there was definitely like 20 minutes where they’re just playing D&D, and it didn’t really feel like a play…

SHELLY: Like a live game.

GREG: It felt very much like a live play session like we would do on the channel here. Yeah. So there was a lot of that, and there was also, there was like a new person who had never played before in the group, and so there is a lot of “oh, we’re gonna tell that person the rules, so they know the rules of D&D”. Ah. Which was interesting. I think it was necessary if you’re going to take this play and put it like on Broadway or something. Me, I was like, “I don’t need to hear about the rules -”


GREG: - “I wanna know what’s happening, what the drama was.” Ahh…

HAWKE: What was their representation of the players? Were they dysfunctional? More average Joe’s? Because that’s been a big problem in media, that so many of the representations are dysfunctional players.

SHELLY: [unintelligible comment]

GREG: They were all functional people.

HAWKE: Okay.

GREG: That was part of it, was that they were growing up.. you know… relationships were changing. There was ah, one of the characters had just recently gotten married, and she was the new person who was coming in. Ah, and there was also, um, ah, you know there was two women players, there was ah, and I think the Dungeon Master might have been on the spectrum… Kind of based on how he was acting. Which I find -

HAWKE: I just mean the stereotypes of “I’m living in my mom’s basement”, “I don’t have any work”, and completely emotionally – We [gesturing between John and Hawke] have to watch so many videos, [doing air quotes] “documentaries”, mockumentaries, that’s part of our research. So we’ve had to wade through so many, awful, “movies”. But they’re released, and they get awards at film festivals and things like that. And they are horrible representations of gamers –

GREG: Only representing a very small percentage of gamers.

JOHN: Gamer floaters.

HAWKE: Verrry, yeah, small, yeah, a stereotype, not the majority.


GREG: Yeah. [gestures with thumb to John in agreement]

HAWKE: And they are very painful to watch. And I do it because of the research, but, so, its nice to know. And um, there’s a local group here in Seattle, Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, and Dead Gentlemen. I don’t know if you’ve ever head of them?

GREG: Uh-huh. Yeah

SHELLY: Mm-hmmm. [affirmatively] Yeah.

HAWKE: They do “The Gamers”, “Journey Quest” …

GREG: Right.

HAWKE: They have probably some of the best representations of all of that more functional but still entertaining and humorous, and much more positive representation of gamers than a lot of other media.

GREG: I really like that it was not, ah, ah, that way…

HAWKE: Good, good.

GREG: ...because it was, I mean, they felt like me, they felt like my people, people that, my peer group, the people that I hang out with, and what they were talking about was very umm, ah, very apropo to what’s happening in the world right now too.

HAWKE: Right.

GREG: Which I also really liked. Unfortunately its no longer playing. Ah, but I hope it gets picked up and more people want to do it. It was ah, a really great experience, called “Don’t Split the Party”. I want to give the playwright a shout out, his name is Nathan Kessler Jeffrey. Umm, and ah ummm. Yeah, it was good times.

SHELLY: Clearly a D&D player?

GREG: Oh yeah! Exactly.

SHELLY: I wonder if this was based on his, his, something,

JOHN: His own group?

SHELLY: yeah, that happened? In his own group, or…?

GREG: Based on his bio, it says that his wife actually introduced him to D&D, and you could tell there was definitely some, some, you know, art imitating life, ah…. Going on there. But you know, it seemed to, to , ah, be the spring board for it more than anything else. Yeah.

It was cool. It was cool

I hope more people do it. And I hope more plays, and and, videos, and movies ah, pick up that part of what’s happening with the Dungeons & Dragons fandom. Now that its not quite so stereotypical. [gesturing toward Hawke]

HAWKE: Right.

GREG: And we’ll talk, about this, I promise! When we get to the interview. Because I basically brought you guys here so you could ah, convince my mom that its okay to play Dungeons & Dragons.

SHELLY: Still trying.

GREG: Still trying.

SHELLY: Poor guy.


Stopped arounnd 10:09.