It occurs to me that not everyone here automatically visits Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them. This might be of interest to some:
How Roanoke came to be – the long version
Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts
Many years ago, a couple of yeas after graduating from college, I was working at a Walden Books in a mall. In college, John and I had done a lot of roleplaying. Now we were a couple and living in New York, north of the city, but now, it was hard for us to find people to play with. So I did what any sensible person would do.
I kept an eagle eye on the D&D shelf in the bookstore.
A brief aside: Wizards of the Coast, the company that owned D&D, had sent the store a bookshelf to hold their books—not those silly cardboard things you see in stores nowadays. This thing was solid. I still have it. The bookstore let me take it home as a wedding present. I still have it today. It is in the boys room. But I digress.
Whenever anyone came to look at the D&D books, I would go introduce myself and see if they were interested in getting together for a game. One of the people I spoke to thus was a teenage boy, about 13 or 14. We got to talking and eventually, John and I got together with him and one of his friends to play a roleplaying game. The young man liked the game, but his friend became absolutely obsessed with it. (I was obsessed with it, too. It was that kind of game.)
That friend was a young man named Mark Whipple.
Now Mark did not read well. He had read very few books in his life. But when he caught on that if he read the books John was stealing stuff from for his game, he would do better in the game, he started reading! He read Roger Zelazny’s entire Amber series. At that point, he was hooked on reading, and he started reading all sorts of stuff.
At some point, John said to this young man that if he went to St. John’s, the college John and I had attended, we would visit every other weekend and run a game.
Mark did. This young man who had not been a reader attended a school that was 95% reading, and we visited almost every weekend while he was there. (We still have a number of good friends, including our kids’ godfather whom we met during that period.)
The game John was running was not an easy game. If roleplaying games had settings like video games, this one was set on hard. It was not a rules bound game, like D&D. You had free reign of action, and the ability to try to do anything you wished—but so did your adversaries. And, with John running the game, the adversaries were clever and vivid. It was like living in your favorite novel! John made Mark really work for his successes. But Mark refused to be daunted
Now, you are probably wondering what does this story have to do with Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts?
The answer is: nearly everything.
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)