The Mule Abides is a blog inspired by our local gaming scene in New York City, where the authors all play together as part of the New York Red Box community. We’re glad that the things we’ve learned and shared through our blogging have been interesting and maybe even useful to people in other parts of the world, because “escena rolera” sounds so much cooler.

The name of the blog refers to Bill the Mule, the only consistent survivor of our Red Box games, and is also a reference to The Big Lebowski. It’s an in joke that doesn’t travel well, but it’s better than the other name we considered.

’70s and early-’80s Dungeons & Dragons  brought us together and continues to fascinate us, but we play and enjoy talking about a variety of RPGs, from classics like Runequest and Traveller to new-school games like 4E and With Great Power. When we started this blog back in October of 2009, we thought this particular mix of ongoing engagement with old-school actual play and intellectual sympathy for new ideas in roleplaying was relatively unique. We’re pleased to have been proven wrong!

Some of the things we’re particularly interested in are:

  • making weird tables, generally derived from Eric’s Glantri campaign but potentially useful to fans of dice-based improv using any ruleset
  • creating new classes for Moldvay (1981) Red Box D&D
  • uncovering the history and pre-history of Dungeons & Dragons, including Arneson’s Twin Cities and Gygax’s Lake  Geneva campaigns as well as the literary sources that inspired them both
  • reaching out to new gamers, whether that means playing in public spaces with adults or running a D&D afterschool program for kids
  • exploring the intersection of RPGs and contemporary art
  • developing techniques for mapping, populating, and running sandbox-style campaigns

If you’d like to get a hold of us by email, you can reach Tavis at; he’ll be happy to forward messages to his fellow Muleteers.

6 Responses to “About”

  1. May 27, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I really enjoy this blog and have recently passed on the “Kreativ Blogger Award” to it. This is effectively just a chain letter wherein one recommends other blogs, but I thought I’d mention it. I wrote:

    “If you want to read about some of the most hardcore sandbox campaigns around you owe it to yourself to visit The Mule Abides which is authored by a whole bunch of guys.”

  2. 2 Reggie Rock
    September 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

    You Hipsters have ruined everything else, can’t you leave D&D alone for those of us who genuinely enjoy playing the game?

  3. September 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Reggie, by NYC standards we are so far from hipsters that I have to laugh. The place we play most often is a midtown cafe where most of the onlookers who stop to see what we’re doing are tourists with fanny packs rather than ironists with skinny jeans. The Mule is the outlet for this group to talk about games, sometimes from a critical distance, but we’re all also deeply involved in the New York Red Box project of creating an open table community for actual play. If you’re in town, come roll some dice with us, and then we can go to Brooklyn and throw PBR cans at guys in porkpie hats (with apologies to the Brooklynites amongst us).

  4. September 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Fucking Brooklynites. I make no apologies. Also, I think the LES should be hit with kinetic rods from high orbit, centered around the Sunshine theater for all the miserable times I’ve had there.

    Reggie, we are kinda hipster though. Tavis rented an art gallery for us to play in one time. And when I’m outside wearing my Red Box Dungeons & Dragons T-shirt, I tell people I’m doing it ironically. And Tavis’s kid is enrolled at a school for whatever you call people who would be hipsters were they not middle-aged and upwardly mobile with straight jobs.

    It seems we have a complicated relationship with hipster-dom.

  5. 5 Michael (Gronan) Mornard
    December 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I killed hipsterism and took its stuff. Sadly, it had crap stuff…. junk I threw away twenty years ago.

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Past Adventures of the Mule

May 2023

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