A Vision of the RPG Research Trailer

by RPG Research Admin published 2015/06/12 01:55:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:26:44-07:00
I have been mulling over an idea for about half a year now. And it solves a lot of logistics issues in trying to further the research on the effects of role-playing games. An RPG Trailer as a portable facility/office...

I have been renting facilities near downtown Spokane for a few years now. And it works out well enough. But increasingly I am getting requests to come out to Seattle, Portland, California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere. I have a LOT of gaming supplies to transport for RPG sessions, and boxing-unboxing, setup-tear-down, and such, takes a toll on my equipment (and self sometimes).

Plus, some facilities don't reliably have space available for longer group sessions, or at least compete frequently for space with other projects. If only there was a way to address that, and allow me to bring my research facilities TO the clients. So I started researching, and it turns out there is a company (one of several around the country) in Arizona that can build a custom trailer especially ADA compliant for wheelchair access, and for less money than buying a generic pre-built trailer.

However, the cost ranges from a stripped non-ADA trailer at $15,000 USD to a moderately appointed with ADA friendly bathroom around $30k, and the fully loaded $45k.

Around the 35-40k meets all forseeable needs to provide tabletop, live-action, and computer role-playing game studies and potential therapeutic programs from a mobile facility. I could contact prospects around the country to schedule sessions, then drive out and setup in their parking lot (or on the street-side parking), lower the wheelchair friendly ramp in the back, and away we go!

I have a vehicle that can haul the desired size trailer comfortably and safely, and I can afford the monthly payments easily enough, however they require a 10% down payment up front to begin the build, and it takes 6 to 12 weeks to complete a custom build.

Then I saw some news about someone running a GoFundMe project, and I checked out the site, and under the business section found people asking for donations for Food Trucks, Cosplay boxes, radio show equipment upgrades, and many others to help jump start new business dreams. So I have decided to try it out.

The website takes 5% of the donations off the top, plus another30 cents per donation for transactions. So to cover the down payment, plus the gas to drive down from Washington state to Arizona and back, I will need at least $5,500 to be affordable. And in trying to provide incentives to donate, I am thinking I could drive out to some of the larger donors and show them what they helped pay for, and even run a (lengthy?) session for them as thanks for helping make this idea a reality. Plus I would add them to a section on the website to list them as donors (if they wished), and for higher-end donors could list them on the trailer as a thank you.

With the trailer it would increase the diversity of my research to span Northern America, and in a few years when I am finished with my degrees and ready to actually provide a billable therapeutic service based on the years of research, I would be able to help a much broader swath of those in need than if I was limited to my residence and office in little Spokane, Washington.

What do you all think of this idea?

Here is some information on the trailer:

 These are mockups from the company's website, that I have "Photoshop'd" (Actually open source Gimp) to give some idea of what it would look like (would have actual logo instead of just basic text).

This is exterior rear view of trailer with ramp down and awning extended. Note that I would be getting the option for the lower ride height (less steep angle for wheelchair), and with flaps on both ends of ramp to make moving wheelchair even smoother.Note there is a queen-size bed in the top of the ceiling that can be pulled down to the couch level. This would help me save on hotel/motel costs when travelling greater distances to provide services, keeping all costs lower to everyone's benefit.The awning is to help with LARP projects when outside to still provide shade for larger LARP groups.

RPG Research Trailer Mockup 20150611c 10


This is interior view, looking from the ramp at the couches on each side, designed to seat up to 4 people per side, plus seats can be at each end of table for maximum capacity of 10 people around the table (most sessions are with 4-6 participants, but some sessions are closer to 8). The couches fold up against the wall, and the table easily removes from the floor, to make wheelchair access easy by several routes. Notice many shelves to store my vast RPG equipment (books, miniatures, LARP materials, costumes, etc.), in addition to the large capacity of my SUV that would be towing this trailer (already have the SUV). Notice there is a small kitchenette with stove, oven (gamers & pizza!), and a microwave. And the bathroom is fully wheelchair accessible toilet, sink, and shower, just in case there is a participant with an emergency, they won't have to head all the way back to the facility and can just use the restroom easily. Note that you can't see the built-in generator to power computer-based RPG sessions using the same table. I already have many computers that can bet setup for those sessions, as well as the tabletop RPG sessions. While LARP sessions would generally take place outside the trailer, the trailer allows me to carry far more LARP gear, and can be used as the HQ for the LARPers.

RPG Research Trailer Mockup 20150611c DSC 0336

Here is how one of the couches looks folded against the wall with the table removed: Making wheelchair access very easy for participants. This trailer could seat up to 10 people not in wheelchairs, or 6-8 people on the couches with 2 wheelchairs (one on each end), or if all/most participants in wheelchairs could seat 2 on each side with one on each end for up to 6 participants in wheelchairs.

RPG Research Trailer Interior Mockup  - Seats & Table out of way for Wheelchair access


Here is the text from the GoFundMe.com/rpgtrailer Campaign page:

The funding goal is for the downpayment on a portable office (trailer) that is wheelchair-accessible for research participants and future clients. This will make it possible to broaden the research for helping people to include all of North America, rather than being limited to a local office or a specific geographic area. I already have a truck capable of towing the trailer.

I am currently working to use role-playing games (RPG) in all forms to help others. My dream is to be able to travel across the country to provide these services to the widest audience possible, and train others to do so as well.

I founded the RPG Research Project in 2004 and am  studying the effects, and potential therapeutic uses, of  all forms of role-playing games, including tabletop, live-action, & computer-based.

You can see photos of a mock-up of the proposed trailer design (rough approximation), and explanations about the features for wheelchair access and other requirements here:

Through research spanning more than a decade, it has become clear that role-playing games can be a very powerful tool to help with healing and development for many individuals and groups from a wide variety of populations. You can see the details at the RPG Research Project website: http://www.rpgresearch.com 

You can also view my presentation at Seattle Children's hospital this Spring (1 hour long) if you want a comprehensive explanation about how role-playing games help other develop and heal: http://rpgr.org/blog/enhanced-video-rpg-as-therapy-presentation

I have already been working (without charge, as a student, and on my own) using RPG to help a variety of people, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) toddlers, youth, & adults, at-risk youth, people with various disabilities such as ADD/ADHD, Cerebral Palsy (CP), and others. 

I have program plans designed but not yet implemented for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other clients, and am also working on developing program plans for people diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I am newly registered in Washington State as a Recreation Therapist (though not yet a CTRS), have acquired my Mental Health First Aid certification, and have created RPG Therapeutics as a Washington state LLC.

I am a student nearing completion of an  interdisciplinary degree in Recreation Therapy, Music Therapy, Neuroscience, & Research Psychology at Eastern Washington University (EWU). I am a single parent of three teenage boys.

The total cost of the portable office trailer is $40K. I can afford the monthly payments from my own income, but coming up with the 10% down payment is currently beyond my means. The total for this fund drive also takes into account the 5% the site charges, and the additional fees for each donation, as well as gas to drive down and pick up the trailer, and also visit some of the larger donors (if possible), to thank you in person and let you see the trailer itself.

Once I have the down payment, it will take them 6 to 12 weeks to build the trailer (in Arizona). 

Once I have the trailer, I can begin to contact facilities that would be interested in therapeutic RPG services that can be brought to the facilities' parking lot with all the equipment loaded and ready to use. My house is already well stocked with most of the needed supplies.

Asking online might be a stretch, but at this point the best hope for making this dream a reality. Can you help me help others by achieving this goal?

Many thanks to everyone for their support and kindness!

-W.A. "Hawke" Robinson

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