We will be taking off the month of December with regard to the ETU Designer’s Journal to instead bring you a series of articles on Autism in support of the Midnight Charity Project. Even though this isn’t game related, we hope you’ll take a few moments to read it.

As we kick off our fundraising month to help Autism research I wanted to take the time to explain why we are doing this and how you can help. First I want to thank everyone who has purchased our products and shown us so much wonderful support since August of 2003. Our customers have been very loyal and every cent we have earned has been appreciated. While we have been very successful for a small indie publishing company, we still do it out of love of gaming. The greatly positive customer reviews we have received proves that we have managed to produce quality products.

We have wanted to give back for a while now, and finally we have the means to do so. We discussed several charities, all deserving of help, but finally settled on helping the Autism Research Institute and their initiative known as DAN (Defeat Autism Now!).

Autism is unfortunately becoming more and more common, and affecting more families around the world today. In the mid 1970s it was rated as only 5 of 10,000 births. Today the incidence of babies being born autistic has been reported to be 1 in every 150 kids. What is happening?

Well, I do agree that we are better at diagnosing autism than we were thirty years ago, but even given that statement, the incidence of autistic children is growing at an astounding rate. Worse, there seems to be no central, common cause though many have developed various theories. I’ve read about too many metals in the bloodstream, gluten/casein proteins, inoculations, chemical overloads, and many others. The truth is, it may be a combination of all these things or it may be that there are many different causes, but the disability looks the same.

What is Autism? It is a “severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger’s Syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many "autistic" social and behavioral problems)” [www.autism.com].

Many authorities believe it is part of a spectrum of disorders that actually range from Attention Deficit Disorders to Severe Autistic Disorders. Some autistic children are very high performing and look to be “normal” though upon speaking to them you may notice something that is just not quite right. There are many signs that could indicate a child has autistic tendencies that parents should look for, and these should be taken together, not individually, as every child develops at different rates and times. If you see a pattern of these behaviors in your child, see a doctor immediately, as early diagnosis and treatment can greatly affect the life of the person. Signs include not playing age appropriate games-such as peekabo-with others, not being able to look directly into the eyes of another, not reacting when spoken to, may not learn age appropriate words but rely on hand gestures, may seem immature for age, may not be able to play or show interest in playing with other children, may have bizarre or repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping or rocking back and forth, and more [see www.autism.com for more information].

How can you help? We are sponsoring a series of fund raising events, collectively called the Midnight Charity Project. All proceeds of this year’s event are going to the Autism Research Institute (ARI). More than 80 cents per dollar donated to ARI goes directly to programs and research projects. These doctors and scientists are exploring new ways of combating this disability, and are providing great help to parents who have just learned that their child is autistic or has PDD (pervasive developmental disorder).

I’m sure if you know many families with young children, you know of at least one child who has autism. It is an epidemic that affects us all, and as the cause is not known, it could personally affect you or your family.

I know. See, my youngest son is autistic. Please help us Defeat Autism Now!

PINEBOX, Texas — RPG publisher 12 to Midnight is launching a monthlong charity initiative called the Midnight Charity Project. This year the initiative, which runs from midnight December 1 to midnight December 31, will raise money for the Autism Research Institute

12 to Midnight is offering several ways for gamers to participate. First, they can bid in an online auction to win a guest role as an NPC in the upcoming college-horror RPG campaign book, “ETU: Degrees of Horror.” You can also bid on an official City of Pinebox death certificate or an autographed copy of 12 to Midnight’s adventure “Bloodlines.” Finally, when you purchase products from Midnight Cellar, 12 to Midnight’s store, the company will donate 100% of the purchase price of Last Rites of the Black Guard, Brainwashed and Skinwalker, as well as 20% of the proceeds from all other titles, to the Autism Research Institute.

Anyone who participates in the charity project is invited to further help raise awareness by using the html or BB-code snippets found on the Midnight Charity Project home page. Also, throughout the month of December, 12 to Midnight will post articles about autism at 12tomidnight.com.

Other RPG publishers, podcasters, bloggers and everyday gamers are invited to participate in the Midnight Charity Project and help grow it into a hobby-wide, focused campaign. If you would like to donate merchandise, airtime, space on your blog, banner ads or anything else, please send an e-mail to mcp at 12tomidnight.com.

For more information on the Midnight Charity Project, including links to auctions, visit the Midnight Charity Project home page.

About the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is the hub of a worldwide network of parents and professionals concerned with autism. ARI was founded in 1967 to conduct and foster scientific research designed to improve the methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing autism. ARI also disseminates research findings to parents and others worldwide seeking help. The ARI data bank, the world’s largest, contains over 40,000 detailed case histories of autistic children from over 60 countries. 

About 12 to Midnight

12 to Midnight has been publishing RPG materials—primarily adventures for modern horror campaigns—since 2003. The company also publishes the works of two game design studios, Dirty Unicorn Games and Fabled Environments. This year marks the inaugural year of the company’s Midnight Charity Project.

2008 Midnight Charity Project

-November 25th, 2007

2008 Midnight Charity Project

The Midnight Charity Project focuses the generosity of RPG hobby enthusiasts as a force for bringing hope to those in need. This project uses a variety of RPG-related fundraising activities throughout the month of December to bring awareness to a worthy cause.

The 2008/ Charity Project

The project for 2008 directly benefits the Autism Research Institute. Autism is unfortunately becoming more and more common. In the mid 1970s it only struck about 1 in 2,000 births. Today the incidence of babies being born autistic has been reported at 1 in every 150 kids. For more information about Autism and the Autism Research Institute, visit Autism.com. You can also objectively check out the Autism Research Institute’s rating as a charity by visiting their profile in Charity Navigator. Throughout the month of December, 12 to Midnight will be posting a series of articles about Autism on our front page.

Ways You Can Give

RPG fans have several ways to contribute to the Midnight Charity Project.

  • Die in Pinebox: (auction closed) 12 to Midnight is auctioning off an official City of Pinebox death certificate. The unframed certificate with the winner’s name (or the name of a favorite RPG character) makes a great, unique gaming memento. We will auction off one certificate, with the auction ending in time for delivery for Christmas! (Auction runs December 1st-10th). UPDATE: We have a winner! The winning bid was $41, which all goes to ARI.
  • Autographed Last Rites of the Black Guard: 12 to Midnight is auctioning off a print copy of their modern horror adventure, Last Rites of the Black Guard, signed and personalized by the author, Ed Wetterman. This Savage Worlds adventure was originally published as an e-book in 2003 and will hit game stores in an all-new updated and revised print edition in March of 2009. Get your autographed copy as soon as it comes off the press! (Auction runs December 12th-22nd.)
  • Buy Preston’s Midnight Tales: Preston’s Midnight Tales is a collection of two adventure outlines originally published for the d20 System and now being released for Savage Worlds. For the month of December, all profits from the sale of this new release will go to the Midnight Charity Project.
  • Buy the Bards & Sages Coupon Book: Fellow RPG publisher Bards & Sages is generously offering to donate the profits from a special coupon book created just for the charity project. Enjoy almost $30 in RPG pdf coupons, plus material you can drop into your campaign. Check out the coupon book at RPGNow.
  • Buy PDFs of any Pinebox, Military Horror, or Game Aid from 12 to Midnight. The authors of those titles are donating 100% of their December royalties to the Midnight Charity Project.
  • Donate Directly: If the auctions are out of your price range and you already own all of 12 to Midnight’s titles (but don’t forget about your Christmas list), you can always donate directly to the Autism Research Institute. We won’t mind. Our goal is to help a worthy cause. (Year ’round!)