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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

International Fantasy Gaming Society (IFGS)  
  A group dedicated to playing live action role-playing games.  

The IFGS has an interesting history, which starts with the description of the organization in the novel. The IFGS runs live action role playing games (LARPs), in which a scenario is established (like an expedition to Tibet). Everyone plays the game out in something like a real-world setting (not necessarily Tibet), while a Game Master keeps score.

A year ago, Chester had taken an expedition into "the mountains of Tibet" hopefully to bring back a mammoth. The party had met disaster, three out of thirteen surviving, and no mammoth. Chester had dropped several hundred Gaming Points, threating his standing in the International Fantasy Gaming Society. And who had been Game Master on that ill-fated expedition?

Aha! Richard Lopez. Chester had yelled Foul to the I.F.G.S., and they had passed down the decision that although something called "snow vipers" were unusually lethal, all of the nasty tricks used against the expedition were within the rules...

From Dream Park, by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes).
Published by Ace Books in 1981
Additional resources -

After reading the novel, John Cade and Mark Simmons of Boulder, Co., created a real-world organization called the IFGS. Together they ran a game called "The Truing." By the late 1980's, there were also chapters in Dallas, Los Angeles and New England.

Authors Niven and Barnes attended an early IFGS convention; Barnes played in an IFGS licensed game in Colorado. In future Dream Park novels, Niven and Barnes adopted the "real-world" IFGS as the historic background for their future one.

Read a bit more about the history of the "real" International Fantasy Gaming Society.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dream Park
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)
  Tech news articles related to Dream Park
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)

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