Mazes & Monsters and the BADD old days: I’m collecting stories of the backlash against Dungeons & Dragons

I’m collecting stories. I want to hear from any of you who played Dungeons & Dragons or any other pencil-and-paper fantasy role-playing games back in the day.

Specifically, I’m looking for stories of condemnation, consternation, opprobrium and sheer, unvarnished panic that you may have encountered during the height of the backlash against such games. Anything related to the Satanic panic, BADD, Mazes & Monsters, or to any of the myriad fundamentalist urban legends involving dark magic, spiritual warfare, or encounters with “real” spells, monsters or demons resulting from the perilous use of graph paper and multi-sided dice.

I’m guessing that some folks have no idea what any of the above is all about. But I’m sure that others know exactly what I’m referring to.

I first played such games back in the Reagan years. We played Tunnels & Trolls, which was every bit the down-market knock-off of D&D that its name suggests. It was a cheaper, simplified version that relied entirely on six-sided dice — requiring an unwieldy number of them for play at higher levels (we looted every Yahtzee set and board game in all of our houses).

The great advantage of Tunnels & Trolls for my friends and I was that it was not Dungeons & Dragons, which allowed us to defend the hobby in our evangelical Christian world by saying, “Oh, no, no, no. Of course we’re not playing Dungeons & Dragons. This is completely different.”

Eventually, to better shield ourselves from the concerns and criticisms of the good Christian folk at our churches and our school, we switched to MERP — Middle Earth Role-Playing. That was based on Tolkien, and Tolkien was friends with C.S. Lewis. So that had to be acceptable.

But for every member of our core-group of players, we had several other friends who wanted to play, but were not allowed. Some of their parents or churches objected due to the Mazes-and-Monsters style urban legends that were circulating back then. Others came from churches that embraced the demons-are-everywhere notion of spiritual warfare that Frank Peretti would soon ride to riches with This Present Darkness and its sequels. Others simply condemned any game involving imaginary magic for the same un-reasons that a later generation of evangelicals would condemn the Harry Potter novels.

I’m reconsidering that part of my personal history because I’m interested in how that anti-D&D sentiment ties in with the Satanic panic of that same period, and with the related phenomenon of things like Mike Warnke’s “ex-Satanic high priest” ministry, like the viral rumors about Procter & Gamble, and like the obsession with combatting Satanic baby-killers that was then transforming the public identity of our increasingly politicized evangelical subculture. (One irony of all of that, I think, is that fantasy role-playing games wound up being condemned by many people precisely because they had adopted a moralistic framework in which they were role-playing their own fantasy scenario.)

So I want to hear your stories too. If you were the proud owner of a set of multi-sided dice back then, what did your parents, relatives, teachers or Sunday school teachers think or say about that hobby? Did you have any encounters with anyone associated with BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons)? Did you encounter any religious objections to your playing such games?

Please let me know. Share your stories here in comments or, if you’d prefer, email me at slacktivist (at) hotmail-dot-com.

Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Triplefox James Hofmann

    My only memory of the backlash is my mom vaguely mentioning that there was one, around the time(early 90s) I first picked up some books in AD&D 2nd edition. It was around 5th grade, and my best friend had some old 1st edition books, and for all we knew it was just another game.

    Later in high school I came across The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III in the school library. A great “true story” book, I recall finding it a real page-turner and surprisingly dramatic. It is a must-read for anyone covering the D&D scare.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Ah, yes, the old “what Dad doesn’t know won’t hurt me” gambit. That’s how I got away with reading Preacher.

  • Michael Pullmann

     I thought comics were a Communist plot.

  • Madhabmatics

    Check out this letter published in IFW monthly by D&D creator Gary Gygax

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gkfZiLjpfKo/UNSkdflp5gI/AAAAAAAAAYI/a0zcN_QoQMA/s1600/gygax-xmas-s.jpg

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    How can I resist such an open invitation to share a large part of what shaped me into the kind of person I am?

    I grew up in the heart of the Bible belt, and I was a strong fundamentalist in my youth, but it seemed like the church was playing mind games with me.  “What’s he into?  Okay let’s condemn it as Satanic.”  I liked D&D and spent a lot of time coming up with scenarios, characters and studying the books.  I didn’t play very much, mainly because I couldn’t find others to play with, though.

    At the same time, I was wanting to be a preacher, but I had to hide my gaming stuff, like other teenagers hid their drugs and porn.  I really did feel at times like an addict but I couldn’t see how a game could hurt me.  I knew others who were far more into football and sports, and I didn’t see anyone calling them satanic.

    I flitted back and forth between “kicking the habit,” and “it’s just a game.”  I swallowed the lies of Warnke and Bob Larson, which just made me feel like a hypocrite.

    Now I just enjoy the occasional computer game; don’t have the time or income for the hobby anymore.   The main impact the whole experience made me think of God as a being who sees a person enjoying himself and saying “None of that here!”

  • Lorehead

    One part of that backlash was the Christian Brand™ RPG, DragonRaid.  But this reminds me of a story I read years ago from, I believe, the CAR-PGa.  Back in the ’80s, TSR decided that there was no such thing as bad publicity, and it wasn’t going to to waste any money defending its game.  So, some gamers formed the CAR-PGa to fill that gap.

    One day, they’d held a small event somewhere to educate the public about what RPGs were.  The speaker asked, “Now, you may have heard that people cast spells in the game.  I’d like to demonstrate how we ‘cast spells.’  Could I have a volunteer?”  A little old lady raised her hand.  “Now, I’m going to cast a spell on you; could you roll this die, please?”  She did.  “It didn’t work; you resisted,” he told her.

    She proudly announced, “Of course!  I’m filled with the Holy Spirit!”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wasn’t Jesus born in the spring?

  • Madhabmatics

    No clue, but he has the same fervor writing about that that he did coming up with a list of a hundred polearms.

  • Aeanagwen

    Certainly there were as of a few years ago when I was serving tables at our local Cheddar’s restaurant (a midrange sitdown place that was very popular with the Sunday afternoon church lady  crowd).  There were entirely too many times when I or my co-workers would get things like cards for churches, “Jesus dollars” (looks like paper money from far off; is an advertisement about salvation up close), and once someone did get a Chick Tract.  Most notable to me was that people who left such things always, always left them in place of (rather than with) a tip.  How they think stiffing their server and leaving material about saving their server’s soul is a good advertisement for their church/religion, I will never know.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Being able to eat in heaven is more important than being able to eat on earth. *nod*

  • Tricksterson

    There’s also Pandemonium Boooks which isn’t directly on Mass Ave. but used to be off of Harvard Square and is now on a street that runs off of Mass Ave around Central Square.  Sells science fiction and fantasy books and RPG supplies.  Yes, this is an unabashed plug for anyone living in the Boston area because it’s a wonderful store.  But on subject you’d think the name alone wouyld get them a regular stream of protestors.  But they’ve never been harassed that I know of.

  • Tricksterson

    You’re “anti-social” because you play a game in which you interact with potentially thousands of people?

  • Albanaeon

     The resin thing really bothers me.  Considering GW implied at least that the cost of pewter was getting too high as a reason for switching to resin, then STILL increased the prices, it’s hard not to be a little miffed about the whole thing.  Particularly when I am filling in air bubbles worse than I’d get from my own castings in models.

  • chucklingsage

     Fred, this is just a thought here- DnDnChurch horror stories abound on the internet already. How about a call for any positive experiences? Fewer comments to be had, I’m sure, but they might serve as good examples/instructions.

  • Vermic

    Reading these testimonials, I notice the element of book-burning popping up again and again — more often than I expected.  It’s just hard for me to picture.  People in real life really consigned their Monster Manuals, or those of their loved ones, to the flames.  Not even as part of a mass public demonstration; but on their own, independently, at home.  An object regarded as so wicked that nothing short of immediate and complete incineration would suffice.  The freakin’ Monster Manual, with the goofy manticore drawing on the cover.  It feels surreal.

     I have mental images of Fluttershy and Rarity screaming like that being burned at the stake for Witchcraft.

    Why would you put such an image into my head.  Why would you do this thing.

  • Tricksterson

    This may also tie iinto why RTCs are so suspicious of science.  To them it’s just another form of non-Christian magic.

  • depizan

    I got into gaming in 89 or 90 at the first convention (comics/sci-fi/role playing) I ever went to. That was near enough to the panic that people worried about the con getting harassed or bad news stories, but I don’t remember there being any actual problems. Of course, this was in a small city with five or six sci-fi/fantasy/comic book shops, so there may have been a high enough geek population to combat any satanic panic type stuff.

    I’ve met lots of people through the years who have been harassed or whose parents bought into the panic, but I don’t recall ever being so much as side eyed myself.

    My grandmother did ask about my doing role playing stuff once – hadn’t there been murders or creepy stuff associated with people who played it, something like that. I pointed out that not only is that true of -anything- but poker (something she enjoys playing) has a rather sorted history, and she never mentioned it again.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mariposakitten Kristy Griffin

    I’ve been a gamer for about a decade now, and nobody has ever tried to tell me D&D or anything else was Satanic.  (or else they did, and in response my brain automatically put them on the “people we forget exist” list.  That happens sometimes.)

    However, we did have someone call the cops on us during a LARP one time because they thought we were a cult.  (Given that it was a steampunk-fantasy larp, so we had a guy in a tailored suit and top hat and a bunch of women in corsets, fancy skirts, and tiny hats, I’d be curious to know precisely what kind of cult they thought we were, but there ya go.)   The police officer at least had the decency to be exasperated about the whole thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    In other words: “Missed me!”

  • David Starner

    Back in the day? In 1994 or ’95, my stepfather opened a game store in a little town in Oklahoma.  There were protestors against the store, and the city considered banning D&D sales. Their lawyer told them that wasn’t legal, and an English professor (who worked at the local college) educated at a Bible college wrote in to the newspaper about how he played D&D at that college, so it sort of blew over, but there were some people still upset about D&D and Magic the Gathering all the time I was there. I moved there in ’96 and the protests had died down, but I got into some polite argument for it in school. On a school trip, I handed the boxed set I just bought to the main arguer to look at, and he proclaimed it Satanic because it mentioned druids and the figure on the cover was comic-book standard. (Maybe better, because it was a human-possible position, but definitely a touch risque.)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Reading these testimonials, I notice the element of book-burning popping up again and again — more often than I expected. It’s just hard for me to picture. People in real life really consigned their Monster Manuals, or those of their loved ones, to the flames. Not even as part of a mass public demonstration; but on their own, independently, at home. An object regarded as so wicked that nothing short of immediate and complete incineration would suffice. The freakin’ Monster Manual, with the goofy manticore drawing on the cover. It feels surreal.

    It WAS surreal.  Do you remember when 700 Club picked up the Christian urban legend of “the Demons inside the D&D Miniatures screaming as the miniatures melted down in the flames”?  Hook, line, and sinker by 700 Club and through 700 Club to the Christianese massmind.

    I have mental images of Fluttershy and Rarity screaming like that as they’re being burned at the stake for Witchcraft.

    Why would you put such an image into my head. Why would you do this thing.

    For impact.  Because there are those out there who would, and would praise God while doing so.  M Scott Peck wrote about using dramatic imagery for emphasis.

    (For the record, anyone trying to burn Fluttershy would have to get through their friends, two equine Princess/Goddesses, and a couple thousand Bronies first.  Something about Fluttershy just triggers a “Protect Her!” response in a lot of males.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Huston/1318080484 Will Huston

    The 4th edition Dungeon Master’s guide does suggest putting on ambient or dramatic music at the appropriate times to help build the experience. So…

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    No clue, but he has the same fervor writing about that that he did coming up with a list of a hundred polearms.

    You’ve gotta be talking about Gygax.

  • Lorehead

    You’ve gotta be talking about Gygax.

    Slovenly trull, expensive doxy, wealthy procuress — sorry, wrong table.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wait, what?

  • Parhelion

    Started back in ’75 during high school, so it’s hard to have been playing  D&D much longer than I have.  I never had any problems during college even though I played with some members of our Christian coffeehouse crowd. That may be because many of us had actually and mundanely gamed down in our tech school’s steam tunnels and so immediately figured out that Mazes and Monsters was unmitigated hogwash when it came out in ’81, which may have inoculated even our proto-RTC members against idiotic ideas about D&D publicized by outsiders who’d never so much as rolled a 20-sider.

    The disgusting Satanism scare during the eighties — including the D&D component, as exemplified by Jack Chick’s amazing little tract — was one of many, many events that broke up my college affair with Christianity and sent me back to atheism. But I never encountered the backlash personally until the evening in ’92 when I was running a RPG campaign for a small group and my future wife’s then-housemate decided to stop at our table to ask, “Is that pagan?” in a certain tone of voice implying she already knew the answer.

    All those years of rolling up characters who worshiped Hathor or Athena, and I finally had to have this conversation on an evening when the three players at the table were depicting a pair of priests and a nun battling supernatural evil and corruption in an alternate history Renaissance Italy. Oh, well.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    My only memory of the backlash is my mom vaguely mentioning that there was one, around the time(early 90s) I first picked up some books in AD&D 2nd edition.

    By the Nineties, the Satanic Panic had pretty much burned out.  Recovered Memories (a BIG part of the spectral evidence) was found to be tainted by False Memory Syndrome (usually induced by True Beleiver investigators or therapists with their own agendas), and a lot of the evidence collapsed at that point.

    Not to say there won’t always be True Believers on the subject.  Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory logic is in effect; The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

    Thank you, Mike Warnke.  You total fraud.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Don’t forget about “Tip Credit”.  Waiters/waitresses/waitrons/servers/whatever they’re called these days are actually paid BELOW minimum wage, and are expected to make up the difference in tips.  They are still taxed on the Tip Credit whether they collect the tips or not.  I found this out when working at a restaurant chain’s HQ around 30 years ago.

    And the bill collectors and IRS do NOT accept fake $100 bill Gospel tracts.

  • Lorehead

    Sorry, inside joke.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Well obviously the only proper Christian thing to do is tax nobody at all.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy
    You’ve gotta be talking about Gygax.

    Slovenly trull, expensive doxy, wealthy procuress — sorry, wrong table.

    Ah, yes.  AD&D1, circa 1977.  As my old DM put it recently, “The peak of the Ad Hoc ruleset phase.  Ad Hoc tables for everything, each added as it came up with no linkage between any of them.”

    At least D&D3 systematized everything in an inter-related system, at the expense of the anything-goes wildness of the earlier editions.

  • We Must Dissent

    My mother fully bought into the D&D panic. She made my older brother get rid of all his books. He couldn’t sell them, because that would be passing the evil on to someone else. He had to burn them, probably well over $100 worth of books (in the early 80s) that he had purchased with his own money. It was for the reasons Fred wrote: the real names of real demons and summoning them was the specific item I remember.

    A few years later, in the late 80s, I got in trouble when my mother found out I was playing D&D with some friends from high school.

    And, yes, I owned Tunnels & Trolls, which was not nearly as good a game. Eventually, my brother and I discovered Champions/Hero 4th. Edition and the entire problem was solved.

    Of course, we also had to defend our choices of records against charges of secret Satanism, and my mother thinks that Harry Potter is evil. Also, we weren’t allowed to watch the Flintstones “because they lie to each other”. I still learned to lie, but it was to avoid getting punished with the specially designated “spank stick” my parents kept on top of the refrigerator.

    Goofiness like this is part of the reason I am no longer a Christian, and I now only communicate with my mother when I have to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Huston/1318080484 Will Huston

    as for myself, way too young to worry about moral panic in D&D, though at my Catholic high school I remember some of the more religious kids giving dirty looks to the kids who played Magic the Gathering during lunch.  Though that could be for many different reasons.

    There were a few kids at school who couldn’t play Pokemon or collect Pokemon cards because that was supposed to be satanic.

    Comic books, heavy metal, D&D, Harry Potter and Pokemon… Christian Evangelicals really do not like nerds, do they?

  • Asha

    My story is of looking at the cool AD&D box when I was 14 in high school. It had dragons on it, and was on sale from Books-A-Million. I bought it, curious, and had fun looking through the starter kit. My Mom was… odd, about the whole thing, when I think about it. As far as I was concerned, it was a new board game with dragons involved. She didn’t give me much an opinion, and my Dad didn’t care. I even tried it out with my board game loving grandma. She and my sis seemed to enjoy themselves.

    Then I brought it to my Aunt’s. She didn’t say anything to me, beyond really not wanting to play it. Then she asked my mom if she as okay with me ‘dabbling in the occult.’ My parents were okay with me doing this, but my Aunt? She was really convinced I was going to hell for this. I felt angry and betrayed, because this was my favorite aunt, and it felt like she didn’t trust me. I was precocious, and loved reading fantasy and sci-fi, and my parents both trusted me a great deal because I was the odd kid who told them both everything. I was used to being trusted by the grown-ups.

    She tried to get me to read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and I wasn’t interested. Then she bought me the massive hard-cover edition for Christmas (and broke my heart doing so- it was a lousy present and she usually gave me great presents) and I haven’t quite forgiven her since. That she didn’t trust me hurt a lot.

    In the years since, I’ve come to see her very differently, but that was the first time I ever saw her with adult eye. That was… unpleasant.

    I also had a friend who said she had personal experience with DnD being demon summoning. I told her I had played and had no such experience. We never talked about it again. Of course, this was the person who told me with utter sincerity that she believed fuck came from Fornication Under Crown Knowledge and that beluga caviar came from beluga whales.

    We’re not friends anymore.

  • Cythraul

    When I was a kid, I was forbidden anything with the name “Dungeons & Dragons”.

    This policy was at its most relevant when I was in high school – old enough to be interested in the game, but young enough that I was still under my parents’ thumb.  This was in the late ’90s, in a small town in northern Ontario.

    My parents didn’t really know what D&D was.  They knew it was a game – of some sort.  (RPG?  What’s an RPG?)  They knew it carried traditional medieval fantasy trappings, and involved magic.  (When my brother and I first started playing “Magic: the Gathering”, my father sat down and “inspected” the cards, to make sure they were “nothing like” D&D.  I’m not sure what his criteria were.)  But they wouldn’t have known D&D if they’d seen it, unless they actually saw the name on it.  I could have played GURPS or Traveler or Paranoia – and I did – without comment from my parents.

    It really was the name.  At one point I visited a bookstore with my parents, and picked up a D&D tie-in novel off the shelf – that had the ‘DUNGEONS & DRAGONS’ banner across the top.  I was refused.  I then picked up a Dragonlance novel – Dragonlance being a D&D setting and hence an indicator that the book was also a D&D product, even if it didn’t carry the words.  This book was not refused.

    When confronted about it in more recent years, my father shrugs, and says “That’s what the church told us.”  I remember that, too – the church told me too.  My high-school age Sunday school class watched a video on Satanism, and the video included a segment specifically on Dungeons & Dragons – by name.  Again, no explanation as to what it is, and my classmates and teacher were just as ignorant on the subject as my parents.

    I had an English teacher who was well versed in RPGs, and who GMed a number of games.  (But not D&D – didn’t want to get me in trouble with my parents.)  He used to lend me D&D books, which I’d hide under my clothes in my dresser.

  • Omnicrom

     It’s completely plausible to defeat a Cosmic Horror with an army of Giant Robots if Super Robot Wars has taught me anything.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Those two RPGs were published by Palladium, who prided themselves on a cross-compatible system that allowed content from any of their games to be used in any other of their games.

    Their systems may have been cross compatible, and some of their settings were richly creative, but damn if those systems could be kind of frustrating to deal with.  They are much better at representing some things than others, which despite the compatible rules leads to some things being a lot more ridiculous than others.  

  • The_L1985

     I remember getting some from the tiny private school I went to, but most Christians have the decency and common sense not to buy the things.

    I’m pretty sure most of the people who read and enjoy Chick Tracts are filthy unwashed heathens like myself who enjoy them for all the wrong reasons. :)

  • Omnicrom

     If Super Robot Wars has taught me anything it’s that fighting Cosmic Horrors with a giant robot is a completely feasible way to defeat them.

  • The_L1985

     I can’t help but wonder how such people react to Demon Hunter.  You know, the Christian black-metal band.  The one you can buy albums from at Family Christian bookstores.

  • Shayna

    Not much direct experience here, my parents were pretty secular.  Our DM in high school had his books burned by his mom.  My husband is very careful to keep all of our game books hidden from his parents, as they are type to freak out about it. (They didn’t like Harry Potter either until we made them watch one of the movies…then they appeared very puzzled as to why people were making such a big fuss about it to them)

    Only one thing really qualifies for me I guess. After ‘converting’ to Christianity, I went to my first women’s retreat.  They passed out a questionnaire, we were supposed to check off bad things that had happened to us or that we had been involved in. After the leaders read them all, we burned them.

    Along with yoga, witchcraft, Satanism, sexual abuse, eating disorders, addiction, etc was D&D.  I did not check the box, because I didn’t think it was something I needed to burn :-p

    I am also in the crowd who has played a lot more than D&D. World of Darkness, Exalted, Star Trek, Star Wars, All Flesh Must Be Eaten (zombie survival RPG, hehehe), Wheel of Time,Lord of the Rings, Marvel Superheroes, and plenty more that I can’t think of at the moment.  That doesn’t count anything but tabletop games either, board or video games would make the list grow exponentially.

  • Chris K

    My only encounter with the phenomenon was my grandparents telling my parents that they were very upset that I was going to go to hell. My parents told me about it, and it really wrecked my relationship with my grandparents for quite a while. This would have been in the late 80s.

  • Makabit

    I’m pretty sure most of the people who read and enjoy Chick Tracts are filthy unwashed heathens like myself who enjoy them for all the wrong reasons. :)

    Someone kept leaving them in various locations near the Catholic school I used to teach at. I would gather them up, because I didn’t want the kids seeing them. Then I would read them myself, and have a good time.

    My God, those things have a dismal view of everything.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Ah, good ol’ Jack Chick.  Demonstrating once again that bearing false witness is TOTALLY OKAY if you “mean well”.

    Funny thing, I’ve been playing D&D since 1980 or so, and nobody ever offered to teach ME ‘real spells’.  Maybe I never got to high enough level.  :-P

  • Rick Underwood

    Australia had a bit of a different culture back then, so we were shielded from most of the panic.  Still I did turn up to a friend’s place and his female flat mate looked at all our books and dice and asked “how do you get this stuff if it’s illegal?”.  My friend Iain’s mother sat him down when he was about 12 and asked him if he was into Satanism because someone told her thats where D&D led to.  However she accepted his explanation and he kept playing (at least until he discovered alcohol, cars, and women at age 18).

  • Makabit

    Reading these testimonials, I notice the element of book-burning popping up again and again — more often than I expected.  It’s just hard for me to picture.  People in real life really consigned their Monster Manuals, or those of their loved ones, to the flames.  Not even as part of a mass public demonstration; but on their own, independently, at home.  An object regarded as so wicked that nothing short of immediate and complete incineration would suffice.  The freakin’ Monster Manual, with the goofy manticore drawing on the cover.  It feels surreal.

    Yes, it is pretty bizarre. The incredible powers attributed to a game that involves group storytelling and a lot of dice were somewhat surreal.

    I don’t know how old you are, but the 198os were…weird. The Satanic Panic is now a footnote in history, but there was a time when the kind of hysteria about Satanism and ritual abuse and the like that is now mostly found only in very extreme Evangelical circles was basically mainstream. The McMartin trials are the obvious example, but that whole mentality tainted everything. (Rock music, D&D, what have you.) People who were not actually nutbars believed, sincerely, that Satanists were running preschools, subjecting innocent children to all kinds of unbelievable abuse, including murder AND LEAVING NO TRACE.

    I can’t mock the folks at Salem. We didn’t go so far, because we had better laws, and a separation of church and state, and a somewhat more scientific approach to reality, but the desire to burn witches (yes, I know they hanged at Salem) and keep our children safe appears to be totally intact.

    Books have been written about the whole thing. I’m not an expert. I was a kid. I just remember that it was a dark and paranoid time, and I’ve really never known why. I mean, we’re nuts now, but we’re nuts over things like ‘rainbow parties’ and the like. While that stuff may reflect our fears, it’s not quite the same.

  • Makabit

    How they think stiffing their server and leaving material about saving their server’s soul is a good advertisement for their church/religion, I will never know.

    You would think that if you were trying to convert the server, connecting evangelism with generosity in their mind might be the best approach, yes.

    Old Yiddish proverb: “Why do you worry so much about your body, and my soul? Worry instead about my body and your own soul.”

    There’s something odd about the tract-instead approach. As though you’re reproaching the server for being so tacky as to want money for their work. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I think the Fundies had it backwards: I was already predisposed to
    critical thought, which is why I had the friends I had who played
    D&D, and why I basically abandoned Christianity.

    I wonder if you might be on to something there. 

    It could be part of the reason that religious right-wing authoritarians loathe D&D is because it teaches you to imagine being a different person in a different life, something I’ve noticed RWAs tend to be TERRIBLE at?  (Admittedly, so are a lot of roleplayers, but it’s the thought that counts. :D )

    But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone condemn RPGs for anything other than “Magic BAD because BIBLE” (except “duh that’s for NERDS’), so maybe I’m on the wrong track here.

  • depizan

    I’m suddenly very curious what the reaction was to an episode of Simon and Simon – one of the few (the only?) neutral to positive mentions of something akin to D&D in a TV show that I can think of.  And it aired in ’81.

    A geeky grade schooler (or jr. high schooler?) uses his computer know how to steal money from a bank, our heroes get involved, kid has a number of geeky hobbies, including playing something like D&D which he talks to Rick about.  Bank manager decides to use kid to steal a bunch more money.  Kid escapes and hides in some old military depot or something, Rick and AJ rescue him.  But his hobbies (other than computerized bank robbery) are never questioned and he’s able to leave them a clue through what he talked to Rick about.

    Did people have fits over this episode when it aired?  Or did it air before the whole backlash against D&D started?  (It could’ve.  It aired a year before Mazes and Monsters, so if that movie was the beginning… )

    In any event it’s kind of sad that I can only think of one positive mention of role playing gaming in other popular entertainment.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Supernatural’s convention episode had live-action roleplaying. Community had a whole episode of tabletop roleplaying. I can’t remember about Leverage but Hardison seems the type.


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