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.

  • depizan

     Oh, good, TV’s improved about geeky stuff in the very recent past then.  There was a long period of time when it seemed like geeky things only showed up to be evil or gotten horribly wrong (or, most likely, both).

  • Makabit

    And after the Newtown Massacre, you’re probably seeing the same thing but primarily about guns.

    You have to wonder how clueless they think the criminally insane are. I’ve been through a lot of ‘personality tests’ for low-wage jobs where they want to know if you’re going to rob them blind. It’s fairly clear what the correct answers are. (Psychologically subtle this shit is not.)
    I always fail, though, because they keep upping the ante, and around the time I get to the question that goes, “OK, what if that coworker stealing from the till has been recently tragically widowed, and her only child has cancer, and you know she’s about to be evicted from her apartment, and she may start turning tricks again if that happens, NOW do you turn her in?” I always check the box for “Fuck no”, figuring that I don’t really want to work for these people.

    (OK, that question has never actually come up, but they do up the ante to a point where I just feel that I’m being put on notice that I am expected to have no actual soul when I report for this job.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh there’s that too. Supernatural’s creators seem to think that Supernatural fandom is predominantly men who want to be Sam and Dean, or at least pretend to be on weekends, not women who want to write about Sam and Dean. Let’s just gloss over Becky Rosen entirely. She’s not as grating now we have Charlie Bradbury–having Charlie to contrast Becky with makes Becky pretty clearly an example of the sort of fangirl who behaves wildly inappropriately around the cast, not the sort of fangirl who behaves with decorum and/or refuses to cross the streams–but Charlie is not, as far as we know, a slashficcer, so Becky still looks like the Supernatural creators being very disapproving of their most dedicated fans.

    Which is rather a derail.

  • P J Evans

     I remember getting one of those tests. I didn’t get that job, but it probably wouldn’t have been one I enjoyed.

  • The_L1985

     David the Gnome?  That hasn’t even been on TV in 20 years!

  • depizan

     Oh dear.  So points for being positive about some geeky things and then we take them right back for being bad about other geeky things.

    *sigh*

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    my favorite to this day being throwing down with him while piloting a Gundam.

    Check out CthulhuTech. It’s kind of like that, only more Evangelion than Gundam. 

  • DnDer in Columbus

    I started playing using the Basic D&D set in 75-76 in 4th grade.   I played for several years with no problems from my parents and other relatives.  Mom wanted to understand what it was all about, so I DMed for her once (I was a horrible DM at age 12).  She played for a couple of hours, and I killed her character (took her solo on an adventure made for 4-6 characters- like I said, I was a bad DM).  Like I said, no problems- until after my Grandma died (in 1983).  At which point my Grandfather went all Fundamentalist and wrote my mom a 2 page letter about the horrors of Dungeons & Dragons, and how Satan was running/ruining my life.  He told mom that she just did not understand the danger, but he did- and she better stop me from playing immediately, or I would lose my soul (etc, etc).

    Fortunately, my mom had my back.  She wrote a scathing reply back to him explaining that she understood EXACTLY what went on, that she had played, and he was being extremely foolish.  And, if he EVER dared tell her how to raise her children again, he would not be seeing any of us any more.  Yay mom!

    Still playing 30 years later, and STILL haven’t figured out how to cast a magic missile for reals (but the Chick Tracts PROMISED  :-)  )

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     In fact I have done precisely that (I love Eva)  Sadly I just haven’t gotten around to playing it just yet – too many play by post games going right now!

  • Kelex

     I haven’t had first-hand experience of this, but my current DM (a fairly religious man himself) has told me stories of one of his friends who plays a cleric and insists that his in-game deity has to be Jesus.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     If you ever do figure out how to cast Magic Missile, just remember the first thing to do is attack the darkness! >_>

  • Kelex

     Is it too late for Percy Jackson?  (FALSE GODS!!)

  • Kelex

     Sure, I’ve done that, find a good CD with appropriate background sounds.  But this was supposed to be Official D&D Music that came WITH the game, for the express purposes of Satanic indoctrination. 

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Wasn’t Jesus born in the spring?

    We don’t have anything resembling evidence that he was born at all, much less what year, and even less what time of year.

    The bit with the shepherds is the only seasonal clue (suggesting spring) but that’s in a story that was not written until as much as a century later, and was almost certainly a whole-cloth invention, so not exactly a reliable source. The claimed link to the census of 6AD doesn’t help either since this may have taken more than a year to complete (from the summer of 6AD to the autumn of 7AD), and of course there’s every reason to believe that this link is also pure invention.

    The traditional date is based on a Jewish numerological belief that important prophets were always conceived or born on the same day that they died, also not exactly a reliable guide.

  • Dwculp

    The religious rights attack on D&D produced, for me, one of my most lasting and cherished memories of my childhood. I began playing D&D around 1980, give or take a year or two, my memory escapes me! I was around 10- 11 years of age and my first memories are of the old Holmes Blue Box, still my favorite edition of D&D, probably more to due with nostalgia than it being a superior edition.

    Although my immediate family was not overly religious, I did get get hit with a lot of D&D hatred in school. We had one teacher in my middle school in particular who highly disliked D&D, even to the point of lecturing on the evils of D&D during class (which tells you how popular the game was!). Her name was Mrs. Harper, one of the few techers from my childhood whose name I remember! We had shortened it to “Mrs. Harpy”, named after the evil part bird/part female creatures we often battled in our games. We spent many lunch periods battling the forces of evil, hacking away at hordes of orcs and exploring the unknown. “Mrs. Harpy” was able to get the open display of D&D books banned on campus. That was ok, we played without our books, all that was required was an imagination.

    As I said before, my family was not overly religious, however, my grandmother was so far to the right religiously she made up for the rest of the family. This was a woman who nearly worshiped Pat Robertson and never missed a showing of the 700 Club. She began putting a bug in my mothers ear on the evils of D&D, her children were satanist and going to hell for it. My mother began asking questions about the game we were playing and began consulting with my father about what to do. My father, a man I had immense respect for was a rationalist, even-tempered and not prone to rash judgement, he asked to sit down and play a game of D&D with my brothers and me! I was ecstatic, nervous, and scared all at the same time! Although it was never said, I knew why he had asked, he wanted to get a first hand view of this “evil game” and determine for himself if his sons should be playing it

    I still remember with fondness sitting down that day around the dinning room table, dice in hand, explaining the rules to my father, having him thumb through the rule books, asking questions about the game, I remember he had questions about the “thief” character class and I was explaining that it was not really a bad thing. We then began play, we ran though the classic adventure “The Keep on the Borderlands” and I was the DM (as always). I do not remember the outcome, I don’t remember the details, I simply remember sitting and playing D&D with father for four plus hours. At the end he said he had a great time (which we did) and he would like to play again. He had not given his direct permission to continue playing but I knew he had given us his permission to keep playing.

    I lost my father to a short but valiant fight against lymphoma almost exactly a year ago. The memory of playing D&D with my father is one of my most cherished memories. If Pat Pulling had not led a psychotic battle against D&D I would not have that memory as my father would have never asked to play then or again.

  • CAThompson

    There’s a thread with some newspaper clippings here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?459104-Satanic-history-D-amp-D-A-Cautionary-Tale

    Somewhere also is the Pulling Report about BADD.

    Since I came from California, the only thing we had was my grandmother’s hairdresser worrying about our souls and no one caring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651573838 Jeff Sockwell

    This is the Pulling Report, compiled by Michael Stackpole. http://www.rpgstudies.net/stackpole/pulling_report.html

    I started playing D&D in 1981 and I can remember very well the hype about the dangers of the game. This less-than-bright woman really caused a lot of hurt, all to deflect her own guilt feelings for the death of her son. Pulling herself died of cancer in 1997.

    My parents blamed their problems communicating with me on the game and made me sell off all of my gaming stuff, even the sci-fi, ostensibly because it was demonic.

  • DnDerInColumbus

     I wish I’d had that on tape at the time, we could have played it for Grandpa.  Not that he would have appreciated it, but WE would have.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     The bit with the Flintstones reminds me of my dad’s objection to Transformers – “They’re deceptive!”

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was also the “Most Violent Show On TV” lolz

  • emotion13

    I was raised in a very conservative, non denominational Christian home.  Here’s what happened to me:

    When my mother found out I played D&D, she was very matter of fact about it.  “It’s satanic and you’re not playing it anymore.”  When I pressed her for any kind of argument that would lead me to believe that, she added, “It has witches in it.  And voodoo.”  “You’re dabbling in witchcraft.”  “You’re dabbling in the occult.”  Then I was threatened with a multiple year long grounding if she discovered I had played D&D again.

    After this, I came up with the idea of researching D&D at the library, hoping that more information would lead to a mutual understanding.  I got my hands on everything there I could find on the subject and read it all.  The secular stuff was pretty mundane, much like my actual game playing experiences.  Anything with the word “Christian” attached to it was from an alternative reality that I was totally unfamiliar with.  D&D causes suicide, you have to be evil to win, the dungeon master controls your life, players can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality, and other complete nonsense.  Oh, by the way, you can’t be a Christian and play, either.

    My friends were actually pretty cool about the whole thing; we started playing RPGs other than D&D after that.  Some time later, I brought home books from one of those different games.  My father took a book, read about one page, and came in my room, screaming at me,”THIS IS OF THE DEVIL AND IF THIS IS WHAT YOUR FRIENDS DO, YOU CAN KISS THEM GOODBYE!!!!!”  After that, I suppose there isn’t much more to say about their objection to RPGs.

    I have long thought that there is an irony to all this. They were so concerned about the effect D&D, and later all RPGs, were going to have on my faith, that they never figured out that it was their anti RPG demagoguery that ultimately did infinitely more damage to my faith than the games themselves.
     

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Who is going to be next in the new Burning Times? 
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?????

    Might as well make it a twofer, then:  Friendship is Dragons

    Or My(stara) Little Ponies: Friendship Is Adventuring

    (I keep being surprised I _haven’t_ heard of any Spiritual Warfare types denouncing the ponies, yet.)

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I can’t remember about Leverage but Hardison seems the type.

    There’s several mentions of Hardison playing online games involving orcs.

    And I just remembered that John Rogers (Leverage writer/showrunner) made the classic quote about Ayn Rand and orcs, so we know which of the two books was influential in young Hardison’s life :)

  • Albanaeon

    Well, my gaming came in the nineties, well after the Satanic Panic era, but it did have an interesting effect on my start in them.

    So several of my karate friends finally asked if I wanted to play, since they knew I was already painting the miniatures and the like and had been for years.  My mother was uncharacteristically concerned by this.  Considering her child was taking karate and hiking alone in deserts for days, I couldn’t understand the problem, other than a vague awareness that DnD was controversial.  She explained that she had heard a few things and “don’t you remember that movie we watched 5 years ago.”  So my liberal Catholic mother, who shared my Eddings and Jordan and Tolkien books, and encouraged my miniature collecting was worried about DnD by the sheer dint of how much had been said and a crappy movie.

    Well, she agreed, but only if she could watch the session.  When she found it was a bunch of pre-teens rolling dice, moving toy soldiers, and making off color jokes, and the most arcane thing about it was trying to figure out THAC0, she had no problems.

    The only other story was when I was at a hobby store, and father flat out ranted to  his young son that they don’t allow demons into their house and how “evil” all these games were when he was asked by his child what a plastic model was.  It was such a bizarre over-reaction that it still chills me even though I think it was a great insight into the fundamentalist character.  They invest a great deal of time and thought into putting evil into relatively mundane things to the point they seem to not be able to invest it into actual evils.  Particularly if they seem relatively mundane, like poverty, or hunger, or obscene wealth. 

    I would guess that it also helps that their crusades are generally against the fringers of society so its easy to get otherwise uninterested people to go along with them because it gives a chance to justify their bullying.

  • eyelessgame

    Nothing dramatic – just one indirect instance. ~1980, I was fourteen or so. Had been playing for four years, since the Original White Box, Chainmail combat system, and the Three Grey Books. Was building a gaming group (who would be my best friends through high school). One guy drifted in to our group - interesting guy, fairly bright, but very naive and prone to being convinced by almost anything. Was “into” D&D. (I remember his odd but fun house rules that turned combat into a fast-response word game, almost like verbal fencing.)  I gamed with him separately because my other gamer friends were leery of him – he was also “into” pot and related “immature” stuff (my gamer friends had outgrown their pothead stage by then) – I was never into that but then as now I didn’t care what a guy did when he wasn’t gaming.
    After a few months, he got “into” whichever tent-based revival pentavangelibaptimentalism (I was Catholic, never kept track of them) was going around. I warned him “they’ll try to convince you D&D is Satanic”. He assured me they’d never do that – they were good people and open-minded and accepting, and went on about how they were speaking in tongues and healing and stuff, just like clerics.

    Three weeks later he was burning his D&D books because they were Evil. I pretty much lost track of him; he dropped out of high school and I don’t even remember his name today.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

     

    I started playing using the Basic D&D set in 75-76 in 4th grade.   I
    played for several years with no problems from my parents and other
    relatives.

    I started in January of 1976.  I’d met Wayne (my DM) at my first SF con the Labor Day before, and would drop by his college dorm on a regular basis.  And in January 1976 when I dropped by he handed me three six-sided dice and told me to start rolling up a character.  That’s how it started, with three little books plus Greyhawk and some funny dice in a brown box.

    I didn’t get much hostility from my parents; they just thought I was weird.

    Incidentally, when Dark Dungeons came out from Jack Chick, Wayne’s comment was “A female DM?”  (At the time, D&Ders were almost entirely geeky white boys; there were horror stories floating around about female gamers and the hostility they encountered.)  “If I ever ran across a DM like that, I’d probably marry her.”  (Which Wayne did some 20 years later; he married another gamer.)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     I’ve not even watched the show and the first comic has me giggling <_< I like.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     (At the time, D&Ders were almost entirely geeky white boys; there
    were horror stories floating around about female gamers and the
    hostility they encountered.)

    Tragically, both the ‘mostly geeky white boys’ and the ‘female gamers’ horror stories’ parts are still ongoing. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    pentavangelibaptimentalism

    Please figure out a way to add a few more syllables to this, so we can make a parody of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’ 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Seriously. I cried over Rarity’s fate in Fallout:Equestria (and Fluttershy’s wasn’t too sparkly either.) 

    Maybe I’m too sensitive because Rarity is my Best Pony, but damn. That’s nightmare fuel. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In short, we were all just roleplaying…In short, we liked having excuses to roleplay.

    You know, this reminds me of something Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw once said about how we are all nerds of one kind or another.  Even people who are dedicated sports fans are, measured by certain sets of metrics, nerds.  He generalizes that anyone who is passionate about something is a form of nerd, and piteous is the rare non-nerd who never finds something to be passionate about.

    What he did say was a bit tragic about sports nerds though is how many of them seem to be in denial about their own nerdiness.  To quote, “And if we could just encourage them to drop this air of toughness and superiority, I think we could all get along a lot better.”

    I think that a lot of the same could be said about Christ-nerds.  It is wonderful that they are so passionate, but if they could own up about what they are interested in and why there would be a lot less conflict.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I didn’t even really know it existed until my teens. Then I tried to get invited to things, but I was the only girl in our cohort who showed any interest, and while boys were not unwilling to invite me at all, they were weird about me when I was there. Really, really weird. Either ignoring me entirely or paying way too much attention to me. So I gave up. I had grown up playing with boys, and had not expected the introduction of multi-sided die to change the way they treated me so drastically. I didn’t try tabletop again for years.

    I have seen that kind of thing happen before, usually when the guys in the group lack social experience interacting with girls in such a setting.  I find it unfortunate that a lot of girls get alienated from an enjoyable hobby by bad behavior (which is to say I find the bad behavior unfortunate.)  An RPG table ought to be a welcoming place to those with with the desire and articulation to entertain themselves and others.  

    Still, if you find the right group…

    But my mom thinks RPGs are extremely cool. She wants to start playing ones of all sorts when she retires; she says she’s afraid they’d take up too much of her time before then.

    You sound like you have the coolest mom ever.  :)

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

     

    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.

    The reason all these Satanists were sacrificing babies left and right AND LEAVING NO TRACE was that ALL the Cops, Government, Media, everybody were ALL Satanists who were ALL Part of The Conspiracy.  ALL OF THEM.  EVERYONE except the Heroic Godly Crusaders (protected by the Holy Spirit) were Satanists.  EVERYONE ELSE.

    “When your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, Invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    – Kooks Magazine

    P.S.  The Eighties were weird, but they were the only time in my life I (a) didn’t have money worries and (b) had a girlfriend.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That is we started off with Call of Cthulu.  Now to be fair, I didn’t even much like that game* – but you have to admit it’s kind of hilarious where I wound up considering what I was trying to avoid.  Now to be fair, I knew my dad would hate Cthulu just as much as D&D; but somehow the supernatural evil of  D&D had been hammered into my head so far that for a long time I was convinced I would be damned for playing it – Cthulu by comparison was just harmless fun.  (Like D&D really is.)

    There is a bit of a “trick” to enjoying cosmic horror RPGs.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    2)  Ah, yes.  WhiteWolfers.  The first and dominant alpha male of the Dark Fantasy games (no, DARKER…).  I don’t have the link in front of me, but there’s an essay on the Web that said that GrimDark games such as WhiteWolf were themselves a reaction to the Satanic Panic.  Along the lines of “They Say We’re Satanic and Occult, Lets Go As Far As We Can Into DARK and OCCULT”.

    You know, what I find resonates with me about settings like the World of Darkness is not necessarily the occult elements, but the economic and conspiratorial ones.  

    For example, as one designer noted vampires use their influence to actively promote a culture of wealth disparity and general unpleasantness for those who cannot afford life’s essentials.  The idea being that lots of desperate people with few ways out and little incentive for society to look into their troubles make ideal fodder for the vampires to find bloody sustenance, while the connections to the small numbers of rich and powerful insure that they can maintain their influence to keep things that way.  

    It certainly makes certain political circuses a lot more interesting if you wonder “Which Ventrue through this up?”  

  • Albanaeon

    Had a bit of fun with that when I sent out one of those “motivational posters” to my crew which included an over the top fantasy football fanatic coworker.  The caption was “D&D for people that used to tease D&D players.”

    That he didn’t get the joke was on HIM was the truly priceless part…

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Anyone who was in high school immediately after Columbine has a similar story about similar personality tests.  Except then it was guns and trenchcoats and “your feelings about Columbine” instead of pentagrams.  And the Omegas of their high schools (often Aspies)  would write the truth about their reactions, thus providing written Confessions for the Witchfinders-General.

    Yep.  There is a reason I was expelled from my school, forced onto medication, and let back in at a different school in a program for juvenile convicts.  

    I tutored them in math and was never allowed at a school assembly again.  

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     Cheney, it’s always Cheney.

  • cameronhorsburgh

    Sigh. At the time girls were still icky. In retrospect, my love of fantasy and RPGs kept me icky in the sight of the ladies for a long time after.

    It never occurred to me to actually invite (real) girls to play, although the experience with my sister may have contributed to that.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The impression that I got, based on a few other factors about Gygax’s personal life, is that he was not a Witness, but would sometimes self-identify as one as a kind of inside-joke or “take-that” to his detractors calling his work “Satanic”.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

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

    When the polearm weapon list meets Monty Python.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    Btw, one thing I’ve found helps dilute the immense social awkwardness that can cause problems around the table is playing by post over forums; or playing online via chat (not voice chat, just regular old text chat).

    There’s 3 basic reasons:

    1)  No one has to know your real gender if you don’t want them to.  This prevents some of the “I’m a gamer and female so I get too much attention” type problems; it also allows a player to more easily play a character of the opposite gender if they want without the difficulty of mimicking voices at the table or weirding out other players.

    2) It’s easier to stay in character when you don’t have to deal with ‘stage fright’.  There’s no need to put on a performance for anyone.

    3) It’s easier to walk away if things aren’t working out.  While that can be a two-edged sword – it can be a bit harder to work out personality clashes since someone might just leave rather than work it out – it’s nice to have the option to just pack up and go without worrying about who spent how much on the pizza and having to deal with alienating people in the group.

    All told that’s why I do the play by post thing primarily anymore.  I admit it’s imperfect; and sometimes groups just flop for reasons beyond explanation* – but for anyone who’s not got anyone local to play with or just isn’t comfortable around other people in person it can be a great boon!

    *There was a fantastic “Seven Samurai” based campaign I was in for a while that just halted suddenly when our DM vanished.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

     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.

    You are not the only one.  GW has been getting really greedy lately.  There used to be a lot more do-it-yourself encouraged when it came to things like terrain or super-heavy vehicles, but these days those things are discouraged in favor of hawking bigger and more expensive pre-made stuff.  

    Pre-made stuff is nice insofar as it is technically high quality and can be recombined in a variety of ways, but it feels like something is lost when original stuff is not mixed in there with it.  

    I guess it is unsurprising that a lot of the old-guard has left GW to go and work elsewhere.  For example, Rick Priestley, Andy Hoare, and even Andy Chambers went to go and write for Fantasy Flight Games (who publish all the paper-and-pencil RPGs in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Warhammer 40,000 universes) instead.

  • reynard61

    “Who is going to be next in the new Burning Times?
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?????

    They’ll get my “Luna is Best Princess” T-shirt when they pry it from my COLD DEAD HOOVES!!! (Which is okay because I have two and I’ll arrange to be buried — or cremated[?] — in the other.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    You have to wonder how clueless they think the criminally insane are. I’ve been through a lot of ‘personality tests’ for low-wage jobs where they want to know if you’re going to rob them blind. It’s fairly clear what the correct answers are. (Psychologically subtle this shit is not.)

    They institute such tests as loss prevention measures, to ensure that they do not hire people who will steal from the company.  That is the theory, at least.  In practice this means that there are only two kinds of employees who pass: honest ones who can be treated like doormats, and ruthless ones who are clever enough to know the “right” answers and select only those despite not actually fitting the results themselves.  

    Guess what this has done to employee theft rates.  Go on, guess!  :p

  • David Starner

     Jonathan Tweet has an review about Dragonraid: http://www.jonathantweet.com/jotgamedragonrai.html

    He seems to imply that it mechanically was not unreasonable, but is a bit upset about the fact that it makes him (an atheist) as a valid target to kill in the game.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Headless Unicorn Guy, is that an FFN copy… dedicated entirely to My Little Pony?

    (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.)

    A dapper one.

    We had shortened it to “Mrs. Harpy”, named after the evil part bird/part female creatures we often battled in our games

    Um… wouldn’t they be part bird/part human (or part woman, to be specific)?  Since… I don’t recall that the bird part is typically not female as well?  Although I suppose that could work as an explanation for how they reproduce (in cases where they *do*…)

  • Hofeizai

    My first high school was a Catholic school with a Dungeons & Dragons club.  It was a nerdy thing to belong to, but no big deal.  When that school closed, a few of us tried to form a similar club at our new school, and found ourselves spending time with the school counselor due to out interest in Satanism and the occult.  

    My parents bought me the red box set in the mid 80s, then heard it would make me go crazy and kill myself.  They didn’t stop me from playing, but I know they worried about me and my friends.  Almost 30 years later, I think they’ve accepted that we are unlikely to sacrifice them as offerings to dark gods.  Soon, they will let their guard down completely, and then we strike!

  • Hofeizai

    Perhaps I’ve said too much

  • Hofeizai

    Woah!  I have some of your books within easy reach.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    In retrospect, my love of fantasy and RPGs kept me icky in the sight of the ladies for a long time after.

    You know, it is kind of funny but these days I see a lot of female fantasy and science fiction fans (and authors for that matter,) which is a reality that flies in the face of a lot of the stereotypes.  From what I have been able to tell, the stereotype was mostly a self-perpetuating thing: a lot of the women into that stuff kept quiet about their interests because of concern that they would be thought of as being “odd” for being interested in those things.  

    Fortunately things like the internet and fan conventions (Geek Girl Con being a particularly notable example) are starting to change the common perception.  


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