Hi and welcome to another Roll to Disbelieve Super Special! In these off-topic specials, I curate some oldies-but-goodies together on a theme. Today’s theme is GAMING.
What Rolling to Disbelieve Means.
I spent my formative years squinting at random encounter tables and amassing libraries of gaming books on multiple systems. So when I finally deconverted, I conceptualized it as having finally made my roll to disbelieve. For those who didn’t have that same life experience, here’s what that means:
In roleplaying games, often players encounter something they suspect might actually be an illusion. Various spells and monsters create illusory effects, some of which are extremely powerful and realistic. So the player might ask the game-master, or GM, to allow a roll to disbelieve for their character. If allowed (and it usually is, though some GMs require some kind of justification first), the player rolls a die or dice.
If the roll fails to meet a certain threshold, then the attempt to “see through” the illusion failed. The player must roleplay their character as if they believe the illusion is completely real. Most systems allow the player more opportunities to re-roll the attempt, but only after a certain amount of time passed and often at a penalty.
However, if the roll succeeds in meeting or exceeding that threshold, then the character succeeds in seeing through the illusion to the reality beneath. That character now knows what reality looks like. They will not be easy to trick again–if at all.
I feel like I cast my dice many times as a Christian, but kept failing the roll. But every gamer knows one thing above all:
Eventually, you’re going to make the roll, no matter how high the difficulty might be set.
So if you see me saying stuff like “I made my roll,” that’s what I’m talking about.
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).
I began playing tabletop roleplaying games at like 13 years old.
- GMing the Antichrist. One of my first posts, this one relates my uneasiness with the difference between how magic operated in Dungeons & Dragons and how Christianity’s supernatural elements operated in this world.
- Dark Dungeons: Mega-Review. Based on a Chick tract, this movie adaptation turns out to be surprisingly good. Basically, I get tipsy as hell and watch an awesome indie movie about gamers who’ve gone TOO FAR BY FAR.
- He’s Not a Zombie, Or a Lich. A popular Easter post one year about two memes going around about Jesus. In one, he’s accused of being a zombie; another meme decides he’s a lich. I comb through my battered old AD&D Monster Manual to find the truth.
- By Far the Most Excruciating Talk My Mom Ever Gave Me. My mom made me watch Mazes & Monsters, an explosively-popular movie (with a super-young Tom Hanks in it!) that clutched its pearls over D&D. I still cringe remembering it.
- How to Multi-Class a Catholic Schoolgirl/Thief. A very popular early post. Ultimately, the story concerns how perfect love casts out fear. (This post remains one of my all-time favorites.)
Roleplaying Games, Generally.
Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t spend a lot of time in a lot of different gaming systems.
- Commedia dell’Arte and Performance Christianity. That desire to play-act stories together drives gaming–and religion.
- Penguins, Grief, and Meaningful Community. Gamers come together to share experiences and be part of a community that’s relevant to them.
- Gamer Nerdity: Awesome Character Apps I Have Declined. In light of all the stuff we’re talking about lately, these might amuse you even more than they did me at the time I wrote this post.
- Greatness As An Inherited Condition. Thoughts about players who want greatness-thrust-upon-them types of characters versus ones who expect to work for what they get ingame. (Oh, did I give away which approach I favor as a GM?)
- Gaming the Stats. Give players in any environment a goal to achieve, and they will do whatever they can to achieve it. That truth doesn’t care if the game in question is an online text-based roleplaying game or a religion.
- What I Learned from the Lady in White. I learn a truth about human nature from a game.
- Why Christian Marketing Sucks – and Why It Must. A shoddily-managed online game makes me realize why Christian groups often fail catastrophically to live up to their own marketing.
- Bible Verses Are Not “Magic” Cards. I love seeing Christians fling Bible verses down in arguments like they’re playing some collectible card game like “Magic: The Gathering.”
Of course, a whole other realm of gaming exists that has all but eclipsed tabletop and board games: VIDYA! For many years amid and after my deconversion, I played and helped run a few long-running online games. Nowadays, I still enjoy playing single-player and casual mobile and video games.
- Operation Pitchfork and a Moment of Crisis. An online game’s background storyline inspires many of its future players to make an ingame Last Great Act of Defiance against impossible odds and with an absolute assurance of failure.
- Faith in Humanity: Restored. In a board full of cynical, squabbling nerds playing Giant Stompy Robot games, one brave little girl accomplishes something nothing else could. (I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying.)
- No, Nobody is Violating Alex Jones’ Right to Free Speech. I use tons of Stompy Robot memes to demonstrate what the title says.
- Their Way or the Highway. An argument on an online game erupts over the game’s owner’s instructions. The argument in turn illuminated for me one maaaaajor flaw in Christianity.
- The Second I Realized I Was In the UYC. This was an intense post to write, but to me it illustrates one of the internet’s biggest strengths: it brings people together and gives us access to other points of view. And I needed that so much when I was deconverting.
- The Worst Video Game I Ever Played (Is Not E.T.). Some of the worst-of-the-worst video games I’ve ever played, and the one that has earned my eternal hatred.
Thanks again for joining me for this waltz down memory lane!
NEXT UP: Authoritarians and mockery are a pairing as classic as oil and water, or maybe water and chlorine trifluoride. Or, really, anything and chlorine trifluoride. Let’s explore why–next time!
For reference, this video depicts chlorine trifluoride reacting to various commonly-used lab equipment.
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Consider this post an Off-Topic Wonderland 🙂 Do you play any games you enjoy?