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D&D Blog Hop: Day 17

Written by Darkwarren - Published on February 17, 2014

dnd40hopbadgeDay 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

I don’t think I ever actually heard those words. My father loves The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books so he had a fairly healthy respect for fantasy literature. My mother didn’t voice any moral concerns about D&D – other than “wasting my time and money” on it but nothing about D&D being evil.

I remember the television movie Mazes and Monsters starring Tom Hanks about the college student who gets into “D&D” way too deeply and goes crazy. Again, I don’t think the message was that D&D was evil, but that obsession was dangerous. Or at the very least, the escapism offered by roleplaying games, coupled with the wrong personality, can be dangerous.

But it wasn’t until I was older that I read about people being concerned that the spellcasting and outsider summoning was evil. Especially in light of the fact that Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were such devout Christians and drew upon Christian stories to inspire their own tales. Even as a child I understood that Dungeon and Dragons was pretend – like Lego or G. I. Joe. But to consider it morally evil seems ridiculous to me, even today.

On a professional note, I must admit (“confess”) that I’m a Catholic who teaches Moral Theology to high school students. I am more concerned with the influence hyper-violent first person shooter video games like Grand Theft Auto have on young minds and their appetites than I do a pen and paper game of shared storytelling. Especially because so many of the players choose to be heroes and their objective is to thwart evil, not pretend to participate in evil.

For mature gamers there is the Book of Vile Deeds and other such gaming material that includes some graphic descriptions (and depictions) of some heinous acts. And in my experience some immature gamers use roleplaying to play out their darker fantasies (for the record this is more based on maturity and less based on age – I’ve played with some real immature middle aged guys who make bad jokes and their characters are mere caricatures of themselves). So in the end I think D&D, like almost anything, is amoral – that is, it is neither moral or immoral – but the player is the moral agent, not the game.

In closing, the best counter-response to the claim that D&D is evil has to be the Mystery Science Theater 3000 style response to Jack Chick tract regarding this issue.

How about you? Had any run-in’s with anyone who touts the game as EVIL? EVILLLLLLLL.

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Written by Darkwarren

Matt W., aka Darkwarren, has been roleplaying ever since his older brother introduced him to the red box set when he was 7 years old. Since then he has game-mastered SSDC’s Battleords of the Twenty-third Century, WEG’s Shadowrun and Star Wars, and of course Dungeons & Dragons in a variety of forms. At thirty-four years old he takes turns on both sides of the screen with the group that he helped found in 2000 when 3.0 hit the stands and has met every week fairly regularly ever since. Currently they have been running a variety of the Paizo Adventure Path scenarios, so that’s his wheelhouse. He was almost famous when two of his adventures were green-lighted for possible publication right before Paizo relinquished the rights to publish Dungeon magazine.

Matt also has years if experience in improvisational comedy, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is currently working and studying to attain a master’s degree in theology, to enhance his career as a religious studies teacher. Lastly, his greatest passion is his family, especially the three sons and dog that he shares with his wife in upstate New York.

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5 Responses to “D&D Blog Hop: Day 17”
  1. jrodman says:

    BTW, you still haven’t responded to my mail that trying to buy from your store resulted in no link. Accepting money without providing product and not responding to boot… Not the best.

  2. MythicParty says:

    Hello jrodman-

    I’m very sorry that there was a problem with your order. We’ve been doing a lot of site re-design to try improve both the look & functionality of DMing. If you’ve already tried to send us info to http://www.dungeonmastering.com/contact

    …please contact me directly- mythicpartyAtGoogle’sMaildotcommm & I will make sure that the customer service & billing people get right back to you.

    Again, my apologies for our mixup. And we’ll make things rights.

  3. Darkwarren says:

    jrodman,

    Hope things get worked out with your order.

    Any comments you’d like to share about the EVILS of D&D?

  4. Dave The DM says:

    Only everyone in my family who doesn’t game with me, and my church which is a little old school and really bought into the 80’s hype. They were horrified when I moved on… to Call of Cthulhu :D

  5. Darkwarren says:

    Interesting you say that about your church, Dave.

    When I got back into roleplaying after college my first job was as a youth minister for two churches. I wasn’t sure how the parents or parishioners would respond so I just kept it to myself.

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