Friday, May 16, 2014

Is Dungeons & Dragons a Cult? and other Friday Questions.

Two recent articles have come out reflecting on the past of Dungeons & Dragons and the rumors of satanic involvement in the 1980s.

While today it is easy, and expected, to laugh at these ideas back then we were embroiled in a war, excuse me, I meant WAR!, against Satan and his chief tools to corrupt were Heavy Metal music and Dungeons & Dragons.

To get something of an idea of what this was all like back then here is a bit of the infamous 1985 60 Minutes feature on it.

If that doesn't work here is the link,

I have to admit I did a lot of searching and while I wanted to find some sites that were still up in arms about D&D I mostly found sites and forums on "I played D&D and I am still a good Christian" and "How D&D Taught me morality".  So much for my "Atheist Agenda".
Though to be fair they might not care for Carcosa. But I don't care for Carcosa either, so that is not an indictment.

I was going to ask if you ever still feel pressure from religious groups about D&D.  But let's be honest. 90% of feel more pressure about playing from our spouses who would rather we be out doing yard work.

So here is a better question.

We live in a time where we have unprecedented access to games. Many really good ones that are even free.  Geek culture has never been more accepted than it is now. We have access to players around the world, not just in our own neighborhoods.  Even our former critics has been silenced and time has shown them to be the fools we knew them for.

Are we in a new Golden Age of RPGs?

And don't forget my Kickstarter! over 50% funded in under 3 days.


Anthony Simeone said...

Yes, indeed, we are already in a new Golden Age of RPGs! You know why I believe that, despite all the Negative Nancy naysayers among our fellow roleplayers? Because I'm doing my part to create that Golden Age. That's what we veteran roleplayers need to be: active, not passive. Do we want RPGs to survive? Then let's take any impulse we feel towards doom and gloom and instead turn that towards keeping the flame alive! We can sit here and watch things go bad, or we can keep being evangelists for the game. Get out there and blog, get out there and read RPGs in public, get out there and run games at game stores or in libraries or in community centers or whatever! Just do it! We will create the Golden Age. It won't create itself if we sit back and whine and moan, in our little echo chambers, flipping sadly through old RPG tomes. Get out there and play!

JDJarvis said...

We're in a different age. It's a golden age of communication but it's far removed from the early bloom of the hobby (not a bad thing).

Anonymous said...

Even back in the '80s there were apparently some religious D&D groups. The EastCon gaming convention in Glassboro, NJ in 1983 was run by a gaming group calling itself F.R.O.G. -- apparently an evangelical slogan meaning "Fully Rely On God" (which was apparently also their preferred method of scheduling events, but I digress...).

The monster/demon-slaying and warrior cleric themes of D&D always seemed like they'd appeal to religious folks. If anything, I found the religious opposition sort of puzzling, and probably rooted more in the popularity of the game in new age/neo-pagan/wiccan circles than in anything in the game itself. It's interesting to speculate, though, on whether D&D would have become more or less popular had the religious right embraced or ignored it instead of attacking it.

Tad said...

Well Pat Robertson at least still hasn't recovered from the moral panic of the 1980's:

But it's true, you don't tend to see the same sort of reactionary alarmist rhetoric from the Christian Right now that you did in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, there are a number of online Christian RPG forums out there. As a Christian myself, I have recently encountered criticism from one family member regarding my participation in the hobby. But then, this particular family relation is what I would consider on the far right fringe of fundamentalism. I doubt you'd find many Evangelicals today that would still harbor the same sort of suspicions.

Cross Planes said...

I'd like to believe it's a Golden Age, but until more Kickstarter projects come to fruition, I can't say that. And the only consistent publishers left (and I mean more than four releases a year through traditional distribution) are Paizo and WotC.

I agree with it being a Golden Age of Communication and Grass Roots.