I’ll admit it. The first time my sister told me that she played D&D type games I was surprised. Well, I was more than surprised- I was desperately trying to hold back my laughter. Despite the fact that my entire family lets their nerd flag fly, I felt like this was probably going too far and delving into the realm of “see, this is where you stopped being cool.”
Until I learned what it feels like to roll a d20 and get to back it up, the rush of literally disjoining an enemy to help your fellow campaigners, the lengths I would soon go to just to get a few extra CGPs. So I’m totally hooked.
And really, there is nothing wrong with the practice. Once a week, I get together with select family and friends and act out the life of Ra Jo, or Raj, a pre-monk Blood Carver on a mission who gets to kick ass (when he isn’t turning things into lava). We have a good time, we have a lot of laughs, and nobody (except for some non-existant enemies) gets hurt.
Except that some people might say that my mortal soul is in danger. And all that Harry Potter crap that I read and love isn’t helping either. Nor that crazy show True Blood that I love, because vampires are clearly of the devil. And then there’s the fact that every once in awhile, if my iPod Touch is connected to wifi, I like to check out my iScopes and pretend that they’re pertinent to my life…
I’m basically the biggest heathen around because I have the interests of your average, geeky 12 year old boy.
One of my friends who I campaign with actually suggested this as a blog topic, admitting that he himself feels a twinge of guilt for playing- he has been brought up to believe that he’s giving himself over to the influence of the devil by being involved. And it’s no wonder- a simple Google search will give you plenty of reasons why D&D is “evil,” my favorite being an essay from a former wiccan “high priest” on Chick.com, “Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons.” In this article, William Schnoebelen explains that “there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell. No Christian or sane, decent individual of whatever faith really should have anything to do with them.” (His conclusion is definitely unbiased, if you hadn’t noticed.) Similarly, it’s easy to find a multitude of websites that will tell you that Harry Potter teaches “un-Christian” values and influences children to engage in spell-casting and, you know, fighting for all that is good. (Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that I’m about to start a Harry Potter campaign. Now I’m evil squared.)
I understand the attitude of a religious parent in censoring their children from these kinds of influences. I just wonder what the child’s conclusions will be when they grow up and find out that pretending to cast magic to save your group is not equal to casting “real” spells with real, evil intent to another person.
Open Question: What “heathen” culture do you love and practice?