2008 - Dungeons and Dragons™ and other fantasy role-playing games

by Mark published 2022/11/12 09:27:42 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:27:42-07:00
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Role-playing games:


What are Dungeons & Dragons™ and similar games?

D&D is a fantasy role-playing game created and originally published by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax who founded the Tactical Studies Rules Association (TSR) in 1973. It was an evolutionary step from earlier war games or military simulations. The game was first marketed 1974. It gained great popularity among teens and young adults. Random House obtained the rights to distribute the game in 1979. In 1997, rights to the game were obtained by Wizards of the Coast. The D&D brand now belongs to Hasbro. Dozens of other companies have since published hundreds of similar games under a variety of titles, such as DragonQuest.™, RuneQuest™, Tunnels and Trolls™, and Villains and Vigilantes™. The games fall into many genres:

  • fantasy games (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons™)
  • horror games (e.g. Call of Cthulhu™)
  • science fiction games (e.g. Traveler™)
  • cyberpunk (e.g. Cyberpunk 2020™)
  • comic book (e.g. Champions™)
  • historical games (e.g. Boot Hill™)
  • Generic games (e.g. GURPS™). These allow you to learn a single set of game rules and apply them to any setting.

These games are played by groups of two or more people; 4 to 7 are typical. One player is commonly called the Game Master (GM) who defines the imaginary environment in which the game is played. Sometimes the GM is referred to as Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Referee, etc. He/she creates a make-believe world through which the players will move and have their adventures. The players each create a single imaginary character, defining their shape, race, intellectual and physical powers, armament, protective devices, supplies and materials. The GM decides what traps, obstacles and encounters the imaginary characters will meet. Sometimes the GM holds the post for a long time; in other groups, the job rotates among the membership.

Adventures may include play-acting the rescuing of people, the quest for money, treasure, power, knowledge and sometimes even survival of the pretend character. Each player makes ethical, philosophical, physical, and moral decisions on behalf of her/his imaginary character as the game develops. The GM describes the environment, the events and the actions of supporting characters (also called non-player characters or NPC's). The players describe their pretend character's actions and reactions. The GM then tells them the results of each event. Many games use the rolling of dice in order to resolve conflicts and to determine the results of various actions (e.g. trying to disarm a trap or leap across a chasm, etc.). Future sessions begin where the previous session quit. Games can continue for years.

A few gamers use a system called Live Action Role Play (LARP) in which the players actually act out the roles of their characters. Sometimes, they dress up in costumes as if in a live play. Some regular gamers do not view LARPs in a positive light.

The society in which Dungeons and Dragons is played is typically pre-scientific. Weapons are at the spear and crossbow level. Some characters may be imagined as having telepathic powers, others as being capable of casting magic spells. Other fantasy role-playing games are set in the wild west, in the far future, etc.

Who plays fantasy role playing games?

Players are usually in their teens to early 30's, who may be above average in intelligence, creativity and imagination. (Perhaps persons with these qualities are naturally drawn to the games; perhaps playing the game develops these factors). Many younger players will meet for a game once a week; others once or twice a month. The session might last about 6 hours.

"Game positive" Internet references:

The following WWW pages are "game positive":

  • Amusing D & D satire:
    • The following WWW site is a not-to-be-missed example of satire from Finland at: http://www.co.jyu.fi/. The author writes:
      "I didn't think anyone would take it seriously...Thousands of people...read the page, and a few percent of them apparently took it seriously. They started to e-mail me, and I started collecting the e-mails. I have over 5 megabytes archive...I "enhanced" the page by adding the most outrageous and ridiculous claims I could think of, I added deliberate typos, many contradictions, and silly links, hoping that even the most ignorant person would immediately realize that the page is a joke. It didn't help...More hate mail kept coming no matter what."
    • Niilo Paasivirta has another fascinating Web parody on RPGs: "The Game of Satan: The Two Edged sword of Vengance [sic] agaisnt [sic] so-called 'role-players'" at http://www.ilmatar.net/~np/gameofsatan/ He cautions strongly against "washing machines with transparent lid." He is concerned that: "Seeing underwear in the machine might arouse sinful thoughts!"  

      He warns that RPG players will:
      "... become satan worshippers and cultists who practice black magic, ritual sacrifice, homosexuality, bisexuality, transvetitism [sic], voyeurism, semitism, communism, necrophilia, sadism, masochism, domination, marxism, darwinism, child pornography...flag burning, fetishism, atheism, islam...demonology, necromancy, jewishness, bondage, spiritism, fascism, anal sex, neo-nazism, ritual cannibalism, occultism, pagan religions, sorcery, sin, arson...satanism, witchcraft, shamanism, incest, adultery and sodomy, feminism, also they drink human blood, listen to heavy metal and rock music, promote evolution theory instead of creationism, use hard drugs and try to summon real demons...All of these victims eventually commit suicide or live rest of their lives in a mental hospital. Satan has taken their soul and they will burn in HELL for eternity!"

His site has won many awards, including ones from the Church of Xaos, Lame Site Award, Irritation Award and Cosmic Jackass Award. Apparently, some of the award givers do not realize that the web site is a joke intended to poke fun at conservative Christians who criticize RPGs. It is similar to the Landover Baptist Church web site, at http://www.landoverbaptist.org .

Copyright© 1996 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-SEP-05
Author: B.A. Robinson



Role-playing games:

Attacks by conservative Christians

Attacks by some conservative Christian ministries:

"Many people holding a wide variety of religious beliefs enjoy roleplaying games, and there's even a society of Christian roleplayers on the web, as well as some Christian RPGs." 1 RPGs have been ignored by liberal, mainline and by most conservative Christian ministries.  However, starting in the late 1970's, these games came under severe attack by a few Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christian individuals and groups who alleged that they contain "occult" content and inspire people to suicide or criminal activity. D&D permits an enthusiast to choose the role of "Lawful good alignment" or to play a holy warrior on a noble, ethical quest. However, anti-RPG sites never seem to mention this alternative.

After the death by suicide of Irving "Bink" Pulling in 1982-JUN, his mother, Patricia Pulling, organized B.A.D.D. (Bothered about Dungeons and Dragons). Bink had been depressed after he was unable to find a manager to handle his campaign for election to school council. He was apparently an emotionally disturbed student who admired Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, his mother kept a loaded gun in the house that he was able to access; he used it to commit suicide. Patricia became convinced that the death had been triggered by her son's involvement with Dungeons and Dragons; she believed that his teacher had placed a curse on Bink during a game. She brought a lawsuit against the teacher and school. It was thrown out of court. She then organized B.A.D.D. and started to speak out against RPGs.

Initial charges against RPGs were based on allegations of players casting hexes or evil spells on teachers and parents. By the mid 1980s, the emphasis switched to the potential of D&D and similar games to induce players to commit suicide. 2,3

Michael A. Stackpole has investigated Ms. Pulling and B.A.D.D. and written an extensive report. It is not a pretty story. 4

In 1985-JAN, B.A.D.D. joined up with another one-person organization, the National Coalition on Television Violence and issued a "Press Release from Washington."  NCTV  chairperson Dr. Thomas Radedki, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois School of Medicine, said

"The evidence in these [suicide] cases is really quite impressive. There is no doubt in my mind that the game Dungeons and Dragons is causing young men to kill themselves and others. The game is one of non-stop combat and violence. Although I am sure that the people at TSR mean no harm, that is exactly what their games are causing. Based on player interviews and game materials, it is clear to me that this game is desensitizing players to violence, and, causing an increased tendency to violent behavior." B.A.D.D. and NCTV "asked the U. S. Trade Commission to require that warnings be placed on the covers of all D&D books, stating that the game has caused a number of suicides and murders; and to require that CBS, or others, warn viewers and request them to get the message of the Surgeon General on entertainment violence."

The Federal Trade Commission sent the petition to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The latter decided that D&D was not a danger to the U.S. public.

A third group actively opposing gaming is the Cult Crime Action Network (CCAN). As described elsewhere at this site, the word "cult" is often used as a general-purpose religious "snarl" word to refer to some activity (religious or otherwise) that is not approved of. CCAN accused RPGs of luring young people into the occult.

During the late 1980s, the emphasis changed again. Fears were raised that RPGs caused the players to commit murder. As with the concerns over spells and suicide, factual data was scarce. About 1990, still another switch occurred. This time, RPGs were linked to Multiple Personality Disorder (aka Dissociative Identity Disorder) and Satanic Ritual Abuse. 2

By the early 1990's, the furor had largely died down. The games are still attacked periodically on a small number of Fundamentalist or other Evangelical Christian TV programs and ministries. For example, the Christian Life Ministries has said that Dungeons and Dragons contains many references to cannibalism and sadism. Such topics are rarely discussed in fantasy role-playing games. When they are mentioned, they are not promoted but are shown in a bad light.

In 1996-JUN, fantasy role-playing game industry in Italy came under attack. As in the earlier attacks in North America, games have been accused of causing teen suicide, and distorting minds. They falsely claim that RPG players usually impersonate killers or death-row inmates. The "Stop the Nonsense" campaign was mounted to respond to this threat. 5

In 1997, Dr. Thomas Radedki had pulled out of NCTV, after allegedly having lost his license to practice medicine. Also that year, Ms. Pulling died of cancer. B.A.D.D. is currently inactive.

Attacks by conservative Christian authors:

All of the opposition to RPGs in books, magazines, TV or radio that we have observed appear to be from conservative Christians. Many of their books on Satanism and the Occult still attack the games:

    • Joan Hake Robie writes: "Dungeons and Dragons is not a game. Some believe it to be a teaching [sic] the following:". She then lists 22 activities, including blasphemy, assassination, insanity, sexual perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, Satan worship, and necromancy. 6
    • Neil Anderson & Steve Russo claim that the game negatively "affects a person's self-image and personality and opens him to satanic influence." 7
    • Bob Larson mentions that young people who call his radio talk show often mention fantasy games as "their introduction to Satanism". 8
    • Johanna Micaelsen criticizes games for their "promotion of occultism and violence". 9
    • Rus Wise writes:
"God is able to deliver those who seek Him. Victory is ours. But first, we must receive God's power...We have been discussing the problems of satanic involvement. Whether we become deceived by use of the Ouija Board, music, divination or by Dungeons and Dragons, the end result is the same occult bondage." 10
  • Chick Publications sells a cartoon religious tract, "Dark Dungeons." Written in 1984, it shows how, in their belief, RPGs entrap people so that they cannot differentiate between their RPG characters and their own life. Authors of the tract appear to believe that D&D are closely integrated with the religion of Wicca. In reality, the vast majority of Wiccans do not play RPGs, and the vast majority of RPG players are not Wiccans. The tract includes a teen suicide, a decision to leave D&D and follow Jesus, and a good, old-fashioned book burning. 11

However, as noted above, many Christian ministries ignore RPGs. Many individual Christians play the games and find them challenging and entertaining.

Attack on RPGs by Focus on the Family:

On 1997-APR-7 and 8, the Adventures in Odyssey program of Focus on the Family broadcast two episodes which attacked what they call "role-playing Fantasy Games" [sic]. 12 Odyssey is a radio play about pre-teens and teens in an American town. In both episodes, Dr. James Dobson presented a short talk directed to the children and youth listening to the program and their parents. He attacked RPGs, because he feels that its players actually become the pretend characters that they have selected. To play the game properly, he said that the players need to practice magic and mysticism. His choice of the terms "magic" and "mysticism" is unfortunate, because both words have multiple, conflicting meanings. In the APR-7 episode, he said that some gamers have reported involvement with demons and Satan worship.

In the radio play, "Jimmy" is visited by a RPG playing cousin, "Len". Len's character in the game is known as "Luther the Magician." The latter introduces Jimmy to a game called Castles and Cauldrons"; he gives Jimmy's character the name of "John Dell, the Apprentice." They play the game together. A battle is fought with some evil enemies; both experience auditory hallucinations in which their plastic swords sound like real weapons. Some of the misconceptions mentioned in the play were:

  • the gamers actually become the pretend characters, and engage in battles and other adventures. In reality, the gamers remain quite human and simply direct the character that they have chosen to go through the adventure.
  • the gamers are described as kneeling and reciting an incantation. Actually, the gamers would typically remain sitting and simply say that their characters are kneeling and engaged in a ritual; no incantation would actually be spoken.
  • if the gamer proves themselves worthy then they are supposed to accumulate special powers. This is incorrect. In reality, it is the character that the gamer has selected who may accumulate or lose imaginary powers during the course of a game.
  • Len described how one of his gamer friends is able to have visions. He can see things far away through the eyes of a flying bird. Again, in reality, it is the gamer's imaginary character that might be said to have visions, not the gamer. And in reality, the character sees no visions; the character is not alive; it is merely a symbol fantasized by the gamers as if it were real and seeing visions.
  • Len says that he has the power to read Jimmy's heart and implies that he received this special power during his gaming. This again is nonsense; players do not accumulate special powers; it is the player's pretend character that may accumulate or lose pretend powers.
  • The game is linked with manipulative black magick throughout the episode. Whit, a store owner, became overcome with feelings of dread and dropped a glass. He felt something oppressing his spirit. A cat became influenced (presumably by Len) to tear the arms off of a doll. A roast in the oven started to smoke. The implications are that the game playing is linked closely to black magic, and that one result of the game is to harm other people elsewhere in the town.
  • The games are described as involving evil, spiritual forces. Playing these games is said to "open doors" that "lets loose" demonic forces into people's lives. Again, gamers do not participate in evil sorcery, recite incantations, curse other people, etc. The Christian Scriptures contain many references to demons; they were very much a part of 1st Century CE belief, and were considered to be the source of many mental illnesses. But most people stopped believing in demons with the rise of modern mental health therapies. Demons are today mostly limited to Hollywood horror movies and the mental health belief systems of some conservative Christians.
  • Len explains that some adults become "Interferers" and attempt to stop young people from playing the games. He explained how they drove-off one such woman through the use of magic. Again, gamers do not engage in black magic or spells to dominate, manipulate, or control others.
  • At one point, Len tried to draw blood from Jimmy. Gamers don't draw blood. Their pretend characters might be imagined to draw pretend blood, but that is all.

"Whit" Whittaker, the owner of a local store comes across Len and Jimmy playing their game. He immediately destroys one of the tools of the game, called The Board of Talisman. Later, Whit casually mentions that he has stolen and destroyed all of Jimmies' gaming equipment. The implication is that a Christian is well within his rights to destroy another person's possessions if he feels that they are unchristian.

The overall effect of the Adventures in Odyssey program is:

  • to give a very distorted view of fantasy role-playing games,
  • to link them with "The Occult", black magick, evil sorcery and demonic activity.
  • to imply that it is quite acceptable for Christians to destroy other people's possessions if they disapprove of them.

If the program had simply been presented as a play, then it would have been an amusing piece of fiction - something like the "X-Files" or "Outer Limits" for kids. But the introduction by Dr. Dobson seems to imply that the activities described in the episode reflect the reality of role-playing games. They do not. The producers of the program are either completely misinformed, or intentionally deceptive about the nature of these games. The radio program promoted an hopelessly inaccurate version of fantasy role-playing games in which the players become involved with demons, Satanic worship, spells, curses, evil sorcery etc. The end result of the program is to create fear and insecurity in the minds of listeners in order to scare them away from playing this type of game.

Mail addresses of anti-RPG Christian groups:

There are still a few fundamentalist and other evangelical para-church organizations in the United States that are critical fantasy role-playing games. However, they appear to be much less vocal in recent years. See:

  • American Family Association, PO Drawer 2440, Tupelo MS 38803
  • Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs CO, 80995.
  • NCTV, 144 East End Ave, New York NY, 10128
  • Pro Family Forum, PO Box 8907, Ft. Worth TX, 76124
  • Teen Suicide Prevention Task Force, 2321 SE 8th St, Grand Prarie TX, 75051
  • The 700 Club/CBN Virginia Beach VA, 23463

References used:

  1. Arthur Boff, "Rumours & Reality," The RPG Defense League, 2000-SEP-21, at: http://www.geocities.com/AJBoff/
  2. Paul Cardwell, "The attacks on role-playing games," Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 18, No. 2, Winter 1994, Pages 157-165. Online at: http://www.rpg.net/252/quellen/cardwell/
  3. William Schnoebelen, "New updated research: Should a Christian play Dungeons & Dragons," at: " http://www.chick.com/articles/frpg.asp
  4. Michael Stackpole at: http://www.rpgstudies.net/
  5. A Web page describing a recent RPG scare in Italy is at: http://www.sincretech.it/3M/Stop-Non-Sense/Index-English.html
  6. Joan Hake Robie, The Truth about Dungeons and Dragons, Starburst Publishers, Lancaster PA, 1994. P. 67
  7. Neil Anderson & Steve Russo, The Seduction of our Children, Harvest House, Eugene OR, 1991, P.78
  8. Bob Larson, Satanism, The Seduction of America's Youth, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1989, P. 49
  9. Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, Harvest House, Eugene OR, 1989, P. 232
  10. Russ Wise, "Satanism: The World of the Occult," Probe Ministries, at:  http://www.probe.org/docs/satanism.html
  11. "Dark Dungeons," Chick Publications cartoon book, (1984) at: http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp
  12. "Odyssey" episodes broadcast on 1997-APR-7 & 8. Copies are available on tape from Odyssey, Colorado Springs, CO 80995.

Copyright © 1996 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-JUL-15
Author: B.A. Robinson


Role-playing games:

Additional information

Criminal acts by gamers?

There are many anecdotal stories about youth who have become involved with RPGs, and have become totally obsessed with the game. They become emotionally linked to their pretend RPG character. They lose the capacity to separate fantasy from reality. Some stressor makes them snap. They either commit suicide or go on a murder rampage. These stories make excellent material for an "urban legend". Such stories are widely discussed throughout North America. Fortunately, RPGs simply do not work this way. A gamer who commits suicide after having lost his identity in a RPG is probably as rare as a person who goes into a deep depression and kills themselves because they went bankrupt playing a game of Monopoly. Pro-RPG groups have investigated each of the murder-suicides which are allegedly caused by gaming. No causal link has ever been found.

The claims by conservative Christian groups that gamers commit suicide or engage in criminal acts do not appear to hold water:

  • Michael Stackpole calculated expected suicide rates by gamers during the early years of Dungeons and Dragons. He used B.A.D.D.'s estimate of 4 million gamers worldwide. Assuming that fantasy role game playing had no effect on youth suicide rate, one would have expected about 500 gamers would have committed suicide each year. As of 1987, B.A.D.D. had documented an average of 7 per year. It would appear that playing D&D could be promoted as a public health measure, because it would seem to drastically lower the suicide rate among youth. 1,2
  • Suzanne Abyeta & James Forest studied the criminal tendencies of "gamers" and found that they committed fewer than average numbers of crimes for individuals of the same age. 3
  • The Association of Gifted-Creative Children of California surveyed psychological autopsies of adolescent suicides and were unable to find any that were linked to these games. Their National Association has endorsed Dungeons and Dragons for its educational content. 4,5
  • The American Association of Suicidology, 6 the Center for Disease Control, 7 and Health & Welfare (Canada) 8 have conducted extensive studies into teen suicide. They have found that no link to fantasy role-playing games exists.
  • Dr. S. Kenneth Schonbert studied over 700 adolescent suicides and found none which had fantasy role-playing games as a factor. 9
  • The Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games was organized in 1988 to counter the attacks by B.A.D.D. and other groups. The Committee has investigated each of the 130 suicide or criminal cases that B.A.D.D. advanced. 21 are missing name, date and/or place and could not be located. Of the over 100 that the Committee has found, they have been unable to find any that were caused by role-playing games.
  • William Schnoebelen has listed 11 suicides or murders which he believes were tied to D&D. 10

Are fantasy role playing games occultic?

The answer is both yes and no, depending upon one's point of view. There are many religious terms like demonic possession, Neopaganism Occult, Satan, and Satanism which have multiple meanings. Often conservative Christians use one definition, whereas others use another definition:

  • Common beliefs among conservative Christians: They often oppose fantasy games because of the alleged occult content of the games. They frequently state that RPG rule books include poison recipes or methods of summoning demons, etc. This appears to be a misunderstanding. A very few games have printed spell incantations from folk and ceremonial magick, but most do not. A gamer who wants his pretend character to cast a spell in order to protect itself from attack might simply say to the GM "I am casting a healing spell now." Note that neither the player nor their character actually casts a spell or practices magick. The player simply describes what the imaginary character is doing. Gaming is basically an adult version of make believe. It does not promote actual black magic or manipulative magick.

Evangelical Christian authors often view Satanism as being at the core of "the occult". Many believe that Satanism is a secret, underground, highly organized evil group that is international in scope and under the personal control of Satan. Some feel that Satanists are responsible for kidnapping, torturing, ritually killing and even eating infants and children. They look upon many diverse occultic activities as performing a recruitment function for Satanists; these include fantasy role-playing games, astrology, heavy metal rock music, the "Care Bears" and "Smurfs" on children's TV, a second religion Wicca - often called "white" Witchcraft. Some conservative Christians view all religions other than Christianity (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam) as forms of Satanism.

  • Common beliefs among mainline and liberal Christians, some conservative Christians, secularists, RPG players, etc: They view the Occult in very different terms. It is seen as a list of many unrelated and harmless activities: two religions, one type of game, one form of music, a variety of methods of foretelling the future and some imaginative and charming children's cartoons. In particular, two very different religions, Satanism and Wicca are unrelated to the other activities mentioned. Neither Satanists nor Wiccans recruit members. "The Occult" is not an organized entity.

Since conservative Christians use a different definition for the term "occult" from others, it is not possible to harmonize these two beliefs.

Are RPGs a form of Satanism?

Some conservative Christians have taken the position that since deities other than the Christian trinity are mentioned in some RPGs, that the games are Satanic. This is an logical consequence of their biblically-based belief that when a person worships a deity other than the Judeo-Christian God, they are either worshiping Satan himself, or one of his demons. On this basis, they claim that religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism are actually forms of Satanism. Their belief is not shared by most others who view conservative Christianity, liberal Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and hundreds of other faith groups as being very different from one another and unrelated to Satanism.

The link between RPGs and Satanism breaks down over one important point: players do not worship other deities when playing Dungeons and Dragons and similar games. They do not even recognize their existence as living entities.

Occasionally, a player will select a character who has a relationship with a non-Christian God or Goddess. For example, one RPG enthusiast selected a paladin character -- a mixture of warrior and priest. She writes that her character's Goddess "is one of justice, righteousness and law, though not without mercy." That Goddess plays a very important role in the paladin's life. But the RPG player is a Christian in real life, and in no way worships the Goddess of her character.

Recent RPG references in the secular media:

  • 1999-APR-23: School violence: Dave Thomas is the local district attorney in Littleton CO, the location of the most horrendous school shooting in American history. 14 students and a teacher died violently. He gave an emotional speech, calling for an end to violence. The Associated Press review stated "He said America isn't taking care of its children. He wondered aloud about video games, movies, role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and how they influenced young people."
  • 2000-JUN-30: D&D Movie: Limited information about "Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie" was given in a press conference at Dragon Con in Atlanta GA. The movie was later released, on 2000-DEC-7. Costing $35 million, the film was shot in Czechoslovakia. Two sequels have already been written. It was released on DVD on 2001-MAY-22.
  • 2001-AUG-19: New book on RPGs: Chick Publications is promoting a new article by one of their leading authors -- William Schnoebelen. He has allegedly claimed that he has been an expert or clergyperson in: Alexandrian Wicca, Druidic Craft of the Wise, Church of All Worlds, Church and School of Wicca, Roman Catholicism. He claims to have become a high degree Mason, a hard-core (baby sacrificing) Satanist, a Mormon, a bishop in the Gnostic Church, AND an evangelical Christian. He has had one unusually busy career! Chick Publications notes in a news release that "In spite of the emphasis on magic, violent death and cruelty, even Christian young people are getting caught up in these games." 11 In 1984, he wrote an essay titled "Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons. 12 In it, he claims that the developers of Dungeons and Dragons™ used him as a consultant in the 1970's. His new report is called "New updated research: Should a Christian play Dungeons & Dragons." 13 He writes: "I am amazed at how many so-proclaimed Christians who defend the game, do so with foul and abusive language. This, I think, speaks volumes about the spiritual impact of the game."

Comments from visitors to this web site:

  • 2000-DEC: "...there are many times where I have played a villainous character in a game, characters such as necromancers, evil dragons, assassins etc. But you know what I get from playing those characters? -- a good acting lesson, that's all. It is like playing a part in a movie but I am improvising the whole thing,. Never at one time when my character is smited do I get the so-called 'murderous and suicidal intentions' that most religious parties claim these games tend to give young adults."
  • 2000-DEC: "Parents seem to forget that the 'devil' isn't responsible for all the evil out there. Evil isn't evil. It is just a stereotype that is given to an unexplained misfortune. Maybe parents should join in on the fun and see what it is all about before they allow their...minister to warp their minds into believe that RPG gaming is a way that the devil influences their children."
  • 2001-JUL: "[Some conservative Christians] stand up against D&D saying that it is evil, and teaches kids magic, gets them into the occult, when...[they] know nothing about it.  At the same time people play identical games that aren't set in a Fantasy realm and that is suddenly ok.  People get obsessed with James Bond computer games and spend hours shooting up virtual bad guys, and that is ok."
  • 2002-NOV: "Just because the game makes mention of occult gods does not mean you hold these gods above the true God....realizing these gods are made-up fake untrue gods is completely different from worshiping them."


  1. Michael Stackpole, The Truth About Role-Playing Games in Shawn Carlson & Gerald Larue, Satanism in America, Gaia Press, El Cerrito CA, P. 241
  2. Michael Stackpole at: http://www.rpgstudies.net/
  3. Suzanne Abyeta & James Forest Relationship of role-playing games to self-reported criminal behavior, , Psychological Reports, Issue 69, 1991, P. 1187
  4. Associated Gifted and Creative Children of California
  5. Kristine Thompson, "Role Playing Games: Expect the Unexpected, Gifted Children Newsletter, Vol 5, #2, 1984-FEB.
  6. American Association of Suicidology
  7. James A. Mercy, Chief, Intentional Injuries Team, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA, (reaffirmed by his successor, Dr. Patrick O'Carroll)
  8. Arthur J. Lips, Mental Health Consultant, Health and Welfare, Ottawa, Canada
  9. Dr. S. Kenneth Schonbert, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY
  10. William Schnoebelen, "Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons," at: http://www.chick.com/articles/dnd.asp
  11. ChickNews mailing list, untitled, 2001-AUG-17. Their web site is at: http://www.chick.com/
  12. William Schnoebelen, "Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons," at: http://www.chick.com/articles/dnd.asp
  13. William Schnoebelen, "New updated research: Should a Christian play Dungeons & Dragons," at: " http://www.chick.com/articles/frpg.asp

Copyright © 1996 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-JUL-15
Author: B.A. Robinson







  • "D&D teaches teens to stretch their minds, use their imagination.  They learn to work as a team, rely on a friend.  They spend time in social circles.  It is nothing but a good influence in lives. I am a Christian and I have, do, and will play D&D.  I like it and I know that there is nothing wrong with it, or me." Unsolicited comment from a visitor to this web site.
  • "I know of no real case of a Dungeons & Dragons(tm) related suicide or killing. It seems unlikely: the game teaches hope and resourcefulness. It encourages people to believe they can defeat the obstacles they face." M.Joseph Young, a born-again Christian. 1
  • "Leviticus 19:26 says not to practice any kind of magic. D&D claims to involve the players in the worship/service of other gods...Exodus 23:13 tells us not to even mention the names of other gods...D&D contains much information and encourages activity that deals with the occult world." Mel Gabler. 2
  • "Without any doubt in my own mind, after years of study of the history of occultism, after having researched historical research, I can say with confidence: These games are the most effective, most magnificently packaged, most profitably marked, most thoroughly researched introduction to the occult in man's recorded history, period. This is NO game." Dr. Gary North, editor of the Remnant Review 3

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