Hey there, samaritans and exclusionists! Welcome to Tuesday Truths, i'm Lacey and i'll be guiding you down this wacky rollercoaster ride for your soul, MWAH HA HA HA!!! I mean, today we're going to take a look at the Myth that was perpetuated almost solely by one man, Jack (MF) Chick. It goes a bit like this: If you play D&D, not only could you go to hell for playing with 'dark magic,' but you might also be so distraught over the loss of your character that you commit suicide.
The well-known 'Chick Tract' called Dark Dungeons. tells the story of a young cleric named Debbie, in a strangely female dominant Dark Dungeons game. (One might begin to think, after reading some of his writing, that Jack Chick is sorta sexist.) The tract starts out with another girl, Marcie, losing her (thief) character to a trap she was given no save from. Marcie flips. Debbie tells her to leave, because her character doesn't exist anymore. (Hello, resurrection? Debbie is an 8th level cleric. She can get discounts on those things.) The DM takes Debbie aside and tells her its time to become a real witch, after which they cut to the actual coven scene, sans sex or anything. Debbie is given the name Elfstar, and begins to immediately cast spells on her family. My favorite is the one where her father buys her 200 dollars worth of DD books and mini's.
My thoughts on this part are long, as i would think that Chick and co. would not want to tell their fellowship that 'bondage spells' were real enough to get results from. I thought their stance was that magic was not real, merely a dillusion, but i could be wrong. But what really gets my goat about the beginning of this tract is that Debbie never thought twice about the connection between a paper and pencil cleric who casts light and such, and the strange group of people in robes. Chick's website claims that the guys from TSR consulted with a coven in Milwaukee to make their rituals authentic. Any non-D&D-playing christian is bound to be horrified at this idea, but in all honesty, i've seen many Wiccan practices, and very few resemble the spells in D&D.
Regardless of weither the first incarnations of D&D had 'realistic-looking rituals' or not, not once have i seen anyone even gather the spell components or chant the chants for the spells in the book. Most players i know just sort of fudge the components and say, "I'm casting alarm on this stone here, so that if anyone tries to steal my stuff while i sleep, i'll wake up." That's about as in-depth as most D&D players get. But i suppose we haven't really entered the realm of the people who take the game too seriously.
Back to Elfstar: She and Mrs. Frost (DM lady) have become very close. She ignores a few calls from Marcie (the devistated ex-thief) in favor of killing zombies, only to go visit her weeks later at the behest of Marcie's mom. Elfstar then finds Marcie hanging from the ceiling, with a note that says it's her fault that her thief died. Really frickin' traumatizing... but angry Mrs. Frost thinks of the girls' death only as a distraction for young Elfstar. There is a discussion on priorities, with Mrs. Frost sounding like no DM or Coven leader i've ever met, and eventually Elfstar becomes Debbie again, with the help of her Jesus-buddy, Mike. Mike takes her to church, there is more anti-D&D propaganda, and we get to see Debbie's demons leave the room.
I will admit this now, dear readers: I am not a Christian, nor am i any denomination that is easily offended by the writings of Jack Chick. (BTW, Chick blames the Roman Catholic Church or everything under the sun. ) But, i've always found his way of writing to be deliberately inflamatory. I do not take kindly to that sort of misrepresentation, even if they do think of things like D&D, Islam, and halloween to be bad for the immortal soul. Chances are, none of them have played D&D, and, as with the steam tunnel incidents(RPG Myths,) one bad gamer gets way more publicity than one hundred thousand good ones.
Now, the myth that this blog is based on (that D&D is demonic and bad for your health, according to Jack Chick) is both outdated and highly biased. Still, there are people in the world who will always misunderstand roleplaying games and the people who play them. My best advice to you is to talk about Dungeons and Dragons with your friends and family, even strangers, with tact and diplomacy. If you conduct your games in a public location, don't run around screaming about demons and succubi. Become like the Boy Scouts of old (before they got all holier-than-thou and started descriminating on public funds) and make a good name for us. The mythology might be decades old, but we still have a long way to go before schools will allow gaming again, or churches begin using roleplaying as a viable tool.
Thanks for reading, friends.
P.S. If you liked this blog, and remember the tracts from way back, go to Drive Thru RPG and pick up of a copy of Hex Games' Waxman's Warriors. I got a chance to play this at Egypt Wars this year, and it was an absolute blast.
Racconcityangel 19:17, July 3, 2010 (UTC)