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On Dungeons, Dragons, and Devoutness

   Posted by: Avaril   in RPG

Chatty DM has

I grew up in the 80’s, when the anti-Dungeons & Dragons sentiment was spreading wildly through the Christian faith.  As a Christian in this environment, I just kind of assumed that the adults knew what they were talking about, and this was a dangerous hobby.  I remember hearing “The Witch’s Invitation” by Carman, and warnings about Halloween and Satanism by Mike Warnke.  Although I don’t remember directly talking about role-playing games in church, these were all colored my view of Dungeons & Dragons.

But, it wasn’t like I was specifically sectioned off from all fantasy.  As long as something didn’t have the name “Dungeons & Dragons”, it was OK.  During my childhood, I always favored the Castle Lego sets.  My first “full” Lego set was even the original Castle System set, the near-mythical “Yellow Castle” (if only I still had the box and instructions; this thing is worth a small fortune now).  During my pre-teen and teen years, I remember reading quite a few fantasy stories.  I also remember having some books that were games that you could play by yourself with a pair of dice (kind of a “Choose Your Own Adventure”, but with dice).  Looking back now, I realize that they were D&D rip-offs.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I am a library aide in the Junior High library.  This assignment consists of putting books up and helping other students find books and references, and a lot of slacking.  We were, after all, Junior High students, and could only be troubled to so much.  I was an aide with two other students, both of which I knew already.  One was a guy that I ranked somewhere in-between “acquaintance” and “friend”.  One day, he was looking at medieval weapons in the encyclopedia, and sketching out plans for a castle on some graph paper.  I asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was putting together a D&D session for his friends.  I was intrigued; how can you make up a game like that?  I kept watching him, but told him that I could never take part because I was a Christian.  He replied in almost a nonchalant manner (as if he had heard this objection many times before), that it’s not Satanic, and there’s even games like D&D that are based on Marvel Superheroes and other stuff that nobody even ever questions.  I still didn’t join him, but remained intrigued.  I liked castles, knights, traps, riddles, and games, why wouldn’t I like this game?

In early High School, the Nintendo Entertainment System exploded in popularity.  It was popular with nearly everyone I knew, but I think that I was more “into it” than most of my friends, save one.  His mom was very cautious about Satanism and “New Age” beliefs.  We both got “Nintendo Power” Magazine, and I remember his Mom calling my mom once, because she was upset about the article about one of the Ninja Gaiden games (probably the second one), because it featured a demon.  In retrospect, I think my mom was 15% concerned by this phone call (I remember her looking through my magazine), and 85% annoyed by it (seems like I remember her rolling her eyes).  But, I remember, because of his friend and his mother, steering clear of the RPG genre of games.  I don’t think my mom placed that restriction on me, but I thought it was the “right” thing to do.

After High School, I went to a local state college, where I met most of the friends that I still have to this day.  I remember meeting these friends through my R.A., and thinking they were all cool.  They were into neat stuff like drawing, history, stories, and movies that I liked.  They were talking one day about putting together a game, and I learned that it was D&D.  I had started to question things that I previoulsly took for granted (like most college students, I suspect), and couldn’t believe that this group of people were doing wierd or Satanic stuff.  So, I joined them.  When I started, I believe we were playing something non-D&D (maybe Battletech).  When we began D&D, I was positively excited to put together my first character.  It was Quentin, a human druid.  We played mostly 1st edition, with some 2nd edition elements (non-weapon proficiencies, anyone?), because our DM really didn’t like 2nd edition.

We gamed a lot in college.  usually two games a week.  We would start at midnight (which is now unthinkable), because that’s when the girls were supposed to be off of our dorm floor.  The campaigns were epic, and lasted for weeks.  We would take turns as DM, and run in the same world.  Many of us were pulled away from the game by girlfriends as school went on, but always returned to the game when the girlfriend moved on.  All the girlfriends that I had in college knew about my hobby, but usually didn’t care.

After we graduated from college, we all ended up in the same town, and I still game with the same group to this day (it’s half about gaming, and half about hanging out with friends).  We’ve had other girlfriends since college.  One in particular, I had a real hard time telling about my hobby.  We met at church, and I knew she was homeschooled.  I was telling her I wasn’t available on Friday, because I play games with friends.  I eventually “admitted” to what we do on Friday, and she didn’t care.  She was a literature major, and fun to talk to about stories and ideas.  So, I married her.

My faith still plays a major role in my life, but I don’t accept things as blindly as I did as a kid.  I know what I believe and why I believe it, but I don’t believe that Christians need to sequester themselves off in a tower and ignore all outside influence.  I am annoyed by Christians who only listen to Christian music, only see Christian movies, use Christian Internet service providers, and only take their dog to a Christian dog groomer.  If we don’t have contact with the outside world, how will we reach them?

When we have kids, I plan to tell them the adventures of Avaril, my paladin character.  He is perhaps closest to my heart than any other character because of his devotion, and his willingness to fight for his ideals  I strive to be more like him.  When they are old enough, I plan to let my own children play RPG’s as well, so they can learn history, math, storytelling, and planning.  I have no fear of them becoming Satanists.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 7:26 pm and is filed under RPG. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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