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F.A.Q. del gruppo di discussione rec.games.frp
sezione specifica riguardante le accuse al gioco di ruolo.
Autore: Coyt D. Watters
A: Roleplaying is an escapist activity that requires a good imagination, but it is not recommended for those with a poor grip on reality. It does not make weirdos, it simply attracts them. That aside...
I have SIX different answers for you. You can pick and choose, depending on which one is most applicable to your own situation.
- email@example.com (Deus Imperator) replies:
Tell him this story:
A young boy with STRONG roots in christianity became disenchanted with religion in general as he grew up. He fell into very antisocial behavior (thieving, pyromania). While in high school, he ran across a kid who knew a LOT about magic, and played D&D. Our disturbed hero fell in with this crowd, and soon was playing D&D regularly. He always played evil characters.
Now this poor soul never really read for pleasure. In fact, *all* that he had read for the past three years was _First Blood_ and _Rambo_. One of the players recommended the Dragonlance series to him. He loved it, empathizing with Raistlin 100%. He read the first book in one night, bought the next two, read BOTH in one night, and begged his DM to give him more. His pleas were granted: Thomas Covenant; Dune; David Eddings; Tolkien. Soon this maladjusted youth began writing himself, specializing in poetry. He expanded his reading range, including such great works as Les Miserables, all of Joyce, and, oh yeah, the Bible. Indeed, our wayward youth regained his faith, and now this year published a book of poetry, dedicated to me: The DM. True story.
Oh, yeah. For what it's worth, he wants to become a priest.
- DDK2@psuvm.psu.edu (Dan Kopes) replies: Have the religious "friend" read _Le_Morte_D'Artur_ by Malory (or Steinbeck's version). And then have him watch the Family Channel's animated version of the Prince Valiant comic. It's on Mondays at 8pm.
Yes, you read right. Pat Robertson's Family Channel is running a new show based on the Prince Valiant comic. It's a little cheesy but it would be a good way to show a religious person that the Arthurian Legends are not satanic literature. Because it is from these stories that most frpg's formed. Dragons, knights, damsel in distress... all of these came from the Arthurian Legends. So, if one set of armored warriors, pious priests, and knowledgeable wizards are OK to read, then why isn't another group?
I made a list of crucial elements that were in the first several episodes of Prince Valiant, all of these are also the backbone of most RPGs:
- Evil baron defeats good guys and exiles them from their home. - What!? A religious channel is saying that the bad guys win?! - In FRPs this is the plot hook that sets the good guys into doing something to regain the home.
- Prophetic dreams - sounds like Robertson's channel is delving into mysticism. - Used in FRPs to nudge the adventurers into going the right way.
- Spell casting - by swamp witch and Merlin - It seems it's OK to pretend that spells exist in stories... - One of the spell casters is a good guy so this throws out the idea that magic is evil or satanic...only some of it is. And the good guys do NOT use the evil magic.
- Authority figures can be evil and corrupt - another baron suppresses his people and forces the blacksmith's daughter to marry his wimpy brother. - In FRPs this sets up a lot of adventures...the good guys have to overthrow the abusive leader.
- Monsters are real and dangerous to let live... - The very first episode had a giant lizard, probably meant as a dinosaur or dragon. - In FRPs monsters as opponents are a staple in an adventurer's diet. They have to be killed/defeated for the greater good.
Now, have your religious "friend" watch this show which is broadcast nationally on a religiously affiliated network. Robertson himself has spoken out against Fantasy Roleplaying Games, but he broadcasts a TV show that is very similar to most FRP campaigns.
- Many people seem to think that Fantasy Roleplaying is inspired by black magic and Necronomicon-like grimoires. In fact, J.R.R. Tolkein's _Lord of the Rings_ and _The Hobbit_ and the world of Middle Earth, which are primary influences on almost all Roleplaying games, were primarily inspired by Christian (Catholic, to be precise) ideas.
J.R.R. Tolkein was a devout Christian, and a close friend of C.S. Lewis, one of the great Christian thinkers of our (or any) time, and writer of the fantasy and science fiction classics (respectively) The Chronicles of Narnia and the trilogy comprising "Out of the Silent Planet," "Perelandra," and "That Hideous Strength." Some of Lewis's work in "That Hideous Strength" is acknowledged inspiration from Tolkein's writing (not to mention a large dose of Christian theology).
From: <AAVASQUEZ@stthomas.edu> (Tony Vasquez) " A peek inside the Jerusalem Bible (pub. 1966; a Catholic translation) will reveal, as a "principal collaborator in translation and literary revision" J.R.R. Tolkien. "
Yes, Virginia, Christianity and fantasy can coexist.
Another FRP-like Christian fantasy is _The Faerie Queen_ by Edmund Spenser, with the Red-Cross Knight and other allegorical characters engaging in typical FRP exploring and monster killing.
Roleplaying gamers should also emphasize that their games exist in a moral world (that is, of course, if their players do not regularly play evil or psychopathic characters) and that wrongdoing and skullduggery usually rebound on the bad guys. Despite the fact that TSR strongly discourages evil player characters -- providing scenarios that are aimed almost exclusively at good and neutral alignments -- most critics think that players are all thrilling in immoral deeds. They don't realize most of us play the good guys, in the white hats, who ride off into the sunset after the last scene.
- A4: Finally, one of the things that humans enjoy the most is telling or listening to a bashing good story. Jesus was well known for telling stories, as have been many very holy men and women through history.
Fantasy Roleplaying Games are just another way of telling stories, which may or not be objectively good, but are generally enjoyed by the participants and certainly involve lots of bashing.
- A5: In case you are being persecuted by those who think they are only doing the christian thing by trying to convert you from what they see as a satanist or evil conspiracy to the only right and true way you may find the following arguments to be useful.
Pierre Savoie of CaRPG supplied the following refutations of commonly quoted "facts" used by the anti-roleplaying set.
The original claim of a teen committing suicide due to D&D was a hoax. In 1979 James Dallas Egbert III disappeared from Michigan State University, as described in a book by the detective on the case, William Dear (THE DUNGEON MASTER, 1984, Ballantine, biographies). Dear rambles a lot and he may be dramatizing too much, but he made headway not from talk about D&D played in underground "steam tunnels" on the campus, but only after he contacted a man who was keeping boys as young as 11 in his apartment, who claimed to know where Dallas was. It turns out the boy was 16 years old and in his sophomore year, a genius but also lonely, on drugs, and gay. He "ran away from it all", got stoned down in those tunnels, and staggered over to the home of a gay friend. This person got nervous when later the police search started, and Dallas was shuttled from gay to gay until he ended up in Louisiana with "friends". It could have been a prostitution ring involving juveniles. Dear's only concern was to bring the boy back, so he kept the facts hidden for 5 years until he wrote the book. For that reason D&D continued to be blamed, esp. nine months later when Dallas committed suicide (probably out of embarrassment). I don't know how far to trust Dear's account, particularly because of his choice of title to "market the book better".
The very first published anti-D&D writings were from the Rev. John Torrell in 1980 (Christian Life Ministries, now called European-American Evangelistic Crusades, in Sacramento, CA). Torrell claimed that "these players go nuts with it! They start confusing fantasy with reality." That's an ironic claim in view of his own published "political" views in his newsletter, THE DOVE. In 1986 to the present, he claims that Ronald Reagan secretly surrendered the U.S. to the Soviet Union at the Iceland Summit in 1986, with a five-year transition period before the Russians assumed complete control. Well, guess who surrendered to whom! He has also claimed that George Bush's membership in the Order of Skull And Bones fraternity at Yale means that he has devoted his life to Satan! Torrell also claimed that the logo for the Seoul Olympics was a cyclic "666" symbol, and many other inanities. A perfect conspiracy theorist. Torrell's radio show got kicked off one radio station for making anti-Catholic remarks, but he wound up on another station.
The famous woman who claims her son killed himself due to D&D, Patricia Pulling of Richmond, Virginia, is in league with some pretty questionable people. It seems she's a sort of guest director of the National Coalition on Television Violence (NCTV) run by Dr. Thomas Radecki from near Chicago. This man has put out loony claims that people are severely influenced by violent acts seen on TV, and counts the number of violent acts per hour. According to his criteria, The Smurfs average 13/hr.! He also says tickling, snowball fights, Donald Duck cartoons, the Christian Broadcasting Network, etc. are all bad for the mind, and that anger should be suppressed because "only God has the right to be angry", in flagrant opposition to the catharsis theories of his psychiatric discipline. Now, every issue of THE NCTV NEWS has a margin column where a "partial list of endorsers" is listed. Notice that it's "partial", so they want to bring out what they feel are the most notable names who "support" them. One of these names is Prof. J. Phillippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, Canada. This professor published his theories of a "race hierarchy" where Blacks were rated inferior to Whites, and both ranked below Orientals. He got some of his funding from an American group called the Pioneer Fund, which is said to be racist. And yet he is listed as a notable endorser of Pat Pulling and Thomas Radecki from 1985 to at least 1989! This raises the possibility that various little "causes" such as D&D-bashing are really to raise funds for what REALLY interests these groups... hatred and racism.
The only Catholic tract against the game of D&D had to be pulled out of religious bookstores--because of its sources of information. This was called "Games Unsuspecting People Play--Dungeons and Dragons" by The Daughters of St. Paul Press in Boston (light green cover, sub-digest size, 24 pages or so) and authored by Louise Shanahan. Originally this was from a Canadian Catholic magazine called OUR FAMILY in Battleford, Saskatchewan, re-made into a tract. However, two of their "sources" of information on the game were the Rev. John Torrell and also Albert James Dager (who calls Catholicism the "Babylon Mystery Religion", claiming it's a mix of true Christianity and Babylonian rituals such as communion and the confessional). Since both of these were anti-Catholic, the tract was discontinued, and the DSP will no longer accept any manuscripts from Louise Shanahan! She obviously didn't research these sources sufficiently. I did, and gleefully pointed it out to the publisher, which withdrew the tract.
In the book CRUEL DOUBT by Joe MacGinnis, he seems to claim that D&D was the link between Chris Prichard and the friends he asked to help him kill his step-father. In fact, they ALSO went to the same school (North Carolina State) and lived in the SAME dorm, but these common factors were somehow not considered contributory to their conspiracy the way D&D-playing was. The motive for the killing, in these recessionary times, was greed for an inheritance, not drugs or game-playing. Interestingly, a lot of attention is focused on the 70 cases a year in the U.S. of kids who murder their parents. The number of parents who murder their kids in the same time is 2000! (see IN PURSUIT OF SATAN)
If videos of Sean Sellers (a teen on death-row in Oklahoma) are presented on THE 700 CLUB as testimony of the link between violence and D&D, it is only because videos are all they can come up with. They can't link up with him live--because he no longer claims that D&D caused his crime! In a letter dated Feb. 5, 1990 from Sean Sellers to game designer Michael Stackpole, Sellers concluded with, "Personally, for reasons I publish myself, I don't think kids need to be playing D&D, but using my past as a common example of the effects of the game is either irrational or fanatical." Remember, people on death row are opportunists. They will claim that UFOs tampered with their brains and this caused them to kill. They will claim most anything to get parole, and who can blame them? Of course, as more judges and wardens are D&D-players, such a claim will not be possible within 10 years. In this case, concerning D&D, familiarity will kill the contempt against the game rather than 'breeding contempt'. Only distance and ignorance breed contempt against the game. The more the game is known, the less people make claims against it!
TSR Inc. does a little to debunk anti-D&D claims, and an organization of game manufacturers called the Game Manufacturers' Association (GAMA; c/o Greg Stafford; Chaosium Inc.; 950A 56th St.; Oakland, CA; 94608) has done a lot to research these claims. However, there is now a fan-based organization I helped to found in 1988 called the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa). The principal people are as follows:
William Flatt 8032 Locust Ave. Miller, IN 46403 tel. (219) 938-3382 [very dedicated to the issue because his father assaulted him for playing D&D, with a vacuum cleaner pipe]
the Rev. Paul Cardwell, Jr. c/o Hippogriff Books 111 E. 5th St. Bonham, TX 75418 [a gamer who prefers Chaosium-style rules, author of the MYTHWORLD game, and an ordained United Methodist minister (teaching, not preaching) aged 58!]
Mr. Pierre Savoie 22-B Harris Ave. Toronto, ON M4C 1P4 CANADA tel. (416) 690-6985 [age 30, analytical chemist by trade. I initially kicked off CAR-PGa with some diligent research on the exact groups which criticize D&D. Sometimes jokingly called "Head of Research" in the organization because I have 5 feet deep of files and correspondence on the subject.]
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did a radio show on their AM network in the "Ideas" series, Canada's most intellectual radio program, entitled "Dungeons and Dragons" (aired May 29, 1991). It concluded as follows: "The National Coalition on Television Violence and BADD say they have a hundred and twenty-five cases of D&D-linked deaths. Only forty of these cases have been published and half of those are anonymous. The ones they do cite details for have no causal link with games. In every trial where Mrs. Pulling and Dr. Radecki have appeared, always as expert witnesses on the defence side, the defendants were convicted anyway, and in no case adjudicated by the courts has gaming ever been implicated in any crime." This is not some schlock show, and transcripts are offered for most of their programs, including this one, for 5 Canadian dollars per airdate. To order, indicate the title and airdate of the show and send CDN$5 or equivalent to: CBC IDEAS Transcripts; P.O. Box 500, Station "A"; Toronto, ON; M5W 1E6; CANADA. I assisted a little in the research for the show, and you may find it a refreshingly positive broadcasting of the facts about game-playing.
There are at least two books in print so far which debunk anti-D&D theories in the context of "Satanism". These are:
SATANISM IN AMERICA: How the Devil Got Much More Than His Due by Shawn Carlson and Gerald Larue, 1989 by Gaia Press (P.O. Box 466; El Cerrito, CA; 94530-0466; tel. (415) 527-9414) It is spiral-bound, 280 pages and the price is $12.95 (Californians add .94 tax) plus $1.50 postage. 50 of these pages is a special appendix by game designer Michael Stackpole of Chaosium Inc. directly dealing with the anti-D&D claims.
IN PURSUIT OF SATAN: The Police and the Occult by Robert Hicks (1991 by Prometheus Books; 700 East Amherst St.; Buffalo, NY; 14215; tel. (716) 837-2475). Hardcover, 420 pages, US$23.95 plus maybe $3 postage. 25 pages devoted to D&D by this criminal analyst, plus additional chilling references. For example, in Chicago there is a wing of the Hartgrove Hospital called for the Center for the Treatment of Ritualistic Deviance. It's influenced by silly Satanism seminars, and one of the criteria for being a potential patient is "heavy involvement in fantasy and role play [sic] games". Therefore, a young teen can be "hospitalized" here with the consent of his parents for being a D&D-player--all legal and proper! This book was given a favourable review in an editorial in the July 1991 DRAGON, by Michael Stackpole, who curiously did not mention his own involvement with the first book.]
--> firstname.lastname@example.org (Pierre Savoie; Micol Labs BBS; Toronto. A.k.a. DRACONIAN)
The CAR-PGa address changed recently: CAR-PGa 1127 Cedar Bonham, Tx 75418
a6: From jat6h@Virginia.EDU ("Mars, the Bringer of War")
As a fairly devout Southern Baptist who has been playing for over a decade, I can sympathize with your question and have heard that particular arguement before. The central flaw in the line of reasoning is assuming that the play of rpg's, whether evil or not, leads people into evil. This is a classic fallacy which can be applied to the Church itself: if people associate Christianity with horrible atrocities of the past, such as the Spanish Inquisition, the Jewish pogroms, the Crusades, and many other massicres which I am the first to admit occurred and were condoned by the Christian Church or by prominent Christians; then surely by being an active Christian you are telling people that you support these things? As should by readily apparent, the actions of a person or group do not always reflect at all upon the nobility of the cause they claim to espouse-in this case, some of the most loathsome acts in human history being committed in the name of what I consider the most noble cause. The case with role-playing games is similar. A few twisted people have committed acts which are highly antisocial, and some people have placed the blame on rpg's, perhaps in effort to avoid their own responsibility for the actions of themselves or their children, etc. Obsessive behavior of any sort is the sign of serious emotional problems, and placing the blame on rpg's is absurd. A simple look at the facts will indicate that far more suicides/killing sprees/etc. are committed in the name of parential pressure, peer pressure, depression, and similar causes than could ever be linked to rpg's, and even in those cases, this blame is just a convenient excuse for avoiding those, most sensitive problems (John committed suicide? It couldn't have been his parent's constant pressure to do well in school, it must've been those rpg's...) In the context of Christian belief, rather than avoid these issues, it is our duty to educate people out of their ignorance, rather than to just allow it to continue. Arguing that playing rpg's condones sin is a ridiculous arguement, and merely demonstrates ignorance of what gaming is all about. Mars
- From email@example.com (Fergason)
But there is a link: D&D players would like to kill all the people who think D&D causes devil worship. There. Nice and tidy.
:-) for the humor impaired.
- From Aimee Yermish <ayermish@leland.Stanford.EDU> (maintainer of the Live-Action Roleplaying FAQ)
The simple fact is that people often *do* play evil or self-centered or nasty or whatever characters (especially in an IL setting, because the amount of inter-character conflict in a game demands a certain percentage of nasty characters... I usually end up counting the nice ones, because the list is *much* shorter). It's foolish to think that the evil inclination (okay, so I'm Jewish and use terms like that) doesn't exist or can be suppressed by pretending it doesn't. People have dark sides, temptations to sin, whatever you want to call it. They know they can't or shouldn't act on those impulses in real life, but all too frequently, if they do, they find that hurting other people is surprisingly easy and rarely results in their taking what our sense of justice says should be appropriate consequences. Most crimes, after all, go totally unsolved.
What we do in roleplaying games is provide a safe environment, where the players can act on their evil impulses without actually harming others. We hope that by providing this outlet for people's evil tendencies, that they will have less need to act out those evil tendencies in real life.
Not only that, but in real life, the evildoer rarely has to actually confront the effects of his actions. In a drive-by shooting, the murderer may not even know if he has killed anyone, much less who it was, who their friends and family were, and so forth. There is practically no chance that the murderer will be confronted by the victim's loved ones, no matter how much they may want it. But in a roleplaying game, the web of society is woven much more tightly. If a PC kills a GM-run NPC, the GM has the option of having the police decide that this case is worth investigating, or of having that NPC's friends figure out who might have done it and come after him, or whatever other repercussions are appropriate to the situation. In an IL game, practically every PC has friends or teammates or allies who are also PCs, who do the job of tracking down and exacting some form of justice (we regularly have *trials* during our games, so don't think that all justice is handed out by the sword) without any prompting by the GMs. While it may seem counter-intuitive, the fact is that evil is more often punished in a fantasy world than it is in the real world. One person's wish is to kill -- three others' wishes become to see the killer brought to justice.
Now for the real point. If you see a white ball on the table in front of you, and someone says, "Pick the white ball, not the black one," well, of course you pick the white one. You don't really have the option of doing the wrong thing, because you haven't really been given a choice. If both balls are on the table, then you have the capacity to choose, and therefore your correct choice has some meaning. (just to annoy the Christians, here's a biblical quote: "Behold, I have set before you this day a blessing and a curse." (it's from Deuteronomy, and I can easily provide the chapter and verse if I check at home)) In real life, so many of the "wrong" choices are never presented as options, so we never learn to choose against them. In a game, we have created an artificial environment where we can choose the "wrong" options and examine what it feels like to be a murderer, a drug dealer, a devil-worshipper, or whatever. After making those choices and examining the results, the player is now empowered to go back to real life and continue to choose the light, but now with a clearer understanding of just why it was that he didn't want to choose the darkness. If all you have for your morality is a set of rules saying, "Don't do that particular thing," when you are confronted with a situation which does not fit those rules, or which pits one rule against another (which situation serious students of any religion are very familiar with -- ethical dilemmas are pretty universal), you are not equipped to make an intelligent choice between your various options. Maturity cannot come from slavishly following rules, but must come from experimentation and understanding.
This is all part of what a friend of mine called "the hidden agenda" of roleplaying games in general, and IL in particular. In games, we allow and encourage individualized personal growth in many different areas, providing an environment where correct actions are usually rewarded, and incorrect actions usually result in some form of loss or punishment, but without the permanent life-destroying effects (20 years in prison) that prevent a person from changing his future actions in light of what he learns.
Obviously, I'm much more long-winded than that probably needs to be. Just thought it might help. Feel free to ignore it.
A: Yes, but the court, in it's summary, stated:
...We have found two decisions, not cited in the briefs, mentioning claims that Dungeons & Dragons has dangerous propensities. In State v. Molitor, 729 S.W.2d 551 (Mo.Ct.App. 1987), where a young woman was tied up and strangled after an all-night houseparty devoted to listening to music, consuming liquor, smoking marijuana and practicing martial arts, the defendant sought to introduce expert testimony suggesting that he had been "desensitized" at some point by playing Dungeons & Dragons. The appellate court sustained exclusion of the testimony on relevance grounds and because the defendant's offers of proof made no showing that he had, in fact, been "desensitized." In People v. Ventiquattro, 138 App.Div.2d 925, 527 N.Y.S.2d 137 (1988), a fifteen-year-old boy who killed a companion with a shotgun gave the police several conflicting accounts of how the shooting occurred. In one account he stated that he was playing the game Dungeons & Dragons and shot the victim while fantasizing that it was his job to exterminate evil. Whether this particular account was truthful, and whether TSR ever learned of it, we do not know.
... The actual content of the materials in question would hardly have given TSR reason to foresee that players of the game would become more susceptible to murder or suicide than non-players. The materials make it clear that Dungeons & Dragons is a "let's pretend" game, not an incitement to do anything more than exercise the imagination. And the imaginary world referred to in the booklets -- a world of magical spells, hidden treasures, and fantastic monsters -- does not appear to be a world in which people kill themselves or engage in acts of wanton cruelty toward other people. We are not dealing here with the kind of violence or depravity to which children can be exposed when they watch television, or go to the movies, or read the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, for example. ... On the contrary, Mrs. Watters' affidavit [**18] shows affirmatively that Johnny Burnett, who lived in her household throughout his life, never caused Mrs. Watters any problems. He went to school regularly, and he took care of a paper route. The record contains no affidavit from a psychiatrist or similar expert suggesting that he suffered from any psychosis. As far as the record discloses, no one had any reason to know that Johnny Burnett was going to take his own life. We cannot tell why he did so or what his mental state was at the time. His death surely was not the fault of his mother, or his school, or his friends, or the manufacturer of the game he and his friends so loved to play. Tragedies such as this simply defy rational explanation, and courts should not pretend otherwise.
Nos. 89-5844, 89-5891, 89-6021 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT 904 F.2d 378; 1990 U.S. App. LEXIS 8827; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P12,474 PAGE 9
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