Saturday, February 13, 2016

RPGs, JC, and You and Me - Intro

Disclaimer: Most of my posts frustrate and anger NON-Christians in varying degrees - not by design, but simply by the nature of the content and my personal beliefs - but this entry will likely ruffle some Christian feathers. My advice, going into this, is to try and open your mind, and realize that there's actually stuff out there you don't know yet.

Without further adon't...

Hey! Remember back in the 80's when ignorant church-goers all over the nation began, almost simultaneously, to scowl and point their accusing fingers at a little game called Dungeons & Dragons (D&D for those in the know), declaring it to be satanic, and the singular cause of depressed and otherwise mentally-troubled young men offing themselves?

Yeah, me too.

Pretty unfortunate stuff for my kind. Christians, that is. As if we needed any more reasons for the secular public to view us as judgmental and alarmist.

Well, as it turns out, depressed and mentally-troubled people are more prone to suicide than those with healthy minds, with or without roleplaying games. Go figure...

Thanks, science!

But the deaths of the two gentlemen in question were just the catalyst for hysteria. Once the ball was rolling, all of the intrinsic nefariousness of D&D was out in the open and primed to become fuel on the torches of pitchfork-packing fundamentalists from New York to California, and even a few across the pond.

All that...shudder.... MAGIC! There are monsters in the pages of yon Monster Manual!!! There are demons and pagan gods and necromancers, oh my!

True, all true.

Oh, I just remembered... there's another book with all that stuff.

The Bible.

Yes, the Bible has monsters, witches, necromancers, pagan gods, magic, demons, killing, suicide, etc. The Bible even uses the genre of horror to illustrate eternal principles and the extreme wickedness of evil people and supernatural beings to magnify the goodness of God.

It's all in there. And you know what, I don't see my fellow Christians campaigning against the Bible. That would just be weird. And contradictory, and us Christians never contradict ourselves...

Anyway, if you want to read a great article putting to rest all of that garbage from the Great 1980's Dungeons and Dragons Panic, you can click those words and do so. I don't want to waste this post by re-trodding well-trodden ground. My purpose in the very short series is to - believe it or not - but do, do believe it, 'cause it's true - is to talk about the goodness and usefulness of tabletop, face-to-face, dice-rolling, paper-writing, roleplaying games, primarily in fostering family relationships and friendships, and maybe, juuuuuust maybe, evangelism.

Look, we aren't total nerds!
We actually look kind of cool!
Before I begin with part one (in my next post), and before anyone flips all the entire way out, remember that you have watched the ENTIRE Harry Potter series of films, maybe even read the books; you have sat on the edge of your seat with tear-filled eyes as teenagers viciously murder one another in the Hunger Games; you have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy fifteen times! (Fifteen?! Are you crazy?!); and most importantly, you have read...

...The Chronicles of Narnia...


Dungeons & Dragons would not exist if Tolkien hadn't penned his absurdly-popular series of novels. In fact, the chances of a Harry Potter or a [name a fantasy series in any media] existing in the absence of The Hobbit, and The Lord of The Rings, are pretty bad. Tolkien popularized fantasy the same way Stoker popularized Vampires.

But Tolkien was a Catholic! He certainly was. He was a Catholic who loved Jesus and worshiped God, and he was best buds (for a while) with Christianity's most beloved apologist, Clive Staples Lewis, even being credited as the man who won him to Christianity. The two had different methods of communicating eternal truths and biblical principles in fiction, with Lewis going for the straight-up allegorical method, and Tolkien opting to express his faith in much subtler ways. But the common element here is high fantasy: Magic, elves, dwarves, witches, and epic battles between the forces of unambiguous good and evil.

Wait, which way was Mordor again?
This genre of high fantasy, and quite obviously the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, are the clear inspiration for Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's creation: Dungeons & Dragons, which has given birth to countless other roleplaying games in many other genres, including but not limited to: horror, sci-fi, political intrigue, and, bizarrely, Japanese housemaids. There's even a roleplaying game for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly - proving conclusively that Joss Whedon fans are mega-geeks.

So, now that we're hopefully past the "D&D is evil" nonsense, we can just talk about roleplaying games. In this series, I will present you with reasons why I believe roleplaying games of the tabletop variety can be a good thing in the world we live in today, as well as giving you new RPGers some good places to start, tips, tricks, etc.

Click here for Part One!

Until then, peace, love, and a third thing.

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