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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Tangled Cultural Roots of Dungeons & Dragons

 1984, the comic-strip artist Jack Chick, an evangelical Christian, published a tract called “Dark Dungeons.” In it, a young woman named Debbie is seduced into witchcraft through her participation in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. The Mephistophelean figure in the strip is the Dungeon Master, a raven-haired woman named Ms. Frost, who says to Debbie, “Your cleric has been raised to the 8th level. I think it’s time that you learn how to really cast spells.” But then Debbie’s friend Marcie commits suicide after her character dies in the game, and the new witch is wracked with guilt and doubt. She is saved, ultimately, when Mike, a hunky Christian boy (“I’ve been praying and fasting for you”), takes her to see a pastor who has himself come “out of witchcraft.” Debbie meets the pastor and repents, accepting Jesus as her Savior: “I want You to be in charge of everything…not that lousy D. & D. manual.”

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