DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS - CONCERNS FOR THE CHRISTIAN
"Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy Adventure Game ("D&D Game" for
short) is a role-playing game for persons 10 years and older. In
the D&D rules, individuals play the role of characters in a
fantasy world where magic is real and heroes venture out on
dangerous quests in search of fame and fortune. Characters gain
experience by overcoming perils and recovering treasures. As
characters gain experience, they grow in power and ability." TSR,
D&D Basic Rulebook, p. B3.
TSR (Tactical Studies Rules), producer of D&D, was founded
in 1974. Estimates of its sales have been as high as: $23 million
gross in 1979, $45 million gross in 1980, $60-90 million gross in
1981 with net income of $28 million. In 1980, children age 10-14
bought 46% of the D&D games, those 15-17 bought another 26% of
the games. TSR has 140 employees, is producing academic area
games, translating D&D into other languages, producing a major
film, producing electronic versions, etc, They are one of many
companies producing similar FRP games.
Children and adults find the games exciting and challenging.
But the games include some aspects that need a closer look by
Christian children and parents. Some of these are suggested here:
1. There is a danger in becoming over-involved in D&D, spending
a large amount of time, money, and interest in it.
a. Gary Gygax, originator of the game, said that "the most
extensive requirement of the game is time." (D&D Basic
Manual, p. 3)
b. Articles in newspapers and magazines have told of many
people who spent many hours a day or week playing,
sometimes investing hundreds to thousands of dollars in
materials and conventions.
c. Again Gary Gygax has said: "You have to pursue D&D with
your entire soul if you're going to do well at it."
(Rolling Stone, Oct. 1980)
d. People tell of talking about nothing else, having no
friends who do not play, experiencing peer pressure to
play and rejection of those who do not.
e. Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us to make the most of our time,
and to watch carefully how we walk.
f. Philippians 4:8 says: "...fill your minds with those
things that are good and that deserve praise: things
that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and
honorable." Does D&D measure up to these standards?
2. There is a danger in players becoming too involved with their
a. People have said: "I've seen people have fits, yell for
fifteen minutes, hurl dice...when their character dies."
"It's when you take the game home with you, when
Johnny's mad for a week because you killed his
character, that it's an addiction." Gary Gygax said:
"when you start playing out a fantasy, it can really eat
up time and capture you totally. Most people can handle
it, but there are probably exceptions." A Dr. Douglas
Brown said: "If a person isn't too well put together to
begin with, it's not going to be good for him."
b. Many find D&D to be an escape from the real world and
find it more exciting. But some have found it hard to
separate the real from the imaginary and carry the game
into real life.
c. Matthew 16:24 and the verses following talk about
Christians "taking up a cross", not trying to escape
from the world, but giving up their lives for Jesus and
d. See Philippians 4:8 again.
3. D&D contains a lot of violence.
a. The whole concept of the game is to do battle with
monsters. Characters are equipped with various types of
armor, weaponry, potions and spells. It is necessary to
kill, not just the monsters but even humans, in order to
succeed in the game.
b. A central Washington police department asks as a
standard question of those arrested: "Are you a
participant of Fantasy Role Games?" Another source
stated that 60 suicides were directly attributed to D&D
c. Galatians 5:19-26 describes our human natures and the
fruit of the Spirit. What is it saying?
4. D&D is an effective "teacher". Do you know what it is
a. D&D makes use of several effective teaching/learning
techniques including involving the feelings of the
participants, role-playing, fantasy, and memorization.
The roles (classes, professions) include religious-type
roles (although not Christian by any means) such as
cleric, Druid, and monk. Other roles are that of
fighter, thief, illusionist, assassin, etc. The
fantasies include doing battle with devils and demons
using various types of weaponry, spells and potions.
Magic-users, elves, and clerics use spells, which must
be memorized before a game begins after consultation
with the proper book of spells. The spell must then be
spoken or read aloud in order to have any effect.
b. One of the book's author says that in D&D good is given
far more attention than evil, but a 40-hour-per-week
player claims that it is better to be evil because you
can do evil things and get away with them. An FRP games
representative stated in The Milwaukee Journal, 11/5/81,
that "these games are teaching the difference between
right and wrong." In D&D even lawful good characters
kill many other human characters in the name of duty to
c. Leviticus 19:26 says not to practice any kind of magic.
d. I Thessalonians says to avoid every kind of evil ("even
the appearance of evil" in some translations).
5. D&D claims to involve the players in the worship/service of
a. Deities and Demigods, page 5 says: "Serving a deity is a
significant part of D&D, and all player characters
should have a patron god. Alignment assumes its full
importance when tied to the worship of a deity." The
Dungeon Masters Guide, page 25 says this: "Whether or
not the character actively professes some deity, he or
she will have an alignment and serve one or more deities
of his general alignment indirectly and inbeknownst to
the character. Another D&D book says that the Gods and
their Cohorts will occasionally assist their devotees
with aid, or harm them.
b. In Deities and Demigods, a total of over 200 foreign
gods are mentioned.
c. Exodus 23:13 tells us not to even mention the names of
d. Deuteronomy 7:25 and Ezekiel 6 talk more about idols and
e. See Galatians 5:19-21 again.
6. D&D contains much information and encourages activity that
deals with the occult world.
a. Dr. Gary North, a Christian economist, author of the
book None Dare Call It Witchcraft, and editor of the
Remnant Review, said this: "Without any doubt in my own
mind, after years of study of the history of occultism,
after having researched historical research, I can say
with confidence: These games are the most effective,
most magnificently packaged, most profitably marked,
most thoroughly researched introduction to the occult in
man's recorded history, period. This is NO game."
(Remnant Review, 12/5/80)
b. D&D uses hundreds of traditional Christian terms, but
not with traditional meanings. It also deals with the
casting of spells, magic, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo,
demon and devil worship, ESP, levitation, etc.
c. The words demon, devil and hell appear a total of 225
times in eight pages of Deities and Demigods (pages
16-23), and encourages the worship of them as lesser
gods (page 105).
d. The words Devil, devils, and Satan also appear in the
Bible (over 150 times), but the Bible teaches something
entirely different about them.
e. Deuterononmy 18:9 and following tells us to have nothing
to do with people who do things in this area. 1 Peter
5:8 talks about the devil as a lion, looking for people
to eat! John 8-44 calls him a murderer and the father
of lies (a deceiver). Check other Bible passages for
more information here.
f. Ephesians 6-:11 instructs us to put on the armor of God
to do real battle with wicked spiritual forces, the
rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age.
g. Philippians 4:8 again directs us to focus our attention
on something better.
All of the above information is available in a D&D handbook
from Educational Research Analysts, The Mel Gablers, Po Box 7518,
Longview, Texas 75607 for a $5 donation.
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