Friday, October 21, 2011

The ORIGINAL Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons: Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature FiguresDungeons & Dragons: Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures by Gary Gygax

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this is simply the "granddaddy of all fantasy role-playing games" -- accept no substitutes. I remember my fascination and the wonder of discovery back in the mid-1970s when I was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons (a name not preceded by "Basic" or "Advanced", or followed by an edition number). I can easily admit that my early fascination with this game system has not been matched by any game since. Our group met for adventuring sessions (some of those lasting for hours and hours), and that there were only three character classes and no magic-user spells above 5th level didn't concern us at all. Then the D&D Supplements showed up. More monsters, more weapons, more treasure, more character classes, more, more, more (...and we all demanded "more, more, more" until TSR was short of breath just trying to keep up with our appetite).

Despite all the "bad press" D&D got from the uninformed and misinformed (mostly concerned Christians), the game survived -- and thrived. What was most often misunderstood was that D&D was only a game, not a religion that was proposing to open a gateway to Hell. What the uninformed and misinformed failed to understand was that it wasn't the game itself that was evil -- no more evil than any other stack of paper with printed words. No, the dangers were in how each individual dungeon master (aka "DM") chose to conduct his gaming campaigns and scenarios. What were the lessons taught by these DMs? What were the values and morals that players were learning from the game?

As with so many things in our world, condemnation often comes from those who do not comprehend, those who refuse to do an unbiased study before declaring a game or a movie or a book unfit.

For myself and each member of our small gaming group from long ago, I'm sure the original Dungeons & Dragons game system remains a fond and unequaled memory...

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  1. Something that Christians critical of D&D missed was the ministry potential. A game-master could run a completely Christian game for his or her players.

  2. @Frank Creed: Very true -- and even in games where a Christian message was not foremost, there was never a guarantee that such gaming sessions could be construed as Satanistic. They just missed the point (and the potential). For goodness sake - the original game even had hobbits and balrogs, and unless I've recently been transported unknowingly to another dimension, Tolkien's works are regarded as acceptable by most Christians . Likewise, it would not take a huge stretch of the D&D rules system to create adventures based in or around C.S. Lewis' Narnia. Such a missed opportunity for the church to connect with the youth rather than continue to alienate them!


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