Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D or DnD) is a role-playing game with a medieval theme featuring mythical creatures such as elves, dwarves, orcs, a pantheon of gods, and dragons, but also semi-fictionalized demons. Players take the role of characters who solve a series of heroic adventures or quests. Though argued to be a harmless game, it has attracted a variety of criticism. Certain role-playing video game franchises, such as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, were heavily inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.
Players typically do not compete against one another; rather, the players cooperate to achieve goals and objectives while a referee, in this case called the dungeon master (DM) or game master (GM), interprets rules and adjudicates the success or failure of the players' efforts. PVP play is usually frowned upon.
The game was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). Most of those rules and many of the subsequent rules were authored by Gary Gygax. There are some who claim that Dave Arneson was the actual "inventor" of D&D, but this claim is disputed, not least by the fact that many references were authored by Gygax. After its original publisher TSR, Inc., went bankrupt, the game was sold to Wizards of the Coast, which later became a division of Hasbro.
In the late 1970s, the game's popularity exploded, particularly on college campuses. Dungeons & Dragons spawned countless variations and permutations, but during the earliest days of the game's growth, there were accusations that the game contributed to Satanic worship, teen suicide and general moral depravity. These criticisms have been repeatedly addressed by the game's creators and defenders.
The 5th Edition of the game is the most recent, released in 2014.
- 1 Game play
- 2 History and Development
- 3 Fifth Edition
- 4 Concerns and Criticisms
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Dungeons & Dragons is a free-form game in which a referee (the Dungeon Master) describes a situational problem to the players and then the players reply with any imaginable response. The exploits of players can occur in any fantasy setting but at some point the adventure often occurs in a dungeon or subterranean locale not unlike Moria in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Players' characters can gain more powers and abilities from earning experience points for completing various tasks (e.g. solving puzzles, killing enemies) during adventures.
Because D&D players can basically "do" anything there are moral implications to the choices players make. To provide a frame of reference and to help the game make sense, Gygax devised an alignment system. All characters (and monsters) are required to have an alignment and they must adhere to the beliefs of that alignment.
Morality is divided into "Good," "Neutral" and "Evil" while ethics are divided into "Lawful," "Neutral" and "Chaotic." By combining these two frameworks, we arrive at the nine alignments: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral ("neutral neutral"), chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.
These alignments help players and referees roleplay characters and monsters.
In the original versions of the game, only the "ethical" (Law/Chaos) axis of morality was present. The "moral" (good/evil) axis was added in later editions. 4th Edition removes the axis concept, resulting in the alignments lawful good, good, unaligned, evil, and chaotic evil.
The ability of players to play evil characters has been among the criticisms against the game.
Components of a Character
A character is described in detail on a "character sheet" where the player records important facts about the character. This includes the character's "race", vocation, unique skills, and numerical ratings of the character's attributes.
In this case, "race" refers to a race from fantasy such as an elf, dwarf, gnome or halfling—effectively used as an archaic term for "species". The races which are allowed in the game vary from DM to DM according to the tastes of players and the setting that the DM has devised. The vocation or "class" of the character refers to the fantasy archetype the player wishes to play, e.g. wizard, barbarian, rogue, cleric, etc. The selection of race and class will impact skills and attributes which are available to the character as well as the strengths and weaknesses the character.
The Magic System
The magic system used in Dungeons & Dragons is based very loosely on the writing of fantasy and science fiction author Jack Vance. Magic using characters must memorize their spells and a spell leaves the wizard's memory upon being cast. Novices and those who have never played the game should note that in this case, the player doesn't actually memorize anything. The "memorization" is really just a mechanic to help limit the number of spells a player can use per gaming episode. The 4th Edition makes significant changes to the system, basing most abilities on "per encounter" uses (as in, how many times per battle or event an ability can be used).
The depiction of the use of magic is another point of contention among those who criticize the game. Magic in fiction promotes magical thinking, which can lead people to believe that ObamaCare works, the "theories" of evolution, relativity or quantum mechanics, or social justice ideology.
The Combat System
To determine the outcome of man-to-man combat, players roll dice to determine if an attack "hits" and then if the attack hits how much damage the attack does. Damage reduces the defender's "hit points." When a combatant's hit points are depleted, that combatant is "dead" or incapacitated. This combat system was developed from a ship-to-ship naval combat game that Gygax adapted to describe medieval man-to-man combat.
History and Development
Wells' rules were themselves based upon earlier games which were primarily played by nobility and royals to teach warfare strategy. With the publication of Little Wars, H.G. Wells hoped to bring a game previously known only to kings to the common man. Because tin soldiers do not bleed and do not leave widows, it was Wells hope that men could settle differences by little wars rather than real wars.
Miniature gaming such as Little Wars was nearly unknown in America, although there were pockets of hobbyists such as "International Federation of Gamers", a tiny group near Milwaukee Wisconsin. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were members of that gaming group. It can rightly be said that Gygax and Arneson are the fathers of modern role-playing games, but the contributions of other local gamers are muddied into this mix as well.
Gygax & Arneson
In 1969, Gary Gygax adapted rules meant to govern wooden ship combat into a medieval combat game which was published by Guidon Games under the name Chainmail. The game was very popular locally and grew organically over the next few years. At the same time, The Lord of the Rings was gaining mass appeal in the United States. This inspired players to incorporate elements of fantasy into their wargames.
By 1970, Dave Arneson adapted these and other club rules into something generally referred to as the fantasy game. The fantasy game had several key innovations --- many of which were of Arneson's devising. In previous wargames, players generally led an army of toy soldiers. But in the fantasy game, each player had only one soldier, described as a character or player character.
Further the game evolved to include the concept that at the next game session would pick up where the last game session ended. Another evolutionary concept was the idea of a referee or game master. The referee, often played by Arneson or Gygax, had the job of making final judgments and augmenting the rules as necessary to keep the game going.
As few records were kept at the time, there is some question as to who exactly designed what in the fantasy game with Gygax and Arneson at times jointly and separately claiming to have "invented the game". Arneson's chief claims rest on his evolution of certain key concepts that would constitute all role-playing games to follow. Gygax's claim rests upon the fact that most of the early reference works were authored by Gygax.
In 1972, Gary Gygax and others formed a partnership called Tactical Studies Rules and in 1974 Tactical Studies Rules published Gary Gygax' version of "the Fantasy Game", later named Dungeons & Dragons. This version of the game --- often called Original Dungeons & Dragons, Old Dungeons & Dragons or OD&D --- was printed in staple-bound paperback form from folded sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper and sold as a boxed set.
By many accounts, OD&D was a clunky game, sparse on rules, but in this game one would find all the elements of a modern role-playing game: player characters, a game master, serial adventures, and the opportunity for character growth. Several print runs of this version sold out quickly and went on to exceed the expectations of everyone involved.
After the tremendous success of the D&D paperbacks, Tactical Studies Rules reorganized with partners Gary Gygax, Don Kaye and Brian Blume under the name TSR Hobbies Inc. In 1975, TSR Hobbies published OD&D supplements, Gygax's Greyhawk and Arneson's Blackmoor.
Dungeons & Dragons began to be noticed by American culture at about the same time the company released Eldritch Wizardry and God, Demigods & Heroes. The cover of Eldritch Wizardry featured an nude dress female strewn over an altar. Gods, Demigods & Heroes was a mythological reference with gods and heroes from the legends and lore of Greeks, Egyptians, Indians, Norse and more. Many of these mythological gods are considered creatures of human invention, but some are now considered demons by the Christian Church.
Although the game was gaining popularity, the works served as a lightning rod for criticism. Although some of the art in these and later editions would violate the Comics Code, the publishers at TSR failed to appreciate the danger of ignoring these rules. Some of TSR's management believed that D&D was marketed toward adult males, not teens and preteens, and thus the Comics Code did not apply. It soon became evident that D&D's popularity reached beyond college-age males.
In 1977, TSR Hobbies published the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, a boxed set containing revised and abbreviated rules for easier introduction to the game. This was followed in 1978 by the publication of the "core rule books" of D&D: the Players Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide and the Monster Manual. (Later editions of this game would follow this pattern.) Taken as a whole with several other reference books this version of the game is alternatively referred to as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, AD&D, 1E, 1ED&D. This version of the game revised and organized the notes from OD&D into a single playable whole in hardback books.
Although the art found in the books is hardly obscene and does not approach what is found regularly in American culture today, there were a handful of depictions that did not meet the Comics Code. For example, a harpy, a creature from Greek mythology, that is half-woman half-vulture was depicted with nipples revealed. And a mermaid was depicted topless with her hair covering parts of the chest.
Additionally the game had references to many demons and devils (intended as adversaries). Also the game had a polytheist mythos with some players playing the part of clerics, or priests, of these imaginary or mythical gods. (See backlash below.)
In 1983, TSR Hobbies changed its name to TSR, Inc. For the next several years, TSR, Inc. released supplements and adventures for AD&D, along with reprints of the AD&D core books. Typical adventure supplements sold 10,000 to 100,000 units, while each print run of the AD&D core rules sold 40,000 copies. While the company continue to sell respectable amounts of product, internal disorganization, in-fighting and corporate inefficiencies limited profitability. After a bitter fight with partners, Gygax was forced from the board of directors and eventually left the company. With Arneson gone since First Edition, the game was now in the hands of a second generation.
In 1989, TSR Inc. released Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This version of the game was largely a rewrite of the previous edition that was nearly fully compatible with First Edition AD&D. The game was largely sanitized and edited, but not so much reborne. For example, the art of Second Edition achieved a more professional standard. The art did not violate the Comics Code. Second Edition removed all references to "real" gods, devils and demons and inserted divas and angelic creatures.
Under the umbrella of Second Edition D&D, TSR, Inc. released some of its most enduring and popular titles. Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance were all second edition products.
In 1997, TSR, Inc. was purchased by Wizards of the Coast. (Wizards is often called WotC, and this acronym is pronounced what-see.) Wizards (eventually acquired by Hasbro) continued to improve the art and graphics of D&D and in 2000 released Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons to supplant second edition. While preserving the concepts of RPGing and many of the archetypes of AD&D, Third Edition (3E) would do what Second Edition had not.
Third Edition rewrote many of the basic constructs of the game in an effort to "modernize" the game and streamline some of D&D's clumsiest and clunkiest mechanics. Third Edition rules and supplements broke from the tradition of improving an existing system. Rather third edition replaced the previous system with "new and better" mechanics.
By the time of the release of Third Edition, most of the controversy associated with D&D had dissipated as secular culture had digressed far beyond anything found in previous D&D. With little controversy or fanfare, D&D reintroduced demons and many of the darker concepts of Dungeons & Dragons.
Now based in Seattle Washington, rather than Lake Geneva Wisconsin, the editors at WotC seem to exhibit the cultural norms found in Seattle rather than the heartlands. For example, rather than using the pronoun he in non-gender specific rules, Third Edition D&D bypasses the clumsy but politically correct construct he/she, and describes rules based on hypothetical characters. For example, the 3rd Edition "iconic" paladin was a woman named Alhandra, so the rules text describing the paladin's abilities used "she"; 3rd Edition's "iconic" cleric was a man named Jozan, so the rules text describing the cleric's abilities used "he".
The D&D ethos traditionally favored good characters, but Third Edition seems to subscribe to a "balanced" view as the idea. For example, many of the more evil creatures in Dungeons and Dragons prey on each other as much as on good people (the iconic example being lawful evil devils and chaotic evil demons); some of the text in the game indicates that they should be left to do this, rather than someone trying to destroy one or the other and uniting them, however briefly, in a struggle against the interloper. This is a troubling symptom of our cultural drift from conservative values but not the cause of that drift.
With much fanfare, the Fourth Edition of the game was recently announced. Coveting the tremendous revenue of miniatures games like Games Workshop's Warhammer, Fourth Edition is compatible with the new D&D Miniatures game. Fourth Edition also uses many of the conventions wildly accepted in online computer games following widely successful games like Blizzard's World of Warcraft and Diablo. The game makes several other adjustments; see above for some such changes.
In an attempt to revitalize sales, Wizards of the Coast announced a new edition of the game in 2012 that have extended play testing before release. The first core rule book, the Player's Handbook, was released in June 2014 in time for Dungeons and Dragons 40th anniversary. The game has elements of all of the previous editions, and has more clear rules for beginning players. 
There is now a Dungeons & Dragons Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) known as Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach which takes place in the Eberron campaign setting. Online and computer games are similar to D&D in many respects, but the play of these games is entirely different. D&D is characterized by a human referee and complete freedom of action. Without these key components, the game is a mere shadow of D&D.
Dungeons & Dragons is nothing more or less than a formalized game of pretend, similar to imaginary adventures that children everywhere play. But, the simplicity of this concept was not immediately evident to players of Dungeons & Dragons or the public at large. Although D&D has a fantasy theme and many rules for resolving actions, Dungeons & Dragons is at its core a game of pretend like "cops and robbers" or "cowboys and Indians".
Concerns and Criticisms
In the late seventies and early eighties, the sudden popularity of Dungeons & Dragons resulted in a cultural and religious backlash against perceived dangers from the game. Dungeons & Dragons was linked to the occult, witchcraft & demonology. Additionally there was some criticism about the art depicted in the earliest versions of the game. Much of this criticism came from the natural tendency of people to fear the unknown and to fear new ideas, but some of this criticism was valid and affected later versions of what was published under the name Dungeons & Dragons.
Demons and Devils
In D&D, player characters (the player's in game persona) are constantly gaining strength and power. Therefore, they are forever seeking more powerful adversaries and more difficult challenges. For example, at the start of a campaign player characters may be doing battle with creatures short of stature with significant disadvantages (low intelligence, fear of sunlight) such as goblins or kobolds. But as the player character's power increases, so to increases the deadliness of their opponents. In the search for ever more powerful opponents game designers eventually developed attributes for demons and devils.
The publishers of the game had imagined that they would sell a few hundred copies to college-aged males and never imagined that the game would experience explosive popularity, especially among teens as young as thirteen. Therefore, no thought or planning was invested into the potential impact of defining the powers and abilities of demons and devils. To the game's designers and players, killing a demon (in game) was no more controversial than killing a bishop in a game of chess.
But to bystanders the very inclusion of demons and devils was enough to cast suspicion upon the entire game—particularly since the game's much-touted freedom might allow a character to side with them. Additionally, the inclusion of demons and devils in the game raised other questions, such as why there are no angels in the game. There were no angels in the earliest editions of the game, because there was no reason to have an angel in the role of a monster. (See terminology above.) By late First Edition and early Second Edition, the game included and defined angels, devas and other highly powerful creatures of good; sometimes these were presented as allies for good characters, sometimes enemies for evil ones. This led to the criticism that religious icons were being disrespected by inclusion in the reference works.
In the Second Edition, the publishers tried to sanitize D&D by removing demons and devils, but many players (who enjoyed the challenge of destroying demons) resisted this effort. Later editions removed many references to "real" demons. Additionally, the terms "devil" and "demon" were replaced with the terms "baatezu" and "tanar'ri", respectively, and "the Nine Hells" (the outer planar home of devils/baatezu) was renamed "Baator".
However, in Third Edition, the game's original terms were readopted and blended—colloquially, for example, creatures from the Nine Hells (also called Baator) were called devils, but the most dominant species of the devils called themselves baatezu. An entire "mature" supplement (though there is no legal restriction on who may buy it, a large sticker is on the cover of most copies, stating it is for mature gamers only), known as the Book of Vile Darkness was produced to introduce more overtly evil concepts into the game, ostensibly in ways for the DM to make the most horrific enemies possible for their players. A follow-up, the Book of Exalted Deeds, was created as a way for players to explore the philosophy and morality of good, and to make a good alignment more than a line on their character sheet. (The titles of both books are based on magic items in the game, both of which are extremely useful to a person of the proper alignment.)
The Fourth Edition Player's Handbook, released in 2008, was the first to contain a "Warlock" class, which allows the player to make a pact with a certain creature to gain power. One option is the "Infernal Pact", allowing the player to literally make a deal with a devil.
The Fifth Edition Player's Handbook also features a "Warlock" class with an option to make an "Infernal Pact".
D&D and the Occult
The game includes fictional depictions of supernatural abilities called magic, evil monsters called demons and devils, and fictional deities along with their followers. Christians are divided on how this interacts with their faith. A minority of Christians believe that fictional depictions of fantasy elements such as those found in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Dungeons & Dragons are blasphemous, but most Christians see no problem with such fictional works.
Starting in the late 1970s the game and others like it came under attack mainly from some fundamentalist Christians as promoting occult and criminal activity. The game's dangers were alleged in the Dark Dungeons tract by Jack Chick, which portrays D&D players committing suicide when their characters are killed or joining secret witches' covens and learning to cast real magic spells when their characters reach a high enough level.
The fact is that Dungeons & Dragons designers and players had nothing to do with occult or criminal activity and thirty years later it may be hard to understand how people could confuse D&D with occult activities. In the earliest days of D&D it was easy for an uninformed bystander to draw faulty conclusions based upon a limited knowledge of the game. In its earliest days, OD&D often sold out due to low print runs, leaving bystanders with little access to the rules and little direct knowledge of the game.
For example, bystanders knew the game was developing a devoted cult-following. There is an important distinction between a cult-following and a cult itself, but this was lost on some bystanders. As a cult-following, D&D developed an insular fraternity of fans who were plugged into something exciting and new. Each day the world of D&D expanded and every player everywhere had a hand in the growth of the game. The players were developing their own lexicon and making new and ever expanding rules. This close bond and strange lexicon was easily misunderstood by those with limited exposure to the game.
In the late seventies the game's popularity was preceded by rumors that players were involved in some strange occult activities. Bystanders knew that D&D players were talking about fantastic creatures, magical spells and even demons because the game often includes descriptions of occult elements like magic, ghosts, spirits, demons and devils. To an uninformed bystander this may be pretty scary stuff. But, the truth was (allegedly) significantly less mysterious and sensational.
These misperceptions have largely evaporated, both because of the game's popularity and better information about the product. Critics became aware that players were not involved in anything occult but were gaming in a fantasy setting. Most everyone in America knows someone who has played Dungeons & Dragons, although they may not know it since playing rightly carries a stigma of geekiness.
God and gods
One item of concern for conservative Christians is that players' characters do not usually worship God, but instead choose a patron deity from a fictional polytheistic pantheon. The game settings manufactured by Wizards of the Coast (Greyhawk, Faerûn, Eberron, etc.) expressly adopt a polytheistic pantheon of fictional deities and reject real-world religions as a part of the game. (The Deities and Demigods supplement offers several different takes on religion, including rules for a monotheistic game world, but deliberately sidesteps the question of any modern religion—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.--even as it brings up pantheons of old myths, such as the Greek or Norse gods. It's likely they used only "dead" religions in order to avoid controversy.) The question of what extent and form of religion should be depicted in the game has been a question since the earliest days of the game. In an in depth look at monotheism in fantasy games, Joseph R.Ravitts raised some of the problems and benefits for a born-again Christian's point of view.
Ravitts already understood the power of role-playing, which is now well known. Namely, role-playing is a powerful behavior modification tool. The concept is that if you pretend that you believe something, eventually you will believe that thing. For this reason, he posited that it was important to avoid role-playing in a polytheistic world. Referencing the classic argument from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Ravitts explained how polytheism is really just atheism or monotheism in disguise. He believed that if players and DM's actively played in an atheistic world, they would eventually become atheists.
He then pointed out the difficulties of importing Christianity or other religions into D&D. Ravitts pointed out it is a simple matter to import mythological gods like Zeus or Thor into a fantasy setting. One simply imagines these gods are in the fantasy world and begins playing. But this is much more difficult with religious figures like Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha. Each of these three men were real historic personages. For example, Jesus lived, died and rose again in the Middle East at a specific time and place.
Ravitts proposed two simple work-arounds, for those who care about their spiritual well-being. Firstly, one could assume that all humans are teleported from Earth or descended from folks who were teleported from Earth. These humans have preserved their religious identities and thus Christianity is an option for players without tampering with the historical nature of Jesus. Secondly Ravitts proposed altering the game's mythos to allow for an all-powerful detached God reigning over the "gods, demigods and devils". In this way the "gods" are not gods at all, but just ultra-powerful beings who distract souls from worshiping the one true God.
However, it is worth noting that novels and "sourcebooks" make occasional references to a "God of gods".
Of course there are alternatives such as Testament a D&D-type game set in the Biblical Era. Further, many of the game worlds portray certain gods and religions as being metaphors for modern ones. (Even the incredibly polytheistic Forgotten Realms, where more than a hundred deities exist, features a triad of gods that could be based on the Holy Trinity.) Ultimately, D&D is a game of fantasy and players are encouraged to alter the game world to better suit their tastes, and many Christian players and DMs alter the game world so that it better fits their personal beliefs.
The art of D&D
Another criticism is that illustrations in the rule books for Dungeons & Dragons often contain images of immodestly dressed women. For example, in the First Edition Monster Manual a number of drawings depicted topless creatures of fantasy such as the harpy (half-vulture half-woman) or the succubus (a demoness). The OD&D reference Eldritch Wizardry featured the profile of a nude woman. Most of these images are fairly crudely rendered and are not particularly racy by today's standards, but they did exceed the limitations of the Comics Code of the time.
By the publication of Second Edition, the art and layout of the D&D game was managed by professionals. As a result, the quality of the art increased significantly and anything racy was eliminated from the art work. There was some minor controversy with the revised Third Edition Monster Manual's artwork of the succubus and nymph (a water spirit in the form of a beautiful woman), but aside from these there is nothing particularly shocking in the art for a child or adult of any age.
Although Dungeons & Dragons does not present itself as either pro-Christian or anti-Christian, the game features many elements which can be considered to agree with or go against the teachings of Christ. The game has drawn criticism for allowing players to undertake the roleplaying of un-Christian activities: the rules allow a player to have their character perform evil acts, including the summoning or worshiping of demons and devils. Certain fundamentalists disagree with the very format of the game in that player characters can pretend to cast imaginary spells while playing the game.
Some feel that the primary action of the game involves the fictional slaying of monsters and the fictional accumulation of wealth, some Christians feel that this goes against the teachings of Christ regarding pacifism (Matthew 5:38-42) and the accumulation of wealth (Matthew 19:24). Others see these actions as heroic endeavors and wealth is a byproduct of doing good things. Either way, the game and it's choices are a matter of free will.
Former United Methodist Church minister James Wyatt wrote an essay comparing the freedom of a Dungeons & Dragons player to choose his own actions, to the Christian concept of Free Will. As in real life, a player may, when presented with a moral choice, decide for himself whether to do good or evil. If the player was not able to do evil, he would be forced to do good, removing his freedom. Similarly, God allows human beings to choose between good and evil in real life, and people must accept the consequences of their choice. The supplements that deal specifically with demons and devils make it quite clear that the afterlife for characters who are condemned to the Abyss or the Nine Heels is in no way pleasant, and may even be short.
Tracy Hickman, one of the main authors of the Dungeons & Dragons Dragonlance book series, and a Christian with conservative politics and theology, has written a number of articles defending and discussing D&D from a Christian perspective. Others within the Dungeons & Dragons community responded by writing other defenses from rationalist perspectives or other perspectives or by writing parodies such as "Chess: The Subtle Sin: Should Christians play chess?". Some argue that in response to the perceived Christian persecution of the Dungeons & Dragons, darker themed, deliberately counter-cultural games appeared in reaction such as Call of Cthulhu which is based on the horror writing of H.P. Lovecraft and set in the Cthulhu Mythos, or Vampire: the Masquerade, where players act the roles of undead vampires.
One of the classes, the rogue, has many skills that are against the law, such as lockpicking and pickpocketing; this could lead to an increase in support for soft on crime Democrats. Players are able to break the law of the polities they visit, which many experts suggest will lead to an increase in real world crime.
Possible Areas of Concern for Christians
D&D is a "game of pretend" whereby players pretend to take certain actions and the DM adjudicates the results of those actions. By its very nature, this leaves players open to experiment with various moral quandaries and social dilemmas. This is a valuable tool for players to learn the implications and results of playing both good and evil characters. However, the possibility exists that such an experience may not be beneficial or appropriate for everyone—in particular, persons who already have difficulty separating fantasy with reality might be able to be helped by the game, but it could also make things worse. Due to the nature of roleplaying games, a great deal depends upon the individual group in question; a given game of Dungeons and Dragons might be benign from a Christian standpoint, or it might involve activities and ideas that a Christian would find profoundly distasteful.
- Wizards of the Coast's D&D site
- https://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=6040&pageno=2 Foreword to Little Wars by H.G. Wells
- Monster Manual by Gary Gygax published by TSR Hobbies 1978
- Dungeon Masters Guide by Gary Gygax published by TSR Hobbies 1979
- "Book of Vile Darkness"
- "Book of Exalted Deeds"
- Jack Chick: "Dark Dungeons"
- "Deities and Demigods"
- "Monotheism in Gaming" by Joseph R. Ravitts, Pegasus Magazine Issue #4 published in 1981 by Judges' Guild
- The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture: "Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right"
- Religion and Roleplaying
- Christians Playing Dungeons and Dragons - An informed Christian's perspective on Dungeons & Dragons.
- Ethics in Fantasy: Morality and D&D - Tracey Hickman's essay concerning Christian perspectives and common misunderstandings about Role-Playing Games
- Full text of H.G. Wells Little Wars; a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty'