Difference between revisions of "Dungeons and Dragons"

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(Old version read like a freakin' advertisment)
(Revert vandalism by JackTh to most recent version by TransHumanist)
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==Game play==
 
==Game play==
  
Games of chance are used to determine outcomes. As players' characters accomplish more, they gain experience points (XP) which allow their characters to gain levels, which in turn make them more powerful and have more abilities. The DM may use a commercially-produced adventure, or may create one of his own.
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Dice of various types are used to determine outcomes. As players' characters accomplish more, they gain experience points (XP) which allow their characters to gain levels, which in turn make them more powerful and have more abilities. The DM may use a commercially-produced adventure, or may create one of his own.
  
The game's warped moral system allows players to play characters who follow one of three different alignments; chaotic good, true neutral, and lawful evil. This system has been said to cause moral confusion in gamers, who are forced between choosing to obey legitimate authority and be branded "evil" or rebel in order to be accepted as "good." The character's alignment gives a guideline for how he or she would react in some situations. Wizards, for example, are required to be of the good alignment. Most DMs forbid good characters as their "arbitrary moral rules" are often disruptive to the game.
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The game allows players to play characters who follow one of nine different alignments; lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil. The character's alignment gives a guideline for how he or she would react in some situations. Paladins, for example, are required to be of the lawful good alignment. Most DMs forbid evil characters as they are often disruptive to the game.
  
The game may include [[occult]] elements like [[ghost]]s, [[spirit]]s, [[demon]]s and [[devil]]s which the characters may worship, kill or aid as they see fit, giving them complete control in their own sad little fictional universe.
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The game may include [[occult]] elements like [[ghost]]s, [[spirit]]s, [[demon]]s and [[devil]]s which the characters may fight, use or aid as they see fit.  
  
The game settings manufactured by Wizards of the Coast also expressly adopt a polytheistic pantheon of deities and reject mainstream [[religion]] as a part of the game. Clerics of these false gods are granted magical powers by their chosen deity by means of which they can ritually sacrifice their enemies, or heal their party members.
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The game settings manufactured by [[Wizards of the Coast]] (''Greyhawk'', ''Faerun'', ''Eberron'', etc.) also expressly adopt a polytheistic [[pantheon]] of deities and reject real-world [[religion]]s as a part of the game. That being said, there is nothing to stop a DM from coming up with a monotheistic world in which to run his adventures. In fact, there is an unofficial published setting, ''[http://www.greenronin.com/catalog/grr1019 Testament]'', that is about roleplaying in the Biblical Era. Most characters in the game worship fictional deities both as lay persons and as "clerics", a profession than any character may choose to undertake assuming their alignment matches or is close to a match with their chosen god.  Clerics of these deities are granted magical powers by their chosen deity by means of which they can defeat their enemies, or heal their party members.
  
 
The game has been steadily modified and expanded since the original first edition and is now in edition 3.5.
 
The game has been steadily modified and expanded since the original first edition and is now in edition 3.5.
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There is now a Dungeons and Dragons Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) known as ''Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach'' which takes place in the ''Eberron'' campaign setting.
 
There is now a Dungeons and Dragons Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) known as ''Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach'' which takes place in the ''Eberron'' campaign setting.
  
Most disturbingly, the magic system of the game is based on real life occult traditions of hermetic magic. Researchers have discovered that the game contains actual spells and incantations from the Necronomicon. It has been well documented that playing the game may bring about demonic infestations.
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== The Magic System ==
  
== Controversy and Criticism ==
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The magic system used in Dungeons and Dragons was adopted very roughly from the writing of fantasy and science fiction author [[Jack Vance]]. In the Vancian system, magic-users such as wizards must prepare all of their spells in advance for that day by memorizing them and a spell leaves the wizard's memory upon being cast. To cast the spell again, the magic-user must once again memorize the spell. The Vancian system was chosen for a variety of reasons such as its originality compared to pre-existing magical systems, its avoidance any connection with systems of magic described in any religion or occult theory, and it being the creation one of Gygax's favorite authors.<ref>Forum discussion: [http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/printthread.php?t=182603 "Is D&amp;D magic purely Vancian?"]</ref><ref>RPGnet: [http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10222.phtml Review of "The Primer of Practical Magic"]</ref>
  
Starting in the late 1970s the game and others like its dangers were summarized in the Dark Dungeons tract by American fundamentalist Christian author [[Jack Chick]]<ref>Jack Chick: [http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp "Dark Dungeons"]</ref>, who demonstrates that D&D players whose characters reach a high enough level can learn to cast real magic spells.
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== The Combat System ==
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[[Image:dnddice.jpg|thumb|right|Some of the unusual dice required to play Dungeons and Dragons.]]
 +
Players fight by throwing [[dice]] having 20, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 sides. These dice are properly called polyhedral dice. This is important to distinguish these dice from standard six sided dice.
 +
Rolling two 10-sided dice creates a two-digit random number for percentages, which the rules will sometimes refer to as rolling a 100-sided die.  
  
John Eric Holmes notes that, "The level of violence in this make believe world runs high. There is hardly a game in which the players do not indulge in murder, arson, torture, rape or highway robbery."
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In combat there are three different ways that a character can damage another character: melee, ranged, or magical. Attacking another Player Character (PC) is often an evil act that will get you tossed out that group, but PC-vs-PC combat is sometimes entered by mutual agreement of the players as part of a plot.
 +
 
 +
== Controversy and Criticism ==
  
One item of concern for conservative Christians is that players' characters do not usually worship [[God]], but instead choose a false god from a  [[polytheistic]] pantheon. Player characters are regularly rewarded with treasure and occult powers for summoning and worshiping demons and devils..
+
Starting in the late 1970s the game and others like it came under attack mainly from some conservative Christians as promoting occult and criminal activity. Its dangers were summarized in the Dark Dungeons tract by controversial fundamentalist Christian author [[Jack Chick]]<ref>Jack Chick: [http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp "Dark Dungeons"]</ref>, who claims that D&D players whose characters reach a high enough level can learn to cast real magic spells.
  
The game has also been linked to hundreds of murders and suicides since it's release. The most famous case was that of James Egbert, an intelligent, socially well adjusted man who, for no other descrenable reason, murdered both of his loving parents before commiting suicide.  
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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.  
  
Even the Israeli army has taken notice of this issue and stated that players are "detached from reality and susceptible to influence,”
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Player characters are sometimes rewarded with treasure and occult powers for summoning and worshiping demons and devils (but this depends upon the dungeon master and alignment of the character - in other words it never has to occur).
  
Another criticism is that illustrations in the rule books for Dungeons and Dragons usually contain images of immodestly dressed women, and, in fact, in the first edition Monster Manual dozens of pencil drawings were topless (such as harpy and succubus). Later, the most art was changed to color drawings.
+
Another criticism is that illustrations in the rule books for Dungeons and Dragons often contain images of immodestly dressed women, and, in fact, in the first edition Monster Manual a number of pencil drawings were topless (such as harpy and succubus). When the drawings switched to color many years ago, topless pictures were removed.
  
Tracy Hickman, one of the main authors of the Dungeons and Dragons DragonLance book series, and who claims to have conservative politics and theology, has written a number of articles defending and discussing D&D.<ref name="Waldron">The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture: [http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/art9-roleplaying.html "Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right"]</ref> Others within the Dungeons and Dragons community responded by writing other defenses from seecular perspectives or other perspectives. In response to the perceived Christian persecution of the Dungeons and Dragons, darker themed, deliberately counter-cultural games appeared in reaction such as [[Call of Cthluhu]] which is based on the horror writing of [[H.P. Lovecraft]] and set in the [[Cthulhu|Cthulhu Mythos]]<ref name="Waldron"/>, or [[Vampire: the Masquerade]], whose players believe themselves to be undead blood-suckers
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Tracy Hickman, one of the main authors of the Dungeons and 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. <ref name="Waldron">The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture: [http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/art9-roleplaying.html "Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right"]</ref> Others within the Dungeons and 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?". In response to the perceived Christian persecution of the Dungeons and Dragons, darker themed, deliberately counter-cultural games appeared in reaction such as [[Call of Cthluhu]] which is based on the horror writing of [[H.P. Lovecraft]] and set in the [[Cthulhu|Cthulhu Mythos]]<ref name="Waldron"/>, or [[Vampire: the Masquerade]], where players acted the roles of undead blood-suckers.
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 20:09, 1 July 2007

The 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons logo.

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D or DnD) is a role-playing game which takes place in magical fantasy world of mythical creatures such as elves, dwarves, orcs, and dragons. Players undertake a series of heroic adventures or quests, following a plot controlled by one player called the dungeon master (DM).

The game was originally published in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson and is now published by Wizards of the Coast.[1]

Game play

Dice of various types are used to determine outcomes. As players' characters accomplish more, they gain experience points (XP) which allow their characters to gain levels, which in turn make them more powerful and have more abilities. The DM may use a commercially-produced adventure, or may create one of his own.

The game allows players to play characters who follow one of nine different alignments; lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil. The character's alignment gives a guideline for how he or she would react in some situations. Paladins, for example, are required to be of the lawful good alignment. Most DMs forbid evil characters as they are often disruptive to the game.

The game may include occult elements like ghosts, spirits, demons and devils which the characters may fight, use or aid as they see fit.

The game settings manufactured by Wizards of the Coast (Greyhawk, Faerun, Eberron, etc.) also expressly adopt a polytheistic pantheon of deities and reject real-world religions as a part of the game. That being said, there is nothing to stop a DM from coming up with a monotheistic world in which to run his adventures. In fact, there is an unofficial published setting, Testament, that is about roleplaying in the Biblical Era. Most characters in the game worship fictional deities both as lay persons and as "clerics", a profession than any character may choose to undertake assuming their alignment matches or is close to a match with their chosen god. Clerics of these deities are granted magical powers by their chosen deity by means of which they can defeat their enemies, or heal their party members.

The game has been steadily modified and expanded since the original first edition and is now in edition 3.5.

There is now a Dungeons and Dragons Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) known as Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach which takes place in the Eberron campaign setting.

The Magic System

The magic system used in Dungeons and Dragons was adopted very roughly from the writing of fantasy and science fiction author Jack Vance. In the Vancian system, magic-users such as wizards must prepare all of their spells in advance for that day by memorizing them and a spell leaves the wizard's memory upon being cast. To cast the spell again, the magic-user must once again memorize the spell. The Vancian system was chosen for a variety of reasons such as its originality compared to pre-existing magical systems, its avoidance any connection with systems of magic described in any religion or occult theory, and it being the creation one of Gygax's favorite authors.[2][3]

The Combat System

Some of the unusual dice required to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Players fight by throwing dice having 20, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 sides. These dice are properly called polyhedral dice. This is important to distinguish these dice from standard six sided dice. Rolling two 10-sided dice creates a two-digit random number for percentages, which the rules will sometimes refer to as rolling a 100-sided die.

In combat there are three different ways that a character can damage another character: melee, ranged, or magical. Attacking another Player Character (PC) is often an evil act that will get you tossed out that group, but PC-vs-PC combat is sometimes entered by mutual agreement of the players as part of a plot.

Controversy and Criticism

Starting in the late 1970s the game and others like it came under attack mainly from some conservative Christians as promoting occult and criminal activity. Its dangers were summarized in the Dark Dungeons tract by controversial fundamentalist Christian author Jack Chick[4], who claims that D&D players whose characters reach a high enough level can learn to cast real magic spells.

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.

Player characters are sometimes rewarded with treasure and occult powers for summoning and worshiping demons and devils (but this depends upon the dungeon master and alignment of the character - in other words it never has to occur).

Another criticism is that illustrations in the rule books for Dungeons and Dragons often contain images of immodestly dressed women, and, in fact, in the first edition Monster Manual a number of pencil drawings were topless (such as harpy and succubus). When the drawings switched to color many years ago, topless pictures were removed.

Tracy Hickman, one of the main authors of the Dungeons and 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. [5] Others within the Dungeons and 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?". In response to the perceived Christian persecution of the Dungeons and Dragons, darker themed, deliberately counter-cultural games appeared in reaction such as Call of Cthluhu which is based on the horror writing of H.P. Lovecraft and set in the Cthulhu Mythos[5], or Vampire: the Masquerade, where players acted the roles of undead blood-suckers.

References

  1. Wizards of the Coast's D&D site
  2. Forum discussion: "Is D&D magic purely Vancian?"
  3. RPGnet: Review of "The Primer of Practical Magic"
  4. Jack Chick: "Dark Dungeons"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture: "Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right"