Many many years ago, during my awkward junior-high years I played role playing games. They were a way to spend hours of fun with my friends adventuring across imaginary worlds while consuming massive amounts of chips, salsa, pizza, and caffinated beverages. It was hella-fun for me and my friends, and we still tell stories about the antics we did* even now.
So when I stumbled across an anti-Dungeons & Dragons comic put out by the religious right I enjoyed a good chuckle. It’s not that whomever writes this stuff is stupid, it’s just that they really don’t understand the game itself and how it is actually played. Here is how I know this:
First, during the game, the DM instantly kills off Marcie’s character. Marcie responds by freaking out (as she obviously cannot tell the difference between herself and her beloved character). In reality, players create so many characters that they don’t have time to get that attached to just one. Myself, I had dozens of characters for different campaigns over my 10-11 years playing. Also, it’s really easy to bring back dead characters – you just have to find a cleric. In fact, one could say it’s easier to get a character brought back from the dead in D&D than it is to get access to birth control in South Dakota. Talk about a health care disparity.
Second, right before she kills herself, Marcie calls Debbie to talk but Debbie is too busy “fighting the Zombie” to talk with her. This is silly. Zombies are really easy to kill in D&D – it can be done in seconds**. There’s no way that fighting the zombie would be the climax of the evening that people couldn’t stop the game for.
Thirdly, Debbie eventually is taught (through her D&D training) to cast actual spells from the game in real life. This is ridiculous - any real player knows the spells don’t work in real life. If they did we all would have dated a lot more. But they don’t, so we were stuck having to take friends to the prom and not making out until college***. Not that this applied to me, I’m just sayin’…for example…and…stuff…
Finally, the comic would seem to indicate that the players referred to themselves and the other players by their character’s name. That doesn’t happen either. For example, I was never actually called “Bunglefoot Tallfellow” by my friends while playing. Rather, we would refer to each other as “Moron”, “Hey stupid”, and “A$$hole” because we were teenage boys and anything else would have been weirdly uncomfortable and necessitated a break from the action to go prank call the Burger King and ask if their refrigerator was running.
Still, given the context of the comic it is pretty amusing in an ironic, “Reefer Madness” sort of way. The sad thing is that one just knows that the parents who buy these for their kids are the same ones who allow them to watch as much Ultimate Fighting or Wrestling for Jesus as they want in between sessions playing Grand Theft Auto.
* Example, during one quest that I was in charge of, one friend created a character with one leg, one eye, one arm, a case of leprosy, halitosis, and mange – he proceeded to call this character “Lucky”.
** Maybe this is why zombies are all up in arms about zombie rights these days. “What do we want? BRAINS!!! When do we want ‘em!? BRAINS!!!”
*** When we discovered the magic powers of booze