They See Me Rollin', They Hatin'

A good friend of mine (who sometimes — occasionally — posts things on the internets) proposed a joint venture:

How would you feel about a role playing group that plays once a month for about four hours, records the sessions, and posts the highlights as a podcast?

I love the idea, because I greatly miss having an RPG group. But this has been done before, so what’s the hook?

We can try using D&D Next as a way to introduce it and test it out.

Fantastic. I only know a little of what I’ve heard or read in forums online, so a hands-on D&D Next experience would give me perspective and potentially be useful for readers/listeners. Certainly more than “check out the stupid antics of our RPG group” would.

I’m looking forward to the idea, but there are a few technical tests to run and we need a fourth member, so this isn’t happening tomorrow, just sometime in the Future ™. That’s assuming we don’t all lose our motivation and get sucked into some other distraction.

Then I was chatting with my wife today, and she mentioned how she lost a friend on Facebook over D&D. How do you lose a friend you barely know over D&D?

The source of all evil!
The source of all evil!

People fear the unknown, and if all they’re given is misinformation or worst-case examples, it’s easy to villify “that thing those people do” without ever giving it a chance or at least some rational thought. A lot of our friends are Christians, and sometimes we can be the worst at getting good information on a subject. Harry Potter is a tool of Satan in the “culture war” to introduce kids to witchcraft, right? And Star Wars is a tool of Satan to get kids hooked on New Age ideas. And Twilight is a tool of Satan to make kids stupid…

Well, maybe there’s something there.

But all too often we go off half-cocked on whatever the new cultural phenomenon is, and in the 80s, D&D got the same mistreatment from the Christian community. “People sit around in the darkness with candles casting spells!” and “Kids kill themselves when their characters die in the game!”

Hardly. More like “Friends sit around a table and interact in person telling stories, instead of acting like zombies staring at a TV screen or the light of a smartphone.”

But myths are hard to dispel. (Dispel… like dispelling MAGIC! Now my words are starting to incorporate witchcraft terminology! See how easily the evil creeps in?)

Spreading warts since... never.
Spreading warts since… never.

My family and I were at a park the other day, and in the course of playing around, we found a toad. After some effort, including a hilarious moment when the frisbee we tossed onto the toad started hopping around the sandbox, we successfully captured the beast.

We released it, and moments later, a little girl was watching it closely with wide eyes. Her parents stood close by, and the mom said, “Did you pick that toad up? That’s a horrible idea! That’s how you get warts!”

No, it’s not. But that’s been said so long, many of us believe it’s true.

To my Christian friends, is it possible we are all too willing to believe the scary news about whatever the next thing is, rather than investigate for ourselves and find the truth? My first-hand experiences with D&D and other RPGs have been nothing but positive. You can find some of those accounts in the Gaming category on this blog.

And to any RPG friends, maybe you’re curious what D&D Next will look like. Or maybe you’ve had a bad experience and can use a second opinion. Or maybe our group will discover that it really sucks, and we’ll post rants complaining about the dumbing down of the traditional game. In any event, I expect it will be a fun ride.

So stay tuned for updates, and keep an open mind.

D&D Next is not the Devil.

…or is it?

4 thoughts on “They See Me Rollin', They Hatin'”

  1. I liked your article and wanted to post a reply from one gamer to another. My game of choice is D&D but have ventured out into other gaming arenas but have always found my way home to D&D….but I digress.

    What resonated with me about your article is that is it surprising (or not) how often people make a judgement about something, anything without figuring it out for themselves. In this case it was gaming-at-large but this behavior extends into all realms of life like religion and politics. Sadly we are becoming a land of hand-me-down knowledge, not first-hand experiencers. (if that makes sense)

    The age-old arguments of “I am not going to try something I know to be bad because I might be influenced but its evil taint or sucked into it” or any ridiculous answer often seem to me like cop-outs and don’t hold much water when put to scrutiny.

    I also feel where you are coming from when you talk about face-to-face activities .vs plopping down in front of a screen for entertainment. When did people stop being active and having tangible hobbies?

    Enough for now. Liked your article and look forward to reading more of them.


    James Nutt

  2. I definitely get where you are coming from with this. My friends and I have played tabletop RPGs for about ten years now; the last year of which has been over Google Chat. The idea of publishing portions of the session had been tossed around about doing something similar, but never got any momentum.

    But, moving on, the whole D&D is the Devil thing was something I have had to deal with, and still get it today from certain individuals. It is about impossible to get those kinds of beliefs to die down. In Jr High I used to carry around my D&D manuals and ready them when I could, but eventually stopped, just because of the negative remarks that I got for doing so. Being a little older now, I just don’t care, but as young as I was, it made me doubt myself and the things that I found enjoyment in.

    After years of D&D and various other RPGs, we have changed direction to building our own. As a group, we started looking for something more than what D&D has to offer. But, if you end up creating some pod casts about D&D Next, let me know. I am certain I would enjoy observing another gaming group in action.

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