- Many of the same guys in my D&D group also played Traveller, with much less frustration, stupidity & rudeness. Was it the system... or was it the way I ran the two games differently?
- OTOH, when I ran a boardgaming club in Nashville, we shared our in-store night with two RPG groups... one who played D&D with the store owner DMing (which was as "normal" as those kind of things go) and one that played a variety of RPG systems - and managed to get in rules fights & personality clashes on a regular basis. It didn't matter what system these guys played... there was a better than even chance of these guys getting ticked off at each other, spewing venom & anger on themselves and everyone around them.
- wake up
- play Everquest while eating breakfast
- go to work
- think about Everquest while working
- come home
- play Everquest while eating dinner... and then well into the night
- fall asleep and dream about Everquest
- lather... rinse... repeat... (of course, by using this metaphor for doing the same thing over & over, I am not implying that those who were addicted to EverCrack remembered to shower...)
Look, I know that any game system can be involving - even in the Euro gaming community:
- those groups that refuse to play anything but Settlers of Catan
- the Puerto Rico snobs who openly ridicule "substandard" opening moves
- the Heroscape addicts who pester store managers on a near-daily basis to see if the latest expansion has arrived (admission: I've never actually pestered a store manager, but I've sure thought about it)
But there is a special quality to games that create an ongoing "virtual" world that is seductive & interesting... and can lead to some seriously obsessive behaviors. Like refusing to have a real life because your "virtual" life is so much better.
So, combine intense identification (sometimes to the point of transference) with obsessive/addictive behavior... and you've got DW's "corrosive influence." D&D has the potential for bringing out great creativity in those who play it - while at the same time talking some folks "over the edge" into a "virtual world" where they attempt to hid from their real world issues behind stacks of manuals, graph paper & polyhedral dice.
I am not saying that "D&D turns everything it touches to crap." Many folks involved in roleplaying live normal adult lives. They are able to have a conversation without bringing up their character and his latest adventures. They have relationships that center around feelings & responsibilities, instead of trying to get their girlfriend to wear a chainmail bikini and planning their employment around their gaming sessions.
I'm just saying that it has the potential for harm... handle with care.
You'll notice that I didn't list "Christianity vs the occult" as my reason for agreeing with DW. (Man, I can tell I have two young children... every time I type DW, I think about Arthur & Buster.) If I'd chosen to do that, we would have had to title this post DW, Black Oak Arkansas & World of Warcraft. I'm not saying that this isn't a questionable area. I've had friends who found D&D to be a stepping stone into so-called "white magic" and a passle of other activities which are clearly forbidden in the Bible. It just wasn't the primary reason I found compelling in my own life. For some of you, that's bothering you... a lot. In my role as a pastor, I should be thundering down the Mountain of Truth, riding my noble steed, Zeal, (armed with a double-edged "sword") as I tear into these godless pagans who would actually be involved in "fantasy." Sorry - that's not gonna happen. (I'll talk about the positive use of fantasy in another post.) OTOH, some of you need to stop snickering behind your hands at Christians who take a strong & consistent stance on cultural issues. You may or may not agree that avoiding the works of J.K. Rowling & J.R.R. Tolkien is an intelligent decision, but you need to acknowledge their right in a free society to do such a thing - and their courage to forego "fitting in" to stand by their convictions. Note to both sides: that's what tolerance REALLY is: letting people believe other things without verbally and/or physically attacking them for doing so. You don't have to agree with them... goodness knows I think Al Franken's a funny man who should stop trying to be political and that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer who was the first to figure out that nobody was catering to the political views of 50% of Americans. Either way, they both have the right to speak - and toleration means I don't try to shut them up via legal or illegal means. (I just turn the dial back to Jack 105.9 and/or slip in some David Crowder Band.) And, in a final parting shot, what tolerance is NOT: making sure everyone expresses thoughts that everyone can agree with, or at least pretend to agree with.)