November's topic for the RPG Blog Carnival is religion.
In The B.A.D.D. Files, part1 I posted the first of a set of text files shared in the 80s and 90s among Christians alarmed about the nature of Dungeons & Dragons and roleplaying games in general. Today's text file is about the sad story of Darren Molitor. The History of Role-Playing, Part IV from issue 4 of Places to Go, People to Be has the story in brief:
In 1984, Pulling involved BADD in the trial of Darren Molitor. Darren was being tried for the murder of a young girl which allegedly occurred while he was acting out a Halloween joke. Pulling convinced the defence to argue on Molitor's lack of culpability due to the influence of D&D, presenting many so-called "D&D-experts" as witnesses. This evidence was dismissed as irrelevant, but this did not deter BADD from intervening in other trials.
What was most frightening about this incident was that BADD was also able to convince Molitor of the game's control over his actions. Under this belief, Molitor penned a damning essay blaming D&D for his crime, which was then widely disseminated by BADD. Later, Molitor stated that he was under a lot of stress and "completely in confusion" when he wrote the essay, and hence "may have gone overboard". He added "I no longer feel the game is dangerous for everyone".
The whole article has even more context, such as the thinness of the credentials of the "experts" and Pulling's own sad story. This file is B.A.D.D.'s own account of Molitor's story followed by the infamous essay itself:
The following is an essay written by Darren Molitor, a former D&D player. Darren was a very devout D&D player who sometimes played marathon games that lasted for days.
The friends with whom this young man often played D&D, began "horsing around" in a game of their own while preparing for a "Friday the 13th party" on March 13, 1984. The "horsing around" went too far, and a young girl named Mary Towey (18 yrs old) became the victim of a "mind game." She was strangled to death by Darren Molitor.
Darren stated repeatedly in his trial that when he and another boy tied Mary up, they were just "messing with her mind." By the physical evidence in the case, a coroner testified that the death did appear accidental; however, a jury found Darren guilty of murder in the first degree.
The prosecution sought the death penalty, but Darren received a life sentence instead. D&D was a major influence in Darren's behavior at the time of the incident, but because of a lack of knowledge on the part of the police regarding D&D, this area of influence was not explored until it was too late to be considered "relevant."
Darren, in his own defense, never tried to excuse his actions. The essay that he has written on D&D was done after his trial, and he initially sent this essay to an elementary school in the hopes of helping young children.
Prior to his involvement with D&D, this young man had never been in any trouble.
Dungeons and Dragons - March 22, 1985 by Darren Molitor
I'm sure many, if not all, of you have heard about or played the very popular game of "Dungeons and Dragons". Now I'm not speaking of the board game of which there is one, I'm speaking of the game that is played in your minds.
To give some backround of the game for those of you that heven't had the so-called priviledgd of experiencing the game let me tell you about it.
The game is called "Dungeons and Dragons" and it is a fantasy role- playing game. As you can probably assume from the title it is set in the medieval era of our time of history. Because it is a game of "fantasy" anything is possible and being a "role-playing" game means you act as a character of that time as if you were on stage. But there is no physical action on the players part. Everything is played or imagined in the mind. And you as a player, are the sole person responsible for the actions of your character or characters. You control him totally. His/her actions, words, feelings, thoughts. Everything about this character you control.
To obtain a "character", a player must first roll three six-sided dice. Add up the numbers rolled and write it down. A player does this six times and then he must organize the numbers he has rolled to the six characteristics of his character. The six characteristics are strength, intelligence, wisdom, constitution, dexterity and charisma. These six characteristics are the "heart" of your character. After which the player may roll to obtain the height and weight or he/she may choose it. The player assigns a race to the character, a class, which is his/her occupation and the alignment. An alignment is the character's attitude or outlook on life. The different classes are many and each class has a sub-class. They are the following: cleric, (druid); fighter, (paladin, ranger); magic-user, (illusionist); thief, (assassin); monk and bard. The different alignments are: lawful good, lawful neutral, lawful evil, netural, chaotic good, chaotic neutral and chaotic evil. Now the player rolls a particular die or dice, of which are many to obtain a character's hit points. The "hit points" are the ammount of stamina or damage the character can sustain before going into a coma or even dying. You then give him/her some money, by rolling the dice, and equiping him with supplies, weapons and armor. From here there is only two more steps. The first is to roll and obtain the spells a character has if he/she is able to use them. Some classes use spells and others don't. The final stage is picking a name for your newborn character. He/she is now a true and real person in the player's mind.
There is also a player called the dungeon master or DM, for short. This player is usually more familiar and experienced in the game. The DM is a VERY important part of the game. Also a very powerful part. He/she plays the sole role of being "god" of the game. The DM controls everything that happens within the game. The only part of the game he does not control entirely is the actions of your character. But he/she may constrict them if he/she chooses. He/she is also in control of that player's character's life. The DM may decide to destroy the character for some reason, but it should not be for any personal reason and the DM should refrain from doing such actions unless the player of that character has become uncontrollable and has changed the fun of the game.
The DM has a lot of responsibility, as you can imagine. For example, the DM must create an adventure or dungeon. There are many books called modules with "dungeons" already prepared, but for the most part the DM creates them himself/herself. He/she must create the scenery (indoor, outdoor, underground, the various and numerable characters a player may encounter, the temperature, the smell, the monsters and the treasure. It is a very long and tedious process and the average dungeon takes anywhere from 36-48 hours of work. There is one case of the game being followed, that the DM, a lady, has quit her job and does nothing except create and prepare a dungeon for her players. She has created an entire country. The players of the group support her living necessities. They pay for her home, her groceries, her bills, etc.
The game is played with two or more people with the average group consisting of 5, including the DM. The DM, as I have explained, runs the show. He/she will describe, in detail, what is around you. What action is taking place, what sounds you may hear, what smells you may notice, etc., etc. From here it is the player's option of what to do. The player must decide what his/her character is going to do. In responce the DM tells the players of the result of their actions. As I've said before, a character may do anything, I emphasize anything, that a player wants him/her to do. For example; the DM has just told you that you have come up a cave entrance. It is midday, warm, you hear what appears as water running from inside, but you can't see anything. The players now decide if they wish to enter the cave, throw a stone in to try and locate the water, yell something in to try and get a response or just ignore it completely.
Another example is; you are in a room or chamber underground that you have discovered. There is a table, some chairs, a desk with numerous jars on it. There is a lot of dust covering everything. And in the corner a chest sits. As a player your first instinct is to search the chest for some treasure. During the process of checking for any traps and trying to unlock it a few orcs (a type of human-like monster, resembling a pig) sneak up from behind. They are very angry and have their weapons drawn and are about to attack. What do you do now? If you are a spell user you attempt to cast a spell. You may try and bargain with them. Or, amd most likely, you may fight them. You draw your weapon and charge. Now the dice come in. The DM rolls a six-sided, eight-sided, ten-sided or twelve-sided, depending on the weapon and the result is the amount of damage to the orc. Now the orc or orcs swing. The same process is used. And this continues until you or they are dead.
Remember now, all of this is imagined in the mind. You can actually see this. What they look like, how you're swinging, the damage given and obtained. It all appears in the mind.
The reason for explaining so much is so you may understand how the game is played. It may seem to be harmless and very entertaining and it is entertaining, but far from harmless. I have had the experience of the game for more than 3 years now and I know the effects of the game. For the majority of those that play it becomes a way to escape reality. It is a way of letting tension and anxieties loose. And that is good. But subjecting the mind to the amounts of violence involved isn't. It is far more bad than it is good. Especially to a young mind. And an 18 or 20 year old still has a young mind. Its effects are both mental and physical. It is in comparison to drugs, alcohol or tobacco. It is very possessive, addictive and evil. Evil may sound wrong or peculiar to explain a game, but there is no other way to describe it. It is a device of Satan to lure us away from God. It is an occult.
An occult you say? What is an occult? Defined in American Family and School Dictionary, a publication based on the American College Dictionary, prepared by Random House, Inc., it is: beyond the bounds of ordinary knowledge; magical; supernatural; mystical. Staying on the same subject let's define occultism: the doctrine or study of the supernatural, magical, imaginary, etc. Stated concisely it is the participation or involvement in ANYWAY with fortune telling, magic practices, spiritism, or false religions cults and teachings. Within that category is using a ouija board, ESP, telepathy, horoscope, a seance, yoga, remote influence of the subconscious mind of others, self-hypnosis, following astrology and Dungeons and Dragons(R). They are all connected with an occult or are considered occultism practice. All such occults are condemned by God in the Scriptures, being an abomination unto Him and are under His curse. To quote a passage from an article written by Dr. Hobart E. Freeman, I write the following:
"The Scriptures condemn all forms of occultism as sorcery and warn that.... they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21), but
".....are an abomination unto the Lord" (Deut. 18:12),
and ".... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8).
From earliest times God forbade occultism as spiritually defiling (Lev. 19:31), and made participation in it punishable by death (Ex. 22:18; Lev. 20:27), and cause for rejection of that soul by God (Lev. 20:6).
Dungeons and Dragons(R) is based on magic and the supernatural. There is, in fact, a hard bound book entitled "Deities and DemiGods" for the sole purpose of informing you of the "gods" that are involved in the game. It gives complete details of the "gods" and it expects you as a player character to pick a "god" to worship him/her. To pray to, to sacrifice to, to obey. And to die for if necessary.
Not only is the game based on the supernatural and magic it involves violence. Serious violence! The type of violence not allowed on TV. There is hack and slash murder, rape, theivery, pillaging and terrorism. And in the game it is natural and expected for a character to do those things. A character must, at least, murder and rob in order to survive. And it is the object of the game to survive. To do whatever you must, to anybody or anything, in order to survive and become more powerful and wealthy. The more you do those things the longer you live. The longer you live the more powerful you become and usually with power comes wealth.
You may be saying, "All of that may be true, but what does that have to do with me (or my children)? It has everything to do with you (or your children) if you (or they) are involved in the game. As I have repeated several times the game is played or imagined entirely in the mind. Totally and only in the mind. The conscious mind experiences these visions as reality while playing. And if it is played, let's say, 3-5 times a week, 4-8 hours each time, the conscious mind becomes accustomed to such acts of violence. Then when the person is finished playing for that day, it is all pushed back to the subconscious supposedly. But it is known that the mind is very powerful and unexplainable. It is very possible for the sub-conscious mind to "overpower" the conscious mind. Suddenly you are no longer in total control of your mind. The "fantasy game" becomes a "reality game". You begin to live it for real. Everything you do, or say, involves or associates to the game itself. You no longer play the game for enjoyment, you play it because you feel you have to. You must have it (play it) just like a person on drugs, achohol or tobacco must have them. It is an addiction. And your mind is under the control of the game. It is possessed by the game.
Now, you're probably saying that won't happen to me (or my children) because I won't let it happen or I'm too smart for that to happen. Believe me, it happens! And it happens to anyone. It has happened to me. It has happened to many college students that have committed suicide or have done some serious bodily harm to themselves and or others. It has happened to many younger teenagers, 13 and 14. The destruction it can cause to the mind and soul is incredible. It's rather unexplainable. I and many others have had some very bad experiences because of the game and I am writing too, on their behalf to warn or make you aware of the game. It is dangerous and against God's command.
There are as I've said numerous recorded accounts of teenagers 13 to 19 and some older persons that have had some troublesome experiences. Many have commited suicide due to the game. Another good many have either caused serious harm to themselves or other individuals. And some have coused the death of a friend or family member by accident, but because of the "game", they took the "game" one step too far. "Playing" it for real one time too many. For some it was the last time they played it or any other game. Many were lucky, but you may not be.
And the fact is, that you don't even have to be playing the game at the time. The mind is continuously "playing" the game. You could have played it 2 or 3 days prior, but your mind is still playing.
So, please for your own safety and salvation and the safety of others don't play the game anymore. If you don't play it now, don't even start. It is more dangerous than I can fully explain. Don't play with your physical life that way and don't condemn your soul to hell by participating in the game.
A very concerned ex-player, Darren Molitor
If you would like to write to Darren Molitor or his parents the mailing address is:
Darren Molitor C/O Mr. & Mrs. Louis Molitor 2303 Sublette St. Louis, MO 63110
Or you may decide to send a word of encouragement to Darren's parents.
There is another young man who is in a similiar situation and he is 16 years old. He is guilty of murder in the first degree. He never had a trial (plea bargaining was involved). His parents feel that D & D was responsible for his bizarre behavior in the murder of a next door neighbor.
Paul Sargent C/O Mr. & Mrs. Robert Sargent 6545 Tauronee Kansas City, Kansas 66102
His parents certainly need a word of encouragement.
Reprinted with permission from:
B.A.D.D. Inc. P.O. Box 5513 Richmond, VA 23220
(B.A.D.D. stands for Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons - a national organization concerned about the widespread playing of D & D and its effects.)
This file has been brought to you by:
Southern Maryland Christian Information Service BBS (301) 862-3160 HST P.O. Box 463 California, MD 20619 Sysop: Buggs Buggs
The ironically-extensive space in the essay given to how the game is played and the awkward misuse of the word "occult" make this one particularly awful.