Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic

David Waldron
2005 Journal of Religion and Popular Culture  
During the 1980s, the newly established industry and youth subculture associated with role-playing games came under sustained attack from schools, churches, parents and governments, instigated by the Christian Right via organizations such as B.A.D.D. (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons). While both the organization B.A.D.D and its claims linking Roleplaying games to youth suicide, drug use and Satanism eventually were discredited, the impact of these accusations lingers on to the present. This
more » ... article examines the impact of the role-playing game "moral panic" on the role-playing game community and investigates the responses and coping mechanisms utilised by those directly targeted and harassed by churches, the police, schools and governments during the height of the "moral panic" in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The article also investigates the effect that the shared experience of being targeted by a "moral panic" had on the formation of a roleplaying counter culture and community. What are Role-playing Games? [1] Role-playing games (RPGs) are a form of interactive novel in which the protagonists create and control the actions of a cast of characters. The characters operate in a virtual world controlled by a referee/narrator figure called the GM or games master, depending on which variant of game is being played. (Variants
doi:10.3138/jrpc.9.1.003 fatcat:rhpfsrnomnbctb73vwjca5u4e4