Tabletop Role-Playing was Soul Devouring / Satanic

I really enjoyed a video staff writer Dave did this week for his personal YouTube Channel. The video titled ‘Why You are Probably a Satanist” delves into the moral panic that surrounded tabletop role-playing games back in the early / mid 80’s. As an – ahem – more mature tabletop gamer the video brought back many memories for me because I recalled the time with great clarity.

Shepparton role-playing club mid 1980sYes, that’s me rockin the double denim with my terrifying demonic friends.

At that time I was treasurer and secretary of our local tabletop role-playing club. I cannot put into words the fun I had back then. It is hard to get across the innocence of that time, before mass marketing and huge companies existed in the hobby, before games released weekly. When we had to wait months for a new book or rule-set to hit our little hobby store (which was an outdoor store in my town, it sold camping, fishing and hardware goods, along with a small shelf for video games and role-playing games / miniatures).

This was a time when we’d play all weekend, we’d meet at the club – a musty, dark room in our local Mechanics Institute Hall – on a Saturday from noon. We’d play for 5 or so hours, go home, get some dinner and then start again at 7.30 at someones house. Good times and never once were our souls in danger. The only thing that truly happened was friendships forged that have lasted 30+ years and for the younger gamers school maths grades rose (thank you THAC0).

Occult and Dungeons and DragonsOh Debbie, one minute you’re playing a game, next, you’re a witch.

Our souls were never in danger, role-playing never caused suicide, murder, witchcraft or mass delusion, it never caused any of the crazy things the media at the time would report. It never did the things books, leaflets and reports suggested. Like heavy metal music at its peak, parents needed something to be scared of (or in some cases blame for a terrible event). This wasn’t a new trend, the Beatles, The Doors…. women wearing trousers! All these things were going to corrupt people.

Humans are dopes, we need to be scared of something, as Dave mentions in his video the latest craze of Pokemon Go has had its detractors in similar fashion. I call it the Pied Piper Syndrome, a ‘thing’ comes to town and hypnotizes your children into mindlessly following. Let’s give kids – and adults – a bit more credit eh?

Our souls are safe, enjoy yourself, don’t grow old too soon, keep your imagination alight, play games and just be nice to one another… Do that and you’re all good.

Here’s Dave’s awesome video: