[RPG] Best answer for people concerned about RPG activities being occult or dangerous


I've had many experiences where the very fact of roleplaying triggered some concerned comment from the "uninitiated," likely parents or neighbors. Some examples:

  • A friend of mine hosted a Vampires session in a small square in his neighborhood, during a very nice summer evening. They played by candlelight (citronella ones, since mosquitoes are a bane where I lived). Neighbors were concerned that a satanic ritual was in progress.
  • I've been asked by my parents what kind of game this "roleplaying game" is, and "are you sure is not some kind of strange thing?" When I explained it to them, they didn't understand exactly how it worked. Ironically, my parents when young were crucial players in the deployment of the historical restoration of my city's Palio, which can be rightfully defined "LARP on steroids."
  • A friend of mine (a young but highly skilled medical doctor who had already saved some lives) was stopped by a preacher: he replied that he was not interested, since his god was already Bahamut, describing him as a good dragon. Clearly a joke, but the preacher cowered away saying that it was an evil plot of the devil.
  • Finally, on the net you can find plenty of material about this argument.

Now, we mostly laugh at these things. Personally, the best answer I was able to use as a comeback was, "The fact that you played a lot of Monopoly in your youth didn't turn you into an evil corporate executive who bankrupts friends and sniffs coke with their money."

My question is: has this situation happen to you? What is the best answer to give as a simple comeback?

Best Answer

In the early 80s, we played AD&D, Gamma World and other games at the local pizza parlor in our town. Some concerned citizens/religious whack-jobs/folks got wind that we were doing that and started dropping off Chick Tracts with us. It was the heyday of D&D fear and I had friends with parents who would hear some crazy untruths about D&D and take away (and even destroy!) all their game-books.

But these folks -- whom we dismissed at first, really wanted to save our heathen butts. So eventually, we engaged them in conversation. At one point they claimed that anything you do with your time that doesn't glorify Christ is an abomination. They didn't have a good answer about the value of picking your nose or putting on your shoes. But they were actually civil and well-mannered. We tried to get them to join us for a game -- to tell us how it was sinful. They watched a bit but would never play. They also stopped coming around.

I like to hope that maybe they learned something and changed their priorities.

I haven't really encountered anything like that since.