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I posted this in Serious Discussion because I want realistic answers.

Growing up here in the Philippines, which is a Catholic-dominant country, (I'm not Catholic though) we are taught that a lot of things are vile and evil, such as Halloween and Harry Potter.

(You know, I found it ironic that a library in a Christian school had copies of (from "least" "offensive" to "most" "offensive") Captain Underpants, Percy Jackson, and even Twilight, but no HP books to be found.)

Now the "worst offender" has probably got to be D&D. Toy stores have Halloween catalogs, I've met a lot of Harry Potter fans (including myself), but I've yet to see a Filipino who plays D&D.

Now, I want to get everyone's opinions on the matter. Is it evil? Or is it something neutral? The problem is, most online sources are biased. I want to see individual, unbiased opinions.

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I never understood why this was ever a thing. Yes, demons and demonic things exist in D&D, but it was already understood that this was also a game with very prominent fantasy elements. One of the main creators/designers of D&D, Gary Gygax, who was credited with almost all of it, was a devout Christian his entire life, yet often had to defend his game from being attacked by religious types that didn't understand that it was all just in good fun.

Edited by Tryhard

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Since you're on a nichy geek forum, you're probably not getting unbiased answers. You're gonna get a lot of 'it's not evil.'

That said, it's a game. It's not "evil." It doesn't encourage anything particularly evil by my point of view and I don't know how it could be considered evil outside of the occasional religious community mindset I've encountered of "things depicting witchcraft/demons/etc. are evil"... which is not even universally agreed upon within religious communities.

But even so, we can't decide if something is evil or not based on what one subculture thinks, unless we're only determining whether it's evil to that subculture.

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Inherently, no. I know some Christians who enjoy playing D&D without problem, and I enjoy reading the webcomics DM of the Rings and Darths & Droids, which are basically Lord of the Rings and Star Wars as D&D games respectively. The games don't have to be limited to a fantasy setting, and can indeed take place in sci-fi or superhero settings.

However, it largely depends on which group you're playing with. Some games will be lighthearted (a friend of mine told me that the quest of one session was to find a solution to stop a quite literal raining of cats and dogs. Although they saved the animals through the use of levitation spells, they now had to deal with an influx of the cat and dog population) and will avoid the demonic stuff altogether. However, some GM's put the players in morally grey situations, allow the use torture, or maybe get a bit too invested in the ocultic/chtulu mythos than what the players may be comfortable with.

In the end, it depends on which group you're playing with, and what kind of story and setting you're playing, as well as knowing when to say "no."

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Fiction is not evil. If it's make belief then it's okay. D&D doesn't proclaim any truth in real life. It's inspired by ideas of the real world.

You read for entertainment. You listen to music for entertainment. You play for entertainment. It's all the same. Just to stimulate your bored mind.

Edited by silveraura25

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Thanks guys. As for the issue of demons, most people think that when something depicts demons, it is automatically evil. This is not the case. The issue is how they are portrayed. Also, a lot of people say it promotes doing evil. I'd say it is a matter of a human's free will. Plus, actions have consequences.

Meanwhile, I've noticed a pattern. Protestants are usually the ones to, well, protest against media, while the Catholic Church focuses more on moral and political issues such as death penalty and birth control.

On the topic of games, I'd like it to be lighthearted. My favorite RPGs are AdventureQuest Worlds, Kingom of Loathing, West of Loathing, Fire Emblem, and Skyrim. Those are typically my standards on what should be featured in an RPG. The first three are more of parodies and employ humor a lot, while the latter two are examples of how to make a well-crafted world. I like humor being incorporated in stories, in both those I read and those I make.

Also, is it possible to make your own spells in D&D, like a Pokémon-esque Tri Attack or a Cheese Storm triggered by saying "CHEESE FOR EVERYONE!" or even more food-based combat spells? User input would be nice.

Edited by Purple Mage

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1 minute ago, Purple Mage said:

Thanks guys. As for the issue of demons, most people think that when something depicts demons, it is automatically evil. This is not the case. The issue is how they are portrayed.

Meanwhile, I've noticed a pattern. Protestants are usually the ones to, well, protest against media, while the Catholic Church focuses more on moral and political issues such as death penalty and birth control.

On the topic of games, I'd like it to be lighthearted. My favorite RPGs are AdventureQuest Worlds, Kingom of Loathing, West of Loathing, Fire Emblem, and Skyrim. Those are typically my standards on what should be featured in an RPG. The first three are more of parodies and employ humor a lot, while the latter two are examples of how to make a well-crafted world. I like humor being incorporated in stories, in both those I read and those I make.

Also, is it possible to make your own spells in D&D, like a Pokémon-esque Tri Attack or a Cheese Storm triggered by saying "CHEESE FOR EVERYONE!" or even more food-based combat spells? User input would be nice.

Haven't really done anything like that, but check examples in d&d homebrew wiki.

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In D&D you can pretend to be any kind of person you want(in a fantasy setting) so the game is only "evil" if you make it evil as a player or dungeon master. Personally I'm a Catholic and I play D&D at social gatherings all the time and I'm not bothered by it at all because I've never run into any players who actively try to worship the occult or the demonic.

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1 minute ago, TheGoodHoms said:

In D&D you can pretend to be any kind of person you want(in a fantasy setting) so the game is only "evil" if you make it evil as a player or dungeon master. Personally I'm a Catholic and I play D&D at social gatherings all the time and I'm not bothered by it at all because I've never run into any players who actively try to worship the occult or the demonic.

Ooh, thanks for the input. I'm more of a Protestant myself, however. Although I guess I have some slight eccentricities.

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9 minutes ago, Purple Mage said:

Thanks guys. As for the issue of demons, most people think that when something depicts demons, it is automatically evil. This is not the case. The issue is how they are portrayed. Also, a lot of people say it promotes doing evil. I'd say it is a matter of a human's free will. Plus, actions have consequences.

Somewhat agreed, though it still annoys me when games (or any media, for that matter) inserts demons into their work, especially when the setting could work just as fine without them. I hate that the called Demise a demon in The Legend Of Zelda, despite having little to do with the actual occult for this reason, and I do admit that their were moments when trying out the original DOOM that made me uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.

Since The Screwtape Letters is one of my favorite books, some of this stems from knowing demons to be real, and also knowing that one of their tactics is to present themselves as "goat-eared men in tights" and "that videogame enemy you can blast away with a shotgun," so that humans don't take them as seriously. The other reason is that, since I'm in a bible study, I've heard, seen, and read about people's experience with demons, and it's rightfully something that one should stay far away from.

It should also be of note that temperance is a factor. I know that some people could read or watch something like Harry Potter and treat them as stories and have no interest in magic beyond that, yet others could be dangerously interested in witchcraft and other magic, and would need cut off their interest and stop viewing in such things. 

Though yeah, D&D isn't limited to just a fantasy setting, and if you're interested in seeing how a D&D game could play out, the aforementioned webcomics DM of the Rings and Darths & Droids are humorous resources, and they both give good tips on being a GM, a PC, and playing D&D as a whole.

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41 minutes ago, Purple Mage said:

Meanwhile, I've noticed a pattern. Protestants are usually the ones to, well, protest against media, while the Catholic Church focuses more on moral and political issues such as death penalty and birth control.

I'm not sure this is so true, either. You'll see large moral issues from both sides as well as minor issues such as this. There really isn't a separation of priorities in this particular way between Protestant and Catholic that I can think of.

Edited by Specta

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Just now, Hawkwing said:

Somewhat agreed, though it still annoys me when games (or any media, for that matter) inserts demons into their work, especially when the setting could work just as fine without them. I hate that the called Demise a demon in The Legend Of Zelda, despite having little to do with the actual occult for this reason, and I do admit that their were moments when trying out the original DOOM that made me uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons.

 

That sounds like a personal problem. How would Demise not being a demon make sense?

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3 minutes ago, ukulelej said:

That sounds like a personal problem. How would Demise not being a demon make sense?

Eh, I was fine with Ganon just being a normal human/monster. I find it more of an annoyance that an actual problem. I just think that the Legend of Zelda series shouldn't even TRY to delve into that kind of stuff, no matter how lightly, even if it's in name only.

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18 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

Though yeah, D&D isn't limited to just a fantasy setting, and if you're interested in seeing how a D&D game could play out, the aforementioned webcomics DM of the Rings and Darths & Droids are humorous resources, and they both give good tips on being a GM, a PC, and playing D&D as a whole.

There are a couple of Youtubers and Twitch streamers who broadcast their D&D sessions, if you're interested. I've grown quite fond of Team Four Star's campaign (the group behind Dragon Ball Abridged, although only one of the D&D players is a writer) as my background noise when cooking or doing the dishes.

I'm not familiar with D&D lore myself because I used to play a different system, but as far as I know, another reason why some religious fundamentalists decry D&D (as well as the fantasy genre as a whole) is that it depicts both witchcraft and decidedly non-christian religion in a positive way. For example, the main religion in the world of the game I used to play knows twelve main god and a whole bunch of demigods, so that players have a good number of different clerics to choose amongst (and because interaction between the churches can be a nice hook for a campaign). In-universe, that pantheon is practically confirmed to be real gods and "good", so I can imagine that some religious folks find that even more disturbing than the existence of demons in these games (and other media of that genre).

However, I'll also say that we had a quite devout protestant christian in our group as well - it's really not like piety and fantasy role playing are mutually exclusive. ;)

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I think it depends on the players, I have never played it myself but I did watch the TV show as a kid and it was pretty clear that the bad guys were bad and the good guys were good though there were some episodes where the good guys did not look like good guys.  Anything can be twisted if the players want to play that way but most of the time I think players play for fun and to be the hero.  So, no I don't think it is "evil" at all, of course that is up to personal judgement and I tend to take what a group of people call evil with grain of salt and judge it for myself.  I have been called satanic because my blood sugar went low and I lost control of myself, and I loved my black dog that I had as a teen and I love the black cat I have now.  Honestly use your own judgement.

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First and foremost, YOU PLAY AQW?! Excellent taste, friend, excellent taste.

As for the question, I'll go ahead and state the same issue I had with the Good-Evil choice in AQW: They try to make the Evil side look better. In AQW for example, my 12/13-year-old self was given the choice between an old guy slowly becoming corrupted by the powers of not-Evil and a 20-ish-year-old girl. Considering this was about the time in my life that I'd start being into girls, wonder what I'd pick?(Long unlive the ShadowScythe btw)
While I do agree that there's nothing inherently wrong with playing D&D in and of itself, I also want to point out that there's something alluring about being able to be Evil without any foreseeable backlash, and I do get where people are coming from when they don't want anyone to have that option. Essentially, I think it's more that a game like D&D kind of removes the major consequences that may come from choosing to be Evil, and eventually that mindset has potential to transfer over into real life with possibly disastrous results.

To Summarize: It's not the game itself that seems questionable, it's the partial disconnect from real life consequences.

Edited by SoulWeaver

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3 hours ago, Specta said:

But even so, we can't decide if something is evil or not based on what one subculture thinks, unless we're only determining whether it's evil to that subculture.

This is important to remember; the definition of ‘evil’ varies hugely. 

For example, Catholics in other countries are fine with D&D. My mother is about as devoutly Catholic as you can get and she thought our D&D sessions were great fun. 

Other people will say anything make-believe isn’t evil.

You have people, too, who will refuse to read Harry Potter but are fine with dropping an actual bomb on an enemy city.

Anyway, D&D sessions depend wholly upon the players and DM. I will say that nothing I’ve ever experienced in a D&D game has come as close to being as dark as a game like Skyrim, if you want a point of reference. Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood and Daedric quests are definitely amongst the most morally questionable make-believe scenes I’ve encountered (another example would be the torture scene in GTA V). 

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D&D isn't any more evil than Lord of the Rings or Final Fantasy.  It's just improv theater meets turn based strategy.

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My perspective might be a little weird on this whole deal... but my older brother recently married into a family that runs an... interesting ministry. It's all about helping people come to grips with their past and all that,  but for some reason they seem to attract a few psychos and perverts. Literally. Anyway, a lot of these people show signs of demon possession (i.e. hearing strange voices, producing unnatural sounds, doing things physically impossible for humans), which could all be faked or whatnot, but to the people themselves, it feels very real. A lot of them report various causes for their "possession", including Stephen King novels, Ouija boards, and, yes, D&D. The occult in general, really.

While I'm sure D&D is an OK game, it (like everything else tied to the occult) could cause psychological damage if participants took it too seriously. While I doubt these people are actually possessed, they have certainly suffered from serious trauma due to certain darker influences. So I think D&D is probably OK, but it could potentially wreck your life if you got too weird about it. Psychology is weird that way.

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As far as the demons/devils thing go, they're unambiguously portrayed as evil by the game itself, and exist mostly to be outwitted or slaughtered.

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I think it's just a cultural thing, considering my limited knowledge on the Bible I do know that God forbids humans from using magic. I asume that in some parts of the world, especially in that place in the middle of the east, they want to follow God's rules and in a free society they'll just shun it to where it's sociallyakward to do so. I'm old enough to remember that adults were saying Harry Potter and Pokémon were satanic. Today in our part of the world fantasy stuff like that is so engraved into our pop culture it's not even considered that geeky anymore.

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3 hours ago, SullyMcGully said:

My perspective might be a little weird on this whole deal... but my older brother recently married into a family that runs an... interesting ministry. It's all about helping people come to grips with their past and all that,  but for some reason they seem to attract a few psychos and perverts. Literally. Anyway, a lot of these people show signs of demon possession (i.e. hearing strange voices, producing unnatural sounds, doing things physically impossible for humans), which could all be faked or whatnot, but to the people themselves, it feels very real. A lot of them report various causes for their "possession", including Stephen King novels, Ouija boards, and, yes, D&D. The occult in general, really.

While I'm sure D&D is an OK game, it (like everything else tied to the occult) could cause psychological damage if participants took it too seriously. While I doubt these people are actually possessed, they have certainly suffered from serious trauma due to certain darker influences. So I think D&D is probably OK, but it could potentially wreck your life if you got too weird about it. Psychology is weird that way.

Usually, people blame other stuff as a scapegoat. It's actually about personal willpower. Ouija is something that I believe is a big NO to me, because it delves too deep into that kind of bad stuff.

 

5 hours ago, SoulWeaver said:

First and foremost, YOU PLAY AQW?! Excellent taste, friend, excellent taste.

As for the question, I'll go ahead and state the same issue I had with the Good-Evil choice in AQW: They try to make the Evil side look better. In AQW for example, my 12/13-year-old self was given the choice between an old guy slowly becoming corrupted by the powers of not-Evil and a 20-ish-year-old girl. Considering this was about the time in my life that I'd start being into girls, wonder what I'd pick?(Long unlive the ShadowScythe btw)
While I do agree that there's nothing inherently wrong with playing D&D in and of itself, I also want to point out that there's something alluring about being able to be Evil without any foreseeable backlash, and I do get where people are coming from when they don't want anyone to have that option. Essentially, I think it's more that a game like D&D kind of removes the major consequences that may come from choosing to be Evil, and eventually that mindset has potential to transfer over into real life with possibly disastrous results.

To Summarize: It's not the game itself that seems questionable, it's the partial disconnect from real life consequences.

Thanks. This is what a lot of people don't notice. They think that children and adolescents will have a "monkey see, monkey do" mindset when it comes to consuming media. This is not the case, as children must be taught at an early age that most media is fictional and should not be imitated in real life.

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It puts out the same type of logic as a video game being portrayed as a bad influence simply because it offers the choice to act terribly and parents genuinely fear what may come out of their loved ones involving themselves in it. It's an understandable concern for sure, but one I feel became prevalent in earlier generations simply because these same people were unwilling to educate themselves about the topic they judge so quickly, once again an understandable sentiment if you don't really give a hoot about the topic you are judging.

But yeah, I don't really need to echo what everyone else has said and discussed about satanic symbolism being the bread and butter of attacks on DnD. I cannot really speak for people who played DnD in the 80s (this type of depiction used to be common in the west too) because that was before my time, but I had always heard that DnD players were essentially treated as one of the lowest forms of nerd hobbies and was depicted badly in general. I would love to hear more stories on if/how true this was  although, would be nice to get a first account perspective.

It's unfortunate, especially considering more and more studies come out suggesting DnD helps as a consulting tool for kids to reach out to others and helps others get to know each other better through expression. At other times, it's just fun to play! And as long as you understand it is fiction, it is in many respects no different from creative writing and problem solving.

2 hours ago, Parrhesia said:

As far as the demons/devils thing go, they're unambiguously portrayed as evil by the game itself, and exist mostly to be outwitted or slaughtered.

Also ye, this so much, just about every entity in this game is defined by an alignment for petes sake, and all the monsters/demons/villains are usually aligned as "Lawful/Chaotic/True Evil," if that doesn't make it any clearer they are "100% bad ppl pls kill them", I don't know what does.

Edited by Monde

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If you want to see an RPG that actually is evil, look up FATAL.  On second thought, you probably shouldn't.

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