Reading Recommendation: Satanic Panic by Allen Varney

Today I finally had the time to read Allen Varney’s excellent article “Days of High Adventure: Satanic Panic” that was published at The Escapist just a few days ago. It’s an in-depth look at the moral panic that has been plaguing our hobby for the last 30 years.

What baffles me is that even today some people still believe in a connection between D&D and murder or suicide. In February a Boston Herald article brought that topic up again:

Accused campus killer Amy Bishop was a devotee of Dungeons & Dragons – just like Michael “Mucko” McDermott, the lone gunman behind the devastating workplace killings at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield in 2000.

Bishop, now a University of Alabama professor, and her husband James Anderson met and fell in love in a Dungeons & Dragons club while biology students at Northeastern University in the early 1980s, and were heavily into the fantasy role-playing board game, a source told the Herald.

Allen Varney’s article also mentions a more recent “panic event”, that is somewhat reminiscent of what happened in the 80s. You probably remember the kerfuffle about the D&D with pornstars video series and the TARGA. And while this panic wasn’t as widespread as the satanic panic back in the 80s, it shows that just a few persons are needed to cause quite some damage when they are on some moral crusade. And this time the moral panic came from within the hobby itself.

If you are interested in learning more about this side of our hobby’s history, check out “Days of High Adventure: Satanic Panic”!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

4 thoughts on “Reading Recommendation: Satanic Panic by Allen Varney”

  1. While I never experienced a D&D/RPG panic, I know of many people who did. Revealing… Thanks for the heads up!

  2. 1) Yeah, it is somewhat odd that people still blame D&D for everything. Do they just hate us, or what?

    2) What exactly is the TARGA thing? I've seen it alluded to on a couple other blogs, but I've never found out what it was.

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