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Title: Dungeons and Dragons: Don't Let it Happen to Your Kid
Source: Adequacy.org, August 1st, 2001
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When I stumbled into Billy's room and saw my boy's limp body swaying
from a rope tied to a ceiling hook in this closet, I could hardly see
for the tears. My boy, my poor little boy, had snuffed out his own life
when there was so much promise ahead. His death left a hole in my heart
that can never be filled.
Dungeons and Dragons killed my boy. Don't let it kill yours.
It wasn't until the paramedics removed his body after officially
pronouncing him DOA that I mustered the strength to make a closer
examination. I wanted to know what Billy's last moments were like; what
he was seeing and thinking when he placed that noose over his little
head and stepped off into oblivion.
I looked down.
Before me was a heap of books he'd arranged as a makeshift stool to
stand atop and then kick aside, doing the deed and sealing his fate. I
ran my hand along their spines, recognizing some but unable to
recognize a couple towards the top. I removed them and brought them out
of the closet and into the light:
I knew my Billy. I watched what he eat, how much he slept,
which friends he played with, and everything else, trying to be the
best parent I could and trying to make sure he was safe and happy. But I couldn't make heads or tails of what these books were and why he had them.
So I did what any responsible parent would do: after a few days passed
and I composed myself, I set out to learn as much as I could about Dungeons and why my Billy had chosen those books to kill himself with.
- Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition Player's Handbook
- Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition Dungeon Master's Guide
I visited the library. I spoke to other parents. I telephoned the
chaplain at my husband's military base. And I fired up my internet. And
I learned the awful truth: my Billy had fallen in with a cult.
Dungeons is a cult, plain and simple. The definition of "cult", which Dungeons fits to the tee, is:
A religion or religious sect generally considered to be
extremist or false, with its followers often living in an
unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian,
Let's take this one piece by piece:
Once you've recognized Dungeons for the cult it
is, it's your job to spot the warning signs before it can suck your
children in. Here's a partial list of those warning signs:
- Religions are systems of belief that consume one's entire intellectual outlook, a characteristic Dungeons typifies. But whereas mainstream religions are a healthful addition to the plurality of human experiences and diversity of viewpoints that makes this country strong, Dungeons is a scourge of the lowest sort. Dungeons provides its adherents with no positive moral direction whatsoever. Whereas the religious are taught to love their neighbors, Dungeons adherents are encouraged to despise them as detractions from the task at hand: perpetuating the Dungeons movement and its subversive goals.
- Extremist and unconventional
- Dungeons adherents are renowned for their iconoclastic
lifestyles. The very fact alone that they would rather spend their time
sitting around a table massaging integers instead of breathing the
fresh air of our fair planet is enough to prove my point.
- Authoritarian regimes all share the common fact of strict rules directing their subjects' lives in the minutest detail. When I cracked open those Dungeons tomes, what did I find? Heaps and heaps of rules governing how adherents are supposed to go about even basic tasks
like purchasing goods and speaking to non-adherents (when allowed). But
instead of teaching Billy some skills he could put to good use in the
outside world, Dungeons forced him to trust his fate to the
rolling of those cursed dice, as though those dice could help him if he
ever found himself drowning off a real-life icy floe
or languishing at the bottom of a dark pit where he'd accidentally
fallen while practicing unsafe and irresponsible exploration. This is what it means to be false.
- Charismatic leader
- Like all cults, Dungeons has its charismatic leader, a bald moustached man named Peter D Adkison. Read his biography, as it's the first step all Dungeons adherents must undertake when joining the cult. In fact, one of the easiest ways to spot an adherent to Dungeons is to mention Adkinson's name and watch the listener's eyes for that flash of recognition, as every Dungeons
adherent knows his name and his vision well, though they largely fail
to comprehend its parallel to Scientology as a sinister money-driven
enterprise [editor's note, by jsm]Scientology is not a sinister money-driven enterprise.
I would, however, even go as far as to say that only the especially
slow-witted adherents cannot recognize Adkinson, but since those
adherents also lack the reasoning skills necessary to fall victim in
full to the cult movement and could not mentally conceive of committing
suicide the way Billy did, they're probably not the ones to be worrying
- Does your child spend excessive amounts of time with friends unsupervised indoors? Dungeons
adherents are notoriously reclusive, refusing to play stickball in the
streets or any of a host of normal healthful activities.
- Does he question the rules and commands you lay down as a parent? Dungeons,
at least superficially, promotes independent decision making, though we
all know this "free thinking" would be more aptly described as
"thinking consistent with the tenets and dictates of the Dungeons movement and ideology".
- Are his grades slipping of late? One of the myriad of sinister consequences of adherence to Dungeons is the sheer amount of squandered time spent convening and practicing its cult teachings. Dungeons is highly addictive and, if left unchecked, can push a child's entire life aside to make room for more Dungeons.
At this point, you should be thinking: "How do I talk to my kids about Dungeons?"
It isn't merely a question I wish I had known the answer to; it's a
question I wish I had known to ask myself. If only I had spoken to
Billy before he could have gotten in with the wrong crowd and done this
to himself! Children always listen to their parents as long as they
know they love them and have their best interests at heart. With a soft
voice but stern hand, you can make a difference in your child's life.
Once you have the proper mind set, you should start practicing
your answers to some of the retorts your child might try to give in
defense of Dungeons.
- "But Dungeons has helped me to make lasting friendships!"
- Just think back to the lectures you gave your kids about drug dealers. Friends made over Dungeons
aren't friends at all. True friendship can only be forged through
community-building activities like softball and linestepping. If you
ever had to rely on these so-called friends in a time of need, then
rest assured they would be no where to be found; alternatively, they
could be found, but only playing more Dungeons.
- "But Dungeons helps develop my imagination!"
- Imagination has its place in a civilized society, but when its
citizens become too far removed from reality, social upheaval
inevitably follows. Imagination can be a healthy thing, in moderation.
Imagination can be put to good creative use, as listeners to wholesome music
understand. But like everything else, excessive imagination can lead to
severe emotional and physical problems. If your children spend all
their time in the realm of fantasy, then they won't know how to
interact with their peers and with the bigger world out there when they
grow up. At best, Dungeons is directly responsible for the
social failures their adherents experience when mixing with jocks and
beauty queens. At worst, it can induce psychotic schizophrenic episodes
like the ones shown in the 1982 documentary Mazes and Monsters.
- But Dungeons gives me a sense of belonging!
- This is exactly what draws people to a cult in the first
place; they substitute a cult lifestyle for the one they feel
disenchanted with. Fortunately, it's also one of the easiest arguments
to rebut: just find another way for your child to "belong". Sign him up
for the church choir. Get him to join a little-league team. Have him
attend 4H meetings. There's a whole world of community groups out
there. Expect some resistance, but don't take 'no' for an answer;
you're the parent and you make the decisions. Once he's found a new
clique, he will forget all about that Dungeons nonsense, and he'll thank you for it someday.
Let me qualify that last statement with a little bit of advice: be prudent when confronting your child about his addiction. Dungeons adherents have even been known to kill their loved ones who stand in the way of their addiction. If you feel like you're getting in over your head, then call in a pastor
or other prominent community leader to help -- I know my husband's army
chaplain was a big help for me. There is no shame in recognizing your
own limitations for what they are, and you don't want to jeopardize
what may be your child's only chance for recovery.
I'll never have my Billy back; he's lost to a world of dangers and
temptations that have already too claimed many . But Billy shall not
have hanged himself in vain. His death's keen shall be a clarion wakeup
call. We must all unite against the menace of Dungeons; only then shall we be assured of the continuing safety of our children and loved ones.
Hug your children. Let them know that there are happier things in life
than spelunking around a dank cavern with only a dwarf for
companionship. Let them know that no matter how they feel about
themselves and others, that you care and want to help. Only your love
can turn them from despair and self destruction.
I know Billy's looking down from up there and smiling. He would've wanted it this way.