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The Escapist Archives

An index of the articles and documents featured here over the years.  If you have an article, report, or study that relates to gaming advocacy that is not listed here, and you would like to submit it, drop me a line at

Entries are listed in chronological order under each yearly heading.  Looking for a specific topic or subject? Each article is tagged with one or more keywords. Use your browser's search function to find the keywords you're looking for. A list of the tags is below.

Keywords: benefits, CCGs, celebrity, columbine, convention, crime, D&D, education, film, goth, industry, kids, LARP, library, magic, military, murder, paranoia, pokemon, politics, positive, RPGs, Satanism, school, study, suicide, trial, vampire, women

Studies, Reports, and Papers

The Darren Molitor Letter by Darren Molitor, 1985. Letter written by Darren Molitor, an accused murderer, describing how Dungeons & Dragons is played and attempting to connect it to his crime and the crimes of others. Years later, in a written conversation with Michael Stackpole, Molitor admitted he "may have gone a little bit overboard" with his claims, due to pressures from his trial (See The Pulling Report, below). Keywords: crime, D&D, paranoia, RPGs, murder

Game Hysteria and the Truth by Michael A. Stackpole, 1989. Stackpole's original expose on the methods of Patricia Pulling and B.A.D.D.  Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

The Pulling Report by Michael A. Stackpole, 1990. A report on Patricia Pulling's claims, background, and reporting methods. Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Role-Playing Games: Their Stigmas and Benefits by William J. Walton. This is a paper that I wrote for a Technical Writing class in December, 1995 (and that would eventually mutate into this website). The title is unintentionally incomplete; I also covered collectible card games. As well as an extended discussion on the unwarranted stigmas that both kinds of games have collected, I also conducted a survey on the effects of gaming on the player's religious beliefs, and interviewed David Millians, author of the Games and Education newsletter, and a grade school teacher who uses role-playing in the classroom extensively.   Keywords: benefits, RPGs, CCGs, D&D  

Adventure Game Industry Market Research Summary: Ryan Dancey (WotC's Vice President), February 7th, 2000.  A study with a slightly limited scope, it still supplies interesting demographics on many topics. Keywords: industry, RPGs, study

Connecting Worlds: Fantasy Role-Playing Games, Ritual Acts, and the Magic Circle: 2005, Dr. Marinka Cooper. "I will argue that fantasy role-playing consists of collections of performances or ritual acts, in which players construct the game/play space, identities and meaning." Keywords: benefits, D&D, education, LARP, positive, RPGs, Satanism, study

Media Stories

The following are arranged in chronological order  

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Ritual-crime, occults on rise nationwide: Newport News Daily Press, January 15th, 2011:Allison T. Williams.  "International expert on occult crimes" Don Rimer hosts another seminar on the dangers of occultic influence in youth, claims that "In the world of gaming, there is evil." Keywords: crime, paranoia, RPGs

"Vampire" clans battle in Purnell Hall: The Review, April 19th, 2011: Alexandra Moncure. An article on vampire LARPers from the University of Delaware's newspaper. "Martin described LARPing as a social stepping stone and explains that LARPing is a great environment for people with Asperger's syndrome or others who may have trouble with social situations."Keywords: benefits, LARP, positive, school, vampire

Live Action Role Play: No Blood, All Glory: The Spectator, June 1st, 2011: John Beaton. An article on boffer LARPing in - get this - the sports section of a university newspaper! Keywords: benefits, D&D, LARP, positive

Fantasy Lives in Real-World Games: The Columbian, June 3rd, 2011: Sue Vorenberg. A story on two gaming groups - one that meets at the Washougal Community Library, and the other at the First Evangelical Church.  Keywords: benefits, D&D, library, positive, RPGs

Roll Pay: Knoxville's Adult Board Gamers:An article on a popular gaming store in a former Bowery. The clueless reporter compares RPGs to "craps, taken up a few notches" and is genuinely surprised to see a woman at a Magic: The Gathering event, but the overall tone is positive.  Keywords: benefits, CCGs, convention, D&D, education, magic, positive, RPGs, women

N.J. role-playing enthusiasts gather to act out games, stories: nj.com An article on a LARP group called "Mystic Realms" that calls D&D the "dark side of mythology." The positives of LARP are explained fairly well, but at the cost of making tabletop RPGs seem obsessive and detrimental.  Keywords: benefits, D&D, LARP, positive, RPGs

Debunking the myths about live-action roleplaying: nj.com A brief followup to the previous story on New Jersey LARPers, in which the LARPers get an opportunity to respond to the myths about the pasttime.  Keywords: benefits, LARP, positive

Foundation continues symposium support: Austin Daily Herald, June 16h, 2011: Trey Mewes. A report on a gifted and talented educator symposium in which one of the educators mentions how, in the 1980s, she used a stripped-down version of Dungeons & Dragons to "get middle school students to work together and absorb the material in a different way."  Keywords: benefits, D&D, education, kids, positive, RPGs, school

Dungeons & Dragons Grows Up: American-Statesman, August 5th, 2011: Esther Robards-Forbes. A positive article on the new edition of D&D and the people who play it.  Keywords: benefits, D&D, industry, positive, RPGs

Soldiers escape to magical world through role-playing game: DVIDS, October 10th, 2011: Anthony Zane. A positive piece on a group of soldiers stationed in Iraq who meet regularly for some Dungeons & Dragons. Keywords: benefits, D&D, military, positive, RPGs

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Student share gaming pastime: Indiana Statesman, February 7th, 2010: Kaiulani Anderson-Ligget. Positive article on the roleplaying hobby and some of the unfair stereotypes it has accumulated.  Keywords: D&D, positive, RPGs

Suspect in slays fan of 'Dungeons': Boston Herald, February 16th, 2010: Laurel J. Sweet. Accused campus killer Amy Bishop's terrible secret is revealed - she played Dungeons & Dragons 30 years ago while in college, and met her future husband at a D&D club. (Case closed!) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs

Keller group finds low-tech games to be fun, challenging: The Keller Citizen, March 16th, 2010: Adrian McCandless. A library tabletop gaming club explores the benefits of games, including RPGs. Keywords: kids, library, positive, RPGs

Players battle demons, rescue teammates in classic role-playing game: Gazette.net, March 17th, 2010: Jeremy Arias. An afterschool D&D program helps kids with math and social skills. Keywords: kids, positive, RPGs, school

Are Role-Playing Gamers Insane?: Psychology Today, March 18th, 2010: Peter Stromberg. An anthropologist explores the tales of "roleplaying gone too far" that continue to pop up from time to time, and whether or not roleplayers have a looser grip on reality than everyone else. Keywords: benefits, D&D, paranoia, positive, RPGs, 

When we last left our heroes... Psychology Meets D&D: Psychology Today, March 19th, 2010: Nancy Darling. A mother of two boys admits her concerns about the game when her oldest son began to play in college, but when she took the time to observe the game being played and saw the psychological benefits it bestows, her concerns were allayed. Keywords: benefits, D&D, kids, positive, RPGs

Dungeons and Dragons continues to cast spell: Houma Today, March 24th, 2010: Rene Guzman. A positive article on Dungeons & Dragons that covers a lot of ground - the popularity of the new edition, the grognards who continue to play older editions, the benefits of playing the game, and even a brief mention of its troubled past. Keywords: benefits, D&D, paranoia, positive, RPGs

Role-playing games pull reluctant school kids into a supportive crowd: The Christian Science Monitor, April 9th, 2010: Ethan Gilsdorf. The author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks explores The Game Loft,  a youth program in Maine that mentors kids through gaming. Keywords: D&D, kids, positive, RPGs, school

Not just kids play: Psychology Today, April 17th, 2010: Ethan Gilsdorf. The author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks discusses the negative PR that roleplaying has attracted over the years, and discusses the benefits of the hobby. Keywords: D&D, kids, paranoia, positive, RPGs, suicide

Volunteer Phillip nominated for award: Fenland Citizen, May 5th, 2010: author unknown. Phillip Taylor, an 18 year old scout from the UK, is nominated for a Young People of the Year award for starting a gaming group to keep young people out of trouble. Keywords: D&D, kids, positive, RPGs

'Weapons' seized in G20 arrests not what they seem: Globe and Mail, June 29th, 2010: Jill Mahoney. Some of the items seized during a G20 summit in Canada include a selection of LARP weapons, including scale mail, padded shields, and arrows with padded tips that were obviously "designed to be dipped in a flammable liquid and set ablaze." Keywords: crime, LARP, paranoia

At Camp, Make-Believe Worlds Spring Off the Page: New York Times, July 16th, 2010: Sharon Otterman. "Literary LARP camps" inspired by book series like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are becoming more popular with kids.  Keywords: benefits, LARP, kids, positive

Gen Con hosts Dungeons & Dragons reunion: Call it campaign reform?:  Los Angeles Times, August 10th, 2010: Noelene Clark. An interview with the winners of the 2010 Never Split The Party contest, in which old D&D groups are reunited and sent to the Gen Con Game Fair.  Keywords: benefits, D&D, paranoia, positive, RPG

Students join local D&D campaign: Murray State News, August 26th, 2010: Cory Arant. An informal piece on the basics of RPGs and D&D. Keywords: benefits, D&D

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U.S. diplomats use military role-playing to prepare for Iraq assignments: Los Angeles Times, July 10th, 2009: Alexandra Zavis. The title says it all, really. Keywords: LARP, military

Magical transformation: Boston Globe, July 11th, 2009: Joseph P. Kahn. Article about a role-playing camp for kids, with a brief discussion on the social and developmental benefits of roleplay. Keywords: benefits, kids, LARP, positive

A 'shoot-out' at the Hyatt Morristown... all in good fun: nj.com, July 14th 2009: George! Interviews with LARPers and con staff at Dexcon in Morristown, New Jersey. Keywords: benefits, LARP, positive

Weekend will find many enmeshed in 'the Game': Post-Bulletin, July 18th 2009: Matthew Stolle. An annual family reunion evolves into a 40-member fantasy LARP in Minnesota. Keywords: benefits, LARP, positive

Plans under way for memorial to gaming icon in Lake Geneva: Janesville Gazette, August 4th, 2009: Kayla Bunge. Gail Gygax submits a memorial to Gary to the Lake Geneva Park Board. Gaming, computer, and film companies show their support for the memorial.  Keywords: D&D, positive, RPG

New Georgia Supreme Court justice earns praise: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 15th, 2009: John Kessler. Davd Nahimas, Georgia's new Supreme Court justice, used to be a D&D geek. Keywords: benefits, celebrity, D&D

Man bound over for trial in hammer attacks: Salt Lake Tribune, August 17th, 2009: Mark Havnes. A man accused of attacking two other men with a hammer may have done so over a poorly run game of D&D and a bit of jealously. D&D isn't quite described as a cause for the crime, but more as a background for the argument. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, trial

Victims in beatings testify: thespectrum.com, August 18th, 2009: Nur Kausar. More on the trial of Zachary King, who attacked two men with a hammer as they slept. This article reveals more on the motive - King was jealous of one of the men for his wealth and writing ability, and the other because he was dating a woman that King liked. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, trial

Jury accepts insanity plea in '08 shooting: Gwinnett Daily Post, August 20th, 2009: Josh Green. A woman exhibiting symptoms of paranoia and schizophrenia blames a D&D group for her own attack on a co-worker and her brother's death (which was determined to be a suicide). Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, trial

LARP Boulder: Live-action role playing brings fantasy to life: Boulder Daily Camera, August 28th 2009: Aimee Heckel. A piece on the Denver-Boulder International Fantasy Gaming Society. Keywords: benefits, LARP, positive

Role-playing prepares military for Afghanistanstuff.co.nz, September 9th, 2009: Mike Watson. The New Zealand Defense Force prepares for a mission to Afghanistan with some roleplaying simulation. Keywords: benefits, LARP, military, positive

Fantasy fanatics take medieval make-believe to Bill Schupp park: themonitor.com, September 17th 2009: Amy Nichol Smith. A piece on the High Fantasy Society, a LARP organization in South Texas. Keywords: LARP, positive

Changing face in an alternate universe: redandblack.com, October 23rd, 2009: Michael Prochaska. A short piece on a horror RPG night at a game store near the University of Georgia. Keywords: positive, RPG

Humans to battle undead in role-playing game: bupipedream.com, October 23rd, 2009: Greg Norman. A nine-day session of the Humans vs. Zombies LARP is set to begin at the University of Bighamton. Keywords: LARP, positive

Family still feels pain of children's murder 25 years ago: Orangeville Citizen, October 29th, 2009: Wes Keller. The parents of two children murdered by a 16-year-old boy in 1984 comment on their continuing grief. Information about the killer, including his name, are still not permitted to be released due to Canadian youth offender laws, but it's perfectly legal to mention that he played D&D and attempt to connect the murder to it. Keywords: D&D, murder, paranoia, RPG

Simulation in Los Gatos to show how real the poverty level is in the Silicon Valley: Mercury News, November 3rd, 2009: Judy Peterson. A role-playing simulation that is designed to raise awareness of poverty and possibly reduce it, to boot. Keywords: LARP, positive, RPG

No evidence links D&D to societal violence: Orangeville Citizen, November 5th, 2009: Greg Gillespie and Timothy S. Brannan. Two letters to the editor in response to a previous article in the Citizen, "Family still feels pain of children's murder 25 years ago" Keywords: D&D, murder, paranoia, RPG

LARPing: Real Life Adventures: SLCC Globe, November 25th, 2009: N.L. Thi. A positive article on LARPing with the players of Mythic Realms, a LARP organization. Keywords: LARP, positive

After school, Edinburg faculty members become wizards, warriors: The Monitor, December 2nd, 2009: Ana Villaurrutia. Three university professors, a lab technician, and a school bus driver meet regularly for an afterschool game of D&D.  Keywords: D&D, positive, RPGs, school

First person - 'I am a teenage elf': The Independent, December 17th, 2009: Charlotte Philby. A teenaged LARPer from South London explains the nuances of the pasttime, and how to get involved in it. Keywords: LARP, positive

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Big Theft Ends in Shackles for a Young Goth Couple: New Your Times, January 24th, 2008: Sean D. Hamill. The story of Roger Dillon and Nicole Boyd, the "Goth Bonnie & Clyde," who stole cash and checks from the armored car service where Dillon worked. Both are known for their love of vampire novels and Dungeons & Dragons. Keywords: crime, D&D, goth, Vampire

'Goth Bonnie and Clyde' in $7.4m 'theft': UK Telegraph. January 28th 2008: Tom Leonard. More about Dillon and Boyd, including some details on their bizarre personal lives: "...the pair never drank, took drugs or smoked, preferring to read books, listen to Goth rock music and play the role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons." Keywords: crime, D&D, goth, Vampire

Couple Cops to Stealing $8 Million in Armored Car Robbery: Fox News/AP, January 28th 2008. More on the "Goth Bonnie & Clyde," Roger DIllon and Nicole Boyd. Keywords: crime, D&D, goth, Vampire

Night of the dragonslayers: Times Argus, March 23rd, 2008: Gordon Dritschilo. Organizers and players at an  all-night Dungeons & Dragons marathon at a public library discuss the positive benefits of the game..Keywords: benefits, D&D, kids, library

Well-organized make-believe: Philadelphia Inquirer, September 10th, 2008: Lizzie Stark. A piece on LARPers in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas, and the DEXCON gaming convention in New Jersey. Keywords: convention, LARP, positive, RPGs

Play's the Thing: Associated Press, December 1st, 2008: David Crary. Kids need to go beyond organized activities to encourage spontaneity, creativity and learning, experts say. "Vivian Paley, a former kindergarten teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and now an author and consultant, says the most vital form of play for young children involves fantasy and role-playing with their peers." Keywords: benefits, education, kids, RPGs

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Gaming Enters English Class Plan: News Examiner-Enterprise, January 8th, 2007: Justin Martino. Inspired by their years playing Dungeons & Dragons, two Oklahoma educators develop a roleplaying curriculum. Keywords: benefits, education, RPGs

Fighting Like A Girl: pressofatlanticcity.com, February 13th, 2007: Courtney McCann. Tabletop role-playing games are not a boys-only club. Keywords: D&D, RPGs, women

Elf Defence for 'Lingerie Thief': BBC News, March 6th, 2007: A man accused of stealing underwear from a lingerie store in Belfast attempts the "I believed I was a female elf shaman from Shadowrun" defense. Keywords: crime, RPGs

Ziggurat Con - The World's First War Zone Game Convention?: Gamegrene, April 5th, 2007: aeon. An article on what could have been the first ever roleplaying convention in Iraq, held at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase on June 9th, 2007. Keywords: convention, military

Film looks at tabletop role-playing games: The Olympian Online, April 12th, 2007: Molly Gilmore. Aaron Andersen discusses his short film "The Roles We Play." "The whole thing about role-playing is it's all done through imagination. This is providing the viewer a peek into their imaginations. The audience is able to see what they're seeing." Keywords: D&D, film, RPGs

Disciples of Gygax: Chicago Reader, April 20th, 2007: Noah Berlatsky. An RPG-themed art exhibit. Keywords: D&D, RPGs

Game Ends In Police Search: Ohio Journal News, May 12th, 2007: Eric Schwartzberg and Lindsey Hilty. Students participating in a harmless 'Harry Potter mystery game' raise concern from their school and the police. Keywords: paranoia, RPGs, school

Dungeons & Dragons' Murder Mastermind Out of Prison : Fox8 News (North Carolina), June 7th, 2007: Caron Myers. Chris Prichard, who murdered his stepfather and attempted to murder his mother, then attempted to blame the crimes on an obsession with Dungeons & Dragons, is released from prison after a 19 year sentence. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder

Reno couple accused of starving infants while playing video games: Las Vegas Sun/AP, July 14th, 2007. Young parents ignored their 11- and 1-month-old children after becoming distracted by video games, mainly the online version of Dungeons & DragonsKeywords: crime, D&D

Massive live-action role-playing game set on record attempt at PAX : ars technica, August 13th, 2007: Ben Kuchera. Congoers at the Penny Arcade Expo make an attempt at setting a world record for the most participants in a LARP. Keywords: convention, LARP

Nephew draws fire over card game: Maplewood Ramsey County Review,  October 10th, 2007: Alex Davy. Game author and designer John Nephew runs for city councilman and his opponents attempt to use his game publishing history against him. The card game "Let's Kill" gets the most attention, but his work on Dungeons & Dragons material seems to be entirely ignored. Keywords: D&D, politics

Role players cast to assist military training: Associated Press, October 19th, 2007: John Milburn. Local residents along with native Iraqis and Afghanis from across the U.S. are hired for weeks and months at a time to assist with the training of military advisers in role-playing exercises. Keywords: LARP, military

All-nighter stretches young imaginations: The Citizen, October 22nd, 2007: Erin Plummer. A high school lock-in event features an all-night Dungeons & Dragons game. Keywords: D&D, education, school

They only come out at night—Vampire players write game as they play : City Pulse, October 24th, 2007: Joe Torok. A journalist spends six hours with members of a Vampire LARP group in Lansing, Michigan. Keywords: LARP, vampire

Prosecutors seek 33-year sentence for Norris: Eastside Journal, November 1st, 1997: Carol Ryan. Trial for David Norris, who attacked his ex-girlfriend with a knife and hammer, reveals that he was diagnosed with personality disorders. Norris' sister claims that roleplaying games contributed to the "deterioration of [his] spirit." Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, trial, vampire

Assault suspect led group with accused killers: Eastside Journal, (date unknown): Carol Ryan. David Norris once belonged to the same gaming group as Alex Baranyi.  “There is no tie to gothic, fantasy role-playing'' - Bellevue Police Lt. Bill Ferguson. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Zombie game comes to close: BSU Daily News, November 11th, 2007: Louis Jones. A zombie LARP at Ball State University comes to a close, and the organizers and players discuss the ups and downs of the game. Keywords: LARP, school

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Olinger murder suspect named: Monterey Herald, May 13th, 2006: Julia Reynolds. After 8+ years of searching, police arrest a suspect in the murder of Kris Olinger. The murder was part of a carjacking/robbery, and had no connection to the roleplaying groups who gather at the park where the crime occurred. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs

Police search for accused child molester: WMCTV, May 20th, 2006. An alleged child molester used gaming books and materials to lure his prey. Features some common sense comments by a gamer:"Know who your kids are with - gaming shops are not a babysitter. The mall is not a babysitter,"  Keywords: D&D, crime, RPGs

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Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons: ynetnews.com, February 28th, 2005: Hanan Greenberg. Eighteen-year-olds who tell Israeli Defense Force recruiters that they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance. "They're detached from reality and suscepitble to influence."  Keywords: D&D, military

Escaping Reality: The Dangers of Role-Playing Games: Fundamental Baptist Information Service, March 22nd, 2005: Vince Londini. A former gamer discusses his percieved dangers of pen and paper RPGs, including the possibility that they will make you create "new, gorier" rules for the Star Trek RPG. "I’m still a weaker man today for having given my heart to role-playing games."  Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism

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Role-playing gamers and the fall of the church: The Republic, July 8th, 2004: Michael Nenonen. Roleplaying games may be a frequent target of fundamentalists because they offer a decentralized form of organizing fantasy, as opposed to the centralized organizing fantasy of the religion they are trying to promote. Keywords: benefits, paranoia, positive, RPGs

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Vampire fan's head found in river: Ananova, January 2nd, 2003. The severed head of a Swedish Vampire enthusiast is found in a river. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Police in doubt of role playing connection: www.dn.se, January 2nd, 2003: Dagens Nyheter, translated by Magnus Widqvist. Swedish police doubt that the murder of Marcus Noren had anything to do with roleplaying. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Vampire game no motive in murder case: www.svd.se, January 2nd, 2003: Svenska Dagbladet, translated by Magnus Widqvist. No evidence that Marcus Noren was part of a "role play or vampire game gone wrong." Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Two men arrested for dismemberment-murder: Aftonbladet, January 3rd, 2003: Two men arrested for the murder of Marcus Noren. No connection to roleplaying games. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

The Latest Attack on RPGs in SwedenBjörn Hellqvist, January 2003. Björn Hellqvist recaps the Marcus Noren story. "The family of the victim had lost a son, but the bad guys got caught, the roleplayers came clean, and the tabloids and their so-called experts lost whatever credibility they still possessed." We could all learn a thing or two from Sweden. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Ukiah boy arrested after fantasy game hit list goes too far: AP, January 25th, 2003. A 17-year-old boy is arrested for creating a 'hit list' of names of seven other young people. Article mentions that he plays Dungeons & Dragons, but any connection between the two, or even if the list was an actual threat, is unclear. Keywords: crime, D&D, paranoia, RPGs, school

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Seminar warns of youth interest in occult practices: "Occult cop" Don Rimer hosts a seminar on the dangers of occultic influence in youth.  February 2nd, 2002. Keywords: crime, paranoia, RPGs

Maryland teen admits to sword death: February 10th, 2002. A teenager with a history of mental illness confessed to the sword slaying of a prominent scientist, saying fantasy creatures gave him permission to kill the man in order to protect a friend. Keywords: crime, murder

Richland native guilty of attempted murder: Tri-City Herald,, February 28th, 2002: John Trumbo. Jesse Carson, Jason Blad's partner in crime, is convicted of murder. Carson claimed he was doing research on serial killers for a novel, and that he and Blad were engaged in a game of "Night Ops," an unsanctioned recon game often played by Marines. Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

McDermott tells of killings, stirs outrage: Boston Globe, April 12th, 2002: Michele Kurtz. Defense for Michael "Mucko" McDermott claims that his ability to tell grand stories comes from his history as a RPG gamemaster. Keywords: crime, D&D murder, RPGs, trial

Marines Sentenced For Rec Trail Attack: KSBW, June 6th, 2002. Blad and Carson get life sentences for their attempted murder. Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

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Stabbing May Be Linked To Role Play: Montgomery County Herald, March 25th, 2001: Andy Rose and Virgina Hennessey.   Attempted murder by two California Marines is blamed on gaming, despite no connection found by police or counsel. Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

Saudi Bans Pokemon: CNN.com/Associated Press, March 26th, 2001: author unstated.  The fatwa issues an edict banning Pokemon because it promotes gambling and Zionism. Keywords: CCGs, paranoia, politics

No, I Didn't Slam Fantasy Games, Folks: Montgomery County Herald, March 29th, 2001: Andy Rose.  Four days after his scapegoat piece (see above), Mr. Rose responds to the flood of e-mail he has recieved from gamers and sets the record straight.  No, he didn't blame games (despite the title), and if an NBA player had attempted the murder, he would have written about basketball. (Note that the crime was later revealed to have nothing to do with roleplaying games, yet the retraction promised by Rose and the Herald was never seen.) Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

Trial Stabbing Story Hits Home: Montgomery County Herald, April 1st, 2001: Cristina Medina.  Recap of the Marine Murder case focuses on one of the accused, and mentions gaming only briefly. Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

Personal E-Mail to Andy Rose, With Response: April 1st, 2001.  My personal response to Andy Rose, and his reply, which doesn't tell us much that we already don't know.  Except, of course, that he apparently wrote his story from the gaming angle because of a previous murder that is wrongly being blamed on gaming. (Note that the crime was later revealed to have nothing to do with roleplaying games, yet the retraction promised by Rose and the Herald was never seen.) Keywords: crime, D&D, military, murder, RPGs, trial

Playing Dead: Vampires Invade Omaha: The Reader, May 2001: Katherine Neary.  A positive piece on Vampire LARPers in the Omaha area (Omaha By Night?  Who knew?) with only a few nitpicks for one, most roleplayers indulge in "improvisational acting," not just LARPers.  That aside, this article is a very positive and informative piece. Keywords: LARP, positive, vampire

Wild Pitches - Revenge of the Week: ESPN.com, May 18th, 2001: Jayson Stark.  A "professional baseball player" (whatever that is) discusses his appreciation of Everquest and its effect on his performance in the field, but the "sports reporter" (whatever that is) is much too cool to understand what he's talking about.  Keywords: celebrity

Dungeons & Dragons - Don't Let It Happen To Your Kid: adequacy.org, August 1st, 2001: author unknown. An article from a website that was specifically designed to attract  controversy by posting false stories (also known as "trolling"), this article has nonetheless caught the attention of a few concerned parents. The linked articles really should have given it away.  Keywords: D&D, paranoia, suicide

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Mother Says Teens' Plot to Kill Police Just a Prank: The Canadian Press, January 04, 2000: author unstated.  The mother of one of three youths accused of plotting to kill a police officer states that the incident was just a game.  No direct mention of RPG or any kind of role-playing. Keywords: crime, murder, paranoia, RPGs

Maybe It's All a Game to Would-Be Cop Killers: Edmonton Sun, January 5, 2000: Doug Beazley.  Reporter blames "dimension-hopping killer robots" for the police-murder plot of three Canadian youths.  A frustrating story in which several gamers and game store employees prattle on about gamers who can't tell fantasy from reality.  Either the people interviewed were not really gamers, or they desperately wanted to see their names in print. Keywords: crime, murder, paranoia, RPGs

New Charges in Y2K Plot: Ottawa Sun, January 5, 2000: Andrew Philips.  Two of the three Canadian youths accused of plotting to murder a police officer face another charge.  A very brief mention of the suspects' involvement in the Rifts RPG appears near the end. Keywords: crime, murder, paranoia, RPGs

Alleged Conspiracy 'Just a Game': Ottawa Citizen, January 11th, 2000: Don Campbell.  The mother of one of three young men accused of conspiracy to commit murder claims that the youths were playing a game of Rifts.  Details of the bail hearing are the primary focus of this story. Keywords: crime, murder, paranoia, RPGs

Going...Going...Gone! Hooray! Hits a Home Run With Cal Ripken, Jr. in Just Like Dad's: Entertainment Wire, January 31st, 2000: author unstated.  Cal Ripken endorses a line of "role-playing" toys that encourage kids to be "just like dad."  Mention is made that the "role-play" industry is gaining in popularity, but this may be so much hype. Keywords: benefits, education, LARP

Paducah Shooting Lawsuit Dismissed: Associated Press, April 4th, 2000: author unstated.  A federal judge dismisses a $33 million lawsuit filed against a group of entertainment companies by the relatives of the Paducah shooting victims.  Judge Johnstone cites a suicide case against TSR that concluded that Dungeons & Dragons was not a possible cause. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Universal Studios at Universal Orlando Debuts World's First Life-Size, Ride-Through, Interactive Video Game Experience: PRNewswire, April 11th, 2000: author unstated.  Universal Studios opens an interactive Men In Black ride that responds to the actions of the riders. Keywords: LARP

Pokémon and the Pope: MSN GIST TV news, April 21, 2000: author unstated.  The Vatican gives a thumbs-up to Pokemon.  The Almighty, however, could not be reached for comment. Keywords: benefits, CCGs, positive

Pokemon Earns Papal Blessing: New York Post, April 21st, 2000: Devlin Barrett.  More comments from the Vatican regarding Pokemon, including one comment that seems to approve of role-playing. Keywords: benefits, CCGs, positive, RPGs

Slain teacher's family launches suit aimed at media violence: Denver Post, April 21st, 2000: Kevin Simpson.  The wife and two stepdaughters of slain teacher Dave Sanders file a five billion dollar lawsuit claiming that, if not for Doom, Quake, and The Basketball Diaries, all high school kids would skip from class to class singing the Smurfs theme. Keywords: columbine, crime, murder, RPGs, trial

U.S. Conducts Mock Biological, Chemical Attacks: Reuters, May 21st, 2000: author unstated. The United States government participates in a $3.5 million nationwide LARP to test responses to simulated biological and chemical attacks.  The event was "carefully orchestrated so as not to alarm the general public."  Apparently, this was due in part to Attorney General Janet Reno showing up in full Vampire garb. Keywords: LARP, military

'Now is the healing time for us': Florida Today, August 17th, 2000: Patricia Walsh and Norman Moody. Randy Schoenwetter is arrested for stabbing a young girl and her father to death. Motive is unknown, and the only revealed detail of the accused's life is that he is a gamer, and that it changed him somehow.  "Chad said Randy tried to get him into the Dungeons & Dragons." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs

'Going Postal' is a Myth: Reuters, September 1st, 2000: author unstated.  A two-year study tells us in 249 pages that the nation's 900,000 postal workers are not more likely to go on shooting rampages than any other class of workers.  No mention of RPG, but this type of study follows with the phenomena of isolated cases being viewed as the norm.  Keywords: crime, paranoia, study

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Trial Begins In 'Dungeons & Dragons' Killing: APB Online (www.apbonline.com), January 12th, 1999: Randy Dotinga.  The Stephanie Crowe murder trial begins for a San Diego boy and two of his friends, all three of whom were D&D enthusiasts.  A game store owner testifies that "players get points when they "kill" people while playing Dungeons & Dragons." Keywords: crime, D&D. murder, RPGs, trial

Sellers' Execution Reignites Debate: Associated Press, January 25th, 1999: Jay Hughes.  Sellers is slated for execution 16 years after murdering both of his parents and a convenience store clerk.  His many attempts at an alibi are trotted out here: he "worshipped" the occult, D&D dictated his actions, he has Multiple Personality Syndrome... none of them worked.   Sellers was executed on February 4th. Keywords: crime, murder, D&D, RPGs, trial

Death-Row Man Denied Clemency: Associated Press, January 28th, 1999: Rochelle Hines.  Sellers is denied clemency, and will die for his crimes.  The identical statement concerning his alibis is printed in this article, despite it being published with a different author credit. Keywords: crime, murder, D&D, RPGs, trial

Evil To The End, Newsweek, February 8th, 1999.  Newsweek strikes again in this piece on white supremecists.  While interviewing Mark Potok, a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the interviewer inserted his own anti-gaming statement, then quoted Potok as having said it. Keywords: crime, murder, D&D, RPGs

DNA Report Rocks Teen Slaying Case: APBnews.com, February 19th, 1999: Randy Dotinga.  Suspects in the murder of Stephanie Crowe are described as having been "warped by an unhealthy passion for dark role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons."  If only they'd stuck with Rainbow Brite: The RPG... Keywords: crime, murder, D&D, RPGs, trial

Schools Sued on Religious Grounds: Associated Press, February 23rd, 1999: Jim Fitzgerald.  Three Roman Catholic Families are suing their school district over their claims of violation of their religious and privacy rights.  What began as an attempt to remove Magic: The Gathering from local schools has escalated into much more.  M:tG is called "worse than witchcraft," and has cards that have "lurid depictions of demons." Keywords: CCGs, magic, paranoia, pokemon, trial

Satanism Lawsuit Has Weighty Issues: Associated Press, February 27th, 1999: Jim Fitzgerald.  The White Plains case gets chaotic, and Judge Charles Brieant gets very impatient with the entire mess (he gets in a couple of good one-liners... look for them). Keywords: CCGs, magic, paranoia, pokemon, trial

Gunmen Recalled as Outcasts: Washington Post, April 21st, 1999: Marc Fisher.  A faulty description of the Gothic subculture that claims it is "(i)nspired by fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragons..."   A painful study in cluelessness. Keywords: columbine, D&D, paranoia, RPGs, vampire

Classmates Describe Shooters As Obsessed With Goth World: SF Gate, April 21st, 1999: Jaxon Vanderbeken, contributing.  A piece that was later pulled by SF Gate, possibly due to shoddy reporting and misquoting of an interviewee.   Several disparaging statements about Vampire: The Masquerade are attributed to a police "goth expert" from Ohio, but it is very possible that they were twisted from several positive statements that were actually made. Keywords: columbine, goth, paranoia, RPGs, vampire

Bay Area Goths Say Media Has It Wrong: SF Gate, April 22nd, 1999: Neva Chonin.  A pro-Goth and mildly pro-game piece that showed up not long after several negative pieces.  After SF Gate pulled Classmates Describe Shooters As Obsessed With Goth World, they began redirecting web traffic from that article to this one.  Was that their way of saying they're sorry?  Who can tell... Keywords: columbine, goth, positive, RPGs, vampire,

Schools Told To Watch Violent Kids: Associated Press, April 22nd, 1999: Anjetta McQueen.  D&D is listed as a hobby chosen by teens who wish to "rebel," along with collecting World War II weaponry.  Oooooh!  We're rebels now! Keywords: columbine, education, D&D, paranoia, school

Colorado's carnage is inevitable in our culture of violence: Boston Globe, April 22nd, 1999: John Ellis.  An editorial, blaming all teenage violence on violent entertainment.  D&D is mentioned as a supplementary source of daily violence to that found on television. Keywords: columbine, D&D, paranoia

Shooting Prosecutor Speaks Out: Associated Press, April 23rd, 1999: Ted Anthony.  Littleton DA Dave Thomas wonders aloud about the influences on our teens... including D&D.  That the police never found any gaming materials among the possessions of the suspects makes you wonder... was someone sowing some arbitrary anti-game sentiment at the scene? Keywords: columbine, D&D, paranoia

Clues Aren't Always in the Clothes: Tampa Bay Online, April 26th, 1999: Ace Atkins.  Kathleen Heide, a criminologist from the University of South Florida, lumps D&D with Mortal Kombat as a game that sends a "message of death and destruction."  Assuming she wasn't misquoted, Heide doesn't seem to know the difference between a tabletop RPG and a video game.

Terror, bombs and White Wolves: May 5th, 1999: Didi Örnstedt and Björn Sjöstedt.  Sweden's anti-game duo posted this to their web page as a response to the Columbine shooting and subsequent bombings in London.  Their paranoia even causes them to attempt a connection between White Wolf games and a neo-nazi group.  White Wolf is also accused of supplying "all the information one might want on how to kill and assassinate."  The original Swedish, as well as an English translation, are supplied.

Judge: N.Y. School Violated Rights: Associated Press,  May 21st, 1999: Jim Fitzgerald.  The judge in the White Plains trial (see above) finds the school district guilty of violating the religious rights of three Catholic families on some counts, but rejects the parents' complaints about the tolerance of Magic: The Gathering in the school. Keywords: CCGs, magic, paranoia, pokemon, trial

WordCHECK Systems and Youth Magazine Team Up to Identify Violent-Prone Kids: PRNewswire, June 4th, 1999: author unstated.  A popular software program and a teen writing magazine team up to develop a program in which writing assignments are checked for keywords that could spell trouble.  One of those keywords is "dungeon."  No mention is made, but one can only wonder if "dragon," "vampire," and "magic" are on the list as well. Keywords: education, paranoia, school

Initial Print Run of Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game Boxed Set Sells Out: Business Wire, June 8th, 1999: author unstated.  A report on the sales of the new introductory set.  Keywords: D&D, industry

National Tour and Limited-Edition Dungeons & Dragons Boxed Set Kick Off 25th Anniversary Celebration: Business Wire, June 15th, 1999: author unstated.  Wizards of the Coast announce a 10 city tour to celebrate the silver anniversary of D&D.  WotC encourages all participants to bring food for local food drives. Keywords: D&D, industry

The Private War of Benjamin Smith: www.time.com, July 6th, 1999: author unstated.  Character portrait of a racist includes "played Dungeons [&] Dragons as a kid" among his hateful actions, as if it blends right in. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia

Y2K Could Be a Mixed Blessing: The 700 Club, July 26th, 1999: Chris Mitchell.  In their regular series on the Y2K bug, the 700 Club mentions a role-playing game developed by the Arlington Institute as a tool to help people deal with the repurcussions of a possible crisis. Keywords: LARP, paranoia

Dungeons & Dragons Gets Revamped for the New Millennium and a New Generation of Fans: Business Wire, August 6th, 1999. A press release on the (then) upcoming Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Keywords: D&D, industry

Pastor Calls Pokemon 'Poison': Denver Post, August 14th, 1999: Erin Emery.  Mark Juerva, children's pastor for Grace Fellowship Church, led children in a bizarre Pokemon-sacrificing ritual that featured him burning Pokemon cards and chopping action figures with a sword as his flock of 85 boys and girls chanted "burn it!" and "chop it up!"  His actions are praised by the head pastor of the church. Keywords: CCGs, paranoia, pokemon

Playing in the Imagination: Dungeons and Dragons: Lakeland (Florida) Ledger, September 5th, 1999: Cinnamon Bair.  A human interest story about a group of gamers and the hobby they enjoy.  Most of the players mentioned are in their 30s; occupations listed include lawyer and structural engineer.  A well-written, pro-gaming article, and an extremely rare gem. Keywords: benefits, D&D, positive, RPGs

Not Just Your Routine Burglary Gone Bad: CNN.com, September 6th, 1999: L.D. Meagher.  Book review of Aphrodite Jones' The Embrace (based on the murder of Rick and Ruth Wendorf by Rod Ferrell).  RPGs are mentioned as influences in Ferrell's life, but this review describes the book as focusing more on the emotional problems of Ferrell and Heather Wendorf, his girlfriend and the daughter of the victims. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Pokemon Trading Card Game Awarded National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval: Business Wire, September 15th, 1999: author unstated.  The NPC calls Pokemon a "a compelling game that involves strategy, creative thinking and a dash of luck."  The game joins the ranks of several other family-friendly toys, games, and products. Keywords: benefits, CCGs, pokemon, positive

Pokemon or Poker?: Associated Press, date unknown, author unknown.  A San Diego law firm brings Nintendo of America and Wizards of the Coast to court over the Pokemon card game, claiming it is "illegal gambling."  Insert lawyer joke here. Keywords: CCGs, pokemon, trial

Quebec Teen Stabbed at School Over Pokemon Cards: Reuters, October 27th, 1999: author unstated.  A teenager is stabbed in a schoolyard while trying to recover his younger brother's Pokemon cards. Keywords: CCGs, crime, pokemon

Dark Dungeons: The Escapist, November 1999: William J. Walton.  A short essay on the Chick pamphlet of the same title, which is possibly the most widely distributed piece of anti-gaming literature in the history of the hobby.  Includes links to several online archives where you can view the entire pamphlet. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs

Pokemon Symbol a Swastika?: Associated Press, November 1999.  Parents become irate at the presence of a manji, a Japanese good luck symbol, found on an imported Pokemon card. Keywords: CCGs, paranoia, pokemon

Pokemon: What's Behind the Latest Toy Craze: The 700 Club, November 15th, 1999: Kim Bonney.  The 700 Club brings their usual hysteria to the Pokemon craze.  Included are warnings that kids who enjoy Pokemon might also get hooked on Magic or Dungeons & Dragons, claims that the game causes nightmares, and that players "role-play the chants" from the game. Keywords: CCGs, paranoia, pokemon

Puerto Rican Lawmaker Wants Probe of Pokemon Craze: Reuters, November 30th, 1999: author unstated.  A rather balanced story regarding the request by Roberto Cruz for the Puerto Rican government to investigate the Pokemon craze. Keywords: CCGs, paranoia, pokemon

Roleplaying Relaxes Sailors: The Eagle, December, 1999: James R. Stilipec.  This article from the shipboard newspaper of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson does an excellent job of explaining the concept of role-playing games, and how much enjoyment and relaxation the sailors get from playing them. Keywords: benefits, D&D, military, positive, RPGs

Experts reveal: Pokemon Mania is actually good for your kids: Woman's World, December 7th, 1999: author unstated.  This article from a woman's weekly magazine praises the benefits of Pokemon and Harry Potter.  (Did Hasbro buy this magazine at some point?) Keywords: benefits, CCGs, pokemon, positive

Quebec Official Eyes French Pokemon: Associated Press, December 10th, 1999: author unstated.  Quebec's culture minister tells Wizards of the Coast that they must begin publishing a French-language Pokemon or begin to face fines. Keywords: CCGs, pokemon

Poke-Crime Sweeps Nation! Kinda: Another Universe, December 11th, 1999: Matt Brady.  Brief recaps of recent Pokemon-related violence. Keywords: CCGs, crime, pokemon

Naughton Lawyers Try Role-Playing Defense: ZDNet News, December 12th, 1999: Lisa M. Bowman.  Patrick Naughton's lawyers claim that he was role-playing in a chatroom when he attempted to meet someone he believed to be a 13 year old girl.  No mention of RPG, but if history serves, this strategy won't work. Keywords: trial

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Vampire-like activity started with role playing: Associated Press, January 20th, 1998: author unstated.  A Winsconsin Rapids gang of vampire wannabees terrorizes the locals and seeks lonely teens for recruitment.  Mention is made by ex-members that the gang has it's roots in Vampire: The Masquerade, but that things began to go too far. Keywords: crime, RPGs, vampire

Vampire Cult Trial To Begin Monday / Jurors Dismissed In Vampire Trial: Associated Press, February 1st and 2nd, 1998 (respectively): Mike Schneider.  Some details of the start of the Ferrell case in February of 1998.  The"occult markings" found on the bodies of the victims is revealed to be a letter "V" with circles around it, one circle for each member of the clan.  No direct mention of gaming in either story. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, trial, vampire

Corpse (a Real One) Found After Whodunit Play / Guest Dies at Murder Mystery: Associated Press, February 20th & 26th, 1998 (respectively): Todd Spangler.  A woman murders her husband after the two of them attend an interactive murder mystery party.  At no point is the connection made between the party and the crime, as would have been done had it been a Vampire LARP or weekly D&D game. Keywords: crime, murder, LARP

Jury: 'Vampire' Leader Should Die / Vampire Leader Sentenced to Death: Associated Press, February 27th, 1998: author unstated.  Details on the sentencing of Rod Ferrell.  No mention of gaming in either article. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, trial, vampire

Teen-ager Sells Vampire Cult Story: Associated Press, March 7th, 1998: author unstated.  Heather Wendorf sells her story for a book titled "The Embrace" (a term seemingly culled directly from the Vampire RPG), and a possible $50,000 movie deal.  No mention of gaming in this article, but this could lead to much worse things...Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, vampire

Oregon Victim Planned Military Career: Associated Press, May 22nd, 1998: David Foster.  One of Kinkel's victims, Mike Nickolauson, "liked to play a role-playing game, like Dungeons and Dragons" that he made up himself, with another friend.  No connection is made between his hobby and his untimely death (which, believe it or not, is a surprise!). Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs

Trial in Bellevue's worst-ever slaying case moves closer: Seattle Times, September 17th, 1998: Alex Fryer.  Mentions role-playing and "pop-Gothic culture" in the Alex Baranyi murder case, as well as the defense's claims that Baranyi suffers from mental disorders and delusions. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Young defendants win separate trials in Bellevue murder case: Seattle Times, October 7th, 1998: Alex Fryer.  In the Alex Baranyi murder trial, "scores" of witnesses are expected to testify that the suspects acted out "Gothic fantasies" and played D&D - but the judge has rejected testimony from two gaming groups who banned them for "crossing the line from pretend violence to real contact." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Slayings Described In Brutal Detail: Eastside Journal, October 13th, 1998: Tracy Johnson.  A brief mention of Alex Baranyi's distant history as a gamer during his murder trial. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Friends Describe Baranyi's Fantasy World: Seattle Times, October 14th, 1998: Alex Fryer.  During testimony in the Alex Baranyi murder trial, some friends mention his role-playing personas. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Baranyi Found Guilty: Eastside Journal, November 5th, 1998: Tracy Johnson.  Alex Baranyi, found guilty of murdering Kim Wilson and her family, blames the act on "messed up genes."  He also denies that role-playing had anything to do with his actions, and states that he has not played in years.  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

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Bad Blood: Electronic Telegraph, April 12th, 1997: Daniel Jeffreys.  Interviews with former friends of Rod Ferrell and Heather Wendorf.  Pay close attention to references to a game called "Masquerader," with includes a rule that "a vampire who spots a rival blood-sucker must attack, anywhere or any time."  Someone needs to take better notes. Keywords: crime, murder, RPGs, trial, vampire

Magic's Kingdom, Newsweek, May 25th, 1997. A piece on Wizards of the Coast that casually slams the gamers, while it praises the business. The obligatory reference to Magic getting banned from a school is included. Keywords: CCGs, magic, school

Introduction to the Occult, The 700 Club, October 31st, 1997.  An obligatory Halloween piece for the 700 Club, this one dives right in to Magic: The Gathering, calling it "a game where you're attacking your living, breathing opponent by using devils to conjure demons and cast spells."   Now, who is it that has a problem telling fantasy from reality again? Keywords: CCGs, magic, paranoia

Assault suspect led group with accused killers: Eastside Journal, no date available (assumed to be November 1997): David Norris is revealed to be the former "leader" of a gaming group that once included Alex Baranyi (alleged proof of "gaming conspiracy," anyone?).  Still, they did manage to print an excellent statement by Police Lieutentant Bill Ferguson: "Some people are prone to doing those things, whether they are involved in role-playing or not." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Prosecutors seek 33-year sentence for Norris: Eastside Journal, November 1st, 1997: Carol Ryan.  Sentencing begins for David Norris, a Bellevue, Washington man accused of attempting to murder his girlfriend with a knife and hammer.  His sister blames the crime on the recent breakup of the two, as well as their involvement in a vampire role-playing game which "contributed to the deterioration" of Norris' spirit.  But... don't vampires bite people...?  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, RPGs, trial

Current Clack, Dragon Magazine, December 1997 (#242): Allen Varney. Brief mention of Patricia Pulling's death, including a statement from Mike Stackpole. (PDF) Keywords: D&D, industry, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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A dozen girls come forward as targets of self-professed vampire: Virginian-Pilot, January 19, 1996: Mike Mather.  Details of the John Bush vampire clan.  The card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and Dungeons & Dragons are both  mentioned. Keywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

Vampire-hunting detective is Virginia Beach's expert on the weird: Virginian-Pilot, February 5, 1996: Mike Mather.  This article details the life and adventures of "cult cop" Don Rimer, who is also interviewed on the "dangers" of gaming in the 700 Club article Teenagers Seeking the Occult Find Death Instead. Rimer is best known for inflating the actual number of game-related cases from a handful to "hundreds." Satanic panic in action! Keywords: crime, RPGs, paranoia

Vampire -- Not Just A Game: The 700 Club Newswatch, February 12th, 1996: Tod Freeman.  Concerns the John Bush sexual assault case. During this broadcast, a scene of several decks of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle cards are shown sitting on a table along with a crystal ball and a skull, with a healthy dose of dry ice thrown in for creepy, "occultic" atmosphere. In a later broadcast concerning an ex-satanist turned born-again Christian, this shot was used again as stock footage of "occult paraphernalia," even though the story had nothing to do with Vampire cards. Keywords: CCGs, crime, paranoia, RPGs, vampire

Witness says self-proclaimed vampire threatened her life during rape: Virginian-Pilot, March 12, 1996: June Arney.   Many new details are revealed on the Bush case.  Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is mistakenly referred to as an RPG. Keywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

Self-proclaimed vampire indicted on 35 charges against teen girls: Virginian-Pilot, April 2, 1996:  June Arney.  Jon Bush case. An identical statement is printed that calls Vampire: The Eternal Struggle an RPG. Keywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

The Situation In Italy, a collection of news stories concerning the suicide of "Roberto" (real name not given) in late May / early June,1996. Translated into English from Italian, so some of the text is a little rough. Directly followed by a lengthy rebuttal by myself, as posted to rec.games.rpg.advocacy. This incident spawned a campaign to seize games and shut down related shops throughout Italy. Thankfully, that campaign fizzled quickly. Keywords: crime, D&D, RPGs, suicide

Spate of suicides linked to US game: London Sunday Times, June 6th, 1996: Chris Goodwin (contributing).  The alleged suicide of "Roberto C." is believed to be linked to roleplaying, despite contradictory testimony from the victim's parents, evidence from a medical examiner that it may not have been suicide, and gross misconceptions about what role-playing really is. Keywords: crime, D&D, RPGs, suicide

As trial opens, prosecutors say Virginia Beach ''vampire'' wanted sex: Virginian-Pilot, September 10, 1996: Jon Frank.  Passing references are made to a "vampire role-playing game."  Keywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

"Vampire'' Bush convicted of sexual crimes against underage girls: Virginian-Pilot, September 11, 1996: Jon Frank.   Claims that Jon Bush recruited teenage girls into a game of "Vampire: The Masquerade," despite other claims in earlier stories that Bush was the only player of his clan members. Keywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

"Vampire'' tells judge he's sorry for his actions: Virginian-Pilot, October 31, 1996: June Arney.  Recap of the earlier Jon Bush stories, brief mention of VampireKeywords: crime, D&D, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

Teenagers Seeking the Occult Find Death Instead: The 700 Club Newswatch, November 8th, 1996: Kim Ferrall.  Concerns the Szcupski/Zarcufsky double suicide in Plymouth, PA. Interesting to note: part of the "occult paraphernalia" found on the scene was a Bible, and Rimer states that there are "hundreds" of police documented gaming-related deaths, when he (or anyone else) would be extremely hard pressed to name even a handful of them. Keywords: crime, murder, D&D, LARP, paranoia, RPGs, trial, vampire

Three brief articles on the Wendorf double murder case: The 700 Club Newswatch, December 2nd, 3rd, & 5th, 1996, respectively.  These three articles, from early on in the case, are almost proof in themselves that games were not involved, for the simple fact that the 700 Club does not mention RPGs in any of them! It would not be for a few more days before the story would become "embellished" to include VampireKeywords: crime, murder, LARP, RPGs, vampire

Teens Face Court Quietly: Orlando Sentinel, December 8th, 1996: Lesley Clark.  Concerns the Wendorf double murder case of 11/25/96. Note carefully the mention of the fact that police found "no evidence of vampiric activity" among the bodies of Wendorf's parents. Keywords: crime, murder, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

For Some, Vampire Fantasy Can Be All Too Real: Orlando Sentinel, December 8th, 1996: Lesley Clark.  Concerns the Wendorf double murder case of 11/25/96. This is intended as coming from the gamer's point of view.  I even get my two cents in on this one; look for it!  Keywords: crime, murder, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

The Wendorf "Vampire" Murders' connection to Roleplaying: December 11th, 1996: Gordon Olmstead-Dean.  A statement on the Wendorf double murder case, as made by the president of the Interactive Literature Foundation. A must-read. (addendum: the ILF has since disbanded and reformed as LARPA.  You can still reach them at www.larpaweb.net.)   Keywords: crime, murder, LARP, RPGs, trial, vampire

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Re: Role Playing Games (soc.religion.christian discussion), with response by Jeff Freeman, from the soc.religion.christian newsgroup, and republished as part of the Christian FAQ for Sydney University. (no specific date listed): David Fisher & Jeff Freeman. A frequently quoted document on the supposed dangers of RPGs for Christians, with a rebuttal by Jeff Freeman.  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, suicide, RPGs

FRPGs as a media - good or evil, rec.games.frp.dnd, January 23rd, 1995: Max Pritchard. An analysis of fantasy role-playing games as media.  Keywords: benefits, D&D, positive, RPGs, Satanism, study, suicide

The Truth: On Sale Now!, The Skeptic, May 1995: Jeff Freeman. Mr. Freeman discusses the actual studies on the effects of Dungeons & Dragons and how easily they are ignored, and his attempts to gather anti-RPG literature from various religious groups. Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, study, suicide

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Playing With Dragon Fire, Breakaway, August, 1994.  From Focus On The Family's teen-oriented magazine comes this account of a young man's experiences with D&D that reads like an Alcoholics Anonymous diary.  A rebuttal from myself follows. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, suicide, RPGs

The Attacks on Role-Playing Games, Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1994: Paul Cardwell, Jr. An examination of the early attacks on role-playing games from the chairperson of the Committee for the Advancement of Roleplaying Games. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, suicide, RPGs

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Is Dungeons & Dragons Satanic?, rec.games.frp.dnd, 1992 (month and day unknown): Joshua D. Marquart. A well-written high school essay on the attacks against roleplaying games. Keywords: benefits, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Forum, Dragon Magazine, May 1992 (#181) More letters from Dragon readers regarding anti-RPG claims. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, education, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Letters / A Word of Warning About a World of Warning, Dragon Magazine, June 1992 (#182): Greg Handleton/Roger Moore. Two items of interest to roleplaying advocacy in the same issue of Dragon - Greg Handleton writes in to ask what gamers can do to defend RPGs, and Roger Moore's classic piece on the Dark Dungeons Chick Tract. (PDF) Keywords: D&D, magic, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

'Strange' Deaths Tied to Game, Arizona Republic, August 16th, 1992: Jonathan Sidener and Mary Tolan. A police seargent claims that there is evidence connecting the murder of Misty Largo to Dungeons & Dragons, but somehow forgets to tell us what that evidence is.  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide, trial

Role-Playing Games Continue to Catch the Imagination, Chicago Tribune, November 27th, 1992: Michael C. Neubauer. An article on some of the new role-playing releases for 1992.  This article is of particular interest because it comes from a newspaper that printed several anti-RPG articles over the previous seven years. Of the eleven products listed, the majority (7) are not RPGs, but boardgames (though some of them are connected in one way or another to RPGs).  Keywords: industry, positive, RPGs

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Questions and Answers About Role-Playing Games, Game Manufacturer's Association, 1991: Loren K. Wiseman and Michael A. Stackpole. A pamphlet produced by GAMA to address questions and concerns about RPGs. Keywords: benefits, D&D, education, kids, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism

Role-playing and the real world, Dragon Magazine, July, 1991 (#171): Michael A. Stackpole. A guest editorial on satanic panic and role-playing games. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, magic, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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Giving the Devil More Than His Due, The Humanist, March/April 1990: David Alexander. An examination of the Satanic Panic era, with a section on Patricia Pulling and B.A.D.D. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Mica Antelope, Dragon Magazine, June, 1990 (#158): Roger Moore. Another editorial from Roger Moore on the paranoia surrounding RPGs. This one is aimed at parents who don't understand and are concerned about these new games that their kids are bringing home. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, D&D, education, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Forum, Dragon Magazine, August, 1990 (#160). Dragon readers write in about anti-game discrimination.  Includes a letter from CAR-PGa founder Pierre Savoie. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Forum, Dragon Magazine, September, 1990 (#161) More letters from Dragon readers about anti-RPG claims. Includes a letter from CAR-PGa chairperson Paul Cardwell. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Forum, Dragon Magazine, October, 1990 (#162) The third and last collection of letters from Dragon readers about anti-RPG claims. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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Dungeons and Dragons: Only A Game?, Christian Life Ministries, 1989. A religious tract warning against the myriad of dangers that come with playing D&D, including, but not limited to, Jungian psychology!  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Laying the Blame, Dragon Magazine, November, 1989 (#151): Roger Moore. Another editorial from Roger Moore on the claims against RPGs, this time with some advice on how to handle the accusations. (PDF) Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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Role-playing Game Banned From School, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6th 1988: Carol D. Leonning. Despite testimony from experts against the dangers of D&D, the Cinnaminson school board votes to ban the game. A local Baptist pastor named Bill Waltz claims that a book called The Professional Occultist mentions D&D as an "ideal introduction to the occult" - but extensive internet and Library of Congress searches turned up no such book in existence. Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, school, suicide

Equal Time, Dragon Magazine, June, 1988 (#134): Roger Moore. Another editorial from Roger Moore on the claims against RPGs. This one briefly mentions the 60 Minutes story. (PDF) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Role Playing: Is It Good Or Evil?, Chicago Tribune, August 28th, 1988: Flynn McRoberts. An article on the debate over RPGs, with a good amount of voice given to the pro-RPG side, and ending on a positive note. A rare occurrence, considering the time period.  Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, education, magic, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, school, suicide, trial

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A Christian Response to Dungeons and Dragons, Dominion Press, 1987: Peter Leithart and George Grant. A booklet from Dominion Press on the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons. Most of the same old myths are trotted out here - but this seems to be the first attempt at connecting RPGs with Nazism (see the Basic Gaming FAQ for more). Please note: This is a ZIP file that contains a copy of the PDF and a JPG of the full-cover cover.  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Myths, Dragon Magazine, September 1987 (#125): Roger Moore. Mr. Moore talks about myths, including the big one found in the Chick tract Dark Dungeons. (PDF) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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Is Satanism Linked to Crimes?, St. Louis Globe Democrat, August 9th, 1986: Thomas D. Elias. A classic piece of Satanic panic from the height of the era. This article mostly concerns the Church of Satan, but a couple of pokes at Dungeons & Dragons are included. "Games like Dungeons and Dragons, with medieval imagery, help attract children and teenagers to Satanic rituals, which sometimes involve archaic dress." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

16-Year-Old Is Convicted in Fantasy-Game Slaying of Boy, 11, November 22nd, 1986: (author unknown) David K. Ventiquattro is found guilty of murder for killing Martin E. Howland with a shotgun. Ventiquattro claimed he "was playing the role of a Dungeons and Dragons character" and that his role was to "extinguish evil." Another failed attempt at the "D&D defense."    Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, trial 

16-Year-Old Boy Sentenced For Murder of His Playmate, December 5th, 1986: (author unknown) David K. Ventiquattro gets 5 years to life for murdering a friend he believed became "evil." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, trial

Night of Carnage in Canaan: Looking at the Death of a Family, Times Union, December 28th, 1986: Jon Rabiroff. The story of Wiley Gates's murder of four of his family members. Dungeons & Dragons is called a "computer game," and some creative quote mining by the reporter brings forth a blurb from the Dungeon Master's Guide (page 75) about how assassins must plan their assassinations. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs

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Fantasy Game Turns into Deadly Reality, Chicago Tribune, January 27th, 1985: Howard Witt. A piece on the RPG controversy. Dieter Sturm from TSR gets to comment briefly, but it's outweighed by Pulling, Radecki, Dempsey, and even some misinformation about the game from the reporter (i.e., "Characters can cast "insanity curses" on one another that include sadomasochism, homicidal mania and suicidal mania.")   Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, study, suicide

Dungeons and Dragons in Real Life, Chicago Tribune, February 14th, 1985: Linda M. Weiss. A humorous column about a mother's obervations on her son getting involved in Dungeons & Dragons. Keywords: benefits, D&D, education, kids, positive, RPGs, school, women

Chicago Tribune Letters to the Editor, Chicago Tribune, February 16th, 1985: Doug Newcomb and David Silvian. D&D gets defended in two letters to the editor regarding a previous article in the Tribune, "A Fantasy Game Turns Into a Deadly Reality" (above). A great example of roleplaying defense from the early days of the attacks on the hobby. Keywords: benefits, crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Game is Target of Fight in Putnam, New York Times, May 26th, 1985: Robert A. Hamilton. A group of 490 Putnam, Conn residents sign a petition to ban the D&D game from an afterschool program because of a local suicide, despite testimony from the investigating officer that "Dungeons and Dragons in no way killed this kid." Keywords: D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

Dungeons & Dragons Expert Held Accountable for Murder, Chicago Tribune, June 10th, 1985: Robert Enstad. Jeremy Dower, who shot and killed his foster father, attempts the "D&D made me do it" defense, but it fails, just as it always has. Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, trial

Fantasy Game Probed in Teen Killings, Chicago Tribune, July 17th, 1985: Howard Witt. The deaths of Amy Boyle (15) and Larry Brock (16) are believed to be connected to the superhero roleplaying game Villians and Vigilantes, because a bag of V&V books was found at the murder scene. In this article, William Dear is called "a flamboyant Dallas private detective who has investigated several suicides and murders involving teenagers who were avid players of fantasy role-playing games," even though his history appears to be limited to one RPG case - the one that, in fact, birthed the rumor that RPGs are dangerous.  Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, suicide, trial

A Suicide Spurs Town to Debate Nature of a Game, New York Times, August 22nd, 1985: James Brooke. The Putnam school board refuses a request to ban D&D from the school. All in all, a pretty positive article. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, positive, RPGs, Satanism, school, suicide

At a Games Convention, Fun and Fantasy Reign, New York Times, August 25th, 1985: (author unknown). A piece on Gen Con 18, with a brief mention of the anti-RPG controversy. Gary Gygax gets the last word in. Keywords: benefits, convention, D&D, paranoia, positive, RPGs, suicide

Wheaton Teen: A Troubled, A Preoccupation With Death, Chicago Tribune, October 6th, 1985: Howard Witt. Patrick Beach, murderer of Amy Boyle and Larry Brock, reveals a long history of emotional abuse and psychological disorders. Psychiatrist John MacDonald: "(D&D was) an unhealthy preoccupation, but the adverse factors in his childhood development were of much greater significance in the development of his personality." Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, trial

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Misleading Movie, Dragon Magazine, March 1983 (#71): Mark C. Matthews. A Dragon reader writes in to  express his concern about the television movie Mazes and Monsters. (PDF) Keywords: D&D, film, murder, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Tales Stranger Than Fantasy, Dragon Magazine, July 1983 (#75): Mike Lowrey. Reviews of two novels based on roleplayers going "over the edge"  - Mazes and Monsters and Hobgoblin. (PDF) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, suicide, trial

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Dragon Rumbles, Dragon Magazine, February 1982 (#58): Jake Jaquet. An editorial on the rising popularity of live-action "assassination" games, and how they could possibly damage the reputation of tabletop roleplaying (talk about unintentional foreshadowing...).  (PDF) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia

'Just A Game', Dragon Magazine, September 1982 (#65): Nels Bruckner/Kim Mohan. A Dragon reader writes in to comment on the increasing amount of anti-RPG rhetoric in the news and word of mouth. (PDF) Keywords: crime, D&D, murder, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, suicide

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A Media Spotlight Special Report: Dungeons & Dragons, 1980 (month and day unknown): Albert James Dager. This article from Albert Dager's Media Spotlight is one of the earliest examples of religious-based RPG criticism. Don't miss the heavy irony near the beginning, when Dager extols the act of finding out more about something before becoming concerned about it. This article is also available in PDF format on Dagar's Media Spotlight website here, or if it's no longer available, you can download it at The Escapist here (though this archived version is a bit easier on the eyes). Keywords: D&D, magic, paranoia, Satanism.

Out on a Limb, The Dragon, February 1980: R.F. McCaughey / Jake Jaquet. A Dragon reader writes in about the media coverage of the Egbert story, and Jaquet replies. Here's the optimistic quote of the century:  "Hopefully, the whole matter will be forgotten..." Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Utah Parents Exorcize 'Devilish' Game, New York Times, May 3rd, 1980: Molly Ivins. Parents in Heber City, Utah pressured their school to remove the Dungeons & Dragons game from an afterschool program. Teachers who defended the game were "accused of working with the Antichrist and of fomenting Communist subversion."  Keywords: D&D, kids, magic, paranoia, RPGs, Satanism, school

Youth's Suicide May Lead to Help for Other Children Who Are Brilliant but Troubled, New York Times, May 21st, 1980: William Robbins. After the suicide of James Dallas Egbert III, several families step forward to give support to the Egbert family, and share their stories of superintelligent children with self-destructive tendencies. No mention of RPGs here. Keywords: suicide

Brilliant Computer Student Dies From Gun Wound, New York Times, August 17th, 1980: William Robbins. The death of James Dallas Egbert III. "The circumstances of his disappearance have never been explained, and Mr. Dear and the parents have refused to give details." And from here, an urban legend was born. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Dungeons and Dragons Lecture (16 September 1980), Reverend James R. Cotter. One of the earliest examples of religious-based RPG criticism, this lecture by the Rev. Cotter actually predates the Pulling suicide. Keywords: D&D, magic, paranoia, Satanism

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Tunnels Are Searched for Missing Student, New York Times, September 8th, 1979: Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. The search for James Dallas Egbert III continues. D&D is called a "bizarre intellectual game."  Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Search for Missing Youth Turns to Game Convention, New York Times, September 8th, 1979: (author unknown). The search for James Dallas Egbert III turns to a game convention in Kenosha. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Mystery Surrounds Return Of College Student 16, New York Times, September 14th, 1979: (author unknown) James Dallas Egbert III is returned home, and no information about his disappearance is given. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Dragon Rumbles, The Dragon, October 1979: Timothy Kask. First mention of the Egbert disappearance in the official D&D magazine. "If the ‘bizarre’ tag sticks, all of us should consider the idea that we might meet with scorn, or macabre fascination, or be branded as ‘intellectual loonies’. In view of the distortions caused by the media, it may become incumbent now upon all of us to actively seek to correct the misconceptions now formed or forming whenever and wherever possible." (PDF) Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

Fantasy Game Finds Unimagined Success, New York Times, October 3rd, 1979: Karen Dewitt. A mostly positive piece on the growing popularity of Dungeons & DragonsKeywords: benefits, D&D, industry, paranoia, positive, RPGs, suicide

'D and D' Plus Sci-Fi, New York Times, October 7th, 1979: Linda Lynwander. A piece on the Bergen County Science Fiction Club that begins with a description of Dungeons & Dragons and how it is played.  Lots of facts get slaughtered here (D&D was first issued in the 1930s, TSR gets renamed to "T.R.S.", a Dungeon Master "chooses from three rulebooks", etc.), but most of the focus is on the game as an intellectual pursuit. Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs

Dragon Rumbles, The Dragon, November 1979: Timothy Kask. A brief mention of Egbert's return to his family after his disappearance. Kask mentions how curious it is that "a story that generated such publicity while he was missing should die so suddenly and quietly when he was found." Keywords: D&D, paranoia, RPGs, suicide

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