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Remnants of Satanic Panic
Posted by WJWalton on Wed 18 of May, 2011 09:05 PDT
Lately, I've been doing some research for the next Escapist video, "How Roleplaying Games Got a Bad Reputation," and going through some old anti-gaming books and videos. My oldest daughter Aylish caught me doing this, and told me how frustrated it made her to see people trying to feed others their own paranoid ignorance.

I gave her the good news - that for the most part, you don't see these sorts of things happening as often these days, and when someone does write a book or get on television trying to warn everyone away from the imagined evils of RPGs, they're usually dismissed as raving kooks.

Then, just yesterday, I received an email from an Escapist reader who sent me a link to a post on the roleplaying forum RPGnet, with a story that could have easily come from the mid eighties:

So my mom took away my D&D books today because of Heroes of Shadow.

I'd bought both Heroes of Shadow and Paizo's Inner Sea Guide and had both of them on my desk (well I was flipping through the ISG) and my mom came in and asked how my day went. I told her it went great I finally got the two books I'd been waiting for.

So she starts flipping through my Heroes of Shadow and suddenly sees stuff like Soul Sacrifice and Shadow Sponsorship and things like that in big scary letters and she just freaks out. She starts yelling at me about how D&D is satanic and that I've been lying to her all along about it.

She took all of my d&d books and put them in a cardboard box out front for anyone to take =( It was gone this morning. That was over a 1000 dollars gone. I know WotC has no interest in turning our souls over to Satan (afterall they wouldn't see any profit in it, so why bother?) but couldn't they have hidden the darker themes of the book deeper inside it or something? I'm sorry. I know it's not WotC's fault. I'm just mad and looking for a target.

It's just another reminder of why this site and the CAR-PGa are here. Sadly, this is one of those situations that is hard to reconcile. I used to get emails about it so frequently that I addressed it in the Basic Gaming FAQ, with the best advice I could possibly offer in cases like these. In a nutshell: respect the wishes of your parents, arm yourself with the facts, try to explain your case as rationally and calmly as possible, and accept their decision no matter what it is.

It feels sort of strange to still be handing out this advice, because it's so hard to imagine too many remnants of the Satanic Panic era still lingering around 30 years later. But that's not the only reason it feels strange. As I write this, I'm preparing a Vampire: The Masquerade session for Aylish and her friends Miranda and Jerry, and looking forward to spending some quality time with intelligent, creative kids, telling stories and exercising our imaginations.

It's strange to think of that as something that I should be so afraid of.

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