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These days, Dungeons & Dragons has almost become trendy. It’s snuck its way into pop culture, with references everywhere in books, movies, and tv shows like Stranger Things.

It may still have a slight reputation for being the nerdiest of pastimes, but truthfully, it’s way more acceptable now than it used to be. Just think about how you would respond if someone told you they played.

Even if you don’t personally play, you’d probably have no problem with it. Depending on your age, though, you might be surprised to learn that throughout its history, some have considered DnD evil.

Yeah, we’re as shocked as you are. We’ll dive into the why’s here for you, so you can learn more about this interesting part of DnD’s history. 

TL;DR Explanation: Why is DnD Considered Evil?

DnD’s evil reputation is mostly due to varying religious beliefs and misunderstandings. Some especially conservative religious groups have historically accused the classic tabletop RPG of being entwined with occult and ritual activities.

DnD and the Satanic Panic

In the 1980s, a wave of hysteria swept through the United States like an insidious fire…or maybe we should say hellfire. The population was consumed by the belief that Satanic ritual abuse was running rampant throughout the country.

This fear didn’t materialize from nothing. Not too long before, at the tail end of the 1960’s, the Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey. At the time, it was a sensationalistic belief system that left many people shocked (and not just a little offended, to say the least).

Maybe it’s not too surprising that, almost exactly a year after the founding of the Church of Satan, Ira Levin’s famous novel, Rosemary’s Baby, was released and achieved widespread success. Then, about four years after that, the country saw the publishing of William Blatty’s The Exorcist.

What does all of this have to do with DnD? Put simply, it has everything to do with DnD because of poor timing. 

There was an absolute whirlwind of obsession with all things demonic in 70’s and 80’s, and DnD was – perhaps unfortunately – created in 1974, smack dab in the middle of all the panic. It didn’t take long for the game, which was popular among people who were already outcasts, to be targeted by concerned parents. In fact, in 1982, a woman named Patricia Pulling formed the group Bothered about Dungeons & Dragons specifically to oppose the game.

It didn’t help matters that Jack Chick, an artist who circulated famous religious comics around that time, wrote a comic accusing the game of providing training in the occult to players.

Is DnD Actually Tied with the Occult or Evil?

So here’s the question of the hour for those who aren’t familiar with the game: is DnD actually tied with the occult or evil in any way?

The answer is a resounding no. However, there are certainly elements in the game that could easily be seen as occult or evil by cautious or conservative parents.

For instance, there are demonic monsters in the game. It’s also true that playable characters (also known as PCs) exist on a spectrum rating them on a range from good to evil. Furthermore, there are classes of characters that could certainly be considered occult, like warlocks and wizards.

However, like with all RPGs, the game is what you make of it. Players can turn it into a dark and introspective campaign, or they can play it as an uplifting, heroic tale of good triumphing over evil.

More likely than not, though, most players are just having a good time laughing at each other’s hilarious antics. Seriously, we can’t even tell you how many times one of the players in our games has wasted time trying to seduce a factitious bartender. 

Wrap Up

It truly is sad how quick many are to make assumptions about things they don’t understand. DnD is one victim among countless others when it comes wrongful judgments and hate-filled bandwagons.

Fortunately, the evil reputation it once had has been fading with time. You wouldn’t see it portrayed so frequently these days in the media if that weren’t the case.

Who knows? Maybe one day, rather than being looked at as the geeky hobby it is today, it will one day be weird not to play DnD.  

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