Talk on Dungeons and Dragons
By William Schnoebelen
Dungeons and Dragons is a tragic and
tangled subject. It is essentially a feeding program for occultism and
witchcraft. For Christians, the first scriptural problem is the fact that
Dungeons and Dragons violates the commandment of I Ths. 5:22 "Abstain
from all appearance of evil." Much of the trappings, art, figurines,
and writing within D&D certainly appears evil-to say the least of it.
On top of that, the second issue is that the materials themselves, in many
cases, contain authentic magical rituals. I can tell you this from my own
experience. I was a witch high priest (Alexandrian tradition) during the
period 1973-84. During some of that period (1976-80) I was also involved in
hardcore Satanism. We studied and practiced and trained more than 175 people
in the Craft. Our "covendom" was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; just a
short drive away from the world headquarters of TSR, the company which makes
Dungeons and Dragons in Lake Geneva, WI. In the late 1970's, a couple of the
game writers actually came to my wife and I as prominent
"sorcerers" in the community. They wanted to make certain the
rituals were authentic. For the most part, they are. These two guys
sat in our living room and took copious notes from us on how to make sure
the rituals were truly right "from the book," (this meaning that
they actually came from magic grimoires or workbooks). They seemed satisfied
with what they got and left us thankfully. Back in 1986, a fellow
appeared on The 700 Club who was a former employee and game writer for TSR.
He testified right on the show that he got into a wrangle with the
management there because he saw that the rituals were too authentic and
could be dangerous. He protested to his boss and was basically told that
this was the intent to make the games as real as possible. He felt
conscience-stricken (even though he was not a Christian at the time), and
felt he had to resign from the company.
Now, the question becomes if a person "innocently" works an
authentic ritual that conjures up a demon, or curses someone; thinking that
they are only playing a game-might not the ritual still have efficacy? I
think we know the answer to that question. If you play at shooting your
friend in the head with what you think is an unloaded pistol and don't know
a shell is in the chamber, is your friend any less dead because you were
People need to understand that God's universe runs on laws no less real in
the spiritual realm than the laws of physics that propel a bullet out of a
gun-and those laws are just as irreversible. God says that if you tamper
with magic and the occult, you are stepping out from under His will and His
protection (assuming you are a Christian). If you are not a Christian, then
you are REALLY playing with fire. Some verses which clearly teach this are
found in Exod. 22:18, Lev. 19:31, Lev. 20:6, Deut. 18:10, 1Sam. 15:23, 2Kgs.
21:6, Is. 8:19, Gal. 5:20, Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:15.
To quote an old proverb, "Though the boys throw stones at the frogs in
sport, the frogs die in earnest." Just because the people playing
D&D think they are playing a game doesn't mean that the evil spirits
(who ARE very real) will regard it as a game. If you are doing rituals or
saying spells that invite them into your life, then they will come-believe
me! We have prayed with enough people our age and younger who were former
D&D fans, and they were totally in bondage to it.
This brings us to other unsavory aspects of the game. One pro-D&D
psychologist wrote that "There is hardly a game in which the players do
not indulge in murder, arson, torture, rape or highway robbery."1 In
fact, the Dungeon Master's Guide gives the celebrated Adolph Hitler as an
example of a real historical person that exhibited D&D charisma! The
values contained in the game are, at the very best, "might makes
Additionally, much of the game contains overtones that reek of illicit sex
and sexual violence. For example, the cover of one D&D supplement,
called Eldrich Wizardry, shows a naked woman reclining on an obviously
satanic ritual altar. This tragic scene is compelling because it is really
what is done in genuine satanic groups all over the nation.2 It is extremely
sado-masochistic because the fate of such a woman is to be either raped,
gang-raped, tortured or sacrificed to a demon god. This kind of imagery can
be very provocative and seductive to adolescent males or even adults.
Additionally, male characters in the game often try to seduce female
characters; and references abound to things like venereal disease and
satyriasis (a male condition of permanent sexual arousal). Can these sorts
of things be appropriate for Christians or even for any decent person of
Additionally, Fantasy-Role-Playing (FRP) games like D&D do employ
1.Fear generation-via spells and mental imaging about fear-filled, emotional
scenes, and threats to survival of FRP characters.
2.Isolation-psychological removal from traditional support structures
(family, church, etc.) into an imaginary world. Physical isolation due to
extremely time-consuming play activities outside the family atmosphere.
3.Physical torture and killings-images in the mind can be almost as real as
the actual experiences. Focus of the games is upon killings and torture for
power, acquisition of wealth, and survival of characters.
4.Erosion of family values-the Dungeon Master (DM) demands an
all-encompassing and total loyalty, control and allegiance.
5.Situational Ethics-any act can be justified in the mind of the player,
therefore there are no absolutes of right or wrong; no morality other than
"point" morality needed to ensure survival and advancement. There
are no win-win situations and good forces seldom triumph over evil forces.
6.Religion-values and belief systems (see below) are restructured from
traditional Judeo-Christian ethics (which most people in Western culture
adhere to) to belief in multiple gods and deities. Players align themselves
with specific deities they select; patron deities are strongly urged. These
are not fantasy deities, but are drawn from genuine ancient religions and
beliefs! Only occult gods are included. In addition, defilement is urged in
many ways, such as excrement or urinating to "defile a font."
7.Loss of Self-control-authority over self is surrendered to the DM.
Depending on the personality and ego-strength of the player, this loss can
be near absolute.
8.Degradation-pain and torture are heavily involved in sadistic, sexual
situations that graphically appeal to visceral impulses. Much of the
material (as mentioned above) is well into pornographic areas and stresses
the defilement of innocence.
A Clash of World Views!
This is another, broader issue here. The values of the game are not only
pro-violence and death; they also entrain the player in an entirely
different way of looking at life: what is called by anthropologists the
"Magical World View(MWV)." This MWV is far outside the cultural
norms of most societies, and certainly outside the realms of Biblical
values. Let me explain:
1.The MWV teaches that there exists in the universe a neutral force, like
gravity, which is magic. In this worldview, there is no sovereign God; but
rather the universe is run like a gigantic piece of machinery. Magic's
application is the understanding of how to manipulate the universe to get
what you want. The analogy would be of putting a right coin in the slot of a
vending machine and pushing the button. You automatically get your
candy-assuming you used the right coin and pushed the right button. The MWV
is like that. If you know the right technology (spell, ritual, incantation,
etc.) the universe must respond-just like the light must go on if you flip
the switch. It is automatic, and scientifically repeatable.
2.The Judeo-Christian Worldview (i.e. from the Bible, and held by most
cultures in the Western world to some degree) teaches, on the contrary, that
the universe is in control of a sovereign Person, God. To get
"results," He must be asked. Thus, it is more like a child going
up to a parent and asking for candy, than getting it from a vending machine.
The parent may say "yes," "no," or "Wait till
later." Similarly, in the Bible, there is no way to automatically
manipulate God to get what you want, because He is an omnipotent Person.
Additionally, God says that magic is deep and abominable sin (see above).
Now obviously, these two worldviews cannot exist in the same moral universe.
Either one is true and the other false or vice-versa. Thus, one cannot be a
Christian and believe in the MWV and not be some sort of hypocrite or
deceived person. The reason is that in the "universe" of Dungeons
and Dragons magic is neutral, and can be used by "good guys" or by
"bad guys." It is like "The Force" in the Star Wars
movies. This magical morality pervades D&D, and it is utterly in
opposition to the Word of God and even common sense.
Now the question becomes, can a person play the game without subscribing to
the worldview? It is possible, but considering the high level of emotional
and intellectual commitment that the game requires, is that really
realistic? D&D is not like chess or Monopoly. It is a game that engages
the whole person at deep levels, and it can last months if well-played. How
can a person, Christian or not, immerse themselves in a reality view so
deeply and not have it impact the rest of their lives? This is difficult to
imagine, especially considering the highly demonic and magical content of
much of the game. As the saying goes, "if you lie down with dogs, you
get up with fleas."
As the apostle Paul warns us, (1Cor. 15:33) "Be not deceived: evil
corrupt good manners." If games and manuals which extol
black magic, rape, sado-masochism, murder and violence are not "evil
," then I do not know the meaning of the terms!
A D&D "Hall of Shame"
This provides us with a spiritual explanation of why the following tragic
litany of evil keeps growing around players of Dungeons and Dragons. The
psychological explanation buttresses this as well, for we now understand the
D&D can readily be a form of mind-control which also uses real occult
techniques to foster possession by evil spirits.
1.The "Freeway Killer," Vernon Butts, who committed suicide in his
cell in 1987 while being held as a suspect in a string of murders was an
avid D&D player.
2.D&D player (14 years old) commits suicide by hanging, 1979,
name withheld by parents' request.
3.D&D player (17 years old) Michael Dempsey, Lynnwood, WA. suicide by
gunshot wound to the head, 5/19/81. Witnesses saw him trying to summon up
D&D demons just minutes before his
4.D&D player (? years old) Steve Loyacano, Castle Rock, CO., suicide by
carbon monoxide poisoning, 10/14/82. Police report satanic writings and a
suicide note liked the death to D&D.
5.D&D player (21 years old) Timothy Grice, Lafayette, CO., suicide by
shotgun blast, 1/17/83. Detective reports noted, "D&D became a
reality. He thought he was not constrained to this life, but could leave
[it] and return because of the game."
6.D&D player (18 years old) Harold T. Collins, Marion, OH., suicide by
hanging, 4/29/83. Collins was noted to be "possessed" by D&D
as if he were living the game.
7.D&D player (16 years old) Daniel Erwin, Lafayette, CO., murder by
brother's shotgun blast to head, 11/2/84 (right after Halloween). Death was
apparently the result of a death pact as part of the game.
8.D&D player (12 years old) Steve Erwin (see above) suicide by gunshot,
11/2/84. Detective report: "No doubt D&D cost them their
9.D&D player (no age given) Joseph Malin, Salt Lake City, UT., pled
guilty to first degree murder 3/2/88 and was sentenced to life in prison. He
killed a 13 year old girl while acting out the fantasy role game. The girl
had been raped, her throat cut, and she had been stabbed twice in the chest.
Police said his "violent urges were fed by 'extreme involvement in the
fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.'"
10.D&D player (14 years old) Sean
Sellers was convicted of killing his parents and a convenience store
clerk in Greeley, Oklahoma (1/11/87). He was the youngest inmate of death
row in the country as of this writing (22 now). His involvement in hard-core
Satanism began with D&D, according to his own testimony. Praise the
Lord, he is now a Born Again Christian!
11.D&D player (14 years old) Tom Sullivan, Jr. got into Satanism and
ended up stabbing his mother to death, arranging a ritual circle (from
D&D) in the middle of the living room floor and lit a fire in its midst.
Fortunately, his dad and little brother were awakened by a smoke detector;
but by then, Tom, Jr. had slashed his wrists and throat with his Boy Scout
knife and died in the snow in a neighbor's yard.(1/19/88, Amarillo, TX.)
Of course, just like everything else, some people (young or otherwise) will
say, "Those people were just weird or losers to begin with. I'm too
together to fall into stuff like that. It's just a game!" Yeah, and an
H-bomb is just a firecracker! Like the people who think they can play around
with crack or pre-marital sex and not get burned by death, AIDS or
pregnancy, the person who thinks they can mess with D&D without getting
burnt is whistling in the dark. The evidence is definitely stacked against
them! The game is too carefully crafted a trap for many people to elude.
Quoting Dr. Thomas Radecki MD, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois
School of Medicine: "The evidence in these cases is really quite
impressive. There is no doubt in my mind that the game Dungeons and Dragons
is causing young men to kill themselves and others. The game is one of
non-stop combat and violence. It is clear to me that this game is
desensitizing players to violence and also causing an increased tendency to
Thus, in my mind, and in the minds of most who have come out of this
background as I have (occultism and Satanism); there is no doubt that
Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell. No
Christian or sane, decent individual of whatever faith really should have
anything to do with them.