>Tell me, is it not ironic that various members of the Church, who– quite reasonably– get peeved when folks throw fits about what those folks *think* the Church is/does/believes, then turn around and make it look silly by doing the same to a game? I’m speaking of Dungeons and Dragons. If you’re convinced that that 80s movie is The Whole Truth and that anything I say against it is mush, please leave now. Don’t waste your time. That movie was based on the story of a guy with serious mental problems who got involved with a strange LARP group (Live Action Role Playing– as opposed to D&D, which his pencil and paper).
That’s not even getting into the whole bearing false witness stuff. This guy claims that D&D writers contacted him to make sure that the rituals in the book are accurate. Here, let me go get my D&D player’s guide– find one short enough to quote– ah, Bear’s Endurance, page 203 of the PHB 3.5. I’ll spare you the whole gibberish on who can use it and tell you that it’s a transmutation spell, available to clerics, druids, rangers, and sorcerers/wizards as a level 2 spell. It’s a touch spell with a will save negetation, and spell resistance applies.
description: “The affected creature gains greater vitality and stamina. The spell grants the subject a +4 enhancement bonus to constitution, which adds the usual benefits to hit points, fortitude saves, constitution checks and so forth.
Hit points gained by a temporary increase in constitution score are not temporary hit points. They go away when the subject’s constitution drops back to normal. They are not lost first as temporary hit points are (see page 146).”
I’m not seeing any rituals.
After some searching, I found a spell that might upset folks– Augury. Basicly, seeing if anything outstanding will happen in the next half hour. It lists a material component of “incense worth at least 25gp” and a focus of “a set of marked sticks, bones or similar tokens of at least 25gp value.” (A gp is a gold piece.) The rest of it is much like the paragraph above– informing you that a good base likelihood of a relevant result is 70+1 per caster level, with a max of 90%. (possible results: good, bad, good and bad, no result)
Anybody about to jump on that and say “see! See! Magic!”? It’s game mechanics. Everyone has to list what they’re carrying, and for that matter they have to *buy* what they’re carrying. In most games, 25 gold is a lot. This spell could be very overpowered, so they added difficulty to using it– although some Dungeon Masters ignore material component requirements in favor of the simpler, classic “I cast magic missile.” (Those of you who added “at the darkness!”– welcome, fellow geeks!)
Alright, so you might think I’m biased, given that I do play D&D. (although I prefer BESM– Big Eyes, Small Mouth– an anime based RPG. I adore my 5′ mini-gun wielding gun bunny/werefox schoolgirl. Er…it makes more sense if you played. That sort of over the top stuff is pretty common, kinda like the ninja who had a demon in his gut that made him a great fighter, but kept trying to eat party members. Or the giant gnoll samurai who dyes his hair black and only speaks Japanese and goblinoid…. Anime style weirdness.)
yanks herself back to the topic at hand
Well, perhaps I’m biased, and perhaps I just am familiar enough to know that many of the things D&D is accused of either aren’t so or are way overblown. How about this discussion from a website I adore? A joke post that requires familiarity with D&D, and not a single post saying “No! Dungeons and dragons is evil!” How about this one that directly comments on the moral dimensions of D&D? Although I disagree on the alignment mentioned– frankly, I’m the only one in my gaming group who will play a Lawful Good.
Alright, let me explain alignments.
There is Good, Neutral and Evil, with the adaptors of Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. The former three are pretty obvious, and the Lawful means you follow laws to the exclusion of all else, while Chaotic basically does whatever it feels like.
To make it a bit easier: The Pope is Lawful Good, a Judge– that is, one who cares only for the law– is Lawful Neutral, a serial killer is Chaotic Evil. If you’ve got a good DM, he’ll make sure that either you act like your alignment or you actually change the alignment.
For example, if a player is a necromancer (raises and controls undead monsters) they have to be of an evil alignment. If the player acts like a good character– say, saving someone when there is every reason for the character to want him dead– then he might have to change alignments and lose the undead powers. On the flip side, a Paladin– Lawful Good requirement– who’s going around killing people who ask for mercy, ignoring calls for help or ignoring laws all together is likely to lose his alignment and powers as well.
Most players try to do what they think is right, but sometimes ignore laws or conflicting calls. (Like Spiderman when he could save the bus full of kids or MJ. If he’d chosen the kids, it would be a lawful course. If he chose MJ, it would be chaotic– the good that felt best; what he did was neutral good, because it attempted to save both.)
My favorite character, the gunbunny I mentioned above, is chaotic neutral. For example, when the group is fighting something, she tends to mow it down with her gun. If someone runs in front of her, she will try not to hit them and will yell for them to get down. If they don’t, she’ll fire anyways. (Unless it’s one of the characters she has an emotional attachement to. Which, luckily, is most of the party.)
My boyfriend’s favorite alignment is Lawful Neutral, because of the interesting situations it can bring up. (Can’t be that he’s a rulemonger, right? ;^))
Another friend loves being Chaotic Evil and trying to kill off the party without anyone noticing. (He usually fails.)
Oh, and the joy of role playing is that you can’t use out of character knowledge. It takes real skill to KNOW that your character will probably die if she walks into the next room, but do it anyways because that is what they’d do.
Long story short, one reason I love D&D is that it has good, evil and isn’t shy about separating the two. Good people you would want to know. Evil people you want to be gone. Although BESM is still better for the humor aspect!