Dark Dungeons – A Nostalgic Look At Satanic Panic

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For anyone who has never read a Chick Magazine (Chick Mag for short) I would like to enlighten you about a staple of Christian Evangelism, and one of the funniest portrayals of Dungeons and Dragons to ever grace the pages of a comic book.

But first, a warning:

Chick Magazines are no joke. Any irony gleaned from the pages of these anti-heathen lessons are coincidental (and numerous). In no way am I condemning or condoning the use of religious propaganda. I am reviewing this short comic purely from the standpoint of an outside observer. If you find any of the following review offensive to your religious beliefs, I apologize in advance.

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Not from Dark Dungeons. This is just an example of the back pages of a Chick Mag.

Roll a D20 to determine if you’re damned.

In the early life of Dungeons and Dragons, news networks clamored to publish stories about gamers joining D&D cults, making pacts with the devil, and forming gang-like bonds with their fellow players. Most of these news stories ended with teens committing suicide as a result game-related depression. And although the game D&D has been around since its publication in 1974, the religious controversies didn’t get kicking in the media until the 1980′s.

Due in part to the media outcry against roleplay fantasy games, this little gem was published and handed out by the hundreds of thousands, and they can still be purchased online in bulk for around 13 cents per issue.

The most unbelievable part is having an adult woman as a Dungeon Master pre-1990′s.

Of course this comic may be taking a few liberties about the culture of Dungeons and Dragons. Even the most die-hard Dungeon Master wouldn’t ostracize a player because their character died. They’d simply be banished to the far reaches of the kitchen for 20 minutes, or however long it takes to cook a frozen pizza and make a new character. But because this is an unbiased, well-rounded view of tabletop gaming, I’m sure everything works out for Marcie…

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This paper could have been used to draft a new haughty, self-important elf.

Despite Dungeons and Dragons being a far more social game than the media has given it credit for, this comic also seems to suggest that roleplaying is the exclusive domain of psychopaths, shut-ins, and people who are actively recruiting for demonic cults. That’s not to say D&D players don’t have their own baggage. Some of my best friends use D&D as an outlet for personality disorders–disorders which they reconciled long before they stepped into a pair of adventuring pantaloons.

But according to Dark Dungeons, even a glimpse of Dungeons and Dragons can send a normal, well-adjusted schoolgirl spiraling into a realm of satanic delusion.

It can also give you a wicked case of Benjamin Button.

Warning: Casting high-level spells can give you a wicked case of Benjamin Button.

Conclusion:

I don’t know if I can adequately explain the twisted love I feel for this comic. I’m fairly certain the author meant it to be a warning against Dungeons and Dragons. But this is achieved in such a ham-handed, over-the-top way that I can’t help but cackle at it like Willy Wonka in a children’s burn ward. Every Chick Mag I’ve been given has been a tiny nugget of humor, but this one takes the cake, and then it uses E Coli frosting to teach you the dangers of eating cake.

And if that ringing endorsement doesn’t convince you to read Dark Dungeons (you can find it with a simple Google search) then this should do the trick…

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Well said, Debbie. Well said.

Published by jdplots

Author and mangler of plots.

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