Share Your Satanic Panic Stories


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As gamers we've all had to deal with the fallout created by the Satanic Panic of the 1980s (details on what it was if you're unfamiliar can be found right here). Whether it was a stern talking to from a pastor, shrieks from family members who found out you gamed, or just the constant grind of explaining to people that no, just because you like RPGs that doesn't mean you worship Satan.

So, how has this moral panic affected you as a gamer?


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It caused me to feel that being a gamer was something to be ashamed of. I had keep a hobby that I loved to myself and probably missed out on a lot of play time because I was too afraid to try to seek out other gamers at my school. I come from a small southern town so everyone was on the constant look out for devil worshippers.


80's? Well in the early 2000s, I had people asking me if I was part of a cult (heavy metal shirts + RPG books are apparently the epitome of evil!).

This one time, an old lady came around my group and asked if we worshiped Satan! We just laughed and didn't even bother to answer with anything more than a "Seriously?".

I suppose we could have been more polite and explained it to her... But we were teenagers. Teenagers are a@*+$~@s. lol.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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It (eventually) taught me that a person whose 30 years of religion has them convinced that gaming is evil, is more willing to adjust his/her beliefs in the face of evidence (and is more willing to remain civil in the meantime) than is a person whose 30 years of gaming has them convinced that such-and-such a rule works this or that way. :/


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Our gathering place for gaming was the YMCA, we got told (somewhat sheepishly) by the director of gaming club at that time (who was a gamer himself) that we could not play D&D. ANY other RPG was fine, but D&D was off the menu.

We switched to playing Stormbringer, because it entertained us to move to a game where the entire magic system was built around summoning and binding demons...

After a couple months, the scrutiny went away - clearly we were now playing a game based upon respected literary works. Then we went back to playing D&D.

Good times.


The story that sticks with me most actually dealt with video games. I didn't have a good PC, but I had a Playstation and I desperately wanted to get Diablo. My mother just sort of smiled and nodded until she saw the box art. The only thing that saved my purchase was the cashier explaining to my mother that she and her daughter (who was about 10) regularly two-playered the dungeons.

Explaining the facts to strangers is often easy. Making your own family listen is often significantly harder.


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True story

We used to play at my friends house and it all seemed fairly harmless. I think when it started getting weird was when Marcie's character Black Leaf died. Ms Frost (the GM) had this odd house rule that when your character died you had to leave the group. Anyway Marcie took it really hard but she had to go…the rules are the rules. Black Leaf was dead so as far as we were concerned so was Marcie.

Anyway my character Elfstar just reached level 8 and Ms Frost said it was time for me to really cast spells. Finally real power! After some intense training I cast my very first "real life" spell mind bondage on my dad since he was trying to stop me from playing D&D. It worked so well he bought me a bunch of D&D books and figurines. Ha ha, what a tool!

You remember Marcie right? The one who was kicked out when her character died? Well she was calling all the time trying to get back in our game despite that fact that her character was dead. We blew her off cause she was stupid and but then later that week I stopped by to check in. Her mom was upset because Marcie had locked herself in the room. We broke in and Marcie had hung herself! She was distraught that Black Leaf died and had a note that said as much.

Ugh, my heart just broke and I was devastated. Our GM Ms Frost told me her spirit was weak and all. I was not coping with Marcie's death well and was basically freaking out so Ms Frost grabbed me and said I should let Netstar take control!

WTH! I told that chick I was done and ran and never looked back.

I left and accepted Jesus as my savior and threw my lousy D&D manual into a bonfire.


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I have a very similar story to the Lorax actually.

I didn't play D&D until I was well into my late teens (17-18, or thereabouts), but before that I'd been playing Fantasy Hero, Champions, Paranoia, and the like.

None of my family cared much about those games.

But the moment I touched D&D...

Suddenly my (very) conservative Christian family members were all up in arms about my soul, my immortal soul, didn't I care about my SOUL?

It didn't matter how often I told them that I was playing a hero and that we were beating up bad guys, it was SOUL this and SOUL that.

It got to the point that even pointing out that our GM's parents were ministers in their church didn't help.

So after a night of particularly interfering and meddling cousins, aunts, and uncles got on our collective cases, we decided fine. If D&D is the trigger, let's do something else.

"I've got Stormbringer," said one of us.

So the next week, when Meddling Cousin #1 asked if I was still playing "That game." I said, no. We're playing a game based on the Elric books, now.

"Oh!" said he. "I love those books! I love that entire series!"

"Even though," I asked. "Elric worships and cavorts with demons and basically eradicates the souls of everyone he loves in order to further his own power?"

You've never seen anyone stammer and backpedal so fast in your LIFE.


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It's odd, I played right through the '80s without having a single "OMG Satan!" encounter. I think it had to do with a couple of things: my parents were sane people who watched me play and decided that the worst danger that game had was getting beat up by jocks (a correct guess, by the way), and my immortal soul was fine. The other was that I grew up in a fairly metropolitan area, so diversity of ideas, actions, and hobbies wasn't so scary for most people.

The only personal "D&D is evil" moment came for me in the late '90s (long after Satan went to hang around games like WoD and such). I was newly hitched to my lovely wife, and was telling her sister about my collection of RPG material. She told my wife that she should take all of my role-playing stuff while I was out, put it in a pile, and burn it. Not get rid of it. Not throw it away. Burn it. Because, apparently, God only manifests His wrath in fire. *facepalm*

Thankfully, my wife is also sane. We had a good laugh about the whole thing later that day. Also thankfully, that's my only story about this stuff. I probably would've mortally offended someone by laughing in their face if it wasn't.

BTW, jemstone, that story was awesome.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Neal Litherland wrote:

As gamers we've all had to deal with the fallout created by the Satanic Panic of the 1980s (details on what it was if you're unfamiliar can be found right here). Whether it was a stern talking to from a pastor, shrieks from family members who found out you gamed, or just the constant grind of explaining to people that no, just because you like RPGs that doesn't mean you worship Satan.

So, how has this moral panic affected you as a gamer?

I only had to deal with it ONCE during that entire period. I was running a game at Rutgers and one of my players was a member of a local Grace church group. I met him for luch at Brower Commons and as it turned out his pastor was doing an info table, when the paster found out he was skipping a meeting for my game, he called me a demon! As I'd long completed my transition from Catholic to Atheism, though, I pretty much ignored it, although I was tempted to go back for my black book copy of "Whispering Vault" to further freak him out with.

Player still came though.

The fact is for all the hoopla of the "moral panic", those were the best years for the hobby. I highly suspect that the net result of the " moral panic" was to drive up D+D sales through the roof.

I did use the Whispering Vault book a few years later to freak out some Jehovah's Witnesses that came to my door, but that was during the '90's. Good times.


My Dad had to go through some of the hoopla. Growing up he told me to avoid mentioning it at church. Other than that I personally haven't had to deal with any particularly overzealous anti-gamers. I'm lucky I guess.


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The only person lately to give me any crap about it was giving me the nerd line... until I pointed out his two notebooks of notes about building his fantasy football teams.

Best person lately asked, "How much damage does your wizard's lightning bolt do?"

Which got the only proper reply there is, "Which wizard in which system?"


The whole Satanism thing was never a big problem in Norway, at least not in the early 90s when I got into roleplaying. I can't recall a single person wondering if we were Satanists based on our hobby. If people don't know what RPGs are, their reactions on being told what I do are either "you mean improv theater?" or a blank look.

The big Satanism issues were actual self-proclaimed Satanists committing murder and arson. While some of them were gamers, other issues were considered more important.

Scarab Sages

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Yes, well, Norway wasn't founded by a group of, as the great Robin Williams once put it, "people so uptight the English kicked them out."


I was just starting to play D&D back in 1985. While gaming in a friend's dorm room, someone slid a copy of Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons" under the door and took off running down the hall.

And even as late as around 2006 the mother of one of my son's friends came to me expressing concern that her son was expressing interest in D&D because she'd heard it was satanic. I managed to get it across to her that it wasn't and she ended up buying him some of the books and letting him play.


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In my experience, devil panic tends to be annoying because they plane shift away and you can't kill them.


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I got one of the players I enjoyed gaming with the most because of Satanic Panic. She eventually moved to Seattle because her husband's job took her out that way, but by then she had introduced her kids to a homebrew child-friendly version of the game.

This was back in the 3.5 era, and the books had just come out. I was in Barnes and Noble, picking them out, when this woman approached me and asked if I cared about my immortal soul. I rolled my eyes and asked her why she brought it up. That was when she mentioned the idea of DnD teaching people to use evil magic, worship Satan, etc.

So, I responded by opening the PHB to the spells section, handing it to her, and asking her to point how where the magic words are.

After she couldn't identify any, I flipped to the alignment section and let her read that. Then I showed her the entries on demons in the Monster Manual. As I saw that she was beginning to figure out that being evil isn't something the game encourages and it seems to encourage players to kill demons, I invited her to a session so she could watch.

She quite quickly figured out that we were closer to Lord of the Rings than to Satanism, she joined in. Bought her own books the next day and never looked back. Her church wasn't too happy about it, but she eventually found one much more accepting... and the minister from that church still plays with my group.

And I may be recruiting another player using that same method. Last week, got approached by someone in a local book store while looking at 5E books, who made the same exact claim about DnD being evil. So, I showed her the alignment page and pointed out the sidebar. Extended another invite, and the game is tomorrow.


It has affected my entire life. Gaming is my favorite hobby, and even now I don't volunteer that I am a gamer or talk about it with non-gamers. I grew up in the 80's in a religiously conservative household. My parents were cool with games, but the rest of the family couldn't handle it and half of my social circle was church people who also thought it was evil. Several of my cousins snuck around and played until my aunt found out. The good outcome of that for me was that she made him throw out all of his books, so I got a monster manual 2 and fiend folio out of the thing along with some modules.


D&D was banned at my school in the 80's because of "the scare" so we resorted to playing behind the school in a doorway where we'd huck our dice craps-style.

My parents were pretty cool about it, they bought me the game books and let me spend my allowance on modules and miniatures but also got me the Mazes and Monsters novel, I suppose to represent both sides.


I got lucky. got into D&D thanks to my parents in the 90s. They'd been playing since 1st edition. Had good friends that were all cool with it.

Only problem I've ever had was one of my friend's parents thinking D&D was hyper-satanic-evil-worshipping. Fortunately she didn't mind us hanging out, long as we didn't try to get him to play D&D.

Same reason she wouldn't let him play Pokemon, because the "Pokeball is a symbol of evil in the bible!"

Not much, but meh. Got a big-ass lecture about trying to corrupt her son and she wished we'd find the path to god one day. Funny thing was, my mother was southern baptist, and my old man was roman catholic...

Shadow Lodge

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Mine is a mild story, so prepaid to be underwhelmed
I went to college at Lee university, a Christian private school situated right in the middle of the Bible Belt, Tennessee, the south,
Trying to get a group together was... Difficult....


In my entire family; brother, cousins, nephews, I am the only one that is into D&D and other roleplaying games. My family is Roman Catholic to one degree or another. While my brother stayed with the church, I slipped away (quietly) into Atheism.

The books piled up but I never got the Soul thing that some here have gotten. When I went to college in the mid 80s, we had a gamers club and there wasn't anything about D&D hate on campus.

I guess in the mid-west we were the lucky ones.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MagusJanus wrote:

I got one of the players I enjoyed gaming with the most because of Satanic Panic. She eventually moved to Seattle because her husband's job took her out that way, but by then she had introduced her kids to a homebrew child-friendly version of the game.

This was back in the 3.5 era, and the books had just come out. I was in Barnes and Noble, picking them out, when this woman approached me and asked if I cared about my immortal soul. I rolled my eyes and asked her why she brought it up. That was when she mentioned the idea of DnD teaching people to use evil magic, worship Satan, etc.

So, I responded by opening the PHB to the spells section, handing it to her, and asking her to point how where the magic words are.

After she couldn't identify any, I flipped to the alignment section and let her read that. Then I showed her the entries on demons in the Monster Manual. As I saw that she was beginning to figure out that being evil isn't something the game encourages and it seems to encourage players to kill demons, I invited her to a session so she could watch.

She quite quickly figured out that we were closer to Lord of the Rings than to Satanism, she joined in. Bought her own books the next day and never looked back. Her church wasn't too happy about it, but she eventually found one much more accepting... and the minister from that church still plays with my group.

And I may be recruiting another player using that same method. Last week, got approached by someone in a local book store while looking at 5E books, who made the same exact claim about DnD being evil. So, I showed her the alignment page and pointed out the sidebar. Extended another invite, and the game is tomorrow.

This is what our hobby needs. Good work, and thanks!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I started playing in about 1983. I received the red box basic set for Chistmas from my aunt after I told my mom that's what I wanted. My experiences were fairly mild.

Once my mom told me some of her friends had asked about it so she figured she would ask. I explained the game and that was it. She later told me she'd told her friend she'd rather have me hanging out with my friends playing a game in the basement than out drinking.

I actually wrote a report in junior high on the James Dallas Egbert III case. I read a lot of the newspaper articles and read "The Dungeon Master," the book by the private detective.

I had no trouble with it, and if I remember right I got an A.


Muad'Dib wrote:

True story

We used to play at my friends house and it all seemed fairly harmless. I think when it started getting weird was when Marcie's character Black Leaf died. Ms Frost (the GM) had this odd house rule that when your character died you had to leave the group. Anyway Marcie took it really hard but she had to go…the rules are the rules. Black Leaf was dead so as far as we were concerned so was Marcie.

Anyway my character Elfstar just reached level 8 and Ms Frost said it was time for me to really cast spells. Finally real power! After some intense training I cast my very first "real life" spell mind bondage on my dad since he was trying to stop me from playing D&D. It worked so well he bought me a bunch of D&D books and figurines. Ha ha, what a tool!

You remember Marcie right? The one who was kicked out when her character died? Well she was calling all the time trying to get back in our game despite that fact that her character was dead. We blew her off cause she was stupid and but then later that week I stopped by to check in. Her mom was upset because Marcie had locked herself in the room. We broke in and Marcie had hung herself! She was distraught that Black Leaf died and had a note that said as much.

Ugh, my heart just broke and I was devastated. Our GM Ms Frost told me her spirit was weak and all. I was not coping with Marcie's death well and was basically freaking out so Ms Frost grabbed me and said I should let Netstar take control!

WTH! I told that chick I was done and ran and never looked back.

I left and accepted Jesus as my savior and threw my lousy D&D manual into a bonfire.

I never thought anything of it, but I once had these friends. One was Mark and the other Marcie. They played some weird game with Ms. Frost (sounds eerily like the one mentioned above)...but I was never really invited. Ever since I saw Ms. Frost humping this Mr. Chick person in her office afterhours...she seemed to be trying to give me the evil eye.

Well, there was this one day Marcie seemed very upset...and told me that she had been killed. I invited her to my own game...but then she asked some really weird questions...like if we got to really cast spells and talk to demons and other odd things. I told her it was a GAME...and as far as demons were concerned...normally our heroes killed demons if anything.

This disturbed her greatly...and she asked...what if SHE were a demon. I laughed, and didn't think much of it at the time. I said...hey...it's a GAME. She pressed the issue though, asking if in the game she were a demon. I shrugged my shoulders and said...well...depending on if you were evil or not...and what the party was made up of...we might end up fighting you.

At this she burst into tears and ran off. I regretted it later. I think she had the hots for me and my statement really depressed her. For some reason she couldn't tell the difference between a game and reality. I found out she hung herself just minutes after our conversation...I've often wondered if I had handled that differently if things would have gone another way.

The police seemed to blame Ms. Frost though.

Mark on the otherhand...that's even weirder. One day he's somewhat normal...though hanging out with Ms. Frost WAAAAY too much (I think he may have had the hots for her...only thing I can figure out) and the next...he's not hanging out with her or us anymore. In fact...he started thinking I was evil or something. He turned all religious fanatic and stuff....I'm not certain what was worse...when he was chasing tail of Ms. Frost...or when he was trying to teach us the evils of gaming (he had this delusion that gamers could cast spells or something).

Eventually things cleared up, I think he eventually started playing PF and sometimes goes by the nickname that Paul Atreides utilized on Arakis, so at least that story had a happy ending.

Ms. Frost on the other hand. The police had several questions for her...including why she had gotten so involved with her students during off hours. It appears that there had been several suicides of her students...far too many for the police to ignore. They went over to her house only to find her and Mr. Chick in an...intimate situation. Mr. Chick got clothed quickly...and beat tracks. The police caught up with him eventually, as they knew where he worked. He was some sort of cartoonist...but the cartoons he drew were so ridiculous that the police found it impossible to think anyone would even give any credence to the guy.

Ms. Frost unfortunately...she had a more dire end. She decided to try to throw spells or something at the police chief. Somehow he seemed swayed...and drew his gun at her urging. He was quickly tackled to the ground and Ms. Frost got shot. She expressed something about true power right as they shot their weapons...but she soon learned that cold lead is far more powerful than the delusion that you can deflect bullets with words.

We got a new teacher soon after that...a Mr. Crowley...but that's a story for a different time.

Mr. Chick still is trying to pass around pamphlets...but some think that he's actually an undercover agent for roleplaying games as they have popularized his cartoons far more than any other group!

Mark seems to have a full and great life now...

And me...well...I still can't figure out if I should have gone after the promiscuous Ms. Frost or not...for a teacher she WAS pretty hot...

Sovereign Court

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Eh, i never had any problems, starting in the late 90s and not being from US. My mom asked me once what was the game about and I told her it was like Lord of The Rings so she was OK with it.

We had a friend though. He was a decent kid, but his parents were horribly religious. Once they found out that he was playing AD&D with us, they forbid him to see us, signed him up in another school and moved away. Yeah, idiots.

I met him a few years ago. He grew up to be one of the worst homophobic, right wing bigots I have ever met. And he told me that he was thankful that his parents dragged him away from Satan. Goes to show what indoctrination can do.


Here's the thing, I only started gaming a few years ago as a Sophomore in college. However, I had heard much about dnd throughout my life and my conception about it were two things: it's the nerdiest thing you could do besides larping and it's potentially demonic. As a Christian in a Christian household, I was hesitant to play my whole life till recently. Though interestingly enough, I was more concerned that I was going to become a socially super akward person if I started playing it. The potential demonic things that I thought were in dnd were much more of an afterthought for me as opposed to the main reason I never got into it till late as I did.

A buddy of mine got me into it a few years back after I heard him exchanging great stories about what his character and his fellow players' characters did in certain games. It only took me a few months of hanging out with him and hearing these epic tales that I decided I would love to give the game a try. Had a great time with it and have loved gaming ever since.

Also, I love the new perspective that tabletop gaming has given me for playing video games. You can see where jrpgs and wrpgs got their inspiration and where they came from. Likewise, playing tabletop also gave me a deeper respect for Tolkien and his works. (Even more than I already did respect him.) Because it was his works that inspired the making of the first edition. I like to marvel at how these spiritual inspirations happened for nerdkind.

Mythologies and stories--->Tolkien's Middle Earth epics--->Dungeons and Dragons first edition--->Video game RPGs

When finding out this relationship, I have come to enjoy any kind of rpg much more than I ever have before playing dnd.

On another note, my friend who got me into gaming still has to deal with a satanic panic himself though. After his parents got divorced he's lived with his grandparents, which has been the case for about ten years I think. In any case, his grandparents are super conservative, so he keeps his hobby a secret from them. When his grandma asks where he's going every other Sunday he just says "going to hang out at X's again." Which isn't a lie persay, though it's sad that he has to hide the full truth just because his grandparents don't like dnd.

Honestly I find it shocking that super conservatives still think the way they do about social things. Makes me frustrated as a level headed middle-of-the-road-conservative. They making us look nasty bad. Luckily my immediate and extended family don't care, even my pastor grandfather. And I'm hoping that remains to be the case for many years to come.


Here on Spain the "D&D is satanism" has never been a problem; very few religious talk here and the Spanish Inquisition is looooong way past. The RPG has never been a big thing here, so it never bothered much anyone... until year 2000.
That year a person killed his fathers with a Katana (he is known as "el asesino de la katana" here) and that person was a RPG-player. Quickly some press arrived to the conclusion that those games where dangerous, and things where unfriendly for some time, until the sensationalist press bored of the case and go to the next. Since then, some negativity is still there, but is a rather small one. We are not important enough, sadly.


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As I think The 8th Dwarf and I have both mentioned on the boards before, here in Australia the Satanic Panic wasn't really a thing. The stigma attached to being an RPG player here was almost entirely about being nerds/dorks/whatever and not being a real man for playing make believe instead of doing something manlier (generally sports). Basically the problem was (for me at least) was that I was way outside the stereotypical Australian view of a rough and tumble kid who played football and so on.

Now I grew up in the 90s/early 2000s, and this was still a problem. I think predominately it's far more of an issue in the country towns like where I grew up than the cities. Far more likely to be accepted here, or at least more people interested in it so you can find friends.


I wear pentagrams, I game, but funnily, rather than getting asked if I were a Satanist I used to get people asking me if I were Jewish (yes, people really did now and then, get the pentagram confused with a Star of David).

I do actually know Church of Satan members though, granted, only one of them that comes to mind is also a gamer.


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Alaryth wrote:
the Spanish Inquisition is looooong way past.

Sooooooo....nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?


I was born in the end of '86 so the satanic panic was well over when I got into gaming. But I do delight in the gems it left for the following generations, such as the movies Mazes & Monsters and Skullduggery.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
the Spanish Inquisition is looooong way past.
Sooooooo....nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?

Yeah, something like that XD

I have never liked how on many histories of pirates, swashbucklers and such, Spain is the bad side and the heroes are either French or British, with the Inquisition as a important part of Spanish black legend.

On topic, I think that the satanic persecution is something basically from USA (but with some cases outside like Hama said). On other places, I have the impression that we have a much watered-down atheist version of RPG as something "psychologically dangerous". Nothing that can compare, really.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Somewhat related to the thread topic, I actually got introduced to Magic: the Gathering via an invitation to a church function where a bunch of guys from a local church got together and played.

Liberty's Edge

Alaryth wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Alaryth wrote:
the Spanish Inquisition is looooong way past.
Sooooooo....nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?

Yeah, something like that XD

I have never liked how on many histories of pirates, swashbucklers and such, Spain is the bad side and the heroes are either French or British, with the Inquisition as a important part of Spanish black legend.

Because you lost, duh. :)


Fortunately for me, unfortunately for this topic, I don't have any interesting tales of religious panic with my gaming. The closest is how I still hide it from my grandmother. Though since I only talk to her infrequently and live in a different city, this is not difficult.


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In 1980 my first campaign was coming to a close. The Characters where hitting seventh to ninth level, and we were considering taking the group into the Against the Giants adventure modules when one of my best players (and one of my best friends) came to me one day and said

"I think I need to stop playing D&D. I feel like the last few times we played I didn't know what my character should do, but I felt that he would know exactly what to do and I don know what that is."

So I told him two things, A) take a break, and B) Stop smoking so much damn weed

But, um, no, never had any religious or other confrontations with anyone in my 38 years of playing.


I live in Lansing Michigan and was a Jr high student into gaming (we played more than D&D) when James Dallas Egbert ran off from MSU in 1979. The police and school officials rounded up us "Dragons & Dragons cultists" as they called us.

We were interrogated, threatened and bullied for several hours with NO PARENTAL NOTIFICATION, NO LEGAL COUNSEL, NO BATHROOM BREAKS, NO WATER. We were threatened that "this will go on your permanent record and haunt you all you all your life if you don't cooperate." This resulted in my Dad strapping me with a leather strap you do not attract the attention of Law Enforcement in my family.One of the kids dad was a high powered lawyer and filed a civil rights suite on our behalf.

My next major encounter was my second church. We had some serious problems. You could not listen to certain music or play certain games but leadership could cheat on their spouses. These people self destructed real big and took the church with them. Sad but predictable.

As a side note My current church has no problem with gaming and sponsors game days I also Pastor a small group gamers and other groups that churches don't know how to reach out to. The Satanic Panic was the result of a "Perfect Storm." A new game that no one had ever seen the likes of before, a few Witch hunt trials, Some deaths wrongly connected to gaming, and intellectually lazy Clergy and Laity in churches. Add in a large number of Hucksters and we got the Satanic Panic.

`

Dark Archive

You'd think that high school in the early '80s in Oklahoma, in a town old-fashioned enough to have more churches than restaurants, a church run school (that graduated people from their high school who couldn't look up a name in the phone book, because they'd never learned to read!) and a 'blue law' on the books forbidding black people from living within the city limits, there would have been more anti-D&D sentiment, along with the anti-long-hair sentiment and anti-rock-music sentiment and anti-birth-control sentiment, but actually, most of the crazy people in town had never heard of D&D, so it was a non-issue.

Silver Crusade

German here, born in the early 90s.

Worst I ever experienced was one of my teachers looking suspicously at my Codex Cantiones - the Dark Eye (3rd edition) was sold in boxes and the box about magic contained a small book with every available spell inside it. The CC had a golden pentagram on the front (as you can see on the picture behind the link). She asked me something about it, whether I thought these things were true.
I took the book with me during the next exam and placed a die on every corner just to screw with her and told her afterwards what the book really was. She remained suspicious...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I had a Sunday school teacher, had a whole summer's lesson plan based around Satanism in pop culture, after the first week were allowed to bring stuff in to talk about whether it was Satanic.

2nd week I brought in Metallica, Master of Puppets, had a nice lively discussion

3rd week I brought in my Dungeons and Dragons stuff, I wasn't allowed back after that, especially since one of the exercises was how you would act if you were God, let's just say I went darker with it then they'd hoped, that taught em not to talk s%$@ about my hobbies, f#*$ers!

:-D


I was born in the late seventies, however in early eighties the satanic panic was thriving here. My older brother saved for weeks to buy the box set in town for D&D.

After much pestering, he ran a short game for me. I remember it quite well. I loved my elf, and the golf pencils and the nylon dice.

Well...turns out it was a bad thing. My mother was curious about the fact that my brother and I (for once) had actually enjoyed playing together. She started asking questions and got the reason out.

That night, both me an my brother were dragged downstairs as she brought out the box and burned it all in front of us in the wood stove, ranting at us for being satanists and my brother for trying to make me worship the devil. We didn't even go to church at that point.

Later, she also cancelled internet for a year after watching "the Net" and stockpiled for y2k.

My home life was ...interesting.

Grand Lodge

Never accused of worshiping the devil, but I did have a girl once stare a me and say "You not going to kill me are you", because I told her I played D&D and other roleplaying games. I just walked away, it was kind of surreal.


D&DPreacher wrote:

I live in Lansing Michigan and was a Jr high student into gaming (we played more than D&D) when James Dallas Egbert ran off from MSU in 1979. The police and school officials rounded up us "Dragons & Dragons cultists" as they called us.

We were interrogated, threatened and bullied for several hours with NO PARENTAL NOTIFICATION, NO LEGAL COUNSEL, NO BATHROOM BREAKS, NO WATER. We were threatened that "this will go on your permanent record and haunt you all you all your life if you don't cooperate."

What the... O_o

Did these guys actually think that since you played D&D, you somehow knew where the guy was or something? Or were they just seeing who would rat on who for playing a game that required algebraic math, an actual vocabulary, and more social skills than the high school's nose tackle to play?

I think out of all the stories I've read on this thread, I think that one is the weirdest...


Tinkergoth wrote:

As I think The 8th Dwarf and I have both mentioned on the boards before, here in Australia the Satanic Panic wasn't really a thing. The stigma attached to being an RPG player here was almost entirely about being nerds/dorks/whatever and not being a real man for playing make believe instead of doing something manlier (generally sports). Basically the problem was (for me at least) was that I was way outside the stereotypical Australian view of a rough and tumble kid who played football and so on.

Now I grew up in the 90s/early 2000s, and this was still a problem. I think predominately it's far more of an issue in the country towns like where I grew up than the cities. Far more likely to be accepted here, or at least more people interested in it so you can find friends.

Yep the whole satanic panic thing was added to the long list of excuses to punch a nerd.

I played rugby, surfed, sailed, did karate, went fishing and camping...

I still got the s$@! kicked out of me for lots of "reasons" red hair, fat, I read books for fun, had a posh accent, I was crap at sport, wasn't born in the town, played the devil worshiping D&D game, liked Heavy Metal, liked Rap music, liked Monty Python, wasn't an inbred son of a sugar cane farmer or fisherman and so on.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Never dealt with 'D&D is the Devil' panic really. Mostly it was the 'nerd thing' or my parents thought it was a waste of time thing.

Though I did get into a long conversation with a Pastor about it once. He believed it led to the Devil but he was not shouting about it or getting mean about it...it was more of the nature of a nice debate. Well as much as a debate when one side had no clue what they are talking about.


This is such a fun topic I won't let it die, live Damn you, live!!

Grand Lodge

My parents didn't mind me playing D&D, they didn't really care one way or the other.

The schools I went to encouraged playing RPGs, even having teacher-run sessions after school.

My best friend however, had parents that forbade him from playing; but he and I played regardless... LOL... I was such a "bad influence"! :-P


I was "taught" to play D&D when I was 6 years old, in 1980, by my then 8 year old cousin. I don't remember much about that first session, other than Mike declared my character had exploded from having too many experience points. In other words, he got bored and wanted to do something else.

But yeah, the 1980's and early 90's in rural Illinois was interesting...Judas Priest, Egbert, all of it got brought up in both church and school.

My mom, who was a high school English teacher, never fell for the Satanist crap angle. However, she certainly was asking whether the people I played with could tell the difference between fantasy and reality, even tying it in to critical discussions of movies we had watched together like The Fisher King.

Looking back on that group I played with and how they act on the internet now...she had some legit concerns.

Shadow Lodge

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I've had a few people walk up to me in book stores and ask me about my immortal soul or something like that. I replied by pointing at myself and saying, "atheist" and shrugging. They leave you alone after that.

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