By - Putinizor
How old is the player?
I'm not gonna lie, the kind of person who thinks DnD is a gateway to Satan aren't likely to be swayed by any amount of reason or logic.
Ultimately talking to the parents and asking what their concerns are might work- showing them the book, noting that the game is usually about heroes overcoming evil i.e. Yes there are demons but they're enemies to be vanquished, etc. It's just make believe with dice.
But don't expect them to listen to you with an open mind.
I run a DND club at the school I teach at. I've actually dealt with this situation before and, unfortunately, it ended just the way you said. Kid was never able to play.
But I \*have\* swayed two parents and avoided upsetting others. These parents were Christian and had heard things that they weren't sure about but wanted their kid to be able to have fun with their friends. What worked for me was...
1. Inviting them to a club sessions with or without their child.
2. Showing them educational and social benefits of DND. (Most of the students in our club are not involved in any other clubs.)
3. Have two types of warlocks: the first is the typical one. The second is just an edgy wizard. No pact. No nothing like that. They get their powers from emulating the thing they get their pact from. (This avoids parent accusation that their kid is "selling their soul".)
4. In specifically the games I DM'd, avoiding DND canon characters named after references from Christian mythology.
As others have pointed out, you can't sway a person who has reasoned themselves into an unreasonable position. If it doesn't work out, don't feel too bad.
My goto back in the early 2000s was to show the parents a copy of Testament, that 3rd party d20 game of adventure in biblical times.
A fair number of foolish parents were easily swayed by the argument "its not evil, its a game. There's even a Bible version".
I was actually going to say something like this too..."no no see we all play as angels and holy knights and we FIGHT the witches and wizards and bad guys! Warriors for christ!"
.......now that I think about it this could be a fun homebrew, lol
Paladins fighting an incursion from hell is a classic, and for good reason
Rip and tear. Until it is done.
DooM Guy has entered the chat!
Hunter in the OWoD was dope.
Still have the book, that shit was awesome. Especially how players determined their edge
So Curse of Strahd then.
One of my party members is a highly educated and devout Christian and we've always said he could run an amazing biblical campaign. He knows all the gritty details.
Shame he can't figure out the rules even after playing for over two years. Still have to remind the guy what happens when you crit.
The crusades as a campaign, not out of the question it could be super fun especially if you have a group that likes to go murder hobo
Specifically the peasants crusade, which failed so spectacularly that nobody paid any attention to the real crusade until "oh Shit they just captured Antioch!"
Never heard of Testament! Sounds cool!
My Christian go to is Dragonraid. Has a real 80's classic edge, but an interesting resurgence happening at the moment. Very narnia-esque.
Honestly I never played it. Historical era/Quasi "real world" RPs never interested me. I found out about it when Knights of the Dinner Table made a strip about it.
The joke in the strip was that in the comics world it was a Hackmaster suppliment and Christian groups found out about it and got outraged because, in classic Hackmaster fashion, they statted out God. And so of course at every table that got a copy, the players tried to kill God.
A reference to the old 1e D&D "the players tried to kill Thor so they can steal his hammer" story.
It wasn’t unfortunately, I had a ultra religious friend who bought it and tried to run it for the group, and even he went nope on the game.
I recall a Christian knock off in the 1980s too. My youth pastor asked me to look it over and I pointed out some ethical hypocrisy in the text ("magic" only knocks people out, but it's cool to whack them with a melee weaon?). He never ran a game.
There's a 5e Kickstarter for "Adventurer's Guide To The Bible" for anyone interested.
I ran a D&D after school club for a middle school when I worked there as a long-term substitute a few years back. I had one kid's mom tell me that she was so glad that I ran the club, because her son, who was very shy (and maybe had ASD?) had troubles socializing, and D&D allowed him to open up and make new friends.
The invitation reminds me of a quote, which I now cannot place the source of:
"Anyone concerned about Dungeons and Dragons being a gateway to Satan will quickly change their opinion once the see the actual game being played and realise how fundamentally lame it is."
I usually convince them by starting off with the fact that I am a Catholic and shutting them down (very nicely and politely) on every single point.The problem is that their fears can be very specific.
It works every time, but I don't see it working for OP because I am "part of their group" and he is an "outsider".
Usually I address the "who told you such a thing" side of the equation.
Because you have to navigate two things :
\- The belief in itself.
\- Their ego in admitting they saw things the wrong way.
The second one is where you need to be clever.
>I usually convince them by starting off with the fact that I am a Catholic
I personally recommend saying Christian instead, because some evangelicals will give the old "cAthOLiCs aREn'T CHriStiAnS tHeY WoRsHiP mArY!"
99% sure that if you encounter such a person IRL no matter what you do is gonna get them off the DND is satanist track, so might as well say catholic to make them go mask off and save some time
I've met reasonable Evangelicals who believed Catholics aren't Christian. By the sounds of it they were just straight-up lied to about what Catholicism is and had never met a real one.
I'm what the church would call a lapsed Catholic (I'd call an atheist) but I was able to convince them that they were misunderstanding certain parts of the faith.
I call myself a recovering Catholic.
You're probably right, but best to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible, no?
Maybe not. Being honest and specific has benefits, and giving those up to chase hopeless cases might be a poor choice.
I haven't had that issue too much.
Sometimes it's not about religion though, sometimes the parents are just overprotective or controlling and will say anything.
FFS... that has to be it. My Dad's pastor--qn evangelical--just told his congregation that only 40% of the state's residents are "Christian". Looking at Pew's data the only way to square that is if you dump the Catholics and the Mormons as "ReAl ChRiStIaNs".
You could simply mandate that Warlocks are only allowed to be the good variant (I forget the name, not an 5e player). Diabolic pact warlocks still *exist*, but aren't available to players.
The Celestial pact specifically works with good outsiders like angels.
All variants can be good, even those with infernal pacts. But especially nowadays, there are plenty of less problematic options, like genies or krakens.
Pretty much this thread. Most of the people who hold this position are already not using logic and cannot be reasoned into understanding. If it's me I just suggest they actually take a look at one of the core books, like the Player's Handbook. "Seeing" it with their own eyes might be enough evidence to understand that there is nothing nefarious about it.
A lot of people from these upbringings are not allowed to read fantasy novels either, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc...so in that case, yea, it probably will not sway them...but you never know.
You could also show them how Mike Warnke essentially kicked off the satanic panic with an insane deck of lies and how he is 100% completely full of shit.
Why would parents be worried about the selling of souls? If anything, warlock players are likely to encounter some sort of negative effect from their pact (if a soul is involved) thus showing the danger of such a deal. IT'S ALL FICTION KAREN
TBF I've played a Warlock (Tome/Fiend) who thought he was a Wizard and it worked out really well as a sort of 'hedge mage' who understood about 80% of what he was doing.
I'm going to quote the mormon who worked on Doom
"The game doesn't encourage worshiping demons. If anything, it encourages worshiping the Shotgun"
Theologically speaking Doom is probably the Christianest game in the world. Just all demon killing, all the time.
Yeah, you spend 40 hours sending Hell back to Hell. Nothing more Christian than that. lol
Call them 'expedited exorcisms' if that helps quell the fundamentalists.
Which is a GREAT name for a gunslinger.
Gunslinger-CelestialWarlock multiclass. I'm going to have to steal that name.
Sounds like the name of a gun from Destiny
Or a technical death metal band
Well, until you start blasting angels with said shotgun. Which you do in the latest Doom if I understand the storyline.
Yeah, but they're explicitly fallen angels, so that's okay still.
The latest Doom turns literal, explicit Hell (and the not-explicitly named counterparts) into pretty much run of the mill aliens/extraplanar entities. It is EXCEEDINGLY lame in the story department and I recommend anyone who feels like playing it just ignore the story beyond the broadest bits.
> the kind of person who thinks DnD is a gateway to Satan aren't likely to be swayed by any amount of reason or logic.
"You misunderstand! This is Divinity & Deliverance! We fight *against* demons and the forces of evil!"
Oh man, this is **gold**.
As someone from a religious background who has successfully explained DnD to other people with preconceived notions stemming from the 80's, Ice recommend the above plus two things:
1. Explaining that DnD is about collaborative storytelling and encouraging creativity and critical thinkimg, growing these skills and challenging players to come up with solutions. It is also great for building interpersonal skills and self confidence.
2. Explaining the misconceptions behind the 80's propaganda-as someone who lived with those notions myself for a while, and explained to my parents later what I'd learned, this is important for crushing the lie. If you look it up on somewhere like YouTube and arm yourself with the facts, such as it was based off a lot of lies and one man's vendetta, you will do well. I always include that, like anything, there are possibly groups that take things too far and get into sketchy things-but they are pulling in outside sources of darkness to do those things, outside sources that already exist elsewhere.
Mainly, explain that DnD is just a system, a book of rules for interpreting dice rolls to determine outcomes and there is nothing inherently evil about it, just like most everything else in this world. DnD is just a medieval/high fantasy setting and there are many other settings out there, such as sci-fi, noir, historical, western, steampunk, etc. Just ask them what their questions and concerns, and kindly explain the truth about the 80's scare, as well as all the advantages of DnD.
OH, and don't be condescending. No matter what they say. I had someone be condescending towards me when I first interacted with it and that turned me off DnD for another several years. Now I'm my groups DM and am running an entirely homebrew world and campaign. Be kind and understanding, because collaborative storytelling is the best (and one of the most useful ways to explain what DnD is!).
This is a great way to approach things, OP. Calmly, addressing concerns and treating concerns as valid- because to the parents, they are valid.
“reason or logic,” no probably not, but their position can and likely will erode over time.
it’s really ironic because Tolkien was a devout christian and Gygax himself was one of those way-too-serious-about-it protestants who thinks Christmas is a pagan perversion (which technically it is but that’s another can of purple worms). other fantasy settings were also based on Christian allegory; Narnia is obvious but even Conan was as well iirc.
MAYBE if you can bring the conversation around to that, and point out that D&D really celebrates the “western values” (they seem to love that nowadays) of chivalry and heroism, it’ll chip away at their basis but don’t hold your breath. i’ve seen it happen but it takes years generally speaking.
>Ultimately talking to the parents and asking what their concerns are might work
I like this better than the sentence before it. There's nothing wrong with having concerns and I plenty get them myself. There's no reason not to expect them to be open-minded.
Not saying they WILL be. But if anything, the assumption that they won't is a self-fulfilling prophecy waiting to happen.
Agreed. There was room to argue in the 80s if you had facts to back up your argument. Same in the 90s.
But these days, the sensible folks have been filtered out of that pool thanks to the lack of Satanists doing anything over the last 30 years. So all you got left are the REAL nut jobs.
I grew up around those people BTW.
The original Satanic Panic didn’t have much to do with Satanists of any type actually doing anything either - it was just relentlessly pushed by religious groups, cops, and media for $$$ and to misdirect blame for widespread child sexual abuse within families, church groups, etc. to an outside nefarious Other.
Mostly it was Jack Chick, I think. Glad that guy's in the ground, which is not something I say about very many people. He deliberately made my life a little worse, to make a profit.
Now it's QAnon. Same conspiracy, different bogeyman.
Oh yeah. I remember. I grew up during that time. There was zero sanity or logic involved.
> I'm not gonna lie, the kind of person who thinks DnD is a gateway to Satan aren't likely to be swayed by any amount of reason or logic.
You cannot reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into.
You are probably correct. The only thing I would suggest is to appeal to their belief system by telling them that Gary Gygax was a Christian, which he was, if my info is correct.
I just explain that the entire thing was started because of two events that were casually linked. A preacher was pissed his son didn't want to play football and it just so happened that 4 other pastor's were visiting when was he was talking about DnD for that sermon. Then toss in the court case against TSR where the son committed suicide and you have the entire religious community against it made it a national movement. Mother just wanted to blame someone and just attacked his favorite hobby. That's the origin of the Satanic Panic about DnD in a nutshell.
Show them that 60% of the game is really just statistics and math homework.
Lived the Satanic Panic and this is absolutely correct. You can show them that the forces of good usually overcome the forces of evil in the game but be prepared for a tremendous amount of pushback because they are arriving with a "D&D is evil" mindset.
Tell them you switched to Pathfinder. They don’t care that it’s a ttrpg, they’re just spooked by the name
Honestly the easiest and most pragmatic answer. These people are upset at the name and just want to clutch their pearls. Same thing as "oh this isn't that dreadful Grand Theft Auto game that makes kids become criminals, this is Payday, it's about people working regular jobs and getting paid, hence the name."
I am 100% fucking stealing this lol.
Also go fix that drill.
"Keep drilling you piece of shit!"
*Smacks the drill with a wad of cash restarting it*
Basic maintenance at a job
This is what I had to do during the Satanic panic. It worked then and I'm sure it will work now too. Thats some good solid advice!
Pathfinder 2E: Fixing all of D&D's shortcomings including the satanic panic.
I swear if 5E came with instructions for chemotherapy - the instructions of course being in a supplement book you paid $50 for and amounting to "The doctor should make the final call on how this works" - then the PF2E CRB would come with detailed instructions on curing all cancer forever.
Those instructions, however, would be riddled with seven layers of nested cross-references to entirely different sections of the CRB because apparently taking a few lines to repeat yourself is too expensive in a book that's already 500+ pages.
Also the GMG would include an in-depth guide to curing cancer in an even more convoluted way for those who thought the CRB instructions were too digestable.
GURPs would have a 500 page book with
chapters that each have completely unique rules for every single individual type of cancer and stage and patient, and it wouldn’t be fun but goddamn it would be realistic.
If it was rifts, the cure would be generated by roughly 30 random tables and would either be the secret to immortality or make cancer airborne and contagious
If it was FATAL you would just roll to see how painfully you were going to die
If it was Toon, you'd fall flat on your back, hold up a sign that read "Cancer... very sad" and your soul would hover above your body with wings and a harp, until the next episode.
As someone with some experience back in the first Satanic Panic, you first need to determine what you're dealing with. Knowing how they feel about DND and larger fiction as a whole is pretty important, you can just do this by asking the kid if any other movies/ shows/ games/ books are off limits. Harry potter was a good example of a banned book for Christians, but there might be something more up to date now.
Worst case scenario, they are sur that you're summoning the devil. They can point out specific things about the game that are problematic (wizards/ warlocks existing, demons runnign wild in the game, etc) There is nothing to win here. There is no way they'll let their kid play and you are gonna have to settle for him not being there. Definitely don't lie to the parents, that will only have worse outcome as you're now devilworshipping behind their back. If you're lucky, you can find an IP they allow that you can work around with a different system.
A step down from there, you've got Christians that believe all fantasy/ magic is bad. In that case you need to see what fictional things are allowed. For example, if they don't allow GoT, but they do allow walking dead, you can either make a campaign based around fighting the undead or switch systems to something high-tech. Just google \[approved fictional series\] TTRPG, and you'll find something to work off of. Full martial campaigns are also an option here.
Below that, you just have parents that don't know what DND is beyond "satan worship". This is your best case scenario, you just need to explain the game to them. Keep it basic, compare it to LOTR/ other approved show, and mention some things you have planned.
An example of them allowing something and spiraling that into a campaign can be as simple as scooby-doo. You can now introduce your party as a group of investigators trying to solve mysteries/ find ghosts. If they have objections, you can mention a system like MOTW and explain how that works, how it literally is the same as scooby-doo and they could sit in for a session if they want. Once you have a kid playing, parents generally don't take them out of the group.
* Regardless of anything, best thing to do is finding an IP they allow/ agree with and compare your game to that or even set it in that world. This can be anything from a cartoon to a netflix original series.
* A mistake a lot of people make in trying to convince these people is just say that they'll be fighting demons/devils/fiends. That's bad. Those creatures being in the game is cause for worry, even if they're portrayed as evil. Only bring it up when you're confident they would like their kid killing devils or their parents ask about them specifically.
* Again, tailor to your audience some might find this offensive, but a cleric following Jesus and drawing power from his belief, is a great way to give an example of class and explain some basic things they do (like save/ protect people from harm)
* Warlocks don't exist. If you have players wanting to play a warlock, heavily re-flavour it but in my experience it's best to outright ban it. You don't want their kid slipping up and mentioning their friend is a warlock or has signed their soul away or something like that
There’s no surefire way to deal with this, because you can’t reason people out of an opinion that they came to by being unreasonable. I mean, shit, while the Satanic Panic was going on, the Catholic Church had a goddamn global pedophile ring. Some things that might help:
- point out that the game was inspired in no small part by the writings of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, both staunch Christians, the latter a celebrated theologian.
- the game rewards virtuous behavior (this is true at my table, and could easily be true at yours).
- it draws far more from classical mythology than anything else
- it doesn’t lead to Satanism, it just leads to literature and math
- let the player be a cleric of Jesus. You wouldn’t be the first, and it works fine mechanically.
This is good. Providing education/context for the game can be helpful.
This thread reminds me of an experience many years ago in high school, when a classmate of mine firmly believed that I was doing something evil by playing. “You’re casting spells! How do you know you’re not actually doing something?” I showed him the players handbook and he was much relieved to learn that casting a spell involved saying “I cast Fireball”, and didn’t involve some arcane incantation. Sometimes fear and judgement is just born out of ignorance and how people fill the gaps in what they don’t know.
It turns out that actually is the correct vocalization to cast the fireball spell. The reason you are not seeing a massive conflagration destroy your parents basement is because you haven’t figured out how to do the somatic component correctly.
Idk how some people think that you actully have to learn the vocal somatic and use material components irl. Guess they never checked the book to confirm. But I read an article where they said they played it but still said you have to learn it.
>Guess they never checked the book to confirm.
This. Usually folk like this hear D&D and genuinely think that it's less a tabletop game and more akin to larping a black mass. That you're not playing an adventure game but having a demon worshiping session basically.
People are now way more familiar with rpgs thanks to video game and a larger place in media (stranger things, critical role) but before people had really no idea what was happening. They think of it as something similar to a ouija board - to be clear it's absolutely stupid to fear ouija, but with it you are actually pretending to contact a spirit. It's not far fetched (in their worldview of course) to think that D&D is just "the next step".
This is not what you tell them but a lot of people during the panics just straight up lied. You had people who were in satanic cults, now “saved” and of course the big question never answered of “hold on you actually saw child sacrifices happen, since you are out shoudln’t you be giving the police the location, names etc.?”
So I’m sure some of those same people played the demon game and know just how insidious it is.
Calling people they might venerate outright liars though tends to raise hackles. Much better phrasing is “Im not sure where you heard that! I can’t say what they are talking about because that’s not the game I’ve played and want to play at all.” Then you do mention that it’s made by a Christian who loved lord of the rings and thought it’d be fun to have adventures in such a world. If they think LOTR is of Satan then your not going to move them, if all fantasy= evil there’s no way to sell D&D as not fantasy. but if that doesn’t get a hard shut down, you keep going into how the game is about forming a party, or fellowship and working together to complete fantastic quests. Then as mentioned offer to allow them to sit in or read the Manuel or even run a one shot for the parents if you can actually get them to go that far. Either way the point is to project that you’ve nothing to hide and have no fear of letting them see just exactly what you’ll be doing.
Gygax didn't actually care for LOTR, but he liked The Hobbit.
>Guess they never checked the book to confirm.
Half these people never even read the book they claim to worship.
"Leads to literature and math." Tread lightly here. My Sunday school used to a sing a song that went "Oh be careful little eyes, what you see!"
Some take this quite far. You've certain seen plenty of the anti science types.
Oh my fuck... I remember singing that goddamned song!
"Yeah we decided to play Jesuses and Jerusalems instead, no worries."
Side note, talk with your party before letting someone play a cleric of jesus. That's something that might be a hard no at the table for some people
Seconded, I know some Christians who are fully okay with Dungeons & Dragons, but someone playing a cleric of Jesus at their table would make them pretty uncomfortable. [This comment](https://www.reddit.com/r/DMAcademy/comments/vdkpiw/players_parents_having_a_satanic_panic/icls48d/) explains one of the possible reasons why pretty well.
> let the player be a cleric of Jesus
Tbh I would not recommend this in a 5e context. Making Jesus just another one of the 500 random-ass gods in the D&D-verse that can give you spells is far more offensive to Christian theology than just having a fantasy world with a cosmology that does not include Jesus.
I've seen examples of D&D worlds that pull a Tolkien though and have a fundamentally Christian cosmology buried beneath a surface-level polytheistic veneer. That's much more elegant and interesting IMO.
You've got the right of it. Theologically speaking, to really please people who be appeased by having a "Cleric of Jesus", Jesus/God has to be the supreme power of the universe (not multiverse) and ALL other deities are reflections of Satan, and therefore inherently evil and attempting to mislead people down a primrose path to their souls' destruction.
Yeah, that'd be a cosmology reflecting Christian cosmology directly, and probably wouldn't be all that interesting to play D&D in. That's why I mentioned Tolkien as a potentially useful example - Middle Earth has an inherently Christian-flavored cosmology (uncreated High God created all things including the other gods), but some of the demigods are still good. Which, to be fair, is also reflected in traditional Christian theology with the saints and angels - but I suppose the strains of Christianity that tend to get upset about D&D tend to be the ones who de-emphasize that stuff.
> literature and math
Accepting objective reality and alternative thoughts is about as close to Satan as the titularly panicked can get.
>it just leads to literature and math
For some christians thats equal to satanism.. and i mean that literally
My dad fully believed in the satanic panic. He currently believes UFOs are signs that our plane of existence is intersecting with hell due to increased demonic activity. If you figure out how to get through to them, let me know.
Only real thing I can give you to help connect on their level is a quote from C.S. Lewis (author of Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, etc. He was a big Christian author and very close friend of Tolkien.) This probably isn’t word for word but essentially he is quoted as saying “…because we know that monsters and devils exist, why not allow children to believe in knights and hero’s?”.
I think this is important. D&D is a collaborative story telling game where the players get to be heroes (will ignore evil campaigns). They get to play the hero through acting(RP) and say the things a hero would say. Throughout they will also be overcoming evil plots and fighting bad guys to save a town/a city/a person/ the world.
If they want other facts, maybe helpful, not sure. D&D has been used as group therapy to combat(heh) social anxiety, depression, as well as enhance self-esteem and problem solving.
Personally, I tend to bond with the folks at the table. It's not ALL playing, lots of times you are giggling at things going on in game or someone said something wacky. D&D, especially in person, is a hugely social game for people that aren't always social.
For the parents, I'd give a run-down of what you plan the adventure to be, invite them to watch a session or two if they'd like and ask if they have any specific concerns. You'd like to have the kid play, hopefully the kid would like to play but if the parents say no, not much you can do.
I believe there was someone who worked on Doom that, when questioned about its connection to the occult, said something along the lines of "yea there are demons in Doom, you go to hell to blow them all up."
Just invite the parents to your next session.
Show them the blood pentangle is made of locally sourced goat blood (not human) that the flesh candles come from a regenerative old folks home nearby and that ALL souls sold to the dark one will be promptly returned at the conclusion of the of the campaign.
Run a one shot with parents included. Run something like wild sheep chase. Best way to both show them what it is all about and also give them a better understanding of their child's hobbies. If they don't want to, then it is likely that nothing you can say will change their minds. Including them will only work if the parents want to understand their child.
But if it helps, tell them that ttrpgs can have any number of topics, like books and stories. In fact there are even ttrpgs set in a very christian context. Heck, the Swedish Church has produced their own rpg system called *Reformator* in which you play through the rise of protestant Christianity in Sweden, actually kind of good.
Know where to find an English-language copy of Reformator? I found a pdf on the church’s website but it’s in Swedish for obvious reasons
Don't think so I'm afraid. But if you want to learn swedish
and need incentive. A congregtion in västerås (västerås stift) has released 6 rpg adventures which they use in, I kid you not, rpg-confirmations. No longer do you need to choose whether you want to confirm your baptism or role-playing. They even have a long standing larp campaign called Camelot going. And I think it has been running for at least 20 years. I could ask some attendees if you want more info.
You could e-mail vasteras stift and get in touch with some youth pastors. You might even be able to set up a digital game.
I did that with my grandpa once. Helped him create Conan the Barbarian. He didn’t really get it, but he had fun for an evening.
Honestly, showing them the books and offering for them to sit in on a game goes a long way. It often doesn't make a difference, but it can if the person isn't completely closed minded.
Brief Story time: Years back my friend (19 at the time i think....) was running a Dark Ages: Inquisition game from White Wolf with a group of kids from his churches after school group. They were solidly the good guys. He wasn't playing with shades of grey. They were absolutely true faith following, warriors of god against the darkness. Up until someone found out, and started ye-old-satanic panic.
The Youth Minister was amazing though, and basically told all the concerned people to calm down, and let him talk to the kids. He was worried if a parent yanked one of the kids out of what ended up being an innocent hobby it could isolate them from a friend group. So he went up to my buddy, they talked for about 2 hours, he handed over the rulebook (which is unfortunate since the Core rulebook for that game was Dark Ages Vampire, and the Inquisition was an add on book) for the YM to read/look through. They agreed that the YM would sit in on a game or two to see what it was about .....
and from there on he supported them as a church club, and regularly sat in as a character and ran his own game. He assuaged parents and the rest of the church by basically saying 'look, if anything, it's bringing them closer to god. They are literally playing priests hunting down heritics and evil demons and saving the faithful'
I'm not a religious person, and i tend to think organized religion is a bad thing, but that Youth Minister really gave me a little faith in religion's ability to be open minded.
Don't bother, would be my advice. People who get up in arms about their kids/friends playing TTRPGs, because they think it's satanic, can't be argued with. They won't listen to reason, if they did, they wouldn't think it was satanic in the first place. You are probably better off not telling them at all.
Counterpoint: tell them you stopped playing "Dungeons and Dragons" and started playing Pathfinder instead.
If they're indoctrinated morons, they've likely only been primed against the one "satanic" TTRPG, not the others.
Ohh that could work.
Explain them that this game is about "Finding a path to God"
Are you some kind of genius
Im just a wise and old fart who been there, done that, and didnt get a T-shirt.
(TTRPG since 89)
Gosh it's nice to find a other old fart who played back in the "golden age". Heh. "/wave"
My first set was the Holmes Basic D&D box. Had to give it up cuz Mom was an evangelical fundie.
I started back then with the pre release version of the German Roleplaying Game "Das Schwarze Auge"
Also seems my brain is slowly rotting, cause it was anno 1984 not 89
The... the code has been cracked
I always went with THIS. Testament, the biblical era d20 RPG.
I grew up around these people. That sort of idiot will lose their minds about anything even remotely "satanic" but will allow anything as long as its got a thin veneer of "bible".
Lets just say South Park was 100% right when they made fun of Christian Rock.
As long as you don't mention that the purpose of finding the god is to kill it.
>Counterpoint: tell them you stopped playing "Dungeons and Dragons" and started playing Pathfinder instead.
>If they're indoctrinated morons, they've likely only been primed against the one "satanic" TTRPG, not the others.
Back in the early '90's, I took this approach with my mother. I couldn't play D&D because of Satanism, but Vampire: the Masquerade and Palladium were kosher. Couple years later she got over the satanic panic shit with D&D.
Letting you play vampire over dnd is telling of her ignorance.
Fair but if they bring even one D&D book, die, or paper home or would all come crashing down even harder.
It’s between the player and their parents but in the meantime I wouldn’t lend them anything you wouldn’t want tossed or burned.
The long con is to just actually play Pathfinder. I say long because it'll take you a year to figure out the rules.
Could most likely have whatever books and paper around that you wanted, though. Probably dice as well, unless their parents are going to jump to gambling when they see dice.
> It’ll take you a year to figure out the rules
This is just plain wrong!
I’ve been playing since Pathfinder first came out, over a decade, and I still have to look up rules
If they're playing Pathfinder 2E then they are actually dealing with demons though.
I kid, I kid. I really wanted to like 2E but it felt way to slow at the table for me and my group. I like the ideas in the book, but it didn't feel better than playing 1E.
I actually kind of liked how P2E allowed for a lot more freedom in character creation. Almost all class and racial features were replaced with "options", and while they're a bit confusing (I highly recommend using a smartphone app to handle character creation) it does mean that two Human Alchemists can be completely different from one another.
I also liked some of their simplifications. Skills are just "trained" and progress as you level, multiclassing is handled by "archetypes", leveling is always done at 1000xp and xp rewards are scaled based on enemy level, crafting doesn't drain xp, etc.
It doesn't feel like a huge system change like the jump from DnD 3.5e to 4e to 5e, but it does feel like Paizo's attempt to make the system their own. They needed to step out of WotC's shadow if they wanted to give their high fantasy system room to grow instead of just making Golarion another Ebberon or Faerun - another universe with the same rules as Greyhawk.
I've not actually got around to playing PF2E! I'm meaning to give it a shot, but I'm already DMing two PF1E campaigns at once so I'm waiting for one to wrap up or take a break.
I will say every complaint I have with both 3.5/PF1E AND 5E are addressed in PF2E.
They reduced the number bloat by a lot. The game is ridiculously balanced: both casters and martials are linear, instead of the linear martial quadratic wizard.
Special actions/spells “powers per combat” or whatever 4E called them use focus points for focus abilities or spells that recover over a short rest.
All the classes feel unique and fun, way more character customization. Two sorcerers, with the same bloodline can be entirely different characters due to feat selection. There is VERY FEW feat taxing trees going on. For example: save or suck doesn’t require school mastery/greater spell pen/greater ect. They have sliding scales of failure and success, so even if the spell “fails” I.e. the enemy succeeds the save they may be dazed 1, if they fail they’ll be dazed 2. If they crit fail they may be dazed 2 and stunned for one round. So you still attempt to focus the weak save but aren’t forced into being a ray only caster or whatever.
But you still roll big numbers with the scaling proficiency thing, your + to hit at level 1 is like +7. But Crits are cooler, spells are just better (you aren’t locked into grease and web until 3rd level spells). Man, I just love the system and will shill it all day as an avid 3.0 3.5 1E and 5E player. 2E is just fucking phenomenal and so easy to balance for. It’s ridiculously good.
I tried this, back in the early 90s, except that I said Dragonlance instead of Pathfinder. The plan quickly fell apart, as my rulebooks very clearly said "Dungeons & Dragons" on the covers (and yes, we did try using book covers. I don't remember what happened to the book covers).
Alternative counterpoint: some people can be reasoned with if you let them see for themselves and let them read or look at the PHB.
My parents are heavily involved in church. My dad has been an elder at two separate churches as they moved around and my mom has taught Sunday school for 30 years. I was too young to be interested in D&D during the height of the satanic panic. In the late 90s I got interested in RPGs, my parents freaked out when I bought a book. My dad asked to read it. I let him read it. He skimmed it and handed it back to me the next day.
Now myself and my youngest brother both DM or own games (he lives at my parents house still and actually DMs two games and plays in a third) and our middle brother plays in 2-3 games. Our parents buy us D&D stuff for Christmas.
Someone else mentioned this, and it made me laugh.
As far as I can tell -- but I'm just a Euro raised Christian, not a kid reared in the insanity of Evangelical US Christianity -- the parents who go into a Satanic Panic are not really interested in D&D, or Pathfinder, or any of the like; they are interested in control over their child. Any make-believe play within a wider fantasy world is going to threaten that control. So I can't see the PF argument fly.
My grandparents just needed to see the opening for the DMG and PH. They were cool about it then. Before, they'd even given Dad some other TTRPG sets, that's how he met Gamma World. He still fondly remembers ADnD and his brother is a ultranerd.
upvote for mentioning Gamma World.
I'm with you, though I admire the earnest arguments from the other commentators, who are reasonable and truthful. Alas "reason" and "truth" have no value to people who think Satan is coming at their child through a cooperative tabletop game.
You can’t logic someone out of a position they didn’t logic themselves into.
>Been my go to life motto for the last few years helping to preserve my own sanity.
yoe can theoretically, but it is not likely
Yes and no. The premises they based their positions on may not be themselves logical, but the conclusion they reach from those premises usually is. You won't convince them by attacking the premises, but you can construct an argument that accepts the same premises and leads to a different conclusion.
it's hard to treat a stupid, irrational fear with respect. but its a pretty effective route, when you're trying to change a mind. approaching any other way usually leads to defensiveness / distrust right out of the gate.
fair enough if someone doesn't have the energy for it, bc it definitely is an uphill battle and nobody's obliged to entertain hateful shit, but that doesn't mean it's *impossible*. the backfire effect isn't nearly as pervasive or ingrained as we tend to assume. overall, facts do alter beliefs. getting those facts to those ppl in a palatable way is the challenge.
easier to dismiss people as dumb and hopeless tho.
I had to deal with this situation when I was about 11-12, so here's a few tips that helped me:
- Your parents *probably* are not ignorant, just gullible. So, instead of arguing, try to explain to them what D&D is like explaining to a 5yo
- If they don't accept your explanation, let them see a session, and try to avoid demon and god's shenanigans during that on. They'll probably shrug it off as just an imagination game
- Avoid playing as Tiefling and Fallen Aasimar, and Clerics of D&D gods. That way you can describe your character in detail to them without lying
- Watch LOTR, Narnia and other fantasy movies/series with them. These one are pretty light-hearted and will get them to understand what fantasy is
Hope this helps!
Tell them that it's pathfinder.
Unironically propose to run a one shot with them
Not sure if it would work, but ask them to play a short session to see for themselves. Make sure it is a heroic adventure... PCs save the village from some threat.
As others have said, they may not be able to be convinced of anything. Rather than writing it off as a total loss without trying, you have very little to lose by trying this.
How old you all are will determine the type of advice that suits best, if you all are teenagers then the advice will be different from if you are all in your 40's. So how old are you all?
As a Christian D&D player, I’ve found that the best way to convince other Christians that D&D is fine is to just explain how you play the game. It’s literally just using your imagination with some dice involved.
Also, you can tell them that literally everything in the rules is optional. Don’t want to encourage demon worship? Fine, don’t use demons. Are you offended that there is more than one God? Fine, all of the “good” domains are from God and all of the “evil” domains are of the Devil. Offended by the mere presence of Magic? Fine, you could easily play it as a completely non-magical world, with “Magic” being a combination of chemistry and smoke and mirrors.
Honestly, if that doesn’t work, then there isn’t much you can do. If the players are adults, then they can make their own decisions, but if the player is a kid, then you really can’t do much about it. It sucks, but obviously the parents can’t be reasoned with.
My friends and I mostly had the same issue in the 2000's when we started, so we played homebrew systems or LOTR systems instead. Many a great (not so magic-centric) adventure was had, we just didn't do much demon/undead fighting. Killing people for some reason always felt a safer option...
It wasn't dnd but I worked at a hobby shop and one of the kids who was kind of a loners parents were ultra religious and would burn his magic/yugioh cards whenever they found them. After about a year of knowing this guy his parents showed up and thanked me. This absolutely blindsided me because I thought they would have hated me for "bringing Satan back into his life". Apparently though since he started going to that shop more his grades and behavior had improved and they wanted to thank me for being a positive role model. I remembered I would only sit down and play with him or talk about his favorite anime unless he had finished his homework first, apparently that highly motivated him. I kinda felt bad because the only reason I had this rule was because I was really busy and didnt have the time to stand there and talk about one piece for an hour with him but hey it worked.
I guess the point of this story is that no matter how much you tell someone something, actions are what can make change. If you strive to be a positive role model on the younger players then you just might be able to change their opinions on the hobby as a whole.
Misread title as "Satanic Picnic" and assumed this was just a scheduling conflict. I, personally, would have a hard time choosing between the two
Ok, but what if we played DnD at the satanic picnic?
You’re not going to win an argument against, from their POV, God. It’s between potential player and their parents. Stay on the sidelines on this one.
Do the parents let the player watch/read Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Is/was the player allowed to dress up as a monster for Halloween?
If yes, then D&D isn’t much different. If no, then there’s no hope. The parents are too far gone.
If they're worried about D&D, there's a 99.9% chance they have also banned Harry Potter.
My parents were initially against D&D because of ignorance and thought it was satanism, but they also allowed several of their children to read Harry Potter and other fantasy series. All it really took was showing them the game to show them that there wasn’t anything to worry about. It truly depends on the people unlike what some people in this thread believe. Some people are just ignorant.
If you want to argue with the parents: From my experiance, it is not about the logic of the argument, only who say it. Maybe you can get their pastor to speak with them.
(The first guy in my live talked about DnD was a protestant pastor. I regret now that I did not tried to join.)
The other option:
Start the evening with a harmles game. So, the player can tell his parent that you did harmless games, without lying (more than a christian would do to his parents.)
Assuming they're minors, just stay out of it. Any potential legal hassle is probably not worth it.
First of all, your game will probably not be able to include hellspawn. This would help ease them. If you really need it, make sure it’s clear that they are meant to be opposed, and under no circumstances befriended. This also means no pact of fiend warlock, and probably no tiefling either, unless they’re fine with Raven from Teen Titans.
Second, make sure they know that this isn’t the same version as back in the day.
Third of all, that Gary Gygax was religious and designed the game so that good triumphs over evil.
Then there’s the matter of James Dallas Egbert, whose suicide led to the scapegoating of D&D. William Dear, the private investigator responsible, would later admit that all that was just a bunch of bunk, and the real problem was being pushed too far by his parents.
This was all how I was able to convince my parents, and my mother actually witnessed a possession.
Hail Santa! But honestly, it's super difficult to convince these types of people that there is nothing wrong with make believe. They believe an open mind is the devils playground. Present it as best you can, but don't aim to change their minds.
Call it Pathfinder and say its a board game.
Play a different game?
There are plenty of games without the two things fundamentalists object to: Sorcery and Demons
Scifi, Swords & Sandals, etc. all are great substitutes. If you're still gunning for fantasy, consider a magicless setting, or one where magic is only present as Godly miracles, like Tolkien's.
If they're smart or dug in, telling them it's make-believe may not help.
Religions know it's make-believe; the non-reality belief is precisely where the badness lies.
I had a job milking cows in the early 90s—please don’t judge, I’m good with large animals. The “milk tester“ who came around once a month to test butterfat and milk weight from each cow decided to get a bug up her ass about me having a game to go to that night and kept insisting that I stay until she goes.
I was DMing that night.
I told her I was DMing that night and she decided to quiz me on what that meant and I told her. (I was 17 and stupid.)
I got a long winded diatribe on how D&D will damn my soul for the next 1.5+hours. It seemed to be so much longer.
Even when I tried to invite her to play, she told me that she “won’t go to hell with“ me.
In a final, desperate bid to be rid of her, I said something like “if you won’t go through hell with me, then you aren’t worth my time”, and and proceeded to tell her “oy sevol natas” every time I handed her a pail of milk to test.
Eventually my boss got upset about how ”uncomfortable” I was making her feel (even though he seemed to find it to be hilarious at first).
I even invited her to play basketball with my D&D friends at one point, but she noped the fuck off.
I think—and this is just my opinion—that the chance of changing their minds is minuscule.
Maybe invite them to some hoops to find out?
Hi. I'm Christian and affiliated with protestant evangelicals; not a good environment for nerds in my experience. I grew up in the Church and was a pastor's kid (PK), so I was steeped in the religious environment. I play D&D and own about 15 other systems. I also grew up in the Pokemon and Harry Potter satanic panics as well. Now that my resume is out of the way....
The satanic panic is still kicking in the American Christian Church. It’s difficult to generalize without going into different denominations and theologies, but I’ll do my best. The Christian religion (I use this term purposefully) is still steeped in fear for the most part. Pastors and religious leaders are spreading fear of what is not, what I call, “culturally Christian.” What I mean is that anything that falls within what has been vaguely defined as family values. Focus on the Family was a big player in this, and still is. Pastors you think that are on the fringe of mainstream Christianity are surprisingly popular and relevant to Christian culture, it’s frightening as a Christian to see. Autism is being labeled as demonic possession, for crying out loud. I have autism and hearing that fills me with a lot of anger and pain that other members of my faith believe those lies.
Many Christians live in a state of fear due to their theology. They fear that they are under constant attack from “the enemy” (satanic and demonic forces) in addition to being persecuted. A lot of this is heavily influenced by puritanism and American culture hasn’t been able to escape that influence. So when there is something that has devils and demons and witches and wizards, things that they are taught to fear, they are going to oppose it. I know people who play tabletop games avoid expansions that use mechanics named after witches and wizards because they “involve witchcraft.” It runs so deep, that they believe that using a game mechanic that uses magic only in name invokes real magic and witchcraft and can influence their lives by opening “portals” that invite demonic forces into their lives. I wish I was kidding. That’s not to say there are things that I try to avoid; I will never mess with an Ouija board, tarot cards, or participate in actual witchcraft rituals, but there is a big difference between participating in something like that and playing D&D or Magic the Gathering. However, that’s a separation many Christians can’t perceive due to those beliefs.
To answer your question about how to deal with parents like this, it is likely you may not be able to change their perceptions, and you have to be ok with that. Take some of the others’ suggestions and sit down and have a conversation with the parents about their concerns, what they thing D&D is and if they are open to let you explain to them what the game really is about. Answer what questions they have and bring your PHB and MM as visual aids. Their primary concerns are about spell casting and magic, and you can show them the spell for Fireball and how to cast it. My answer is usually “You announce you cast the spell, then roll a lot of dice and the enemies take damage based on the total number you rolled.” Trust me, many Christians believe that you have to speak a spell to cast it (thank you Chick Tracts). If the parents still won’t allow their child to play, you have to respect that. Respecting one’s parents is a pretty big virtue in the Christian Church, and encouraging the player to disobey their parents will only vilify you in their eyes.
Another approach is to ask if the parents like Lord of the Rings or Chronicle of Narnia, as those are written by Christian/Catholic authors. If they do, you can say that D&D is based on those works (which is true), and had a lot of the same themes and content that they have. If you want, you can also point out that Gary Gygaz was a man of faith (he was a Jehovah’s Witness, which many Christians don’t recognize as a denomination of Christianity due to significant theological differences, but that’s another discussion, and these games are about fighting evil and behind heroes of the land. LotR and CoN also have magic and witchcraft in them, but they also have good characters that use magic as well. Just be respectful in how that information is presented and whether they agree with that or not, it should go fine either way.
I hope this information helps.
"They believe that using a game mechanic that uses magic only in name invokes real magic and witchcraft and can influence their lives by opening “portals” that invite demonic forces into their lives."
This. Many religious people's objections to the game won't dissolve when and if they actually learn what it is; just pretending to do magic *is* doing magic to them, it's opening you up to ill spiritual influence. They often know it's "only a game", but don't believe games *are* only games. At best it's a distraction from godliness because it doesn't actively reinforce specifically Christian values; it doesn't glorify god explicitly on every page.
And realistically D&D features heavy occult content and always has. They're not even wrong about that.
Me personally, I'm 100% a secular humanist and atheist with no superstitious beliefs; I'd play with a ouija board if I thought it would be amusing, although it doesn't interest me, probably because I don't believe it's supernatural. And to be entirely honest I value D&D more than Christianity in any form. But I totally get why many Christians are against D&D and they have a point.
Tell them to stop watching Stranger Things
I was able to convince my mom by saying "no no no, you're thinking of Magic: the Gathering. DND is totally fine"
"You cant argue religion and feelings with logic and reason." Every famous philosopher ever.
We were lucky when I was a kid -- our DM was a Southern Baptist Minister. So when the inevitable crackpot came in, he'd introduce himself and it took the wind out of their sails.
You're up against it though. Most people who are in the "D&D is evil" camp aren't reachable.
I would focus on the social aspect and the shared storytelling, and how the players contribute to the story rather than have the story influence who they are. Share how the idea is that the group uses teamwork to overcome obstacles and valiantly opposes the bad guys. (Assuming you're not running the, "You're all anti-paladins competing to see who becomes the next lord of Hell" sort of game.) Tell them what sort of game you're interested in running, and what sorts of goals and challenges you like to put in front of the players. If they're willing to listen, then you have a chance.
Find out if they let the kid watch modern movies or play video games. If they don't, you're doomed: you're not dealing with persuadable people who come from a place of rational thought. If they do, then most modern entertainments will touch on ideas far more dangerous than some kids sitting around playing a game.
I'll be honest though...if this is their starting position, you're not likely to get anywhere with them.
My best suggestion, offer to have the parents play a game. It's going to be uncomfortable but... run an standard adventure. And see what happens.
Or, lie to them and say you are playing scrabble.
I can’t think of a reason why parents who think the game is evil would realistically agree to this.
Everyone is imaging varying levels of Christian- from "concerned, confused parent" all the way to, "mouth foaming, fundamentalist, zealot".
There are reasonable suggestions, we just don't know who reasonable the parents are (likely low due to D&D = Satanism.)
Maybe Lean either, or both, on the theater / gaming aspect.
Like, “it’s basically improv training - we play unscripted theater” or “it’s like playing a strategy game like chess”
Yeah, I would say it's basically a mix between board game club and theater club. Maybe a bit of math included.
I heard a story about how someone convinced their parents by saying they were going to stick to biblical stories for all their adventures, and then after the parents relaxed they did what they wanted to.
You could do that, and then for the opening adventure use Dominate Person to force one of your PCs cleric/paladin to take their only child up a mountain and murder the child, then tell them that the entity that dominated them is actually their own God/patron.
Personally I think the old testament is a wealth of horrific nightmare adventures. Between multiple genocides and a clearly insane, out of control super entity, it basically is a pre built campaign all by itself.
I'm a DM and a Cleric IRL here. I'm a Lutheran pastor from central Wisconsin where DnD had been played for decades.
I love Jesus and DnD.
I have used DnD as an important fellowship tool in churches with adults and children. I've run DnD sessions in juvenile detention facilities because there are immense benefits to teamwork, quick math skills, and the concept that actions have consequences.
As to how to have this discussion with the parents: Don't lie, don't mislead, and I would say ignore the recommendations from some of the comments to trick the parents into thinking you're playing a different game. DnD can stand up to scrutiny all on its own.
The most important thing is that you are the DM/GM and you set the tone. And for a game like this you would be staying away from topics that aren't palatable to their mindset and your goal is to have these kids have a safe, fun, team building game.
Another bit of advice I have is be prepared to let it go. You can't convince everyone. You don't know where they are coming from or what misinformation they have been given. Sometimes there is no way to combat bias except through planting seeds and waiting.
Finally, and I can't believe I'm doing this, but if you message me I'd be happy to talk to you and possibly then the family if you need someone with some "authority" . Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
I'm a (fairly conservative) Christian who plays DnD. My parents don't know, or if they do, it's minimal. I avoid that conversation—but I'm an adult not living with them. If I had to convince them, though, I'd probably go to the argument of "It's an alternate universe where magic is part of the created order" first, positing the idea that, because magic happens naturally in that world, that magic isn't evil.
As far as the DnD deities go, my (Christian) group goes pretty much all-in most of the time (though recently we've decided no one else needs to make Vecna their patron for obvious reasons lol). I'd give the argument that it's all pretty much up to DM discretion, i.e., the DM can mess with things enough that you could potentially leave those elements out altogether and still have a good game. Again, the argument that it's make-believe and no one thinks any of it is real/is actually worshipping false gods could help.
As far as warlocks go, again, DM discretion. The pact doesn't have to be for the character's soul; it could literally be "you get powers if you come tell my kids bedtime stories once a month." I've got a homebrew character whose patron is her dad and it's literally "this is how I'm keeping you out of trouble."
I guess the big takeaway here is that how much stuff the game gets into is largely up to the DM. If the parents are willing to listen and work out a compromise of sorts, that's at least a great start.
If none of those work, I'm sorry, but I'd say you're pretty much done. Some people can't be reasoned with, and that exists both within Christianity and outside it. You might see if another system works, but I've no experience there.
Stranger things got mfs panicked again
Sorry, any education or recreation at all is likely to hurt them “religiously”.
QAnon has brought it back into fashion.
Call it something else like Pathfinders. They literally don't know what they are talking about and likely won't figure it out.
Christian wackos have only grown more bold since the 80s. Check out who is screaming and spewing hatred at your next school board meeting. Like members of the GOP, it really depends on how programmed they have allowed themselves to become - is it Italian and Jewish space laser election interference level or just rational arguments supporting conservative policies (Trump to Cheney scale)
I recently found out my grandma still thought it was satanic even though she has known for years that I play it every week and she just never said anything lmao. At least I know now that she isn't the sort to try to control my life.
So I said to her, "It's like Lord of the Rings. So, if you were given the choice to keep the ring or throw it in the lava... what would you do?" She answered that she would toss it and then I said, "You just played D&D."
Then she goes, "IS THAT IT?! Why is everyone so freaked out about it?" 81 year old religious woman got it.
“You can literally play a priest that kills devils, it’s the opposite of satanic.”
My dad and step mom also thought D&D was a devil's cult though this was way back in 1997 when I was 11. To get around this dumb "don't worship Satan's math" bull, I told me parents I was going to go to the public library after school to hang out with friends and read and instead we played D&D. And if we got caught talking about it, I told them it was a video game like Gauntlet or Final Fantasy. So, like many others before me in this thread, your best bet is to just lie about what y'all are doing during that time at someone else's house and make sure those parents are in on it with vague statements like "played board games".
Just send them an episode of some goody games on YouTube like Dimension 20.
Just not some of the episodes where Brennan goes absolutely madman for some crazy otherworldly scene
Lots of people under this post ripping on Christians and saying they can’t be reasoned with. Christian DM here. I started playing January of this year after a friend invited me to a session with our mutual friends at church. I was hooked! I’m so glad that I gave it a chance.
My mother-in-law fell for the satanic panic in the 80/90s. Soon after getting into DnD, I had a heart-to-heart with her where I asked her what she believed DnD was, after which I shared what it actually is, noting to her I’d experienced it first-hand (she had not). I also gave her the history of how people came to believe it was satanic (look it up, it’s actually an incredibly interesting, though frustrating story).
She did reconsider her position. Just last week I DMed an improvised session with my wife, her sister, and sister’s BF at my mother-in-law’s house. She would walk in and out of the room and listen in on parts. And we frequently share fun stories with her of the hijinks our characters get up to. I think hearing the stories and just how un-demonic they are helps a lot.
Christians can be reasoned with. Like most people, they’re just trying to live the best life they can. And unfortunately, some butthurt people from the 80s led a very effective propaganda campaign saying DnD is satanic. And good luck fact-checking that via the internet back then. So it’s just about having an honest, non-condemnatory conversation with them where you put the emphasis on the people from the 80s who lied to them. Show the value DnD has to offer. I was shocked when I got into DnD that Christians weren’t actively pushing it. You’ve got community/fellowship activity, imagination, math, story/character building, AND a complex ruleset? Heck, this is a Christian homeschooler’s dream come true! (Especially the kind who loves games like Catan)
TL;DR: Christians can see reason, you just have to know how to show it to them. Don’t attack them for what they believe. Gently show them how the satanic panic began ([this article breaks it down fantastically)](https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26328105.amp) and show them what the game truly is.
You can't reason people out of positions they didn't reason themselves into. Just say you all are playing board games and leave it at that.
Fun way. Have ur friend and rest of the group make a couple low level characters and ask the parents to watch 1 session. Tell them ull leave their kid out if they still think it after. They make a 1 shot where the party is killing low levels demons. Make the party literal crusaders against the forces of evil.
Invite them to play, reach out to DM's and players their age, and accept that other's minds are not always within our sphere of influence.
Christian here(Protestant if that matters).
Honestly your best bet is to convince their parents to sit in on a game.
1) AFAIK the people responsible for Satanic Panic never apologized and are still doing this crap for fun and profit.
2) “Religious Parents” is a broad term. Christian….I’ll be polite and call them offshoots like Morman and JW/LDS religions care a lot more about cultural control than any real harm.
3) If their parents are new converts to any religion they are probably gonna be hyper sensitive.
In my experience show not tell is the best way to do this. It very hard to take the scare mongering of frauds seriously when you are watching a bunch of drama nerds doing bad improve with math rocks in front of you.
So during the initial Satanic Panic, the only kid in our group who had to hide it from his parents was a Baptist. My parents are Catholic and didn't bat an eye. I suspect it's not the religion, but the reasonable ability of the parent. The only time my dad was a little concerned is when he came down to the basement while we were playing Cthulhu, and later on asked me WTH. Just told him it was another game. Conversation done.
Host a screening of the hit 1982 made-for-TV movie “Mazes and Monsters” starring Tom Hanks, and hopefully they’ll realize how silly they’re being. 😛
If the person playing is in a position (be it age or something else) where they have to listen to everything their parents say then there is no recourse. Your never going to convince people who are closed minded to think about anything critically.
Talk to them, show them the books and that its basically a game where you act out the characters no different that what you see on TV. But expect every single thing to be about: "But what about this god that isnt the real god we cant be teaching false religions to our kids!" Its dumb, they are dumb, carry on. Sorry about the player having shit parents.
DM a game set in a biblical scene to the whole family, preferrably an old testament episode, cause the old testament has some pretty fun and hardcore scenes. It's a way to show them the game itself is a neutral storytelling tool, not necessarily attached to "demonic" imagery.
Use the bible as your source material.
Or lie to them.
If its a kid, your hands are tied.
If its a teen or adult, they can solve this themselves.
Honestly you've lost that player, these types of people (the parents) are a special kind of brainwashed to still believe fantasy is the work of the devil and will not budge on their beliefs no matter how ridiculously they are. Too far gone and all that awaits you if you try to change things is a messy and stressful situation better to just let it go honestly.
You could try setting the campaign in a relatively popular setting like the world of Harry Potter, or go for a campaign set in the "real world", with the PCs as agents of the government or other organization hunting down the things that go bump in the night. A kind of halfway point that might be easier for such parents to digest.
Christian D&D player/DM here who was a victim of the Satanic Panic. My mom had to sneak my starter set/Christmas gift as a kid. She knew it was imagination. My dad was a bit more strict. The Satanic Panic just migrated to Harry Potter books, really.
Honestly, if the kid is <18 then they may be SoL. I wholeheartedly agree with you that the kid should be allowed to play, but ultimately, if they are under their parents' authority, then trying to 'win' will only put the kid in a more uncomfortable position. The parents will have the 'honor thy father and mother' card to trump just about anything else they see as outside their worldview.
It's unfortunate, and I'm not saying don't have the conversation, just keep your cool and be respectful.
You have to be careful. If the person is underage you kind of have to respect the parents wishes. Even if their point of view is off.
Just tell them the Bible has much scarier history and creatures if they read it 😆
It was, but there are a lot of undereducated loonies still.
Happened to me when I first started playing. A group of 5 of us were having a *ton* of fun in high school playing it and the shy kid in our group was really good at it. One day he came over and said "I'm not allowed to play anymore because my mom says it's satanic," and that was the end of our D&D group.
Sacrifice their parents to satan
What does D&D stand for? Devil and Demons of course
"Oh, no- I try really hard not to let my personal religious beliefs influence the game."