An Open Letter to Michael Paul and Associates

[This was originally published on attrition.org. The exact date is not known.]


Dear Michael Paul & Associates,

Recently I have been given a copy of “Satanism in America“. This book was designed to make people aware of Satanism. Although I do not attend church (any church) I do not approve of Satanism in any
way. Reading through this book the article about Dungeons & Dragons caught my attention.

I have been playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons for just over seven years in three states now and I am truly outraged at your article. Many of the items listed below are outright lies and I would like to deal with each issue of the article individually to make you aware of their presence in the game.

Demonology – In the first edition of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books, demons are presented. In most cases, less than 5% of players had any involvement with a demon. A possible adventure for some characters was to spend their characters life trying to rid the world of a particular demon. The act of studying demons and worshipping a demon is practically non-existent in AD&D as far as I have seen. When a demon worshipper was introduced he/she was put in as a foe to kill. In the Old Testament, the Devil is a shatan, the Hebrew word for ‘Opponent’. In AD&D, every demon I have encountered is just that, an opponent.

Witchcraft – A witch in Dungeons and Dragons is simply an old hag who possesses no magical power and is very superstitious. Witchcraft is not in the game either. The only mention of a witch having true magical power is in an issue of Dragon Magazine. If your article was referring to the casting of spells I will explain that later.

Voodoo – The religion of Voodoo has never been brought up in any gaming session I have participated. I have heard it mentioned in relation to the game and I have read a brief summary in one book. Voodoo is still practiced today with no relation to Satanism and in the game it had no relation to Satanism.

Murder – The definition of murder is “the taking of another’s life” in short. The whole backbone of AD&D is set in a medieval like period. If you know about history then you should know that there are several types of warriors and murder is part of their life. AD&D is basically our own medieval ages with the element of magic thrown in. In many cases players will “murder evil creatures” to protect themselves or their loved ones. In the AD&D game they have the following:

Warrior – This is a person who can be evil, good, neutral, lawful, or chaotic. This is basically a hired mercenary who makes his living using his skill with a weapon and the strength of his arm.

Paladin – This is a Holy warrior who fights for the church. He gives over 95% of his money to the church. This kind of warrior is the ultimate in good and only takes a life when he feels it necessary. The following is a code he lives by. The Paladin’s Code:

  • Death before dishonor.
  • Dishonor before innocents are harmed.
  • All women are to be honored.
  • Be polite and courteous even if insulted.
  • All challenges are to be met honorably.
  • Obey your religion and honor its tenets.
  • Obey the law of the land where they do not conflict with your religion.
  • Respect all opponents.
  • Avoid all excesses.
  • Care for the sick and aid the distressed.
  • Honor your liege lord and your deity.
  • Do not permit evil to do harm.

Ranger – A ranger is a natural woodsman and acts as the ultimate protector. I have made a Code that a Ranger follows and although it is not official it is what he believes in and fits in with the rules outlined by the book. The Ranger’s Code:

  • Respect nature and its course.
  • Meet all combat honorably.
  • Respect all opponents.
  • Take no life unless it can’t be helped.
  • Do not permit evil to do harm.
  • Protect the innocent and the weak with your own life if need be.
  • Protect those who can’t think for themselves.
  • Death before innocents are harmed.
  • Use your blades only if need be.
  • Care for sick and aid the distressed.
  • Be polite and courteous even if insulted.
  • Noble service cheerfully rendered.
  • All women are to be honored.
  • Keep a straight mind and clear head at all times.
  • Avoid excesses.
  • Honor your deity.
  • Give respect to those who do not wrong you or your beliefs.
  • Obey laws that are just and fair.
  • Respect other’s beliefs if they do not conflict with your own.
  • Take advantage of no one unless in honorable combat.

Cavalier – This warrior was taken out of the second edition because they were too hard to play which led to wrong ideas about the game. A cavalier is a knight with very strong beliefs about chivalry and honor. They are much like the Paladin but they do not always fight for the church. The Cavalier’s Code:

  • Noble service cheerfully rendered.
  • Defense of any charge unto death.
  • Courage and enterprise in obedience to rule.
  • Respect for all peers and equals.
  • Honor to all above your station.
  • Obedience and respect from all beneath your station.
  • Scorn for those who are lowly and ignoble.
  • Courtesy to all ladies.
  • War is the flowering of chivalry.
  • Battle is the test of manhood.
  • Combat is glory.
  • Personal glory above all in battle.
  • Death to all who oppose the cause.
  • Death before dishonor.

The Cavalier is an extreme compared to the others but this tells of why they take a life.

Rape – My experience with AD&D has brought no mention of rape unless it is used as a background for adventure. For example, “…and as the brigands invaded the town they beat the old and raped the women
before taking the riches…the last survivor of the village ask you and your companions to hunt down the brigands and bring them to justice.
” Beyond that kind of mention it is unheard of in my experience.

Blasphemy – Blasphemy is defined as follows, “The act of cursing or reviling God“. In the AD&D game, they purposely left out God and mention of him. If he is not in the game in any way, how can there
be blasphemy? The only denouncing of gods is that of denouncing other gods. If you do not believe in AD&D gods then it is not possible to denounce them because they do not exist.

Suicide – I hear about suicide in today’s world fifty times more than in the game. Yes, it is mentioned in the game but only by the individual characters. The books have little or no mention of suicide.

Assassination – This is the same as murder but in a more concealed atmosphere. I do not approve of it but it is part of reality.

Insanity – Once again it is mentioned but is described to make the game more realistic and if a person’s character goes insane the book tells how to deal with it.

Sex – Of course AD&D tells about sex. Every game today implies sex or sexual actions. Almost everywhere you go you will see something that has sexual connotation. AD&D has very little sex as I have seen so far compared to other games. I can honestly say I have heard more mention of sex in relation to the church and the Bible than related to AD&D. In fact, the Bible talks more about who ‘begat’ who than any other book I have read.

Perversion – Like sex this can be applied anywhere. Perversion is a very vague term. Morally perverted is in the eye of the beholder. If I believe in one thing and you believe in another then we will think each other perverts. Sexual perversion is practically non existent. There are cases of two races having sex but this just
shows they do not live in a world full of bigots, prejudiced people, and racist.

Homosexuality – Not even mentioned. The word does not appear in any book to my knowledge. I have all of the books and most of the supplements (a total of 25+).

Prostitution – In the medieval ages there were brothels. This equivalent of a whore house is more common in today’s world. There is no need for a character to go to one and in all of the towns I have seen I have not seen one mentioned.

Satan Worship – This truly outrages me. Satan is not in the books just like God isn’t. He is not a major nor minor force. The arch-devils are not said to answer him. Satan is non-existent in the game and therefore not worshipped. If an individual player incorporates him into the game it then his responsibility and not
Dungeons and Dragons.

Gambling – Just like today gambling exists in this setting. Gambling was usually done by the rich as a form of entertainment or done by the unemployed trying to make money to feed a family. Gambling is
not a crime and it is up to the individual to decide how much contact is made with it.

Jungian psychology – I had to look this up in the library to find out what it is. If what I read is true then it is totally irrelevant and does not exist. If it is known under another name then I am not familiar with it.

Barbarianism – According to the Bible a barbarian is an uncivilized, brutal man. Would you denounce another man just because he has not had the education or guidance as you? If you answer ‘yes’ then you
are basically a prejudiced person who refuses to see the whole picture. Barbarians killed to survive and feed themselves. Is this so bad?

Cannibalism – In 1973 survivors of a plane crash resorted to eating their friends to survive. This incident is one more than in AD&D. This aspect has potential to be in there but it is up to the individual DM (dungeon master).

Sadism – Absolutely none in my seven years playing.

Desecration – There is desecration and players do it. It is usually done only in order to gain something that will save their lives or aid them in their quest. Desecration occurs as much as it did in our own history.

Demon Summoning – The art of magic allows a mage to summon demons (as well as Holy Servants) to their own plane. This is done only for the mage to gain knowledge that he could otherwise not gain.
Calling demons is not done often because it usually results in the death of the mage.

Necromantics – Necromantics is one of seven divisions of magic. This allows control over Nosferatu (also known as Undead) and the dead. Knowledge can be gained from the dead or other services can be
obtained. A major use for necromancy is the raising of dead or resurrection of an individual. If I am not mistaken, Jesus was resurrected.

Divination – In the Bible divination is the gaining of knowledge by seeing into the future. In AD&D it is divination through contact with a higher power (usually a god or demi-god). Divination is the gaining of knowledge. I see nothing wrong with obtaining knowledge.

Spellcraft in the game of AD&D is not witchcraft. The authors of the game created world(s) that had magic fields. A mage (also known as: sorcerer, necromancer, diviner, invoker, enchanter, conjurer, abjurer, alterer, illusionist, transmuter, or a specialist) has the ability to use arcane words and gestures to tap the energy found in that field. Magic could be used to do almost anything from protecting to attacking.

I realize that I am not the only one who plays the game and there are many others that I can not speak for but playing for seven years in three states I have seen little or no signs of many of the above topics. While you fault the game for these topics you are blaming the innocent creators of the game. The individuals who play the game make it what they want. If I play I do not use most of the above topics. If a Satan worshipper plays he may use all of the above. If so then it is not the game’s fault but the individuals who play that can hold the blame. On this same page you quote Dr. Gary North from his book entitled ‘Dare Call It Withcraft’. I have looked in a total of eight bookstores and a college library and I can not find it. I think it better that you quote from a source that can be found a little more easily. If you could please tell me where I could find this book I would appreciate it very much. I respectfully ask that in future printings of this work and like works that you reconsider and do not put another such article in your magazine. To show how I feel about your article I am going to write a similar article. The following is just to stir the feelings in you as they did me. I do not believe the following in any way.

The Bible talks about torture, magic , barbarianism, conjuration (Familiar Spirit), murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, insanity, sex (a lot of sex), perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, gambling, sadism, desecration, divination, sacrificing animals, slavery, sacrificing humans, miracle through divine power, worshipping a god (different than believing in), cruel and unusual punishment for small crimes, divine destruction, extremely corrupt hospitality, and many other corrupt beliefs and practices in living color.

If you believe the above paragraph to be false or an unfair representation then you know how I feel. I would really appreciate a response to this letter stating you opinion on AD&D or any arguments against what I have stated relating to the article you wrote. If you do not reply I will consider it your believing me to be right and you to stop the printing of like information about the AD&D game. Please send any comments or a reply to:

                    (old address)


                                            Sincerely
                                            (real name)

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