Those of us who have been around for a while may remember Jack T. Chick, publisher of Chick Tracts, short comic books aimed at saving people’s souls and bringing them to Christianity (very fundamentalist Christianity). What we might not realize is that Chick is still around and there’s a whole pile of his tracts. They’re actually kind of funny to read, made all the more so by the seriousness with which they’re delivered. Amongst roleplayers, the most famous tract is without a doubt Dark Dungeons first published in 1984.
You can read the tract at the link above, but in short, it tells the story of Debbie, who plays the character Elfstar in a Dungeons & Dragons game. Her dungeon master tells her it’s time for her to learn real spells and introduces her to a witch’s coven. Meanwhile, her friend Marcie’s character Blackleaf dies in the game and Marcie can’t handle it. Marcie kills herself and this causes Debbie to rethink her association with the occult and turn back to Jesus.
In the tract, we learn a few very amazing things, particularly that playing Dungeons & Dragons teaches you real magical power! Or it’s supposed to. Hmmm... I’ve been playing D&D and other roleplaying games for thirty years now and I haven’t been introduced to the true power yet. I’ve also been a DM/GM for almost all that time. I feel a little cheated. Where’s my magical power? I could use a few handy spells right now!
Oh well. I guess I just haven’t been playing it right or something. I’ll learn the powers one day.
Anyway, fans of Dark Dungeons will be pleased to know that an intrepid, devout soul is now running a Kickstarter to raise the funds for Dark Dungeons: The Movie! He’s very nearly made his goal too. This movie promises to bring the truth of roleplaying games to a modern generation, much like Mazes and Monsters did back in the 80s. This movie will be absolutely glorious—and I’m completely serious with that comment. I can’t wait to see it.
In all seriousness, while at first glance the project may look serious, if you watch the video all the way through or read the website in detail, it becomes more and more obvious that Dark Dungeons: The Movie is a parody, and a brilliant parody at that. Alas, the 80s’ madness isn’t completely dead; there are still people who really believe the whole “D&D is satanic” thing, as evidenced by this clip from The 700 Club that’s been making its rounds on the internet recently.
Isn’t it wonderful to have people like this to look out for us?