Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Monday, January 31, 2011

D&D Promotes Gang Activity?

The U.S. Court of Appeals recently upheld the D&D ban in prisons on the grounds that it encourages gang activity.  Read more here.  Apparently, a DM giving instructions to players mimics gang organization and teaches them how to form gangs (I wouldn't have thought that forming a gang was so difficult that it would require instructions).

Damn, and here I've been playing for over 30 years and I don't even have colours or anything!  Clearly, I've been focusing too much on the fun and adventure and missing out on the larger lessons entirely.

I'd have thought that a game that provides a creative outlet and promotes literacy would be a good thing to have in prisons and should be encouraged, but what do I know about such things?  I wonder how long it will be before someone decides that D&D encourages terrorist activity?


Jeff Rients said...

The prison context is the issue here. Anything that gets a bunch of people together and gives one of them authority over the others is a potential gang recruitment tool. In the weird world of incarceration the tiniest things can have the deadliest consequences.

I'm not saying I approve the decision, but I see the logic behind it.

Sean Robson said...

Hi Jeff,

My main objection is when policy is decided by an apparent knee-jerk reaction based on ignorance. There seems to be a misconception that a DM exerts far more authority and control over his players than he actually does. This is the same argument made in the '80's by groups like BADD, who elevated DMs to cult-leader status.

Now, it may just be me, but so far I've had little luck in convincing my players to turn over all their money and worldly goods to me. Apparently my authority as DM doesn't extend all that far after all :(

I understand the reasoning behind the prison ban, but I would be happier if they'd studied the situation a little more thoroughly and came up with a rational solution, like maybe supervising D&D sessions for inmates if they truly believe that the DM is so influential. It seems to me like they could actually use D&D as part of a literacy program to get inmates interested in education.

DH said...

The appellate judge is clearly a Forgie trying to promote GMless games.