Welcome Back to the Labyrinth

"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."

"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."

"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"

"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"

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.