Remember when RPGs Equaled Satanism?

Satanic Panic

As a tabletop gamer from the early 1990s, it’s a little weird to me that the hobby is so mainstream these days. Most people know of Dungeons & Dragons or a similar game, and shows like Community celebrate the hobby. It wasn’t too long ago that playing D&D meant you were in league with Satan.

I’m serious – if you played a role-playing game in the 1980s or 1990s, your parents probably worried at some point or another that you were getting involved with Satanism. Just as heavy metal supposedly had satanic lyrics if you played the album backwards, D&D was believed by many to be a tool of the occult.

How did this get started? As with most cases of moral panic, it began with adults scrambling to explain senseless tragedies.

Read more at Panic in the Skies!

Return to the Sidekickcast

Pathfinder Character Sheet

Once upon a time, I had a column called Beer and Pretzels on Sidekickcast.com, where I shared my thoughts on the wonderful weirdness of role-playing games. All was well for a good long time, but then some dastardly hackers ruined everybody’s fun.

Fortunately, the Sidekickcast has returned in a new form, this time with a broader focus as Panic in the Skies. And I’m happy to say that my contributions to that group has also returned. My first blog entry, detailing the wonderful surprises hiding in RPGs, is now online.

Head over the Panic in the Skies and check it out!

Gaming Stories: Return of the Deck of Many Things

Deck of Many Things

For more than 15 years now, one of my main GMing strategies when I run a D&D or Pathfinder campaign has gone something like this:

  1. Give the PCs the deck of many things.
  2. Wait for them to draw from it.
  3. Have fun with the results.

If I ever doubted that the deck of many things is the greatest magic item in the game, those doubts were dispelled at my last Pathfinder session.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Delving into the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Wear Protection

The Book of Erotic Fantasy

Originally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition introduced the Open Gaming License, which made huge chunks of the D&D rules open to third parties. It created thriving adventure lines, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics and even allowed the creation of competing games, such as Pathfinder. But by far one of the most simultaneously awesome and horrible products that emerged as a result of this license is the Book of Erotic Fantasy.

According to the introduction, “The Book of Erotic Fantasy is a sourcebook that deals with the topics of sex in the world of fantasy roleplaying games, written with the adult player in mind.” Depending on who you talk to, it’s either one of the best third-party supplements out there or one of the worst.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

D&D and Pathfinder: What’s the Difference?

Pathfinder DragonOriginally published on Sidekickcast.com

I tend to use Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder interchangeably. In a lot of ways, they’re the same game – after all, Pathfinder is directly derived from the 3rd edition D&D rules. At the same time, both games have evolved in different directions and provide a distinctly different feel at this point. If you’re looking to start a game using one of these systems, which do you choose?

There are endless arguments online about which fantasy RPG is better than the other, and the unfortunate habit that gamers has is the tendency to promote one game by tearing the other one down. That’s silly, because there is no clear-cut answer as to which game is better – they’re both excellent options, and there’s no reason you can’t play and enjoy both. But if you’re trying to pick one or the other for a specific campaign, which game suits your chosen style better? That’s what I aim to discuss here.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Weird Magic Items I Wish I’d Used

Lidda

Originally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Thanks to whatever weirdness inhabited the heads of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, fantasy gaming has some really bizarre stuff baked into its history. I’ve gamed long enough to use a lot of that weirdness (including my personal favorite, the deck of many things), but there’s still so much more out there. Here’s a quick list of some of the fun items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder that I’ve always wanted to slip into an adventure but have never quite been able to make fit.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

The Awesome Silliness of Fantasy RPGs

Flumph GoblinsOriginally posted on Sidekickcast.com

If you’re a fan of role-playing games, you probably got introduced to the game through a little thing called Dungeons & Dragons. It may have come by a different name back then, such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but the general gist remains the same. In my unscientific study, about 99% of gamers were found to have come into the hobby via some iteration of D&D.

I’ve hopped around a lot in the RPG hobby, and while I got off the D&Dtrain, my current game of choice, Pathfinder, is an extremely close cousin of the world’s first role-playing game. While there are a lot of reasons I tend to stick close to the D&D tradition, one of the major ones is the oddball humor that the game’s history is steeped in.

I like a good beer and pretzels game, where the play is fairly casual and the jokes are frequent. And when it comes to D&D-style fantasy, the jokes have been baked into the game for decades now.

Read more at the Screamsheet!