Do demons and devils have free will? Does justice exist in Menzoberranzan? What's the morality involved with player characters casting necromancy and summoning spells? Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy probes the rich terrain of philosophically compelling concepts and ideas that underlie Dungeons & Dragons, the legendary fantasy role-playing game that grew into a world-wide cultural phenomenon. A series of accessible essays reveals what the imaginary worlds of D&D can teach us about ethics, morality, metaphysics and more. Illustrates a wide variety of philosophical concepts and ideas that arise in Dungeons & Dragons gameplay and presents them in an accessible and entertaining manner Reveals how the strategies, tactics, improvisations, and role-play employed by D&D enthusiasts have startling parallels in the real world of philosophy Explores a wide range of philosophical topics, including the nature of free will, the metaphysics of personal identity, the morality of crafting fictions, sex and gender issues in tabletop gameplay, and friendship and collaborative storytelling Provides gamers with deep philosophical insights that can lead to a richer appreciation of D&D and any gaming experience
The 1980s saw the peak of a moral panic over fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A coalition of moral entrepreneurs that included representatives from the Christian Right, the field of psychology, and law enforcement claimed that these games were not only psychologically dangerous but an occult religion masquerading as a game. Dangerous Games explores both the history and the sociological significance of this panic. Fantasy role-playing games do share several functions in common with religion. However, religion--as a socially constructed world of shared meaning--can also be compared to a fantasy role-playing game. In fact, the claims of the moral entrepreneurs, in which they presented themselves as heroes battling a dark conspiracy, often resembled the very games of imagination they condemned as evil. By attacking the imagination, they preserved the taken-for-granted status of their own socially constructed reality. Interpreted in this way, the panic over fantasy-role playing games yields new insights about how humans play and together construct and maintain meaningful worlds. Laycock's clear and accessible writing ensures that Dangerous Games will be required reading for those with an interest in religion, popular culture, and social behavior, both in the classroom and beyond.