D&D in the 80s, Fads, and the Satanic Panic

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
It seems that people had a wild run in the 80's, at least in the anglosphere... Here in my country the satanic panic didn't arrive until the 90's, and its main casualties were mostly the Smurfs, then it killed anime as a mainstream tv phenomenon, (and later would go on to kill Adult Swim), and one priest called for a torching of Pokemon toys and paraphernalia. (It also made a small controversy out of the Ketchup song) but nothing on D&D. Ironically WoD -and Vampire the Masquerade in particular- which is relatively more popular here managed to fly under the water unnoticed, Magic the Gathering and Yugioh got way more flak...
 

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Mezuka

Hero
Didn't check if this has been said already but I strongly believe that by 1983ish there was enough competition by other rpg systems to split the market. Combine that with those who stayed behind at each new iteration (OD&D, Basic, BECMI, AD&D1) you get a fractured and diminishing fans base. And the competition wasn't labelled 'satanic', thus could be played.

My religious aunt tried to convince my mother D&D was dangerous but it didn't work. My mom had never seen me so happy and motivated about a project (DMing).
 

MGibster

Legend
It is important to remember that D&D was not originally designed for kids. Like all things kids actually find cool, it was designed for young people that wanted to see blood and boobs in their fantasy. I don't know how much it is brought up, but softening that edge probably didn't just irritate the existing players that wanted their demons and devils back, but probably also made D&D look much lamer to the 12 years olds in search of something just a little bit naughty (boob armor and Elmore lady poses notwithstanding).
I'm still upset about the remove of the random harlot table. Where are my random harlots, Mrs. Pulling? You're right that it's important to remember that AD&D wasn't really designed with children in mind. It's been a while since I read 1st edition, but it certainly expanded by vocabulary quite a bit. (Again, the random harlot table was both educational and fun.)
 

MGibster

Legend
Well, 60 minutes was as mainstream as it gets, but I remember it being aired on network news, it certainly made its way onto day time talk shows. It was not just the 60 minutes program. And you had TV movies like Mazes and Monsters, the book it was based on. You also had a ton of religious programing about it (which people can dismiss as fringe, but stuff like the 700 club and Jerry Falwell had considerable cultural pull in the 80s). I believe i even posted clips I found from old news shows here and elsewhere in previous threads (but I can't recall exact programs off the top of my head).

Let's not forget this stunning exposé on the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons.

 

Richards

Legend
B/X didn't have any of the nude/topless female human-appearing monsters and gods that the MM, DMG, and Deities and Demi-gods had, did it? (Although one female character in B had seemingly really powerful nipples under that armor). No harlot table. And no Demons or Devils.
As yes, good old Morgan Ironwolf. I remember her well....

Johnathan
 

Orius

Legend
Bloody thing still isn't over for some people. The other day I got a news feed with a headline about how fantasy roleplaying is a threat to or problem for American society or some such nonsense from some Christian media source. I see someone has learned how to manipulate Google's algorithms.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Bloody thing still isn't over for some people. The other day I got a news feed with a headline about how fantasy roleplaying is a threat to or problem for American society or some such nonsense from some Christian media source. I see someone has learned how to manipulate Google's algorithms.
It's a surprisingly nuanced piece.

It's not actually about roleplaying games, which the author notes turned out to be generally harmless fun. It's more about people finding meaning in delusional heroic versions of themselves, like the QAnon hoax.

 




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