Monday, May 19, 2014

Everything Wrong with 'Dark Dungeons', the Infamous D&D Chick Tract

Last week I used the infamous Chick Tract 'Dark Dungeons', by evangelical comic author and professional confused grandpa Jack Chick, to poke fun at the idea that D&D teaches you necromancy.  This week I'm going back to that ancient well to draw up another fetid bucket of laughs to pour down your gullet (don't forget to check for throat leeches!).  'Dark Dungeons' is 30 years old this year, and the fact that the earth has not been consumed by Orcus, Demon Prince of Undeath, means that Jack Chick is either laughably incorrect or D&D players are just terrible at the dark arts.  I dunno, maybe they took out the rules for 'real magic' in 2nd Edition or something.

This and all further pictures in this blog post are ©1984-2014 Chick Publications, Inc. I am reproducing the tract in it's entirety here (minus the last page about how you can 'get saved') under what I believe is Fair Use as part of a satirical review piece.  I won't be linking to Chick Publications' website, where you can view this tract and others like it for free.
Without further ado, let us delve into the world of the 1980s D&D scare which, just like the scares about comic books, rock music, and video games, has proven to be 100% valid.  

First off, Debbie, don't you think you're being a bit presumptuous telling the DM what effect your spell has?  "Oh, my spell of light causes the monster to explode in a shower of gold coins.  That grant wishes."  Shut up, Debbie.  Read your Player's Handbook.

And what does the DM hope to accomplish with a 5x10 battle mat?  There's not even a monster on the board: what are you using the mat for?

Also: take a good look at the other four members of the gaming group.  It's the last you'll see of them.

In first edition AD&D, character death is how your DM says hello.  Marcie should have a new character named Lack Bleaf rolled up in about 5 minutes.  If you had to quit the game forever when your character died, D&D would have approximately zero players.  The Tomb of Horrors alone would have been an act of virtual genocide, ensuring Gary Gygax a seat next to George R.R. Martin at the Nuremberg character death tribunal.

Also, Debbie is really jockeying for the position of Queen Bitch here.  That or this house has some harsh-ass table rules.  It might be time to take things back a notch; maybe 'first character to die buys the pizza'.

Given Debbie's track record with the light spell, I don't think she's ready for the real power yet.

Incorrect: the invitation to enter a witches' coven only comes at 10th level.

Also, I don't really see Diana as a goddess of D&D.  Maybe Hephaestus.  Definitely Hermes.  Actually, a webcomic about the Olympian pantheon playing D&D would be awesome.

Check out the Unholy Snack-Table in the back.  A single pitcher of instant coffee?  This evil cult is the worst.

So, do you guys just not change your clothes?

Eugh!  So that's why all the other close-ups of Debbie have been from behind.  By the way, I'm not touching 'daughter-on-father mind bondage' with a 10-ft. pole.

And what is it about hanging potted plants that screamed 'evil D&D cult' to the illustrator?

Wow, $200.00 worth of D&D figures and manuals.  That is... oddly specific.

The real power lets you fight The Zombie while your DM is in another room.

"Hi, Mrs. Anderson, I came as soon as I changed back into the dirty clothes I've been wearing all week.  Have you considered removing the spooky tree that's growing right in front of your door?"

"You didn't have to master the art of hovering 6 inches above your bed!  ...Can I have your totally bitchin' figures and manuals?"

No, it's your DM's fault for not letting you roll a save vs. poison.  Or telling you that you can just make a new character.

Ms. Frost: concerned when Marcie is upset on the phone, but  totally fine when she commits suicide.

Also, bonus points for alliteration.

I may be splitting hairs here, but what does this incident have to do with their freaky D&D cult?  Her character died in a game of D&D, they didn't cast any spells or use the real power on her to make her kill herself.  Call me crazy, but I'm beginning to think Jack Chick doesn't really know what he's doing...

Jack Chick thinks pretending to be another person gives you multiple personality disorder.

"Don't be stupid, Mr. Hanks.  I think you'd better let Forrest Gump take care of things."

That's not very nice, calling Mike an S.O.B.

"Is this about the spooky tree that keeps following me around?  I think a high-level druid might be more helpful."

I think you need a third-party sourcebook to play through the Dungeon of Bondage...

Strangely enough, Acts 19:19 says nothing about rock music or D&D books.

"Help me, third rate Tom Selleck impersonator!"

Great, now her dad's gonna have to buy her $200.00 worth of new bibles.

For the night is dark and full of terrors.
"Man, my old cult was bullshit. This Jesus lets me burn things!"


-the real d20 despot


  1. Thank you for making me giggle like a crazy person at my desk during lunch.

  2. I have to say that I am a Christian, and was raised in a Christian home, and that this tract is just another example of the bull crap I see all the time that makes me ashamed of other Christians. I would just like to say that not all Christians are like that, nor does the Bible condemn role playing games or rock music... In fact, I've met pastors who played and people who were introduced by pastors. Any one with any amount of common sense can see that it's just a game.

    As an aspiring gm about to start my first group I've enjoyed discovering and exploring your blog. It's been both entertaining and useful! Thank you for your work; it is definitely being used.

    1. Totally. I worked at a church camp a few summers back, and the pastor was definitely an old school D&D player. Jack Chick is... a special breed of crazy. The kind with his own publishing company and too much spare time that he spends searching for the splinters in his neighbors' eyes.

      And thanks, I'm glad to hear you've found my blog so helpful. Good luck on your first gaming group! Remember: the first rule of GMing is 'If your group is having fun, your doing it right.'