Is Dungeons & Dragons Demonic?

I recently made this YouTube video about Dungeons & Dragons, so I thought I would write a post as well with a little more info. Enjoy!

When I was growing up, Dungeons and Dragons was the stuff of legend, an ancient evil as terrifying as it was mysterious. I was homeschooled in a Christian household. I loved it! But I was definitely sheltered from some things, such as roleplaying games.

When I got older, I decided to find out for myself if they were really all that bad. So my wife and I joined a local D&D group to learn how it all worked. Today, we play D&D all the time and it’s a blast. But I didn’t have to give up my soul for it. This is your guide to D&D for Christians and homeschoolers, from a Christian homeschooler.

What Kind of Game is This?

Dungeons and Dragons is just one of many “table-top roleplaying games” or TTRPGs. These games are kind of like playing pretend with your friends. Remember when you were a kid and you said, “I am the legendary warrior! I will defeat you, villain!” and then you dueled your brother with a plastic sword? This is basically that, except you’re sitting at a table rolling dice to determine what happens. It’s make-believe, math, and a board game all rolled into one.

But that’s not all. Everyone at the table is telling a story together through the game. Groups usually meet a few times a month to keep those stories going for months or even years. There are no cults or satanic rituals. It’s just a good time with friends.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What about all those stories I’ve heard? Isn’t D&D demonic? Aren’t the kinds of people playing this game interested in the occult? What if players pretend to be evil? Let’s address these concerns one at a time.

The “Lord of the Rings” Rule

First, here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re okay with Lord of the Rings, you shouldn’t have any problem with D&D. They are very similar in their aesthetics and setting. There are other roleplaying games out there with all kinds of different settings such as sci-fi, the old west, superheroes, and more. But today, we’ll focus on D&D.

Magic and Fantasy Themes

Like Lord of the Rings, D&D has magic as well as good and evil fantasy elements. There are noble wizards, scary ghosts, and cursed orcs alike. That being said, every D&D group is different. Players usually sit down before starting a game to talk about what themes they’re comfortable with so everyone has a good time. If you want, you can avoid vampires or demons and just stick to fighting plain old bad guys.

Remember, it’s all make-believe. Nobody is actually trying to cast spells or speak to the dead. Yes, D&D has magic as well as good and evil fantasy tropes, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. That’s the great thing about this game. The adventure you have is up to you.

Religious Themes

As a Christian, I exclude made-up religions and gods from my D&D games. I prefer to play without them. But D&D was designed for a fantasy world where many gods exist and behave similar to the pantheons in Norse, Roman, or Greek mythology. They’re spiritual beings who fight with each other, bestow power upon mortals, and cause general chaos. They aren’t there to temp you into denouncing Christianity. They simply serve a narrative purpose, providing outside forces to explain the presence of magic, influence the world, or offer a challenge for the players. But remember, you can run the game however you want. You could have only good gods, only one god, or no gods at all! It’s entirely up to you.

Now, one core part of the game is your character’s class. This determines whether you’re a wizard like Gandalf or a ranger like Aragorn. There are a couple classes themed around magic given to you by a divine being. But this is really just for flavor. If you want, you can ignore all of that and come up with your own reason for having magic. Likewise, there are some spells designed so that your character asks a god for guidance or wisdom, but you could just flavor it so they have a keen sense of their surroundings or something. It’s not a big deal. Again, you control how the game is played.

Can Players Pretend to be Evil?

Pretending to slay foul beasts and find buried treasure is all well and good, but what if you wanted to do something bad? What if you wanted to kill innocent civilians, partake in evil rituals, or just be a creep? Well, you’ll be glad to know that for most D&D groups, this isn’t a problem. You see, D&D is a cooperative game. You have to work together with your friends. It’s difficult to function as a team with evil characters. It just doesn’t work. This is why most groups don’t allow evil characters at all.

If someone is sabotaging your team’s plans or going against their morals, that’s the fault of the player, not the game. Talk to them like an adult. If you can’t come to an agreement, you’ll be better off finding a different group to play with. It’s that simple. My best tip to avoid inappropriate roleplaying is to be mature about things and communicate, just like you would for any other conflict.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)

How Much Does it Cost?

D&D can cost as little or as much as you want. The basic rules are available online for free. You can get a set of dice for a few bucks. The rest of the game is pen and paper. You don’t need miniatures, maps, or a dungeon master screen, but those are pretty affordable and useful to have. A great way to get into D&D is to buy a starter kit for about $20 dollars. This will give you dice, rules, premade characters, and a prewritten adventure—everything you need to play. The official books with more character options, more monsters, and more adventures usually cost 20 to 40 dollars each. It’s a very affordable hobby if you have any amount of self-control.

Is D&D Addictive?

Like any other hobby, roleplaying games are a fun pastime that can be turned into an unhealthy obsession. But there’s nothing unique about D&D in this regard. It doesn’t have expensive packs to collect like some card games. It doesn’t use instant gratification to get you addicted like some video games. It isn’t physically unhealthy like energy drinks or sugar. It’s just a game, and if you treat it like one, you have nothing to be concerned about.

“‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be mastered by anything.”

1 Corinthians 6:12 (CSB)

The Satanic Panic

The media did a lot of fear-mongering about D&D in the 80s that, simply put, wasn’t substantiated. If you’ve heard stories about kids who played D&D and were stolen away by demon worshipers, it’s probably nonsense.

Ever heard of James Dallas Egbert? He was a student at Michigan State University in 1979 who played D&D. As the story goes, he got lost in the steam tunnels under the campus while playing a real-life version of the game with his friends. A detective found a bulletin board in his room with thumbtacks in it. He said it looked like a map of the tunnels. The media ate it up and took the opportunity to blame the entire thing on D&D with headlines like, “Game Might Have Turned Into Deathtrap” and “Did Dragons & Dungeons Swallow Dallas Egbert?”

So… what actually happened? Well, Egbert did enter the tunnels, but he left them shortly afterwards and he wasn’t playing a real-life version of D&D. The tacks in the bulletin board were not a map. In fact, D&D had nothing to do with his disappearance at all. The detective who made those claims later admitted to not knowing much of anything about the game. He just made wild speculations. As it turns out, Egbert was just a kid dealing with a stressful household, depression, and eventually substance abuse. He went into the tunnels with the intention of self-harm, but came back out to go visit a friend some distance away. Sadly, he lost his battle with depression a year later.

That’s just one of many stories the media manipulated so they could blame Dungeons & Dragons. But trust me when I say this hobby is not a cover up for cultic indoctrination, pagan rituals, or evil death traps. It’s just a roleplaying game that nerds and theater kids play for fun. Anything you hear otherwise is exaggerated by the media or just pure fiction.

How is D&D Actually Played?

Now that I’ve addressed some concerns, let me give you an idea of what playing D&D is like. First, you schedule a time to meet (that’s the hardest part). Once everyone arrives, you lay out some snacks and begin the game. One player is called the “dungeon master” (or DM for short). His job is to set the stage for the game by explaining where the party is, determining what happens when they do things, and standing in for all the different characters they meet. Everyone else plays as one of the heroes. Together, they’re the adventuring party the story revolves around, the “Fellowship of the Ring,” if you will.

“We begin where we left off last time,” says George the DM. “You enter the Gilded Hopper tavern, tired from your journey. You see all manner of travelers exchanging stories. The bartender is a pale dwarf with a sullen expression on his face. What do you do?”

“I walk up to the bartender,” says Claire the rogue.

“What can I get ye?” says George.

“Some information,” says Claire. “Have you seen a shady-looking orc with a red bandana? His name is Grimrock.”

“Make a persuasion check,” says George. Claire rolls a 20 sided die, gets a 2, and adds 6 to represent her skills in negotiation.

“Eight,” she says. Unfortunately, this is too low.

“I don’t mettle in personal business. Can I get ye anything else?”

“Let’s just leave,” says Jeff the wizard.

“Suddenly, you notice a flash of red from the corner of the room. A hulking figure steps out of the shadows,” says George. “I told you lot to stay away. But it seems you’ve forced my hand. Two more orcs join him at his shoulders and raise their swords. Roll for initiative!”

The fight begins! Each character moves and attacks one by one in turn order. The wizard casts a spell on the fighter, making him grow twice his size. The fighter lands a blow on one of the orcs. The other orc throws a javelin at the wizard, but misses. Grimrock swipes at the fighter with his axe. The rogue darts forward for a sneak attack, finishing off one of the orcs. Eventually, victory is claimed! The party regroups to make peace with the town and decide what they want to do next.


That’s basically D&D. It’s a lot of fun. It’s not about devil worship or corrupting the youth. It’s about nerding out over cool-looking dice and miniatures, developing creative backstories for characters, and channeling your inner actor through a hilariously bad accent. It’s about solving mysteries and defeating nefarious villains just like you pretended to do when you were a kid. Most of all, it’s about telling a story with your friends and improvising your way through a crazy fantasy world that’s part Lord of the Rings, part Breakfast Club, and part Princess Bride. So give it a try. You don’t have to sacrifice your soul to play a game with your friends.

What do you think about roleplaying games? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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Steven Crowder VS. The Daily Wire — What’s Going On?

On Tuesday, January 17th, conservative talk show host Steven Crowder posted a YouTube video titled, “It’s time to stop…” He says he got an offer from an unnamed conservative media group punishing conservative voices on behalf of “big tech” like YouTube and Facebook. The document spells out the terms of payment, saying that demonetization on YouTube and other platforms would cut pay by 25%. Content strikes for not falling in line with community guidelines is another 20% cut. Being banned off a platform is yet another 10-20% cut. So what’s the problem here?

Crowder says that major players in the conservative movement or “big con,” as he puts it, are in bed with big tech. They’re silencing controversial ideas to make more money on ads. Crowder says he’s been demonetized for years on YouTube and yet he still makes his show, Louder with Crowder, using money from his paid subscribers called the “Mug Club.” He believes in his business model.

Crowder mentioned some other details in the offer that concerned him, including the demanding work schedule, the fact that the company would own the signer’s content and social channels, the high number of ad reads, and more payment cuts for failing to deliver a certain number of episodes per month.

Crowder closed by saying he’s looking to build his own network to support up and coming conservatives. He invited content creators to reach out if they want to partner with him against big tech and “big con.”

The Daily Wire’s Response

One day later, The Daily Wire uploaded a video titled, “Our Offer to Steven Crowder.” Jeremy Boreing, Co-CEO of the company, openly admits the offer came from them. He says he thinks it’s a very good offer, but that Crowder is misunderstanding it. He then goes through the document piece by piece, breaking down the reasoning behind it.

Boreing starts by saying that the offer was a way to open up negotiations, but Crowder was not interested in coming to any agreement. The offer was for $50 million over four years, which he emphasizes several times throughout the video.

Boreing then addresses one of Crowder’s criticisms, saying that the Daily Wire would own the signer’s social channels (aside from Twitter and Instagram) and content while they’re on the team. This is standard procedure for media companies. Part of making their money back is using the signer’s social media for monetization and promotion. He also defends their proposed pay cuts for failing to deliver a specified number of episodes per month. As Boreing puts it, “You can’t pay someone… an unimaginably huge amount of money for their show and then not get the show.”

Boreing then addresses Crowder’s accusation that The Daily Wire is in bed with big tech, saying the assertion is “personally incredibly offensive.” He says The Daily Wire gets demonetized all the time, but their audience and advertisers are on YouTube. It’s the platform that gives them (and Crowder) the best reach. Other platforms like Rumble are nowhere near as big and The Daily Wire hasn’t yet built up their own YouTube alternative. A project like that is a “long term investment,” he says.

Regarding the large pay cuts for demonetization, Boreing says it’s not about punishing content creators, but rather covering the costs of running a business. If a show brings in less money, The Daily Wire pays less money in turn. Boreing says Crowder fails to understand the business model and has “never had to create the company that actually distributes, markets, and monetizes all of that content.”

Boreing asks why it’s so hard for Crowder to “preserve the revenue” on free platforms like YouTube. After all, he could speak his mind freely on paid content such as DailyWire+ without fear of demonetization. Boreing compares this to Crowder’s current model where he will sometimes ask his audience to join him on Mug Club to talk about things that might get him banned from YouTube. But just Mug Club isn’t enough revenue for Boreing. “That’s not a risk that I can take,” he says. He concludes that Crowder’s actions are wrong and that he’s burning a friend in the process.

The Recorded Phone Call

Crowder quickly shot back with another video revealing clips from a phone call he had with Boreing. In it, Boreing can be heard discussing how young talent “can be wage slaves for a little bit” with a company like The Daily Wire before using their newfound fame to go independent.

Crowder accuses Boreing of focusing on the money when “it’s not about the money.” Crowder says it’s about the conservative movement and big tech. He’s concerned about up and coming talent facing these kinds of “slave” contracts. He then plays part of the phone call where he asks Boreing if pay cuts for demonetization would apply to smaller content creators, not just Crowder. Boreing says yes, retorting that everybody loses money when monetization goes away. “You can’t pay the same amount with less revenue.” Crowder can be heard responding, “You need to change your business model or this movement cannot work, Jeremy.”

Crowder says he understands that people like to run businesses differently, but he’s firmly opposed to relying on YouTube revenue as a conservative—so much so that he walked away from $50 million for the sake of those coming after him. He even offers to guide The Daily Wire into a scaled-up version of his own business model. He maintains that taking ownership of a creator’s content is wrong, even with Boreing’s retort that the media company paid to produce this content and should therefore own it. Speaking of plans for a network of his own, Crowder says he will never take ownership of any talent’s work, social channels, or YouTube revenue.

The Bottom Line

So, what’s my take on all of this? I think the disagreement is clear. The Daily Wire has built a successful business model that relies on YouTube revenue. They are not willing to part with it right now. This means they are unable to take on “controversial” talent like Crowder without using heavy pay cuts to make up for lost funds. This leads to softer, more advertiser-friendly content on free platforms like YouTube. The raw, unfiltered content is provided on their paid platform, DailyWire+. This doesn’t mean they’re out to exploit young conservatives and it also doesn’t mean they approve of YouTube’s policies. They just don’t see any other way forward right now.

Then you have Steven. He started out with YouTube revenue as a large part of his income. Over time, he realized he couldn’t rely on it. They demonetized him over and over, but he wasn’t going to censor himself to stay in YouTube’s good graces. Instead, he would fund his show using his own paid platform, Mug Club. His business model today is successful without Google’s money and he’s very proud of that. He believes that big tech’s censorship requires conservatives to cut ties with these platforms. The first step is being financially independent from them.

Both parties agree on a lot, but they draw the (bottom) line in two separate places. The Daily Wire draws the line at demonetization. If any YouTube revenue is lost, it must be met with pay cuts to compensate. Steven Crowder draws the line at getting banned from YouTube (for now). He’s already been demonetized for years and no longer relies on them for revenue. But whether he admits it or not, he still relies on them for exposure. Those viewers contribute significantly to his Mug Club subscriptions. Crowder knows this, but he continues to push hard for a future where sites like Rumble can replace YouTube as a primary platform for conservatives. He believes in cutting all ties with big tech eventually.

And so does Boreing at The Daily Wire, but he doesn’t think it’s realistic to expect that anytime soon. He wants to build alternatives like his own DailyWire+, but in the meantime, he is perfectly happy to play ball with YouTube so he can build his empire of impactful conservative brands and personalities. He wants to compete with big media companies like Disney and Netflix, providing an alternative economy, not just one show. He doesn’t think a subscription-based model like Crowder’s would work for this kind of venture.

Who’s in the Wrong?

Crowder and Boreing disagree on the long-term vision for conservatism. Crowder sees it as a battle for the heart of America where sacrifices must be made to preserve integrity at all costs. Boreing sees it as a strategic path towards true competition and dominance in the market that takes capital to achieve.

I applaud both of their goals, but I’ll be honest, I’m leaning towards Crowder on this one. Hear me out. I don’t think he went about this the right way. I think he’s been unnecessarily confrontational and dramatic about The Daily Wire’s offer. But he’s right about one thing. It’s long past due for conservatives to abandon big tech as much as they reasonably can. I think Crowder’s success with Mug Club and his record-breaking numbers on Rumble speak to the untapped potential of taking risks and exploring other ways to fund conservative voices while still reaching a large audience. I hate self-censorship. I hate that contracts with so many media companies are overreaching and sometimes exploitative (though The Daily Wire isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary in that regard).

At the same time, I appreciate The Daily Wire’s vision of providing more than just a show. We do need an alternative economy for conservatives. We need to fight the culture war, not just the media war. The left brainwashes our kids when they’re at school, when they look at their phone, and when they go to the movies. We need to fight back with alternative social platforms, conservative education, and movies that promote our values. The Daily Wire is doing that, and it takes a lot of money to make it happen. I only worry that they might lose their edge in the meantime.

Crowder has always been at the front lines of conservatism delivering hard hits and taking the brunt of the hate for controversial opinions. I love him for that. His content feels raw and real. The Daily Wire in comparison feels a bit sanitized and their content is less interesting to watch as a result. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Their documentary “What is a Woman” changed the conversation on the trans movement. A message of truth with that kind of impact is a huge win for conservatives. Crowder simply isn’t making those kinds of moves yet.

Nobody Wins

It’s sad to see infighting like this. It’s the last thing conservatives need right now. We’re a divided movement after disappointing midterms, looking ahead to a turbulent future of Trumpers versus RINOs. It’s tiring.

I don’t think Crowder will get the kind of reaction he’s going for. He’s stirring the pot and promoting his own brand at the cost of another. It’s going to rub people the wrong way no matter what. His demeanor is needlessly antagonistic. He makes a big deal out of walking away from $50 million when he admits he doesn’t even need it. But The Daily Wire isn’t innocent either. Boreing says $50 million is an “unimaginably huge amount of money.” That might be true for the average American, but in the media space it’s not the killer deal he makes it out to be. The Daily Wire is looking out for their own financial interests at the end of the day. Boreing has also framed this situation as a personal betrayal of friendship on Crowder’s part. Don’t be fooled. This isn’t Crowder attacking Boreing as an individual. It’s a business strategy and a disagreement about the future of the conservative movement as a whole. I hope both parties are able to look past the opportunity for clout and move forward. It’s what’s best for everyone.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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China’s Influence on Hollywood

If you keep up with the goings-on of the internet, you’ll no doubt have heard about John Cena’s transformation from a modern Chuck Norris into a groveling mess at the feet of communists. Last year, as part of an interview promoting Fast & Furious 9, he said (in Mandarin) that Taiwan would be the first country to see the film.1 China does not officially recognize Taiwan as an independent country, but as a part of China itself. Realizing his mistake in the eyes of Chinese audiences, Cena then posted a video on the social media platform Weibo to apologize. What ensued was a flurry of articles and a blizzard of memes.

One of America’s poster boys for masculinity and success had kowtowed to communist lies. What happened? If it wasn’t obvious already, the answer is money. It usually is. Many American movies make significant profits in China, but the Fast & Furious series is more popular than ever. Fast & Furious 9 ended up making over $40 million more in China than America. Whether he was approached by Universal, a Chinese official, or nobody at all, Cena knew his best chance to continue making the big bucks in Hollywood was to smooth things over and keep his largest source of income happy.

Money Money Money

This has become a growing trend. From the NBA to Tiktok celebrities, Americans are bending over backwards to make money off the Chinese market. They’re all too willing to step in line for a slice of the pie. But why is this? And what can be done about it?

In a capitalist economy, there’s a profit motive for work. This is a good thing. It harnesses humanity’s selfish desires to innovate and create value for society. Check out this post for more on that topic. But what happens when there’s money to be made overseas? This complicates things. All of the sudden, you’re faced with an interconnected global market instead of one isolated in America. You can save money by outsourcing labor to areas of the world where people will gladly work for less. You have to consider foreign policy and what’s allowed to be shipped across the borders of each nation. And you can’t ignore that more people out there might want to buy what you’re selling.

Part of a businessman’s job is to find out who wants his product. Only then will his effort be worthwhile. Unfortunately, one of the largest markets in the world just so happens to be under strict communist rule. China is overrun with state surveillance, policy indifferent to human rights, and all kinds of overbearing authoritarianism. Most of the population is hopelessly indoctrinated by the government and ignorant of their lack of rights. How do you market to a nation like that?

As it turns out, the only way to get to the Chinese people is by satisfying the Chinese government first. If you don’t, your product is subject to censorship or outright rejection. You lose out on all that potential profit. Businessmen don’t want that, so they compromise and tailor their product until it passes under the scrutiny of the state. It only makes sense when your goal is profit.

The Problem

What, if anything, can be done about this? Is it even a problem? In one sense, it is. We have an instinctual reaction whenever we see someone obviously forgoing their commitment to character for the sake of cold hard cash. We don’t like it when people “sell out.” Why is this? Because deep down, nearly everyone recognizes the value of integrity. We know there are truths we cannot abandon, history that must be respected, and principles we ought to live by.

Seeing a person we trust cast aside their integrity, ignore truth, deny history, and reveal a lack of principles is like being stabbed in the back. It feels wrong. They were supposed to stick to their guns. We trusted them and they’re now using and abusing our trust so they can maintain a high standard of living. It seems so hollow and soulless.

Yet that’s exactly what John Cena did. He repeated lies and bended the knee to a horrible government just to win over the people of China. Was it worth it? Here lies the crucial detail. Even with a global economy, the oppression of the Chinese government, and businessmen all too eager to appeal to their corruption, one bastion of freedom remains: the public opinion.

People’s Choice

Don’t get me wrong. I hate cancel culture. It’s a toxic machine of insane witch-hunting perpetuated by misinformation and exploited for political gain by social media companies. But ignoring that for just a moment, we have to consider the real-world implications of catering to a communist state. Sure, you get to share in the profits of the Chinese market, but at what cost? John Cena’s reputation has taken a sharp nosedive in America since last year. And remember, his actions weren’t rumor or hearsay. Everything about it was public. It was just announced that he would be starring in a new Looney Tunes movie, and already I’ve seen many people bring up his Fast & Furious incident.

This is what gives me hope. As long as we still have free markets where people have a say in who they give their business, businessmen will be forced to consider them in the products they create. Celebrities will have to be careful how they present themselves. If they make the choice to cater to communism, leaving truth and justice behind, they’ll eventually lose the respect and the money of free nations.

I know that sounds idealistic. In reality, there are plenty of Americans willing to put up with morally bankrupt actors so they can laugh at their favorite comedies in willfully ignorant bliss. But even this is not the end of the world. After all, capitalism isn’t supposed to measure and reward morality. Putting that kind of responsibility on human leaders would be disastrous. Instead, it’s supposed to balance between selfish greed and harmful corruption by letting the people choose who they support. Nobody is immune to the court of public opinion.

So if everything is basically operating as usual, what can we do? Well, firstly, we can boycott businesses we disagree with. Vote with your wallet. In enough numbers, angry laymen have the power to radically alter the market. The less we put up with people like Cena, the less we’ll see of them. But even more importantly, pay attention to your government. Watch the ballot for legislation infringing on free speech and then vote against it when it rears its ugly head. Refuse to believe everything your TV tells you. Look into what your government is doing so you can be an informed citizen. Arming yourself with the truth is the only way to see corruption coming. Don’t let America become the next China.

Leave a comment if you have thoughts about all this. Enter your email below if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

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  1. Daniel Van Boom, “John Cena’s China apology: What you need to know,” CNET, May 26, 2021,