The Satanic Panic

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Archangel

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'87, 7th grade. My folks found some Marvel Superheroes stuff and the Star Frontiers boxed set my friends and I had pooled our money to buy and tossed it all in the garbage. I caught a hell of a beating over it, too. My old man was wound pretty tight. They'd been attending a local evangelical church that really bought into the whole fiasco. They were fond of showing endtimes films like A Thief in the Night, and once they held an actual toy burning, I shit you not. I remember some kids Castle Greyskull melting in a bigass bonfire full of toys, comics, cassette tapes, etc.

Not a period I look back on with a lot of fondness, to be sure.

If you want to read some of the batshit crazy that helped fuel this nonsense, check out "Turmoil in the Toy Box"
by Phil Phillips. Find out how My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids turned children to the devil back in the day.
 
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Skarg

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I had liberal agnostic parents and went to a liberal agnostic private school, in Seattle, so there was zero Satanic Panic happening anywhere, nor anything like it...

Except when we went on a field trip to Spokane and we stayed with some more rural-type families. The kid I stayed with and his brother played D&D, and were a little wary of possible parental reactions. One kid a friend of mine stayed with told him about some rural teenage "Satanists", meaning they were into Heavy Metal music, juvenile delinquency, and were rumored to kill animals in "rituals", but no connection to D&D was mentioned.
 

3rik

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"But we don't know that it's not a doorway for Satan, so why take the chance?"
cat-kitty.gif
 

Acmegamer

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None of my business, but I will ask anyways. How did this impact the relationship between you and your mom?

I've not seen nor spoke to her in almost forty years. Hell, don't even know if she's still among the living to be honest. It was part or the start of a crazy week with her and wasn't the only issue but definitely was a part of the larger argument that was her brand of crazy.
 
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Psychopomp

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What mystifies me about these moral panic crusades is the religious dichotomy in that flavor of Christianity they showcase so blatantly.

Simultaneously, the crusaders cannot be brought down from their eventual societal triumph due to the backing of their loving, omniscient, and omnipotent god; yet simultaneously Satan is strong enough to lead all of society astray with games or children's books and their god will just sit and let it happen, casting them into eternal torment for the transgression of pretending to cast spells based on the roll of funny-shaped dice, because "something something free will".

"We cannot lose, because we have God on our side! We must remove [scary thing this week] from society, or God will cast us all into hell!" all without taking a breath in between.
 

3rik

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What mystifies me about these moral panic crusades is the religious dichotomy in that flavor of Christianity they showcase so blatantly.

Simultaneously, the crusaders cannot be brought down from their eventual societal triumph due to the backing of their loving, omniscient, and omnipotent god; yet simultaneously Satan is strong enough to lead all of society astray with games or children's books and their god will just sit and let it happen, casting them into eternal torment for the transgression of pretending to cast spells based on the roll of funny-shaped dice, because "something something free will".

"We cannot lose, because we have God on our side! We must remove [scary thing this week] from society, or God will cast us all into hell!" all without taking a breath in between.
They've obviously been corrupted, infiltrated even, by the forces of evil themselves.
 

ReluctantGM

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I credit the Satanic Panic for getting me into Traveller in 1981.

I was all into the Holmes Basic Set and wanted to get my buddies into it but one set of parents were like "DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS IS EEEEEEVIL". One of my other friends was all, "Well, here's a different game. It's all space ships and no magic or demons or nothing! We can be SPACE MERCHANTS and we could learn physics and science and stuff."

Turned out that the uber-religious parents in question were on board with our being space merchants learning physics and science.

We didn't tell them that we were actually SPACE PIRATES who usually murdered their way through all the scenarios.
 

Ravenswing

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The only direct impact I think the Satanic Panic had on me was that my mother wouldn't let me buy Call of Cthulhu; I've assumed this was because it appeared too close to what the scaremongering claim. It may have just been feeling it wasn't appropriate in general, but I'm pretty sure I was 15 or 16 at the time, so it shouldn't really have been a problem ...

... I recall a youth worker coming into class to chat on one occasion and D&D came up at some point. I talked the guy afterwards, pointing out the scaremongering was ridiculous. Given he couldn't actually address any of my points (again, I doubt he had the faintest clue what D&D actually was), so he settled on, "But we don't know that it's not a doorway for Satan, so why take the chance?"

"And we don't know that you're not a messenger of Satan yourself, seeking to muddy the waters and have people chase their own tails instead of confronting the real sources of evil. Why take the chance?"

On your first point, that might not be a Satanic Panic thing. I might not, myself, be comfortable with teenagers diving into a milieu where the frequent fate of the lucky protagonists not to be torn to pieces and eaten by cosmic horrors is to slowly go mad, waiting for the hellish hour when the Blasphemies From Beyond catch up with them and then tear them to pieces and eat them. Most D&D campaigns involve beating down the evil. With CoC, sooner or later the PCs just about inevitably are beaten down by the evil.

That being said, have we all come to the conclusion that Marc Miller is, in fact, Satan Incarnate?
 
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3rik

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"And we don't know that you're not a messenger of Satan yourself, seeking to muddy the waters and have people chase their own tails instead of confronting the real sources of evil. Why take the chance?"
I'm not wholly unconvinced that many evangelical church groups cults are in fact vehicles of demonic corruption. So, I'd rather not take the chance.
 

Nobby-W

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Guess I gotta read Traveller now, have been having some issues with vectors, markov chain and AI. :hehe:

Perhaps I can help you a little there - if you're trying to understand Markov chains, here's one being used to analyse the probabilities of outcomes in a game mechanic.

As for Artificial Intelligence, I find the normal kind is rare enough, let alone trying to synthesise it.
 
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Simlasa

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Something I'm remembering now is that some local yokels (a pair of brothers if rumor is true) broke into our school and painted 'Satan Lives!' and other slogans/symbols on the walls. I doubt the motivation had anything to do with pleasing their dark master and everything to do with riling up their gullible elders.
I wonder how common that sort of pranking was.
 

Nobby-W

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Something I'm remembering now is that some local yokels (a pair of brothers if rumor is true) broke into our school and painted 'Satan Lives!' and other slogans/symbols on the walls. I doubt the motivation had anything to do with pleasing their dark master and everything to do with riling up their gullible elders.
I wonder how common that sort of pranking was.

I would think it's fairly common, particularly if you imagine the dynamics in the combination of edgy teens and overbearing religious conservatives in positions of authority. I also suspect that after hours security is likely not especially tight and maintenance on things like window latches is likely not consistent, particularly in the face of insiders who could arrange things to malfunction or search for chinks in the security. It's almost a predictable outcome and more surprising that they actually got caught.
 
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Silverlion

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Traveler 2300 A.D. Caught me doing more math than just about any other game (notably, IIRC algebra.) I'm quite fond of finding out I don't hate math if you give me a good enough reason to do it. (V&V got me with its Carrying Capacity but wasn't as challenging.) YMMV of course.
 

ffilz

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One of my biggest math projects though was for AD&D. I wanted to make a formula to figure out the spread of a fire ball. Taught myself double integration that way (to the point that when we hit it in Calculus 2 class and the professor was bungling the explanation, I though, "oh, that's what it's called" and went to sleep...). I never got the formula I wanted...

I learned a lot about normal distributions with Cold Iron.
 

Endless Flight

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Something I'm remembering now is that some local yokels (a pair of brothers if rumor is true) broke into our school and painted 'Satan Lives!' and other slogans/symbols on the walls. I doubt the motivation had anything to do with pleasing their dark master and everything to do with riling up their gullible elders.
7020E0E8-A5EE-4C20-862E-BEFC84D4FA0C.jpeg
 

Gringnr

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Mods please rename thread to The Satanic Picnic TIA
 

BlackWolf

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Perhaps I can help you a little there - if you're trying to understand Markov chains, here's one being used to analyse the probabilities of outcomes in a game mechanic.

As for Artificial Intelligence, I find the normal kind is rare enough, let alone trying to synthesise it.
I will check this as soon as I can, but it is awesome you did this!
 

Séadna

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That being said, have we all come to the conclusion that Marc Miller is, in fact, Satan Incarnate?
Miller is the demiurge. Rumour has it Earth was rolled up using the T5 world creation rules and not playtested.

As for God, think about the world you see around you.

You spend 100% of your time fully immersed/eläytyminen in the role of an average person
There are no bennies, no do overs, no metacurrency
Char Gen is random
The world out there might react to what you do, but you have no special narrative place in it.

God is CRKrueger. Let that theological realisation sink in.
 

TristramEvans

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Miller is the demiurge. Rumour has it Earth was rolled up using the T5 world creation rules and not playtested.

As for God, think about the world you see around you.

You spend 100% of your time fully immersed/eläytyminen in the role of an average person
There are no bennies, no do overs, no metacurrency
Char Gen is random
The world out there might react to what you do, but you have no special narrative place in it.

God is CRKrueger. Let that theological realisation sink in.

But CRKruegar was originally, in another reality, the imaginary friend of a young autistic boy who was used as a test subject for experimental drugs in a mental hospital.
 
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