Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dungeons and... Well, more dungeons

Found via Game Culture: If you're a devotee of tabletop role-playing games planning to go on an interstate bank-robbing spree in the Midwestern United States, there's some bad news. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling on a prisoner's lawsuit claiming that his rights to free speech and due process were violated when his Dungeons and Dragon books were taken by guards, has upheld the right of Wisconsin's Waupun Correctional Institution to ban RPGs.

The lawsuit was originally filed by inmate Kevin Singer, reportedly a long-time gamer, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing a man with a sledgehammer. I'd been planning to make some sort of horrible joke speculating that Singer is a cleric and thus can't wield edged weapons, until I remembered that 3rd Edition D&D did away with that rule almost a decade ago. Damned kids with their d20 system and their feats and their cable television. Feh.

The ban was instituted due to the prison administration's fear that the game was being used in gang-related activity. Those of you from more sheltered environments may scoff at such an idea. Here in Chicago, though, the scourge of RPG-related gang warfare is known all too well, leaving a trail of shattered lives since the blood-soaked rise of criminal groups like the Almighty +5 Vorpal Nation and the True Neutral Aryan Druids in the 1970s. It all seems like harmless fun and games until it's a kid from your neighborhood who gets bludgeoned to death with a sock full of 12-sided dice.

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