Dark Dungeons (Chick tract)

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A scene from Dark Dungeons

Dark Dungeons is a Chick tract whose description is "Debbie thought playing Dungeons and Dragons was fun... until it destroyed her friend."



Some very classic-looking 80's kids play Dungeons & Dragons, and get caught in a crazy alternate universe of Jack Chick's imagination.

Tract Walkthrough

A friendly game

(Panel 1)

  • Ms. Frost: "Okay, Wizard, cast your spell!"
  • Marcie: "Okay, Dungeon Master. My spell of light blinds the monster."

Comment: <nerdy>Um, isn't the dungeon master supposed to tell YOU whether your spell blinds the monster? :)</nerdy>

(Panel 2)

  • Frost: "The thief, Black Leaf, did not find the poison trap, and I declare her dead."
  • Marcie: "NO, NOT BLACK LEAF! NO, NO! I'M GOING TO DIE! Please don't make me quit the game! Somebody save me! You can't do this!"
  • Frost: "Marcie, get out of here. YOU'RE DEAD! You don't exist any more."

Comment: Far be it from this editor to judge the depths of emotion that serious role-playing gamers experience, but has anyone ever seen a reaction like this in real life? It takes about ten minutes to roll a new character, right?

As this event foreshadows the suicide of Marcie, no doubt it is at least partly based on such incidents as the suicide of Patricia Pulling's son Bink. However, the idea that Bink's suicide had anything to do with his character was never established. There is no clear evidence that anyone has ever become suicidally depressed over a lost character. However, this is fiction, so it's not all that important.

The game turns real!

(Panel 3)

  • Frost: "Debbie, your cleric has been raised to the 8th level. I think it's time that you learn how to really cast spells."
  • Debbie: "You mean you're going to teach me how to have the real power?"
  • Frost: "Yes, you have the personality for it now."

Comment: This is where we get to the really wacky ideas that fundamentalists have about what Dungeons & Dragons is about. They apparently really believe that it is a gateway into real life occult activities. The lesson here is that if people are willing to turn off their critical thinking abilities and believe in one kind of supernatural entity without evidence, they are likely to accept a whole host of similar ideas for no good reason.

How does Jack Chick think that this initiation works, exactly? Is it only wizards who obtain "real powers" when they hit level 8? What if Marcie (the thief) had reached level 8 instead of getting killed? Would she have learned how to pick locks and hide in shadows? What if a fighter reaches level 8? Do they get a free suit of plate mail?

Although D&D deals with a world of fantasy and magic, many roleplaying games have entirely different themes. What happens to a player who reaches a high level in a superhero themed game? Do they immediately learn how to fly and burn things with their eyes? What about science-fiction characters? Are they issued futuristic laser guns? Do they get to captain their own starships?

(Panel 4)

  • Frost: "I've brought Elfstar to become a priestess and a witch."
  • Cult member: "Welcome, Elfstar. You're now a priestess of the craft, and of the Temple of Diana."

Comment: Debbie has just been accepted into what bears an remarkable resemblance to Organization XIII. One would think it would a bit more difficult than that to learn magic. Playing a board game isn't what I would call "intense training."

Jack Chick is the only fundamentalist who seems to think that you can get in touch with the paranormal through such simple means. Sure it's just a board game, but so is a ouija board, and many people think that one of those mass produced pieces of cardboard with the alphabet on it can allow you to contact souls from another world.

They don't allow their children to watch Harry Potter or play The Legend of Zelda for fear of their children getting possessed or becoming a sorcerer. These beliefs are surpisingly common among theists.

(Panel 5)

  • Debbie: "Ms. Frost, this is fantastic... This makes the game real... It's not a fantasy anymore. Last night I cast my first spell... This is real power!"
  • Frost: "I knew you were ready by the way you played the game... but this is just the beginning. There is so much more."

(Panel 6)

  • Frost: "Which spell did you cast, Debbie?"
  • Debbie: "I used the mind bondage spell on my father. He was trying to stop me from playing D&D."

(Panel 7)

  • Frost: "What was the result?"
  • Debbie: "He just bought me $200.00 worth of new D&D figures and manuals. It was great!"

Debbie and Marcie

(Panel 8)

  • Later That Week
  • Frost: "Hey Debbie! Marcie's on the phone. She wants to talk to you. She's really upset."
  • Debbie: "I can't. I'm fighting the Zombie. Tell her I'll see her tonight."

(Panel 9)

  • Debbie: "Hi, Mrs. Anderson. Marcie wanted me to see her tonight."
  • Mrs. Anderson: "I'm glad you're here, Debbie. Marcie has shut herself in her room and won't come out. She hasn't been herself for weeks. I've been very worried. Ever since her character in the game got killed, it's as though a part of her died. Maybe you can talk some sense into her."

(Panel 10)

  • Debbie: "Nooooo! No, Marcie, you didn't have to do that!"

(Panel 11)

  • Marcie's suicide note reads: "It's my fault Black Leaf died. I just can't face life alone! Marcie"

Comment: The connection between role-playing games and suicide is an urban myth - reputable sources have examined the claims, and found no basis for them. For more on the subject, visit The Escapist.

(Panel 12)

  • Debbie: "Miss Frost, I can't get Marcie out of my mind. How could she do something like this? If I'd left the game, she'd be alive today."
  • Miss Frost: "Get your priorities straight, Debbie. Your spiritual growth through the game is more important than some lousy loser's life."

(Panel 13)

  • Miss Frost: "It would have happened sooner or later. Her character was too weak."
  • Debbie: "But the law of our faith is that we can do whatever we want as long as we harm no one. But now we have harmed Marcie."
  • Debbie thinks to herself: "What have I gotten myself into?"

(Panel 14)

  • Miss Frost appears to grab Debbie roughly. "Don't be stupid, Debbie. I think you'd better let Elfstar take care of things. You're getting out of control."
  • Debbie: "I don't want to be Elfstar any more. I want to be Debbie."

Debbie Finds Help

(Panel 15)

  • Mike: "Hey Debbie, what's wrong? Can I help?"
  • Debbie: "I thought I had all the answers, Mike, but now everything is falling apart. Sob"
  • Mike: "Debbie, I told you Jesus is the only answer. I've been praying and fasting for you."
  • Debbie: "Why would you do that for me?"

(Panel 16)

  • Mike: "Because I know what you're involved in. It's a spiritual warfare that you can't win without the Lord Jesus."
  • Debbie: "What can I do?"
  • Mike: "Come with me to a meeting this afternoon. The speaker came out of witchcraft, and he knows what you're up against."

(Panel 17)

  • Narration: THAT AFTERNOON
  • Speaker: "You who are involved in the occult think that you have achieved power. But you have been trapped in a dungeon of bondage. The limited power you have been given is only bait to lure you to destruction. But Jesus came that you might have life and that more abundantly."

(Panel 18)

  • Speaker: "Jesus sets us free from the bondage of witchcraft and gives us victory over all the power of the enemy (Satan).* God's Word declares that you must repent of your sins and turn to Jesus Christ as your Saviour. (Luke 13:5). Then according to Acts 19:19 you should gather up all of your occult paraphernalia like your rock music, occult books, charms, Dungeons and Dragons material. Don't throw them away. Burn them! We'll do that here tonight. We will also be praying for the deliverance of those who have allowed occult forces to control them.
  • (footnote: * 1 John 4:4 and John 8:36)

Comment: Scripture quoted in this panel:

1 John 4:4: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

John 8:36: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Luke 13:5: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Acts 19:19: Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

(Panel 19)

  • Speaker: "If you want Jesus as your Lord, come forward now."
  • Debbie: (rising from her pew) "Oh, God! I need help... My life's a mess. Help me!"

Comment: It is never made clear why Debbie's life is such a mess. Her two questionable actions are casting a mind-bondage spell on her father to acquire more gaming books (people have prayed for worse things), and neglecting her friend in a desperate time of need, something that could easily have happened at this very prayer meeting, or while at church on any given Sunday.

Debbie is obviously regretful of her selfish actions in regards to Marcie, a perfectly normal emotional response to the situation. So, other than choosing a religion that isn't Christianity, what is it about Debbie's life that is such a mess?

(Panel 20)

  • Speaker: "In the name of Jesus, I order* you spirits of the occult to leave Debbie."
  • Debbie: "Jesus, I repent of my sins and I want you to be my Saviour and Lord. You guide me through Life. You be in charge of everything... not that lousy D&D manual."
  • (Spirits are seen leaving Debbie as the Speaker drives them out.)
  • Footnote: *WARNING: See Acts 19:13-17
  • Footnote: "If the Son therefore shall make ye free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) ...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Cor. 3:17)

Comment: Scripture quoted in this panel:

Acts 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

Important exorcism safety tip: Bring a picture ID when exorcising spirits and be certain to present it to them when asked, otherwise you may find yourself fleeing your house naked and wounded.

(Panel 21)

  • Speaker (praying over a pile of gaming material): "We take authority in the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of His shed blood and bind the demonic forces in this filth of Satan."
  • Debbie (bowing her head as the bonfire burns in the background): "Thank you, Lord, for setting me free."
  • Footnote: There shall not be found among you anyone...that useth divination...or a witch;...or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard....For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord. Deut. 18:10-12

Comment: Debbie should consider herself lucky that her new church group doesn't also recognize Exodus 22:18: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," otherwise she may have found herself in the middle of that bonfire. Why are they choosing to focus on one Old Testament scripture while ignoring another?

This Section Is Not Yet Completed

External Links

Jack Chick
General information

Chick tract

Tract list

Apes, Lies and Ms. Henn | Big Daddy? | Dark Dungeons | Gun Slinger | Here, Kitty Kitty! | There Go the Dinosaurs

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