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Jonny's Action Plan To Save Roleplaying



What Are We Trying To Achieve?

First, we should decide what it is we wish to achieve. How about this as a mission statement?

"We want to get a documentary series about roleplaying broadcast on British TV, preferably Channel 4, but we'd settle for Discovery Home & Leisure".

Okay, that's an objective. But if we just started cold-calling production companies now, suggesting such a series, it would be a very short and very embarrassing phone-call.

We need to prime the situation first. We need to get the charge of Devil worship back on the public agenda.


Now there is an obvious problem here. The suggestion that roleplaying games had anything whatsoever to do with Devil worship was 100% gold-plated bollocks, and given anything like the correct facts, only a retarded baboon would even contemplate believing such a notion.

How can we propagate a theory that is fundamentally untrue?

Well, there's a loophole we can use. We don't have to prove any link between roleplaying and Devil worship. All we have to do is prove a tenuous link between roleplaying and something that these wackos consider to be Devil worship.

"Huh?" you ask.

See, your real hard-core Protestant fundamentalist has a very broad definition of what constitutes Devil worship. Basically, as far as these people are concerned, anyone who doesn't worship God is a Devil worshipper. This basically means everyone other than Christians, Muslims and Jews (i.e. they think that Muslims are wrong, but since they are worshipping the same God, they don't consider them to be Devil worshippers).

So this means that they consider Hindus, for example, to be Devil worshippers.

"Brilliant!" you say. "There are millions of Hindus in this country." (I know many myself). "Some of them must be into roleplaying!"

Unfortunately, it isn't this simple.

The rumour "Hey roleplaying... isn't that something to do with Hinduism?" does not a six-part docusoap make.

Because the British people are simply not going to accept the proposition that Hindus are Devil worshippers.

We need something else.

We need Pagans.

Now I know that Paganism is nothing to do with Devil worship. You know it has nothing to do with Devil worship. How could it? The Devil is an aspect of Christianity, and Paganism predates Christianity.

But does Mrs Joe Public, looking at her teenage son's collection of roleplaying rulebooks know it?

Possibly not.

Now at the moment, Joe Public Junior is too scared to mention his roleplaying hobby to the other guys at school for fear that they'll laugh at him.

But if his mum takes his books out into the street and burns them... how cool is that?

Where To Find Your Pagan

It shouldn't be that hard to get hold of a roleplayer with some link to paganism. I personally know a roleplayer who some years ago was a regular attendee at Pagan festivals. Granted, he only went because it was a good place to pick up women. But he'd do at a pinch.

What To Do With Him Once You've Found Him

Okay, so we've found some Pagans, but they in themselves are not an angle. We need something we can pitch to a TV production company.

Here's a few things I thought of. Not all of them require a tame Pagan, but he or she should be useful for all of them.

Pagan Themed Roleplaying Games

There are a number of RPGs out there that have a kindof Pagan angle to them. Typically they focus on modern-day magic in a secret history setting. Obviously, I'm not going to mention any here by name, because I don't want to get sued. But we can probably all think of some examples.

All you need is your Pagan roleplayer, and some of his Pagan friends, playing a campaign in one of these games, and prepared to earnestly explain how they use the game to explore their Pagan beliefs.

(Alright, you do need Pagans who are prepared to lie).

"Skyclad" (Naked) Live Roleplaying

Do I need to explain this one?

Triggering A Panic

This is actually something you could do without access to handy Pagans. Simply take a selection of RPGs that could be misinterpreted, either because they have new-age themes, or perhaps because they satarise violence, and send them (as an anonymous package) to various self-appointed moral "watchdogs".

You should time this so that they receive their packages just after you make your initial pitch to the TV companies.

Hopefully, what will happen is this. The TV company will receive your pitch (presumably a letter or email) and will initially think: "hmmm... boring" and put it to one side, to do a polite letter of rejection when they can get round to it.

Then, the next day, one of the self-appointed moral watchdogs will hopefully go public with a warning about this "dangerous" hobby of roleplaying, at which point the TV company will think: "Shit! Didn't we have a proposal about that roleplaying thing?"

It's all about topicality.

Getting Banned Or Refused

What you do here is pretend to form a roleplaying club, apply to a church for the use of their premises as a meeting place, get refused, then complain very loudly in the local press. (You can then use the newspaper cuttings as part of your TV pitch).

There is one very important point to note here: Pick the right church.

It's no point picking a normal neighbourhood church. All that will happen is that the vicar will say something totally unhelpful like: "Of course you can use our church... roleplaying is an excellent pastime which teaches literacy and numeracy skills to young people."

You need one of the more modern, scary, fundamentalist churches.

As an aside, my Mum and Dad, who are Christians, once started getting newsletters sent by a local Christian bookshop (they didn't ask for them, these people just started sending them). One issue of the newsletter had a "prayers" section. It said something like:

"We pray for John and Anne Sutherland, whose daughter Kirsty is suffering from Leukaemia. We pray for Jenny Richardson, who recently lost her husband Keith. We pray that the people of Israel come to realise the folly of talking peace to the Palestinians..."

That's the sort of church you want.


Well these are only thoughts, and obviously this article should not be taken as a list of suggestions to actually carry out in reality.

But it would be nice to get that TV series.

What do you think of this article?

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