Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Criminals & Crusaders (or "How to make your very own Christian RPG")

Dean Zachary's fine work from Night Man #17I mentioned in yesterday's post how I loved Dungeons and Dragons back in the day. Along with comics, it was my escape, my "booze" as it were, to grant me some relief from all the "trials and tribulations" of dealing with my teen years [insert pathetic musical string here].

But just so's you know, that in and of itself was not a bad thing. The bad thing was not knowing the better comfort in Christ, knowing the love and joy of a personal relationship with Jesus himself.

I am grateful for role-playing games simply because they gave a physically safe outlet and enabled me to meet and play with a wide variety of friends I NEVER would have met without them. Sports fans who play fantasy football or baseball know exactly what I mean. You gather and converse and eat and drink and have a lot of fun and then go home to wife/kids/jobs/studies.

Hobbies are good. They just should not be a replacement for the better.

We humans can deify anything except God, it seems. We can deify romance ["Without you, I will die!"], objects ["You touch my car and you're dead!"] or family ["I don't know what I'd do without my wife and kids."] These sentiments - even some of the over-the-top ones - are perfectly understandable to us. We've had them ourselves and heard them expressed them a hundred times in movies, in novels, etc.

But deify an invisible God and you are a freak. You are nuts.

Trust me. Never say "Isn't God good?" in front of a person who is defying Him. They should be deifying Him but somehow they missed a letter.

And so, with my love of RPGs, and love of the superhero genre, I want to make my very own role-playing homebrew called Criminals and Crusaders: A Classic Supers RPG (tm). [The artwork is lifted straight form The Night Man, issue 17. I know the artist Dean Zachary and he has graciously allowed me to use some of his work inside. This cover is merely a sample of his excellence.]

My problem is that I know human hearts like mine, hate any mention of "religion" in their "free time" - as if God is bugging them while they are trying to play. And, truth be told, it should not - at least not that way.

But the Bible is so full of superheroes and the genre was crafted and built by so many Jewish and Christian men using Judeo-Christian morals, I am burdened and compelled to put as much faith and truth in it as possible. Not preaching, but rather messages - just like all good movies and plays and novels do.

Should I include Bible passages? Afraid I will offend the non-believer?

I think, "Yeah. When cool and appropriate. Why not? Plenty of RPGs don't care."

Will I lose mass appeal by doing it this way? Maybe. Like I said, this isn't an evangelical tract, but it will point to faith in God indirectly. Like C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, it will be infused with it without being terrifically overt.

I guess the hardest thing to do is to be just like Jesus. To show by example, by story and by amazing events that there is more to life than just going to work, getting some tasks done and then dying, uncertain of eternity.

I think I will treat it more as a child of my heart, not my head, hoping someone else will fall in love with the Author of authors.

Who creates heroes to face criminals, who is not afraid of drama or conflict, who decides in the end that the good guys always win - even if a few die on the way to victory.

For games are God's way of revealing our soul - of letting us briefly pretend we are someone different. Someone we WANT to be.

I think it'd be nice to craft a game in which a person can pretend to be a hero when all the world says they are not.

Perhaps escaping from that message of the world is not the worst thing we can imagine.

Amen.

3 comments:

james said...

Dude, if you want to include Bible passages in your RPG, do it. It's your game, your vision, your creative work. You might get criticism from others—including from other Christians—who disagree with your theological take. But you can't please everyone no matter what you do. As a reader of your blog, I think you'll feel better about yourself, and your convictions. Back in the day, almost everyone in my confirmation class played D&D, including the kids of two of the church pastors!

Scott said...

Shouldn't there be a link here to where one can acquire a copy of your RPG...?

Justice said...

Not yet. sorry.

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