Politics invades Dungeons & Dragons

It’s rare that real-world politics makes a connection with fantasy roleplaying games, but earlier this month John McCain’s writer Michael Goldfarb mentioned the game derisively in his blog:

"It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others."

Naturally, this didn’t go down too well with the D&D crowd. Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast senior vice president Wayne Charness wrote a letter in reply:

"For fans, the game is essentially about heroism and therefore it is not surprising to us that thousands of military personnel play and enjoy the game. … Recently a soldier who saw your comments online said, "Wizards of the Coast (the makers of D&D) has sent care packages to the troops on many occasions, providing free gaming supplies in support of our men and women serving the country overseas to help them decompress after hours. McCain’s people should really check their facts before they spout off. Does John McCain have no idea how many GIs play D&D?â€?"

Soon after posting his original comment, Goldfarb responded to criticisms with this snazzy quote:

"If my comments caused any harm or hurt to the hard working Americans who play Dungeons & Dragons, I apologize. This campaign is committed to increasing the strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American."

Meanwhile, a set of 1st Edition AD&D stats for US presidential candiates has been circulating the internet. They originated from the blog of sci-fi novelist Charles Stross, in an article titled Politics as she is Played with 3d6. The stats are for an old edition, but it’s forgivable since we have Charlie to thank for the githyanki, githzerai and slaad.

Comments (7)

Patriarch917 (August 30th, 2008)

Nice recovery. Not likely to appease the pro-Obama D&D crowd, but his quote shows enough sensitivity and good humor to convince the pro-McCain D&D crowd to forgive him.

Ben Overmyer (August 30th, 2008)

I should point out that while Goldfarb is part of the McCain camp, he is not McCain himself. Judging people by their friends is all well and good, but keeping an eye on the man himself is more important.

So, while we can judge Goldfarb on the D&D debacle, we should not judge McCain for the same.

Note: I am an Obama supporter, but I see no reason to drag McCain into the fire for crimes he did not commit.

Aaron (August 30th, 2008)

That’s a great save. (ba-dum-psh)

I’m not sure exactly when or how, but the McCain campaign has really found it’s footing this summer.

Toord (August 30th, 2008)


Absolutely splendid reply. That McCain staffer rolls mean d20 for sure. Totally pwned the WotC guy.

Great blog, BTW.

Monte Cook (August 31st, 2008)

{we have Charlie to thank for the githyanki, githzerai and slaad}

And the death knight. Basically, all the cream of the original Fiend Folio crop.

Adeptus (September 10th, 2008)

Actually, that apology is from the *first* anti-D&D comment he made:

So, how genuine was the apology if he is going to continue to make such comments?

Joel (October 20th, 2008)

The “apology” is simply another insult…clearly not an apology of any kind. I’m amazed the other gamers who’ve responded to this haven’t seen through this charade.

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