Reading Time: 5 minutes The ratty book on the end is Mr. Captain's ancient AD&D Player's Guide.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hi and welcome to another Roll to Disbelieve Super Special! In these off-topic specials, I curate some oldies-but-goodies together on a theme. Today’s theme is GAMING.

The ratty book on the end is Mr. Captain’s ancient AD&D Player’s Guide. At least one of these books originally belonged to my mom and was acquired after I left home for college.

What Rolling to Disbelieve Means.

I spent my formative years squinting at random encounter tables and amassing libraries of gaming books on multiple systems. So when I finally deconverted, I conceptualized it as having finally made my roll to disbelieve. For those who didn’t have that same life experience, here’s what that means:

In roleplaying games, often players encounter something they suspect might actually be an illusion. Various spells and monsters create illusory effects, some of which are extremely powerful and realistic. So the player might ask the game-master, or GM, to allow a roll to disbelieve for their character. If allowed (and it usually is, though some GMs require some kind of justification first), the player rolls a die or dice.

If the roll fails to meet a certain threshold, then the attempt to “see through” the illusion failed. The player must roleplay their character as if they believe the illusion is completely real. Most systems allow the player more opportunities to re-roll the attempt, but only after a certain amount of time passed and often at a penalty.

However, if the roll succeeds in meeting or exceeding that threshold, then the character succeeds in seeing through the illusion to the reality beneath. That character now knows what reality looks like. They will not be easy to trick again–if at all.

I feel like I cast my dice many times as a Christian, but kept failing the roll. But every gamer knows one thing above all:

Eventually, you’re going to make the roll, no matter how high the difficulty might be set.

So if you see me saying stuff like “I made my roll,” that’s what I’m talking about.

I say “I like.. 7th Sea” in the same exact way that Kate Veatch says “I like.. unicorns” in the 2004 movie Dodgeball.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

I began playing tabletop roleplaying games at like 13 years old.

  • GMing the Antichrist. One of my first posts, this one relates my uneasiness with the difference between how magic operated in Dungeons & Dragons and how Christianity’s supernatural elements operated in this world.
  • Dark Dungeons: Mega-Review. Based on a Chick tract, this movie adaptation turns out to be surprisingly good. Basically, I get tipsy as hell and watch an awesome indie movie about gamers who’ve gone TOO FAR BY FAR.
  • He’s Not a Zombie, Or a Lich. A popular Easter post one year about two memes going around about Jesus. In one, he’s accused of being a zombie; another meme decides he’s a lich. I comb through my battered old AD&D Monster Manual to find the truth.
  • By Far the Most Excruciating Talk My Mom Ever Gave Me. My mom made me watch Mazes & Monsters, an explosively-popular movie (with a super-young Tom Hanks in it!) that clutched its pearls over D&D. I still cringe remembering it.
  • How to Multi-Class a Catholic Schoolgirl/Thief. A very popular early post. Ultimately, the story concerns how perfect love casts out fear. (This post remains one of my all-time favorites.)

Roleplaying Games, Generally.

Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t spend a lot of time in a lot of different gaming systems.

Part of the SF shelf.

Video Games.

Of course, a whole other realm of gaming exists that has all but eclipsed tabletop and board games: VIDYA! For many years amid and after my deconversion, I played and helped run a few long-running online games. Nowadays, I still enjoy playing single-player and casual mobile and video games.

Thanks again for joining me for this waltz down memory lane!

Most of these books were my mom’s too (the Compton yearbook on the left is something she bought from a library sale to commemorate my birth year). I come by my interests naturally.

NEXT UP: Authoritarians and mockery are a pairing as classic as oil and water, or maybe water and chlorine trifluoride. Or, really, anything and chlorine trifluoride. Let’s explore why–next time!

YouTube video

For reference, this video depicts chlorine trifluoride reacting to various commonly-used lab equipment.

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Consider this post an Off-Topic Wonderland 🙂 Do you play any games you enjoy?


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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...