Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) occupies a unique place in European and American consciousness. It attracted a specific type of person who was both nerdly and practical, yet geared toward the same futurism as those who read sci-fi and listen to 1970s space rock. D&D came out of the tail end of the hippie boom but embraced a number of ideals contrary to hippie-ness: it liked social hierarchy, expounded different ability by birth, glorified combat and loyalty to one’s kin and king.
These unorthodox tendencies made D&D, like metal, not acceptable for mainstream consumption even among the mainstream of nerds. While right-wing Christians protested it as somehow leading their children away from God (we’re still trying to figure that one out), the real herd quietly sidestepped it and sneered at it as nerdly fantasy suitable only for “perpetual virgins” who lived in basements and bathed monthly whether they needed it or not. And yet during the 1980s, D&D was also a flag for a certain type of nerd. Video-gaming had not yet created a hardcore audience despite being a fad, computers were ultra-nerdly but expensive and/or led to frequent arrests for illegal activity, and the “media nerd” Star Trek and Star Wars fans were still seen as just another type of celebrity-worship. But D&D crossed all those categories and attracted the type of kid who read sci-fi but also had a wider consciousness of the world than the true basement shut-ins.
Varg Vikernes probably played a lot of D&D in the 1980s. As in the US, most of his peers in Norway were probably delusional media zombies who repeated whatever the movies and the talking heads from the “intellectual” media told them. He wouldn’t fit in there. He might within the self-formed quasi-elite of those who both had the brains to understand and appreciate the nerdy bits of D&D, but also the historical and artistic consciousness to delight in its outright medievalism and sci-fi style post-civilizational thinking. Here’s Varg on D&D.
Tags: burzum, dungeons and dragons, varg vikernes
28 thoughts on “Varg Vikernes launches a D&D campaign”
Interesting thoughts on why D&D was shunned by the mainstream (anti-liberal themes), but really most people who think D&D is a waste of time, like myself, consider it inappropriate for grown men to become so wrapped up in childish fantasies even as a group. I’ve never met a respectable, interesting, healthy person who played D&D, but everyone I’ve met who did play were socially incompetent (due to being pricks, usually), fat, and generally unpleasant. The only people who could tolerate their company were other players. Obviously not all players fit that description but there is a clear reason for the negative stereotyping of players.
inb4 anecdotal evidence.
I’d have to mostly agree with these statements about D&D. Anybody that I’ve met who admitted to playing it as grown ass adults tend to be failing pretty hard at life. However, the same can be said about people that listen to metal. Maybe, much like anything else, there is a 1% of these D&D players who are well-adjusted, motivated intellectual people who would rather escape to a fantasy world where strength, intellect and creativity are encouraged instead of escaping to the tv watching 2 sports teams trip and fall all over each other for entertainment. I don’t know if it’s the commitment these games take leave little room to pursue more productive endeavors that the stereotypical D&D player portrays or what; but the game itself seems to attract some of the lowest of life forms.
Well the only people I’ve ever met that disliked D&D were arrogant mindless airheads capitalist pigs.
WE need more sexy bitches in metal though!
I think it was shunned because everything fantasy based is considered nerdy. I doubt mainstream people even had any idea about the conservative ideas in D&D, and theorizing about them being the reason players were stereotyped is more of a way to pat yourself on the back for thinking differently than the crowd. I do tons of nerdy stuff but D&D never appealed to me. I do however like competition so my nerd stuff is filtered into the competitive fighting game scene.
Agreed; I have my nerdy things as well but they don’t take up hours of my time without improving or developing any skills.
Thats cool. What do you play?
I’ve been playing GGXrd mostly lately since I think that will be a focus of the FGC for a while and despite being a modern game it’s pretty well made. And for the most part risk/reward makes sense in that game, although there are scrubby things about it that are making themselves evident as the game evolves. I prefer the old stuff like ST, 3S, KOF 98 and 2k2 (sadly lost my copy of 11) but will play SF4 if I have to. KOF 13 seems to have died unfortunately in Milwaukee, but I still get players wanting to play Garou: MotW, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Karnov’s Revenge and Breakers Revenge when they come by, which are great games that still deserve attention.
fite me in ST on ggpo you goddamn poseur
Haha you dead against my gief, son
Yo Ara, what do you think of competitive Smash Bros. Melee? I know the FGC likes to shit on it a lot but I’m curious what you think.
Smash is not the game for me but I watch it at EVO and respect the players and their dedication. I’m not a fan of forcing what is essentially a party game to neutral grounds by removing items and stages to make it tournament friendly, and non-static lifebars would be an issue for me, but the game is way more complex at a high level than people give it credit for.
Learn how to be a hero, with MYFAROG.
I don’t understand the cool factor that has come to be associated with being a nerd. The intelligence aspect, if present, is great but the lack of physical strength and common social graces, again, if true, isn’t something to be held up as a virtue. We should be endorsing well-balanced individuals, in mind and body; if the individual then chooses to despise the herd because he sees through them, that’s brilliant. He has them where he wants them and when he wants them, and still walks away brimming with conviction.
Nerds are not cool. Nerds are fat/malnourished sacks of shit woefully short usually of the type of genius quotient that would excuse their lethargy.
Fantasy is essentially escapism. This can mean two things:
1. You are getting some perspective that can be used in those moments where you are actually engaging in sociality.
2. You are too unconfident/retarded/awkward to engage in sociality ever.
It’s about the social perception of in-groups. The typical person sees a group of people all engaged in an activity that is unfamiliar to him; they are having fun and using insider terminology and it makes him feel excluded. So he wants to be part of the in-group so he can feel cool by excluding others. That’s why everyone is a Batman fan nowadays; Batman used to be a comic book thing, which was nerdy, but then it got into movies. Now, anyone that is smart enough to drive themselves to use a Redbox can watch Batman and have that knowledge that used to be exlusive to insiders; now they feel cool, they finally know what all the fuss is over Batman. They never realize that they are no more than a demographic with no real in-group. Everyone who buys into the image of the nerd as this guy with a lot of knowledge about some obscure and particular subjects; they’re just being sold that image too. The nerd image as sold to the public doesn’t reflect any group of real-life individuals.
Insightful. You have described the process of metal’s assimilation as well.
The worst part is, these people thrive off of a vengeful feeling to compensate for being left out; “I used to be the outsider, but now I’ve bought my way in and I can make everyone *else* feel excluded like I did!” You’ll notice that these people only jump into an insider group when it becomes open for purchase; just go rent the Batman movie when it comes out, then buy your Batman t-shirt from Hot Topic; never mind that other Batman fans have been collecting his comics for decades; you are now just as hardcore as he is, and all you had to do was spen money instead of time getting into it.
Yes, this is exactly how metal gets taken over.
My term for this is hazing, and I see it a lot in diverse areas of life. I see it as perhaps even more sinister: an attempt to exclude others from the property now controlled by those people. War for territory.
Only skinny nerds are valuable. =) Those with vata dosha prevailing in their constitution.
Forget about the fat ones. They can’t even be called nerds.
A skinny, intelligent nerd’s option is to raise his willpower & physical strength. Which is possible.
While inreasing intelligence in a thick-skinned and dumb (but maybe physically strong) person is practically impossible.
It could even be that skinny nerds that overcame their physical weakness are the only ones who can cull the herd.
D&D is great. To pretend you’ve grown up and left behind all fantasy, tells me you just have no soul, no wonder, no adventure and just conform to what society needs you to : put your head down and work scumbag,
Personally i think we need to forget generalization and keep our judgement at bay. Im sure there are some straight laced jocks that play dungeons and dragons these days, and there is also some intellectual fantasy writers that do not play D&D. The days of categorization are over. You cant just look at someone and determine their interests and philosophies anymore,
I wish that was true. One of the most disappointing things for me is being able to know everything about a person before they open their mouths and then being proven right when they do speak.
Whoa that’s like so deep dude. You’re totally right though; there are people out there who are doing things and we have no idea what and it’s happening probably all the time, right?
It has actually been reasonably popular among the American Armed Forces for some time now.
“The real herd quietly sidestepped it and sneered at it as nerdly fantasy suitable only for “perpetual virgins” who lived in basements and bathed monthly whether they needed it or not”.
Well, this DOES describe my impression from the first and only time I visited the local D&D club around a decade ago. Everyone was a smarmy, obnoxious geek which turned me off the whole thing.
People also seemed more prone to joke around than to attempt to truly immerse themselves in another world, something which I have also noticed when looking up online sessions. It seems like the norm in those circles is to treat D&D exactly like a sports game on tv.
They are the same as sports fans in that they live vicariously through someone else’s accomplishments (though even weirder since the someone else is an imaginary character) as they suffer from existential boredom. The solution is to work out, avoid relying on social contact to fulfill you, and educate yourself about your world. The actual history of Earth is far, far trippier and more exciting than anything any fantasy writer came up with.
I never cared for D&D (I always preferred other games) but it was created in my home state, and headquartered here until 1998, so I owe it some credit. I missed the 80’s, but was always fascinated by the pop culture controversies of the decade i.e. the New Age movement, the televangelist scandals, the Satanic Panic and its’ relation to metal music and D&D etc. I’d love to hear Stevens’ take on the James Dallas Eggbert and Jim Pulling sagas.
Sadly, never heard of either. Suicide was more hushed-up in the 1980s, where now it is in a weird place of acknowledge tragedy accompanied by an utter refusal to look into its actual causes. There’s a parallel there to drugs, depression, D&D and drop-outism in the 1980s: the actual cause is society falling apart, which DRI and Slayer will tell you but others will not, which is why those bands were on top in the 80s.
Eggbert was a 17 yr old savant who was admitted into the University of Michigan in 1979, only to disappear during his freshman year. He was an avid D&D player, and it was theorized that he died in the university’s steam tunnels while LARPING. It turned out he’d simply buckled under academic pressure and ran away to live with a homosexual lover in Indiana (he later committed suicide).
Jim Pulling was teenage D&D player from Virginia who offed himself in 1982; his mother, Patricia, blamed the game and established B.A.D.D. (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) to actively crusade against it on the talk show circuit.
I figured you would have thoughts on the D&D hysteria as it occurred during the same era as the metal hysteria, and often overlapped in themes, aesthetics, and antagonists.
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