March 30, 2005
On this day:

Good news for D & D'ers

As if new recruits in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) didn’t have enough to worry about, they have now found that they will have less chance of getting a good job if the military discovers they play RPGs (Role Playing Games), especially Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). It was long suspected that the IDF took a dim view of recruits who admitted to playing D&D. But now the IDF has admitted that recruits who admit to this sort of thing are less likely to get a high security clearance, which bars them from many good jobs in intelligence, electronics or special operations. This is no small matter, for in Israel, nearly everyone serves in the IDF, and a good job in the military opens doors to good civilian jobs as well. The IDF has said that D&D players are "…detached from reality and susceptible to influence." The IDF elaborated with, "These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment. They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality - elements which lower a person's security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions." The IDF based its policy on university research, which concluded that RPG players were “detached from reality” to the extent that they would be poor security risks.

The IDF would not say how many recruits have been affected by this policy, or how long it has been in place. Rumors about the policy have been circulating among young Israeli D&D players for several years, and as a result, many do not admit to playing RPGs when they are interviewed by IDF screeners. The IDF admitted that it has had to resort to indirect interrogation methods in order to find out which recruits were D&D players. Many of these were then sent to see IDF psychologists.

In the United States, where RPGs were invented in the early 1970s, there have been many accusations (by religious leaders, lawyers and distraught parents looking for a reason strange behavior by their children) about the bad effects of using RPGs. There has never been any concrete evidence that RPGs do any harm. The American military encourages the use of RPG and other games by troops, both for recreation and professional training. RPG game design techniques have been used in professional wargames.

In response to the IDF revelation, one D&D player provided a Top 10 list of positive reasons for having IDF recruits who play D&D.

10. Ability to make split second decisions while simultaneously thinking about how the entire scenario will play out.

9. Axe-wielding skills.

8. Two words: Healing potion.

7. Ability to think outside the labyrinth.

6. Most Dungeon Masters are good strategists.

5. Being a 15th level magic user warrants as much respect as being a soldier in Sayeret Matkal.

4. Elf assassins are stealthy and efficient.

3. Chicks dig chainmail armor.

2. After battling enough dwarfs and mystical pygmies you learn not to underestimate your enemy.

1. Heightened ability to read people — "She may look like a Mermaid but there is definitely something nefarious about her and I've been less trustworthy of female lake dwellers since that Siren pulled a fast one on me last year back on the Netherworld."

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