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"I played D&D for the CIA"

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posted on Sep, 3 2007 @ 08:31 PM
In the process of researching my book, I came across myriad stories, some of them completely believable, a few of them verifiable, many of them outlandish. One of the strangest stories that I found believable was from a man who claimed that, in the early to mid 80s, he had been involved in a CIA plot to infiltrate a Dungeons and Dragons campaign at Cal Tech.

This was back in the old days, long before the idea of "geek chic" had crossed the minds of marketers and scriptwriters. Playing D&D meant sitting in a basement or a dorm room full of almost exclusively male nerdlings, driven by the will to power, sexual frustration and Jolt! Cola by the gallon. This was also when rumors started to circulate about "waves of D&D related suicides" and about people who became convinced they really *were* their characters and murdered people or went to live in the sewers brandishing wooden swords and insisting poker chips were gold pieces. (Note: As far as I can tell, there was exactly one D&D related suicide, which was committed by a boy named Dallas Egbert who had way more problems than his spellcaster failing to advance a level. )

The CIA was aware of these rumors and they wanted to know what was going on. Anything that seemed so effective at causing people to dissociate or take on new identities was of interest. So they sent an asset to infiltrate a game at Cal Tech, one of the hotbeds of nerd activity.

This poor agent spent three months playing a human ranger with (almost exclusively male) physics and chem students in some dude's dorm room. The reports he filed made extensive use of such phrases as "hapless" "inept" "pointless" and "bizarrely obsessive". Though he witnessed several slapfights, a number of 19 and 20 year old men crying and innumerable dodecahderal dice flying through the air all in the names of dungeonmaster unfairness or rules violations, he saw nothing of real value to conditioing or dissociating personalities.

The story was, to me, amusing. I enjoy the fact that the CIA was involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate and subvert a D&D campaign. It's also illustrative of the power that urban myths (the waves of D&D suicides, promulgated at that time by parent groups, Christian fundamentalists and Jack Chick) have even over the intelligence community.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 06:41 AM
haha, great post. I wouldn't be surprised if they actually did "recruit" some of the more, advanced players.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 07:21 AM
Too funny! It makes me think of one episode of the X-Files where that one gamer in an interview stated,

"I didn't play Dungeons & Dragons for all those years and not learn something about courage."

The look of complete seriousness on his face was priceless.

[edit on 4-9-2007 by TinFoilDerby]

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 08:16 AM
Thats were your tax dollars are going, to the nerdlings playing D&D, how do you think they can stock up the cola and chips?

Amazing, the CIA ceases to amaze me.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 08:27 AM
As a gamer, and as someone familiar with the history of said game, I find that I must point out that Egbert... whose famous disappearance prompted the terrible movie "Mazes and Monsters," Starring Tom Hanks (Terrible in that it was based off of paranoia and innaccuracy), did not actually die from his obsession with the game. He merely disappeared for several weeks and was presumed dead for just such reasons.

The media, as well as the Christian activists who wanted to demonize the game themselves, ignored the minor details that either did not make the story newsworthy or did not jive with their paranoid hatred of Gamer Geeks as demon worshipping hoodlums out to corrupt children into demon worship.

So, to quote Egbert as one of the only D&D related deaths is laughable, as he didn't die NOR commit suicide.

And that's the rest of the story.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 08:40 AM
reply to post by TheColdDragon

You're right that the only sense in which Egbert's suicide was "D&D related" was that he was a gamer. His suicide had more to do with the fact that he was a socially maladjusted but extremely clever 16 year old at Michigan State, that he chronically abused drugs and that his homophobic father would have objected violently to his numerous affairs with much older men.

That said, Egbert did, in fact, finally succeed in killing himself sometime after his attempt to end his own life by overdosing on downers in the steam tunnels at MSU.

Also Mazes and Monsters was a fine movie. Tom Hanks was so much more rad before he became The Greatest Actor in the World and started to take himself so seriously.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 01:57 PM
Never played D&D, but I do remember the Mazes and Monsters movie. I couldn't remember the name of the movie, just that Hanks was in it.

I tend to look at any game as having addictive qualities. Just look at all the people who pack the casinos, although money and the illusion of winning is a draw as well. The line between playing for recreating and obsession tends to be blurred in my opinion.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 05:17 PM

Originally posted by parry noid
Thats were your tax dollars are going, to the nerdlings playing D&D, how do you think they can stock up the cola and chips?

Amazing, the CIA ceases to amaze me.

What I find amazing is that someone can come onto a discussion board, post a theory with no attribution or evidence other than hearsay, and people automatically assume that it is the truth.

And how is it a conspiracy or subversion? If the story is true (which I very much doubt), it was research at the most, most likely to see if those in the emerging D&D set would make good field agents. College educated people have always formed the bulk of the recruiting pool, if you can narrow down your pool further to those who already have an ability to visualise a different identity, then that would make sense to me. The result should be obvious - there is a big difference in alternate identities between Thargor the Dwarven Axewielder in a pen and paper universe, and being Joe Smith the Businessman in a real world target country. But like I said, I find the story very hard to believe, especially the length of time (three months). A funny story nonetheless, but just that. A funny story.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 09:32 PM
D&D is so '70s. Nowadays its "Vampire, the Masquerade", and this time it's not so innocent:

Rod Ferrell, 18, and others are arrested for beating to death a Florida couple. He was fascinated by role-playing games, graduating from "Dungeons and Dragons" to "Vampire: The Masquerade." While in high school in Kentucky, he fell in with a band of game players who were adopting "Vampire: The Masquerade" as a lifestyle. Rod became convinced he was a vampire and that his friends were kindred spirits. They would hang around cemeteries and perform bloodletting rituals. .....In the Wag café, their old classmates whisper darkly of a battle between two rival clans of blood-sucking fiends.


Vampire-like activity started with role playing Associated Press WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) -- Lonely young people should be wary of a central Wisconsin group that offers companionship but engages in vampire-like activity, former members say. ''Know what you're getting into and do not be forced into it,'' former member Aaron Thurber said. ''Do not be brainwashed.'' The group started out as a role-playing game and then went bad, according to Thurber, another former member and a current member. ''We started playing the role-playing games, a vampire masquerade...'' ''That's when (the group's leader) started getting delusional.'' The group, dubbed the ''hissers'' by Wisconsin Rapids police, became known after an October razor attack.
''The role-playing game was used as a cover,'' Thurber said. ''We were playing before, but then they started slicing each other with razor blades until near unconsciousness. That's when we thought it was going too far. It was a role-playing game that went to fanaticism.''


3-6-98 Texas Teen Vampires Go On Rampage", by Jay Jorden, Associated Press. In Dallas, Texas, four teenagers claiming to be vampires went on a drug-crazed destruction spree, vandalizing dozens of cars and homes, spray-painting racial slurs and burning down the office and fellowship hall of Bethany Lutheran Church....


Columbine 4-20-99
--Jordana Spaven(a friend of Harris and Klebold)(pg 18154)
"Jordana also advised that both Eric and Dylan role-played(LARP-live action role play). This game is based on the book Vampire-the Masquerade.
"The game is based on the book "Vampire-the Masquerade" and when you play you dress the part of a vampire clan, then one person writes a script and hands it out at the playing location. ....Jordana believed that Eric and Dylan played in the mountains most of the time, and that their clan used toy weapons(plastic guns and knives). I asked Jordana what they portray when they play the game and Jordana stated that it is usually a fight between clans."


: Ananova, 01/02/03
Vampire fan's head found in river
The frozen head of man who was devoted to vampire role playing games has been found in an Swedish river. Marcus Noren's decapitated head was discovered by children in the icy Nissan River in Halmstad..... . Spokesman Lars Hamren said several people had been interrogated, including members of a local club who take part in live action role playing games. Swedish media reported that the games included simulations of vampire life and lore, a variant of role-playing with strong elements of occultism and romanticism of death.... One of Noren's friends said the he often devoted his time to a vampire game called Vampire: The Masquerade. "You have many roles and fight each other for power," Marcus Brissman said.


9-13-06 Kimveer Gill, 25, Dawson College, Montreal, 3 dead
He posted on a site called ""
He called his enemies 'monkeys' which comes straight out of the White Wolf/World of Darkness(copyright) vampire fiction. It refers to a human who is not a vampire.
More evidence that Kimveer was playing the vampire LARP comes from a fellow player:
Michel Preiss, 21, a neighbour and friend of Gill....
With a group of friends, they would go to fight friendly make-believe battles in the park — something done by a strange but harmless subculture in the city.

Methinks the article that began this thread is classic CIA disinfo. You can bet they are all over this stuff. Oh yeah, there's covert-ops gold to be found in them thar violent role-playing games.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 09:38 PM
wow, that's crazy. I knew a bunch of people in high school that were totally into that Vampire game. I thought they just made it up by themselves.

This was roughly 10 years ago as well.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:05 PM
reply to post by peabody

I heard about this, and also heard of other cases similar to this.
I loved AD & D and was always amused by the stories of people taking it
into levels of actually getting up and dressing up, because that's what Hollywood is for.
I always laughed about how women abroad loved the cute Quarter Back actor, but were revolted by the role playing nerd when in fact, it's pretty much the same thing.
We adore the Brad Pitts, and are a bit wary of the Bill Gates, but essentially they're working the opposites of the same coin. This all goes back to ancient shamanistic cave orations, and rolling the bones coupled by good sacred mushrooms. Role playing is essential, and just has always been there from the beginning.

My take on this is simple. I did play D & D for the CIA, and I probably still am.

[edit on 08/14/2007 by Horus8]

[edit on 08/14/2007 by Horus8]

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:07 PM
This expert linked the vampire LARP to the wearing of black trenchcoats:

"Dave Williams, a sergeant in the Dayton, Ohio, Police Department and a police expert who has been studying the Goths for six years, told The (San Francisco)Chronicle that some Goths act out a bizarre and elaborate role-playing game, "Vampire, the Masquerade." He said one particularly dark aspect of the Gothic is when role playing is carried to extreme. `'The game -- Vampire, the Masquerade -- I call it Dungeons and Dragons on steroids,'' he said, adding that players assume the persona of vampires and act out attacks. ``There are people who I have seen who lose touch, who think the gaming system and mythos are real. They have gone off and done some very strange things. Trench coats, like those worn by the Colorado gunmen, are the modern equivalent of vampire capes in the symbology of the game, Williams said."

So if the black trenchcoat may be an indicator of inovlvement in the Vampire LARP, then the above examples could be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg:

Clay Shrout, 17, murdered his parents and two sisters, kidnapped his prom date from her home, then drove to the school and held his first period math class hostage at Ryle High School, Union, Kentucky.
He wore all black every day with combat boots and black trenchcoat.

Barry Loukaitis, 14. Frontier Jr. High School, Moses Lake, Washington. Dressed in all black, trenchcoat, 3 dead, 1 wounded.

Michael Carneal, 14, Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. 3 killed, 5 wounded. Deliberately targeted Christians. No trenchcoat but he was dressed in all black with combat boots.(though he ran with a clique of trenchcoaters)

"Kentucky Occult Teen Killers" six young people plead guilty to killing a couple and their 6-year-old daughter. Natasha Cornett, 19, the reputed ringleader of the black trenchcoat wearing group, told her first lawyer she was the daughter of Satan. Prosecutors said two days before the killings the group held a bizarre ritual in a Pikeville, Ky., motel room that included self-mutilation and bloodletting.

Two students at Evans HS in Appling, Ga, are arrested for threatening fellow students. They wore all black with trenchcoats and were involved in the occult. Rumor had it they were planning to attack school in conjunction with the Columbine attack.

3 teens arrested for planned attack on their high school in Hoyt, Kansas. Each possessed a black trenchcoat.

October, 2001
Five teens from New Bedford, Massachusetts are arrested for planning an attack on New Bedford High School, Mass. The teens "are suspected of a plot to shoot faculty and classmates and then kill themselves" on the roof of the school. They wore long black trenchcoats and died their hair different colors. .....They collected "satanic and death writings"

Four young people are arrested in Loudown County, Virginia for the stabbing/slashing death of biophysicist Robert M. Schwartz, 57 at his secluded farmhouse.
"The suspects favored all-black outfits, long black (trench)coats." "....killings had 'cult overtones' " The suspects "...are said to have a fascination with ... Satanism."

Daniel Hawke Fears, 18, Sallisaw, Okla. (2 dead, 7 wounded) He went on a 20-mile shooting spree, apparently targeting people at random. "He's been a rebel without a cause. He was always a loner, and always wore a black trench coat."

Oakton, Virginia(just south of D.C.) 19-year-old Josh Cooke mowed down his parents in the basement of their home with a shotgun. Cooke wore a black trench coat and had a wall-sized Matrix poster hanging in his bedroom.

Joseph Hunter Parker, 30, killed two people with a samurai sword at an Albertson's supermarket in Irvine, California(Orange County). He was wearing a black trenchcoat and green beret when he was shot to death by police minutes later.

Oaklyn Public School, Camden, NJ
Matthew Lovett, 18, +two boys, ages 15 and 14; wearing black trenchcoats, arrested after they attempted to carjack vehicle; on their way to attack school with numerous weapons.

Josh Magee, Malcolm High School, Malcolm, Nebraska
Arrested after pipe bombs and a rifle were found in his car outside school as he contemlated attacking: "Magee was dressed in camouflaged pants and a black trench coat as he paced back and forth near his car for about 8 minutes."

Two teens, 15- and 17, arrested for planning attack at Quartz Hill High School, Lancaster, LACounty. The boys dressed in the Goth style, characterized by trenchcoats, black clothing, black makeup and nail polish and piercings.

Jeff Weise, 17, wearing black trenchcoat, shoots seven at Red Lake HS, Minnesota

Lafayette Goth killer Scott Dyleski Convicted of murdering his neighbor, the wife of noted "CourtTV" commentator Daniel Horowitz. Wore a black trenchcoat.

William Freund, 19, wearing a black cape and a paintball mask went on a shooting rampage in his upscale Southern California neighborhood(Alisa Viejo), killing a man and his daughter before committing suicide. In his online profile, Freund described himself as someone who enjoyed "... role playing, fantasy..."

Tacoma Mall Shooter Dominick Sergio Maldonado, 20, 6 wounded
Wearing long black trenchcoat when he began his rampage.

Black trenchcoat-wearing Jacob D. Robida, 18, New Bedford, Massachusetts gay bar slasher/shooter.

Kyle Huff, 28, Seattle rave slayer, 7 dead, owned a black trenchcoat, attacked a party of goth ravers.

Hans Van Themsche, 18, wearing a black trenchcoat, shot 3 people on an Antwerp street.

Alvaro Rafael Castillo, 19, Orange High School, Hillsborough NC 1 lightly wounded, suspect's dad dead at home. Wore a black trenchcoat in the attack.

Memorial Middle School, Joplin, MO Thomas White, 13, fired a round from an assualt rifle after walking into his school wearing a long, dark green trenchcoat.

ex-student Sebastain Bosse, 18, Geschwister Scholl School, Emdetten, Germany (1 dead, 5 wounded) Wore a black trenchcoat in the attack.

John "Jack" Odgren, 16, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Framingham/Sudbury, Massachusetts
Stabbed a 15year old boy to death in the school bathroom. "Two juniors yesterday said the student now accused of the killing often wore a trench coat to school."

Sulejman Talovic, 18 SLC, Utah, Trolley Square massacre shooter. Used a shotgun to kill six and wound four more. Wore a tan trenchcoat, or a dark trenchcoat, during the attack.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by Willard856

Really, and why not? J. Edgar Hoover, was a full blown queen that would spy on other people, I think he even spied on himself, to expose that they were fags, or 'socialists' and ruin their political and social standings, as if socialism is as scary as some of the things that actually occur naturally on this planet. The Bay Of Pigs, for Christ Sake, was REAL!!!! and it's five thousand times more inconceivable than this. Don't be a hater. The CIA is willing to send Whales into China to train their fish in the art of mercury consumption for all we know.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:21 PM

Originally posted by peabody
This poor agent spent three months playing a human ranger with (almost exclusively male) physics and chem students in some dude's dorm room. The reports he filed made extensive use of such phrases as "hapless" "inept" "pointless" and "bizarrely obsessive". Though he witnessed several slapfights, a number of 19 and 20 year old men crying and innumerable dodecahderal dice flying through the air all in the names of dungeonmaster unfairness or rules violations, he saw nothing of real value to conditioing or dissociating personalities.

Sounds like someone didnt make their intel check this time

Id love to see some real proof of what you are talking about man..
Really, many of my players where girls, and not a bunch of dorks drink soda okay.. D&D was another way to keep us out of trouble.. You know like being in one spot, not out running the streets and stuff?? Not hurting anyone, or casuing any harm..:p

Some people take it way to far and make all these claims..
If you havent had a group of friends, and just enjoyed stuff like lets say math, reading, and using your imagination. Then IM sorry you missed out.

Becasue its not even close to the truth.. In my case I have played D&D for a long time.. Its something that is not what you say, and explain it out to be. Thats the biggest stero type I have seen on here in a long time..

So with that in mind, D&D is a bunch of nerds, with sexual problems.. ect ect.
So then all Jocks must be nuckle heads, who drink beer, beat up their girlfriends and all come from rich families.

So everything you laid out was propaganda, stero typing, and maybe a tid-bit of truth... Yes its true, I am a nerd

[edit on 4-9-2007 by zysin5]

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:23 PM
reply to post by starviego

At least the guy with the sword was a bit older with some imagination.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:41 PM
All these questions about CIA & D&D makes me seriously wonder about who IS lurking in the shadowy sites of ATS...

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:49 PM
reply to post by zysin5

think of it this way.

some people have a tendency, and others don't. you seed both groups with a 'modifier', and only half your 'crop' comes out with the desired outcome.

does that mean the 'modifier' itself is 'evil' or 'wrong'?

no, but there is such a thing as a functional heroin addict.

posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by Horus8

I simply stated my opinion that I doubt the story happened. There is plenty of documentary proof on the Bay of Pigs. I'd like to see something similar on this. My comment was a general one based on the propensity of some people to read a non-attributed post on ATS, and immediately it becomes fact. This is contrary to the whole deny ignorance ethos of this board.

And, as I said, if the story is true, it doesn't even come close to fitting the definition of a conspiracy or subversion. So what if the CIA is checking out D&D players? I'm sure they were checking out the Drama team on the same campus at the same time. Recruiting was done much differently back then than it is now.

Don't be a hater.

I haven't got a clue what you mean by this.

posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 03:16 AM
reply to post by TinFoilDerby

Classic episode hehe & that's what i was thinking too, coincidence?

"Jose Chung's From Outer Space" / season 3

So the Cia was interested in D&D and its possible ..mass manipulation application (or something of that nature), i find this VERY interesting.

[edit on 5-9-2007 by themaster1]

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 11:15 AM
Haha... I remember that Mazes and Monsters movie ... I've thought of it so often and wanted to watch it again, but never knew the name (funny because I remembered that they played Mazes and Monsters instead od Dungeons & Dragons).

Originally posted by peabody
This poor agent spent three months playing a human ranger with (almost exclusively male) physics and chem students in some dude's dorm room. The reports he filed made extensive use of such phrases as "hapless" "inept" "pointless" and "bizarrely obsessive". Though he witnessed several slapfights, a number of 19 and 20 year old men crying and innumerable dodecahderal dice flying through the air all in the names of dungeonmaster unfairness or rules violations, he saw nothing of real value to conditioing or dissociating personalities.

I freakin' loved D&D and miss not playing it anymore. But at the same time, I can't imagine sitting around with a bunch of [male] friends, having them throw dice at me because their character died, getting in near fist fights (but of course we were/are all to wimpy to have a real fight) and then losing friendships over it! Haha... maybe the Good Ol' Times need to remain just that...

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