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Chyx Publications
An Unhelpful venture.   Protected by the Fair Use doctrine. © 1999-2005

Parody

Dork Dungeons

Dork Dungeons is based on the out-of-print Chick Publication tract "Dark Dungeons".

Dark Dungeons is the terrifying tale of what Fundamentalists would like you to believe role-playing games are about.

Dork Dungeons is a terrifying tale of teenage geekdom, love, and the human condition.

"Simply riveting.  A must-read!"
- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Jesus is not amused."
- Christian Science Monitor

Chick Publications is a distributor of fundamentalist Protestant Christian tracts.  They're prone to deliberate deception, racism, wild conspiracy theory, fear mongering, and in general proving the point a wise man had in mind when he said "Lord, save me from Your followers!".

They're often left to be "found" by others, be they stuffed into "objectionable" reading material at a bookstore, lying unattended on a table at a fast food restaurant, slipped under a door, or most appropriately, in a public bathroom.

Enjoy the "Dork Dungeons" parody, presented side by side with the original Jack Chick tract and new 2005-vintage running commentary for your cross-referencing pleasure.

More humor and commentary to fry in hell by at unhelpful.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted on r33t.org in 1999, attribution was given to an anonymous "w.t.f." because I wasn't sure how aggressive Jack Chick publications was in regards to legal threats to parody of their content. Fortunately, I never did hear anything from them, despite getting thousands of unique views in the first few weeks.

There's loads of in-jokes, and despite being well aware of the dangers of explaining humor, I'm going to risk it, since some of them are very specific to either Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or the site I originally wrote this parody for. Welcome to the long-winded director's commentary track.

Faerie Fire has a warm place in the hearts of most 1st Edition AD&D players as being the quintessential "useless first-level spell". This is pretty much the same "lame spell" joke as the Dead Alewives used in their skit, "Dungeons and Dragons", which was later immortalized in the video "Summoner Geeks", except that Magic Missile could, in theory, kill something.

Rule-jacking powergaming was part of the experience of most novice AD&D players. When you calculated experience points and needed a calculator that had 12 or more digits instead of 9, that was a pretty sure indication that you were doing something wrong. Powergamers were always attracted to the classes and races with the most imbalancing skills, as shown.

Fiend Folio was a notorious 1st Ed. AD&D monster book originally released by TSR UK in 1981. The artwork was very different from the rest of the core books, and it was notorious for having some of the lamest, strangest, and least useful creatures you'd never actually use in a gaming campaign, such as flumphs.

After about the 25 level in 1st Ed. AD&D, it was all pretty much guesswork.

Live Action Role-Play is what you get when you take a pen-and-paper role-playing game, throw out the pens and paper, the dice, and add a healthy(?) dose of (usually bad) amateur acting. Character-centric and often involving more costumes than rules, more attitude than gaming elements, it's often considered the unloved bastard stepchild of traditional role-playing games. Vampire: The Masquerade is just the most obvious example. Poor Debbie.

The patronizing footnote is consistent with the style of Jack Chick tracts.

Classic LARP problem: so many vampires, so few mortals.

Grab your rubber fangs, a black satin cape, and your Bela Lugosi* accent if you'd like to LARP the rest of this tract.

*Bela Lugosi is dead.
A bit of a throwaway joke, but that face was classic Jack Chick tract material: evil is made apparent by sinister glares, whereas atheists or academic intellectuals are usually denoted by bored down-the-nose glares which transform to a visage of violent rage when the protagonist presents them with religious doctrine or theory.
It may have been a cheap shot to have Debbie be the author's spokesman for his opinions on LARPing, but I won't lose any sleep.
A sign of a problematic 1st Ed. AD&D campaign was that you spent more time making characters than playing them, either because it was more fun than the gameplay (which in the hands of a rules lawyer Dungeon Master could be tedious), because the character death rate was astronomical, or because the player turnover rate made it a weekly ritual.
Marcie's mom was recontextualized as a regular in the then-official r33t.org IRC channel, which was the setting in which newcomers would be subject to endless ritual abuse.
Since Jack Chick characters who end up on the wrong side of a bad situation so often meet a horrible end (or afterlife), and since the old urban legend of "the role-player who commits suicide when her character dies" was so overplayed in the media and flat-out ridiculous, I decided that I had to save Marcie by turning her suicide into a room-decoration exercise. Delete chair, add ladder, and now the only thing Marcie needs saving from is herself...
...and Debbie's date.

My attempt to take some of the rage out of Ms. Fraud's face and stuff the voice of reason into her mouth wasn't entirely successful. I could make it much more convincing if I were to re-do it today, but here it is, warts and all.

In Jack Chick's original, one of the most charming parts of this scene is, to me, the fact that Ms. Frost apparently lacks pupils, possibly from a transaction with Satan.

 

This time, the rage melted away more effectively.

"I don't want to be Elfstar any more. I want to be Debbie." - one of the best, most stilted lines Jack Chick has ever offered, I've heard this quoted in gaming sessions, in casual conversations, and even in film. Hilarity ensues.

Mike is transformed from an evangelizing saint-like figure to the object of Debbie's young lust. Irony ensues.
...not that he's in the least bit unwilling. Call it character development.
For a while, I was sort of unsure as to how to use this and the next frame. As a guest speaker at a prom (I admit it, I was winging it here), I figured I'd just turn him into a rambling drunk. Note that he's now dual-wielding double martinis like a dedicated, professional alcoholic in a hurry.

As such, I figured I'd pack as much verbosity into his text bubbles as possible, and found I needed even more space. Generously littered with r33t.org in-jokes and father-figure sermonizing, I enjoyed myself here. Much to my later amusement, "hiphugger bellbottoms" came back into fashion.

I love the classic "useless footnote" joke so much, I used it again.

It's another obvious (if irresistable) sight gag, I admit.

What's a staggering drunk good for, if not inappropriate advice and the invasion of personal space?

And more useless footnotes, but not! That year, in the Baltimore-Washington Maryland corridor, we were utterly besieged by box elder bugs, and I had been researching how to keep them from loitering on the southern wall of my home.

So ashamed at having a conversation about LARPing, the drunk speaker decides to come clean before the rumors start spreading, and Debbie has a change of heart and decides to return to her true love and embrace dorkiness.

Cue orchestral film score.

The classic credit reel of the Jack Chick tract becomes the icon of modern consumer health consciousness, with slugs, an ongoing concern at r33t.org, and the source of future lost internet content retrieval.

Cue dramatic finish, fade to black.