Thursday, January 02, 2003

Role-play games and murder
In Sweden they have found the head and the legs of a young man, the remains of a gruesome and unexplainable murder. In the different newspapers (all in Norwegian so far), he played vampire role-playing games, games with a heavy emphasis on the romance of death.

Role-playing games have been accused of inviting deaths before, as well as been used as an excuse in the defense. In 1996 Roderick Ferrel killed the parents of a young woman he took into his coven. Ferrel was 16 years old at the time, and he clubbed and stabbed the parents to death. According to the article I found online, he did it to save the daughter - save her from what is not clear.

The idea of vampirism is however not a new phenomenon. The German Fritz Haarman was convicted for killing 27 yong boys. He chewed their throaths over while sodomizing them.

This post was however prompted by a friend of mine, who asked "If this is a real role-playing killing, what will be the impact on the role-playing groups in Scandinavia?" The answer to that is of course, I don't know, but I can still say something about this incident in a role-playing perspective.

To answer the first part of the question, I don't think there is such a thing as a "real role-playing killing." If the young decapitated man in Sweden was killed as part of a role-playing ritual, who ever killed him didn't role-play the killing. To be able to go through with the dismemberment they have carried out, the person needs to be beyond play. It is the act of a severely destabilised mind or a very desperate person.

To answer the second part of the question: Most people get killed by their friends and relatives, still we keep having friends and relatives. All killers are some person's child, yet we keep having children. Teachers kill, students kill, but we still have schools. People are killed in extreme sports, but people still do base-jumping. Not to talk about sex. A lot of people are killed before, during or after sex, because of too much sex or too little sex... but we still do it. People are killed because of books but we srite them, people are killed on television and we watch it. I don't think it will have such a large impact. There might be a heightened awareness in certain groups, such as those who do bare steel fencing as a part of their role-playing, but apart from that it won't change anything.

The burning of churches didn't stop "satan worship" even when the beautiful stave-church at Fantoft burned down in the early nineties. Just like we keep visiting family over Christmas despite the horrible statistics of violence, role-players will play.

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