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DUNGEONS: BETWEEN THE PANELS
year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chick Publications' Dark
Dungeons, a tragic tale of a fatal game and the players
involved in it. Since its release in 1984, tract readers around the
world have been captivated by the story of Debbie, her descent into a
dark world of occultism, and her subsequent rebirth into a new life
filled with hope.
Recently, the Escapist
caught up with some of the characters of Dark Dungeons - Miss
Frost, Debbie, Marcie, Mike, and coven member Pathos Feralwolf - to get
the real story Between the Panels!
original comic here.
(You'll enjoy this more if you do.)
E: Good evening. In tonight's installment of Between
the Panels, we will be taking a look at the story behind Dark
Dungeons, a comic tract produced by Jack
T. Chick on
the dangers of role-playing games. With us are five of the characters
from that book. Thanks
for joining us tonight.
I'm sure all of you are aware, Dark Dungeons is
pushing the ripe old age of twenty five. How much has changed since the
comic came out back in 1984?
I can't get any of those radical Members Only jackets anymore, unless I
scan the thrift stores for them. And even then, the ones I do
find smell like old people. It's a bummer.
I'll never get the hang of Attacks of
Opportunity. And now they've gotten rid of half-orcs and most of the
alignments... I really wish I hadn't unloaded all of my old first
edition hardcovers on eBay.
So, it looks like you're still involved in gaming, Marcie. How about
the rest of you?
I never got into those stupid Dweebs & Dorks
games. I'd rather play World
of Warcraft any day.
Miss Frost: I've
had a World of Darkness chronicle going on for
nearly ten years now. Our group was chosen five years ago to playtest
one of their new lines, Mermaid: The Splashing,
but I think Ron Howard might have sent some lawyers around to axe it,
because it never saw print.
Feralwolf: I, too, continue to participate in the dark
art of roleplaying. My clan has converted many to the ways of the
lycanthrope. I find it to be an excellent tool in judging the
personalities of promising man-beasts.
Not me. I've learned that those games are a one-way ticket to eternal
hellfire. Everything about them is wrong. Even the dice are an
abomination. The Bible says it clearly: "God does not play dice with
Actually, I think it was Albert Einstien who said that.
No, that can't be right. Pastor Jake told me himself!
Do any of you ever see the other cast members anymore? Have there been
any Dark Dungeons reunions?
I still see most of the members of the coven, though we have lost a few
members to Eckankar and Scientology recently. After the comic was done,
Pathos left the coven and got involved with some Satanic cult that he
found out about in the back of an issue of Metal Edge
magazine. That's when he changed his name. Before that, I knew him as
Josh Greenbaum. I see him every now and then, despite the restraining
Debbie: I bump into
Mike and Marcie all the time. Mike is a salesman at Aural Experience
Stereo. I bought a CD changer from him a couple years ago. Marcie's
doing great as a scrapbooking instructor over at the community college.
And of course, I see Pastor Jake every Sunday. I'm helping him organize
a Harry Potter burning this weekend. We've got
about five hundred copies of the books piled up behind the church now,
plus a few hundred DVDs that we're going to run over with a bulldozer.
You should come!
E: Err, thanks. I'll check my schedule.
Marcie, one of the
biggest misconceptions that many have about the events of Dark Dungeons
is that you actually killed yourself after the death of your character.
But since you're standing before us right now, we know that can't be
the story. What really happened?
I was practicing for my role in the Halloween Hell House that our
church was holding that year. Debbie walked in while I was testing the
strength of the noose I had made. Boy, did she scare the heck out of my
mom! She wasn't allowed over our house for like a year after that.
But what about the suicide note?
Mike wrote that and stuck it into my Math book. He found out about
Black Leaf and figured he'd pick on me about it. Stupid jocks, they're
always out to pick on the gamers...
Heh heh. You were totally PWNED...
To be honest, the comic really doesn't tell the whole story of what
happened. There are a lot of parts that were left out. Like Ryan, for
Oh yeah, I almost forgot all about Ryan...
He's the blonde fellow you see at the end of the table in the first
scene of the comic. Miss Frost was waaaay into him. He wasn't even a
decent gamer. He never knew which dice were which, and didn't know any
of the rules. He couldn't tell an orc from a kobold. Miss Frost only
invited him every week because she was interested in him. He actually
What? Why you little, lying...
...and the feeling was not mutual. She knew all
about this. I still think that's why she killed off Black Leaf, without
giving me a chance for a saving throw or anything.
Lies! All of it! Silence, both of you!
E: Okay, ahhh... Tell us about how you got involved in Dark
Frost: Two mysterious, bearded men from a Christian
publishing company came to my home one afternoon, asking if I was an
actual game master, and posing all sorts of questions. They wanted to
know if the game we played matched their concept of a potentially
lethal hobby that was an excellent recruitment tool for witches covens
and Satan worshippers. For the most part, it is.
I got a message through my MySpace page.
Your MySpace page? But didn't the comic come out in 1984? That was long
before there was a public internet, let alone MySpace.
Okay, actually Marcie and I overheard at the local game shop that
someone was looking for people. I just wanted to get in a plug for my
The Dark Lord of a Thousand Tentacles whispered obscenely into my ear,
telling me that my services were required. I then sacrificed six small
birds to show him my allegiance.
Six birds? That's terrible!
Feralwolf: They were baby chicks.
Feralwolf: All right, they were... marshmallow Peeps.
E: What was the biggest challenge you faced while
working on Dark Dungeons?
The noose chafed really bad. I had a rash on my neck for a month.
My biggest challenge was fighting that darned Zombie. Son of a gun must
have had like a billion hit points. I swear Miss Frost was fudging her
Filing the restraining order on Mr. Feralwolf over there. After the
work on the comic was over, he kept stalking me. Every morning I'd look
out my window to see his rusty old Pacer parked out front.
Feralwolf: The Tentacle Lord has betrothed you to me,
harlot! You cannot avoid this dark fate!
Call me a harlot again, and you'll see what a mind bondage spell can really
Oh, and the fumes from the bonfire scene were heinous. All that burning
lead, plastic, and ink... I passed out for a little while, and when I
woke up, I couldn't remember my own name. Really, you should just stick
to burning books. Or hand out breathing masks, or something...
Mike: It was tough
keeping my part straight. It was really windy during my scene. I'd
asked them if we could shoot on another day, because my hairdresser had
just spent over an hour trying to get my hair just right, and the wind
was undoing all of his hard work. The director just didn't understand.
was also having trouble with my lines. I just didn't know what my
motivation should be. Was I in love with Debbie? Did I see her as just
a friend? Was there some other ulterior motive for getting her to go to
my church? What sort of tone should I take when saying my lines? I
couldn't get any positive direction. It was very unprofessional, and
the next time I work with any sort of comic outfit, I'm going to...
Mike, you were in two panels of the entire comic. Get over yourself.
E: We're almost out of time. Any closing thoughts for us?
Marcie: Just a
little advice for everyone - if you find yourself in a gaming group
with a Dungeon Master who has the hots for one of the players, who in
turn has the hots for you, just collect your books and dice and find
someone else to play with. It's just not worth all of the frustration
and misunderstanding that will come with it.
Or, you can take my advice: the next time some meddling little brat
interferes with your designs on a particular man, you should take her
whiny little Black Leaf butt out with an Eternal Acne spell - that is,
if it would even be noticable with all the acne she already
Ooooh, NO YOU DIDN'T!
I don't think that anyone should play roleplaying games. They're
dangerous and can lead to gnarly occultic rituals. If you have any
roleplaying books in your home, you should put them into a big pile and
burn them, then dance around the fire while chanting.
Okay. Ahhh... Pathos? Mike? Any parting words?
Feralwolf: The return of the Tentacle Lord is imminent.
You may serve him or perish. It is your choice. Oh, and if you're in
the Muncie area and looking for a good Werewolf
group, we meet at the Kiwanis Club on Beech Street every Wednesday
night at 7. Bring your own dice.
This fasting thing is the pits. I'm starving. You guys got anything to
Special thanks to Aimee (Marcie), Elissa Carey
(Miss Frost), Andrew Gould (Pathos), Paula Smith (Debbie), and Steve
Weese (Mike). Speaking of Steve, he is a real-life actor (and was an
extra in Role
Models) and the author of God Loves the Freaks.
Visit his website at www.steveracer.com.
To learn more about Dark Dungeons
and see other parodies of it, visit the Escapist's DD page. This parody has
not been endorsed or approved by Jack Chick or Chick Publishing, but
thanks to Fair Use laws, they'll just have to grin and bear it (just
like ol' Jack himself is doing over there).
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