Episode 5 – Dungeons & Dragons

About the Episode

Dungeons & Dragons has been a cult classic game since it was first published in 1974. Since then, it has had significant influence not just on pop culture, but also on larger movements such as the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Today, D&D is enjoying a pop culture resurgence thanks to phenomena such as the television show Stranger Things.

Join our resident Dungeon Master Nick Johnston as he guides us through the history, controversies, and modern representations of this iconic game.


  1. Has this episode sparked your interest in learning D&D. You can go to the Dungeons & Dragons official website at: http://dnd.wizards.com/
  2. If you would like to learn more about the Satanic Panic and D&D, you can read this Washington Post article ‘The D&D Panic’ at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/04/27/the-dd-panic/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7fb486bf8da6
  3. The Satanic Panic was real, and the media attention was fierce. If you would like to see an anti-D&D interview, check out this link, or watch the 1985 60 Minutes investigation here.  You can also watch this 1985 60 Minutes investigation.


Associated Press. “Life Sentence Given in ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Killing Case.” Associated Press News Archive. May 31, 1985. http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1985/Life-Sentence-Given-In-Dungeons-Dragons-Killing-Case/id-a1121256e68b13b701eea0bc355a6a5c.

Bricken, Rob. “The 12 Harlots of the Dungeons & Dragons Random Harlot Table Explained.” The Robot’s Voice. June 20, 2008. https://www.therobotsvoice.com/2008/06/the_12_harlots_of_the_dungeons_dragons_random_harl.php.

D’Anastasio, Cecilia. “Dungeons & Dragons Wouldn’t Be What It Is Today Without These Women.” Kotaku. June 26, 2017. https://kotaku.com/d-d-wouldn-t-be-what-it-is-today-without-these-women-1796426183.

Haberman, Clyde. “When Dungeons & Dragons Set Off a ‘Moral Panic.’” New York Times. April 17, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/us/when-dungeons-dragons-set-off-a-moral-panic.html.

Jahromi, Neima. “The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons & Dragons.” The New Yorker. October 24, 2017. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-uncanny-resurrection-of-dungeons-and-dragons.

Leblanc, Richard J. “A Brief History of Polyhedral Dice.” Save vs. Dragon. November 21, 2011. http://savevsdragon.blogspot.ca/2011/11/brief-history-of-polyhedral-dice.html.

Peterson, Jon. “History: Forty Years of Adventure.” Dungeons & Dragons. Accessed May 14, 2017. http://dnd.wizards.com/dungeons-and-dragons/what-dd/history/history-forty-years-adventure.

Peterson, Jon. “The First Female Gamers.” Medium. October 5, 2014. https://medium.com/@increment/the-first-female-gamers-c784fbe3ff37.

Kushner, David. Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D. New York: Nation Books, 2017.

Riggs, Ben. “How D&D Writers Fought the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.” Geek & Sundry. April 13, 2016. https://geekandsundry.com/how-dd-writers-fought-the-satanic-panic/.

Riggs, Ben. “The Disappearance that Started the Satanic Panic.” Geek & Sundry. May 16, 2016. https://geekandsundry.com/the-disappearance-that-started-the-satanic-panic/.  

Riggs, Ben. “The Story of D&D Part One: The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Dungeons & Dragons.” Geek & Sundry. December 26, 2017. https://geekandsundry.com/the-story-of-dd-part-one-the-birth-death-and-resurrection-of-dungeons-dragons/.

Romano, Aja. “The history of the Satanic Panic in the US – and why it’s not over yet.” Vox. October 30, 2016. https://www.vox.com/2016/10/30/13413864/satanic-panic-ritual-abuse-history-explained.

Wells, H.G. Little Wars: A game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books. 1913. Rev. ed. Project Gutenberg: 2009. Available online at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3691/3691-h/3691-h.htm.




Producers: Robin Mullins and Emily Cuggy

Hosts: Robin Mullins, Keely McCavitt

Guest Host: Nick Johnston

Researchers: Nick Johnston, Alice Glaze, Elina Hill, Casandra Masse, Stacey Devlin

Audio Editing: Jessica Di Laurenzio, Robin Mullins, Emily Cuggy

Web Content: Casandra Masse