SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a new partnership with fantasy game creators Wizards of the Coast, to bring Mormon-themed Dungeons and Dragons adventures into the hearths and homes of area saints.
In a joint press conference held earlier today, the two parties discussed how the surprising crossover project came to be, and hinted at what the future may hold.
“For us, it was one of those lightning strike moments of realization,” says Mike Mearls, lead designer of the new Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) 5th edition. “Our games strive to make impossible concepts into tangible reality, under the direction of an infallible authority figure (the Dungeon Master), who, through the studied use of arcane texts of questionable origins, stages a narrative that players are forced to contend with, helping or hindering them based largely on their own whims and self-conceptions of how things ought to be.”
“For us, something about that just screamed out ‘Mormon!'” says Mearls.
“We’re also very excited about this venture,” says Elder Robert D. Hales, who spearheaded this co-operative. “Or should I say adventure,” Hales added with a satisfied chuckle.
“Salt Lake Comic Con has become the only Utah event with greater attendance, and greater enthusiasm, than General Conference. They’re beating us at our own game. So we decided to play theirs.”
Family Home Evening is a stronghold for tabletop gaming on Monday nights in LDS homes. However, the tabletops have long been ruled by the stimulation levels of heart-thumpers like Phase 10, and Pop-a-Matic Trouble. Its not hard to see why a more pulse-inducing reason to stay home on Mondays is attractive to church interests in promoting principles of family togetherness, and general indoorsiness.
But for Mearls, the greatest value from this partnership comes in the form of lore, and access to the deep vaults of Mormon doctrine.
“Really, you don’t need to look further than the LDS Glossary to get a sense of what Mormon doctrine brings to the table for us. You have epic artifacts like the ancient Liahona, mystical kingdoms like Zarahemla, and wondrous treasures like the Pearl of Great Price. It’s a veritable gold mine of meaningless flavor text.”
Liahona or no, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for this rag-tag group of adventurers. There are some areas where agreement has been hard to come by.
“You’re talking about the cleric issue,” sighs Elder Hales when asked. “It’s been a problem. We don’t want to send the wrong message about who we are, and what we believe. So you can understand why a cleric worshipping some pagan anvil god and being rewarded with divine powers would be concerning to us.”
For Mearls’ part, he didn’t see this one coming. “Dungeons & Dragons has always used a polytheistic system, in which players are allowed to use free agency to choose their own path of worship. In fact, some select few players eventually become gods in their own right. We were led to believe that this wouldn’t be an issue, but apparently it’s ‘touchy.'”
Still, small differences aside, both parties are confident they can move forward to make this partnership a true success.
“It’s important to remember that both our organizations share a similar goal,” says Elder Hales. “And that is providing everyday, unremarkable people with the means to choose illusion over despair.”