is a Discipleship role playing game designed to help teach Christian
leadership and help Christians learn more about the scriptures and
Christian life. The game was originally developed in the early
1980s by Dick Wulf and achieved some modest initial success.
This success was short lived, however, as DragonRaid became a victim
of some well meaning but mistaken Christian organizations that
condemned it as having evil content.
Those that used the
game claimed that it was an extremely effective way of reaching
youth with the message of the Bible. A few of these kept the
game alive over the years, trying to re-vitalize the game as a
discipling tool. Lately, this group has formed a presence on
the web and are working on a "2nd edition," trying to
improve upon the initial game while maintaining the integrity and
intent of the original. The entire contents of the game system
can be found on the web. The 2nd edition rules are planned to
be published on the web as well.
The game itself is a
straight forward and simple role playing experience. Avid
gamers of RPGs will immediately recognize the medieval setting,
complete with evil dragons, trolls and goblins. However,
instead of killing creatures to rob them of their gold and precious
objects, the goal of the game is to spread the good news of the
OverLord of Many Names.
The OverLord of Many
Names represents Jesus in the fictional world in which this game is
set. It's very much an allegory of the Christian life.
Most things represent real Christian counterparts. Demons are
represented by Dragons, sins are represented by evil monsters.
Humans, however, are represented as fallen creatures needing
redemption. Players are not allowed to kill humans. Instead
they must try to bring the fallen humans to salvation.
The game uses
scripture memorization as a source of spiritual power. It does
not have magic, per say, even though it occasionally throws in
elements that might be considered magical. In nearly all
cases, however, that magic is represented as being evil and
associated with sin, oppressive behaviors and bad
consequences. Scripture is used to break the power of sin and
fight demons. It is also used to help the players (called
LightRaiders) accomplish their goals.
The goals for the
LightRaiders is something that sets itself apart from many other
similar games. The goals for a LightRaider "Raid" in
the DragonLands is to accomplish some good deed, such as rescuing a
lost soul, helping a fellow LightRaider, retrieving a stolen object,
bringing a message of redemption and hope to a group of oppressed
humans, helping defeat the evil intentions of the demon dragons,
The LightRaiders must
accomplish this in a world that's hostile to the very notion of a
LightRaider and under the control of the dragons. In short,
it's a hostile place out there and from time to time words aren't
enough and the player must do direct battle with the
Battle in DragonRaid
consists of two things, spiritual battle and physical battle.
Spiritual battle is accomplished using the character's knowledge of
the scriptures (called WordRunes) in an appropriate and convincing
manner against the arguments of the Dragons or the
Sin-Monsters. The LightRaiders (the characters run by the
players) must resist using their strengths in the fruits of the
Spirit. Failure in this kind of battle results in the player
being spiritually damaged or overcome by a sin enchantment that must
be broken by the other LIghtRaiders using WordRunes or other means.
Most creatures start
out trying to overcome LightRaiders in a spiritual battle. If
that fails, the monsters will generally try to use the point of
their weapon to remove the LightRaiders as a threat to their
plans. Some monsters don't bother to argue with the
LightRaiders at all and will try to kill them on-sight. At
this point the players engage in physical combat. This
involves the throwing of some dice and the application of damage
that results in the defeat of the monsters or the death of the
Such a death
represents (in the DragonRaid allegory) a martyr's death. In
this eventuality, the LightRaider joins the OverLord of Many Names
in heaven. This is done in a separate module at the end of the
adventure and is a mini adventure in itself allowing players to
explore what heaven might be like for the faithful.
As a game system,
there is nothing overly remarkable about DragonRaid. It's rather
basic and simple in its approach. And yet, it's this
simplicity of approach that has been its strength. By avoiding
the complexity of the more modern RPGs, DragonRaid makes itself very
accessible by beginners to this type of game. There are a few
"advanced" rules but they are not complete enough to give
the game the depth that experience roleplayers often desire.
The 2nd edition is expected to address some of these concerns but
the game, itself, will remain relatively basic.
But the goal of
DragonRaid wasn't to be the most complex, in depth roleplaying
experience out there. It was intended to be a platform to
instruct people about the Bible, Christian living and Christian
leadership. In this it has proven to be very effective
according to those who've used it in this manner. This writer
has seen bashful teens boldly witnessing to an in-game character and
avidly memorizing scripture to help them get through the next
So, should you go out
and get a copy of DragonRaid? If an effective discipling game
is what you're looking for then we think you can't do any better
than DragonRaid. If you want a complex and in-depth
roleplaying experience, you might be better served to check out one
of the other roleplaying systems available for Christians.
forward, fun and effective as a discipling game.
It's simple approach may turn off those wanting a more in-depth or realistic
If complexity and depth of game play are not your primary concern,
this one is a winner.
Young teens through adults.
Sense (CS): 4
Mechanics (GM): 3.5
Play (GP): 4