My name is Osye E. Pritchett III (pronounced Oh-Sea). I am a Christian and a gamer. This is my story (abridged).
To start I would like to affirm that I believe in God. I believe in the Incarnation; that is, I believe that God became man in the person of Jesus. Wholly God. Wholly man. I believe in His death and resurrection.
Contrary to many of our co-religionists, I also believe that it is acceptable to play role-playing games, even the dreaded game Dungeons and Dragons.
I was born in 1970, and was raised in various Pentecostal churches and denominations. Most of my schooling was in private schools, predominantly Baptist schools. As an aside I want to point out that going to Pentecostal churches and attending Baptist private schools is a great way to confuse a young child.
I have attended a plethora of churches across the U.S., east coast to west coast, from non-denominational to Anglican to Methodist (I am currently visiting an Anglican church). Throughout these experiences I have made a casual study of the teachings of quite a few denominations, finding many areas of agreement between them. These areas of agreement have encouraged me to support communication, communion, and love between the believers of different confessions. As it says in John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
My faith began sometime in the mid 70’s, when I was about 5 or 6. We were at church, if I remember correctly, and I had this moment of clarity, where I realized that I believed. You see, as a child I had always believed what my parents told me, but in this fuzzy moment, this childish epiphany, I was independent of the blind faith that I had in my parents. I realized that I believed in God; I didn’t just believe in what my parents told me, but personally and fervently, I had my own faith in Jesus.
Through the mid to late 70’s I discovered what would become a couple of my favorite shows, Star Trek and Doctor Who, I also found other greats like Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Blake’s 7. At this time my reading also began to change, from the dog and horse stories I had read up till then, to books like The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia. I will be forever grateful to my best friend and his mom, who introduced me to, and provided me with, many of the early Fantasy and Sci-Fi books I read.
In the year 1980 I started playing D&D. I was introduced to the game, again by my best friend (who 43 years on is still my best friend). Dungeons and Dragons was exciting, fun, and innocent. I had no idea of the impending Satanic Panic nor how it would impact me personally.
I believe it was 1982 or ‘83 when my mom began to turn against D&D, she already didn’t allow us to listen to rock ‘n’ roll, unless it was an approved act from the‘50’s or 60’s. And she began curtailing the books I could read. Between her and the churches we attended I was getting an earful about the evil and dangers of D&D, Rock and Roll, and Fantasy stories. For a long time I had a serious guilt complex whenever I would game, believing in spite of the clear evidence and my own experiences, that gaming was wrong, a sin. But I kept gaming, rationalizing it to myself, feeling unnecessarily guilty, but still having fun, sometimes.
Eventually, due to this indoctrination, my feelings of guilt drove me to quit gaming. I would quit for a season, only to come back to it a few months later. This cycle continued from my teens through my mid 20’s, when I came to the realization that, like many other things in life, gaming is not evil. Instead it can be used for good or for evil, it depends on what you do with the hobby. Do you show kindness to your fellow gamers? Do you welcome people who are different than you to your gaming table? Do you speak up when you see others being excluded?
It was also during this time that I met my current gaming group. We were all in our late teens or early twenties, and quite a few of us ended up living together, or in the same apartment complex. At any given time half or more of us would be unemployed, but we always made time to game. And we gamed a lot. We would have several campaigns going at any given time so that we could match the available gamers to an ongoing campaign. It was normal for us to game daily, often 2 or 3 different games a day. This went on for several years, and we all look back on this period as a golden age of gaming for us.
In my late twenties I got married and had two children, and it became difficult to game for a period. But I kept on working on my game ideas, building worlds, creating characters, and devising house rules to fix games I perceived as broken. For several years money was real tight, and we struggled from day to day, but with God’s grace, and the help of family and friends, we got through it.
In my early thirties I started a 3rd edition D&D campaign (right after it was released) set in a world and universe that we had been collaborating on for 5 or 6 years. The sessions were 2 or 3 times a week, so not as frequent as we once gamed, but a pretty good rhythm for about 2 and a half years. In this campaign I was able to take the characters from childhood to adult (into epic levels no less) in an Epic Good Guy Game that solidified the world we were creating, such that it is still our go to world for when we are going to play a fantasy game.
Between this game and me making better money I was able to restore my gaming habit—a habit that has encompassed over 60 RPG systems, and has taken me to conventions like Chupacabracon in Austin and GenCon in Indianapolis, a habit that has filled my shelves with book after book, my bags with a multitude of dice, and my life with a lot of joy.
These days, I game, usually on Saturday nights, with several friends from that gaming group. We have two programmers (one would be me), a lawyer who provides prosecution services to small municipalities, a nurse who provides end of life care, and a freelance writer and game designer who has written for a number of systems/settings, including Shadowrun, Iron Kingdoms, and Vampire. I and some of my game group are also involved with various podcasts on the Shadowcasters Network. I participate in the Earthdawn Actual Play podcast “Legends of Earthdawn”.
To wrap up this short, but rambling, introduction, I would like to pray the blessings of God’s on you all. May you experience God’s grace and may you have joyful games! 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”