Escaping prison with D&D

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The fact that these inmates are using D&D to occupy their time and cope with jail points to incarceration being a punishment rather than rehabilitation. This is obvious of course, but i am certain that D&D and other activities could be used as a constructive tool to help inmates be more introspective and help them on their way to become better citizens down the line. Instead they are having to hide what they are doing, seems like a wasted opportunity to make something interesting and positive happen.


Some printings of the original Eric Holmes-edited version of Basic D&D came with paper chits (which you drew from a bag) instead of dice. Sounds like that might be a useful thing for gaming in prison. A bit of searching turned up an image of one of the uncut chit cards:

FYI for those not old enough/not into vintage editions of D&D, this is Holmes Basic (the box, and what came in it, from a printing that did include dice):

ETA: Having finally read the article, it does mention the D&D Basic chits. Homemade chits, along with spinners and playing cards, are mentioned as random number generators the prisoners use to get around bans on dice.


I still have my original blue d12 and my original green d8!


It wasn’t exactly prison, but in junior high back in 1976, before I could find any dice, I made some out of paper like that.

Also, a pencil makes a perfect 6-sided die; just mark the faces and roll away. In a pinch, you can use it for nearly any dN - for a d20, for example, roll first to reduce the result set to either 1-10 (on 1,2 or 3) or 11-20 (on 4,5 or 6), then roll again to halve that result set, and a one last roll (re-rolling if it’s 6) to get to the final result. Played D&D during class, furtively, using this method.


My wife and I both have that blue book. Mine had chits. Hers didn’t have dice or chits (mine was the USA version, hers was the UK version).

I actually played very little blue book D&D, I mostly ended up playing AD&D. Definitely a significant part of my childhood. And related games definitely a big part of my adulthood :wink:

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Chris Schwarz wrote an interesting article about another prison diversion, woodworking.

With very limited access to tools, the inmates come up with some inventive (and scary) ways to make projects.

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And I have your white d20. :wink:

Really interesting, i might have to see if i can find that original article the author was mentioning on that link

Every time I see something like this, I wonder at what point society will decide “Actually, the idea that prisoners not being 100% miserable 100% of the time is really galling to us, can we go back to handing out straight torture sentences again?”

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In some countries this is already a thing.

don’t worry, the TGOP, 45 and Beauregard Sessions are working on bringing those back

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