Escaping prison with D&D

"Escaping Prison with Dungeons & Dragons" is a moving, 10-minute documentary about prisoners who used tabletop role-playing games to survive their incarceration.

US prisons and jails increasingly ban D&D, a practice that the 7th Circuit court of appeals upheld in 2010.

When plastic dice are banned, a common work-around is to simply make one's own. Depending on the resources available, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to go about it.

For those with friends and family on the outside, the easiest way to get started is to ask a someone to send a dice template. A D6 template might get flagged in the mailroom, but a D20 template isn't likely to be something the CO's will recognize.

Joe, a former Massachusetts inmate went for the template approach: "We had origami dice patterns mailed in along with the trial 5th rules. Not having glue we had to improvise with the things we could get on canteen. Stickers on shampoo bottles are surprisingly useful. Maps were done on cardboard boxes we would get from inmate workers. On searches they would wreck our dice for gambling, so the templates were important."

When glue's not available, there are plenty of sticky alternatives that can be found in prison, like jam or toothpaste.

"Jail toothpaste is cheap and turns to glue when it dries," says Joe. May Holmes-Roys, who spent time in the Washington State Department of Corrections, used a similar process: "We made dice out of card stock, toothpaste, and toilet paper. Rigorously tested, rolled right 85% of the time."

How Inmates Play Tabletop RPGs in Prisons Where Dice Are Contraband
[Elisabeth de Kleer/Waypoint]

(Thanks, Mike Grace!)

(Thumbnail: Melvin Woolley-Bey)