The FBI gathered a list of D&D players as part of the Unabomber investigation, newly-published files reveal. The suggestion players were involved appears to have come from a particularly paranoid player.
The documents were published by the Muckrock site, which specializes in obtaining documents under the Freedom Of Information Act. They include a memo written in 1995 by the FBI’s San Francisco office and, under the title ‘Armed And Dangerous’, refer to a “list of players and peripheral players involved in a loosely knit group of individuals commonly referred to as ‘The Dungeons and Dragons Group.’”
The FBI gathered and kept a list of known players after visiting TSR Inc, then the publisher of D&D among other games.
Despite the name, the memos suggests the players were as much into war gaming as role playing. It describes war gamers as “generally extremely intelligent individuals” but adds that “the typical war gaming enthusiast is overweight and not neat in appearance.”
The FBI interest appears to have stem from an interview with a group member who “indicated that he is quite sure that some of the members of the group fantasized about the possibility that maybe one of their members was responsible for the bombings.”
The documents also note that “war gamers are very loyal to one another and interviewees should be selected carefully so that the investigation is not jeopardized.”
It doesn’t appear the FBI pursued the line of enquiry for long and the memos include some not-so-subtle suggestions that there was a high crossover between gaming enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists.