Why should someone who doesn't do AD&D read all this stuff?"

Firstly, if you don't do AD&D, why not? It's good fun, and there's bound to be someone near you (unless you live in Ulan Bator) who plays, and can lend you their books to have a look at. If you want to buy the books, they're available from many good shops. In the UK, Virgin Megastores are the highest-profile retailers. The books are not cheap, but you don't need all the ones you're told you do, and they're a worthwhile investment.

If you've heard the slanderous rumours that AD&D is either a religion or a form of Satanism, you'd be a fool to believe them. I don't know who came up with the idea it's a religion, but the Winnipeg Bible College seem to think it is. As to Satanism and Paganism, yes, some Satanists and Pagans play AD&D. They also shop in Safeway, smoke cigarettes and do 101 other things that people who consider themselves 'normal' do. AD&D has got no Satanistic or Pagan content, and is not a form of worship. It's a game. I, along with every other poor soul who plays this game, wish that the American religious right would just get a grip on reality. It is they, not we, who are so far immersed in a fantasy world that they don't know reality when they see it. Of course, they say, AD&D is Satanic. Not that any of them can prove this, as none of them have read the books. On the other hand, God obviously created the world in six days, and the Bible, with all its contradictions, is verbatim the word of God. Obviously. Don't get me wrong. I am a practising Christian myself, and I love the church. But just as most AD&D players don't sacrifice goats in their kitchens, most Christians are not lunatic fundamentalists.

Finally, if you still don't play AD&D, and are wondering why you're reading this at all, this is what I have to say: Planescape is not all about dice and statistics. It is about philosophy, and belief, and is probably the most grown-up fantasy setting ever. It's not grown up to play at cybervampires or whatever the latest craze is. Intellectual thought is. And besides all which, I hope that you will like the creative work that my friends and I produce. A work of fiction takes care to produce, no matter what the context. Read, laugh, cry, be impressed. And if you do stumble on a statistic hiding somewhere, ignore it. It's like the computer graphs on the TV news that you always ignore. :)

Alex Roberts 1997