FBI investigated a group of Dungeons and Dragons players as part of the Unabomber case

Bureau noted that the loosely-knit group of gamers were “armed and dangerous,” as well as “overweight and not neat in appearance.”

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Beryl Lipton

FBI files released to CJ Ciaramella reveal that the Bureau investigated a group of Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) players as potential leads in the Unabomber case. A 1995 memo from the San Francisco office notes that the loosely-knit group of gamers were “armed and dangerous.”

As background, the memo goes on to summarize an earlier interview with an employee of DnD’s former publisher TSR, which gave an extremely abbreviated introduction to role-playing and war gaming…

an even briefer description of DnD’s history…

and a rather harsh description of role-players and war gamers as “exceptionally intelligent individuals” who were often “overweight and not neat in appearance.”

The memo ends with a list, not included in the file, of “known members of the Dungeons and Dragons.”

As for why the FBI might have thought that twenty-sided die had anything to do with the Unabomber, a heavily redacted section of the file offers some context - prior to the memo, the Bureau had interviewed a member of the group, who indicated there had been a spat of paranoid accusations regarding the bombings. One of those accusations had apparently made it to the Bureau, possibly through contacts established during an earlier investigation.

The case doesn’t go any further in the file, and though there’s no formal closing memo, the release letter mentioned certain portions were missing. Read the file embedded below, or on the request page.


Image by Rocco Pier Luigi via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0