Sunday, January 26, 2014
40 Years of Dungeons & Dragons
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the original release of Dungeons & Dragons. That's a pretty momentous milestone for a game that has had such a tremendous impact on fantasy, gaming and the imagination.
If you haven't watched Jon Peterson's A History of D&D in 12 Treasures yet, you owe it to yourself to watch it today. His blog post details the things he shows in the video, including what he is calling the "Mornard fragments," recently uncovered copies of the pre-publication D&D rules that Mike Mornard took from Lake Geneva to Minneapolis. They seem to put to rest a lot of the textual questions floating around.
It's also amazing to consider that D&D leapt like fire from a wizard's fingertips once it was exposed to actual people. Within 5 years, you had such a wealth of material and diversity that one game no longer held it all, and D&D itself had given way to AD&D. That box, with its three little brown booklets, in its way contained a kind of magic. It let a genie out of the bottle, and what way hasn't that genie gone since? Novels, video games, movies would not be the same if D&D hadn't blazed its trail. The RPG industry wouldn't exist, and I doubt whether you'd have several of the most popular miniatures or trading card games today without it. A tremendous impact for a game about exploring ancient ruins.
What we do as gamers and fantasy geeks today owes a tremendous amount to the guys who played their games and hand-assembled boxes in a basement 40 years ago. It's worth taking a moment to reflect on it, and if you can't play, to at least roll a 20-sider (preferably one numbered 0-9 twice).