New Book Sheds Light on the History and Culture of Dungeons & Dragons

New Book Sheds Light on the History and Culture of Dungeons & Dragons

of dice and men

Forbes Senior Editor David Ewalt shows how the first RPG in history has had a permanent and lasting impact on not only gaming, but our culture as a whole.

Of all the games created in the last century, Dungeons & Dragons has arguably had the most impact. It spawned a generation of individuals who sought out a world different from our own, and created one of the first recognizable nerd subcultures of the modern day. With over thirty million active fans, it's hard to argue that the game hasn't had an impact on our geek culture. Though D&D players are often demonized as hopeless nerds, the fact that most people are aware of that reputation goes to show the depth at which the game has become engrained in our culture. In his brand new book, Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt explains the importance of this impact, as well as the history of Dungeons & Dragons and how the game has defined a generation of RPGs, and our increasingly global culture.

Of Dice and Men delves into the game's origins and history, exploring the historical influences for the game, as well as the history of the game itself, including the mid-80's panic over the game's relationship with Satanic rituals and teen suicide. Ewalt digs deeper than simply cataloguing the game's history, though. He explores how D&D has permanently changed the way that people think about games, and how the game's impact could be greater than anyone might have anticipated.

The book is currently available in hard and softcover, as well as digital e-book. Clearly a man who understands his audience, Ewalt has also included a limited time offer in which consumers who order multiple copies of the hardcover version of the book will receive special rewards, including a D&D module written by Ewalt, a digital copy of the Adventurer Conqueror King System (a classic-style RPG), or even a privately run D&D game for up to ten players. The book is on sale for $16.00 in hardcover, or just $10.00 for a digital copy. The offer expires at 11:59 on August 22nd, so if this sounds like your kind of deal, make sure to act quickly.

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I usually don't read nonfiction books like this, but it sounds pretty damn interesting. It's kind of sad that recent iterations of D&D haven't been living up to the legacy. Other systems like Pathfinder are proving more popular these days (and for good reason). Hopefully D&D Next turns out well.

Fappy:
I usually don't read nonfiction books like this, but it sounds pretty damn interesting. It's kind of sad that recent iterations of D&D haven't been living up to the legacy. Other systems like Pathfinder are proving more popular these days (and for good reason). Hopefully D&D Next turns out well.

WotC didn't know what they were getting into, I think. There's a reason the 3-3.5-4E gap was so short and that we're already looking at 5E coming very soon.

The reason Pathfinder is so popular though is pretty simple. D&D 3E made some serious changes to D&D (like eliminating THAC0, and higher armor classes being better rather than lower ones) but largely retained the general "feel" of D&D. A lot of people saw 3.5 as a cash grab, because it came so much more quickly than any other edition upgrade and changed things just enough to cause compatibility issues. 4E was something else entirely though, and it doesn't "feel" like D&D at all -- I think it would have had a *much* better reception as a game if they didn't try to call it D&D, because it was radically different enough that it wasn't just the grognards shouting it down -- it was much of the community. Pathfinder is essentially an iteration on 3.5 -- it's a bit different and solves several of the major issues 3.5 had, but it's still recognizable -- it still "feels" like D&D.

Arcana Unearthed/Evolved was another take on the same kind of thing, and to a certain extent I actually prefer significant parts of where they diverged from standard D&D logic -- particularly the magic system built on unified spell lists, descriptors, and the idea that magic is magic the distinction is in how you learn to wield it.

One thing I don't like about D&D is how much you need to keep track of everything. So much needed paper...

However, that's what lends it its beauty. The game is designed to accommodate any decision that you want to make.

I also don't like having to follow to a set of official rules for D&D too much. I find free-forming it to be much more fun.

Arnoxthe1:
One thing I don't like about D&D is how much you need to keep track of everything. So much needed paper...

However, that's what lends it its beauty. The game is designed to accommodate any decision that you want to make.

I also don't like having to follow to a set of official rules for D&D too much. I find free-forming it to be much more fun.

There are a lot of tabletop variations with less strict rules, table-talk games might be a thing to google. And using a tablet to keep track of all your character information can be really helpful.

OT: This sounds pretty interesting, might check it out when I finish with the other mountain of media I have in the wait line.

Fappy:
I usually don't read nonfiction books like this, but it sounds pretty damn interesting. It's kind of sad that recent iterations of D&D haven't been living up to the legacy. Other systems like Pathfinder are proving more popular these days (and for good reason). Hopefully D&D Next turns out well.

believe it or not, there is a Pony for Pathfinder module that is being funded on Kickstarter.

Yes.

My Little Pony meets Pathfinder.

While D&D is the most well known pen and paper RPG system, there are better ones. GRUPS comes to mind often.

 

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