A Brief History: “Dungeons and Dragons”

In today’s reboot culture, it’s not just TV and movies that are getting pulled off the shelves and dusted off. There has been a resurgence of the tabletop RPG (role-playing game) “Dungeons & Dragons” that has quickly spread throughout pop culture.

How did D&D first come about?

“Dungeons & Dragons” grew from a game called “Chainmail”, which was a game Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren, the founders of D&D, created because they wanted to pretend to be knights. It eventually evolved into the massive phenomenon that it is today.

When was D&D created?

In the early 1970s, Gary Gygax and Arneson decided to write down all of their experiences with tabletop gaming and make a new game.

Has D&D always been popular?

Absolutely not. There was an incident in 1979 where a student at Michigan State University was thought to have run into the University’s steam tunnels to live as though D&D were real. This rumor was quickly debunked, but society never quite recovered. A private investigator on the case wrote a book about it, which inspired another book, which was adapted to a made-for-TV movie called Mazes and Monsters. This is just one movie created with the goal of telling people D&D is bad.

Why is D&D making a comeback?

Now, this one is hard to answer. Pop culture is reviving every show and movie that has ever been watched, and it seems a safe bet to assume that this trend has bled over into other forms of entertainment. Additionally, with the popular rise of podcasts, a lot of people have combined D&D and podcasting as a means of telling stories. Some examples include The Adventure Zone and Critical Role.

Wait, wait, wait. D&D as a storytelling device?

Yep, you heard it here. D&D is an open-world experience where anything is possible. Getting a group of creative people together to play D&D is the perfect setup for an incredible story to be told.

How do I start playing?

First, find the materials you need to play. There is a basic rule kit that is available for free download at the Wizards of the Coast website. These rules are all you need to start playing. There are additional books available to supplement your adventuring, but they aren’t necessary to play.