In 1974 Dungeons and Dragons launched the first of its kind tabletop roleplaying adventure game. This year Dungeons and Dragons celebrates its 40th birthday. The geniuses behind the beloved role playing game are Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was designed so each player could immerse themselves in a world of magic and fantasy. A place where the shy or social outcast could overcome the odds and lead their band of created misfits to victory. Granted that is if your character had the stats and rolled a critical hit and hoped to high heaven the Dungeon Master (DM) didn’t roll a 20 when they checked the non-player character (NPC) for spell resistance.This year marks the 40th anniversary for the popular role playing game. With that, the game’s publisher Wizards of the Coast will be releasing a module with an all new storyline, Tyranny of Dragons, this summer. The news of the release is sure to please the many hard core table top gamers everywhere.
A look back to the early 1980’s sparked plenty of controversy for the world of role playing and Dungeons and Dragons. Many parents and religious groups saw the fantasy game not as a social network or a gathering of friends, but believed it to be Satanic or thought to be involved in the occult. In 1979 James Egbert lll, a child genius disappeared from his college dorm room at the Michigan State University. Although the teen suffered from drug addiction and mental illness, his parents believed his actions were the result of playing D&D. Later in 1980, the young man committed suicide. A high school student who had engaged in playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1982 also died from suicide whose mother believed was a result of a curse that had been put on him during role play. As a result of the tragedy of James Egbert, the novel Mazes and Monster came into the spotlight, sparking a movie with the same title starring a young Tom Hanks. The views of playing Dungeons and Dragons have changed since the early years of the game. It is now more regarded as being a game for geeks rather than occult activity. After 40 years of celebrating, Dungeons and Dragons still remain the founding influence of all other fantasy gameplay.
Over the years, the megahit adventure game has paved the way for the modern RPG game. Such hits as Baldur’s Gate and World of Warcraft has immersed millions of users into a world that was once only lived within the walls of their imagination. It has also helped spawn other table top adventure games such as White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade, which gives players the opportunity to be different clan members of the feared and alluring vampire. Along with Changeling: The Dreaming and Werewolf: The Apocalypse both published by White Wolf. So rejoice fellow Dungeons and Dragons lovers everywhere! Grab your DM and gather your circle of elves, mages, bards, rogues and barbarians. Set off on a new adventure and celebrate your favorite pastimes 40th anniversary of gameplay. Get ready to reunite and dive into the mystic wonder of magic and might that Wizards has put in place and overcome the evil that lurks in your world of Dungeons and Dragons.
By Melissa Monk