While it did not set out to rectify the gender imbalance in gaming, Dungeons & Dragons opened the door just enough to let women gamers in. TSR’s early efforts to include women explicitly in its fantasy games sometimes did more harm than good, but the foremost rule of role-playing games is that gamers are free to innovate, to vary the system to suit their needs. Both men and women have since used these tools to invent and enjoy their own adventures, both through Dungeons & Dragons and the many games it influenced.Jon Peterson looks at the history of female gamers and how Dungeons & Dragons was so much more successful at getting women to play than earlier war and fantasy games. (For those interested in the early history of roleplaying Peterson's blog may be of interest.)
How Dungeons and Dragons is endorsing the darkest parts of the RPG community "Three weeks ago the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons came out. D&D is the iconic tabletop role playing game, so a new edition is a big deal. It’s one of the few times that the small, insular pen and paper community gets noticed by the rest of the world. Many game websites have talked about it, notably Polygon’s piece on gender inclusive language. Yet at the same time as D&D tries to appeal to those outside the gender binary, it has been driving them away by employing two of the most toxic personalities in tabletop gaming." [more inside]
For certain writers, especially those raised in the 1970s and ’80s, all that time spent in basements has paid off. D&D helped jump-start their creative lives. When he was an immigrant boy growing up in New Jersey, the writer Junot Díaz said he felt marginalized. But that feeling was dispelled somewhat in 1981 when he was in sixth grade. He and his buddies, adventuring pals with roots in distant realms — Egypt, Ireland, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — became “totally sucked in,” he said, by a “completely radical concept: role-playing,” in the form of Dungeons & Dragons. [more inside]
"This [129 question] survey will determine your ability scores, fantasy race, class, alignment, and character level describing what you would be if you were transformed into a Dungeons and Dragons character."
Jason Thompson (previously on Metafilter), an Eisner nominee who writes about manga and draws comics based on H.P. Lovecraft stories, has created wonderful cartoon maps of some classic Dungeons and Dragons modules. [more inside]
Can playing Dungeons & Dragons make you a more confident and successful person? The PBS Idea Channel posits that playing pen-and-paper role-playing games helps to develop valuable life skills such as problem solving, people management, and abstract thinking.
How to Host a Dungeon is a solitaire pen-and-paper game in which you create an underground complex of rooms, populate them with various fantasy races and monsters, and simulate its history. At almost any time you can stop and have the basis for a D&D campaign. Here's a YouTube playthrough of a game: Part 1 - Part 2 [more inside]
If you enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons or similar fantasy RPGs, or if you just like reading in-depth analysis of fictional worlds, then the Tome of Awesome [pdf] is for you. [more inside]
You've finally gotten over your geek self-loathing, and you've decided to jump back into playing tabletop, pen-and-paper RPGs. But where to begin? [more inside]
Got a question about old-school Dungeons and Dragons? Perhaps you should consult this database of questions and answers from Dragon Magazine's "Sage Advice" column.
The Microsoft Surface was the subject of much ridicule. When Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade had the chance to sit down with one at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center, known colloquially as the ETC, they saw potential for the Surface to become an amazing tool for Dungeons and Dragons tabletop gaming. They offered some suggestions to the team, and months later, SurfaceScapes is the result. Video. [more inside]
Interview with Jon Schindehette, senior art director at Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons. See more fantasy art at his blog, ArtOrder.
If geeks talked about cookbooks the way they talk about RPG books, the results would not be pretty.
DM of the Rings (comic). The Lord of the Rings if it were a Dungeons and Dragons game. [more inside]
Fashion comes and goes, but art that might have come from the side of a van is forever. The cover artists from Dragon magazine, a staple of my pimply years, all have websites now, from Keith Parkinson to the ghastly Clyde Caldwell to Larry Elmore (who is putting his old Dragon comic, SnarfQuest, online). The grand master of bodacious barbarian babe art, Frank Franzetta, has a site, too. Relive your adolescence through gleaming swords, vanquished dragons, and hyperdefined musculature! (Warning: Not all pictures are work-safe.)