Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Book update: Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons

I am happy to announce the upcoming publication of the book chapter "'Dr. Holmes, I Presume?' How a California Neurology Professor Penned the First Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set," co-authored with Zach "Zenopus" of Zenopus Archives. It will be published in Fifty Years of Dungeons & Dragons, scheduled for release on May 14, 2024.

This 392 page tome features 20 chapters by a variety of authors about the history, influence, and the future of Dungeons & Dragons, complete with black and white illustrations by C. Liersch. I am happy to be sharing contributor credits with the likes of Jon PetersonGary Alan FineAaron Trammell, and Amanda Cote. The retail price of $35.00 is downright reasonable for an peer-reviewed work of this size. See the book now at the MIT Press website: https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262547604/fifty-years-of-idungeons-and-dragonsi/

Our chapter revolves around the life of Dr. J. Eric Holmes and the strange set of circumstances that led this unlikely medical professor from California who had never played a wargame to be the first to author a revision to the original D&D rules for TSR. This is also a history of role-playing games in California, especially the Los Angeles and San Francisco communities, which spawned many varied ways to play in the "California gaming" scene. These are the waters of creation from which rose Runequest, Arduin, Alarums & Excursions, The Manual of Aurania, Warlock, and more, not to mention terms like "dungeon master" and the dice notation system (d8, 2d6, d100, etc.) that we all take for granted.

Early California gaming is a subject that I've written about here on this blog:

California Gaming Part I - Steve Perrin

California Gaming Part II - Erol Otus

I am currently teaching a History of Role-Playing Games course at Drexel University and presented a special lecture based on our chapter.

Don't miss my co-author Zenopus and his take on our chapter at the Zenopus Archives blog: