Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has been taking adventurers on epic dives into the Underdark and missions to save the world for the last 40 years. In this time we have seen changes to game rules, the creation of new worlds and races, and thousands of phenomenal pieces of art. All of this and much, much more was chronicled in the new Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History. Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer banded together to bring this extraordinary book to life. It features over 700 pieces of artwork from game modules, core books, supplement materials and some never before seen sketches. All of these work together to tell the history of such an iconic game.
To say that this book is anything other than simply remarkable would be a lie. The time and care that went into putting this book together can be seen on every page. The foreword was written by actor Joe Manganiello, who might just be the biggest D&D fan I have ever seen. His passion for not only the game but the culture really shines through as he remarks about his love for the Dragonlance Chronicles books and eventually being able to play the game with friends. While this type of book has been a thought in everyone’s mind, it isn’t until now that it has all come together and there has never been a more perfect time.
Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Virtual History continues to take you on a journey through time as the game grows from a simple paperback book to multi million player base. Each chapter touches on a piece of history including each edition, the fall of TSR and the rise of Wizards of the Coast to present day. The construction of the book is sturdy and full of vibrant colors and information to keep you reading. For me, a late comer to the D&D fandom, it was the history I have been waiting to read. It was truly amazing to see how far the game has come in less than half a century and how it made its way from the basements of players to a amass a fan base of over 40 million people.
However, what made this book truly incredible was the moment I showed it to my mom. Growing up and even when I started playing myself, she would talk about her childhood and sitting around and playing with her friends. Watching her turn through the pages and remembering all the fun she had and pointing out different adventures and talking about things her group did was priceless in my eyes. To me this is one of the most important parts of the D&D culture, being able to share those memories with the ones you love. It was through those who truly love this culture and game that brought this book to life.
Do I recommend Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History? Of course! For even the smallest D&D fan, this book is an adventure unto itself waiting to take people on a trip through time. Go out and get it. Read it yourself over and over. Share it with your friends and family. Experience what the culture has become with those who truly love the game as well.
You can pick up your copy of Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History now for $50 through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also available is a deluxe edition which includes special packaging with a design by Hydro74. It also includes special posters that are ready to be framed and a pamphlet size version of the original Tomb of Horrors written by Gary Gygax himself. The Deluxe Edition will run you $125.
Reprinted with permission from Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson and Sam Witwer, copyright (c) 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.
Images copyright © by Wizards of the Coast LLC