Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is coming out at the end of March 2023, and it’s already getting rave reviews, so we thought now might be a good time to discuss Dungeons & Dragons as a whole!
First of all, as fans already know, it’s never “Dungeons and Dragons,” but always “Dungeons & Dragons,” with the ampersand (“Ampersand'' is the fancy vocabulary word for the symbol for “and.” You know- &) being a distinctive part of the name, especially in logos…and some awesome jewelry. That said, the abbreviations are both D&D and DnD, depending on if you want to go visually or phonetically.
In any case, Dungeons & Dragons was created by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax. Role playing games, usually involving wargaming, had been around for some time when Arneson created the game and setting Blackmoor, which was a new concept inspired by medieval fantasy and fiction such as the Conan Saga and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien (and many, many others.) He showed Blackmoor to his friend Gary Gygax, and the two used it as a springboard to create D&D. Dungeons & Dragons was first published in 1974 by a company Gygax founded for the purpose: Tactical Studies Rules, better known to the world as TSR, Inc.
Some of the things that made D&D unique was that it focused on the creation and playing as a unique individual character, as opposed to overseeing a battlefield strategy in other wargames, or, say, having the extent of your identity in Monopoly as being the dog or shoe. D&D went on to have a variety of revisions, including Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike most games, the goal was to roleplay adventures, with players generally collaborating instead of trying to defeat one another. While individual sessions, “campaigns,” and adventures might be won by, say, defeating a dragon and taking its gold or rescuing a princess from a tribe of goblins, there was never a single way to win the game itself. If you’ve never played- or watched Stranger Things- the game is run by a designated “Dungeon Master” (DM for short) who uses a premade adventure or creates a unique one. For lack of a better comparison, think of the dealer of a poker game but with more control and ways to change the game's details. The rest of the players each roleplay as their own character which may or may not be anything like the player’s real personality. The setting is generally sword and sorcery, so the action is about wizards, warriors, mazes, monsters, all those great alliterative pairs of words. While some player groups chose to have small figures and physical recreations of the action, often what the game looks like is several people around the corner, again, like poker players around a dealer, rolling dice around.
Ah yes, the dice. See, while the DM might have a fancy “screen” to hide secret information, the adventure might come from a well known commercial booklet or the DM’s own scribblings, the players may be nerdy kids or hipster collegiates, and there may or may not be custom painted lead figurines (or “miniatures”) being used, D&D was always about dice. The player may choose to slash a sword or use magic, but a roll of the dice determines how well it would work. The standard cubical 6-sided dice were indeed used, but so were 4, 8, 12, and the famed 20-sided dice.This is why the D20 is up there with the ampersand as a universal sign of D&D. If you want to do more with your D20 than just roll it, we have a Spinning D20 Keychain, a D20 Pendant, and an Interchangeable Charm Set withD20 Pendant.
For many of us who were tweens, teens, and young adults in the 1980’s, D&D became a way to connect with like minded folks and enter a world of fantasy that was more appealing than the harsh realities of the Cold War and school bullies. Unfortunately, D&D was also one of the targets of the bizarre and off-base “Satanic panic” of the time. Accusers ranged from Jack Chick- a social critic whose comic books seemed to accuse everything of Satanism- to mainstream depictions such as the CBS TV Movie Mazes and Monsters, in which a young Tom Hanks plays a thinly veiled proxy to D&D and loses touch with reality as a result. CBS apparently grew more open to fantasy within a year, as Dungeons & Dragons inspired a cartoon of the same name by Toei Animation, which ran on CBS from 1983-1985, back when Saturday Morning Cartoons were a cultural force to be reckoned with.
In 1997, TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast, which then became a part of Hasbro, the beloved toy and games giant. (We’ll leave it at that, this article is running off the rails as it is without a full history of the game on a corporate level.) Between then and now, there’s been several live action Dungeons & Dragons films:
- Dungeons and Dragons (2000) which is most fondly remembered for Jeremy Irons’ chewing the scenery.
- Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005) a direct-to-DVD feature, which is less known but has somewhat more of a cult following and more direct references to the game. There’s a fun episode of Good Bad Flicks about this one.
- Dungeons & Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness (2012) also direct-to-DVD, but specifically in the UK, so, say, even those of us who write about such topics for jewelry websites just learned about them.
And now: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves! With an all-star ensemble cast and (aside from the namesake) no ties to the three films above, the 2023 film takes place in the popular Forgotten Realms campaign setting, which has been part of D&D lore for decades. As of this writing, what we can tell you is mostly what’s already in the trailer. One thing worth noting is that stylistically, this seems in keeping with the more fun and less brooding sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero movies of the last decade. There’s even a Led Zeppelin score and Chris Pine! There’s quick glimpses of many other recognizable actors, but, and perhaps more importantly, many recognizable monsters! In addition to fantasy standards like giant spiders and dragons of various sorts and color, there’s D&D specific classics such as a Displacer Beast and an Owlbear!
Meanwhile, you can outfit yourself with a variety of our Officially Licensed Dungeons & Dragons items! We’ve got pendants, keychains, and assorted additional items featuring dice, ampersands, monsters and many more!
We have the Amulet of Health to keep you going, our Set of Hair Scrunchies to secure your locks before a battle, and a fearsome Dragon Statement Ring. We have the D20 items mentioned above, and if you’d like to rock the world’s coolest punctuation mark, we have this Ampersand Ring, and Ampersand Keychains in both metallic and iridescent forms!
So, get out your graph paper and miniatures, roll the dice, see the film, and get yourself some quality, officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons jewelry!