Art and Arcana collects artwork from across D&D’s 40+ year history–but this massive tome is so much more than just a collection of art. It’s history and ideas and everything that makes the game great.
Dungeons and Dragons has more than forty years of history. From its humble origins as a fantasy wargame that took players inside dungeons throughout the lands of Greyhawk and Blackmoor and the minds of figures like Arneson and Gygax, to classic dungeons like the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and the Tomb of Horrors–all the way to 5th Edition, with its Doomvaults and classic dungeons like the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and the Tomb of Horrors… well history repeats itself. Repeats, iterates, and evolves.
And you can see it all inside Art and Arcana, because this book, lovingly assembled by
To its explorations of now-infamous Dungeons like the Palace of the Silver Princess, which is probably the only adventure ever to have been recalled the day it was released. And, according to some of the facts you can find in Art and Arcana, there was a standing order to destroy any copy of it.
Art and Arcana is chock full of stuff like this. It captures the whole enchilada, shebang, bowl of fruit–pick a metaphor, this book is big enough for all of it.
And it’s beautiful enough for all of it too. Because this book is written and assembled by people who love D&D. It shows in the way they’ve curated not just a bunch of fantastic art, but picked some to highlight as Artist Favorites, and pulled aside relevant little stories to add flavor to what we’re seeing.
It shows in the way they’ll gather monsters who have changed throughout the editions. In the way that art has, in the way that we think about the game. They don’t just show you an era, they contextualize the history and the historicity of the book. It shows you the face D&D tried to present to the world, and the face of D&D as the world saw it at the time.
They’ll address things like the satanic panic and the controversy about 4th Edition (and say what you will, it had some of the best art).
All of it to try and capture the whole picture of Dungeons and Dragons. This book is a must for any collector, gamer, or fantasy art enthusiast (and I strongly suspect that all three of those are synonymous). When you read it, it’s stepping back to the past, but it’s not just looking around and going “ugh old game design and art that’s the worst.” No instead you’re stepping back to not just get the look of D&D but the feel of it.
And for a game that has so much to offer, this book is a great reminder that even if you think you know everything there is to know, there’s always something new to discover.
BoLS cannot recommend this book hard enough. Enjoy.
An illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the beloved role-playing game told through the paintings, sketches, illustrations, and visual ephemera behind its creation, growth, and continued popularity.
From one of the most iconic game brands in the world, this official Dungeons & Dragons illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the brand, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. Inside the book, you’ll find more than seven hundred pieces of artwork—from each edition of the core role-playing books, supplements, and adventures; as well as Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; and classic advertisements and merchandise; plus never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with Dungeons & Dragons.
The superstar author team gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collections of top collectors, as well as the designers and illustrators who created the distinctive characters, concepts, and visuals that have defined fantasy art and gameplay for generations. This is the most comprehensive collection of D&D imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.