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D&D: The Stories That Sparked Decades Of Gaming – Prime

12 Minute Read
Sep 23 2020
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Have you ever wondered why you cast spells with "slots" or why dwarves are Scottish? The answers lie in the stories that inspired D&D.

When you play a game of D&D, certain "facts" seem to be self-evident. Things like elves shoot longbows and are good at hiding in nature. Dwarves wield hammers or axes, love beer, and are generally, Scottish. Meanwhile, barbarians have massive thews and little regard for the trappings of civilization, while wizards work powerful spells until they run out of magic, then they're about as useful as a moral compass on a politician in an election year. All of this illustrates a sort of pastiche that we might just brush off as "well that's fantasy..." and sure, it is fantasy of a sort. But it has its roots somewhere. These ideas, which many hold to be self-evident, don't describe every branch of fantasy out there.

While we can all agree wizards and elves have their place, one only need look at the works of authors like Ursula K Le Guin or Joan Aiken to find fantasy of a very different sort--even when it features wizards and dragons. Wizards become less fragile things, instead using mastery of names to work their wiles. And that's just...

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