Monday, August 20, 2012

The D&D Documentary looks to explore the foundations of gaming, turns to Kickstarter for help

When it comes to old school geek cred, playing a tabletop game of Dungeons & Dragons is the grand daddy of all trump cards. Rightfully considered by many to be the birth of roleplaying games as we known them, the origins of D&D and its oddly shaped gaming dice is shrouded in legend and mystery.

A new documentary is looking to change all of that. Titled Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary (or D&D: AD) and helmed by veteran filmmakers Andrew Pascal, Anthony Savini, and James Sprattley, the documentary looks to present the origins of Dungeons & Dragons while examining its influence on the modern world. Unfortunately, making films isn't cheap and so they have turned to Kickstarter to drum up support for the project.

But is there really enough material in the history of Dungeons & Dragons to merit a documentary in the first place?

With any luck, the documentary will not mention that *other* D&D movie...

The short answer is 'very yes'. Like so much Facebook, or Apple before it, the history of Dungeons & Dragons features innovation on a global scale, the establishment of an iconic brand, and the eventual betrayal of one of its creators by the business that sprung up around the idea. Focusing on the creation of D&D in the early 1970s and paying close attention to the way in which Gary Gygax - the game's grand creator - was forced out of his own company in the 1980s, the documentary has plenty of fodder to make its tale interesting.

Although the story sounds familiar to The Social Network, D&D:AD was not thankfully written by Aaron Sorkin. If it was, Dragons would steal Dungeons' idea (and possibly girlfriend), ruin its life, and realize at the very culmination of its financial success that it had a giant, Dungeons-sized hole in its heart all along. Also, the dialog would be way faster and there'd probably be some gratuitous nudity thrown in for good measure.

Because Sorkin is not attached to the project, Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary looks pretty well grounded in fact and reality:

I sincerely hope that this project comes to fruition. MMOs like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XI would not exist without the influence of Dungeons & Dragons. LARPing and LARP girls would be the fever dreams of a mad man if Gygax and his friends never scrawled out dungeon maps on graph paper in the cold Wisconsion winters of the 1970s. In short, the debt modern geeks owe to D&D is nothing short of huge.

Let's hope this movie rolls a 20 for crowdsourced funding.

(banner image source: Dead Gentlemen Productions)