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Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
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.
FINALIST FOR THE HUGO AWARD • FINALIST FOR THE LOCUS AWARD • NOMINATED FOR THE DIANA JONES AWARD
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.
About the Author
MICHAEL WITWER is the author of the critically acclaimed Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons, a GeekDad Best Book of 2015. Michael is widely considered an expert on D&D history and has spoken on the topic at Google as part of its Google Talks series, on NPR's All Things Considered, as well as at major book and gaming conventions such as the Boston Book Festival, Gen Con, and Origins.
KYLE NEWMAN is a writer/director whose directorial work includes Fanboys written by Ernie Cline, starring Kristen Bell and Seth Rogen; Barely Lethal, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Jessica Alba; and music videos for artists including Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Newman also produced the critically acclaimed documentary Raiders: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made. His clients include Microsoft, Interscope Records, Starz, Coca Cola, Entertainment Weekly, and Lucasfilm.
JON PETERSON is a widely recognized authority on the history of games. His book Playing at the World was called "the first serious history of the development of Dungeons & Dragons" by The Village Voice. He has contributed to academic anthologies on games including Zones of Control and the forthcoming Role-playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations. Jon also writes for gaming and geek culture websites including BoingBoing, the Escapist, and GamaSutra, as well as his popular RPG history blog, playingattheworld.blogspot.com.
SAM WITWER is an actor whose work includes leading roles in the SyFy series Being Human, for which he was nominated for a Gemini Award, and the Star Wars Saga, where he brings various characters to life in video games, film, and television—including an Emmy-nominated performance as the voice of Darth Maul. He has also been featured on Once Upon a Time, Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Stephen King’s The Mist, and Dexter. He has been an avid Dungeons & Dragons player since age 11.
“This tome invites the reader through every stage of the evolution of this wonderful game, engaging with incredible art, enlightening photos, and insightful anecdotes that both inform and inspire. Whether you got to experience the birth of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and want to relive that origin spark, or are new to the community and would love to adventure through the visual chronicle of its past, present, and future... I cannot recommend this book enough.”
—Matthew Mercer, Dungeon Master of Critical Role
“This is the most comprehensive, mind-blowing visual history ever created about DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Beyond the iconic artwork featured on nearly every page, the book actually serves as a complete history of the entire D&D universe. Both fans of the game and newcomers will be completely blown away by the countless hours of research and passion put into this book. There’s truly nothing else out there like it.”
—Adam F. Goldberg, creator of The Goldbergs
“This is the definitive collection of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS artwork we’ve been waiting for all of our lives! The images contained in this book will instantly transport you back to your childhood, and conjure up memories of long forgotten adventures shared with old friends around the gaming table. This tome is an essential addition to every lifelong D&D fan's home library. Buy a copy right now—or make me a saving throw versus Death Magic!”
—Ernie Cline, author of Ready Player One
“DUNGEONS & DRAGONS has shaped the imaginations of millions around the world since its conception. This visual exploration delving into where it all began is a must-read for both dedicated veterans and new enthusiasts alike. A passionate homage from the biggest fans in the industry!”
—Maude Garrett, TV, radio, and online host and founder of Geek Bomb
“I grew up during the early days of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and it’s been decades since I’ve seen the wonders that enthralled me during that magical time. At last, familiar treasures from the depths of the vault are here. They can make you cry depending on how deep you went. This is an incredible tome of power."
—John Romero, co-creator of DOOM
“This is a time machine. Poring over these images forty years after I first held the Basic Set in my hands, I’m overwhelmed by the same ineffable feelings I had back in 1977. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS unlocked something in my twelve year old brain—an exhilarating sense of possibility—that set my future course as a game designer and writer. This book inspires me all over again"
—Amy Hennig, creator of the Uncharted series
“This fascinating deep dive into the world of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS will thrill both the connoisseur of role-playing games, as well as anyone interested in visual histories. I found so much information to inspire daydreams for months. I can’t wait to add this to my library of all things geeky.”
—Deborah Ann Woll, actor and D&D enthusiast
"This tome of awesomeness [...] You can only begin to imagine the amounts of hours that this team of top notch authors poured into this. They gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collection of some of the top collectors. Needless to say this book will detail and illustrate the long and wonderful journey of Dungeons and Dragons from its humble beginnings to the cult status it obtained to this day. This has never been achieved in a book before making it the must-have D&D collectible."
—Fabienne Payet, Outright Geekery
“In the early 1980s, I spent lots of time working and gaming with D&D co-creator Gary Gygax during his ‘lost Los Angeles period;’ I went on to work closely with TSR until its end. For me, this is more than a book. It’s a time machine back to a fantastic, fabulous time when anything was possible. For anyone who wants to understand the pure magic of D&D and where it came from, get this book at all costs.”
—Flint Dille, Screenwriter/Game Designer
"Can’t give a higher recommendation than the highest for this amazing book! I’ve seen the preview and I was blown away page after Page! GET THIS BOOK!"
—Stefan Pokorny, Founder and CEO of Dwarven Forge
“This book is an exotic, magical, and fun trip into the world of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS whether you’ve ever held a twelve-sided die or not.”
—James Gunn, writer-director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie series
“This is no simple art book. Authors Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Petersen, and Sam Witwer have combined their lifetimes of love and experience with DUNGEONS & DRAGONS to create a comprehensive history of both the role-playing game and its legendary creators… The visual history does, of course, include all artwork you’ve dreamed of.”
—Kelly Knox, Nerdist
“With over 400 pages, Art and Arcana is the most comprehensive D&D history you will find anywhere. Like a treasure-filled cavern, it's packed (and we mean PACKED) with enough facts, quotes, images, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to choke a fully grown Demogorgon.”
—Josh Weiss, SyFy.com
"It's incredible . . . this thing is a gateway into another dimension.”