Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It


A twelve sider? Really?

Better than using the infamous hundred-sided die that one of my friends bought. He could have made one himself by painting numbers on a golf ball.


First edition D&D in the 8" x 5" pamphlet format was my first encounter with D&D in the mid 1970s. It was simple and left lots of room for interpretation and imagination. AD&D made it more complex without adding a lot to the experience. The key thing about D&D and paper, pencil and dice based RPGs was that they brought people together around a table for a shared experience. Computer RPGs, single or multi-player, involve less imagination, more repetition and less connection with other people. I’m sure I’m being nostalgic, but in hindsight, for me, RPGs have all been downhill since those first D&D sessions with old friends.

I’ve gotten rid of boxes of AD&D books and modules, but I still have my old 1st ed. D&D pamphlet set. Maybe I’ll give it to my kid and see what she can make happen with it.


I play 3.5 in a weekly online game using Klooge with friends I gamed with heavily in the 80’s and early 90’s. We’re in four different states, but it still has the feel of sitting around the table with them. We used to be interrupted by the occasional parent, now we’re interrupted by the occasional kid.

A D20 would have sides to small to fit the title on.

While I agree that AD&D made it more complex I don’t know that this was necessarily a bad thing. Admittedly I have almost no experience with early D&D. My friends and I, who started playing a few years later than you did, skipped right over D&D and went right for the advanced version. We saw it as a worthwhile tradeoff: there were more rules, but also more options.

And if there was one rule that our group adhered to it was that the rules should never get in the way of having a good time. For us they weren’t rules so much as suggestions.

Klooge looks cool.

I desperately wanted one of those when I was 10. When a friend got one, we rolled it a few times, then went back to the 2D10 system. It was just too impractical.

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Hundred sided die, you say?


I heard this guy on NPR a few days ago. He came across as a non-gamer trying to write about some strange subculture he had just discovered by “going native” just long enough to get his story.

The subtitle on the book should be a concern to anybody who knows D&D. Level 12 is not especially high, and he has only apparently ever played a single character, probably in a single group with a same DM. He’s trying to write about an entire culture of people from the very narrow slice he personally visited. Maybe if we’re really lucky he managed to make a trip to Gencon while writing the book, and we’ll get the chapter where he wanders around lost in bewildered amazement at all of the weirdness everywhere.

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I was befuddled by the fact that the hundred sided die only made it to #7 until I saw the others. I had seen, but forgotten, crystal dice and gold dice, but…the D34? And I’m not sure I want to live in a world where there’s actually something worse than the D34.

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I lost my composure a few times, but the best was no doubt last, the bit about using the mona lisa for kindling in particular

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If you were really one of us, you wouldn’t even need to ask. But at least you didn’t say dodecahedron.

Not asking, disparaging:
at 1:43


It’s a bit like putting a viola on a book about orchestral instruments.

An earlier, similar work (but covering more than D&D but the entire RPG/wargaming hobby) is Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World. It;s quite a long read, but interesting if you like the subject.

You’re entirely, totally wrong. As my writeup, the publishers’ summary, and many reviews around the web make clear, he played many, many characters, in many games, for decades. He went to many gaming cons. He sat in on a session DM’ed by Ernie Gygax, who played the first-ever D&D game, with his dad Gary. He LARPed.

Honestly, I could see being concerned that this might be the case, but I can’t see publicly opining that it “probably” is, when a moment’s – a half-moment’s! – research would have shown otherwise. It’s pretty poor, really.

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Does the books have any useful tips, like how to get Cheetos stains out of shirts?


Yes but it involves a fireball spell.


I guess @jandrese was mostly basing his comments on the NPR interview, which is listenable here?