Lore & Legends Sheds New Light on D&D 5E

They're back! Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer, authors of Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana, have written a new book, Dungeons & Dragons Lore & Legends. Like Art & Arcana, Lore & Legends is a hefty hardcover that would probably do club-like in combat, but L&L focuses on 5E whereas A&A examined the overall evolution of D&D from the beginning to 2018.

DnD Lore and Legends cover.jpg

Instead of a foreword by well-known D&D enthusiast and advocate Joe Manganiello like A&A had, L&L boasts a foreword by Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. That turns out to be a logical transition since Morello explains that he got back into D&D thanks to Manganiello's famous celebrity D&D campaign. And, like many parents, Morello introduced the game to his children, making his foreward a microcosm of the D&D player's experience over the years.

L&L is a visual guide to D&D with an abundance of art from the the game as well as behind-the-scenes photos and information. But it's not all about the visuals, despite the book's subtitle “A Visual Celebration of the Fifth Edition of the World's Greatest Roleplaying Game.” L&L has plenty of prose content to answer two core questions: “How did an analog game nearly a half century old become a star in a digital world? Why did it suddenly connect with our cultural moment?”

L&L takes readers through the work to create a new edition of D&D that merged the best of prior editions along with new ideas, such as the elegant advantage/disadvantage mechanic, along with the challenges of running the largest game playtest to date. The history continues through each 5E book release, with insight as to why each one was done when and the design goals for each. It also examines how the D&D design team constantly experiments with ways to help DMs run a better a game, such as including adventure flow charts.

The development of actual play videos is also featured to showcase how it contributed to the popularity of the game. Instead of the tradition of players teaching players, now the D&D curious could watch one of a host of AP videos to get a feel for how the game works, learn DM tips, and more.
DnD Lore and Legends special edition cover.jpg
As a geek about creative projects of all kinds, my favorite part of the book is the behind-the-scenes information. For example, when the actual play game that became Acquisitions Incorporated was first pitched to Chris Perkins, he thought that no one would ever want to watch other people play D&D. Little did he know.

Appropriate for a visual guide, full-page art abounds along with photos of convention appearances, celebrities involved in 5E D&D projects, merchandise and more. Concept art is also abundant, such as the evolution of the dragon ampersand by Richard Witters. It's rather fascinating and a bit surprising as to how it turned into the familiar 5E D&D logo.

If you – or someone you're buying holiday gifts for – is a D&D fan, Dungeons & Dragons Lore & Legends is a good gift. That's especially true for those who are fans of 5E in particular, though the passion it conveys for D&D isn't limited to a single edition. It's a fun book packed with sidebars about D&D lore so whether you're new to D&D or or a long-time fan, it has something for you.

Dungeons & Dragons Lore & Legends is available now as a standard hardcover (MSRP $50) and ebook (MSRP $14.99). A special edition boxed book and ephemera set (MSRP $130) will be released on November 28.
 
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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

For sure. 5E IS D&D to most people now. And that's fine. Cool, even. And with the 5E SRD out there in the CC, it will remain that way for a while. I don't begrudge WotC their success or new fans 'their" D&D. I even like 5E, except when i don't.

I was just suggesting that this book was not the same kind of book as Art and Arcana. This strikes me as self congratulatory marketing, rather than honoring history and all the people that made 5E possible over the 40 years prior, which is what A&A did.
Well... the 5E accomplishment isn't something to sneeze at. And in 10 more years, when the next generations are learning about the game, they will have this new historical record, published while most of the creators of 5E were living sources while it was penned, with pictures of the live-plays and partners who helped catapult the game. It sounds like it will honor AI, CR, Joe M., and others, not just Wizards.

At least, that is what it could be.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
Art and Arcana is a beautiful book that celebrates the long history of D&D.

I am not sure 5E alone "deserves" as big and expansive a treatment, but I am sure it will sell just fine regardless.
Counter-argument: 5E deserves several more treatments than all of the editions combined before it?
 

Iosue

Legend
Was just flipping through the Kindle version, and it was very weird getting nostalgia feels from D&D Next images.

It kinda brought something in perspective that I never really thought about. I was there for the D&D Next playtest from packet 1 to the release of the Basic Rules. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, because pretty much all of us here on ENWorld at the time were involved.

But now, 10 years later, with more people now playing than I think any of us dreamed or hoped, I realized that we few, we happy few, we band of constantly bickering brothers, were in the front lines for a major moment in our favorite game’s history.
 

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
For sure. 5E IS D&D to most people now. And that's fine. Cool, even. And with the 5E SRD out there in the CC, it will remain that way for a while. I don't begrudge WotC their success or new fans 'their" D&D. I even like 5E, except when i don't.

I was just suggesting that this book was not the same kind of book as Art and Arcana. This strikes me as self congratulatory marketing, rather than honoring history and all the people that made 5E possible over the 40 years prior, which is what A&A did.

They are in biz to make money and a lot of 5E fans will buy almost anything with the branding on it. It's win/win for WotC and the fans.

Tipping Jim Carrey GIF
 




CapnZapp

Legend
Counter-counter-argument: Publishing art and history-of-games books is not a moral or ethical question of "deserving". It is merely a question of consumer interest in the material.
Any particular reason you singled out the third usage of "deserve" and not the first two?
 



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