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

Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer, authors of Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana, have written a new book, Dungeons & Dragons Lore & Legends

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


I own both 'Art & Arcana' and this book 'Lore & Legends'. I have read A&A, but only just started reading L&L (currently at page 60 or so).

I must admit I really liked A&A, even though it never got overly critical over things like 4e. But so far, this new book is starting to disappoint me; it just doesn't seem to have any interesting content besides the art. I can't really recommend it.

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Dire Bare

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.

Trying to discuss whether this book "deserves" to be published is rather silly. Is there consumer interest in such a product? Yes! That's all we need.

I'm interested! I love D&D, I love big honkin' art books, I love Art & Arcana, and . . . so far . . . I love Lore & Legends. I'm still in the first chapter currently.

My only "ethical" quandary was deciding between the standard edition and the collector's edition. But the ethics were purely in relation to my wallet, not whether either version "deserves" to be published.

Thanks for the photos of the collector's edition @darjr!

Did you read Art & Arcana? It's absolutely not a self-congratulatory book. It was surprisingly frank about both TSR's and WotC's missteps over the years.

No? I just looked at the pictures. Why would I waste time on words when they had Horne, Elmore, Brom, Easley, Parkinson, and the rest in full color.

Honestly the best way to run most published D&D is read the back blurb, get inspired by the pictures, steal the maps and write your own stuff.

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