How Dungeons & Dragons keeps adding to its fandom 40-plus years later

By Death Wish Coffee — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

Dungeons & Dragons keeps gaining new fans through pop culture references and more

By Angela Garrity, Guest blogger

Role Playing Games (RPG) have roots that reach back to the dawn of time. Literally.

Historical re-enactment has been practiced by adults for thousands of years and one of the first public appearances to feature stock situations, stock characters and included improvised dialogue were the traveling 16th century European role players known best as the Commedia dell'arte.

A screenshot from the Netflix Show "Stranger Things" shows characters playing the game Dungeons and Dragons
Photo: Netflix/Thrillist

The one that still comes out on top, remains a favorite for more than 40 years, and is shared by millions and has no limits is Dungeons & Dragons. Everyone is welcome at this table.

Lovers of the lore aren’t afraid to profess their devotion to the die today, despite the grueling years of battle D&D gamers and heavy metal faced during the 1980’s. This widespread and misunderstood phenomenon by outsiders only fueled a paranoia during this decade dubbed the “Satanic Panic.” Tons of heavy metal bands and artists were accused of spreading backmasking messages. Even the beloved 1960s sitcom that featured the talking horse known as Mister Ed could not escape the fearmongering accusations.

Fortunately, both metal and Dungeons & Dragons survived due to lack of evidence that was attempted to connect either to wave of false claims. Anti’s rolled a 1 and had another thing coming that they never anticipated — fandom.

Nerds need to hide no more, as D&D has lost its previously held uncool stigma over the years. In fact, BuzzFeed recently reported that “the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons is seeing a strange revival in today's pop culture, encouraged by popular shows like Stranger Things and Critical Role. But even if it hasn't always been popular, D&D has actually been around since the '70s, and a lot of people, including celebrities, have picked it up sometime in the last 40+ years.”

Fandom Entertainment even released this video recently called Defeat Your Demons with Dungeons & Dragons that walks viewers through the history and resurgence of the game. There truly is magic found in the message.

Roll for initiative. 

Related: Stranger Things gifs that prove mornings are for coffee and contemplation


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