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What D&D Means to Me
Ampersand
by Bill Slavicsek

The holiday season is upon us. No matter which metaphorical holiday pie you dip your fork into, this is the time of year when you probably get sentimental, reflective, and at least a little bit jolly. That’s certainly the case with me. At a time when gift-giving and gift-receiving is on everyone’s mind, I wanted to take some time to thank the Dungeons & Dragons brand for what it has given to me over the years—and what it keeps on giving in ways that constantly surprise and delight me.

Friends, Old and New

D&D has given me the gift of friendship. From the moment I discovered the D&D game back in my teenage years, friendship has been integrally tied to the concept. Roleplaying is, after all, a social activity, and the D&D game helped strengthen and deepen the friendships I shared with those that came into and out of the game. Nothing fosters togetherness like plunging into the Tomb of Horrors or surviving the journey through the Vault of the Drow. Along the way, we learned about courage, we tested our resolve, we saw existing friendships grow stronger, we made new friends—and we had fun. A whole lot of fun.

That was then, and it’s no different today. I still get together with friends every week to gab, gossip, eat good food, and play D&D. It continues to be one of the highlights of my week, one of the shining moments that I look forward to and enjoy reminiscing about well after the session ends.

For all the friends that have played D&D with me over the years, and for all those that continue to play, thanks D&D!

Something to Do

D&D has given me endless hours of entertainment. The amount of fun generated by the D&D RPG has never ceased to amaze me. For the price of a night out or the cost of a video game, a single D&D product offers countless hours of entertainment. From simply perusing books and supplements over and over to dig out the nuggets of ideas, to actually using them in a game, most D&D products provide way more hours of enjoyment than other similarly priced entertainment options. With the D&D rulebooks, dice, and a module, my friends and I are never far from filling a night or a weekend with excitement, adventure, and fun. A whole lot of fun.

For all the time you filled with magic and endless adventure, and for all the adventures still to come, thanks D&D!

All in the Mind

D&D has given me the gift of mental stimulation. The D&D RPG has sparked my imagination and creativity from the moment I discovered it, filling my head with all kinds of amazing thoughts and dreams. It has given me a place to go when daydreams are called for. It has made me use math and reading skills because I wanted to, not because a school curriculum or work assignment forced me to. It has given me mental movies way more powerful and exciting and personal than anything I’ve ever seen on the big screen, because I had a hand in creating them. It has given me the power to pretend, to be someone else for a time, to experience amazing adventures without actually risking life and limb.

For igniting my imagination in all kinds of ways, thanks D&D!

What does the D&D brand mean to you? Click the "Discuss" link below to share your thoughts with us and with the D&D community.

Hungry in Han-Over?

Not quite, but the new D&D Gamma World RPG expansion, Famine in Far-Go, goes on sale this month. If you haven’t checked out the wacky game of postapocalyptic peril and mutant madness, now’s the best time to jump in! The expansion adds new hero options, supplements the rules, provides new monsters, and includes a full-length adventure.

Also available this month is Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Wilderness, a box full of tiles that allow you to create encounter areas that take place in the great outdoors. The map for "The Whispering Glade" in this month's issue of Dungeon magazine uses only tiles from this set and Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Dungeon. Check it for an example of what you can build from these tiles.

If you’re looking for a good read, check the new Dungeons & Dragons novel, The Seal of Karga Kul by Alex Irvine. An ancient city, an ancient war, a human, and a dragonborn paladin combine to unveil a centuries-old struggle between madness and civilization.

D&D Insiders

If you’re already a D&D Insider, then you’ve been enjoying the new web-based D&D Character Builder. If you’re not, watch this video to see what all the fuss is about.

D&D Comics

I’ve talked about these before, but the new D&D comics from IDW have me really excited. Check out the IDW website for the latest news and information. And look at all the great things people are saying about the new comics (it’s not just me) at these sites:

Happy Holidays!

As I draw this column and the year in general to a close, remember to give the gift of D&D this holiday season. Sure, you could check out our D&D Holiday Gift Guide for inspiration, but there are other ways to share and spread the D&D spirit. Host a game for your game group. Invite a new player or two to your game. Volunteer to run a session of D&D Encounters at your local game shop. And if the RPG is a little more than your group wants to handle right now, host a night of board game fun with the D&D Castle Ravenloft board game. It’s spooky and exciting and provides a great D&D experience in about an hour of play.

From all of us here at Wizards of the Coast and the D&D R&D Team, happy holidays! We’ll talk again in the new year.

Keep playing!


In Case You Don't Know Him

Bill Slavicsek's gaming life was forever changed when he discovered Dungeons & Dragons in 1976. He became a gaming professional in 1986 when he was hired by West End Games as an editor. He quickly added developer, designer, and creative manager to his resume, and his work helped shape the Paranoia, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Torg roleplaying games. He even found some time during that period to do freelance work for D&D 1st Edition. In 1993, Bill joined the staff of TSR, Inc. as a designer/editor. He worked on a bunch of 2nd Edition material, including products for Core D&D, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Planescape. In 1997, he was part of the TSR crowd that moved to Seattle to join Wizards of the Coast, and in that year he was promoted to R&D Director for D&D. In that position, Bill oversaw the creation of both the 3rd Edition and 4th Edition of the D&D Roleplaying Game. He was one of the driving forces behind the D&D Insider project, and he continues to oversee and lead the creative strategy and effort for Dungeons & Dragons.

Bill's enormous list of credits includes Alternity, d20 Star Wars, The Mark of Nerath Dungeons & Dragon novel, Eberron Campaign Setting, the D&D For Dummies books, and his monthly Ampersand (&) column for Dragon Magazine.