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

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The Lord of the Rings meets Moneyball in this unique and authoritative book on Dungeons & Dragons—from the game’s origins through its rise to cultural prominence, and its ripple effect on popular culture today.

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has (whether or not they’re willing to admit it). Released in 1974—decades before video games and the Internet took over the gaming world—Dungeons & Dragons became one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by over thirty million fans today. Now Forbes senior editor David M. Ewalt explores the rich history of the game, revealing the magic that enlivened his youth, and has since re-entered his adult life in a whole new way.

From its roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, and to its apotheosis as father of the modern video game industry, Of Dice and Men recounts the development of a game played by some of most fascinating people in the world. Chronicling the surprising history of D&D’s origins (one largely unknown even to hardcore players) while examining the game’s profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp cultural analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences.

An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America’s most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.
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About the author

David M. Ewalt began playing Dungeons & Dragons when he was ten years old. Now an award-winning journalist, he writes about games for outlets like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, talks about games on television and radio, and plays games in and around his Brooklyn, New York, home. Join him or find out more at DavidMEwalt.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Aug 20, 2013
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781451640526
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Language
English
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Genres
Games & Activities / Role Playing & Fantasy
Social Science / General
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A fascinating exploration of the history, development, and future of virtual reality, a technology with world-changing potential, written by award-winning journalist and author David Ewalt, stemming from his 2015 Forbes cover story about the Oculus Rift and its creator Palmer Luckey.

You’ve heard about virtual reality, seen the new gadgets, and read about how VR will be the next big thing. But you probably haven’t yet realized the extent to which this technology will change the way we live. We used to be bound to a physical reality, but new immersive computer simulations allow us to escape our homes and bodies. Suddenly anyone can see what it’s like to stand on the peak of Mount Everest. A person who can’t walk can experience a marathon from the perspective of an Olympic champion. And why stop there? Become a dragon and fly through the universe. But it’s not only about spectacle. Virtual and augmented reality will impact nearly every aspect of our lives—commerce, medicine, politics—the applications are infinite.

It may sound like science fiction, but this vision of the future drives billions of dollars in business and is a top priority for such companies as Facebook, Google, and Sony. Yet little is known about the history of these technologies. In Defying Reality, David M. Ewalt traces the story from ancient amphitheaters to Cold War military laboratories, through decades of hype and failure, to a nineteen-year-old video game aficionado who made the impossible possible. Ewalt looks at how businesses are already using this tech to revolutionize the world around us, and what we can expect in the future. Writing for a mainstream audience as well as for technology enthusiasts, Ewalt offers a unique perspective on VR. With firsthand accounts and on-the-ground reporting, Defying Reality shows how virtual reality will change our work, our play, and the way we relate to one another.
Amazon Best of the Month pick

Here, for the first time, is a comprehensive biography of geek and gaming culture's mythic icon, Gary Gygax, and the complete story behind his invention of Dungeons and Dragons.

The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to his untimely death in 2008.

Gygax's magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and '80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni--Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Vin Diesel all have spoken openly about their experience with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as the workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered.

Gygax's involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D's parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds. Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of the imagination.
Frostmourne.

It was caught in a hovering, jagged chunk of ice, the runes that ran the length of its blade glowing a cool blue. Below it was a dais of some sort, standing on a large gently raised mound that was covered in a dusting of snow. A soft light, coming from somewhere high above where the cavern was open to daylight, shone down on the runeblade. The icy prison hid some details of the sword's shape and form, exaggerated others. It was revealed and concealed at the same time, and all the more tempting, like a new lover imperfectly glimpsed through a gauzy curtain. Arthas knew the blade -- it was the selfsame sword he had seen in his dream when he first arrived. The sword that had not killed Invincible, but that had brought him back healed and healthy. He'd thought it a good omen then, but now he knew it was a true sign. This was what he had come to find. This sword would change everything. Arthas stared raptly at it, his hands almost physically aching to grasp it, his fingers to wrap themselves around the hilt, his arms to feel the weapon swinging smoothly in the blow that would end Mal'Ganis, end the torment he had visited upon the people of Lordaeron, end this lust for revenge. Drawn, he stepped forward.

The uncanny elemental spirit drew its icy sword. "Turn away, before it is too late," it intoned.

* * *

His evil is legend. Lord of the undead Scourge, wielder of the runeblade Frostmourne, and enemy of the free peoples of Azeroth. The Lich King is an entity of incalculable power and unparalleled malice -- his icy soul utterly consumed by his plans to destroy all life on the World of Warcraft.

But it was not always so. Long before his soul was fused with that of the orc shaman Ner'zhul, the Lich King was Arthas Menethil, crown prince of Lordaeron and faithful paladin of the Silver Hand.

When a plague of undeath threatened all that he loved, Arthas was driven to pursue an ill-fated quest for a runeblade powerful enough to save his homeland. Yet the object of his search would exact a heavy price from its new master, beginning a horrifying descent into damnation. Arthas's path would lead him through the arctic northern wastes toward the Frozen Throne, where he would face, at long last, the darkest of destinies.
“Nothing is free, Go’el,” Jaina Proudmoore said. “Your knowledge and skills were bought at a cost. The . . . orc you left behind in your place had done much harm in your absence. If I have heard about what is going on in Orgrimmar and Ashenvale, surely you must have!”

Go’el’s mien, which had been deeply peaceful, now looked troubled. “I have heard, of course.”

“And . . . you do nothing?”

“I have another path,” he said. “You have seen the results of that path. A threat that—”

“Go’el, I hear this, but now that task is over. Garrosh is stirring up trouble between the Alliance and the Horde—trouble that didn’t exist until he started it. I can understand if you don’t wish to undermine him publicly, but—perhaps you and I can work together. Form a summit of sorts. Ask Baine to join us; I know he has no love for what Garrosh is striving for. I could speak with Varian. As of late, he seems to be more reachable. Everyone respects you, even in the Alliance, Go’el. You have earned that respect because of your actions. Garrosh has earned nothing but mistrust and hatred because of his.”

She indicated her cloak, which had blown about with the wind he had sent to bear her to shore. “You can control the winds as a shaman. But the winds of war are blowing, and if we do not stop Garrosh now, many innocents will pay the price for our hesitation.”

***

The ashes of the Cataclysm have settled across Azeroth’s disparate kingdoms. As the broken world recovers from the disaster, the renowned sorceress Lady Jaina Proudmoore continues her long struggle to mend relations between the Horde and the Alliance. Yet of late, escalating tensions have pushed the two factions closer to open war, threatening to destroy what little stability remains in the . . .

Dark news arrives in Jaina’s beloved city, Theramore. One of the blue dragonflight’s most powerful artifacts—the Focusing Iris—has been stolen. To unravel the item’s mysterious whereabouts, Jaina works with the former blue Dragon Aspect Kalecgos. The two brilliant heroes forge an unlikely bond during their investigation, but another disastrous turn of events looms on the horizon. . . .

Garrosh Hellscream is mustering the Horde’s armies for an all-out invasion of Theramore. Despite mounting dissent within his faction, the brazen warchief aims to usher in a new era of Horde domination. His thirst for conquest leads him to take brutal measures against anyone who dares question his leadership.

Alliance forces converge on Theramore to repel the Horde onslaught, but the brave defenders are unprepared for the true scope of Garrosh’s cunning and deceptive strategy. His attack will irrevocably transform Jaina, engulfing the ardent peacekeeper in the chaotic and all-consuming . . . TIDES OF WAR
A brand-new novel set in the universe of the record-breaking, internationally bestselling video game World of Warcraft!

WAR IS COMING.

Vol'jin, courageous leader of the Darkspear tribe. His strength and cunning are unmatched even among the Horde's most exalted champions. Now on the legendary continent of Pandaria, the troll chieftain faces his greatest trial yet, one that may redefine his purpose in the…

WORLD OF WARCRAFT®

Warchief Garrosh's assassins strike at Vol'jin, leaving him at death's door. But fate smiles on the wounded Darkspear leader when renowned brewmaster Chen Stormstout transports him to the safety of an isolated mountain monastery. There, Vol'jin wrestles with old hatreds smoldering between the Alliance and the Horde as he struggles to recover alongside a mysterious human soldier.

Yet this is only the beginning of Vol'jin's worries. Soon, he becomes embroiled in an invasion of Pandaria launched by the Zandalari, revered trolls driven by dreams of conquest and power. This ancient tribe offers Vol'jin a chance to seize the glory that is the birthright of all trolls…an offer made even more tempting after Garrosh's brazen treachery.

Amid these troubling events, Vol'jin is rocked by intense visions depicting his race's grand history. As he questions where his loyalties lie, he knows he must make a choice about his own destiny that could save his people or damn them to languish under Garrosh's heel in the…

SHADOWS OF THE HORDE

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