Dungeons & Dragons Timeline

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Some guy recently took the time to map out in a chart the history of Dungeons & Dragons from the 70s to the 90s, spelling out the evolution from Chainmail to D&D, then Advanced D&D and Basic D&D, and eventually AD&D Second Edition. If the chart looks like gibberish to you, it probably means you were dating or something during your early teen years, unlike me, who spent 90% of my time memorizing the contents of the books/maps pictured below, in preparation for the next big dungeon meet.

To give you a sense of what a “dungeon meet” was like for my friends and I back in the day, I’ve taken the liberty of (greatly) fictionalizing one of the more memorable moments for you …

Dungeon Master: Your party enters a large dark chamber that is completely empty except for a huge chest sitting all by itself along the back wall.

Thief: I rush forward, open the chest, and take whatever’s in it!

Fighter: Wait, what? I was updating my character sheet. What just happened?

Wizard: Douchebag is hogging all the treasure.

Thief: You guys hog the treasure ALL THE TIME, and I never end up with anything.

Dungeon Master: Thief, are you sure that’s what you want to do?

Thief: Yes, I open the chest, and I take whatever’s in it!

Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Okay. Well it’s a manticore.

Thief: A what???

Wizard: It’s like a lion with wings and a spiked —

Thief: I know what a manticore is! What’s it doing in a chest?

Dungeon Master: The chest was an illusion. Anyway, it catches you by surprise, and does … 12 points of claw damage … 7 points of biting damage and … 9 points of spike damage. Wait, how many hit points did you have when you walked into the room?

Thief: Um. Seventeen.

Dungeon Master: Yeah so … you’re pretty much dead.

Fighter: Dude, it was a huge chest in the middle of an empty room. And you’re a thief. How did you not figure out it was a trap?

Thief: Shut up.

Wizard: The look on your face just now was awesome.

Thief: I said shut up.

Wizard: Or what? You’ll trip me with your bloody corpse?

Thief: This sucks. Now what am I gonna do?

Fighter: Probably watch us get killed by a manticore. I only have like 5 hit points right now.

Wizard: And I used up all my spells against the beholder in the other room.

Dungeon Master: Yeah. You’re probably going to die then.

Thief: Why don’t we just go play video games instead?

Dungeon Master: No, you can’t! There’s a cool room later with three different kinds of dragons in it.

Fighter: Dude, we’re only fifth level characters! We couldn’t beat one dragon, much less three.

Wizard: Seriously man. You might be the worst DM ever.

Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Hey look, the chest is full of healing potions.

Wizard: Oh, that’s convenient.

Thief: Any resurrection scrolls in there?

Fighter: Or a special sword for killing manticores?

Wizard: Wait, didn’t you say the chest was just an illusion?

Dungeon Master: It’s a different chest. Behind the manticore. If you roll higher than a 12, you can reach it before the manticore is finished chewing the thief’s head off.

Thief: What the–??? No way! I can’t be resurrected without a head!

Fighter: Dude, I’m pretty sure you just made all that up —

Wizard: You think?

Fighter: — but I’m pretty close to leveling up right now, so I’ll let it slide. (Rolls the 20-sided die.) There, it’s a 15 … I make my way to the chest and grab as many healing potions as I can.

Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Okay. Well it’s another manticore.

Wizard: Seriously. THE WORST dungeon master of all time. I swear.

Thief: (from the other room) What channel does the TV need to be on to play video games?

* * *

Which is, of course, nowhere near as funny as this timeless masterpiece …

One thought on “Dungeons & Dragons Timeline

  1. bad dog

    Freaking brilliant … They should make a version of the video where these D&D creatures are role-playing being geeks navigating their way through the terrifying corridors of high school.

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