Sunday, February 6, 2011
Community: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
The title of last week's episode of the NBC show Community was, intriguingly, titled "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons". The show is already one of the favorites for me & the girlfriend; we both really enjoyed the episode, and it pretty clearly came from someone with a great fondness and knowledge of the game. We watched it online at Hulu (available for the next 30 days). Here are some observations:
(1) While the adventure is fictional ("The Caverns of Draconis"), the trade dress and all of the other many books shown on camera are faithfully late-era 1E AD&D. For example, the Gary Gygax DMG appears in numerous shots (2nd cover with orange spine; i.e., 8th printing 1983+). Module Q1's "demonweb" map is in front of Abed while he DM's the supposed adventure.
It's interesting that none of the later iterations of D&D seem to be "sticky" in popular culture. Early-to-mid-1980's (the exponential fad years, of course) D&D is stuck in people's minds; and I think some of the asserted success of 3E publishing and even the OSR bears that out.
(Side anecdote: One of my best students mentioned last week that her slightly-older boyfriend recently re-acquired all of his original 1E AD&D books off EBay, and is now excitedly teaching her the game.)
(2) The DM rolls all of the dice. That was maybe the one outright jarring thing to see; although of course there's no mechanical reason not to do that. Possibly it read better on camera to have the one uber-geek handling the dice. (?)
(3) The adventure semi-accidentally winds up involving a big flock of Pegasi as a key plot point... kind of like, you know, the thing I posted the day before this episode aired last week. Freaky.