Designers and Dragons

The Series | The Story | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | BONUS MATERIAL

Icon StripeThe story behind Designers & Dragons starts way back and honestly doesn’t involve Evil Hat at all, so we can’t take credit for the idea. (Although we’d really really like to.) Shannon Appelcline, genius extraordinaire, was interested in compiling a history of the RPG industry. No one had really done a comprehensive history, and the industry is full of interesting factoids and enough drama to fuel three or four television shows. So he started writing it. We thought this was great. He finished it. We thought this was great x2! He was ready to publish it, and it was awesome. ALL THE GREATS. We were tied up with other projects, and it went to the terrific people at Mongoose Publishing. To us, this was great on one hand and sad-making on the other, because it was a project we really wanted to take on.

Flash-forward to 2012: The original One Big Black Book edition of Designers & Dragons had gone out of print, and Shannon was interested in producing an updated version. This was our chance. ALL THE GREATS A SECOND TIME! We leaped at the chance to become involved and produce a new, updated, and improved version. It’s got lots of new words (over 10,000 in the 70s volume alone), plus an updated layout that’s both approachable and just plain pretty. We’ve chosen to break that giant book into four volumes to allow readers to pick and choose—read them all or delve into the histories that you’re most interested in. But we’re willing to bet that once you’ve started, you can’t stop until they’re gone. It’s definitely what happened to us.

Whether you’re new to Designers & Dragons or one of the lucky few with the previous edition, there’s a lot to love about this new series. From the origins of the industry and the inside dirt on early RPG companies in the 70’s to the rise of new indie companies (like us!) and the influence of gamers (like you!) via online communities in the 00’s, we’ve got it covered. And every piece is meticulously researched, edited, and prettified. That is too a word.

Designers & Dragons. Meet the gamers behind the games.