Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Did nothing good come out of the D&D movies?

We all know the story. In 2000, Dungeons & Dragons the movie was released, directed by Courtney "Corey" Solomon. The movie suffered from a very poor reception, perhaps especially among D&D fans. Dave Arneson was also to some extent involved with this project. Not that I suggest that the movie's failure had anything to do with him, ofcourse. His role was far too minor to have much impact either way.

I have previously mentioned how Arneson was supposed to have a cameo role in the film.  His main role seems to have been a kind of technical advisor as well as being supposed to write a module based on the film:
"[We]evaluated the scenes in D&D-specific terms. After all, we are doing the module! Many D&D elements are not obvious in the movie, but they ARE there. Short of having a technical readout for each rule along the side of the screen, it was seldom possible to stop and explain what is going on, rulewise. After all, this is a movie, not a documentary." (-On the Set of the D&D Movie, by Dave Arneson)

 In retrospect, it seems like this was a poor use of having a man like Arneson on the set. Perhaps instead of consulting him on rules, the director could have asked for creative input? Based on his descriptions from the set Arneson seems to really have enjoyed himself though, spending time with the actors and being given a chance to talk about D&D to both cast and crew.

As mentioned, Arneson was originally asked to make a module based on the movie. While this project was cancelled by WotC before the movie was released, private correspondance between Arneson and fan Robert Blezard suggests that Arneson loved the opportunity to be able to work with D&D again. It is not unlikely that this was one of the things that made him want to bring back Blackmoor again, which was released only a few years later (2004). So perhaps something good came out of the D&D movie afterall? Besides Thora Birch of course! :)



  1. Snails, we hardly got the chance to know him. Whenever we break open a keg of hypernerdian ale we pour out the first swig for Snails.

  2. thinks they should have just filmed Arneson hosting games on the set. Maybe tournament-style, so all the cast and crew could get a chance to roll the dice...