Even if you've never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: the game has had a profound influence on our culture. Released in 1974--decades before the Internet and social media--Dungeons & Dragons inspired one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by millions around the world. Now the authoritative history of the game is revealed by an award-winning journalist and lifelong D&D player. David Ewalt recounts the development of Dungeons & Dragons from the game's roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, to its apotheosis as father of the modern video-game industry. As he chronicles the game's surprising origins (a history largely unknown even to hardcore players) and examines D&D's impact, Ewalt interweaves subculture analysis with his own gaming experiences to shed light on America's most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.--From publisher description.