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Department of Cultural Studies
American Studies

Of Dice and Men: The Origins and Development of the Table-top Role-playing Game

Course Information

Nr. Name Type Time Room Lecturer
154674 Of Dice and Men: The Origins and Development of the Table-top Role-playing Game 2 HS Th 12:15 - 13:45 R. 0.420 Brown

An otherworldly hybrid of literature and gaming, the table-top role-playing game (RPGs) is a uniquely modern media form and a forerunner (and progenitor?) of the ludic society of the digital era. But where did games like Dungeons & Dragons come from? Answering this question brings us into the worlds of 20th century fantasy literature, wargaming clubs in the midwestern United States and 19th-century Prussia. Reading John Peterson’s history of RPGs, Playing at the World, while taking a survey of fantasy literature and early RPG players’ guides, we will get hands-on experience with the narrative tropes and gaming mechanics that would end up having lasting influence extending well beyond the enthusiastic cult of adolescent boys who were its earliest adherents. What do the mechanics of role-playing tell us about storytelling, interpretation, and “interactivity” in the postmodern era? What is the relationship between role-playing games and identity? Where do we see these mechanics manifest today?

Patrick S. Brown is an exchange lecturer from the University of Iowa.



2009 703, 704 602, 1001 602, 701, 702, 1002 703
2016 602, 703, 704 602, 1002 602, 701, 702, 1002 703

Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften &
Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:

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