Stylistic devices in « Dungeons & Dragons »The name « Dungeons & Dragons » contains :
- an ampersand (&) ;
- three and a half alliterations ( DdD nn ss + j-g ) ;
- an assonance (with « on »),
- or an homeoteleuton (repeating of the sound « on » at the end of two consecutive words),
- or a sufficient rhyme ( əns\ ) ;
- a paronym (gathering 2 words which look alike) ;
- a troponym (gathering 2 words from the theme of adventure and underground fantasy)
- two allegories (the dungeons are places to explore, the dragons are mounstruous antagonists to defeat) ;
- a binary form (with 2 consecutive and balanced words) ;
- an aphorism (because it summarizes the content and the objectives of the game with very few words).
History of the name « Dungeons & Dragons »With his Blackmoor campaign, Dave Arneson was the inventor of the gameplay of the first tabletop role-playing games (Peterson, 2012 ; Kuntz, 2017 ; Graves et al, 2019). In 1973, Gary Gygax decided to edit the mechanical rules and to streamline the game experience. He also decided the name of that game.
« Dave Arneson was up in St. Paul and not with me when I wrote down two single-word lists of possible titles for the game. I did ask my player group which they liked, also queried my family. My youngest daughter Cindy, was adamant that I must use “Dungeons & Dragons.” As a number of others were in agreement with that choice, and I liked the alliteration, that’s what I went with when I took the mss. I had written to the printer in early December 1973. » (primary source : Gygax, 2002)
« Gygax paired random mythic words like fantasy, adventure, swords, and sorcery until he came to one his 4-year-old daughter Cindy approved of. “Oh, Daddy,”she said, “I like Dungeons & Dragons the best!” » (secondary source : Kushner, 2008)
From the moment of the first publication (1974), the name Dungeons & Dragons belonged to the two co-authors. Dave Arneson left TSR in 1976 and kept receiving royalties on D&D products as co-author. Later, Gary Gygax wrote a new edition, changing the name for « Advanced Dungeons & Dragons » without paying royalties to Dave Arneson who filed 2 lawsuits (Appelcline, 2015a, p. 32). After Wizards of the Coast bought TSR (1997), his CEO Peter Adkison definitely solved the property of the name with both Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson to secure the name « Dungeons & Dragons » and to abandon the word « Advanced » (Appelcline, 2015b, p. 145).
Original Woodgrain Edition Dungeons & Dragons Box Set (1974).
Crédit photo : BlackGate, 2016.
Crédit photo : BlackGate, 2016.
Legacy of the stylistic devices
Trade dress ?The name Dungeons & Dragons is copyrighted and it is a registered trademark ®.
The trade dress is another concept of intellectual property designed to protect what make a product unique : special fonts, layout of covers, of texts, of figures, etc. It seems that the stylistic device « ____ & ___ » cannot be claimed as trade dress. For this point, I lack of sources and expertise and I think it can change depending on the cases. For example, after been fired from TSR, Gary Gygax said he couldn't publish a game named Dangerous Dimensions because of the initials "DD", so he renamed it Dangerous Journey (Sacco, 1999).
[Digression: rpg-module by Michael C. Davis for LaTeX reproduces faithfully the layout of the modules of the 80s. I used it easily. I just dicovered TeXBrew which gives a imperssive outcomes for D&D 5th].
In TSR and WotC productsThe stylistic devices « ___ & ___ » were not reused a lot by the others TSR and WotC products. Hypothesis : to distinguish D&D from its supplements or from other product lines (Star Frontiers, Gamma Worlds, etc.).
- Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976).
- Supplement no. 4 to OD&D.
- Swords & Spells (1976).
- Supplement no. 5 to OD&D.
- Deities & Demigods (1980).
- Supplement to AD&D.
- Legends & Lore (1984).
- Supplement to AD&D. Renamed, maybe because of the moral panics of the 80s (Appelcline, 2013) or for other reasons (Hartlage, 2019)
- Legends & Lore (1990).
- Supplement to AD&D 2nd ed.
- Deities and Demigods (2002).
- Supplement to D&D 3rd ed.
Other publishersOn the other hand, the stylistic devices « ___ & ___ » was used at least by 20 other publishers for games or perdiodicals. It could have been motivated by : homage, tribute, parody, pastiche, competition or collaboration.
|Tunnels & Trolls||1975||x||x|
|Alarums & Excursions||1975||x|
|White Bear and Red Moon||1975|
|Owl and Weasel||1975||x||x|
|Bunnies & Burrows||1976||x||x||x|
|Chivalry & Sorcery||1977||x||x||x|
|Villains and Vigilantes||1979||x||x|
|Jeux & Stratégie||1980||x||x|
|Power & Perils||1983||x||x|
|Privateers & Gentlemen||1983||x|
|Mutants & Masterminds||2002||x||x|
|Blood & Honor||2002||x|
|Vast & Starlit||2003||x||x||x|
|Mazes & Minotaurs||2006||x||x|
|Tranchons & Traquons||2007||x||x||x|
|Swords & Wizardry||2008||x|
|A Song of Ice and Fire RPG||2009|
|Secrets & Lies||2009||x|
|Mazes & Perils||2011||x|
|For Gold & Glory||2012||x||x||x|
|Plurals not included|
Venn diagram for the variations on the name « Dungeons & Dragons »
UpdateNew items I discovered since the first publication of this post in French in May (with the help of Reddit):
- Advanced Gungeons & Draguns
- Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
- Balrogs & Bagginses
- Beasts & Barbarians
- Bunkers & Badasses
- Dark Places & Demogorgons
- Dark Streets & Darker Secrets
- Dungeons the Dragoning 40.000, 7th ed.
- Empires & Dynasties
- Humans and households
- Kobolds & Catacombs
- Lasers & Feelings
- Man, Myth and Magic
- Mazes and Monsters
- Mice and Mystics
- Ogres & Oubliettes
- Papers & Paychecks
- Plüsch, Power and Plunder
- Rayguns and Rocketships
- Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
- Spaceships & Starwyrms
- Starships & Spacemen
- Appelcline, Shannon. 2013. In Dungeon Masters Guild. Wizards of the Coast, s.v. « Legends & Lore (2nd) – Product History ». https://www.dmsguild.com/product/116010/Legends–Lore-2e.
- Shannon Appelcline is author of the notice as Product Historian.
- Appelcline, Shannon. 2015a. Designers & Dragons: The 70s. 2e éd. Silver Spring, MD: Evil Hat Productions.
- ———. 2015b. Designers & Dragons: The 90s. 2nd ed. Silver Spring, MD: Evil Hat Productions.
- 5 volumes encylopedia on TTRPG. Some free access bits here https://www.rpg.net/columns/list-column.phtml?colname=briefhistory.
- Graves, Chris, Griffith Mon Morgan III, and Ryan Swan. Secrets of Blackmoor: The True History of Dungeons & Dragons. Documentary. Fellowship of the Thing, 2019. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/secretsofblackmoor/secrets-of-blackmoor-the-true-history-of-dungeons.
- Hartlage, David. 2013a. « From Blackmoor to Dungeons & Dragons: The Invention of the Dungeon Crawl ». DMDavid, 26 july 2013. http://dmdavid.com/tag/from-blackmoor-to-dungeons-dragons-the-invention-of-the-dungeon-crawl/.
- ———. 2013b. « How the Dungeon Crawl’s Advantages Propelled Dungeons & Dragons to Success ». DMDavid, 1 july 2013. http://dmdavid.com/tag/how-the-dungeon-crawls-advantages-propelled-dungeon-dragons-to-success/.
- ———. 2019. « The True Story of the Cthulhu and Elric Sections Removed from Deities & Demigods ». DMDavid (blog). 8 january 2019. http://dmdavid.com/tag/the-true-story-of-the-cthulhu-and-elric-sections-removed-from-deities-demigods/.
- Blog on history, design and GMing of D&D.
- Jarrety, Michel (ed/). 2001. Lexique des termes littéraires. Paris : Librarie Générale Française.
- Gygax, Gary. « Q&A with Gary Gygax ». Dragonsfoot Forums, 20 may 2002. https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=160405#p160405.
- Gary Gygax answering a fan.
- Kuntz, Robert J. Dave Arneson’s True Genius. TLS1001. Scottsdale, AZ: Three Line Studio, 2017. https://www.threelinestudio.com/store/dave-arneson-s-true-genius/.
- Acknowledging the invention of TTRPG gameplay by Dave Arneson.
- Kushner, David. « Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax ». Wired, march 2008. https://www.wired.com/2008/03/dungeon-master-life-legacy-gary-gygax/.
- Magazine article telling the story of the name D&D in a colorful way. Attribution to Cindy is correct, contrary to the book by David Ewalt who, in Of Dice and Men, attributes the choice to Gary"s elder daughter Elise « He read them aloud to his players, including Ernie and Elise, to gauge their reactions. The young girl’s delight at two of the words, an alliterative pair, confirmed the choice: the game would be called Dungeons & Dragons. » (p. 70)
- Lagacé, Sophie. 2017. « RPG a Day: Judging a Book by Its Cover ». The Reef, 5 août 2017, https://mechanteanemone.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/rpg-a-day-judging-a-book-by-its-cover/.
- Blog post participating to question no.5 of RPG-a-Day 2017 « Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game? »
- Peterson, Jon. Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures, from Chess to Role-Playing Games. San Diego, CA: Unreason Press, 2012.
- The heaviest sum on the birth of TTRPG. http://playingattheworld.blogspot.com/
- Sacco, Ciro Alessandro. « The Ultimate Interview With Gary Gygax ». The Kyngdoms, 1999. http://www.keithrobinson.me/thekyngdoms/interviews/garygygax.php.
- Interview conducted by Ciro Alessandro Ciro Sacco in 1999 for Dungeons.it.