One of the best things about Dungeons & Dragons is its elasticity. Games can be spread out over worlds or dungeons inside a story of your own creation.
Some people take Dungeons & Dragons more seriously than others, though. Like Robert Wardhaugh of London, Canada. Thanks to the potentially-never ending nature of Dungeons & Dragons, his game has been running for a remarkable 35 years, and YouTube channel Great Big Story told his story.
Wardhaugh’s Dungeons & Dragons story:
Wardhaugh is a professor of history, which helps when keeping track of 35 years worth of mythology and lore. “Every person at the table is making a relationship with me,” Wardhaugh told Popular Mechanics, “and making a first-person narrative” about their characters. Discrepancies have emerged in player’ narratives over the years, but that just fits into the larger human experience.
“History is just what people write down,” he tells Popular Mechanics.
The game takes place on what Wardhaugh describes as an “alternate version of our Earth” which also includes the continent of Tolkein’s Middle Earth. It picks up 400 years after the destruction of the One Ring. The campaign has remarkably been near-continuous for 35 years. “Perhaps 3 weeks has been the longest we’ve ever gone” without a session, Wardhaugh says.
Dungeons & Dragons is currently enjoying revival of sorts with popular podcasts like Adventure Zone and shows like HarmonQuest bringing the 40-year-old past time back into cultural consciousness, but Wardhaugh’s campaign is the height of the tabletop RPG genre. With a 20,000-miniature collection and custom tables that bring the adventure to life, it’s no wonder Wardhaugh’s players travel hundreds of miles for a session. After all, it’s a tale 35 years in the making.