Before I begin I must stress a few things. This is not something meant to mock history or the deaths of two men to whom I owe much of my recent success as well as the means by which I kept many of my friends together after University. This is a tribute to the very work they created and the legends they gave birth to.
Should any member of the Gygax or Arneson estates find issue with this work I will remove it immediately and forever have it as a blot on my record.
That said let us begin.
We have no more legends the cynics say. We have only history. History; the purview of dry dusty books, filled with dates and stories that all end with the death of people. This is a part of our reality and we must accept that.
But, we must still have legend. Legend is alive and changes with the times. Legend grows and inspires and has only one ending:
And so it remains to this day.
They say we have no more legends left. We have ground them out and cast them to the dust.
History tells us that a long time ago Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created a singular work that would forever change the spectrum of gaming. In a moment so beautiful the two managed to forge something new: the first pen and paper Role-Playing Game also known as Dungeons and Dragons. This is history but it has the virtue of being legend. Then history takes over. For circumstances would force Arneson and Gygax from the very company they founded and unable to work on the product they invented.
History tells us that they rarely, if ever, spoke again. They would pass on from this earth, each an honoured master of his field having lived a full and accomplished life.
Legend however, tells us another thing.
Late at night at the tables of Gen-con and Origin they speak of a legend, of a final challenge waiting for those true of heart, sharp of mind and strong of body.
It is said that with the coming of age and the accessibility allowed by the internet that the two titans came to talk again and reminisce as only old friends can. As they did they talked of wishes and dreams and soon enough they began to wonder what they could create now with the power that only experience provides. Sure enough the two began to work on a final RPG game.
So they say.
They toiled long and hard over digital highways crafting a rules system. This was done always in secret lest they suffer from the sting of copyright law as they once did. These two banded together and after long months became truest of friends once more and fathers of a completed RPG rules system. A full player’s guide, game master’s guide and adversary guide were produced in addition to a single adventure module. This was no normal module however. It was a full campaign designed to take players from the very beginnings of an adventure to a true end unheard of in RPGs.
The finale of this was one last dungeon. A masterwork of crafting traversable only by players at the height of talent and skill could overcome. Of this last dungeon only one thing is known: There was a dragon to fight at the end.
When their work was finished the two sat back and rested as the completed document lay within their collected grasp. They journeyed together to see it made in physical form and bound the document as well as the relevant dice in a simple but elegant wooden box.
The two looked upon this box, not with reverence but with pride and a sense of completion. As they did though they questioned what do to with such a work?
And at that moment, it is said; the souls of the first two dungeon masters awoke with all the fire of youth and realized that for their ultimate prize there must be an ultimate quest. And lo, they had just wrought such a thing in the final pages of their adventure.
But how to make such a thing real?
There are many different speculations on how they accomplished this. Some say that the two had received years of back-payment from Wizards for services due and had amassed a small fortune. Others claim that the very act of creating their work allowed the duo to ascend to a higher plane of existence and thus became capable of such feats we cannot understand. Some simply claim that the gods themselves appeared before the two and offered to make it so.
However, in all version of the tale, it’s said that when Gygax passed the dungeon was cast into the physical realm and when Arneson departed the traps were set and the doors sealed. No one in the Gygax or Arneson household knows of the location of the dungeon and to ask is folly.
Its location is a mystery as is the possible levels, traps, monsters, puzzles and challenges awaiting adventurers. Some speculate that the very nature of the dungeon changes from day to day under a magical geas so that no two adventuring parties who find the place have the same experience.
But all say this: It is most definitely a dungeon and there is a dragon at the end.
And so it remains to this day.
So too does this work exist.