I’m always interested in the origins or beginnings of things that take on a greater life of their own. Most of the time such things are quite humble in their beginnings and this feels very much that.
The Forgotten Realms has spawned several dozen bestselling novels (SO MUCH Drizzt), multiple incredibly successful video games, including one of my all time favorites in Neverwinter Nights, and obviously had an incalculable impact on Dungeons and Dragons and role playing in general, which itself is a reascending hobby (see Critical role) and entertainment choice both online and people actually getting together and having conversations with each other.
Realms was birthed from the mind of one Ed Greenwood who first put to official publication his words in Dragon magazine, one of two official DnD publications, that Greenwood would go on to write many columns and articles for laying the groundwork to his now iconic campaign setting that he first created as backdrops for various short stories he had written in the ’60s and would later turn into a personal campaign setting.
The first Greenwood writings would come in Dragon magazine #30 in 1979.
For anyone interested it was an entry in the Dragon’s Bestiary column and on the Curst that started it all.
We throw around the word worldbuilding a lot when we talk about games, novels, and comics, but I’m not sure if that term has ever found a more appropriate avatar on earth than Greenwood.
While Realms isn’t near my favorite fantastic locale nor is Greenwood my favorite author in it, the part of me that has always liked to build and plan things, to find, contemplate, and fill-in minutia greatly admires someone who does the same but has served millions of people with his groundwork in so many aforementioned modes of entertainment.
Who would have thought something Dungeons & Dragons adjacent from the uber nerdy ’80s portfolio and often carried perhaps the most negative stereotype of the time with it, would now be viewed as some form of a growing last bastion of IRL social interaction?
It’s pretty incredible.
And it started, at least for public consumption, here.