A popular thread on Twitter makes a strong case that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the perfect Dungeons & Dragons campaign. The similarities between the two are obvious, so it’s easy to imagine the story of Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf as the subject of a tabletop role-playing game.
The popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s groundbreaking fantasy series has led to the Lord of the Rings appearing in nearly every medium of entertainment. The most notable adaptation is, of course, Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, which was followed by three The Hobbit prequels. The world in which The Lord of the Rings takes place, Middle-earth, has served as the setting for various video games which have experienced a great deal of success in their own right. Amazon is also currently developing a Lord of the Rings TV series, which is expected to cost the studio $500 million.
College Humor cast member Brennan Lee Mulligan posted a series of humorous tweets detailing how The Lord of the Rings feels exactly like a Dungeons & Dragons campaign where all nine members of the Company of the Ring are characters controlled by human players. The characters are sent on a long quest to drop the One Ring in a volcano. The comparisons mostly revolve around Gandalf the Grey, who Mulligan describes as an “OP wizard from a previous campaign,” which hilariously explains why Gandalf outclasses all the other members of Frodo’s group. According to Mulligan, Gandalf’s tendency to leave the groups for extended periods of time is the result of the player’s busy schedule. The eventual loss of Gandalf’s character sheet is presumably the reason for his transformation into Gandalf the White.
In comparing The Lord of the Rings to Dungeons & Dragons, Mulligan makes an excellent point about the direction of the story, not to mention the similarities between the two worlds. Both universes are filled with wizards, orcs, dwarves, elves, halflings (hobbits in The Lord of the Rings), and magically-enchanted rings. It’s clear that Dungeons & Dragons was heavily influenced by Tolkien’s work. In fact, the comparisons run so deep that at one point there was a threat of copyright action against Dungeons & Dragons over the names of certain races.
While Dungeons & Dragons has a vast world of its own that encompasses Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter, and more, the tabletop game has had crossovers with other franchises, like Magic: The Gathering. However, it’s unlikely that D&D players will ever get to send a party of adventurers through an official Lord of the Rings campaign, even if it is a fun idea to entertain.
Source: Brennan Lee Mulligan