Dungeon and Dragons (DnD) campaigns can be exciting, emotional, and extremely long, but no game compares to Robert Wardhaugh’s 40-year-long DnD adventure.
DnD has catapulted into the mainstream with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Big Bang Theory, and Stranger Things. There are over 50 million players worldwide and counting since 2020, according to Wizards of The Coast. Robert Wardhaugh has been running his campaign for 40 years, according to PC Gamer. His game has been running since 1982, officially making it the longest-lasting DnD game in history. What began as a hobby became a life commitment.
There are a few reasons why Wardhaughs campaigns differ from others. Wardhaugh’s campaign uses a homebrew ruleset allowing the game to run at a breakneck pace. The other difference is that the player is not allowed to move the pieces; only Wardahaugh can move them. If your character dies, it dies permanently, and if you have no other characters, you will be unable to play ever again. It’s this sense of danger that makes every decision and choice meaningful. Grown men have wept at the table after being unable to continue such an imaginative, exciting and surreal campaign, according to Wardhaugh.
“When your character dies, if you don’t have any other characters, you’re out of the game,” said Wardhaugh.
According to PC Gamer, he prepares an extravagant game with full-on set pieces, storylines, sub-plots, and emotion. Since she was a child, Wardaugh’s daughter has been playing DnD. When she started dating as a teenager, her boyfriend started playing the tabletop adventure. Wardhaugh is so meticulous about his game that he forwarned her that if they were to break up, he would have to allow her ex-boyfriend to continue the game. This dedication Wardaugh has to his campaign is a sight to see. World locations such as England, America, and beyond make it feel like a living, breathing fantasy version of real life. The campaign’s duration created a dynasty, with more than 50 playing the children of their previous characters, generations.
“All told, about 500 characters have come and gone over 40 years,” said Wardhaugh.
It is incredible for anything to last 40 years, let alone a tabletop adventure started as a teenager. His dedication and love for DnD created both the longest-running and possibly most immersive game of DnD ever played.