Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A feature length documentary uncovering the true tale of the rise and fall of the creators Dungeons & Dragons.
A feature length documentary uncovering the true tale of the rise and fall of the creators Dungeons & Dragons.
891 backers pledged $57,504 to help bring this project to life.

About

The Great Kingdom project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$57,504

891

"The AMERICAN DREAM can become the AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, if you’re not careful." - Mary Gygax, 1985

Gary Gygax (striped shirt) at Gen Con II
Gary Gygax (striped shirt) at Gen Con II
Dave Arneson (seated, with glasses) at Gen Con II
Dave Arneson (seated, with glasses) at Gen Con II

In 1969, GARY GYGAX, a family man and an insurance underwriter with an entrepreneurial mind meets DAVE ARNESON, an idle, yet brilliant game designer. Their collaboration would change the world, their families and themselves.

This is the remarkable true life story of the rise and fall of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and the people behind the creation of the epic role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

THE GREAT KINGDOM explores the personalities behind the game and the families they engendered. This is the saga of the people who brought a company from its humble basement beginnings and transformed it to a multi-million dollar corporation. A story for our time that parallels the rise, fall and redemption of Steve Jobs and echoes the who-invented-what question of the creation of Facebook.

The story of families, both blood and personal bond, affected by the success of the game, a game that brought joy to millions and heartbreak to its creators. What happens to these individuals as they weather through the success; the excess, the betrayals, the downfalls and eventual redemptions, all takes place in THE GREAT KINGDOM.

Who We Are

James, Chris and myself are long-time friends who learned our film-making skills working years in the LA and NYC film communities. For years, we've talked about how much we've wanted to work together on our own films. When we came up with the idea for a documentary on Dungeons & Dragons, we knew it was the perfect project to work on as a team.

We like to tell people that we are film-makers first, gamers second. Chris and I both played D&D when we were younger. When we eventually met years later, there was already a mutual understanding of what "hit points" meant or what "owlbears" were. But more importantly, we knew the thrill and excitement of telling a good story, the basis of any good adventure. Playing D&D helped frame our eventual choice to become film-makers. James was introduced much later, but has grown to appreciate the fun of role-playing and the importance of community. Together, we have created our own small community of film-makers (our own little adventure party), who are dedicated to bringing you this amazing story.

Andrew Pascal, Jim Gavin, Chris Haifley and James Sprattley
Andrew Pascal, Jim Gavin, Chris Haifley and James Sprattley

We've traveled all over the Midwest talking to and meeting a lot of amazing people. We've had the privilege of speaking with the folks who were there from the first miniature wargame to the last court ruling. We've met family members of Dave and Gary, their friends, the guys they gamed with and the people who worked with them at TSR. We've been to the old offices and homes where this beloved game was put together. We've consulted with experts who will be on hand to make sure that what we're showing is true and honest. And now that we've finished principal photography, we're ready to move to post production where we can edit and finish the film. 

We Need Your Help to Finish This Film

Though it's a labor of love, we still need finishing funds to complete THE GREAT KINGDOM. That's where we need your help. We've gotten it this far using borrowed funds from friends and family and a good chunk of our own, but we need just a little bit more to get it polished, finessed and ultimately finished.

We need $50,000 to finish the film. It's not a lot of money for post production, but with the amazing partners, who are willing to offer us top-tier talent and facilities for bargain-basement rates, we know it can be done. The money we raise on this campaign will pay for:

  • Transcribing Edit (both on and off-line)
  • Mastering
  • Color-timing
  • Music (and Music Clearance)
  • Animation
  • Archive Material

Any funds raised beyond the $50,000 will be used for marketing and promotion. We've shot most of the film. All we need to do now is put it all together. And what an amazing story we have to tell. 

And Finally...

This film is for you: the gamer, the documentary film watcher, the student of cultural icons, the nostalgic. You are our audience. In fact, our first audience. This Kickstarter campaign is a call to action. Yes, we need money, but more importantly, we need you to be THE GREAT KINGDOM's ambassadors to the world. We need your help to spread the word and make as much noise as you can about us.

And we need you to be part  of our team. Follow us on our social media sites and read about our exciting journey through our boring blog posts and second-hand retweets. As members of our team, you will be with us all the way to the finish line. And please...ask us anything, we're an email away. We've been at this by ourselves for the past year, we'd love the company.

"The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience." - Gary Gygax

Music: "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin, "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath.

Some maps by Dyson Logos. For more info and a look at his work, check out his blog site.

Risks and challenges

With any endeavor like this, there are setbacks and pitfalls. In fact, we know this first-hand.

Some of you may know James and myself from a different D&D documentary project that was started on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. As projects like this go and part of the nature of filmmaking, there were creative differences that led to our new direction and separation from the previous project.

We started from scratch, raising private funds and some of our own to get us to this point. We knew there was an amazing story to tell. And like any complicated story, there will always be room for different interpretations.

So, to those who helped support the previous documentary, we would like to offer a digital, downloadable copy of THE GREAT KINGDOM for FREE. It's our small way of thanking you for your support and patience. All you need to do is email us (TheMostEpicGame@gmail.com) and there will be a copy waiting for you when the film is done.

And to those who are just tuning in, rest assured that we are now more more focused and excited to finish. We've learned from our mistakes and have great mentors to steer the way for us. We anticipate setbacks, that's just the nature of film-making. But we're confident that we can meet our goals and deadlines. And if we don't, you'll be the first to know why and our plan to fix it.

Our goal is to finish. We've worked too hard not to.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You are awesome and we're gonna send you a "thank you" email to prove it. Thanks for being a part of the project. Thanks for your support.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Mary-Jo's Secret Potato Salad Recipe.

    Here is the Gygax Secret German Potato Salad Recipe. A digital copy of a tremendous German Potato Salad recipe that is fantastic but unhealthy and full of fat and sugar as well as healthy apple cider vinegar. Mary shared it with Gary and the kids. Gary's brother's ex-wife shared it with mother as a wedding present! So you know it's good. Yours for $10 bucks + You get an email telling that confirms how awesome you are for helping out "The Great Kingdom".

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A Pre-Release HD Download - You can watch it before all of your friends, who have to wait until the general release. (Although you could invite them over your place to watch it. But make sure they bring chips and snacks and some kind of beverage). And then afterward, you can show off your name listed on our website under the heading "Awesome People That Helped Get This Movie Made."

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    479 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Everything at the $20 Backer Level + Mary-Jo's Secret Potato Salad Recipe. This is the perfect way to enjoy "The Great Kingdom". Download the film, gather your friends, get the chips, break out the potato salad...who's better than you?

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    50 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    DVD/BluRay + Pre-Release HD Download - You get the Digital Download before everyone else does, plus you get something you can treasure and keep. Think of it as an heirloom to give to your descendants. That is unless DVD/Blu-Ray become obsolete...which will probably never happen.

    And to sweeten the deal, your name will be listed on our website under the heading "Even More Awesomer People That Helped Get This Movie Made".

    $15 extra for International Shipping. (Sorry, International People...we wish it was less expensive).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    193 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    DVD/BluRay + Pre-Release HD Download (can be gifted) + You get to be in the movie.

    Well, not you...just your name. In the credits of the film under the title "Amazing People That Helped Us Out In Our Kickstarter Campaign."

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    47 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Everything in the $100 Reward Level + And here's the big difference: We Will Personally Sign your DVD/BluRay Copy. For an amazing low price of an extra $50, you can get it signed. Something like that is easily worth $55 to $57 on the open market. Think of the money you'll be saving.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Rob Kuntz is pitching in to help. Here is his contribution to the effort. Presenting Merlynd the Magician, an appreciation for the co-founder of TSR Hobbies, Donald R. Kaye, the unsung hero of the D&D story. Presented as a story, adventure accounts, memorable anecdotes and historical recounting, all spanning the years 1969-1975. Includes photos, three (3) full-color and sepia illustrations of Don’s D&D persona, Merlynd, and his castle lands, as well as a short story that honors his memory. Signed and numbered by Robert Kuntz. On 32# paper stock and a full-color cover. Softbound 8 ½ x 11 chapbook style, 32 pp, including 3 separate (f/c and sepia) 8 ½ x 11 illustrations on 100# cover stock. + You get the Pre-Release HD Download.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 15 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    We also present a collection of amazing works by Ernest G. Gygax and John Bobek. (1) SAMMI-ZOWA VERSUS THE DUELING DRAGONS: Sammi-Zowa faces dragons in order to save those he loves. He discovers the ways of honor and the Samurai. Conceived by Ernest G. Gygax, written with Nerissa Montie and illustrated by Simon Todd. (2) DU2 HAUNTED HALLS OF THE BEGGAR KING PREVIEW: A first-edition compatible module in digital format, this preview describes a full bandit lair in 117 areas. Designed and written by Ernest G. Gygax and Benoist Poiré. For characters levels 1-3. (3) GP ADVENTURES CHARACTER RECORD SHEET (1E COMPATIBLE): The Official GP Adventures Character Record Sheet in digital format. Fully customizable, layered PDF designed by Ernest G. Gygax and Benoist Poiré, Illustrated by Mark Allen. (4) John Bobek's "The Games of War". This interactive book contains 39 sets of rules to put your old toy soldiers, model ships and planes to use in games covering Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and History. With this book, you can game literally any conflict or role playing game and in any scale. (5) Plus you get the Pre-Release HD Download.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Wow...now we're getting into break-open-the-piggy-bank-territory. This is where you join the elite ranks of our mom and dads and divorced uncles who are pretty much the only ones who pledge at this level. But for that privilege, you, my friend, get Everything in the $150 Reward Level + an Associate Producer Credit. That beats looking for your name in the small print, doesn't it?

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Now you've reached the rarified air. Your $5000 bucks gets you Everything in the $1000 Reward Level + 2 tickets to a screening of the film at Gary Con VII in March 2015 (Travel & Lodging not included). What better place to celebrate your love of Dungeons & Dragons than at its birthplace (arguable, we know)? Please note, though Gary Con is in March 2015, release of DVD/BluRay may take until July 2015.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 7,500 or more About US$ 7,500

    Hey, Mr/Ms Hollywood, how would you like to see a cut of the movie before any one else does? That's right, Bigshot, you get to sit in with our entire team in L.A. during the edit of the rough cut. Spend a day mingling with us LA and NYC types with our fancy haircuts and latte drinks and be a part of the creative process. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the making of this documentary and to watch a rough cut of the film before anyone else does. We'll even get you your own cup of Mocha Chai Double Latte with Skim. + A copy of the DVD/BluRay. (Travel & Lodging not included)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    Wow. You're still looking down here? Your faith in us is humbling. Pledging at this level gets you: Everything in the $150 Reward Level + You are now a Co-Executive Producer in the Film (and you thought money can't buy happiness.) + 2 Tickets to a screening of the film at Gary Con VII in March 2015 (Travel & Lodging not included) + 2 Passes for the Premiere Reception where you can hobnob with the "Cast" at the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva (this is where Gen Con started...wow. Plan your selfies now) + You get to play in a D&D Game run by one of the old grognards (could be Ernie Gygax, could be Rob Kuntz, could be Dave Wesely, could be Paul Stormberg at 330 Center Street...who knows? We'll call this the "after-party"). Please note, though Gary Con is in March 2015, release of DVD/BluRay may take until July 2015. PS Shipping at this Reward Level is free. You're welcome.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)