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Drakar och Demoner

It’s been well-known that the first mainstream Swedish RPG, a translation of RuneQuest (to be specific, a backport of some Gloranthan elements to the Magic World BRP ruleset from Worlds of Wonder), was published by a former Chaosium intern with a preference for D100 rulesets and a disdain for D&D’s matrix tables, but was named “Drakar och Demoner” to capitalize on their competitor’s success. They then (several years later, when “DoD” had been established) used that to discourage distributors from carrying D&D, saying that the license was theirs.

So far, so good. And when non-nerds conflate Dungeons & Dragons with Drakar och Demoner, I never correct them. It’s a nitpick as far as I’m concerned; RQ is basically D&D anyway, via the Perrin conventions. Fortune at the end, action granularity resolution, HP attrition adventure game.

It has made it hard to come up with a Swedish name for D&D since Drakar och Demoner would’ve been the perfect name, and when D&D did come out in Swedish (in a pretty good translation of Basic, Expert, and some of the best modules) they confusingly used the English name and flopped. (Not helped by Drakar och Demoner’s publishers spreading a false rumor that D&D was a license breach…)

But today I learned that there was a dub of the old 1983 “Dungeons & Dragons” TV-show and that the dub is also called “Drakar & Demoner”! (With the ampersand!) How the heck did that happen? Translators just assuming that D&D = DoD? As I just said, they wouldn’t be alone in that mistake, but they were the actual licensors. Kind of weird.