Dungeons and Dragons, the original hit role playing game, has never truly died, its cult following passionately carrying the torch for over a decade. Yet for a while it seemed like the game and the nerd fandom it inspires would never make waves in the pop cultural landscape on the level that it did in its 80s heyday.
But now that many of the 80s kids that cut their creative teeth on the gaming table have become today's writers, video game designers, actors and musicians, it looks like D&D has been resurrected. Our big sister, Movie Pilot, has a list of celebrity D&D players from Vin Diesel to Insane Clown Posse, but more famous gamers are coming out of the D&D closet (or Leomund's Secret Chest). Here are some of our favorite celebrities that have come clean about their love for the number one nerdy obsession:
Anderson Cooper (CNN host)
Beloved Late Night host Stephen Colbert has never been shy about showing off his nerd chops, especially when it comes to Lord of the Rings, but he's no stranger to Dungeons and Dragons either, and has strong opinions about elves. When CNN Anchor and author Anderson Cooper came onto his show, an off the cuff quip about elves fell deep into the nerdy rabbit hole, and the two wits tackle the important social issues of class, race and gender.
Matt Groening (Simpsons and Futurama Creator)
Groening's referenced D&D just a few times on The Simpsons, but the shows's younger, geekier brother Futurama actually abounds with little shout-outs to the RPG, culminating in the D&D tribute episode Bender's Game.
Futurama even features appearances from the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax.
Grammy-nominated Weezer frontman and sometime solo artist Rivers Cuomo bonded with his early musical partners in a classic nerdy childhood of heavy metal and of course Dungeons and Dragons. In a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, Cuomo reveals strong tendencies as a player and said he much preferred characters with high Dexterity, such as elven or half-elven split-class fighter-thieves.
SNL alumnus and the face behind Wayne's World, Austin Powers, and Shrek, Mike Myers revealed that he plays D&D quite frequently during his appearance on Inside The Actors’ Studio in 2001. He also participated in the World Wide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day in 2006, and has mentioned trying out his 'D&D voice' when working on vocals for Shrek.
The moral crusaders who condemned D&D in its early days as a gateway to Satanism must have felt vindicated when Marilyn Manson revealed that he played the game. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Manson preferred 'edgy', evil characters such as drow assassins.
Felicia is best known for her appearances in the works of fellow Dungeons and Dragons nerd Joss Whedon (Buffy, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog), and her breakout Youtube web series The Guild. Felicia has attended a weekly D&D group for years and she can be often seen playing games with Wil Wheaton on his video blog.
Yep, Wil Wheaton, who found fame early in life through his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has re-invented himself as a writer and spokesperson for tabletop roleplaying games. In addition to his aforementioned video blog, TableTop, he was also a celebrity game tester for D&D 5th Edition at the PAX Prime convention in 2012.
The third MM of the list, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin has been open about discussing her love of Dungeons and Dragons in interviews, and even eulogized the 2008 passing of Gary Gygax on her website.
15 time NBA All-Star and five time NBA Champion Tim Duncan is sometimes made fun of for his nerdy, serious side. He's often known to talk about his love of the medieval period and of playing characters in D&D in an interview with Jerry Briggs of the San Antonio Express-News in 1997.
The legendary director and producer featured a game of Dungeons and Dragons in E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, but it's more than just contemporary dressing. He used it to test out the kids' acting chops. We'll see if Spielberg's gaming background also manifests in his latest undertaking, the upcoming Ready Player One.
TV shows such as Freaks and Geeks and the more recent Stranger Things have featured Dungeons and Dragons in their stories, but Harmon actually centered a couple of episodes of his comedy show Community entirely around the game. After the short Dungeons and Dragons segments on his Harmontown podcast became a cult hit, he made a new show -- a mix of live action gameplay and animated stor -- with celebrity guests (such as Aubrey Plaza and Nathan Fillion), called Harmonquest.
And finally... Your favorite porn stars!
Cult web series I Hit it with my Axe featured a gaming group that bucked the unfortunate stereotype of the sexless nerd. DM'd by artist, writer and occasional porn actor Zak Smith, the regular players were stars of the adult entertainment world such as Mandy Morbid, Caroline Pierce, Satine Phoenix, Kimberly Kane, Sasha Grey, and Stoya. Many of these sexy sorcerers aren't just players, but are actively involved creating games and supplements. For example, Zak Sabbath writes and illustrates tabletop adventures, and Satine Phoenix hosts webseries and celebrity D&D games for charity.