This essay suggests that the emergence of the “dungeon” in Dungeons and Dragons as a representational fantasy trope in the 1950s/ 60s is symbolically related to popular perspectives on nuclear attacks circulating in Cold War America. It is posited that maps determine the action and functions of a site, and that they also tell much about the cultures that have produced them. The systems of representation, epitomized by the dungeon, showcase how the rules of Dungeons and Dragons dealt with far more than just the mapping of the underground. They were instead systems that helped players to manage their affects, and in so doing, offer strategies for coping with a variety of Cold War fears.
DOI / Citations