I am late to the party this month, having intended to post several times this month, but best laid plans as it were.
January is International Dungeons and Dragons month and January 26th is International Dungeons and Dragons Day. The guy over at Playing at the World, came up with that date as the probable publication date and some of us agreed with that date and are sticking with it. :)
If you bop on over to the Wizards of the Coast website you will notice that they are so out of touch with Dungeons & Dragons that they don't even know it is the 45th Anniversary of the game.
Dungeons & Dragons is derived from Dave Arneson's Blackmoor game. Arneson created the game, played it for over a year, showed it to Gary Gygax who took Arneson's notes and concepts, then added many of his own mechanics while writing up the game for publication. After much collaboration and play testing it was published and the rest is history as they say. (yes I know that is a cliché)
Originally an open-ended game of exploration where the referee (later called a dungeon master) created a world in which characters created by players would explore and interact with that world and a free collaboration would take place between the players and referee to create something completely unique. No railroad, no training wheels, just a wild ride that could take you anywhere.
These days most games are played with packaged adventure modules that lack the spontaneity and the creativity of the original game. If you have never played the original free wheeling open ended game, it is well worth your effort to find one and give it a whirl.