Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D) is a paper-and-pencil role-playing game (RPG). Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created Dungeons & Dragons in the year 1974. It was first published by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997.
It is normally played indoors with the participants seated around a tabletop. A typical Dungeons & Dragons game consists of an "adventure" in a fantasy world or "campaign setting". Typically, each player controls only a single character. The results of the characters' choices and the overall storyline for the game are determined by the Dungeon Master (DM) according to the rules of the game and the DM's interpretation of those rules.
Many optional accessories are available to enhance the game, such as expansion rulebooks, pre-designed adventures and various campaign settings. Commercially published campaign settings are Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Eberron and Dark Sun. Pre-made adventures (previously known as "modules") have been published throughout the history of Dungeons & Dragons.
Editions of Dungeons & Dragons
Since the original release in 1974, several editions of Dungeons & Dragons have been published, sometimes with major changes to the rulebooks.
|1974||Dungeons & Dragons (original white box edition with three booklets)
Men & Magic • Monsters & Treasure • The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures
|1977||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition)
Monster Manual (December)
|Dungeons & Dragons (2nd version)
Basic Set (blue box) (levels 1–3)
|1978||Players Handbook (June)|
|1979||Dungeon Masters Guide (August) Core rulebooks complete|
|1981||Dungeons & Dragons (3rd version)
Basic Set (magenta box)
|1983||Core rulebooks reprinted with
new cover art and orange spines
|Dungeons & Dragons (4th version)
Basic Set (red box)
|1984||Master Set (black box, levels 26–36)|
|1985||Unearthed Arcana (a fourth "core" rulebook)
||Immortals Set (gold box, levels 36+)|
|1989||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition
|1991||Dungeons & Dragons (5th version)
Rules Cyclopedia (levels 1–36)
|1992||Wrath of the Immortals (levels 36+)|
|1993||Monstrous Manual Replaces Monstrous Compendium|
|1995||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition revised
|Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition revised
|2000||Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (three Core rulebooks)
Player's Handbook • Dungeon Master's Guide • Monster Manual
|2003||Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition revised (v3.5)
Revised editions of the core rulebooks (compatible with 3.0 via errata)
|2008||Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (three Core rulebooks)
Player's Handbook • Monster Manual • Dungeon Master's Guide
|2009||Player's Handbook 2 • Monster Manual 2 • Dungeon Master's Guide 2|
|2010||Player's Handbook 3 • Monster Manual 3||Dungeons & Dragons Essentials
Fantasy Roleplaying Game (levels 1-2)
|2012||Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (announced)|
|2014||Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (three Core rulebooks and boxed Starter Set)
Starter Set • Player's Handbook • Monster Manual • Dungeon Master's Guide
Several revisions of Dungeons & Dragons have been released.
The first edition (January 1974) was just called Dungeons & Dragons, now referred to as original Dungeons & Dragons. Built on Chainmail fantasy rules, it consists in a box set with three booklets, Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, and five supplements, Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes and Swords & Spells.
In 1977 was introduced the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, followed by Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set and several supplementary books. The basic set dealt with characters from levels 1-3; as characters got stronger, players had to move to the more advanced rulebooks to manage their characters.
In 1978 was published Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D), with its three "core rulebooks", Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual, but this was a new ruleset that was unrelated to the original rules. A second edition of AD&D was released in 1989, which is still popular today.
After Wizards of the Coast bought the rights to Dungeons & Dragons, a more streamlined version of the game was released in 2000, called Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. Most die-rolls were done with a 20 sided die, instead of different types of multi-sided dice. The 3rd edition rules were eventually revised in 2003, and version 3.5 was released.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition was published in June 2008 with completely revamped gameplay mechanics, combat rules, and magic system. This shakeup of tradition received mixed reviews.
On January 9, 2012, Wizards of the Coast announced that they had begun work on Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. The 2012 D&D Experience convention (January 26 - January 29) was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, during which hundreds of convention goers got a first look at the concepts behind D&D 5th edition.
On July 15, 2014, the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set was released in a box with booklets for the DM and the players, pregenerated characters, six dice, and an adventure for levels 1–5. This was quickly followed by the full Player's Handbook in August, the Monster Manual in September, and the Dungeon Master's Guide in December of that year. The new rules reverted almost all the 4th edition changes to the game mechanics and now resembled an improved and simplified 3.5 system.