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Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D) is a paper-and-pencil role-playing game (RPG).[1] 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,[2] sometimes with major changes to the rulebooks.

Dungeons & Dragons Version History, noting key rule publications
1974 Dungeons & Dragons (original white box edition with three booklets)

Men & MagicMonsters & TreasureThe 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)
Expert Set (light blue box) (levels 4–14)

1983 Core rulebooks reprinted with
new cover art and orange spines
Dungeons & Dragons (4th version)

Basic Set (red box)
Expert Set (blue box)
Companion Set (teal box, levels 15–25)

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

Player's Handbook
Dungeon Master's Guide
Monstrous Compendium Replaces Monster Manual

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

Player's Handbook
Dungeon Master Guide

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition revised

Player's Options
DM Options

2000 Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (three Core rulebooks)

Player's HandbookDungeon Master's GuideMonster 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 HandbookMonster ManualDungeon Master's Guide

2009 Player's Handbook 2Monster Manual 2Dungeon Master's Guide 2
2010 Player's Handbook 3Monster Manual 3 Dungeons & Dragons Essentials

Fantasy Roleplaying Game (levels 1-2)
Rules CompendiumDungeon Master's KitMonster Vault (levels 1-30)
Heroes of the Fallen LandsHeroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms

2012 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (announced)
2014 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (three Core rulebooks and boxed Starter Set)

Starter SetPlayer's HandbookMonster ManualDungeon 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.

Players Handbook 3rd

The Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Player's Handbook

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[3]. 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.

Common Accessories and Tools[]

  1. Dice
    • Polyhedral Dice: Standard sets typically include a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. These are essential for determining outcomes of actions and events in the game.
  2. Character Sheets
    • Character Sheets: Detailed documents that track a character's abilities, skills, equipment, and progress throughout the campaign.
  3. Miniatures
    • Miniatures: Small figures representing characters, monsters, and NPCs (non-player characters). They are often used on a battle grid to visualize combat scenarios.
  4. Battle Maps
    • Battle Maps: Gridded maps where miniatures can be placed to represent the game environment. These can be pre-made or drawn by the Dungeon Master (DM).
  5. Dungeon Master Screen
    • DM Screen: A foldable screen that allows the DM to hide their notes, maps, and dice rolls from the players. It often includes useful reference charts on the inside.
  6. Rulebooks
    • Player's Handbook (PHB): The main guide for players, containing rules, classes, races, spells, and equipment.
    • Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG): A guide for DMs, providing tips, additional rules, and world-building advice.
    • Monster Manual: A compendium of creatures and monsters that players may encounter in their adventures.
  7. Tokens and Markers
    • Condition Tokens: Used to mark status effects like poisoned, stunned, or grappled on characters or monsters.
    • Initiative Trackers: Tools to keep track of the order of turns during combat.
  8. Terrain Pieces
    • Terrain Pieces: Three-dimensional pieces representing various environments like forests, mountains, buildings, and dungeons. These add depth to the battle maps.
  9. Spell Cards
    • Spell Cards: Decks of cards that list spells and their effects, making it easier for spellcasters to manage their abilities.
  10. Notebooks and Journals
    • Notebooks and Journals: Used by players and the DM to keep notes on the campaign, character backstories, and plot developments.
  11. Apps and Digital Tools
    • Digital Character Builders: Apps and websites that help players create and manage their characters.
    • Virtual Tabletop (VTT) Platforms: Online platforms like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds that allow for remote play with digital maps, tokens, and dice rolling.
  12. Props and Costumes
    • Props: Physical items like fake coins, maps, or artifacts that can be used to enhance the storytelling experience.
    • Costumes: Some players and DMs dress up as their characters or NPCs to add an extra layer of immersion.




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