Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition logo.abbrev. D&D, AD&D
1. p.n., medieval fantasy role-playing game rules and resources, collectibles, and associated board and computer games, published by TSR Hobbies, Inc., now a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast. D&D on Amazon.
2. sometimes used by unknowledgeable munchkins and mundanes to refer to any role-playing game. Ex: “Are you playing your little Dungeon & Dragon game up there?” “No, Mom! It’s Eclipse Phase! God!”

Addendum: Dungeons & Dragons is the archetype for all role-playing games; whether fantasy or not; whether tabletop, computer, or LARP. It may not have been the first RPG (see Chainmail), but it was the model for everything that came later. First published as a three-volume boxed set (a.k.a. Brown-book D&D, 1974), then a one-volume “Basic Set” (Blue-book D&D, 1977), the game became a genuine phenomenon with the publication of three hardcover Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books in 1979: the Players Handbook, the Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Masters Guide. Designed for graduates of the Blue-book system, these three volumes were all that was required to play (along with a set of polyhedral dice, and possibly some leads); but a complete series of companion volumes followed: Deities and Demigods (re-released as Legends and Lore, then as Gods, Demigods, & Heroes), Fiend Folio (1981), Monster Manual II (1983), Unearthed Arcana (1985), and Oriental Adventures (1985). These later volumes were predominantly collections of material published in TSR’s Dragon Magazine.

TSR also produced a huge library of supplemental literature, largely adventure modules. For the best part of the 1980s, D&D was the “gateway game” for most gamers, providing an introduction to RPGs and leading the player inexorably on to more esoteric systems and milieux.

In 1989, TSR released Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, which revamped the core rules and tried to incorporate a great deal of new material into the system. The result was an unruly mess of countless handbooks and rules supplements, which turned off many experienced gamers, who either stuck with the first edition rules or moved on to other games.

In 1997, a near-bankrupt TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast; and Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition was released in 2000. This served as the basis for a multi-genre role-playing system called the d20 System. Skills and feats were introduced to encourage character customization. In 2003, Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 was released, incorporating minor changes. The popular Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is based on, and expands upon,  the D&D 3.5 rules.

In 2006, the MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Online was launched, developed by Turbine. In 2009, the game went free-to-play.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition was released in 2008. The game is rather different from previous editions, and has not been terribly popular with fans. Many of its mechanics are inspired by MMORPGs.

In January 2012, Wizards of the Coast announced it was working on a 5th edition of the game. In reponse to fan complaints, the company says it plans to take suggestions from players, and let them playtest the rules.

Dungeons and Dragons D&D

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