Dungeons & Dragons
|Dungeons & Dragons|
|RPG published by
Wizards of the Coast (TSR originally)
|First Publication||1974 (D&D Original)
1977 (Holmes Basic D&D)
1977–79 (AD&D 1st Edition)
1981 (Moldvay BX D&D)
1983-1986 (Mentzer BECMI D&D)
1989 (AD&D 2nd Edition)
1991 (Rules Cyclopedia D&D)
2000 (D&D 3rd Edition)
2003 (D&D v.3.5)
2008 (D&D 4th Edition)
2014 (D&D 5th Edition)
Dungeons & Dragons began as a crossover project by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in the early 1970s. Arneson's concept was to take the individual hero from Chainmail and tell his story. Gygax and Arneson collaborated on a project to realize this goal, and at Gen Con in 1974, they sold copies of the resulting game, Dungeons & Dragons. The game contained three small books in a brown box with white labels.
People often confuse the nearly identical white box (1978) with the actual original; the White Box was labeled with Original Collectors Edition to differentiate it from the newer Basic set being released around that time. In any case, this spawned the roleplaying game genre as we know it.
Original Dungeons & Dragons
Posthumously named, Dungeons & Dragons was directly linked to Chainmail in many ways. The Chainmail books even fit in the box. By adding multiple hero types to play and focusing on the aspect of the individual rather than the unit of the army, Gygax and Arneson kickstarted the Role Playing Game industry. People were no longer content to read tales of high fantasy in a book, not when they could control what the characters did! Dungeons & Dragons was released as a core set of 3 books and supplements were to follow later.
Dungeons & Dragons Contents
- Men & Magic - Allowed you to create a character and to learn the magic system.
- Monsters & Treasure - Pretty much exactly that. Rules for monster encounters and appropriate rewards for such.
- Underworld & Wilderness Adventures - The meat and potatoes of exploring overland and dungeon.
- Reference sheets - A stapled collection of pages with cross referencing tables and charts on them.
- Supplement I Greyhawk - Introduced the setting of Oerth, new classes, spells, items, and optional rules.
- Supplement II Blackmoor - Introduced TONS of items, and optional rules mostly for underwater. The Blackmoor-specific stuff is the module Temple of the Frog. (Judges Guild would later publish the actual Blackmoor setting as run at this time.)
- Supplement III Eldritch Wizardry - A lot of new magic rules and classes
- Supplement IV Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes - Rules for immortals, more classes, introduced the Paladin class.
- Supplement V Swords & Spells: More combat and magic rules, more game mechanics. This would be incorporated into AD&D later.
Basic Dungeons & Dragons
The Dungeons & Dragons Game
The replacement for the Basic Set as the intro. Now covered levels 1–5. This box set was a comprehensive guide to roleplaying. It came with dice, a map, a detailed book that stepped you through an adventure to generate your character and learn the fundamentals of role-play (Zanzer Tem's dungeon). Players were supposed to continue to the Rules Cyclopedia.
D&D Rules Cyclopedia
The rules Cyclopedia essentially was a compiled version of all the rules in the first four Basic D&D sets. The Immortals Set was reworked into the book Wrath of the Immortals. There were minor rule tweaks, but nothing drastic.
There have been a wide variety of names used to distinguish these first iterations of D&D from their successors. As indicated above, Original D&D (or "OD&D") is used for the original sourcebooks that formed the first stepping-stones between Chainmail and the BECMI set, although it can sometimes be misused for both the Original books and the subsequent Basic Edition books.
That secondary interation is commonly called BECMI, an acronym used internally for the different box-sets that made it up, but it has many other names. One of the more common is "Basic Dungeons & Dragons" (or "BD&D"), a direct counterpart to its rival, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ("AD&D"). Another common name for it is "Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition". This is inaccurate, as, amongst other things, AD&D was the first D&D iteration to be explicitly divided into 1st and second editions, but because there is a much wider gap between Basic and Advanced (plus, AD&D 2nd edition ran longer than AD&D 1st edition), and all subsequent editions of D&D have numbered themselves from 3rd edition onwards, the idea of BECMI as D&D 1e remains entrenched. It's even used here on this website!
Let's gather up all the edition nicknames we know of:
Dungeons & Dragons (1974):
Original D&D, OD&D, 0th edition, 0e, The White Box, The Little Beige Books, The Three Little Books
Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977):
Holmes Basic, Holmes Edition, The Blue Book
Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set/Expert Set (1981):
Moldvay Basic, Moldvay Edition, Basic D&D B/X Edition, B/X (probably the most common nickname), Otus Edition (from the cover illustrations by Erol Otus)
Dungeons & Dragons Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal Set (1983):
Mentzer Basic, Mentzer Edition, Basic D&D BECMI Edition, BECMI, The Red Box, Elmore Edition (from Larry's cover illustrations of the Basic Set books)
There was a Dungeons & Dragons movie back in 2000. If you were not aware of this, that's because this movie was largely forgettable and had little to no impact with the rest of the franchise. Some features that are memorable though are:
- Jeremy Irons acting at his hammiest yet,
- Marlon Wayans acting at his most annoying yet (also he's named "Snails" for some reason),
- The bald lackey of the BBEG has this weird blue lipstick and a disturbing brainworm scene,
- Several dungeon scenes are blatantly stolen from various Indiana Jones movies.
Unluckily, the message it was forgettable didn't stick, and not one but two 'sequels' of sort did see the light of day. They're both quite terrible movies and only worth watching for the D&D references (and even then).