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Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy role-playing game that has been published since 1974. Its first edition, original Dungeons & Dragons, was the first modern role-playing game, and was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Dungeons & Dragons was published by TSR from 1974 until 1997, and has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997.

Editions of Dungeons & Dragons[]

Several different editions of Dungeons & Dragons have been produced since its first publication in 1974. The most recent and current edition of the game is known as 5th edition, although there have been more than four editions before this one, primarily because of multiple product lines between 1977 and 2000.

After the original edition of D&D was introduced in 1974, the game was split into two branches in 1977: the rules-light system of Dungeons & Dragons and the more complex, rules-heavy system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D). There were five editions of the standard game and two editions of AD&D, as follows:

In 2000 the two branch split was ended when a new version was designated Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, keeping the edition numbering of AD&D but dropping the Advanced prefix. This edition was updated as version 3.5 in 2003, but new publications were largely compatible with other 3rd edition products.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition was published in 2008. Some products were released in 2010 under the title Dungeons & Dragons Essentials, with slightly different rules for some character options, but was fundamentally compatible with the 4th edition products.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition was released in 2014.

Wizards of the Coast produces new materials only for the latest edition of the game, but many D&D fans, however, continue to play older versions of the game and some third-party companies continue to publish materials compatible with these older editions.


Dungeons & Dragons Version History
noting key rule publications
Year Game
1974 Original Dungeons & Dragons
1977 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeons & Dragons Basic edition
  • Basic Set (blue box; levels 1–3)
  • Players Handbook
  • Dungeon Masters Guide
1981 Dungeons & Dragons BX edition
  • Basic Set (magenta box; levels 1–3)
  • Expert Set (light blue box; levels 4–14)
1983 Dungeons & Dragons BECMI edition
  • Basic Rules (red box; levels 1–3)
  • Expert Rules (blue box; levels 4–14)
  • Companion Rules (teal box; levels 15–25)
  • Master Rules (black box; levels 26–36)
  • Unearthed Arcana
1989 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition
  • Player's Handbook
  • Dungeon Master Guide
  • Monstrous Compendium
1991 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia edition
  • Monstrous Manual
    (Replaces Monstrous Compendium)
1994 Classic Dungeons & Dragons
  • The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game
  • Player's Handbook (revised)
  • Dungeon Master Guide (revised)
  • Player's Option/Dungeon Master Option series
2000 Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition
2003 Dungeons & Dragons v. 3.5
2008 Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition
  • Player's Handbook
  • Dungeon Master's Guide
  • Monster Manual
2010 Dungeons & Dragons Essentials
  • Rules Compendium
  • Heroes of the Fallen Lands
  • Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms
  • Dungeon Master's Kit
  • Monster Vault
2014 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
  • Basic Rules (PDF only; limited player options)
  • Core rulebooks:

External links[]