An edition is a version of a role-playing game that can itself be played as a self-contained role-playing game. What this means is:
- an edition shares intellectual property—generally including the title, premise and theme—with another game or edition; but
- each edition has its own rules and at least one core rulebook, and may be incompatible with other editions of the same game.
Editions may be denoted by number (either as a numeral, e.g. 2nd edition, or a word, e.g. second edition) or by some other designation (for instance, the two current editions of With Great Power are called the Classic edition and Master edition). The denotations may or may not be included in the game's rulebooks, but are often used online and in marketing to identify the appropriate relevant system. Since the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, it has been common to refer to editions (both of D&D and other games) by using the relevant numeral followed by the letter e, e.g. 4e or 4E.
Alternate uses of the termEdit
The word edition has other, technical definitions in the world of book publishing, which may not correspond precisely to its meaning relating to game systems. In publishing, each form of a book (such as a hardback, paperback or e-book) counts as a different edition, meaning that a specific core rulebook of a particular edition of a game might have multiple editions in a publishing sense.