Dungeons & Dragons History

While I've been aware that there are multiple Dungeons & Dragons games, until I did a search I didn't realize how many! In Wikipedia I found a history which I used as the basis for this page. If there are errors please feel free to contact me to advise me of the correction.

The following table lists the time line of D&D through it's various incarnations.

Game

Common Name

Released

Description

[Original] Dungeons & Dragons

OD&D

1974

3 volume boxed set: Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, and The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures; required use of Chainmail miniatures war game and Outdoor Survival (Avalon Hill board game). Was expanded through supplements, including Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, and Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes (1975-1976).

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set

Basic D&D or
Holmes D&D

1977

Second version of D&D written by John Eric Holmes, often called the "Blue Set" because of the box color. Was originally designed as an intro to AD&D 1st Edition but was not compatible with it. Contained rules only for levels 1-3.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

AD&D 1E

1977-1979

Brand new game built upon OD&D; similar but markedly different. Rules must more complete. Released as 3 books over 2 years: Monster Manual (1977), Players Handbook (1978), and Dungeon Master Guide (1979).

Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set

Expert D&D or
B/X D&D or
Moldvay/Cook D&D

1981

Third version of D&D which includes an re-write of the Basic D&D to create a new Basic Set (Purple Box) (done by Tom Moldvay) and adds the Expert Set (Light Blue Box) (done by Dave Cook) for levels 4-14.

Dungeons & Dragons Companion Set

BECMI or
Mentzer D&D

1983

Fourth version of D&D which includes updates to the 3rd version Basic & Expert sets, and adds the Companion Set for levels 15-25. BECMI is 21st century name for entire set, e.g., Basic-Expert-Companion-Masters-Immortals.

Dungeons & Dragons Masters Set

BECMI or
Mentzer D&D

1984

Masters add-on for D&D which expands the rules for levels 26-36.

Dungeons & Dragons Immortals Set

BECMI or
Mentzer D&D

1985

Immortals add-on for D&D which expands the rules for levels 36+.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

AD&D 2E

1989

Brand new version of AD&D, not compatible with 1E. Release includes the cyclopedias: Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monstrous Compendium.

Dungeons & Dragons

D&D Rules Cyclopedia

1991

Fifth version of D&D which slightly revises the rules for levels 1-36 and puts them all in one hardcover book.

Dungeons & Dragons

Wrath of the Immortals

1992

Expansion for D&D 5th version which updates the Immortals Set rules for levels 36+.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Revised

AD&D 2.5

1996

Revised version of AD&D 2nd Edition.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

D&D 3E

2000

Completely new version of D&D, not compatible with 1E, 2E or any previous D&D version. Release includes the cyclopedias: Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual.

Hackmaster

Hackmaster

2001

Originally planned as a parody, this 3rd party version combines features from AD&D 1E and 2E plus other rules. Produced by Kenzer & Company.

Dungeons & Dragons v3.5

D&D 3.5

2003

Yet another version updating beyond 3E. Appears to be mostly compatible with 3E.

Castles & Crusades

C&C

2004

Reimagining of class D&D using streamlined mechanics from D&D 3E. Published by Troll Lord Games.

OSRIC (Old School Reference and Index Compilation)

OSRIC

2006

This is a fairly faithful open source rendition of 1E, with some rules cleaned up and things better organized.

Mazes & Monsters "1968"

M&M "1968"

2006

Reimagining of OD&D and AD&D as influenced by Greek Mythology. This is the "1968" rules, based on OD&D.

Labyrinth Lord

LL

2007

Based on 1981 Moldvay D&D. Produced by Daniel Proctor & published by Goblinoid Games.

Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game version 1

BFRPG v1

2007

A re-write based on 1981 Moldvay/Cook D&D (B/X).

Mazes & Monsters "1987"

M&M "1987"

2007

Reimagining of OD&D and AD&D as influenced by Greek Mythology. This is the "1987" rules, based on AD&D1E

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

D&D 4

2008

Another version totally incompatible with all previous versions.

Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game version 2

BFRPG v2

2008

A re-write based on 1981 Moldvay/Cook D&D (B/X).

Swords & Wizardry

SW

2008

A re-write of the original 1974 D&D rules.