Dungeons & Dragons FAQ
- What is D&D®?
- D&D is an abbreviation for the Dungeons
& Dragons® game, a fantasy roleplaying
game published by TSR, Inc. (hereafter referred to as "TSR").
It made its first public appearance in 1973, hit the general
market in 1974, and has been wildly popular ever since.
It is generally referred to as "the grandfather of
all roleplaying games." It was later revised to become
part of AD&D®, or the Advanced Dungeons
& Dragons® game. AD&D is the most
widely recognized and played roleplaying game.
- To prevent confusion, "*D&D" is used
as a generic term referring to all of the forms this game
has taken over the years.
- What is the history of the game now called AD&D?
- E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were tabletop wargamers;
that is, they used lead miniatures to reconstruct historical
battles or construct their own battles. Their favorite era
to set their battles in was the medieval period.
- Gygax, with Jeff Perren's help, codified a set of rules
for conducting both individual and group combat. They and
Brian Blume published these rules through Guidon Games (which
consisted of Gygax and the others and was run out of Gygax's
basement) in 1969 under the as the ChainmailTM
- At some point, their battles received an injection of
fantasy. (Dave Arneson, possibly under the immediate influence
of a Star Trek episode, is usually credited with
actually starting the ball rolling.) Originally, the fantasy
elements were limited to special military units for wizards
and heroes. Eventually, however, the basic concept behind
the existing idea of the play-by-mail military campaign,
where each player took the part of a ruler who sent out
armies as well as engaged in diplomacy and intrigue, was
soon combined with the game. Soon, the wizard and hero "units"
were removed from the battlefield and sent upon individual
quests of mythic scope, as Gygax and Arneson discovered
that playing a single character was as much or more fun
than playing an entire military unit or army.
- One of these first times a group of heroes and wizards
took on a fantastic mission took place in 1970 when Dave
Arneson created a scenario in which a group of adventurers
had to sneak into a castle and open the gates from the inside.
He brought his scenario to Gen Con 4 (1971). Gygax,
who already had some individual adventuring guidelines of
his own, was one of the people who played it. Gygax and
Arneson then pooled their efforts to create a game specifically
intended for fantasy adventuring.
- The concept of character advancement was added to the
game via experience points, levels of proficiency in combat
and spell use, and a few other refinements. Thus individuals
could grow in personality and power instead of just being
anonymous members of battle units.
- This game had now grown far beyond wargaming or even the
Chainmail rules. The group called it The Fantasy
Game and proceeded to take it around to all the game manufacturers,
including Avalon Hill. Every single company turned the game
down, usually because it seemed too open-ended and did not
incorporate a way to win.
- Gygax and Don Kaye, later joined by Blume and Arneson,
were not about to let mass rejection stop them. In 1973,
they formed their own company, which they named Tactical
Studies Rules after a local wargaming club, the Lake Geneva
Tactical Studies Association. This company was formed to
market the "fantasy wargame to be played with paper
and pencil" that they renamed Dungeons & Dragons
(after a suggestion by Gygax's wife, Mary). The game first
appeared at the 1973 EasterCon, had a limited availability
throughout 1973, and the first print run of 1,000 copies
was officially released (in a white box) in January of 1974.
It sold out within the year.
- The game consisted of three booklets: Men and Magic, Monsters
and Treasure, and Wilderness & Dungeon Adventures. It
was also recommended that owners get a copy of Chainmail
as well as the Avalon Hill game Outdoor Survival. There
were three classes: Fighting Man, Magic-User, and Cleric.
The terms were intentionally vague and much research was
done to prevent putting anything into the game that actually
resembled real-world magic systems. The authors eventually
decided to base the game's magic system on the fantasy writings
of Jack Vance. Thus, Magic-Users must memorize spells daily,
and once cast, the spells are erased from a Magic-User's
mind and must be memorized again. There were also four different
races: human, dwarf, hobbit, and elf. Objections and legal
complaints from the Tolkien estate caused the "hobbit"
race to be changed to the "halfling" race later.
Humans could be any class and could attain any level of
proficiency. Dwarves and hobbits were limited to being Fighting
Men and were restricted in the levels they could reach.
Elves could alternate between Fighting Man and Magic-User,
but they could only switch classes at the beginning of an
adventure. Finally, there were three alignments based on
the fantasy writings of Michael Moorcock: Law, Neutrality,
and Chaos. The original intentions of the game equated law
with good and chaos with evil.
- At this point, both Gygax and Arneson were running their
own campaigns using the game. When the game started getting
somewhat popular after the first year or so, they decided
to publish some of the details of their campaigns along
with some expansion rules for the game. This product was
the original Greyhawk. It introduced the Thief character
class and had notes on magic, monsters, and more. Then they
published Blackmoor, which introduced the Monk and Assassin
classes and included the very first module: Temple of the
Frog. Then came Eldritch Wizardry, which introduced
the Druid class and psionics. The last book of this series
was Gods, Demigods, and Heroes, which listed several pantheons
for use with the game. During this period, Tactical Studies
Rules also began publishing two magazines. In the spring
of 1975, it started The Strategic Review (note the creative
acronym), and in the summer of 1976, it first published
The Dragon (soon renamed to Dragon® magazine).
- In 1975, Arneson and Gygax parted ways, and Don Kaye had
a fatal heart attack. Kaye's wife decided, along with Gygax
and Blume, to break up the company. Gygax and Blume went
on to create TSR Hobbies, Inc. later that year.
- At this point, the game was comprised of many rules spread
throughout numerous books, supplements, and magazines. In
addition, Gygax had amassed a pile of campaign notes and
new rules that he wished to add to the game. It was decided
that a new edition of the game should be released, but instead
of calling it a second edition and discontinuing the first,
TSR launched Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This
expanded and updated version commenced with the release
of the Monster Manual in 1977. It was followed in 1978 by
the Player's Handbook and in 1979 by the Dungeon Master's
Guide. TSR continued to produce the slightly renamed Basic
Dungeons & Dragons.
- AD&D was originally intended to be a standardized
system that combined all of the new and updated rules into
one location. It would therefore be the version of choice
for tournaments, as everyone using it would be able to easily
follow the same set of rules.
- The "Advanced/Basic" D&D game lines
were apparently executed in an attempt to work around some
legal difficulties. When Arneson and Gygax had parted in
1975, Arneson, under the terms of the original partnership,
still held some royalty rights to the D&D game.
When Gygax went ahead with the new edition, Arneson took
TSR to court. The matter was settled in 1981 when both parties
signed a mutual agreement.
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons skyrocketed in
popularity. TSR came out with sourcebook after sourcebook
and published many of the now-classic adventure modules
set in the world of Greyhawk®. The first issue
of Polyhedron newszine was published in 1981. In
1984, TSR released the Dragonlance® saga, a grand
epic detailed in both novels and a series of adventure modules.
This was followed in 1986 by the first issue of Dungeon®
magazine. The very next year, the world that saw
birth in Ed Greenwood's home campaign was published as the
Forgotten Realms® campaign setting.
- By the end of the 1980s, the AD&D was enormous.
Its rules and the campaign information for the many fictional
places in which characters could exist sprawled across more
products than when AD&D was first created. TSR
(by this time, the word "Hobbies" had been dropped
from the name) decided to once again create a new edition
and roll a lot of the new rules into the core books, as
well as regularizing, clarifying, and revamping many of
the existing rules. Gamers would again have all of the necessary
rules in one place, tournament players could once again
have a common rules foundation to base play on, and new
players could locate a clear starting point into the game.
Thus was 2nd edition AD&D born in February 1989.
- However, just as it had previously, the game ballooned
out over succeeding years as players' demands for new information
and more options drove the release of additional sourcebooks
and several new campaign settings. In 1995, TSR revamped
the look of the 2nd edition AD&D core books and
came out with three sourcebooks designed to be optional
changes to the system. These optional rules provided players
with different ways to create characters, to resolve combat,
to have their characters think about and use magic, and
to play high-level characters.
- In 1997, Wizards of the Coast, Inc., publishers of the
wildly popular Magic: The Gathering® trading
card game, acquired TSR. In 2000, Wizards of the Coast will
publish the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons,
the wholly reworked successor to 2nd edition Advanced
Dungeons & Dragons. The Player's Handbook
is scheduled for release in August, the Dungeon Master®
Guide in September, and the Monster Manual
- I've found a mistake in the latest TSR module. Where
can I report it?
- If you discover a major typographical error in a TSR publication
(such as the infamous "damage/dawizard" search-and-replace
error), a reversed or missing map or table, or any other
mistake, feel free to write to TSR and report it. The contact
person for errata reports is Keith
Strohm. He will see to it that the appropriate people
at TSR are notified of the error.
- There is not much need to post reports of typos or errata
for all to see unless they actually affect game play in
some way, such as the Fighter/Ranger/Paladin experience
table heading problem in the first printing of the 2nd edition
AD&D Player's Handbook or mislabeled maps in
- What do those letter/number combinations on older modules
and handbooks stand for?
- Up until late 1994, TSR gave every product an alphanumeric
code as well as a numeric product code. The letter codes
were based in some way on the product, and the number following
the letter designated what number a product was in the series.
For example, Against the Giants was G1-3,
the Vault of the Drow was D1-3, and Queen
of the Demonweb Pits was Q1. Some codes were based on
other factors; for example, competition modules for
tournament use were given a "C" designation, and
the special series was labeled with an "S."
- This use carried over into 2nd edition, with the Player's
Handbook reference series (PHBR), Dungeon Master
Guide reference series (DMGR), and historic reference
series (HR), as well as the GA/R (general adventure/reference),
RA/R (Ravenloft® adventure/reference), WGA/R
(World of Greyhawk adventure/reference), FA/R (Forgotten
Realms adventure/reference) series. Late in 1994, TSR
decided that this system was getting out of hand and dropped
it. Now products are only coded by product number, a four-
or five-digit code that TSR uses to track its products.
- Wasn't there a Saturday morning cartoon about *D&D?
- Yes, there was. Dungeons & Dragons premiered on September
17, 1983 on CBS and ran for two seasons. The main characters
were real-world people who rode the new D&D roller
coaster at the local theme park and somehow got transported
by the Dungeon Master to a fantasy world. Each of the main
characters had a personal magic item, and a vast majority
of the show's plots revolved around the evil Venger trying
(and failing) to get their items so that he could become
all-powerful. The heroes spent most of their time trying
to find portals back to the real world and failing to use
every one they found for one reason or another. All of the
episodes were available on video at one point, though they
are currently without a distributor, so it may be possible
to find them at conventions, in video stores, for sale on
the Web, or elsewhere.
- The main characters were:
- Hank (Ranger): The leader. His bow shot magic arrows that
- Eric (Cavalier): The scaredy-cat (which wasn't much like
a cavalier should behave, but that's another matter). His
shield projected a force field.
- Presto/Andrew (Wizard): The comedian. He could pull items
out of his hat, but rarely, if ever, got what he wanted.
- Sheila (Thief): The second in command. Her cloak made
her invisible when she put on the hood.
- Diana (Acrobat): Her 10-foot pole could extend 10 feet
- Bobby (Barbarian): Sheila's kid brother. His club caused
a miniature earthquake when he struck the ground with it
and struck powerful blows against any enemies he hit with
- Uni (Unicorn): Token cute creature. How can you hate a
show that features a baby unicorn with big, blue eyes and
a plaintive bleat?
- Dungeon Master (DM): The DM, of course. He was a short,
bald guy who talked in riddles and sent the party into the
face of certain doom. They always managed to solve his riddles
and survive, yet always failed to get home.
- Venger (Fiend): The bad guy. He had one horn, fangs, and
rode a winged nightmare (a black horse with bat wings).
He always had some scheme to take over the world, and it
usually involved stealing the heroes' weapons first.
- Tiamat (Dragon): The ultra-evil girl. What's big, has
five heads and a nasty temper, is mindlessly evil, and wants
revenge on Venger for something that happened in the first
episode? I don't know, but it's standing right behind you.
. . .
- What *D&D-specific comic books have been published?
- There have been a number of comic series over the years
that have dealt with various TSR worlds. DC published most
in conjunction with TSR. Here is a list of known *D&D
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (DC) #1-36, Annual
- Avatar (DC) #1-3
- Birthright®: The Serpent's Eye (TSR
- Dragonlance (DC) #1-34
- Dragonlance (TSR freebie)
- Dragonlance Saga (TSR) #1-3
- Dragonlance Saga (DC) #4-5
- Dragon Strike® (Marvel) #1
- Fineous Fingers collection (TSR)
- Forgotten Realms (DC) #1-25, Annual #1
- Forgotten Realms: The Grand Tour (TSR freebie)
- Gammarauders (DC) #1-10
- Labyrinth of Madness (TSR freebie)
- Planescape® (TSR freebie) [finished, but never
- SnarfQuest collection (TSR)
- Spelljammer® (DC) #1-15
- TSR Worlds (DC) Annual #1
Whaever happened to SnarfQuest, What's New?, Wormy,
- For those who don't recognize those names, all four were
very popular, long-running sequential art features (comic
strips) in Dragon
magazine at one time or another, and references to and
queries about these regularly crop up. (Other regular features
have been Fineous Fingers, Pinsom, Tal'n'Alan, The Twilight
Empire (Robinson's War), Floyd, and Knights of the
Dinner Table.) In alphabetical order:
- SnarfQuest by Larry Elmore began in issue
#75 and ran for several years. The episodes were collected
together into a single book in the late 1980s (long since
out of print, unfortunately), and a special one-shot episode
appeared in Dragon #200. Larry currently works freelance,
and his material graces the pages of many TSR products.
- What's New? with Phil & Dixie by Phil Foglio
first appeared shortly before issue #50 and ran until issue
#84, when Phil went on to work on other projects. One of
those projects was the comic book adaptation of Robert Asprin's
Another Fine Myth; Phil, Dixie, and the dragon
made a special guest appearance in issue #5. The entirety
of the Dragon run of What's New? and two new
episodes ("How They Met" and the long-threatened
"Sex and D&D") were published in two
parts in 1991 and 1994 by Palliard Press. After a hiatus
from regular publication of some years, new episodes of
What's New? themed around trading card games appeared
in the pages of the Duelist magazine. With the Duelist
ceasing publication to become Top Deck magazine,
the location of future What's New? episodes is still
up in the air.
- Wormy, by Dave Trampier, ran concurrently with
What's New? and SnarfQuest. Its run ended
suddenly in the middle of a story, and this has been the
center of no small amount of confusion and consternation
on the part of its fans. However, Dave Trampier is still
alive and well. He does not currently work in gaming or
- Yamara was the most recent strip of these four.
It ended its several-year run in 1996. A Yamara collection
(up through at least the episode from Dragon #202
and including descriptions of each of the characters) was
released around 1994. It was originally published by Steve
Jackson Games and is currently available on the Yamara
website. Yamara is now available as a web strip at
creators of Yamara can be reached at Yamara@earthlink.net.
- Wasn't there a TSR module that was banned?
- No, there have not been any banned modules. There was,
however, one that was recalled and re-released in a different
form, thus making the original a rare find.
- In 1980, an adventure entitled Palace of the Silver
Princess was written for TSR. It was published in 1981
for basic D&D characters as module B3. It had
an orange cover. Shortly after publication, TSR discovered
several serious flaws in the content and presentation of
the module. It was recalled. Every copy of B3 that TSR could
locate was returned and destroyed. The module was then heavily
revised, fixing the errors and inserting new art. It was
re-released shortly thereafter with a green cover.
- However, not every copy of the original version was returned.
The first time this was revealed was at the auction at the
1984 Gen Con
game fair, where one came up for sale and went for $300.
A couple of other copies have come up for sale since, but
none have sold for quite that much.
- Aren't the new printings of the core books actually
the third edition of AD&D?
- The latest printings of the Player's Handbook and
Dungeon Master Guide (with the black cover
graphic treatments) are definitely not third edition AD&D.
They are merely new graphic treatments of the same content
as in the earlier 2nd edition AD&D books. If
you read the introduction to the new printing, it is made
quite clear that this is not a third edition. The third
edition of Dungeons & Dragons will be released
in 2000, beginning in August. It will be released under
the name Dungeons & Dragons, dropping the now
- What was removed from Deities & Demigods?
- The first printing of Deities & Demigods included
the mythoi of Cthulhu (based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft
and others) and Melnibone (based on the work of Michael
Moorcock). TSR was later asked to remove them from the book
for legal reasons. When the book went into its second printing,
they were removed. Later the book was republished under
the name Legends & Lore. The two mythoi remained
- When Legends & Lore was updated to 2nd edition
AD&D, several more mythoi were removed to allow
space for the new format of the product and expanded content
on the mythoi included. The Babylonian, Finnish, nonhuman,
and Sumerian mythoi were omitted. The Central American mythos
was renamed the Aztec mythos. Contrary to rumor, the Newhon
mythos was never removed and, in fact, was included in 2nd
edition Legends & Lore. Nonhuman deities were
reintroduced in Monster Mythology. Other products
with notable discussions of deities include Faiths &
Avatars, Powers & Pantheons, and Demihuman Deities
(the three large Forgotten Realms campaign setting
deity lorebooks), and the Player's Guide to Greyhawk
and the Scarlet Brotherhood (for the Greyhawk
- Was Legends & Lore really originally a 1st
- Yes. Legends & Lore was originally a reprinting
of Deities & Demigods with a new title and cover.
It was later recast into a 2nd edition book. The 2nd edition
version contains new content.
- What are the major changes in AD&D 2nd edition
from 1st edition?
- What follows is a list of the major differences between
1st edition AD&D and 2nd edition AD&D.
Because some of the changes actually occurred within later
1st edition books (such as Unearthed Arcana and the
Dungeoneer's Survival Guide) or in the pages of Dragon
magazine, players who adopted the rules presented in
those books saw fewer changes to the core rules when 2nd
edition came out.
- Monk and assassin were removed as standard character classes.
The four basic classes have been reshaped into the warrior,
wizard, priest, and rogue groups into which all classes
fall. The fighter, mage, cleric, and thief are classes that
are the equals of the ranger, druid, bard, and other classes.
- Druids can now progress up to 20th level and have a new
- Thief abilities now have a degree of player choice in
- Rangers have been reworked. They now get a d10 for Hit
Dice, no mage spells, and so on. They also are able to use
two weapons at once in combat in certain situations with
no attack penalties.
- Wizards may now have specialties (for example, illusionist,
necromancer, and so on) based on the wizard spell schools.
A specialist has enhanced spell capabilities within his
or her specialty. The mage class is but one member of the
wizard group, as is each of the specialist wizards.
- Mages' Hit Dice extend only to 10d4 instead of 11d4.
- Druid spells are now mixed in with clerical spells to
form a single priest spell list.
- Illusionist spells are now mixed in with mage spells to
form a single wizard spell list.
- Nonweapon proficiencies have been added to the core rules
as an option.
- Half-orcs are no longer a standard player character race.
- Some ability score tables (for example, the Dexterity
table in the instance of Dexterity bonuses) have been changed.
- Clerics now have spheres of influence into which all clerical
spells have been divided instead of automatically having
access to every spell on the list. Clerics have access to
one set of spheres and druids have access to another overlapping
(but not identical) set of spheres.
- Specialty priests are new priest classes that have their
own unique sets of spheres of influence and may have different
granted powers, combat abilities, class weapon and armor
restrictions, and ability score or racial requirements.
- Bards have been totally reworked and are now in the rogue
group with thieves.
- Experience points given per gold piece of treasure acquired
is now an optional method for assigning experience.
- Optional experience bonuses may be given for actions that
reinforce the nature of one's class (for example, spellcasting)
and for roleplaying. The majority of experience is given
for scenario completion.
- Saving throws no longer always fail on a roll of 1.
- Segments no longer exist. That is, casting times are given,
but the casting time number represent an arbitrary short
period that is not directly a measure of time but instead
optionally modifies the initiative roll. See below for how
this affects spellcasting.
- A d10 is rolled for initiative instead of a d6. To the
roll are added optional modifiers (casting time, weapon
speed factors, and so on).
- The THAC0 system is now standard. Combat charts with six
20s no longer exist. A natural 20 always hits; a natural
1 always misses.
- Unarmored combat has been greatly simplified.
- Weapon size and length effects have been deleted from
- (Optional) Weapon specialization is possible for the cost
of a certain number of weapon proficiency slots. For example,
a 1st-level fighter could specialize in the longsword, giving
him three attacks per 2 rounds at +1 to attack/+2 to damage
- Damaging spells (for example, fireball, lightning bolt,
and so on) are limited to a maximum number of dice of damage
(10, for fireball and lightning bolt).
- Almost all spells common to both 1st edition and 2nd edition
have had minor details changed or added (for example, identify
has different percentage chances to determine the powers
of the item identified). Sometimes even the level of the
spell has changed. This is especially true (by necessity)
for any spell that existed at different levels for different
- Illusions now do temporary damage instead of real damage
if they are believed. They can kill by system shock or cause
their victims to faint under certain circumstances.
- Some spells that cause aging in the caster now age by
different amounts (for example, the aging caused by casting
wish has changed from 3 years to 5 years). A system
shock roll is required for all magical aging, whether it
is part of the casting or a result of the spell. (For example,
if you are hasted, age 1 year and roll a system shock
survival roll to see if death ensues.)
- Mages must now be 9th level rather than 7th level before
they can scribe scrolls.
- The number of wizard spells omitted from 1st edition to
2nd edition: 12.
- The number of wizard spells added in 2nd edition: 89.
- The number of priest spells omitted from 1st edition to
2nd edition: 11.
- The number of priest spells added in 2nd edition: 43.
- Casting times of less than a round are now optional initiative
modifiers and not the actual time a spell takes to cast.
Spells with casting times of a round or more go into effect
at the end of the last round, turn, or other time period
of casting time.
- Many monsters have had some details changed, if only the
number of experience points awarded for their defeat. Experience
points awarded are somewhat higher in 2nd edition than in
1st edition. Some changes include a strengthening of the
creatures' combat abilities. For example, the balor (formerly
known as the Type VI demon) now has a vorpal sword.
The changes are often minimal in nature, and the reader
will recognize an orc as an orc. Only giants, dragons, and
Outer Planar creatures have had major reworking (see below).
- Some monsters from 1st edition were removed from the core
collections of monsters (either the Monstrous Compendium,
Volumes 1 and 2, or the Monstrous Manual
tome). Others were added from books and scenarios other
than the 1st edition core monster books (the Monster
Manual and the Monster Manual II). Outer Planar
creatures (demons, devils, and so on) were originally solely
detailed in supplementary 2nd edition texts. Some have been
added to the core Monstrous Manual book.
- Dragons have been completely reworked. In general, they
are much more powerful than their 1st edition counterparts.
They are also rolled up differently than in 1st edition,
have magic resistance, cannot be subdued, have physical
attack forms other than just their claws and bites, and
- Many other small changes were made, such as to open doors
rolls, to surprise rolls, to monetary exchange values and
coin weights. A death due to massive damage rule was added,
and artifact descriptions were removed from the Dungeon
Master Guide. Most changes were minor, and there
are too many to list here.
- What do those weird abbreviations mean?
- Here is a guide to the most common abbreviations and acronyms
found in online discussions of TSR products.
||Any version of the D&D game
||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,
||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,
||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,
revised 2nd edition
||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,
revised 2nd edition
||Area of effect
||Basic Dungeons & Dragons, as
opposed to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
||Book of Artifacts
||Birthright campaign setting
||Complete [class] Handbook
series; Fighter's, Priest's, Thief's, Wizard's, Psionics,
Ranger's, Bard's, Druid's, Paladin's, Barbarian's, Necromancer's,
Complete Book of [race]
series; Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes & Halflings,
||Player's Option®: Combat
||Dungeons & Dragons, any version
except Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
||Deities & Demigods
||Dragonlance campaign setting
||Dungeon Master Guide, any
||Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st edition
||Dungeon Master Guide, 2nd
||Dungeon Master Guide, revised
||Dungeon Master Option book(s)
||Dark Sun® campaign setting
||Forgotten Realms campaign setting
||Greyhawk campaign setting
||Dungeon Master Option: High
||Hollow World® campaign setting
||Legends & Lore
||Monstrous Compendium® tome
(usually followed by the appendix number)
||Monster Manual/Monstrous ManualTM
||Monster Manual II
||Manual of the Planes
||Oriental Adventures rulebook
||Old/original D&D, as opposed
to the later Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
||Play by email
||Play by World Wide Web
||Player's Handbook, any edition
||Player's Handbook, 1st edition
||Player's Handbook, 2nd edition
||Player's Handbook, revised 2nd
||Player's Option books
||Planescape campaign setting
||Ravenloft campaign setting
||Roleplaying Game AssociationTM
||Player's Option: Skills & Powers
||Player's Option: Spells & Magic
||Tome of Magic
||World of Greyhawk
||Wizards of the Coast; also referred to
- How do you pronounce...?
- Here are some commonly mispronounced words and their dictionary
pronunciations where they are available and common-practice
pronunciations or TSR rulings where they not. For more general
pronunciation help, see the article "Ay pronunseeAYshun
gyd" by Frank Mentzer in Dragon #93 (Jan. 1985). For
help pronouncing words and names specific to the Forgotten
Realms setting, see the Forgotten Realms box
and the trilogy of Forgotten Realms deity books.
For help pronouncing the names of the various tanar'ri and
baatezu types, see MC8 Outer Planes Appendix.
- Aarakocra: a-rah-KO-krah
Baatezu: bay-AH-teh-zu or BAH-teh-zu
Catoblepus: kuht-OH-bleh-puhs, also kah-TA-ble-pus
Chatkcha: CHAT-k-cha (thri-kreen throwing weapon)
Chimera: ky-MAEE-ruh, or ky-MAIR-ruh (rhymes with "care
Drow: DRAU (as in drowsy; rhymes with now and how)
Dweomer: DWEH-mer (rhymes with "hem her"), or
DWIH-mer; sometimes DWEE-mer
Geas: GEE-ass, or GYASS (both with a hard "g")
Halberd: HAL-berd, (not HAL-bread)
Iuz: YOOZ or EE-uz
Ixitxachitl: iks-it-ZATCH-i-til or ik-zit-zah-chih-tull
Lich: LITCH (as in ditch), *not* LIKE or LICK
Lycanthrope: LY-kun-throhp, LY-kan-throhp (like lichen rope/my
Mage: MAGE (as in age), *not* MADGE (as in badger)
Scythe: syth (rhymes with tithe)
THAC0: either THAK-oh, or THAKE-oh
Wyvern: WIH-vern (as in did learn), or WHY-vern
- What magazine resources are there for *D&D?
- TSR publishes two magazines. They are aptly named
Dungeon and Dragon, both of which are commonly
available at most stores where roleplaying games are sold
and by subscription. Dragon magazine concentrates
on the roleplaying industry, with news, previews, and new
rules and additions to various games, especially *D&D.
magazine includes new adventures and modules, usually
for use with *D&D, but adventures for other games
are often included as well.
- Members of the Roleplaying Game Association network
network) also receive a copy of Polyhedron®
newszine as part of their subscription. The magazine is
by RPGA members (some of whom are professionals in
the game industry) for RPGA members. It contains
a variety of interesting articles, some of which fit into
a number of campaign settings, some of which are geared
toward transmitting member information.
- Subscription information for Dungeon magazine,
Dragon magazine, and the RPGA network can
be found at their specific pages on the website.
- What books do I need in order to play *D&D?
- Technically, you need absolutely nothing to play. A pencil,
paper, and dice certainly are useful, but they can easily
be borrowed. The rules can be explained by the Dungeon Master
(DM) or more experienced players. In addition, you might
want to pick up the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
Game, which introduces new players to roleplaying and
to the Dungeons & Dragons game. It's available
in most hobby stores.
- It is usually most convenient to have a personal copy
of the rules to read and reference during and outside of
gaming sessions. Because of this, most players purchase
the Player's Handbook. The Complete Handbook
for your character's class or race may be a welcome addition,
as may the Player's Option books, but they are not
required. Beyond that, which books you use or purchase are
a matter of personal preference.
- What books do I need in order to be a Dungeon Master
- Unlike players, for whom it is possible to play with just
pencil and paper, a DM generally needs a bit more in the
way of rulebooks. The minimum needed by most people to DM
a satisfying *D&D game is the Dungeon Master
Guide, the Player's Handbook, and the Monstrous
ManualTM tome. These
three references are the core of the game. Everything else
adds more options and further detail.
- What happened to my favorite TSR campaign world?
- Some campaign worlds start off with very strong sales
and then slowly dwindle down to the point where the sale
of new products can't support continued line development
of the world. This doesn't mean that no one is playing in
the world any more, only that many players and Dungeon Masters
purchased the original campaign setting box or hardcover
and then went their own way with the setting. Because they
didn't need more supplemental products, they didn't buy
them. TSR views such drops in sales as consumers voting
with their dollars and uses this information in its decisions
about when to drop a line in favor of something new. In
any event, as a business, TSR cant continue to produce
products if the products dont at least break even.
However, with various electronic venues becoming more popular
and cost-effective, TSR is looking into a number of options
that would allow it to support many of its presently inactive
lines on some level.
- In addition, some campaign worlds are designed to be limited
in scope. They are published for a certain number of years,
after which they are no longer actively supported. The Al-Qadim®
setting was one of these. It was conceived as a two-year
project, but due to its popularity, it was extended
an extra year.
- The only new material for inactive worlds appears in Dragon
magazine, Polyhedron newszine, and online
at the webpage. It's always possible that TSR will
resurrect one of these worlds for a relaunch, but there
are no plans to do so right now. See the following question
for a list of which campaign worlds are currently active
and which are inactive.
- How many campaign worlds are there?
- TSR has produced quite a number of campaign worlds over
the years. The campaign setting you choose to play in is
largely a matter of personal taste. TSR continues to develop
a number of active campaign settings. A large number of
inactive campaign settings also exist that you might find
in for sale at places like E-Bay, rec.games.frp.marketplace,
in hobby stores, at convention auctions, and through other
- Active Campaign Settings
- These campaign settings are those for which you'll see
a steady flow of new products. In addition, you'll see more
articles in our magazines (Dragon,
and Polyhedron) for these settings than for
- The Dragonlance setting takes place on the world
of Krynn. The epic saga of Dragonlance and is well
known through the series of novels and modules that have
told it. On Krynn, gold has little or no value, as the world
is on a steel standard. Clerics are relatively unheard of.
The focus for the world is the ongoing battle between the
deities Takhisis (evil; a chromatic dragon) and Paladine
(good; a platinum dragon). Dragons are more active on Krynn
than elsewhere, as they are strongly polarized by the Takhisis-Paladine
battle. Dragonlance: Fifth Age takes place long after
the War of the Lance, and uses the SAGA® system
rather than the AD&D game. The Dragonlance
line is primarily supported through novels, not game products.
- TSR has recently released the Dragonlance Classics
volume, which collects all of the original 15 classic adventures
into a single volume and provides both AD&D and
SAGA rules to play them by. It's available at the
- The Forgotten Realms campaign setting is the
classic world of sword and sorcery. The most exhaustively
detailed fantasy world ever developed, the Forgotten
Realms campaign offers something for every player, regardless
of his or her tastes. Whether your interests lie with the
subtle political machinations of the city of Waterdeep or
stretch into the dangerous dungeon delves that populate
this land, you'll find what you're looking for in the Realms.
- Faerûn, the main continent of the Realms, is intended
to be a generic *D&D campaign setting. It has
many similarities to medieval Earth. It also has enormous
cities, many countries with a foreign and exotic flavor,
hordes of nonplayer characters for a DM to use or not (as
desired), and more room to maneuver than anyone could ever
need. Wild magic and dead magic zones, where magic can surge
in power or not work at all, spice up the use of magic when
the DM thinks things may have become too predictable. Many
supplements, including adventures, campaign expansions,
lorebooks, and sourcebooks have been published for the Forgotten
Realms setting, and a lot more are on the way.
- The Greyhawk campaign setting is the default setting
you're using when you're playing the Advanced
Dungeons & Dragons game. Many of the spells,
magical items, artifacts, and other references in the game
all relate back to this setting and its nonplayer characters,
history, and geography. The Greyhawk setting was
the first widely known campaign world and was originally
published in the early 1980s. Most of the classic adventures,
such as Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain,
Against the Giants, and others, were set in the world
- The goal of the Greyhawk campaign is to allow players
and Dungeon Masters to explore a world largely of their
own creation. Adventures and other supplements produced
by TSR provide a very general framework for the world, but
much of the source material (stories, politics, and so on)
is provided by each individual DM.
- Any *D&D core material you see (starting in
late 1999) uses the Greyhawk campaign setting as
the default. This means we'll be giving you fantastic adventures,
spells, magical items, and other treasures that can be used
in any *D&D campaign world. But, the products
they appear in will use Greyhawk references and names
that allow you to locate them within the Greyhawk
setting rather than purely generic names and references.
- Inactive Campaign Worlds
- In our 25-year history, TSR has produced a large number
of campaign settings. As customer interests have changed,
these campaign settings have been retired to allow us to
concentrate on future products. It's possible that you might
see a product or two released from TSR in the future that
deals with these settings, but the primary sources for new
material about them are Dragon magazine, Dungeon
magazine, and Polyhedron newszine.
- Al-Qadim: This setting is located far to the south
of Faerûn, the core of the Forgotten Realms
setting, but it can easily be placed on any campaign world
or exist as a setting in its own right. It encompasses the
genre of the exotic tales of the Arabian Nights,
with djinn, magic lamps, Sinbad-like sailors, emirs, and
the ever-present Hand of Fate. It is intended that players
in the Al-Qadim setting use Al-Qadim characters,
but it is possible to take outsider (regular *D&D)
characters into the Al-Qadim setting.
- Birthright: In this setting, the players are characters
of noble birth. They must deal with intrigue, spying, wars,
the occasional adventure, and succession to the throne.
Special powerful magic spells whose power is drawn from
the land one controls as well as the possibility of magical
traits caused by royal bloodlines are also thrown into the
- Dark Sun: Athas, the world of the Dark Sun
setting, is a metal-poor desert world, which by itself makes
life quite a challenge. Add to that the fact that almost
everyone on the planet has some degree of psionic ability,
and you get a pretty lethal environment. Clerics are different
in that they are either templars, who are granted spells
by their sorcerer-kings, or clerics, who gain spells by
worshiping the elements around them. Mages, too, are changed.
All magic is powered directly by the life force of the world
around them, which tends to be a detriment to the continued
existence of any plants and animals in the area of a mage
- Kara-Tur: This setting is located far to the east
of Faerûn, the core of the Forgotten Realms
setting, but like the Al-Qadim setting, it can be
located anywhere a DM wants to put it or run as a setting
in its own right. It is an Asianlike setting, with much
of the flavor of ancient China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia,
and even accents of Malaysia and India. The setting features
the use of martial arts, lots of intrigue, highly civilized
empires and courts, family honor, and "barbaric"
horse riders. It is intended for use with oriental characters,
but regular characters can easily be worked in.
- Masque of the Red Death: This setting is based
on the Ravenloft setting but with a twist. It's set
in the equivalent of the Victorian era, but in a world where
magic has existed since the very dawn of time. There is
a much higher technology level in this setting than in most
*D&D worlds, but like in the Ravenloft
gothic horror setting, terror is everywhere, though here
it is aided by the aftereffects of the Industrial Revolution.
Every time a character casts a spell, that character is
drawn a step closer to the Red Death, a powerful force of
evil in this world. However, Masque is technically
and thematically a separate game from *D&D that
happens to use the Ravenloft setting's fear and horror
- Maztica: This setting is located far to the west
of Faerûn, the core of the Forgotten Realms
setting. It is meant to represent the Americas during the
time of the Spanish conquistadors, and its flavor is a heavy
mixture of fantasy and pseudo-Native American culture (especially
Aztec, Incan, and Mayan). While it is possible to play a
conqueror from Faerûn, it is intended that native
characters be created. This setting has its own unique magic
variant (hishna and pluma) that not only changes the way
priests and wizards operate, but also the way many warriors
do as well.
- Mystara®: This is the world that used to be
the setting for basic D&D altered to fit the
AD&D rules. Like the Forgotten Realms
and Greyhawk settings, it is a high fantasy world
with its own individual flair. It is distinct from the other
worlds in that several of its supplements also come with
audio CDs for sound effects and storytelling. The Red
Steel® and Savage Coast lines are also part
of the world of Mystara.
- Spelljammer®: In a nutshell, the Spelljammer
setting is *D&D in outer space, but in more of
the swashbuckler pirate vein than a hard science fiction
one. It is intriguing in that it presents its own system
of fantasy physics to explain the behavior of spelljamming
vessels in space and the way that *D&D solar
systems (called crystal spheres) work. Many of the typical
*D&D player character and monster races are present,
but they may act very differently in the Spelljammer
setting from the way that you may have become accustomed
to them behaving. In addition, the Spelljammer setting
can accommodate adventuring in many of the other published
game settings, since spelljamming ships visit almost all
of them from time to time.
Many Advanced Dungeons & Dragons players feel
that a trip to the planes is an exotic monster safari or
a death sentence, depending on the whim of the Dungeon Master.
This campaign setting shows that the planes are complex
places with unique cultures of their own where adventures
and intrigue of cosmic importance can be experienced by
characters both native to the Outer and Inner Planes and
to the Prime Material. In the Planescape setting,
characters can interact with tanar'ri, baatezu, modrons,
deities and their proxy representatives, and the many legendary
inhabitants of these infinite places where belief determines
reality. The city of Sigil provides a meeting ground from
representatives of the many factions that try to make sense
of planar existence to meet and butt heads.
- The Planescape setting has not so much been discontinued
as absorbed into the core *D&D product
line. Planar campaigning has been a part of the *D&D
game since the early days, and demons, githyanki, slaadi,
and other planar creatures are familiar elements in many
campaigns. The Planescape setting explored the multiverse
in stunning (both in a good and a bad sense) detail, but
many players were put off by the amount of material required
to fully understand the setting, and they began to think
that planar campaigning was strictly for Planescape
fans. In order to continue to produce materials for planar
gaming, TSR decided that it was necessary to pull Planescape
back into the core line to keep it accessible to everyone.
The Ravenloft campaign setting draws on the elements
of fear and terror that have fascinated folk throughout
the ages. Isolated from traditional aid, heroes must struggle
in anonymity against the unspeakable evils and terrifying
villains that make the Demiplane of Dread a setting for
classic horror. Combine with this the components of traditional
fantasy--knights, monsters, swords, sorcery, legend, and
romance--and you have a *D&D world where heroes
must use their wits as well as their weapons to fend off
their worst nightmares or go insane trying. Death lasts
only an instant, but horror can last a lifetime.
- Similar to the Planescape setting, the Ravenloft
setting developed a highly specialized fan following,
making the average gamer think that horror in *D&D
was strictly for Ravenloft setting fans. TSR
intends to continue support of the Ravenloft
setting, but subsequent products will be branded with
the core *D&D logo and designed so that they
can be played in any campaign setting. The Ravenloft
setting elements will not be lost on those who run Ravenloft
campaigns, but any DMs or players can use these products
if they wish to inject a little horror into their campaigns.
- We'd like to thank the following individuals. This FAQ
is based on the extensive FAQ Joel A. Hahn wrote and compiled
for the rec.game.frp.dnd Usenet newsgroup. The list of major
changes between 1st and 2nd edition AD&D was
compiled by Lawrence
"DMGorgon" Mead and Ian