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History of Dungeons and Dragons



Dungeons and Dragons Creator Gary Gygax was born on July 27, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois. The son of German immigrants, he began playing games at the age five, starting with card games and then chess. First taught to play by his mother, his discovery of fantasy and science fiction through the works of pulp author, such as Jack Vance and Robert E. Howard, would ignite in him twin obsessions that have defined his life from that point onward -- fantasy and gaming. Those loves would eventually combine in the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, the father of role-playing games.

Gygax and Don Kaye, later joined by Blume and Arneson, formed their own company in 1973 which they named Tactical Studies Rules, after a local gaming club called the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association. This company was formed to market the "fantasy war game 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. 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.

When the game started getting somewhat popular after the first year or so, they decided to publish some of the details of their own 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. The realm of Greyhawk maintains a large Fan Club 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.

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. 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 published the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the wholly reworked successor to 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Basic Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons - Timeline

1966
  • International Federation of Wargamers formed by Gary Gygax and other wargamers.
1969
  • Chainmail, written by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren, is published by Guidon Games.
1970
  • Dave Arneson creates a battle scenario involving a castle sewer.
1971
  • Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson collaborate to create "The Fantasy Game."
1972
  • Gary Gygax and Don Kaye form a partnership called Tactical Studies Rules.
1974
  • Brian Blume joins Tactical Studies Rules and brings financing to publish the Dungeons & Dragons® game, orginally called "The Fantasy Game."
  • In one year, the entire hand-assembled print run of 1,000 games sells out.
1975
  • Tactical Studies Rules dissolves and a new company forms, TSR® Hobbies, Inc.
  • Empire of the Petal Throne becomes the first game product published.
  • Two supplements follow to the D&D® game, Greyhawk and Blackmoor.
  • The Dungeon!® boardgame is published.
  • A third roleplaying game-the Boot Hill® game, set in the Wild West-is introduced.
1976
  • The first professional magazine devoted to fantasy and science fiction is published: The Dragon® magazine.
  • TSR Hobbies hosts the Gen Con® Game Fair for the first time.
  • The first Dungeons & Dragons® tournament is held-a tradition continued to this day.
  • D&D supplements 3 and 4-Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes - are introduced.
1977
  • The D&D Basic Set is published.
  • TSR Hobbies publishes the Monster Manual, the first hardbound book ever published by a game company. It contains more than 350 monsters to challenge players.
  • The first playing aids for the D&D game are produced, Dungeon Geomorphs and Monster and Treasure Assortments.
1978
  • A new version of the D&D game is released, the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® game.
  • The first product for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game is released, the Player's Handbook.
  • TSR Hobbies produces a series of six adventures that had previously only been used in tournaments.
  • TSR Hobbies moves to downtown Lake Geneva above the Dungeon Hobby Shop from the old gray house that was Gary Gygax's home.
1979
  • The second AD&D® manual, the Dungeon Master® Guide, is published.
  • Radio ads introduced Morley the Wizard for the first time.
1980
  • To meet growing international demand, TSR, Ltd. is formed in England.
  • The first fantasy setting for the AD&D game is introduced, the World of Greyhawk® setting.
  • Another genre for the roleplaying game is introduced, the Top Secret® espionage game.
  • A note written on TSR stationery about a fictitious assassination plot (part of a playtest for the Top Secret espionage game) brings the FBI to the offices of TSR Hobbies.
  • The Role Playing Game Association™ is formed to promote quality roleplaying and unite gamers across the nation.
1981
  • TSR Hobbies switches from typewriters to computers.
  • Inc. magazine lists TSR Hobbies as one of the hundred fastest- growing, privately held companies in the United States.
  • TSR Hobbies again moves offices, this time to aformer medical supply building with attached warehouse.
  • The RPGA® Network publishes the first edition of Polyhedron® newszine, a 16-page, black-and-white newsletter.
1982
  • TSR Hobbies breaks the 20 million mark in sales.
  • Two new roleplaying games are introduced-the GangBusters® game of the roaring '20s and the Star Frontiers® science fiction game.
  • Exclusive distribution of the D&D game is established in 22 countries.
  • French is the first language adaptation for the D&D game and many other translations follow: Danish, Finnish, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, and more.
  • An Educational department is established to develop curriculum programs for reading, math, history, and problem-solving-the greatest success being the Endless Quest® book series.
1983
  • TSR Hobbies seeks diversification and acquires or starts several new business ventures: a needlecraft business, miniatures manufacturing, toy and gift ventures, and an Entertainment division pursuing motion picture and television opportunities.
  • TSR Hobbies acquires the trademarks and copyrights of SPI and Amazing® Stories magazine.
  • The company changes its name to TSR, Inc.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series premieres on September 17. This series spawns more than 100 different licenses and leads its time slot for two years before going into syndication.
1984
  • TSR, Inc. releases the Dragonlance® saga after two years of development. The Dragonlance saga makes TSR the number-one publisher of fantasy and science fiction novels in the nation.
  • TSR, Inc. signs license agreements to publish the Marvel Super Heroes® game, the Adventures of Indiana Jones™ game, and the Conan™ game.
1985
  • The Gen Con Game Fair moves to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to the need for additional space.
  • Oriental Adventures, a new hardbound book, is the biggest seller.
  • TSR introduces the All My Children™ game, based on the number-one ABC daytime drama; more than 150,000 copies are sold.
1986
  • TSR introduces Dungeon® Adventures magazine, an all-adventure bimonthly magazine.
  • New management buys all the stock in the company.
1987
  • The immense Forgotten Realms® campaign setting is released.
  • A small team of designers starts work on the second edition of the AD&D game. It is the most massive coordinated task ever undertaken by the company and would take nearly two years to complete.
1988
  • The Bullwinkle & Rocky™ roleplaying game-with a spinner and hand puppets-is released.
  • TSR surprises most of the industry by publishing one of the bestselling wargames of all time-The Hunt for Red October™ game, based on the hit novel by Tom Clancy.
  • The Gen Con Game Fair joins forces with its major competitor, Origins™.
1989
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition releases.
  • Releases for 2nd Edition include Dungeon Master Guide; Player's Handbook; Monstrous Compendiums® Volumes 1, 2, and 3; The Complete Fighter's Handbook; and The Complete Thief's Handbook.
  • AD&D 2nd Edition launches into space with the release of the Spelljammer® space fantasy supplement.
  • The RPGA Network branches out into Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the U.K., Israel, and Australia.
1990
  • Count Strahd Von Zarovich becomes one of the most popular and enduring villains of the AD&D game with the release of the Ravenloft® campaign setting.
  • After a three-year hiatus, a Dragonlance calendar is released - which sells out within a month and is one of the top ten calendars of the year.
  • The West Coast division of TSR, Inc. is opened to develop entertainment projects and a series of science-fiction, horror, and action/adventure comic books.
1991
  • The savage world of Athas is introduced to fans through the Dark Sun® campaign setting
  • An introductory Dungeons and Dragons game aimed at beginners is released.
  • TSR enters the collector card market with the first of three annual sets of collectable cards, featuring the fantastic art of TSR's incredible illustrators.
1992
  • The first Al Qadim® product is released, Arabian Adventures. This product sets a new standard in graphics design and shows how versatile and sophisticated the AD&D rules are.
  • TSR's first hardcover novel is published. Legacy, by R.A. Salvatore, leaps to the top of The New York Times bestseller list within weeks of it's release.
  • The Gen Con Game Fair breaks all previous attendance records for any U.S. gaming convention; more than 18,000 people attend.
1993
  • The Forgotten Realms campaign setting receives a new graphic look.
  • The Monstrous Compendiums are repackaged as the Monstrous Manual™ tome.
  • A new approach to gaining new players is tried with the release of the Dragon Strike® Entertainment product, which includes a revolutionary 30-minute video explaining the concepts of role-playing.
1994
  • In response to the success of trading card games, TSR publishes Spellfire®: Master the Magic, a trading card game featuring the well-known names and settings of the AD&D game.
  • Heads turn as the graphics-and attitude-heavy Planescape® world is introduced.
  • The first products including an audio compact disc are introduced.
1995
  • TSR marks it's 20th anniversary with new versions of the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master Guide, the Blood Wars® card game, the Player's Option® and Dungeon Master Option rulebooks, the Dragon Dice® game, and dozens of other games and supplements.
  • The Birthright® campaign expands roleplaying games in a revolutionary manner, introducing blood magic, the power of the land, and the divine right of kings.
1996
  • TSR releases the first ever CD-ROM for the AD&D game - the AD&D Core Rules CD-ROM.
  • The Wizard Spell Compendiums, a new series, is launched, compiling all wizards' spells into four volumes.
  • The award-winning Dragonlance: Fifth Age® roleplaying game is released. The game uses cards instead of dice and emphasizes storyline development.
1997
  • A new era in gaming commences as Wizards of the Coast, Inc. - the Seattle based leader in the fantasy gaming arena, known worldwide for it's Magic: The Gathering® trading card game - purchases TSR.
  • The Alternity® roleplaying game, a space opera roleplaying game, is released.
1998
  • The first campaign setting for the Alternity® game, the Star*Drive® setting, is introduced.
  • Players everywhere rejoice in the Return of Greyhawk.
1999
  • TSR celebrates it's 25th birthday with the Silver Anniversary Tour of game stores throughout the United States.
  • The Alternity game's second campaign setting is introduced at the Gen Con game Fair. The Dark Matter® setting depicts a near-future world full of the paranormal and occult.



 
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