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For other uses, see Magician (disambiguation) and Magi (disambiguation).
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The Enchanted Garden of Messer Ansaldo by Marie Spartali Stillman: a magician makes a garden bear fruit and flowers in the winter for Messer Ansaldo to win the heart of a married lady.
A magician also known as a mage, warlock, witch, wizard, enchanter/enchantress, or sorcerer/sorceress, is someone who uses or practices magic derived from supernatural, occult, or arcane sources.:54 Magicians are common figures in works of fantasy, such as fantasy literature and role-playing games, and enjoy a rich history in mythology, legends, fiction, and folklore.
1 Character archetypes
2 Names and terminology
2.1 Reasons for distinguishing magicians
2.2 Gender-based titles
3 Traits of magicians
5 Magical materials
6 Use of magic
8 External links
The Enchanter Merlin, by Howard Pyle, from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903)
In medieval chivalric romance, the wizard often appears as a wise old man and acts as a mentor, with Merlin from the King Arthur stories being a prime example.:195 Wizards such as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter are also featured as mentors, and Merlin remains prominent as both an educative force and mentor in modern works of Arthuriana.:637 Other magicians, such as Saruman from The Lord of the Rings or Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter, can appear as hostile villains.:193 Villainous sorcerers were so crucial to pulp fantasy that the genre in which they appeared was dubbed sword and sorcery.:885
Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea explored the question of how wizards learned their art, introducing to modern fantasy the role of the wizard as protagonist. This theme has been further developed in modern fantasy, often leading to wizards as heroes on their own quests. Such heroes may have their own mentor, a wizard as well.:637
Wizards can be cast similarly to the absent-minded professor: being foolish and prone to misconjuring. They can also be capable of great magic, both good or evil.:140–141 Even comical wizards are often capable of great feats, such as those of Miracle Max in The Princess Bride; although he is a washed-up wizard fired by the villain, he saves the dying hero.
Wizards are often depicted as old, white-haired, and with long white beards majestic enough to occasionally host lurking woodland creatures. This depiction predates the modern fantasy genre, being derived from the traditional image of wizards such as Merlin.
In the Dragonlance campaign setting of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, wizards show their moral alignment by their robes.
Terry Pratchett described robes as a magician's way of establishing to those they meet that they are capable of practicing magic.
To introduce conflict, writers of fantasy fiction often place limits on the magical abilities of wizards to prevent them from solving problems too easily.:616 In Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away, once an area's mana is exhausted, no one can use magic.:942 A common limit invented by Jack Vance in his The Dying Earth series, and later popularized in role-playing games is that a wizard can only cast a specific number of spells in a day.:385
Magic can also require various sacrifices or the use of certain materials, such as gemstones, blood, or a live sacrifice. Even if the magician lacks scruples, obtaining the material may be difficult. A. K. Moonfire combines these limits in his book The Aubrey Stalking Portal. The magician expends power to fuel his spells, but does not replenish that power naturally; therefore, he must make sacrifices to generate more magical power.
The extent of a wizard's knowledge is limited to which spells a wizard knows and can cast. Magic may also be limited by its danger; if a powerful spell can cause grave harm if miscast, wizards are likely to be wary of using it.:142 Other forms of magic are limited by consequences that, while not inherently dangerous, are at least undesirable. In A Wizard of Earthsea, every act of magic distorts the equilibrium of the world, which in turn has far-reaching consequences that can affect the entire world and everything in it. As a result, competent wizards do not use their magic frivolously.
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, the Law of Conservation of Reality is a principle imposed by forces wanting wizards to not destroy the world, and works to limit how much power it is humanly possible to wield. Whatever your means, the effort put into reaching the ends stays the same. For example, when the wizards of Unseen University are chasing the hapless wizard Rincewind in the forest of Skund, the wizards send out search teams to go and find him on foot. The archchancellor beats them to it by using a powerful spell from his own office, and while he gets there first by clever use of his spell, he has used no less effort than the others.
Names and terminology
People who work magic are called by several names in fantasy works, and terminology differs widely from one fantasy world to another. While derived from real-world vocabulary, the terms wizard, witch, warlock, enchanter/enchantress, sorcerer(ess), druid(ess), magician, mage, and magus have different meanings depending upon context and the story in question.:619
The term archmage, is used in fantasy works as a title for a powerful magician or a leader of magicians.:1027
Reasons for distinguishing magicians
The Love Potion by Evelyn De Morgan
In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Patricia Wrede depicts wizards who use magic based on their staves and magicians who practice several kinds of magic, including wizard magic;[clarification needed] in the Regency fantasies, she and Caroline Stevermer depict magicians as identical to wizards, though inferior in skill and training.
Steve Pemberton's The Times & Life of Lucifer Jones describes the distinction thus: "The difference between a wizard and a sorcerer is comparable to that between, say, a lion and a tiger, but wizards are acutely status-conscious, and to them, it's more like the difference between a lion and a dead kitten." In David Eddings's The Belgariad and The Malloreon series, several protagonists refer to their abilities powered by sheer will as "sorcery" and look down on the term "magician", which specifically refers to summoners of demonic agents.
In role-playing games, the types of magic-users are more delineated and are named so that the players and game masters can know which rules apply.:385 Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson introduced the term "magic-user" in the original Dungeons & Dragons as a generic term for a practitioner of magic (in order to avoid the connotations of terms such as wizard or warlock); this lasted until the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, where it was replaced with mage (later to become wizard). The exact rules vary from game to game. The wizard or mage, as a character class, is distinguished by the ability to cast certain kinds of magic but being weak in combat; subclasses are distinguished by strengths in some areas of magic and weakness in others. Sorcerers are distinguished from wizards as having an innate gift with magic, as well as having mystical or magical ancestry. Warlocks are distinguished from wizards as creating forbidden "pacts" with powerful creatures to harness their innate magical gifts.
Enchanters often practice a type of magic that produces no physical effects on objects or people, but rather deceives the observer or target through the use of illusions. Enchantresses in particular practice this form of magic, often to seduce.:318 For instance, the Lady of the Green Kirtle in C.S. Lewis's The Silver Chair enchants Rilian into forgetting his father and Narnia; when that enchantment is broken, she attempts further enchantments with a sweet-smelling smoke and a thrumming musical instrument to baffle him and his rescuers into forgetting them again.
The term sorcerer is more frequently used when the magician in question is evil. This may derive from its use in sword and sorcery, where the hero would be the sword-wielder, leaving the sorcery for his opponent.:885
Witch also carries evil connotations. L. Frank Baum named Glinda the "Good Witch of the South" in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, he dubbed her "Glinda the Good," and from that point forward and in subsequent books, Baum referred to her as a sorceress rather than a witch to avoid the term that was more regarded as evil.
Wizard and warlock usually refer to a male, while witch usually refers to a female. In Witch World, a man who anomalously showed the same abilities as a witch was called a warlock. The term warlock is sometimes used to indicate a male witch in fiction. However, either term may be used in a unisex manner, in which case there will be members of both sexes bearing that title. If both terms are used in the same setting, this can indicate a gender-based title for practitioners of identical magic, such as in Harry Potter, or it can indicate that the two sexes practice different types of magic, as in Discworld.:1027
Traits of magicians
White-haired and white-bearded wizard with robes and hat
A common motif in fiction is that the ability to use magic is innate and often rare, or gained through a large amount of study and practice.:616 In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, it is mostly limited to non-humans, though some people gain small amounts and become known as sorcerers (wizards being powerful spirits). In many writers' works, it is reserved for a select group of humans, such as in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels, or Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy universe.
The Alchemist by William Fettes Douglas: studying for arcane knowledge
Magicians normally learn spells by reading ancient tomes called grimoires, which may have magical properties of their own.:126 Sorcerers in Conan the Barbarian often gained powers from such books, which are demarcated by their strange bindings. In worlds where magic is not an innate trait, the scarcity of these strange books may be a facet of the story; in Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest, Prince Rupert seeks out the books of the magician Prospero to learn magic. The same occurs in the Dungeons and Dragons-based novel series Dragonlance Chronicles, wherein Raistlin Majere seeks out the books of the sorcerer Fistandantilus.
Some magicians, even after training, continue their education by learning more spells, inventing new ones (and new magical objects), or rediscovering ancient spells, beings, or objects. For example, Dr. Strange from the Marvel Universe continues to learn about magic even after being named Sorcerer Supreme. He often encounters creatures that haven't been seen for centuries or more. In the same universe, Dr. Doom continues to pursue magical knowledge after mastering it by combining magic with science. Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter invent new magical items and sell them as legitimate defense items.
The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse: using material for magical purposes; besides the crystal, a book and a wand
Historically, many self-proclaimed magicians have required rare and precious materials, such as crystal balls, rare herbs (often picked by prescribed rituals), and chemicals such as mercury. This is less common in fantasy. Many magicians require no materials at all;:617 those that do may require only simple and easily obtained materials. Role-playing games are more likely to require such materials for at least some spells to prevent characters from casting them too easily.
Wands and staves have long been used as requirements for the magician.:152 The first magical wand was featured in the Odyssey, used by Circe to transform Odysseus's men into animals. Italian fairy tales put wands into the hands of powerful fairies by the late Middle Ages. Today, magical wands are widespread and are used from Witch World to Harry Potter. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf refuses to surrender his own staff, breaking Saruman's, which strips the latter of his power. This dependency on a particular magical item is common, and necessary to limit the magician's power for the story's sake – without it, the magician's powers may be weakened or absent entirely. In the Harry Potter universe, a wizard must expend much greater effort and concentration to use magic without a wand, and only a few can control magic without one; taking away a wizard's wand in battle essentially disarms him.
Use of magic
Nevertheless, many magicians live in pseudo-medieval settings in which their magic is not put to practical use in society; they may serve as mentors, act as quest companions, or even go on a quest themselves,:1027 but their magic does not build roads or buildings, provide immunizations, construct indoor plumbing, or do any of the other functions served by machinery; their worlds remain at a medieval level of technology.
Sometimes this is justified by having the negative effects of magic outweigh the positive possibilities.:8 In Barbara Hambley's Windrose Chronicles, wizards are precisely pledged not to interfere because of the terrible damage they can do. In Discworld, the importance of wizards is that they actively do not do magic, because when wizards have access to lots of "thaumaturgic energy", they develop many psychotic attributes and may eventually destroy the world. This may be a direct effect or the result of a miscast spell wreaking terrible havoc.:142
In other works, developing magic is difficult. In Rick Cook's Wizardry series, the extreme danger presented by magic and the difficulty of analyzing the magic have stymied magic and left humanity at the mercy of the dangerous elves until a wizard summons a computer programmer from a parallel world — ours — to apply the skills he learned in our world to magic.
At other times, magic and technology do develop in tandem; this is most common in the alternate history genre. Patricia Wrede's Regency fantasies include a Royal Society of Wizards and a technological level equivalent to the actual Regency; Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series, Robert A. Heinlein's Magic, Incorporated, and Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos all depict modern societies with magic equivalent to twentieth-century technology. In Harry Potter, wizards have magical equivalents to non-magical inventions; sometimes they duplicate them, as with the Hogwarts Express train.
The powers ascribed to magicians often affect their roles in society.[original research?] In practical terms, their powers may give them authority; magicians may advise kings, such as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Belgarath and Polgara the Sorceress in David Eddings's The Belgariad. They may be rulers themselves, as in E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, where both the heroes and the villains, although kings and lords, supplement their physical power with magical knowledge, or as in Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, where magicians are the governing class.:1027 On the other hand, magicians often live like hermits, isolated in their towers and often in the wilderness, bringing no change to society. In some works, such as many of Barbara Hambly's, they are despised and outcast specifically because of their knowledge and powers.:745
In the magic-noir world of the Dresden Files, wizards generally keep a low profile, though there is no explicit prohibition against interacting openly with non-magical humanity. The protagonist of the series, Harry Dresden, openly advertises in the Yellow Pages under the heading "Wizard" and maintains a business office, though other wizards tend to resent him for practicing his craft openly. Dresden primarily uses his magic to make a living finding lost items and people, performing exorcisms, and providing protection against the supernatural.
Dungeons & Dragons
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This article is about the role-playing game. For other uses, see Dungeons & Dragons (disambiguation) and D&D (disambiguation).
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition logo.svg
Logo used for the 5th edition
Designer(s) Gary Gygax
Publisher(s) TSR, Wizards of the Coast
1977 (D&D Basic Set 1st version)
1981 (D&D Basic Set 2nd version)
1983–1986 (D&D Basic Set 3rd version)
1989 (AD&D 2nd Edition)
1991 (D&D Rules Cyclopedia)
2000 (D&D 3rd edition)
2003 (D&D v3.5)
2008 (D&D 4th edition)
2014 (D&D 5th edition)
Years active 1974–present
System(s) Dungeons & Dragons
d20 System (3rd Edition)
Playing time Varies
Random chance Dice rolling
Skill(s) required Role-playing, improvisation, tactics, arithmetic
Website dnd.wizards.com Edit this at Wikidata
Dungeons & Dragons (commonly abbreviated as D&D) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast (now a subsidiary of Hasbro) since 1997. It was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.
D&D departs from traditional wargaming by allowing each player to create their own character to play instead of a military formation. These characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game's referee and storyteller, while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, and playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world. The characters form a party and they interact with the setting's inhabitants and each other. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process, the characters earn experience points (XP) in order to rise in levels, and become increasingly powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions.
The early success of D&D led to a proliferation of similar game systems. Despite the competition, D&D has remained as the market leader in the role-playing game industry. In 1977, the game was split into two branches: the relatively rules-light game system of basic Dungeons & Dragons, and the more structured, rules-heavy game system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as AD&D). AD&D 2nd Edition was published in 1989. In 2000, a new system was released as D&D 3rd edition, continuing the edition numbering from AD&D; a revised version 3.5 was released in June 2003. These 3rd edition rules formed the basis of the d20 System, which is available under the Open Game License (OGL) for use by other publishers. D&D 4th edition was released in June 2008. The 5th edition of D&D, the most recent, was released during the second half of 2014.
As of 2004, D&D remained the best-known, and best-selling, role-playing game in the US, with an estimated 20 million people having played the game, and more than US$1 billion in book and equipment sales worldwide. The game has been supplemented by many pre-made adventures, as well as commercial campaign settings suitable for use by regular gaming groups. D&D is known beyond the game itself for other D&D-branded products, references in popular culture, and some of the controversies that have surrounded it, particularly a moral panic in the 1980s falsely linking it to Satanism and suicide. The game has won multiple awards and has been translated into many languages.
1 Play overview
1.1 Game mechanics
1.2 Adventures and campaigns
1.3 Miniature figures
2 Game history
2.1 Sources and influences
2.2 Edition history
2.2.1 Original game
2.2.2 Two-pronged strategy
2.2.3 Revised editions
2.2.4 Wizards of the Coast
2.3 Acclaim and influence
2.5 Controversy and notoriety
3 Related products
4 In popular culture
5 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
An elaborate D&D game in progress. Among the gaming aids here are dice, a variety of miniatures and a dungeon diorama.
Dungeons & Dragons is a structured yet open-ended role-playing game. It is normally played indoors with the participants seated around a tabletop. Typically, each player controls only a single character, which represents an individual in a fictional setting. When working together as a group, these player characters (PCs) are often described as a "party" of adventurers, with each member often having their own area of specialty which contributes to the success of the whole. During the course of play, each player directs the actions of their character and their interactions with other characters in the game. This activity is performed through the verbal impersonation of the characters by the players, while employing a variety of social and other useful cognitive skills, such as logic, basic mathematics and imagination. A game often continues over a series of meetings to complete a single adventure, and longer into a series of related gaming adventures, called a "campaign".
The results of the party's choices and the overall storyline for the game are determined by the Dungeon Master (DM) according to the rules of the game and the DM's interpretation of those rules. The DM selects and describes the various non-player characters (NPCs) that the party encounters, the settings in which these interactions occur, and the outcomes of those encounters based on the players' choices and actions. Encounters often take the form of battles with "monsters" – a generic term used in D&D to describe potentially hostile beings such as animals, aberrant beings, or mythical creatures. The game's extensive rules – which cover diverse subjects such as social interactions, magic use, combat, and the effect of the environment on PCs – help the DM to make these decisions. The DM may choose to deviate from the published rules or make up new ones if they feel it is necessary.
The most recent versions of the game's rules are detailed in three core rulebooks: The Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual.
The only items required to play the game are the rulebooks, a character sheet for each player, and a number of polyhedral dice. Many players also use miniature figures on a grid map as a visual aid, particularly during combat. Some editions of the game presume such usage. Many optional accessories are available to enhance the game, such as expansion rulebooks, pre-designed adventures and various campaign settings.
Main articles: Dungeons & Dragons gameplay and Character class (Dungeons & Dragons)
The three core rulebooks of Dungeons & Dragons (version 3.5)
D&D uses polyhedral dice to resolve in-game events. These are abbreviated by a 'd' followed by the number of sides. Shown counter-clockwise from the bottom are: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 dice. A pair of d10 can be used together to represent percentile dice, or d100.
Before the game begins, each player creates their player character and records the details (described below) on a character sheet. First, a player determines their character's ability scores, which consist of Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Each edition of the game has offered differing methods of determining these statistics. The player then chooses a race (species) such as human or elf, a character class (occupation) such as fighter or wizard, an alignment (a moral and ethical outlook), and other features to round out the character's abilities and backstory, which have varied in nature through differing editions.
During the game, players describe their PCs' intended actions, such as punching an opponent or picking a lock, and converse with the DM, who then describes the result or response. Trivial actions, such as picking up a letter or opening an unlocked door, are usually automatically successful. The outcomes of more complex or risky actions are determined by rolling dice. Factors contributing to the outcome include the character's ability scores, skills and the difficulty of the task. In circumstances where a character does not have control of an event, such as when a trap or magical effect is triggered or a spell is cast, a saving throw can be used to determine whether the resulting damage is reduced or avoided. In this case the odds of success are influenced by the character's class, levels and ability scores.
As the game is played, each PC changes over time and generally increases in capability. Characters gain (or sometimes lose) experience, skills and wealth, and may even alter their alignment or gain additional character classes. The key way characters progress is by earning experience points (XP), which happens when they defeat an enemy or accomplish a difficult task. Acquiring enough XP allows a PC to advance a level, which grants the character improved class features, abilities and skills. XP can be lost in some circumstances, such as encounters with creatures that drain life energy, or by use of certain magical powers that come with an XP cost.
Hit points (HP) are a measure of a character's vitality and health and are determined by the class, level and constitution of each character. They can be temporarily lost when a character sustains wounds in combat or otherwise comes to harm, and loss of HP is the most common way for a character to die in the game. Death can also result from the loss of key ability scores or character levels. When a PC dies, it is often possible for the dead character to be resurrected through magic, although some penalties may be imposed as a result. If resurrection is not possible or not desired, the player may instead create a new PC to resume playing the game.
Adventures and campaigns
Main articles: Adventure (Dungeons & Dragons) and Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings
A typical Dungeons & Dragons game consists of an "adventure", which is roughly equivalent to a single story. The DM can either design an original adventure, or follow one of the many pre-made adventures (also known as "modules") that have been published throughout the history of Dungeons & Dragons. Published adventures typically include a background story, illustrations, maps and goals for PCs to achieve. Some include location descriptions and handouts. Although a small adventure entitled "Temple of the Frog" was included in the Blackmoor rules supplement in 1975, the first stand-alone D&D module published by TSR was 1978's Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, written by Gygax.
A linked series of adventures is commonly referred to as a "campaign". The locations where these adventures occur, such as a city, country, planet or an entire fictional universe, are referred to as "campaign settings" or "world". D&D settings are based in various fantasy genres and feature different levels and types of magic and technology. Popular commercially published campaign settings for Dungeons & Dragons include Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Mystara, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, Birthright, and Eberron. Alternatively, DMs may develop their own fictional worlds to use as campaign settings.
Main article: Miniature figure (gaming)
Dungeons & Dragons miniature figures. The grid mat underneath uses one-inch squares.
The wargames from which Dungeons & Dragons evolved used miniature figures to represent combatants. D&D initially continued the use of miniatures in a fashion similar to its direct precursors. The original D&D set of 1974 required the use of the Chainmail miniatures game for combat resolution. By the publication of the 1977 game editions, combat was mostly resolved verbally. Thus miniatures were no longer required for game play, although some players continued to use them as a visual reference.
In the 1970s, numerous companies began to sell miniature figures specifically for Dungeons & Dragons and similar games. Licensed miniature manufacturers who produced official figures include Grenadier Miniatures (1980–1983), Citadel Miniatures (1984–1986), Ral Partha, and TSR itself. Most of these miniatures used the 25 mm scale.
Periodically, Dungeons & Dragons has returned to its wargaming roots with supplementary rules systems for miniatures-based wargaming. Supplements such as Battlesystem (1985 & 1989) and a new edition of Chainmail (2001) provided rule systems to handle battles between armies by using miniatures.
Sources and influences
Main article: Sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons
An immediate predecessor of Dungeons & Dragons was a set of medieval miniature rules written by Jeff Perren. These were expanded by Gary Gygax, whose additions included a fantasy supplement, before the game was published as Chainmail. When Dave Wesely entered the Army in 1970, his friend and fellow Napoleonics wargamer Dave Arneson began a medieval variation of Wesely's Braunstein games, where players control individuals instead of armies. Arneson used Chainmail to resolve combat. As play progressed, Arneson added such innovations as character classes, experience points, level advancement, armor class, and others. Having partnered previously with Gygax on Don't Give Up the Ship!, Arneson introduced Gygax to his Blackmoor game and the two then collaborated on developing "The Fantasy Game", the game that became Dungeons & Dragons, with the final writing and preparation of the text being done by Gygax. The name was chosen by Gygax's two-year-old daughter Cindy; upon being presented with a number of choices of possible names, she exclaimed, "Oh Daddy, I like Dungeons & Dragons best!", although less prevalent versions of the story gave credit to his wife Mary Jo.:101
Many Dungeons & Dragons elements appear in hobbies of the mid-to-late 20th century. For example, character-based role playing can be seen in improvisational theatre. Game-world simulations were well developed in wargaming. Fantasy milieux specifically designed for gaming could be seen in Glorantha's board games among others. Ultimately, however, Dungeons & Dragons represents a unique blending of these elements.
The world of D&D was influenced by world mythology, history, pulp fiction, and contemporary fantasy novels. The importance of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as an influence on D&D is controversial. The presence in the game of halflings, elves, half-elves, dwarves, orcs, rangers, and the like, draw comparisons to these works. The resemblance was even closer before the threat of copyright action from Tolkien Enterprises prompted the name changes of hobbit to 'halfling', ent to 'treant', and balrog to 'balor'. For many years, Gygax played down the influence of Tolkien on the development of the game. However, in an interview in 2000, he acknowledged that Tolkien's work had a "strong impact" though he also said that the list of other influential authors was long.
The D&D magic system, in which wizards memorize spells that are used up once cast and must be re-memorized the next day, was heavily influenced by the Dying Earth stories and novels of Jack Vance. The original alignment system (which grouped all characters and creatures into 'Law', 'Neutrality' and 'Chaos') was derived from the novel Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson. A troll described in this work influenced the D&D definition of that monster.
Other influences include the works of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, Roger Zelazny, and Michael Moorcock. Monsters, spells, and magic items used in the game have been inspired by hundreds of individual works such as A. E. van Vogt's "Black Destroyer", Coeurl (the Displacer Beast), Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" (vorpal sword) and the Book of Genesis (the clerical spell 'Blade Barrier' was inspired by the "flaming sword which turned every way" at the gates of Eden).
Main article: Editions of Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons has gone through several revisions. Parallel versions and inconsistent naming practices can make it difficult to distinguish between the different editions.
The original Dungeons & Dragons set.
The original Dungeons & Dragons, now referred to as OD&D, was a small box set of three booklets published in 1974. It was amateurish in production and assumed the player was familiar with wargaming. Nevertheless, it grew rapidly in popularity, first among wargamers and then expanding to a more general audience of college and high school students. Roughly 1,000 copies of the game were sold in the first year followed by 3,000 in 1975, and much more in the following years. This first set went through many printings and was supplemented with several official additions, such as the original Greyhawk and Blackmoor supplements (both 1975), as well as magazine articles in TSR's official publications and many fanzines.
First edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide.
In early 1977, TSR created the first element of a two-pronged strategy that would divide D&D for nearly two decades. A Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set boxed edition was introduced that cleaned up the presentation of the essential rules, made the system understandable to the general public, and was sold in a package that could be stocked in toy stores. Later in 1977, the first part of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) was published, which brought together the various published rules, options and corrections, then expanded them into a definitive, unified game for hobbyist gamers. TSR marketed them as an introductory game for new players and a more complex game for experienced ones; the Basic Set directed players who exhausted the possibilities of that game to switch to the advanced rules.
As a result of this parallel development, the basic game included many rules and concepts which contradicted comparable ones in AD&D. John Eric Holmes, the editor of the basic game, preferred a lighter tone with more room for personal improvisation. AD&D, on the other hand, was designed to create a tighter, more structured game system than the loose framework of the original game. Between 1977 and 1979, three hardcover rulebooks, commonly referred to as the "core rulebooks", were released: the Player's Handbook (PHB), the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), and the Monster Manual (MM). Several supplementary books were published throughout the 1980s, notably Unearthed Arcana (1985) that included a large number of new rules. Confusing matters further, the original D&D boxed set remained in publication until 1979, since it remained a healthy seller for TSR.
In the 1980s, the rules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and "basic" Dungeons & Dragons remained separate, each developing along different paths.
In 1981, the basic version of Dungeons & Dragons was revised by Tom Moldvay to make it even more novice-friendly. It was promoted as a continuation of the original D&D tone, whereas AD&D was promoted as advancement of the mechanics. An accompanying Expert Set, originally written by David "Zeb" Cook, allowed players to continue using the simpler ruleset beyond the early levels of play. In 1983, revisions of those sets by Frank Mentzer were released, revising the presentation of the rules to a more tutorial format. These were followed by Companion (1983), Master (1985), and Immortals (1986) sets. Each set covered game play for more powerful characters than the previous. The first four sets were compiled in 1991 as a single hardcover book, the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, which was released alongside a new introductory boxed set.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition was published in 1989, again as three core rulebooks; the primary designer was David "Zeb" Cook. The Monster Manual was replaced by the Monstrous Compendium, a loose-leaf binder that was subsequently replaced by the hardcover Monstrous Manual in 1993. In 1995, the core rulebooks were slightly revised, although still referred to by TSR as the 2nd Edition, and a series of Player's Option manuals were released as optional rulebooks.
The release of AD&D 2nd Edition deliberately excluded some aspects of the game that had attracted negative publicity. References to demons and devils, sexually suggestive artwork, and playable, evil-aligned character types – such as assassins and half-orcs – were removed. The edition moved away from a theme of 1960s and 1970s "sword and sorcery" fantasy fiction to a mixture of medieval history and mythology. The rules underwent minor changes, including the addition of non-weapon proficiencies – skill-like abilities that originally appeared in 1st Edition supplements. The game's magic spells were divided into schools and spheres. A major difference was the promotion of various game settings beyond that of traditional fantasy. This included blending fantasy with other genres, such as horror (Ravenloft), science fiction (Spelljammer), and apocalyptic (Dark Sun), as well as alternative historical and non-European mythological settings.
Wizards of the Coast
In 1997, a near-bankrupt TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast. Following three years of development, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition was released in 2000. The new release folded the Basic and Advanced lines back into a single unified game. It was the largest revision of the D&D rules to date, and served as the basis for a multi-genre role-playing system designed around 20-sided dice, called the d20 System. The 3rd Edition rules were designed to be internally consistent and less restrictive than previous editions of the game, allowing players more flexibility to create the characters they wanted to play. Skills and feats were introduced into the core rules to encourage further customization of characters. The new rules standardized the mechanics of action resolution and combat. In 2003, Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 was released as a revision of the 3rd Edition rules. This release incorporated hundreds of rule changes, mostly minor, and expanded the core rulebooks.
In early 2005, Wizards of the Coast's R&D team started to develop Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, prompted mainly by the feedback obtained from the D&D playing community and a desire to make the game faster, more intuitive, and with a better play experience than under the 3rd Edition. The new game was developed through a number of design phases spanning from May 2005 until its release. Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition was announced at Gen Con in August 2007, and the initial three core books were released June 6, 2008. 4th Edition streamlined the game into a simplified form and introduced numerous rules changes. Many character abilities were restructured into "Powers". These altered the spell-using classes by adding abilities that could be used at will, per encounter, or per day. Likewise, non-magic-using classes were provided with parallel sets of options. Software tools, including player character and monster building programs, became a major part of the game.
On January 9, 2012, Wizards of the Coast announced that it was working on a 5th edition of the game. The company planned to take suggestions from players and let them playtest the rules. Public playtesting began on May 24, 2012. At Gen Con 2012 in August, Mike Mearls, lead developer for 5th Edition, said that Wizards of the Coast had received feedback from more than 75,000 playtesters, but that the entire development process would take two years, adding, "I can't emphasize this enough ... we're very serious about taking the time we need to get this right." The release of the 5th Edition, coinciding with D&D's 40th anniversary, occurred in the second half of 2014.
Acclaim and influence
The game had more than three million players around the world by 1981, and copies of the rules were selling at a rate of about 750,000 per year by 1984. Beginning with a French language edition in 1982, Dungeons & Dragons has been translated into many languages beyond the original English. By 2004, consumers had spent more than US$1 billion on Dungeons & Dragons products and the game had been played by more than 20 million people. As many as six million people played the game in 2007.
The various editions of Dungeons & Dragons have won many Origins Awards, including All Time Best Roleplaying Rules of 1977, Best Roleplaying Rules of 1989, and Best Roleplaying Game of 2000 for the three flagship editions of the game. Both Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons are Origins Hall of Fame Games inductees as they were deemed sufficiently distinct to merit separate inclusion on different occasions. The independent Games magazine placed Dungeons & Dragons on their Games 100 list from 1980 through 1983, then entered the game into the magazine's Hall of Fame in 1984. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was ranked 2nd in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time.
Eric Goldberg reviewed Dungeons & Dragons in Ares Magazine #1, rating it a 6 out of 9. Goldberg commented that "Dungeons and Dragons is an impressive achievement based on the concept alone, and also must be credited with cementing the marriage between the fantasy genre and gaming."
Dungeons & Dragons was the first modern role-playing game and it established many of the conventions that have dominated the genre. Particularly notable are the use of dice as a game mechanic, character record sheets, use of numerical attributes and gamemaster-centered group dynamics. Within months of Dungeons & Dragons's release, new role-playing game writers and publishers began releasing their own role-playing games, with most of these being in the fantasy genre. Some of the earliest other role-playing games inspired by D&D include Tunnels & Trolls (1975), Empire of the Petal Throne (1975), and Chivalry & Sorcery (1976).
The role-playing movement initiated by D&D would lead to release of the science fiction game Traveller (1977), the fantasy game RuneQuest (1978), and subsequent game systems such as Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu (1981), Champions (1982), GURPS (1986), and Vampire: The Masquerade (1991). Dungeons & Dragons and the games it influenced fed back into the genre's origin – miniatures wargames – with combat strategy games like Warhammer Fantasy Battles. D&D also had a large impact on modern video games.
Director Jon Favreau credits Dungeons & Dragons with giving him "... a really strong background in imagination, storytelling, understanding how to create tone and a sense of balance."
Early in the game's history, TSR took no action against small publishers' production of D&D compatible material, and even licensed Judges Guild to produce D&D materials for several years, such as City State of the Invincible Overlord. This attitude changed in the mid-1980s when TSR took legal action to try to prevent others from publishing compatible material. This angered many fans and led to resentment by the other gaming companies. Although TSR took legal action against several publishers in an attempt to restrict third-party usage, it never brought any court cases to completion, instead settling out of court in every instance. TSR itself ran afoul of intellectual property law in several cases.
With the launch of Dungeons & Dragons's 3rd Edition, Wizards of the Coast made the d20 System available under the Open Game License (OGL) and d20 System trademark license. Under these licenses, authors were free to use the d20 System when writing games and game supplements. The OGL and d20 Trademark License made possible new games, some based on licensed products like Star Wars, and new versions of older games, such as Call of Cthulhu.
With the release of the fourth edition, Wizards of the Coast introduced its Game System License, which represented a significant restriction compared to the very open policies embodied by the OGL. In part as a response to this, some publishers (such as Paizo Publishing with its Pathfinder Roleplaying Game) who previously produced materials in support of the D&D product line, decided to continue supporting the 3rd Edition rules, thereby competing directly with Wizards of the Coast. Others, such as Kenzer & Company, are returning to the practice of publishing unlicensed supplements and arguing that copyright law does not allow Wizards of the Coast to restrict third-party usage.
During the 2000s, there has been a trend towards reviving and recreating older editions of D&D, known as the Old School Revival. Game systems based on earlier editions of D&D. Castles & Crusades (2004), by Troll Lord Games, is a reimagining of early editions by streamlining rules from OGL. This in turn inspired the creation of "retro-clones", games which more closely recreate the original rule sets, using material placed under the OGL along with non-copyrightable mechanical aspects of the older rules to create a new presentation of the games.
Alongside the publication of the fifth edition, Wizards of the Coast established a two-pronged licensing approach. The core of the fifth edition rules have been made available under the OGL, while publishers and independent creators have also been given the opportunity to create licensed materials directly for Dungeons & Dragons and associated properties like the Forgotten Realms under a program called the DM's Guild. The DM's Guild does not function under the OGL, but uses a community agreement intended to foster liberal cooperation among content creators.
Controversy and notoriety
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons controversies
At various times in its history, Dungeons & Dragons has received negative publicity, in particular from some Christian groups, for alleged promotion of such practices as devil worship, witchcraft, suicide, and murder, and for the presence of naked breasts in drawings of female humanoids in the original AD&D manuals (mainly monsters such as harpies, succubi, etc.). These controversies led TSR to remove many potentially controversial references and artwork when releasing the 2nd Edition of AD&D. Many of these references, including the use of the names "devils" and "demons", were reintroduced in the 3rd edition. The moral panic over the game led to problems for fans of D&D who faced social ostracism, unfair treatment, and false association with the occult and Satanism, regardless of an individual fan's actual religious affiliation and beliefs.
Dungeons & Dragons has been the subject of rumors regarding players having difficulty separating fantasy from reality, even leading to psychotic episodes. The most notable of these was the saga of James Dallas Egbert III, the facts of which were fictionalized in the novel Mazes and Monsters and later made into a TV movie in 1982 starring Tom Hanks. The game was blamed for some of the actions of Chris Pritchard, who was convicted in 1990 of murdering his stepfather. Research by various psychologists, starting with Armando Simon, has concluded that no harmful effects are related to the playing of D&D.
The game's commercial success was a factor that led to lawsuits regarding distribution of royalties between original creators Gygax and Arneson. Gygax later became embroiled in a political struggle for control of TSR which culminated in a court battle and Gygax's decision to sell his ownership interest in the company in 1985.
Dungeons & Dragons has, however, been cited as encouraging people to socialize weekly or biweekly, teaching problem solving skills which can be beneficial in adult life, and teaching positive moral decisions.
Pool of Radiance from 1988 was the first of many computer games based on Dungeons & Dragons
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons-related products
D&D's commercial success has led to many other related products, including Dragon Magazine, Dungeon Magazine, an animated television series, a film series, an official role-playing soundtrack, novels, and numerous computer and video games. Hobby and toy stores sell dice, miniatures, adventures, and other game aids related to D&D and its game offspring.
In popular culture
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons in popular culture
D&D grew in popularity through the late 1970s and 1980s. Numerous games, films, and cultural references based on D&D or D&D-like fantasies, characters or adventures have been ubiquitous since the end of the 1970s. D&D players are (sometimes pejoratively) portrayed as the epitome of geekdom, and have become the basis of much geek and gamer humor and satire. Famous D&D players include Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz, professional basketball player Tim Duncan, comedian Stephen Colbert, and actors Vin Diesel and Robin Williams. D&D and its fans have been the subject of spoof films, including Fear of Girls and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.
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