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Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D, DnD, or AD&D for the advanced edition) is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) published by Wizards of the Coast. The original Dungeons & Dragons, designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, was first published in January 1974 by Gygax's company, Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). Originally derived from tabletop wargames, this publication is generally regarded as the beginning of modern roleplaying games and, by extension, the roleplaying game industry. The game also achieved minor notoriety, particularly in the 1980s, due to exploitation of its imagery by many fundamentalists for the purpose of scaring parents of players; they alleged that the game promoted, among other things, devil worship, witchcraft, suicide, and murder.
Players of D&D invent fictitious characters who embark upon imaginary adventures in which they battle many kinds of fictional monsters, gather treasure, and earn experience points as the game progresses. The game departed from traditional wargaming by assigning each player a specific character to play. It also developed the concept of a Dungeon Master (DM) or Gamemaster (GM), the storyteller and referee responsible for creating the fictional setting of the game, moderating the actions of the players' characters, and playing the supporting cast of non-player characters.
In 1977, a second version of the game, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as AD&D) was introduced. In 2000, the simplified version of the game was discontinued and the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released as a major revision of the AD&D game. The current version of the game, released in July 2003 is Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 (also known as the Revised 3rd Edition or D&D3.5).
As of 2004, Dungeons & Dragons remains the best-known and best-selling RPG, with an estimated 20 million players worldwide and over US$1 billion in book and equipment sales (according to a BBC news report). Products branded Dungeons & Dragons made up over fifty percent of the RPG products sold in 2002. Outside of the gaming community, D&D has become a metonym used to refer to RPGs in general.
- Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast D&D site
- What Is D&D? @ WotC
- Dungeons & Dragons @ Wikipedia
- Crystal Keep D&D 3.5 resource library