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An edition is a reprinting of the rules with updates and rule changes, as determined by the publisher. Dungeons and Dragons has had five major editions over its lifetime with Wizards of the Coast currently producing the next edition.

Basic Rules[edit]

Main Article: Basic Rules

The initial printing of the rules. This ran concurrently with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons for a time, with both games covering different scenarios at times.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons[edit]

Main Article: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons added material to the core rules that were published in magazines. Chainmail based combat was removed, and alignment was split into two polarities. Races and classes were split into distinct concepts.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition[edit]

Main Article: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition

The first reprint of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is the first edition to not have Gary Gygax as an author. The attack matrix found in earlier editions is replaced with THACO, demonic and angelic monsters were removed (though added again later), psionics was removed (though also added again later), and maximum level is standarized at 20.


Main Article: 3e

Starting with third edition, each edition is named by its number followed by a lowercase 'e' which stands for edition. Third edition brought in the concept of feats and prestige classes. THAC0 was replaced with Armor Class, and Initiative becomes cyclic instead of causing actions to occur later.

Third edition is also the first edition published by Wizards of the Coast instead of TSR.


Main Article: 3.5e

The next edition tweaked the rules to be more balanced, introducing new options to classes such as the barbarian, bard, and ranger. Monsters were standardized to improve like player characters, gaining feats and skill points based on hit die.


Main Article: 4e

The fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons standardizes power acquisition and usage, introduces healing surges, and turns saving throws into static defenses like Armor Class. Powers are either daily, encounter, or at-will, the description describing how often the power can be used. Out of combat utility abilities are often moved to rituals. Instead of prestige classes, players have a base class for the first ten levels, a paragon path for the second ten levels, and an epic destiny during the final ten levels.

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