A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 14: 1987
By 1987, the initial “first run” of Dragonlance adventures and novels had run their course and TSR was looking for a new campaign setting to explore. Enter Ed Greenwood and the Forgotten Realms. Greenwood first began developing what would become the Forgotten Realms in 1967 in the form of short stories. He began using the setting in his home AD&D games upon being introduced to the game and, starting with 1979’s Dragon Magazine issue #30, started inserting bits and pieces of Realms lore into the consciousness of D&D players.
The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was introduced officially with a boxed set and the first Forgotten Realms novel, Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles. Many sub-settings previously mentioned or published found themselves assimilated by the Realms, including Kara-Tur (first seen in Oriental Adventures) and Bloodstone Pass (first seen in the “H” series of adventures).
1987 also saw a more extensive and purposeful development of the “Known World” of the BECMI version of D&D. Lore for the setting had been scattered around various adventures as well as the boxed sets themselves, but the Gazetteer line of products provided an intricate level of detail on each of the Known World’s nations, starting with the Grand Duchy of Karameikos (home of Bargle the Infamous and Aleena the Cleric).
Arcades saw the debut of the Dungeons & Dragons Pinball Machine in 1987. 1987 also saw a graphic novel adaptation of the Dragonlance novels, beginning with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, published by DC Comics. This would be the beginning of a partnership that would last into the early 90s and include several comic book lines.
Meanwhile, the Satanism controversy surrounding D&D came to something of a head when Michael Stackpole, a game designer and author unaffiliated with D&D and TSR, debated the western regional director of B.A.D.D. on an Arizona radio station. Stackpole would go on to be a staunch defender of D&D and the roleplaying hobby in general, his work eventually debunking the Satanism and suicide connections that D&D had been saddled with for nearly a decade.
The controversy would have a long term effect on D&D, despite TSR mostly ignoring the issue, at least publically. TSR began development on the 2nd Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in 1987, announcing it officially in the January issue of Dragon Magazine. As we will see later, along with needed rules revisions, updates, and clarifications, several elements were left out of the game, possibly in response to the negative press generated by the controversy that began in a steam tunnel so many years before.
1987 D&D Products
January – OA3: Ochimo, The Spirit Warrior. The third adventure designed for Oriental Adventures which takes the player characters to an island to defeat a vengeful spirit.
January – X12: Skarda’s Mirror. An Expert level adventure involving the rescue of several people from a pocket dimension within a magical mirror.
February – I11: Needle. An adventure in which the player characters are asked to retrieve an obelisk from a perilous jungle and then to go through the portal the obelisk creates.
February – IM2: The Wrath of Olympus. Immortal level player characters are tasked with rescuing some of their peers from demons of Entropy.
February – Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home. A rather innovative for its time sourcebook designed mostly for the non-gaming fan of the Dragonlance series. It included short stories, songs, and even recipes (including Otik’s famous spiced potatoes). It was presented as in-world for the most part, “compiled by Tika and Caramon, Proprietors.”
March – C6: The Official RPGA Tournament Handbook. Last of the “C” series of modules, this module contains a guide to creating and running tournament adventures and includes two sample adventures.
March – DA3: City of the Gods. Third in the short revival of Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor, City of the Gods takes the player characters to a futuristic city to bargain for or steal the “magic” available there, really advanced technology.
March – I12: Egg of the Phoenix. A revision and rewrite of older RPGA scenarios, Egg of the Phoenix takes player characters on a quest against the lords of Elemental Evil through dungeons, other planes, and time.
April – CM8: The Endless Stair. A Companion level adventure in which the player characters enter a magical doorway and find themselves on the titular stairway.
April – GAZ1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Hinted at in many modules and the Basic and Expert boxed sets, the Known World was a sort of hodge podge of various real world cultures smashed together on the corner of a single continent. Starting with GAZ1, this world finally began to be described in full detail. Karameikos was the location, either by design or retroactively, of most of the “B” series modules and a fair number of “X” series modules. It was also the home of the town of Threshold, first described in the “Red Box” Basic Set.
April – Master Wolf. A Greyhawk novel by Rose Estes, featuring the character Mika, a wolf nomad barbarian and something of an unlikely protagonist, being more concerned with wealth and power than heroism.
April – REF4: The Book of Lairs II. A continuation of the first Book of Lairs product, featuring over 60 mini scenarios based around monster lairs.
April – Dragonlance Tales Volume 1: Magic of Krynn. An anthology of short stories set in the Dragonlance setting. It includes a story by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, The Legacy, about Caramon’s son, Palin Majere, who seeks to follow in his uncle Raistlin’s footsteps.
May – I13: Adventure Pack I. A collection of several short adventures.
May – I3-5: Desert of Desolation. A compilation, revision, and expansion of I3: Pharaoh, I4: Oasis of the White Palm, and I5: Lost Tomb of Martek. The revision placed them in the Forgotten Realms setting, making this the first Forgotten Realms product, available two months before the campaign setting product itself.
May – M4: Five Coins for a Kingdom. A Master level adventure in which a city vanishes from around the player characters, leaving them in an empty field. They undertake a planar quest to find it.
May – The Moonshae Trilogy Volume 1: Darkwalker on Moonshae. The debut novel of the Forgotten Realms setting. This book was written to stand alone, but left open for expansion into a trilogy should it sell well, which it did. Written by Douglas Niles, Darkwalker on Moonshae is set in the Moonshae Isles, an island chain with a distinct celtic flavor off the coast of Faerun, the main continent of the Forgotten Realms setting. The Moonshaes were actually a creation of Niles and inserted into the Realms, thus some of the thematic elements, namely the Earthmother deity and the beast, Kazgoroth, seem slightly out of place in the Realms.
June – B1-9: In Search of Adventure. A compilation of the first 9 adventures in the “B” series of adventures for the Basic set. The adventures are revised and, in some cases, abridged to fit together in a single campaign.
June – DA4: The Duchy of Ten. The last of the Blackmoor revival modules, this one written by David Ritchie instead of Dave Arneson. The player characters must find and destroy an artifact known as the Well of Souls.
June – Manual of the Planes. A hardcover volume for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, describing the inner and outer planes in great detail. This book would mark the first major detailing of what has come to be known as The Great Wheel cosmology which would become its own campaign setting seven years later.
July – Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Ed Greenwood’s masterpiece, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was a boxed set containing a smorgasbord of lore and game information on the western portion of the continent Faerun. The Forgotten Realms was designed to be more open for gamers to explore than the world of Dragonlance, though it would serve as the setting of numerous novels as well. The boxed set contained two 96 page books, four maps, and two hex grid overlays.
July – H3: The Bloodstone Wars. The third in the Bloodstone series of modules, designed for use with the Battlesystem miniatures rules. It was also the first Bloodstone module to place the series in the Forgotten Realms.
August – The Price of Power. The second Greyhawk novel by Rose Estes, once again featuring Mika.
August – OA4: Blood of the Yakuza. More sourcebook than adventure, this module for Oriental Adventures details the island of Wa, based on early Japan.
August – Dragonlance Tales Volume 2: Kender, Gully Dwarves, and Gnomes. The second anthology of short stories set in the Dragonlance setting. This volume features another short story by Weis & Hickman focused on the sons of Caramon Majere, Sturm, Tanin, and Palin (featured in the first Tales volume).
September – Dragonlance Adventures. A hardcover sourcebook detailing the world of Krynn for adventures beyond the original “DL” series. The book featured several rules revisions that serve as a prelude to the 2nd Edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game.
September – GAZ3: The Principalities of Glantri. Third in the Gazetteer line of sourcebooks detailing the Known World for the BECMI version of D&D. Glantri was a nation ruled by wizards where clerics are outlawed. Its capital city is modeled on Venice, Italy.
September – IM3: The Best of Intentions. The third, and last, of the Immortal level adventures. A slightly tongue in cheek scenario in which the player characters must find a missing immortal, participating in an immortal version of the Olympics along the way.
September – N5: Under Illefarn. Set in the Forgotten Realms, this adventures places beginning player characters in the militia of the troubled town of Daggerford.
September – S1-4: Realms of Horror. A compilation of the “S” series of modules, S1: Tomb of Horrors, S2: White Plume Mountain, S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. The adventures were revised slightly to connect them as a single campaign.
October – FR1: Waterdeep and the North. First in a series of regional sourcebooks, similar to the GAZ series, this one detailing the massive city of Waterdeep and surrounding environs.
November – Atlas of the Dragonlance World. A cartographer’s view of Krynn, the world of the Dragonlance setting.
November – FR2: Moonshae. This sourcebook details the Moonshae Isles, the setting of Douglas Niles’ Darkwalker on Moonshae novel.
November – Dragonlance Tales Volume 3: Love and War. The third anthology of short stories for the Dragonlance setting. Features a story by Weis & Hickman, Raistlin’s Daughter, about a possible child fathered by Raistlin.
December – GAZ4: The Kingdom of Ierendi. GAZ4 details an island nation plagued by pirates.
Unknown Month – AC10: Bestiary of Dragons and Giants. A sourcebook covering the various dragon and giant types for the BECMI version of the game.
Unknown Month – AC11: The Book of Wondrous Inventions. A tongue in cheek collection of magical items.
Unknown Month – M5: Talons of Night. A Master level adventure in which the player characters are placed in the middle of peace negotiations between the Known World’s two great empires, Thyatis and Alphatia.
Unknown Month – X13: Crown of Ancient Glory. An Expert level adventure in which the player characters must find a magical crown and the heir to that crown before the kingdom is invaded.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13