A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 26: 1999
In 1999, Wizards of the Coast celebrated 25 years of Dungeons & Dragons by releasing a series of “Silver Anniversary” products geared toward nostalgia, including revisiting classic adventures like Keep on the Borderlands, Against the Giants, and the original Dragonlance adventures. At Gen Con that year, 3rd Edition was officially announced. Of particular note, thanks to a settlement with Dave Arneson, Wizards was able to drop the “Advanced” from the name of the game. 3rd Edition would be “Dungeons & Dragons.”
Behind the scenes, Wizards of the Coast’s phenomenal success with Magic: The Gathering and the Pokemon TCG caused toy giant Hasbro to take notice. In September of 1999, the deal was closed and Wizards of the Coast officially became a subsidiary of Hasbro.
Baldur’s Gate received its first expansion in 1999, Tales of the Sword Coast. As with the previous year, 1999 saw the release of only one completely new computer game, but, like Baldur’s Gate before it, it would be one of the most popular Computer RPGs of its time. Planescape: Torment. Based on the popular Planescape campaign setting, the player takes on the role of an amnesiac immortal who travels through Sigil and the planes of existence attempting to discover clues to his own history.
As development of 3rd Edition continued, Ryan Dancey was also working on a license that would fundamentally change the roleplaying game industry, with consequences that resonate to this day. The OGL.
1999 D&D Products
January – Bridges of Time, Volume 3: The Silver Stair. A Dragonlance novel telling the story of Goldmoon’s attempt to establish the Citadel of Light shortly after the Chaos War.
January – Demihumans of the Realms. A Forgotten Realms supplement in the Realms specific version of the “brown book” line of products, providing character kits for elves, dwarves, gnomes, and other demihumans in the Forgotten Realms.
January – The Shattered Circle. An introductory adventure by Bruce Cordell.
January – Threat from the Sea, Volume 1: Rising Tide. A Forgotten Realms novel in which an ancient undersea menace threatens the surface world.
February – The Chaos War, Volume 3: The Puppet King. A Dragonlance novel in which Gilthas, son of Tanis and Laurana and new leader of Qualinesti, faces threats from all sides, including his own uncle, Porthios.
February – Dungeons of Despair. A compilation of six adventures originally published in Dungeon magazine.
February – The Lost Empires, Volume 3: Star of Cursrah. A Forgotten Realms novel in which an ancient, seemingly dead city becomes a threat to modern day Calimshan.
February – The Sylvan Veil. A Dragonlance adventure with rules for both the SAGA system and AD&D 2nd Edition, in which player characters explore a changed Silvanesti as events build toward the War of Souls.
February – Van Richten’s Monster Hunter’s Compendium, Volume One. A digest sized compilation of three Ravenloft supplements, Van Richten’s Guides to Vampires, Werebeasts, and Created.
March – Bridges of Time, Volume 4: The Rose and the Skull. A Dragonlance novel in which the Knights of Solamnia form a fragile alliance with the Knights of Takhisis.
March – Spectre of the Black Rose. A Ravenloft novel in which the death knight Lord Soth finally escapes the mists and returns to his native setting, the Dragonlance world of Krynn.
March – The Accursed Tower. A Forgotten Realms adventure by R.A. Salvatore and his gaming group, featuring cameos by Drizzt Do’Urden and Regis, the halfling.
March – TSR Jam 1999. A compilation of seven adventures in seven different settings (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, The Illithiad, Planescape, Ravenloft, Dragonlance, and Alternity) and three different game systems (AD&D 2nd Edition, Alterntiy, and SAGA).
April – Axe of the Dwarvish Lords. An adventure centered around the artifact which lends its name to the title. Player characters must find the legendary Axe to unify the dwarven clans before a goblinoid army descends upon them.
April – The Glass Prison. A Forgotten Realms novel by Monte Cook, in which a half-fiend flees the Abyss to find his human parentage on Toril, but finds himself pursued by the demonic family he left behind.
May – The Chaos War, Volume 4: Reavers of the Blood Sea. A Dragonlance novel set during the Summer of Chaos. The minotaurs and Knights of Takhisis, embroiled in a battle of their own, must set aside their differences and unite against the forces of Chaos.
May – Children of the Night: The Created. A Ravenloft supplemente providing stats, background, and short adventures for 13 construct NPCs.
May – Dragonlance Classics: 15th Anniversary Edition. First of the “Silver Anniversary” line of products celebrating 25 years of D&D. A revision of the original Dragonlance adventures, presented with rules for running the adventures with either the AD&D 2nd Edition rules or the SAGA rules. The adventures include several new scenes and are generally restructured to be more story-driven than the originals.
May – Priest’s Spell Compendium, Volume One. First in a three volume collector’s edition compilation of all of priest spells in the D&D game to date.
May – The Dream Spheres. A Forgotten Realms novel by Elaine Cunningham in which Danilo Thann and Arilyn Moonblade investigate the sale of dreams in the city of Waterdeep.
June – Bridges of Time, Volume 5: Dezra’s Quest. A Dragonlance novel set ten years after the Summer of Chaos, in which Dezra, daughter of Caramon and Tika, finds herself entangled in the problems of the centaur tribes of Darken Wood.
June – Return to the Keep on the Borderlands. A Silver Anniversary adventure that revisits the classic B2: Keep on the Borderlands. Set twenty years after the original adventure, novice player characters discover a new threat awakening in the Caves of Chaos.
June – Skullport. A Forgotten Realms supplement detailing the underdark city of Skullport, situated directly beneath Waterdeep.
July – Against the Giants. A Greyhawk novelization of the Against the Giants adventures.
July – Baldur’s Gate. A Forgotten Realms novelization of the computer game of the same name.
August – AD&D Core Rules 2.0 Expansion. An expansion to the core rules CD-ROM software. The expansion includes most of the “brown book” series of player supplements.
August – Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff. A Silver Anniversary adventure that revisits the classic Against the Giants series of adventures. The adventure contains the original G1, G2, and G3 and provides 18 new adventure sites that tie the full series to Cloud Giant villains, rather than the original connections to the drow.
August – Odyssey of Gilthanas. A Dragonlance novel and non-game sourcebook focused on Gilthanas and his lover, the silver dragon Silvara.
August – Ravenloft (25th Anniversary Edition). A Silver Anniversary adventure that updates the original I6: Ravenloft adventure to AD&D 2nd Edition rules. Originally available as a RPGA exclusive and later in PDF form.
August – Sea of Fallen Stars. A Forgotten Realms supplement detailing the undersea regions and peoples of the Sea of Fallen Stars.
August – Silver Anniversary Collector’s Edition. A boxed set celebrating 25 years of D&D with reprints of the Holmes version of the basic D&D game booklet, the Against the Giants adventures (G1, G2, and G3), B2: Keep on the Borderlands, I6: Ravenloft, and S2: White Plume Mountain. It also includes a new AD&D 1st Edition Adventure, L3: Deep Dwarven Delve and a 32 page booklet, The Story of TSR.
August – Silverfall: Stories of the Seven Sisters. A Forgotten Realms anthology of seven short stories by Ed Greenwood about the seven sisters.
September – Campaign Option: Council of Wyrms. A hardcover version of the 1994 Council of Wyrms boxed set with some minor revisions and additional material.
September – The Chaos War, Volume 5: The Siege of Mt. Nevermind. A Dragonlance novel that recounts what was happening in the gnomish homeland during the Chaos War.
September – Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas. A CD-ROM containing over 500 maps of the Forgotten Realms, including a full global map. The Atlas was built using Campaign Cartographer 2 from ProFantasy.
September – The Spine of the World. A Forgotten Realms novel by R.A. Salvatore, who shifts the focus from Drizzt to the barbarian, Wulfgar, who is still recovering from the trauma he suffered in the Abyss.
September – Warriors of Heaven. A player supplement that provides playable versions of various celestial beings.
September – Wyrmskull Throne. A Forgotten Realms adventure that utilizes rules and the setting of the Sea of Fallen Stars supplement.
October – Carnival. A Ravenloft supplement detailing a traveling troupe of performers that is also a haven for freaks and outcasts.
October – Priest’s Spell Compendium, Volume Two. Second in a three volume set compiling all of the priest and cleric spells published in the D&D game to date.
October – Tales of the Fifth Age, Volume 2: Heroes and Fools. A Dragonlance anthology of short stories set during the Fifth Age.
October – Threat from the Sea, Volume 2: Under Fallen Stars. The sahuagin army finds a way into the inland Sea of Fallen Stars, threatening a vast area of the Forgotten Realms.
October – White Plume Mountain. A Greyhawk novelization of the classic adventure, featuring an unusual group of protagonists: a ranger, a sentient hell hound pelt, and a pixie.
November – Drizzt Do’Urden’s Guide to the Underdark. A Forgotten Realms supplement written in a mostly “in character” style by the Realms most famous drow.
November – Return to White Plume Mountain. A Silver Anniversary adventure that revisits the classic White Plume Mountain adventure. This adventure is a direct sequel, set 20 years after the original adventure.
November – Torment. A novelization of the computer game, Planescape: Torment.
December – Bastion of Faith. A supplement providing a fully detailed temple, in the same style as Den of Thieves and College of Wizardry.
December – Beyond the High Road. A Forgotten Realms novel and sequel to Cormyr: A Novel, in which a prophecy foretelling Cormyr’s doom may be coming to pass.
December – Chaos Spawn. A Dragonlance adventure set during the Chaos War and runnable with either AD&D 2nd Edition or the SAGA system. Player characters must save a town from one of the most powerful minions of Chaos.
December – Guide to Hell. A supplement providing details on the Nine Hells and the various devils that dwell there. Notable for departing from the early 2nd Edition practice of avoiding references to “hell” and “devils.”
December – Van Richten’s Monster Hunter’s Compendium, Volume Two. A digest sized compilation of the Ravenloft supplements Van Richten’s Guides to Ghosts, Liches, and the Ancient Dead.
Unknown Month – Wand of Archeal. A RPGA adventure in which player characters must track down the Wand of Archeal as two rival magic orders race to acquire it for themselves.