Thursday, November 22, 2012, 2:23 PM
A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 19: 1992
The Dungeons and Dragons landscape continued to expand into realms both new and old in 1992. Al Qadim was the new, an Arabian Nights style setting that, like Maztica and Kara-Tur, found itself attached to the Forgotten Realms. The old came in the form of new campaign setting boxed sets for Dragonlance and Greyhawk, Tales of the Lance and From the Ashes respectively, which reintroduced the settings to a new audience.
D&D video games found their way onto the various competing consoles of the time, including Order of the Griffon for the TurboGrafx16, Warriors of the Eternal Sun for the Sega Megadrive, and The Dark Queen of Krynn, Treasures of the Savage Frontier, and Pirates of Realmspace, all for MS-DOS.
The Primal Order, a multi-system supplement with rules for playing deities, finally saw the light of day, hitting stores in 1992 and getting the name Wizards of the Coast into the minds of a few gamers. However, the book also put Wizards of the Coast in a lot of trouble. Palladium Books sued the fledgling company for utilizing their rules in the Primal Order. The lawsuit would cost Wizards of the Coast time and resources and, by the end of 1992, it seemed that the company was doomed. But, they had a card up their sleeve…a wildcard named Richard Garfield, who was working on something called “Manaclash,” the game that would become Magic: The Gathering.
1992 D&D Products
January – CR1: Deck of Wizard Spells. A set of reference cards with every wizard spell in the Player’s Handbook and Tome of Magic.
January – DLR2: Taladas: The Minotaurs. A Dragonlance supplement detailing minotaurs.
January – DSR1: Slave Tribes. A Dark Sun supplement detailing the tribal organizations of escaped slaves.
January – GR1: Strongholds. A boxed set containing fold-up three dimensional building models, most of which are drawn from prior adventures and sourcebooks.
January – HHQ1: Fighter’s Challenge. An adventure (Head to Head Quest) designed for a single player character, in this case, a fighter.
January – The Meetings Sextet Volume 3: Dark Heart. Third in a series of Dragonlance novels detailing how the Heroes of the Lance met. Dark Heart is the story of Kitiara’s early years, from raising her half-brothers Caramon and Raistlin, to falling in with mercenaries and cutthroats in her search for her father.
January – Quest of the Silver Sword. A BECMI introductory adventure designed for use with “Black Box” or the Rules Cyclopedia, in which the player characters are asked to help a town overcome by a terrible curse.
January – The Druidhome Trilogy Volume 1: Prophet of Moonshae. The beginning of a sequel trilogy to the original Forgotten Realms Moonshae series, with the main heroine being the daughter of the heroes from the first trilogy.
January – Pools of Darkness. A novel based on the computer game of the same name.
February – FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars. A Forgotten Realms supplement dealing with pirates of the inland sea known as the Sea of Fallen Stars.
February – MC12: Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix: Terrors of the Desert. A collection of monsters in the loose leaf binder format for the Dark Sun setting.
February – RQ1: Night of the Walking Dead. An introductory Ravenloft adventure and part of the Grand Conjunction series.
February – The Cleric Quintet Volume 2: In Sylvan Shadows. Second in R.A. Salvatore’s non-Drizzt Forgotten Realms series, featuring the cleric Cadderly.
February – WGQ1: Patriots of Ulek. Set after the Greyhawk Wars, this adventure throws player characters into uncertain circumstances as a dwarf prince asks them to help fend off an orc invasion which the townsfolk don’t believe is coming.
March – DSQ1: Road to Urik. A flipbook style adventure for the Dark Sun setting and sequel to DS1: Freedom. In Road to Urik, player characters must help the newly freed city state of Tyr fend off an invasion from Urik.
March – FMQ1: City of Gold. An adventure/supplement for the Maztica region of the Forgotten Realms, detailing a new race, new magic, and an adventure involving a lost city modeled on El Dorado.
March – PHBR7: The Complete Bard’s Handbook. Next in the “brown book” line of player supplements, this book provides a variety of character options, including kits, for the Bard class.
March – SJQ1: Heart of the Enemy. A Spelljammer adventure and sequel to SJS1: Goblin’s Return. With the Second Unhuman War raging, the player characters racing against the Scro (advanced orcs) to find the key to a world destroying weapon.
March – The Dragon’s Den. A sequel of sorts to the “Black Box,” this boxed set provides three new adventures all featuring dragons. The set also includes board game rules that utilize the set’s components.
April – Arabian Adventures. In the style of Oriental Adventures, Arabian Adventures was a softcover supplement that provided rules for adventuring in an Arabian Nights style setting. The setting itself was called Al-Qadim, attached to the Forgotten Realms.
April – Assault on Raven’s Ruin. A BECMI adventure for use with the “Black Box” in which player characters must retrieve the scepter of truth from the leader of a group of goblin bandits.
April – DMGR4: Monster Mythology. A supplement for Dungeon Masters detailing the pantheons of various demihuman, humanoid, and even some non-humanoid cultures. The entries are presented in a fashion similar to the hardcover Legends & Lore supplement.
April – DSR2: Dune Trader. A Dark Sun supplement detailing the traders and merchants who brave the harsh desert to bring needed trade goods to the city-states.
April – MC14: Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix. A collection of bizarre creatures, many updated from the 1st Edition Fiend Folio hardcover. This appendix actually came out before MC13.
April – The Prism Pentad Volume 2: The Crimson Legion. Second Dark Sun novel by Troy Denning in which the former gladiators and slaves must learn how to live in a free city-state of Tyr.
April – RR4: Islands of Terror. A Ravenloft supplement detailing smaller domains that are not part of the main continent of the demiplane of dread.
April – Dragonlance Tales II Volume 1: The Reign of Istar. An anthology of short stories set before the Cataclysm.
April – The Harpers Volume 4: Night Parade. A Forgotten Relams novel in which the ruler of Arabel enlists the aid of the Harpers in battling the grotesque and nightmarish creatures of the night parade.
April – War Captain’s Companion. A Spelljammer boxed set providing rules for ship to ship combat in space.
May – The Cloakmaster Cycle Volume 3: The Maelstrom’s Eye. Third in a series of Spelljammer novels in which the farmer from Krynn, Teldin Moore, gets caught up in the Second Unhuman War as he searches for answers about the mysterious magical cloak that has bonded with him.
May – Dragon Kings. A hardcover Dark Sun supplement detailing the most powerful beings on Athas, the Sorcerer-Kings and the Dragon itself, with rules for how player characters can achieve such lofty heights.
May – FRQ1: Haunted Halls of Eveningstar. An introductory Forgotten Realms adventure written by Ed Greenwood himself.
May – The Meetings Sextet Volume 4: The Oath and the Measure. A tale of the youthful days of Hero of the Lance and aspiring Knight of Solamnia, Sturm Brightblade.
May – RR5: Van Richten’s Guide to Ghosts. A Ravenloft supplement detailing ghosts, making them far more unique and powerful, as befitting the horror theme of the Ravenloft setting.
May – Thunder Rift. A BECMI supplement for use with the “Black Box” and the Rules Cyclopedia. Thunder Rift was the mini-setting in which the “Black Box” adventures took place and this supplement provides a Gazetteer like overview of the setting.
June – Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalog. An “in character” catalog of items and goods of all sorts, magical and mundane.
June – CR2: Deck of Priest Spells. Like the Deck of Wizard Spells, this product is a set of cards containing every priest spell from the Player’s Handbook and Tome of Magic.
June – Dance of the Dead. A Ravenloft novel set in a voodoo-esque themed domain.
June – HHQ2: Wizard’s Challenge. An adventure designed for a single wizard player character, in which the PC investigates the sudden demise of a mage’s guild.
June – MC13: Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. A collection of loose-leaf binder pages containing monsters specific to the Arabian Nights flavored Al-Qadim setting.
June – The Goblin’s Lair. A boxed set expansion to the “Black Box” BECMI D&D set, containing adventures centered around a goblin king’s attempted conquest of Thunder Rift. Interestingly, the goblin tribe is called The Red Hand, a name which would appear prominently in D&D products in later years and editions.
June – WGR2: Treasures of Greyhawk. An anthology of mini-adventures centered around famous treasures.
July – DSQ2: Arcane Shadows. Dark Sun adventure and sequel to DS1: Freedom and DSQ1: Road to Urik. Accompanied by a Preserver, the player character must flee from Urik, across the wastelands.
July – Magic Encyclopedia, Volume One. A listing of all magic items, A - G published for D&D up to this point.
July – Dragonlance Tales II Volume 2: The Cataclysm. An anthology of short stories set during the time of the Cataclsym, including the tale of Lord Soth’s downfall.
July – Tales of the Lance. A Dragonlance boxed set serving as a 2nd Edition introduction to the setting.
July – The Cleric Quintet Volume 3: Night Masks. Third Forgotten Realms non-Drizzt book by R.A. Salvatore. The cleric, Cadderly, suffering from the Chaos Curse, must also fend off assassins in the city of Caradoon.
July – The Druidhome Trilogy Volume 2: The Coral Kingdom. The King of the Moonshae Isles is kidnapped and taken to an undersea kingdom while his wife and daughter attempt a rescue.
July – WGR3: Rary the Traitor. A sourcebook and adventure centered around the wizard, Rary, who betrayed the famous Circle of Eight during the Greyhawk Wars.
July – Wrath of the Immortals. An update and revision of the Immortals set for BECMI D&D, designed for use with the Rules Cyclopedia. In addition to extensive rules on playing immortal characters, this boxed set includes a massive, world-altering campaign that involves mortal player characters in a war set in motion by the immortals of Mystara. Among other changes, the elven land of Alfheim is corrupted, becoming home to the Shadow Elves; a meteor strikes western Darokin, and the Empire of Alphatia is obliterated, though it gets transplanted into the Hollow World by the Immortals afterwards.
August – DLQ1: Knight’s Sword. A Dragonlance adventure in which player characters must recover the stolen sword of Sturm Brightblade.
August – FR14: The Great Glacier. A Forgotten Realms supplement detailing the far north of the continent of Faerun.
August – HWR3: The Milenian Empire. A Hollow World supplement detailing an empire based loosely on ancient Greece.
August – The Land of Fate. An Al-Qadim boxed set providing extensive details on the setting.
August – The Legacy. The first hardcover Forgotten Realms novel, The Legacy by R.A. Salvatore continues the story of Drizzt and his companions as Drizzt’s family from Menzoberranzan comes looking for him, along with the assassin, Artemis Entreri.
August – RQ2: Thoughts of Darkness. A Ravenloft adventure set in the utterly alien domain of Bluetspur, home to mind flayers and their horrific God-Brain.
August – SJR5: Rock of Bral. A Spelljammer supplement detailing the asteroid-based port city of Bral, home to merchants, rogues, and pirates.
August – Sword and Shield. A BECMI adventure designed for use with the “Black Box” and the Thunder Rift setting, in which the nefarious Black Knight holds a tournament, inviting all to a contest of honor.
September – DSR3: Veiled Alliance. A Dark Sun supplement detailing the organization known as the Veiled Alliance.
September – GR2: Dungeons of Mystery. A boxed set accessory containing cardboard cutouts that can be assembled into 3D dungeon rooms.
September – The Meetings Sextet Volume 5: Steel and Stone. A Dragonlance novel telling the story of the love affair between Tanis Half-Elven and Kitiara.
September – Menzoberranzan. A Forgotten Realms boxed set detailing the infamous city of the drow, homeland of Drizzt Do’Urden.
September – PC4: Night Howlers. A BECMI supplement detailing lycanthropes, with rules on using them as player characters. The supplement also covers the Valley of Wolves, a domain populated and ruled by werewolves.
September – The Haunted Tower. A boxed set expansion of the “Black Box” with adventures focused around undead.
September – The Jade Hare. A rare collectible, originally available only via mail order, the Jade Hare was a short adventure in which player characters confront an evil warlock to recover a priceless idol. Most copies of the adventure came without a cover.
October – AC1010: Poor Wizard’s Almanac & Book of Facts. A digest sized supplement for BECMI modeled on the Poor Richard’s Almanac. The book detailed the world of Mystara post-Wrath of the Immortals in the year 2010, providing numerous plot hooks and adventure seeds.
October – ALQ1: Golden Voyages. An anthology of adventures for Al-Qadim, inspired by the tales of Sinbad.
October – DLQ2: Flint’s Axe. A Dragonlance adventure centered a magical axe once owned by Hero of the Lance, Flint Fireforge.
October – DSQ3: Asticlian Gambit. A Dark Sun adventure in which player characters are caught in the political machinations between the city states of Gulg and Nibenay, as well as the Asticles family of Tyr.
October – Forbidden Lore. A Ravenloft boxed set that greatly expands both the rules and domains of the setting, as well as including a Tarokka deck, a fortune telling device similar to a Tarot deck.
October – From the Ashes. A Greyhawk boxed fully updating the setting to 2nd Edition and detailing the world after the events of the Greyhawk Wars.
October – FRQ2: Hordes of Dragonspear. A Forgotten Realms adventure utilizing the Battlesystem rules in which player characters battle a fiendish horde gathered at Dragonspear Castle.
October – HR3: Celts Campaign Sourcebook. A Historical Reference supplement detailing the culture of the ancient Celts in AD&D 2nd Edition terms.
October – LNQ1: Slayers of Lankhmar. A Lankhmar adventure in which player characters must find and stop a cunning murderer.
October – The Penhaligon Trilogy Volume 1: The Tainted Sword. A novel set in the BECMI world of Mystara.
October – The Prism Pentad Volume 3: The Amber Enchantress. A Dark Sun novel in which one of the heroes, Sadira, ventures out alone, seeking a means of defeating the Dragon of Athas.
October – The Harpers Volume 5: The Ring of Winter. A Forgotten Realms novel in which a member of the Harpers stumbles upon a lost civilization while searching for a lost explorer.
November – CGR1: The Spacefarer’s Handbook. A Spelljammer supplement modeled on the “brown book” series with a variety of player character options, including races and kits, for Spelljammer characters.
November – The Cloakmaster Cycle Volume 4: The Radiant Dragon. A Spelljammer novel continuing the story of farmer turned spacefarer Teldin Moore.
November – DSR4: Valley of Dust and Fire. A Dark Sun supplement detailing the region known as the Sea of Silt.
November – FR15: Gold and Glory. A Forgotten Realms supplement detailing mercenary companies, including Battlesystem statistics.
November – GR3: Treasure Maps. An adventure anthology with each adventure centered around a treasure map.
November – HR4: A Mighty Fortress. A Historical Reference supplement detailing 17th century Europe and the Age of Exploration.
November – HWQ1: The Milenian Sceptre. A Hollow World adventure dealing with the aftermath of the Wrath of the Immortals on the Milenian Empire.
November – RQ3: From the Shadows. A Ravenloft adventure in which the Grand Conjunction draws to a close and the lich, Azalin, means to manipulate events to his own gain, manipulating the player characters to serve his own ends in a conflict with Strahd von Zarovich.
November – Dragonlance Tales II Volume 3: The War of the Lance. A Dragonlance anthology of short stories set during the War of the Lance.
December – Character & Monster Assortment. A set of stand-up cardboard figures similar to those included with the “Black Box” and its expansions.
December – Heart of Midnight. A Ravenloft novel in which a werewolf seeks out his mother’s murderer.
December – PHBR8: The Complete Book of Elves. A “brown book” supplement detailing elves and providing a variety of kits and other character options, including the Bladesinger.
December – REF6: Rogues Gallery. A collection of NPC statistics presented in the loose-leaf format of the Monstrous Compendium series.
December – SJR6: Greyspace. A Spelljammer supplement detailing the space and other celestial bodies of the crystal sphere containing the Greyhawk campaign setting.
December – Volo’s Guide to Waterdeep. An “in character” travel guide to the city of Waterdeep, conducted by the opportunist known as Volo.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 7:51 PM
A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 18: 1991
The 2nd Edition tide of new campaign settings continued to flow in 1991 with Maztica and Dark Sun. Maztica was an expansion of the Forgotten Realms, exploring a new continent heavily inspired by Aztec, Mayan, and Incan cultures. Dark Sun was a post-apocalyptic take on D&D, a desert world with no gods and city-states ruled by tyrannical sorcerer-kings. Psionics made its 2nd Edition debut in 1991 as well and was a featured element of the Dark Sun setting.
Meanwhile, the BECMI version of D&D saw a revival of sorts as the “New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game” also known as the “Black Box” debuted in 1991 as a new entry point to the game and the full BECM (the Immortal rules were saved for later) rules were compiled and slightly revised in a hard cover volume called the Rules Cyclopedia.
TSR started to produce collectible trading cards based on AD&D in 1991, releasing them in boosters as well as a full collector’s set. The collectible booster model borrowed from Baseball and other sports cards proved to be quite popular and would soon inspire an entirely new genre of fantasy card game, as we will see in a later installment.
D&D comics published by DC ceased in 1991, but D&D based computer and video games continued to flourish, with new titles in 1991 including Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon, Shadow Sorcerer, Pools of Darkness, Death Knights of Krynn, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier. D&D also entered the world of online gaming with the AOL online multiplayer game Neverwinter Nights. Neverwinter Nights was based on the “Gold Box” games and played similarly. It is credited with being the first MMO to feature graphics. AOL’s Neverwinter Nights ran successfully for nearly seven years, finally shutting down in June of 1997.
Wizards of the Coast was still a tiny operation at this point, with Peter Adkison and a handful of others running the company while still working their day jobs. Lisa Stevens was thus the first actual employee of the company, brought on in 1991. Through Stevens’ industry connections, WotC was able to acquire Talislanta and game designer Jonathan Tweet. Work continued on The Primal Order and the book would finally see the light of day in 1992…and would also nearly destroy the fledgling company.
1991 D&D Products
January – MC8: Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. Bringing several extra-planar creatures new and old into 2nd Edition, this MC product was also notable for bringing demons and devils back to the game, though they were renamed as Tanar’ri and Baatezu respectively.
February – The Elven Nations Volume 1: Firstborn. First book in a Dragonlance trilogy detailing the history of the elven peoples and the forming of the nation of Silvanesti.
February – HWA3: Nightstorm. A Hollow World adventure for the BECMI version of D&D, in which the player characters must find the missing Immortals.
February – RA2: Ship of Horror. A Ravenloft adventure in which player characters find themselves on a haunted ship. This is also the second adventure in the Grand Conjunction series.
February – Ruins of Undermountain. A “megadungeon” boxed set for the Forgotten Realms, detailing the labyrinthine Undermountain area near the city of Waterdeep.
February – SJR2: Realmspace. A Spelljammer supplement detailing the solar system containing the Forgotten Realms setting.
February – SJR3: Dungeon Master’s Screen. A Spelljammer specific DM screen.
February – The Finder’s Stone Trilogy Volume 3: Song of the Saurials. A Forgotten Realms novel and conclusion to the trilogy that began with Azure Bonds.
March – DLS1: New Beginnings. An introductory Dragonlance product with an adventure set in Taladas. The module was designed as an introduction to not only the Dragonlance world but the AD&D 2nd Edition game rules as well.
March – HR1: Vikings Campaign Sourcebook. Similar in cover design to the PHBR and DMGR series, but with green covers, the Historical Reference series detailed real world historical cultures in AD&D 2nd Edition terms, providing pure historical, mythical, and fantastical variations of each book’s focus. The series kicked off with a look at Vikings and Nordic culture.
March – LC3: Nightwatch in the Living City. A Forgotten Realms adventure set in the RPGA’s “Living City” of Ravens’ Bluff.
March – LNA3: Prince of Lankhmar. An anthology of adventures in Lankhmar involving the city’s nobility and wealthier citizens.
March – The Maztica Trilogy Volume 3: Feathered Dragon. Would be conquerors from the mainland Forgotten Realms find themselves fighting alongside natives against a greater evil.
March – WGS1: Five Shall Be One. A Greyhawk adventure involving a quest for a set of five magical swords. Originally intended as the first of a trilogy but the third module in the series was never produced.
April – FA2: Nightmare Keep. A Forgotten Realms adventure in which the player characters investigate a threat north of Cormyr.
April – MC9: Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix II. A second collection of Spelljammer creatures.
April – MC10: Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix. A collection of the horrific monsters of the Ravenloft setting.
April – The Meetings Sextet Volume 1: Kindred Spirits. First in a series of Dragonlance novels detailing how the original Heroes of the Lance characters first met. Kindred Spirits recounts the meeting of Tanis Half-Elven and the dwarf, Flint Fireforge.
April – The Dark Elf Trilogy Volume 3: Sojourn. The last of the prelude novels covering Drizzt’s early years, Sojourn finds Drizzt emerging in the surface world and facing prejudice before meeting a ranger mentor and eventually finding a friend in the dwarf, Bruenor Battlehammer.
April – The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game. Packaged like a traditional board game, the “Black Box” introduced players to the BECMI version of the game through an immediate immersion style of play, learning the game and creating your character as you attempt to escape Zanzer Tem’s dungeon. The boxed set included cardboard stand-up miniatures for use on the game map, providing a much more visual and tactile play experience than the older “Red Box” Basic Set.
May – DLS2: Tree Lords. A Dragonlance adventure in which player characters assist the elves in retaking the nightmare twisted land of Silvanesti.
May – FR12: Horde Campaign. A Forgotten Realms sourcebook that ties in to the Empires trilogy of novels, detailing the Horde’s attack on the western Forgotten Realms nations, providing Battlesystem stats for the major battles.
May – The Harpers Volume 1: The Parched Sea. First in an open ended series of novels involving the mysterious organization of good in the Forgotten Realms known as the Harpers. In this first book in the series a Harper agent travels to the Anauroch desert to help stop Zhentarim slavers.
May – Tome of Magic. A hardcover tome for AD&D 2nd Edition providing new options for magical classes, primarily wizards and clerics. It introduced new wizard classes, the Wild Mage and Elementalist, and introduced a large number of new spells and magic items as well.
June – FOR2: Drow of the Underdark. A Forgotten Realms supplement covering the dark elves in detail.
June – LNR2: Tales of Lankhmar. Another anthology of short adventures for the Lankhmar setting.
June – Maztica Campaign Setting. A Forgotten Realms boxed set detailing the continent of Maztica, based on Mesoamerican cultures of Central and South America.
June – SJA4: Under the Dark Fist. A high level Spelljammer adventure in which player characters must help fight off an invasion of the Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms spheres by a twelve sphere-spanning evil empire.
July – The Cloakmaster Cycle Volume 1: Beyond the Moons. The first novel in a six part series of Spelljammer books. Beyond the Moons is set primarily in the Dragonlance setting, following farmer Teldin Moore’s adventures after a spelljamming vessel crashes on his farm.
July – DMGR3: Arms and Equipment Guide. This third Dungeon Master focused supplement takes a detailed look at weapons, armor, clothing, and other equipment.
July – HWR1: Sons of Azca. A Hollow World supplement for the BECMI version of the game. Similar to the GAZ series of supplements detailing the surface world, Sons of Azca details the Azcan nation in the Hollow World.
July – LC4: Port of Raven’s Bluff. A Forgotten Realms Living City supplement detailing Ravens Bluff’s ports and everything associated with the city’s sea trade.
July – PHBR5: The Complete Psionics Handbook. Fifth in the “brown book” series of player supplements, detailing psionics in AD&D 2nd Edition. The psionic system was significantly revised from 1st edition, including the introduction of a full Psionicist class.
July – RR1: Darklords. A Ravenloft supplement detailing several new dark lords and their domains.
July – SJR4: Practical Planetology. A Spelljammer supplement for Dungeon Masters, explaining how to create new crystal spheres and the planets within.
August – Battlesystem Skirmishes Miniatures Rules. A single unit version of the Battlesystem rules, in which each miniature represents a single creature on the battlefield.
August – DLS3: Oak Lords. A Dragonlance adventure and sequel to DLS2: Tree Lords, the player characters now must help the Qualinesti elves retake their homeland.
August – The Elven Nations Trilogy Volume 2: The Kinslayer Wars. A Dragonlance novel in which the elven peoples become embroiled in a bitter war with one another.
August – FMA1: Fires of Zatal. A Forgotten Realms adventure set on the continent of Maztica.
August – GAZ14: The Atruaghin Clans. The last of the BECMI D&D Known World gazetteer products, The Atruaghin Clans details a culture loosely based on Native American tribes.
September – Dark Sun Campaign Setting. Post-apocalyptic fantasy was a genre mash-up that was uncharted territory for the most part in the early 90s so when Dark Sun debuted, it was one of the most unique and intriguing new settings in fantasy gaming. Featuring a heavy emphasis on psionics, Dark Sun was a desert world, drained of life by a magical practice called defiling, an easy path to power for the greedy and corrupt. Much of Dark Sun’s appeal came from the stunning visual style led by the artist, Brom. This technique of defining a visual theme and style for a setting would see successful use again a few years down the road with Planescape setting.
September – The Meetings Sextet Volume 2: Wanderlust. Second in a series of Dragonlance novels covering the first meetings of the Heroes of the Lance. In this installment, Tanis and Flint get caught up in an adventure after meeting the kender, Tasslehoff Burrfoot.
September – RR2: Book of Crypts. An anthology of short adventures for the Ravenloft setting based around crypts.
September – The Harpers Volume 2: Elfshadow. A Forgotten Realms novel by Elaine Cunningham in which Harpers are being murdered and half-elven assassin Arilyn Moonblade must find out who is behind it before she takes the blame herself.
September – The Legend of Spelljammer. A boxed set for the Spelljammer setting detailing the Spelljammer itself, a massive ship shaped like a manta ray, with a city on its back.
September – Vampire of the Mists. A Ravenloft novel in which an elven vampire from the Forgotten Realms finds himself taken by the Mists and to the home of Strahd von Zarovich.
September – WGS2: Howl from the North. A Greyhawk adventure and sequel to Five Shall be One. Originally intended to be the second in a trilogy, the third adventure was never produced.
October – The Cloakmaster Cycle Volume 2: Into the Void. A Spelljammer novel in which the farmer Teldin Moore finds himself thrust into the life of a space adventurer, visiting the Forgotten Realms while attempting to learn about a magical cloak that has bonded to him.
October – FMA2: Endless Armies. A Forgotten Realms adventure set in Maztica in which the player characters must stop an army of ants that are attacking both natives and settlers.
October – HWR2: Kingdom of Nithia. A BECMI D&D supplement for the Hollow World setting, describing a culture based on ancient Egypt.
October – PHBR6: The Complete Book of Dwarves. The next “brown book” supplement providing character options for races and classes, this one focusing on dwarves.
October – The Prism Pentad Volume 1: The Verdant Passage. The first Dark Sun novel, in which a small group of slaves set in motion a chain of events that will lead to the fall of the Sorcerer-King of Tyr, Kalak.
October – RA3: Touch of Death. Third adventure of the Grand Conjunction in the Ravenloft setting, in which the player characters wind up in Har’Akir, an Egyptian based domain ruled by a powerful mummy.
October – Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. Collecting the rules from the Basic, Expert, Companion, and Master sets into one hardcover book, the Rules Cyclopedia is the only single-book version of D&D ever produced, containing all the rules needed to play from level 1 to level 36, as well as an overview of the Known World and the Hollow World.
October – The Cleric Quintet Volume 1: Canticle. Taking a break from Drizzt for a while but staying in the Forgotten Realms, R.A. Salvatore penned the adventures of the cleric Cadderly, beginning with Canticle.
October – The Harpers Volume 3: Red Magic. A Forgotten Realms novel in which a Harper agent goes undercover in the wizard ruled nation of Thay to thwart the schemes of one of the Red Wizards.
November – DDA4: The Dymrak Dread. A BECMI D&D adventure for beginning characters who must face a goblin tribe.
November – DLS4: Wild Elves. A Dragonlance adventure in which player characters assist the Kagonesti wild elves claim a homeland for themselves after oppression at the hands of their Silvanesti and Qualinesti cousins.
November – The Elven Nations Trilogy Volume 3: Qualinesti. A Dragonlance novel detailing the founding of the nation of Qualinesti.
November – FR13: Anauroch. A Forgotten realms supplement detailing the Anauroch desert and the monsters and people that dwell there.
November – Greyhawk Wars. A board game packaged in a manner similar to a supplemental boxed set, Greyhawk Wars picks up where the two WGS modules leave off, incorporating material from what would have been WGS3. The game allows players to guide the events of a massive world war in the Greyhawk setting, the outcome of which would change the setting in much the same manner the Time of Troubles changed the Forgotten Realms.
December – DS1: Freedom. The first Dark Sun adventure, in which player characters are slaves in the city of Tyr. Freedom was the first of several Dark Sun adventures to incorporate small spiral-bound “flip books” that contained visuals meant for players to help illustrate events in the adventure.
December – Knight of the Black Rose. Lord Soth, infamous death knight of the Dragonlance setting, comes to Ravenloft in this novel.
December – MC11: Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix II. A second collection of monsters specific to the Forgotten Realms world.
December – RR3: Van Richten’s Guide to Vampires. A Ravenloft supplement in which the monster hunter Van Richten provides details on vampires.
December – SJS1: Goblins Return. A Spelljammer adventure in which the player characters must infiltrate an enemy base as the Second Unhuman War between goblins and elves begins.
Unknown Month – DDREF1: Character Record Sheets. A new set of character sheets for the “Black Box” and Rules Cyclopedia version of D&D.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 8:16 PM
A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 17: 1990
The second major new campaign setting introduced during the 2nd edition era was actually an expansion of an old adventure module, I6: Ravenloft. The Ravenloft campaign setting debuted in 1990, bringing the horror genre into D&D, as Spelljammer had brought the space opera genre into the game the year before.
The Basic version of D&D was still running strong and received a campaign expansion of its own, Hollow World. The “Known World” setting was not flat, but it was hollow, with oceans and continents existing on the inner surface of the planet and the world’s core acting as a sun. Hollow World also served as a sort of “history preserve” for the Immortals, allowing them to save favored ancient cultures from extinction.
The “Gold Box” computer games continued in 1990 with Secret of the Silver Blades and Champions of Krynn. Other new video games in 1990 included Dragonstrike and Eye of the Beholder. Dragonstrike was rather unique as it was a dragon-based flight simulator.
Peter Adkison founded Wizards of the Coast in 1990 and began working on a multisystem supplement called The Primal Order. The book would take more than a year to develop however. The Primal Order was designed to be a system for playing deities, compatible with a number of game systems of the time, including AD&D 2nd Edition.
Elsewhere in the gaming industry, major competitors in the roleplaying game market began to emerge. Among them were Palladium Books, which debuted its flagship game, Rifts, in 1990, and would figure prominently in the history of Wizards of the Coast, as we will see in the next installment, and White Wolf, which had begun working on Vampire: The Masquerade after acquiring the smaller company, Lion Rampant. With Lion Rampant came Lisa Stevens, who would prove a pivotal figure in the history of D&D at several points, starting in 1991, as we will also see in the next installment.
1990 D&D Products
January – Dragonlance Prelude Volume 3: Brothers Majere. A novel dealing with the adventures of Caramon and Raistlin shortly after Raistlin’s test at the Tower of High Sorcery but before the War of the Lance. Notable for introducing the Cat Lord demi-deity into the Dragonlance setting.
January – The Icewind Dale Trilogy Volume 3: The Halfling’s Gem. The third novel featuring the renegade drow Drizz Do’Urden. This time, Drizzt and his companions travel to Calimport to rescue the halfling, Regis, from assassin Artemis Entreri.
January – WG12: Vale of the Mage. A Greyhawk adventure in which the player characters pursue renegade wizards into the titular vale.
February – FR10: Old Empires. A Forgotten Realms supplement covering the ancient kingdoms of Mulhorand, Unther, and Chessenta.
February – LNA1: Thieves of Lankhmar. A supplement for the Lankhmar setting detailing the city’s thieves’ guilds.
February – PC3: The Sea People. Third in the Creature Crucible line of supplements for the BECMI version of D&D, this one covering the undersea realms of the Known World and providing player character rules for several undersea races, including seal elves, mermen, and tritons.
February – SJA1: Wildspace. The first module for the Spelljammer setting, Wildspace serves as an introduction to spacefaring adventures.
February – The Finder’s Stone Trilogy Volume 2: The Wyvern’s Spur. A Forgotten Realms novel and sequel to Azure Bonds, though it focused on a minor character from the first book.
March – DLA1: Dragon Dawn. The first in a trilogy of Dragonlance adventures set on the continent of Taladas.
March – DMGR1: Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide. First in a series of DM focused supplements, similar in presentation to the PHBR series, but with blue covers. The book offers general advice on DMing and specific guidance on running dungeon adventures.
March – Forgotten Realms Adventures. A hardcover sourcebook presenting the 2nd Edition version of the Forgotten Realms, taking into account the events of the Time of Troubles. The book is similar in presentation to the 1st Edition Oriental Adventures, Dragonlance Adventures, and Greyhawk Adventures.
March – MC4: Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix. A collection of Dragonlance specific monsters in the loose-leaf binder page format.
March – Dragonlance Preludes II Volume 1: Riverwind, the Plainsman. First of a second trilogy of prelude novels, this one focused on the barbarian, Riverwind and his discover of the Blue Crystal Staff in Xak Tsaroth.
March – The Maztica Trilogy Volume 1: Ironhelm. First in a Forgotten Realms trilogy that closely mirrors the Spanish conquest of the Maya and Aztec cultures.
March – WGA1: Falcon’s Revenge. First in a trilogy of adventures set in the City of Greyhawk, in which the player characters must track down an evil cult.
April – DDA1: Arena of Thyatis. A BECMI adventure set in the Empire of Thyatis focusing on the Roman-esque gladiator arena and politics of the empire.
April – DLR1: Otherlands. A Dragonlance sourcebook detailing remote locations beyond the main continents of Ansalon and Taladas.
April – DMGR2: The Castle Guide. Second in the DM sourcebook series, detailing not only castles but the feudal system, knighthood, and sieges.
April – FRA1: Storm Riders. First in a trilogy of adventures dealing with the Mongol-like “Horde” east of the main Forgotten Realms lands.
April – MC5: Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix. A collection of loose-leaf binder pages detailing Greyhawk specific monsters.
April – SJR1: Lost Ships. A Spelljammer supplement detailing a ship’s graveyard in space.
April – The Empires Trilogy: Horselords. Forgotten Realms novel dealing with the Mongol-like Horde as they turn their attention to Kara-Tur.
May – DLA2: Dragon Knight. Second in the Taladas based trilogy of Dragonlance adventures.
May – GAZ13: The Shadow Elves. BECMI regional supplement dealing with the shadow elves, an underground race of elves. Interestingly, unlike most AD&D settings, the “dark” elves of the Known World are not drow, having a wholly different culture and pale skin.
May – OA6: Ronin Challenge. A Forgotten Realms Kara-Tur adventure in which a martial arts tournament goes bad, leading player characters to a set of ancient ruins.
May – PHBR3: The Complete Priest’s Handbook. Third in the “Complete” series of class and race supplements. The Complete Priest’s Handbook includes a large section on designing priesthoods and specialty priests.
June – MC6: Monstrous Compendium Kara-Tur Appendix. A collection of Oriental Adventures monsters.
June – PHB3: The Complete Wizard’s Handbook. Rounding out the first four class supplements, this book includes wizard kits and more information on magic schools and specialists.
June – Ravenloft: Realm of Terror. Based on the 1st Edition module, I6: Ravenloft, the Ravenloft setting details an entire “Demiplane of Dread” with numerous realms ruled by complex and horrific masters, including Strahd, the vampiric villain of the original Ravenloft module. Ravenloft, like Spelljammer, connected the other campaign settings, though it did so in an entirely different manner. Ravenloft was something of a prison realm, its rulers drawn from various settings, including the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. Each dark lord had great power in their own realm, but could not leave, trapped in the demiplane. Ravenloft’s mists would also draw in player characters from any setting for a “weekend of terror” as the adventure style came to be known. In addition to Strahd, Ravenloft’s dark lords included Azalin, a powerful lich, and Lord Soth, a death knight who featured prominently in the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies. It is interesting to note that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the authors of those trilogies, objected to Soth’s inclusion in Ravenloft and make no reference to his stay there in later novels.
June – SJA2: Skull & Crossbows. An anthology of Spelljammer adventures dealing with space pirates.
June – WGA2: Falconmaster. Second in a trilogy of Grehawk adventures in which the player character hunt down the leader of an evil cult.
July – FRA2: Black Courser. Second Forgotten Realms adventure dealing with the Horde.
July – Dragonlance Heroes II Volume 1: Kaz, the Minotaur. A novel detailing the adventures of the minotaur companion of Huma after Huma’s death.
July – Hollow World Campaign Set. A setting supplement for the BECMI Known World, detailing the inner surface of the Known World planet, home to prehistoric beasts and ancient cultures. The Immortals limit magic in the Hollow World so the cultures contained within will be preserved, mostly unchanging.
July – LC2: Inside Raven’s Bluff, The Living City. A supplement for the RPGA’s “Living City” of Raven’s Bluff, designed by RPGA members.
July – Legends & Lore. A 2nd Edition version of the 1st Edition Deities & Demigods, taking a look at various real world pantheons as well as the gods of Lankhmar.
July – Dragonlance Preludes II Volume 2: Flint, the King. Set before the War of the Lance, Flint Fireforge finds himself leading a group of gully dwarves against a nefarious menace in his hometown.
July – The Empire Trilogy Volume 2: Dragonwall. Set mostly in Kara-Tur, this Forgotten Realms novel sees the Horde breaching the “dragonwall” as they launch an invasion.
July – The Forgotten Realms Atlas. Maps of the Forgotten Realms world, designed by cartographer Karen Wynn Fonstad, who also designed map books for Middle Earth, Pern, and The Land of the Thomas Covenant novels.
July – WGR1: Greyhawk Ruins. A more serious look at the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk.
August – DDA2: Legions of Thyatis. Sequel to Arena of Thyatis for the BECMI version of D&D, in which the player characters must stop a corrupt senator from unleashing monsters on the capital city.
August – LNR1: Wonders of Lankhmar. An anthology of brief adventures and scenarios set in Lankhmar.
August – MC7: Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix. A collection of monsters for the Spelljammer setting, including several creatures adapted from the Star Frontiers science fiction RPG.
August – OA7: Test of the Samurai. A Kara-Tur adventure in which player characters investigate strange occurrences on the peninsula of Wa.
August – The Dark Elf Trilogy Volume 1: Homeland. First in a prequel trilogy to the Icewind Dale novels. Homeland chronicles Drizzt Do’Urden’s birth and upbringing in Menzoberranzan, city of the drow.
August – The Horde Barbarian Campaign Setting. A Forgotten Realms boxed set detailing the lands between Faerun and Kara-Tur and the Mongol-like inhabitants of these barren lands.
September – DLA3: Dragon’s Rest. The conclusion of a trilogy of adventures set in Taladas in the Dragonlance setting, though much of the adventure takes place in the planes.
September – DLC1: Dragonlance Classics Volume 1. A compilation and update to 2nd Edition of the first four adventures of the original Dragonlance saga, DL1: Dragons of Despair, DL2: Dragons of Flame, DL3: Dragons of Hope, and DL4: Dragons of Desolation.
September – FOR1: Draconomicon. A Forgotten Realms sourcebook detailing the dragons of Faerun.
September – RA1: Feast of Goblyns. The first adventure for the Ravenloft setting and also the first in a six adventure campaign known as the Grand Conjunction. The player characters are drawn from their home realm by the Mists into the domain of Kartakas and must deal with wolfweres and the domain’s dark lord, Harkon Lucas.
October – Castles. A boxed set with full maps and Battlesystem scenarios for three castles, one each for the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and Greyhawk settings. The set also included 3-D cardboard sections to assemble key parts of each castle.
October – FA1: Halls of the High King. A Forgotten Realms adventure set in the Moonshae Isles.
October – FR11: Dwarves Deep. A Forgotten Realms supplement detailing the dwarves of Faerun.
October – Dragonlance Heroes II Volume 2: The Gates of Thorbardin. A Dragonlance novel telling the story of a dwarven hero destined to seal off a hidden entrance to the dwarven realm of Thorbardin.
October – HWA1: Nightwail. First in the Blood Brethren series of adventures for the Hollow World setting for the BECMI version of D&D.
October – SJA3: Crystal Spheres. A Spelljammer adventure in which the player characters must rescue the homeworld of a ship captain, traveling through several strange crystal spheres in the process.
October – The Maztica Trilogy Volume 2: Viperhand. The Faerun invaders continue their conquest of Maztica, but the natives start to fight back with their own unique magics.
October – WGA3: Flames of the Falcon. A Greyhawk adventure in which the player characters must stop an evil cleric of Iuz before she unleashes an army of undead on the city of Greyhawk.
November – FRA3: Blood Charge. Third and final adventure in a trilogy centered around a conflict between the Horde and Kara-Tur.
November – LNA2: Nehwon. A Lankhmar adventure that takes player characters beyond the city of Lankhmar to explore the greater world.
November – Dragonlance Preludes II Volume 3: Tanis, the Shadow Years. Final Preludes novel set in the five years before the War of the Lance, during which Tanis Half-Elven attempts to find his human father.
November – The Dark Elf Trilogy Volume 2: Exile. Second in a prelude trilogy, in which Drizzt leaves Menzoberrazan with only the magical panther Guenhwyvar for companionship. Drizzt descends into an instinctual existence but eventually comes into contact with svirfneblin of Blingdenstone. Blingdenstone would later serve as the setting for one of the D&D Next playtest adventures.
December – FROA1: Ninja Wars. A Forgotten Realms Kara-Tur adventure in which the player characters are caught in the middle of a war between two ninja clans.
December – Dragonlance Heroes II Volume 3: Galen Beknighted. Sequel to Weasel’s Luck, in which the unlikely Solamnic Knight, Galen Pathwarden, is forced into heroic adventure by the disappearance of his brother.
December – HWA2: Nightrage. Second of the Hollow World Blood Brethren series of BECMI adventures. The player characters travel the lands of the Hollow World in search of a means to combat an invasion by mysterious dark elves.
December – The Empires Trilogy Volume 3: Crusade. The Horde turns their attention to the west while King Azoun IV of Cormyr rallies an army to defend against the coming assault.
December – WGA4: Vecna Lives! A Greyhawk adventure in which the player characters face the archlich Vecna, himself and banish him to Ravenloft, the Demiplane of Dread. The adventure opens with a prelude of sorts during which players have the opportunity to play as members of the Circle of Eight.
Unknown Month – Nightwatch. A novel set in the City of Greyhawk, written by Robin Wayne Bailey, author of the Thieves’ World series. The book was published without the Greyhawk logo, instead being part of TSR’s new line of science fiction and fantasy novels that were, with the exception of this book and one or two others, wholly separate from D&D and its settings.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 9:00 PM
A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 16: 1989
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition debuted in 1989. AD&D 2nd Edition was a major overhaul of the game, rewriting the rules to be a bit more player friendly than 1st Edition had been. 2nd Edition also eliminated, at least in the initial core books, some of the more controversial elements of the game, namely the assassin and monk classes, the half-orc race, and, perhaps most notably, demons and devils.
2nd Edition also brought with it changes great and small to the game’s campaign settings. While Greyhawk and Dragonlance would get away with only a few changes, at least initially (the Greyhawk Wars and the Second Cataclysm happen a bit later in our timeline), the Forgotten Realms suffered the first of what have come to be known as “Realms Shaking Events.” The Time of Troubles saw the gods of the Realms banished to the mortal world, forced to possess mortal bodies. Several gods died, including Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, while new gods rose to take their place, including Kelemvor and the now infamous Cyric. The goddess of magic, Mystra, was replaced by the mortal known as Midnight, though she would take Mystra’s name upon ascending.
D&D’s love affair with computer games continued through 1989. Curse of the Azure Bonds, Dragons of Flame, Hillsfar, and War of the Lance all arrived in 1989 for either the PC or NES. TSR’s comic book partnership with DC also continued to prosper with the debut of a Forgotten Realms comic in 1989.
1989 was a huge year for TSR. The next year would see the start of another game company whose beginnings were, to put it mildly, tumultuous…Wizards of the Coast.
1989 D&D Products
January – GAZ10: The Orcs of Thar. Tenth in the Gazetteer line of regional supplements for basic D&D’s Known World, the Orcs of Thar covered the humanoid dominated region known as the Broken Lands and provided rules for playing orcs and other typically evil humanoid races.
Januray – Dragonlance Heroes Volume 3: Weasel’s Luck. The third in the Heroes series of novels tells the story of Galen Pathwarder, a rather unlikely hero and Knight of Solamnia.
January – OA5: Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw. Now firmly set in the Forgotten Realms, this module sends player characters in search of an evil martial arts school. This would also be the last module to utilize 1st Edition rules.
January – The Icewind Dale Trilogy Volume 2: Streams of Silver. The second novel to feature Drizzt Do’Urden, Streams of Silver takes Drizzt and his companions on a quest to reclaim Bruenor’s ancestral home, Mithril Hall. This book also features the debut of the assassin Artemis Entreri, who would become Drizzt’s nemesis throughout much of the rest of the series.
February – DLE1: In Search of Dragons. The first 2nd Edition Dragonlance product, this adventure sends player characters on a quest to learn what is causing the people of Krynn to lose respect for the good dragons and why some good dragons are dying off.
February – FR7: Hall of Heroes. A collection of AD&D 2nd Edition stats and brief histories of many of the major and minor characters featured in Forgotten Realms novels including Drizzt.
February – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook. The first core rulebook for the 2nd Edition of AD&D, the Player’s Handbook contained a revised and streamlined version of the rules of its predecessor. Unlike the 1st Edition PHB, this Player’s Handbook contained the rules for combat as well as character creation. The book included an optional section on Proficiencies which had been introduced in several different books late in 1st Edition’s run. Also notable was the parallel chapter arrangement between the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Each contained the same chapters, with the information tailored to the player and the DM respectively. Thus, for example, Chapter 8 in the PHB is only one page long as it dealt with Experience, a topic more fully covered in the DMG.
March – FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds. Adapted from the computer game of the same name and based on the novel, Azure Bonds.
March – GAZ11: The Republic of Darokin. The eleventh in the Gazetteer line of regional supplements for basic D&D’s Known World. Darokin was a plutocratic republic, ruled by a council of merchants. The supplement included rules for a Merchant player character class.
March – The Moonshae Trilogy Volume 3: Darkwell. Final book of the Moonshae trilogy by Douglas Niles.
March – WG8: Fate of Istus. The first 2nd Edition Greyhawk product, this module contains a series of linked adventures, each focusing on a separate character class, as the world deals with a magical plague from the goddess Istus, designed to weed out the weak (and, from a game mechanics standpoint, transition the setting to 2nd Edition).
April – WG9: Gargoyle. A light-hearted (though not as satirical as Castle Greyhawk) adventure in which player characters must find the stolen wings of a pair of gargoyles.
May – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. The second core rulebook for the 2nd Edition of AD&D, the Dungeon Master’s Guide replaced its weightier predecessor by providing a clearer and more concise set of rules and advice for the DM.
May – FRE1: Shadowdale. The first in a trilogy of adventures that transitions the Forgotten Realms from 1st Edition to 2nd Edition via a huge, world altering event known as the Time of Troubles. As gods walk the Realms, player characters are tasked with tracking down the legendary Sage of Shadowdale, Elminster.
May – Dragonlance Prelude Volume 1: Darkness and Light. The Preludes series of novels deals with the Heroes of the Lance during the five years prior to Dragons of Autumn Twilight, during which they separated and dealt with personal quests. Darkness and Light tells the story of Sturm Brightblade and Kitiara and their unexpected trip to one of Krynn’s moons.
May – The Avatar Trilogy Volume 1: Shadowdale. Telling the same story as the adventure module of the same name, though featuring characters who would eventually become new gods, Kelemvor, Midnight, and Cyric.
June – FR8: Cities of Mystery. More of a toolkit for designing cities, including cardstock buildings, than an actual supplement for the Forgotten Realms.
June – FRE2: Tantras. Second adventure in the Time of Troubles in which the player characters find themselves accused of the murder of Elminster.
June – MC1: Monstrous Compendium Volume One. The third core rulebook for AD&D 2nd Edition wasn’t a book at all. The Monstrous Compendiums were three-ring punched loose leaf binder pages, with the first volume including the binder itself. Designed so you could mix and match your monsters to fit your needs, the design suffered from a few problems. First, the holes in the pages tended to wear out and rip after extended use and second, monsters were often printed on both sides of a page, making alphabetical organization of later volumes impossible. Still, the format lasted through 15 products, with binder pages also being sprinkled into various boxed sets before finally being replaced by a hardcover volume, the Monstrous Manual, in 1993.
July – B11: King’s Festival. A Basic level adventure for the BECMI version of the game, King’s Festival was a new introductory module, designed to be an aid to beginning Dungeon Masters.
July – REF1: Dungeon Master’s Screen. A new screen for a new edition. This one included a short adventure, Terrible Trouble at Tragidore.
July – The Avatar Trilogy Volume 2: Tantras. The novel version of the continuing events of the Time of Troubles. The book features a titanic battle between the mortal forms of Bane and Torm. Cyric also shows his true colors near the end of the book.
August 1989 – Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia. A boxed set in the Gazetteer line, detailing the mightiest empires of the Known World. Thyatis is modeled on the Roman Empire, complete with gladiatorial combat, while Alphatia is an empire ruled by magic-users.
August – LC1: Gateway to Raven’s Bluff, The Living City. Designed collectively by members of the RPGA (Role Playing Gamers Association), this supplement was initially only available by mail to RPGA members.
August – MC2: Monstrous Compendium Volume Two. The second collection of loose leaf binder pages completing the essential menagerie of monsters for the AD&D 2nd Edition game. Later products in the MC line would be labeled appendices.
August – Dragonlance Preludes Volume 2: Kendermore. Kendermore chronicles the many and outrageous adventures of the kender Tasslehoof Burrfoot during the five years prior to Dragons of Autumn Twilight.
August – The City of Greyhawk. A boxed set detailing the city which lends its name to the setting.
August – TM1: The Western Countries. A map product, covering the western region of the Known World.
September – DLE2: Dragon Magic. The second adventure in a trilogy, in which the player characters find the secret home of the good dragons, but find themselves in the midst of a greater conflict.
September – FRE3: Waterdeep. The third and final Time of Troubles adventure, in which the players track down the Tablets of Fate and the gods return to godhood, minus a few casualties, plus a few risen mortals.
September – REF2: Character Record Sheets. New character sheets for a new edition.
September – The Avatar Trilogy Volume 3: Waterdeep. The final book in the trilogy covering the Time of Troubles.
September – The Eyes Have It. The last Greyhawk novel by Rose Estes.
September – TM2: The Eastern Countries. Second Trail Map product, this time covering the eastern portion of the BECMI D&D Known World.
September – TM3: The World of Krynn. The Trail Map series continues, moving to a different setting, namely Dragonlance.
September – WG10: Child’s Play. A short module designed as an introductory product for new players and new Dungeon Masters.
October – PC1: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk. A new line for the BECMI version of D&D, detailing monstrous player characters. Specifically, this supplement deals with various fey creatures and their hidden realm.
October – Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. The first of several new settings introduced during the 2nd Edition era, Spelljammer took D&D where no setting had gone before. Space. The setting brought the magical characters and creatures of AD&D into the final frontier in a rather unusual manner. Instead of dealing with the logistics of real world physics, Spelljammer imagined the worlds of AD&D as existing within massive crystal spheres (big enough to hold an entire solar system) that floated in a fiery otherspace known as the Phlogiston. Ships were similar to sailing ships in function if not design (many were quite fantastical) with open decks that, thanks to the fantasy physics of the setting, simply carried their atmosphere with them when they left a planet, as well as generating their own gravity well. Spelljammer also served as a way of connecting the existing worlds of AD&D as travel was now possible between the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Greyhawk settings.
November – B12: Queen’s Harvest. Another introductory module for the BECMI version of the game, as well as a direct sequel to King’s Festival.
November – Battlesystem Miniatures Rules. A revision and update of the Battlesystem rules for the 2nd Edition of AD&D.
November – DLE3: Dragon Keep. The conclusion of the first trilogy of 2nd Edition Dragonlance adventures, in which the player characters confront the daughter of Takhisis.
November – FR9: The Bloodstone Lands. One of the few game supplements written by R.A. Salvatore, author of the Drizzt novels. This regional supplement covers the lands featured in the “H” series of adventures.
November – MC3: Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix. A collection of monsters for the Forgotten Realms setting.
November – PHBR1: The Complete Fighter’s Handbook. First in a series of supplements detailing options for specific classes and races. The line featured a brown, leather appearing cover with no art and introduced the concept of Kits, minor variations on a character class with added mechanics or features.
November – Pool of Radiance. A novel based on the computer game of the same name.
November – Time of the Dragon. A Dragonlance boxed set detailing the previously unexplored continent of Taladas.
November – TM4: The City of Waterdeep. Fourth in the Trail Map line of map products, this one detailing the Forgotten Realms city of Waterdeep.
November – WG11: Puppets. A two part adventure in which the player characters must deal with an evil leprechaun.
December – GAZ12: The Golden Khan of Ethengar. A regional supplement for the BECMI version of the game, detailing a mongol like culture.
December – PC2: Top Ballista. A supplement for the BECMI version of the game providing player character rules for various flying races, including the sky gnomes of the flying city of Serraine.
December – PHBR2: The Complete Thief’s Handbook. The second in the “brown book” line of class and race supplements, providing kits for the Thief class. Notable for reintroducing the assassin to the game, albeit as a Thief kit.
December – TM5: Kara-Tur. A Trail Map product detailing the eastern lands of the Forgotten Realms.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 8:07 PM
A History of Dungeons & Dragons
Part 15: 1988
1988 was the first transition year where one edition is wrapping up and the next edition is on the horizon, similar in that respect to 1999, 2007, and the current state of transition with D&D Next currently in playtest.
The first of the “Gold Box” series of PC video games, Pool of Radiance, hit stores in 1988. Set in the Forgotten Realms, Pool of Radiance was an Origins award winning hit and paved the way for several more games in the “Gold Box” line, ultimately leading to well known and loved titles like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights (we’ll cover those in more depth in future installments).
Heroes of the Lance also debuted in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES (though it was ported to other systems and MS-DOS as well). Heroes of the Lance was set in the Dragonlance world and provided a video game translation of part of Dragons of Despair, the first adventure in the Dragonlance saga, specifically the dungeon crawl through Xak Tsaroth. Unfortunately, it was not as well received, rated as the 2nd worst NES game.
DC Comics began publishing a regular series of comics based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in 1988. The series would run for 36 issues from December 1988 to December 1991.
And 1988 would introduce the world to a renegade drow ranger called Drizzt Do’Urden.
1988 D&D Products
January – DQ1: The Shattered Statue. The Shattered Statue was a crossover module that featured rules for both AD&D and Dragon Quest, a one time rival of D&D that was acquired by TSR when they purchased the smaller Simulations Publications (SPI).
January – The Icewind Dale Trilogy Volume 1: The Crystal Shard. Originally conceived as a story focused on the northern barbarian character Wulfgar, The Crystal Shard broadened in the writing to encompass an ensemble including the gruff mentor dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer, the greedy halfling Regis, Bruenor’s adopted human daughter Catti-Brie, and the now legendary drow ranger, Drizzt Do’Urden. As with other books in the initial run of Forgotten Realms novels (Azure Bonds and Darkwalker on Moonshae) The Crystal Shard was written as a stand-alone novel but open to becoming a trilogy if it sold well. Needless to say, it did.
February – FR3: Empires of the Sands. A regional supplement for the Forgotten Realms focusing on Amn, Tethyr, and Calimshan.
February – WG7: Castle Greyhawk. It is, in hindsight, a bit difficult to describe this adventure module. Castle Greyhawk was an anthology of 11 short adventures nominally set in the classic Castle Greyhawk location, but written in an entirely satirical parody fashion. Villains included the Pillsbury Doughboy, Colonel Sanders, and the cast of Star Trek. For some fans, it was considered to be a lighthearted and fun distraction. For loyal fans of the Greyhawk setting it was seen as a low blow and an insult to both the setting and its creator, Gary Gygax. Regardless, the humor is now a bit dated as it relied on cultural references of the 1980s.
March – GAZ5: The Elves of Alfheim. A setting supplement for the BECMI version of D&D, describing the elven homeland of Alfheim.
March – The Demon Hand. Third of the Greyhawk novels by Rose Estese featuring the barbarian character Mika. Gary Gygax was still writing novels featuring Gord the Rogue at this time, under a different publisher, the fourth of which, Come Endless Darkness, was released at the same time as this novel.
March – OP1: Tales of the Outer Planes. A collection of mini-adventures set in the various planes of existence described in the hardcover volume, Manual of the Planes.
April – Dragonlance Heroes Volume 1: The Legend of Huma. First in the Heroes series telling tales of some of the legendary characters mentioned in the first Dragonlance novels. This book tells the story of Huma, who wielded the first dragonlances.
April – I14: Swords of the Iron Legion. A collection of several short adventures set in the Forgotten Realms, some of which utilize the Battlesystem rules.
April – The Moonshae Trilogy Volume 2: Black Wizards. Sequel to Darkwalker on Moonshae, Black Wizards grounds the series more in the Forgotten Realms and its lore, bringing in the dark god, Bhaal, as a primary antagonist.
May – FR4: The Magister. A Forgotten Realms supplement covering magic items and magic, narrated by Elminster himself.
May – GAZ6: The Dwarves of Rockhome. A regional supplement for the BECMI Known World, detailing the dwarven homeland of Rockhome.
May – H4: Throne of Bloodstone. An adventure module for levels 18-100. Yes, one hundred. The player characters must put an end to the Bloodstone Wars once and for all by confronting Orcus, stealing his infamous wand and taking it to the Seven Heavens to be destroyed. Actual rules for characters above level 25 were never covered in any detail for the AD&D 1st Edition rules, though this module attempts to provide some basics.
July – City System. A boxed set with numerous, highly detailed maps of the Forgotten Realms city of Waterdeep. Intended as a companion to FR1: Waterdeep and the North.
July – DL15: Mists of Krynn. An anthology of 12 mini scenarios as well as some source material for the Dragonlance world.
July – GAZ7: The Northern Reaches. A setting supplement for the BECMI Known World detailing the northeastern realms of Ostland, Vestland, and Soderfjord, nations based loosely on Viking legends and cultures.
July – The Name of the Game. A Greyhawk novel by Rose Estes in which an enchanted game ensnares the royalty of the nation of Perrenland.
August – FR5: The Savage Frontier. A regional supplement for the Forgotten Realms describing the lands north of Waterdeep including the city of Luskan.
August – FRC1: Ruins of Adventure. A tie-in to the Pool of Radiance computer game (even sharing the same cover), there are disputes as to whether the module was based on the computer game or the game was based on the module. Regardless, they share the same basic plot, saving the ruined city of Phlan from evil.
August – Greyhawk Adventures. The last hardcover volume for the 1st edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, following the same general model as Oriental Adventures and Dragonlance Adventures. The book details much of Greyhawk’s lore, utilizing rules that are a transition from 1st edition and 2nd edition.
August – Dragonlance Heroes Volume 2: Stormblade. A story of an orphan dwarf’s quest for the magical Stormblade in an effort to break a political deadlock in the dwarven nation of Thorbardin. This novel contains a few continuity issues with the Dragonlance Chronicles novels.
August – Spellfire. Written by Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, this novel details the story of Shandril, wielder of the mysterious and powerful magic known as Spellfire. Unlike the other Forgotten Realms novels of the time, Spellfire did not receive a sequel right away, waiting until the 1994 novel, Crown of Fire, which was part of the Harpers series.
September – Dungeon Master’s Design Kit. A collection of DM tools, blank forms, and adventure hooks.
September – GAZ8: The Five Shires. Another regional supplement for the BECMI Known World, this one describing the Halfling (or Hin) nation known as the Five Shires. Interestingly, this supplement was written by Ed Greenwood of Forgotten Realms fame.
October – Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms. A boxed set supplement for the Forgotten Realms which places the Kara-Tur setting originally described in Oriental Adventures in the far eastern section of the continent of Faerun in the Forgotten Realms.
October – The Finder’s Stone Trilogy Volume 1: Azure Bonds. A Forgotten Realms novel by husband and wife team Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb. Azure Bonds tells the story of Alias, a warrior woman who wakes up one day with no memory of her past and strange blue tattoos on her arms. The novel also introduces a reptilian race based on dinosaurs called Saurials in the form of the character Dragonbait. Azure Bonds would serve as the basis of the “Gold Box” computer game Curse of the Azure Bonds and the tie-in adventure module of the same name.
November – FR6: Dreams of the Red Wizards. A regional supplement for the Forgotten Realms detailing the wizard ruled nation of Thay.
November – GAZ9: The Minrothad Guilds. A supplement for the BECMI Known World detailing the seaborne merchants known as the Minrothad Guilds. The supplement also includes rules and information on trade and the mercantile lifestyle in the Known World.
November – Dance of Demons. The fifth and final installment of Gary Gygax’s Gord the Rogue series from a different publisher than TSR. This novel is noteworthy in that Gygax ends the novel and the series by destroying the Greyhawk setting, paving the way for something new.
December – DL16: World of Krynn. An anthology of four scenarios, as well as some setting information for the Dragonlance world.
December – REF5: Lords of Darkness. A collection of short adventures set in the Forgotten Realms all featuring undead.
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, Part 14