Monday, 13 February 2012

The Ages of D&D: A Timeline v3

By popular demand version 3

Click on the image to embiggen
You can also download a really big version from 4shared.

So what's the point? I hear you ask.  Well, I just wanted to see where I fitted into this whole D&D universe and I have so far come to the conclusions that:

I am definitely of the 2nd Age of D&D, I cut my teeth on 2nd Edition AD&D and my favourite campaign setting is Al-Quadim (precisely because it is the most alien campaign world to most players).  I was a late adopter of 3/3.5 and for me it didn't have the same hold on me as 2nd Edition (for all its failings).  I have played a demo of 4e and am unlikely to buy it given that D&D Next is on the horizon.

The lifespans of D&D editions have become shorter, whether or not this is as a result of commercial pressure, is hard to say as there is evidence to suggest that D&D has always had more editions with shorter lifespans than AD&D and that it has only become noticeable since the 3/3.5 reformation.  In fact I was mostly ignorant of the "Basic" D&D versions for many of my formative years, as my go-to game was AD&D.

More new campaign settings were published during the Second Age than any other and this may account for the slightly longer timescales between editions but also coincides with the Golden Age of Roleplaying, the 1980s. Dragon and Dungeon Magazine have been my stalwart companions along this journey, more so than any "edition" of D&D, and I have taken ideas from their pages and converted them to work in many systems and genres over the years.

D&D as a brand has been "managed" for a longer period of time than it was by its creators.  It is bigger than any one person or team and it will most likely outlive us all (in some form).  I wish Mike Mearls, Monte Cooke and all the other people at WotC the best of luck in what is arguably a truly Sisyphean task and I can say I am excited about the future of D&D under their guardianship.


  1. What's interesting to notice is also that the lifecycle of Dnd is now shorter that most video game console . . .

    As for the commercial pressure, I would conclude for it to be the reason and well, can't really blame them, however, my guess is that rather than rewrite the same books all the time, they would be better off creating new and expanding existing campaign settings. . .

    Only my opinion of course.

  2. Very cool image - i think its nice to see and put into perspective like this (would be a good addition to a book, guide on DnD history), personally, nice touch to include the notes on Gygax and Arnerson :)

    I wonder what the much whispered relaunch will bring?

  3. Nice. I am going to have to print this out.

  4. Hi! I've taken the liberty of translating your D&D timeline into Spanish. You can see it at . I've kept the attribution URL to your blog in the translated version, of course, and as far as I'm concerned the modified timeline is yours to do as you like.

    In retrospect, maybe I should have asked before shooting :) I hope you don't mind, but if you want me to take it down I'll be happy to oblige.

  5. Wrong link, sorry. It's at