Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Timeline of Esoteric Importance




I started this project after a friend of mine went on a long diatribe about how he had been playing Basic, and by Basic he meant Holmes Basic, since it was published and how it was the longest running form of the game. 

He was, of course, full of shit as I'm about to demonstrate.

In the chart above you'll find a listing of all the different Dungeons and Dragons systems in order of publication, starting with Chainmail's publication in 1971 and ending with Fourth Edition in 2014. 

There are two things you should know though, I end each edition when a new version of the product has come out with substantial changes to the product. So Holmes Basic ends when Moldvay Basic comes out; which, in turn, ends when Mentzer Basic comes out. Secondly, I'm only showing dates by the years and refuse to adjust them to the months. If you want to be that neurotic then you can go out and make your own chart. 

Anyway, I hope that this will be of some use to other folks when they're having this argument.

13 comments:

  1. Sooooo....First Edition AD&D was the longest running version, then?

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    1. By just about any measure - so long as you don't combine editions by using their title. Then Basic is the longest running at 19 years.

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  2. However, you're talking about active publication. I suspect your friend was talking about continuous play. In that case Original 1974 DnD would have the longest history, unless there's somebody out there playing the 1973 version.

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    1. No, he was drunk and making wild claims that are easily disproved. I like disproving that sort of foolishness.

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  3. Is it a coincidence that the timeline of D&D looks like the starship Enterprise?...

    Yes. But a pleasant one.

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    Replies
    1. I like to think of it as a sign that the Universe wants us to watch more Star Trek.

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  4. Do you need an entry for WotC "Chainmail" too?

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    Replies
    1. I honestly don't know. It's like a ninja unicorn that I've never encountered and that has only been rumored to exist in the dark corners of the internet.

      None of that is true.

      BUT I still couldn't answer you about the second version of Chainmail as it doesn't really fit into the the Dungeons and Dragons milieu, and yet it's clearly a connected product. What do you think?

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  5. Not sure how Player's Options which by definition are options for 2nd edition constitute a new edition

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    1. Originally I wasn't going to designate them as a separate edition but after researching them I ran across a strong current that contended that the Player's Option books constituted major revision of second edition due to their impact on the system.

      I debated the issue for a while before I decided to include them. If you don't like that train of thought, which is fine by me, then you can exclude them from the chart and use their line as a continuation of Second Edition which would put its publication dates from 1989 - 2000, or 11 years.

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    2. It kind of does. If you turn all those options on, especially _Skills and Powers_, it makes for an even more fundamentally different game than going 1st to 2nd edition.

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  6. I mentioned this in a comment on another post, but it seems to me like the last legitimate 4e publication was Heroes of the Elemental Chaos, February 2012.

    It was titled a "Player's Option" too, in an interesting twist. :P

    --Dither

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