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Nov 09, 2023

Dungeons and Dragons Through the Pages of History

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Welcome fans of Dungeons and Dragons, to a brief history of one of the world's most popular role-play games. You might have seen the recent Hollywood film Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, and we can all agree that it was a great film. But in this blog, we are going to be taking it all the way back to the beginning, before the films, before the apps, before even the books were released, all the way back to the 1970s when D&D was first pioneered.


A Brief History of D&D

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Dungeons and Dragons (otherwise known as D&D or DnD) was originally published way back in 1974 by publishers Tactical Studies Rules Inc., or TSR for short. The original designers - Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, wanted to create a game that let players step into a fantasy world filled with mythical monsters, a place where they could explore with unlimited freedom.

The original Dungeons and Dragons game took aspects from two different games - the role-play and choice-based adventure elements were inspired by the game 'Dungeon' and the base combat mechanics were remodelled from Dave Arneson's fantasy campaign 'Blackmoor'.

Since its release, there have been a total of 5 versions of the game, with each new version going back to the drawing board to modify and adapt the core rules and refine the mechanics to improve the gameplay. new expansions and pre-written campaigns are also released every so often to give players even more lore to study and adventures to conquer. But of course, the D&D rules, books, and prompts are just a baseline for the players to work from, it’s completely up to the 'Dungeon Master' and their players to mold the game into whatever they want it to be.

The adventures in D&D are limitless, you are just as likely to spend a whole session bartering goods with a dwarven traveller as you are to be battling a Kraken on the high seas. But D&D wouldn’t be possible without a lot of rules, and we mean a lot. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the rulebooks that form the backbone of any good D&D campaign.


The Books That Make the Game

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When it comes to understanding how to play the game, whether you are a newcomer or a seasoned veteran, there are three basic books that will need. Let's take a quick look at these three titles in a little more detail:


The Players Handbook

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This is THE essential guide for anyone wanting to play Dungeons and Dragons. It contains the basic information on how to create a character and how to play the game so anyone can become a fully-fledged D&D party member.


The Dungeons Master's Guide

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This book is the holy grail for anyone looking for the mantle of ‘Dungeon Master’. As a dungeon master, you are responsible for organising and running games, and whether you are hosting a game from a prewritten book or running a 'homebrew' game, the Dungeon Master's Guide is an essential tool to help you deliver a successful adventure.


The Monster Manual

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Finally, we have the Monster Manual. This is a book filled cover to cover with nothing but creatures from the magical world of D&D. From prehistoric dinosaurs to animated scarecrows, this manual contains everything a dungeon master needs to test their group of adventurers.


The Expansions

Dungeons and Dragons is an enormous game with a font of lore, it touches on countless elements of real-world folklore, ancient religions, myths, and legends. Being such a big game, it would be hard to compress all that information into just three books. That is why there are 43 other supplementary releases so far in this edition. Check out those titles in the list below.



These books are designed to give dungeon masters and players additional rules and stats to expand the existing game and give it more depth:

  • Volo's Guide to Monsters
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything
  • Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
  • Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
  • Fizban's Treasury of Dragons
  • Monsters of the Multiverse
  • Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
  • The Book of Many Things

Campaign Settings

Dungeon master can either create their own worlds, or they can follow one of the campaign settings found in these books. Each one contains a fully fleshed-out setting full of character and personality.

  • Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
  • Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
  • Acquisitions Incorporated
  • Eberron: Rising from the Last War
  • Explorer's Guide to Wildemount
  • Mythic Odysseys of Theros
  • Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
  • Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
  • Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
  • Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse


These books are the bread and butter for DMs. Each of these books contains a complete adventure or a collection of shorter 'one shot' adventures. By providing a plot, action points, enemies, and even NPCs, each of these titles will provide everything a DM needs to run a successful campaign.

  • Hoard of the Dragon Queen
  • The Rise of Tiamat
  • Princes of the Apocalypse
  • Out of the Abyss
  • Curse of Strahd
  • Storm King's Thunder
  • Tales from the Yawning Portal
  • Tomb of Annihilation
  • Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
  • Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
  • Stranger Things: The Hunt for Thessalhydra
  • Ghosts of Saltmarsh
  • Essentials Kit
  • Baldurs Gate: Descent into Avernus
  • Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty
  • Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
  • Candlekeep Mysteries
  • Wild Beyond the Witchlight
  • Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep
  • Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
  • Starter Set: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle
  • Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
  • Tyranny of Dragons Re-release
  • Keys from the Golden Vault
  • Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk


A New Age of Dungeons and Dragons

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As with most things, Dungeons and Dragons has started to move into the world of the digital TTRPGs (Table Top Role Play Games), both in terms of gaming materials and the gameplay itself. With the launch of D&D Beyond back in 2017 (the official Dungeons and Dragons website and app) the necessity for D&D books has seen a steady decline.

Even if you have made the change to digital D&D, it doesn’t have to mean the end for your books. When it comes to deciding what you want to do with your beloved rulebook books if don’t want to keep them, you could sell them and earn yourself a little extra cash. Not only does selling them earn you a good little bonus but it’s a lot easier than you think. All you need to do is jump on the WeBuyBooks app, scan your books and you will be offered a price in a matter of seconds.

Dungeons and Dragons has been around for nearly five centuries since its conception, and with any luck, it will continue to thrive and grow. It is a game for anyone to enjoy, and it is with these books that you can make the most out of every single adventure. But with the new age of digital D&D rolling in, the time to hang up your old books might be here.

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