2nd Ed. Dungeons & Dragons Site
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A white dragon
A Brief History of Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons started as a war game by Tactical Studies Rules in 1973. In 1975, the company incorporated as TSR, Inc., and D&D took its place as the grandfather of all role-playing games. Although TSR, Inc. experimented with a number of other game genres, its first creation, D&D, remained the mainstay of TSR, Inc.'s corporate strength.
In 1979, TSR, Inc. released the first book for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with more sophisticated divisions between races and classes and more complex rules for character development and game mechanics. AD&D swiftly surpassed the simpler D&D in popularity and is now the preeminent of the two games.
In 1989, a second edition of AD&D was released that began shifting
the game's focus to a point based system. Virtually all subsequent modules
and reference books written for AD&D use second edition rules, and
second edition AD&D is still the implicit core of D&D publishing.
However, in 1995, TSR, Inc.
took the controversial step of publishing the first of a set of Player's Option rules books that continued to move D&D closer to a point based system. When the PO books were published, many players assumed they were the "third edition" of AD&D. However, TSR, Inc. vehemently denied this.
In 1997, Wizards of the Coast bought out TSR, Inc. A lot of people worried that this meant the end of D&D, but judging by today, that doesn't seem to be the case.