Dungeons & Dragons is an award winning, genre spanning series of table-top role playing games, initially developed in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Beloved by millions all over the world, D&D has had a heavy and noticeable influence on many aspects of popular culture, leading to its inclusion in many aspects of the media including television, music, film, and games. Essentially, players create a character from a plethora or races and classes, and embark on epic adventures within a high-fantasy universe, interacting with Orcs, Goblins, Dragons, Elves, and many other creatures in massive quests to attain a lofty goal or valuable treasure.
Elements of Dungeons & Dragons
A common question among new players is “What makes Dungeons & Dragons so unique?” Over the many revisions to the Dungeons & Dragons rules set a few concepts have remained unchanged, these concepts have become the essential elements of Dungeons & Dragons:
- One player is the “Dungeon Master,” they build the world, monsters and story for the other players
- Players take on the role of characters in the Dungeon Masters world
- Characters have a class that outlines their abilities in the game
- Characters grow by earning experience points (xp) these points unlock new abilities for the character
- The Dungeon Master builds encounters that challenge the players’ characters
- The Dungeons Master builds a series of encounters called an “Adventure”
- Rewards earned by characters are persist from one “Adventure” to the next.
Dungeons & Dragons Collection
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons Collection
Released in 1999, D&D Collection is a compilation of two Capcom developed arcade games for the Sega Saturn, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara. Using classic beat ’em up gameplay in the vein of Final Fight, these games mixed combat with with automated role-playing elements, players selected one of several character classes, each with their own abilities and special attacks, and embarked on a quest in which the path players took was determined by their choices as they completed stages. This release for the Sega Saturn is one of the rarest games currently available due to a small number of produced units, and copies of the game have sold for hundreds of dollars over online auctions. A recent HD update has been released as Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara in 2013.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard
A real-time strategy role-playing game developed by Liquid Entertainment and published by Atari in 2005, D&D: Dragonshard takes place in the fictional world of Eberron (one of the official D&D settings). Players are put in the role in the role of a Champion character of a particular race, imbued with special abilities and skills, and put in command of armies of magical creatures, beasts, and people. Each map takes place on two levels of play; on the surface world of Eberron and a subterranean world of Khyber, Players can transfer certain units between the two realms using fixed gateways found across both worlds. Gameplay varies between the two worlds, with the underground world of Khyber being explored via dungeon crawling, and the surface world consisting of traditional real-time strategy combat.
Dungeons & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder
Main article: Dungeon & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder
Developed by Westwood Studios and Published by Strategic Simulations in 1990, D&D: Eye of the Beholder set players loose within the dungeons of the city of Waterdeep in classic role-playing gameplay, in an effort to find and destroy the evil Xanathar, a Beholder of great power. The popularity of the first game led to the creation of two sequels, Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon and Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor.
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach
Released on the PC in 2006, this Turbine developed massively multiplayer online role-playing game received massive anticipation prior to release due to the installed fan base of millions that come with the franchise. Set in the world of Eberron, on the continent of Xen’drik, D&D Online: Stormreach has players create a character avatar from a variety of races and classes, and sets them off on a series of adventures to thwart a race of giants from conquering the city of Stormreach, prevent a fanatical cult from reopening the gat to Xoriat, and stop creatures from the subterranean realm of Kyhber from conquering the surface world. The game plays much like other MMORPGs, and allows players to group up in parties of either six or twelve people, rewarding combat and quest completion through the acquisition of experience points.
Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes
A hack and slash role playing game developed and published by Atari in 2003 for the Xbox, D&D: Heroes allow players to create a character from one of four resurrected heroes, and sets them out on a quest to defeat Kaedin, an evil Wizard whom the player’s characters defeated a century earlier.
Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun
Main article: Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun
Developed by Westwood Studios for the Sega Genesis, Warriors of the Eternal Sun was a classic role-playing game set in the Hollow World official campaign setting. Players create a party of heroes from a variety of character types and start out on a quest to rescue the castle of Duke Hector Barrik before an army of beastmen, lizardmen and dragons can overtake the castle. The gameplay of Warriors of the Eternal Sun is split into three different modes:
- Outside Adventure – A top-down exploration mode, allowing players to move their party around a map, until combat or a scripted event engaged Outside Combat mode.
- Outside Combat – The game shifts into this mode during combat or a scripted event. Turn-based, the game displays player characters and enemies as illustrated avatars. Players are awarded experience points and treasure when surviving combat.
- Dungeon – Displayed in a first-person perspective, combat becomes a fasted-paced, arcade style of real-time occurrences, instead of the more strategic gameplay of the Outside Combat system.