Eberron is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, set in a period after a vast destructive war on the continent of Khorvaire. Eberron is designed to accommodate traditional D&D elements and races within a differently toned setting. Eberron was created by author and game designer Keith Baker as the winning entry for Wizards of the Coast's Fantasy Setting Search, a competition run in 2002 to establish a new setting for the D&D game. Eberron was chosen from more than 11,000 entries, was released with the publication of the Eberron Campaign Setting hardback book in June 2004; the campaign setting book was written by Baker, Bill Slavicsek, James Wyatt. In June 2005, the Eberron Campaign Setting book won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game Supplement of 2004. A new version of the Campaign Setting was released in June and July 2009 to bring the setting to the new 4th edition of D&D. Released were a Player's Guide, a Campaign Guide, an Adventure. In February 2015, the online feature "Unearthed Arcana" provided an unofficial update for the 5th edition.
The official update for 5th edition, Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, was released on July 23, 2018. One of the most obvious differences between Eberron and generic D&D is the level of magic. High-level magic, including resurrection spells, is less common than in most other settings. However, low-level magic is much more pervasive provided by the Dragonmarked houses. Many cities have magical lanterns throughout the streets. A continent-spanning magical "lightning rail" provides high speed transportation. Alignment is more muddied than in other official settings. Evil beings of traditionally good races and good beings of traditionally evil races are encouraged. However, the situation arises in the campaign world that oppositely aligned characters will side with each other if a threat looms over all, both good and evil characters will infiltrate each other's organizations for purposes of espionage. Religion is less clear-cut; the pantheon of Eberron does not make itself overtly known. The existence of divine magic is not evidence of the gods, as clerics who worship no deities but instead follow a path or belief system receive spells.
A cleric can actively work against their own church and continue to receive spells. As a result, religion is a matter of faith. Unlike in many other 3rd edition D&D settings, a cleric does not have to be within one step of his deity's or religion's alignment, is not restricted from casting certain spells because of alignment; the setting adds the artificer. Artificers are spellcasters focusing on magical item creation. Artificer infusions focus on temporarily imbuing objects with the desired effects. For example, instead of casting bull's strength on a character, an artificer would cast it upon a belt to create a short term magical Belt of Bull's Strength. Artificers have access to a pool of "craft points" which act as extra experience points for use in creating magical items without sacrificing level attainment; this pool is refilled when the artificer gains levels, or by draining power from an existing magical item. Eberron introduces a new non-player character class known as the magewright, an arcane caster who has a limited selection of low-level spells.
The existence of magewrights is part of the reason for the prevalence of low-level magic in Eberron. To try to create a pulp setting, Eberron uses "action points" that allow a player to add a six-sided die to the result of rolls made with a twenty-sided die. Characters receive; the Eberron Campaign Setting includes feats which grant additional uses for action points, such as allowing a player to add an eight-sided die instead of a six-sided die, or spending two action points to grant your character an additional move or standard action. Certain class features with uses per day, like a barbarian's rage ability, a cleric's turn/rebuke undead ability, or a druid's wild shape ability, can be used again by spending 2 action points; the final use for action points is to spend one to stabilize a dying character. The world of Eberron contains 7 continents; the setting takes place in Khorvaire, the most populated continent. Humans are the most populous race in Khorvaire, living in the area known as the Five Nations.
Southeast is the small continent of Aerenal, ruled by elves. Due south is the jungle continent of Xen ` drik, once ruled by an empire of giants, it is now wilderness, with some areas under tribal dominion of the drow. Further south of Xen'drik is Everice, a continent-sized sheet of ice covering several land masses. Frostfell is an unexplored land of ice in the north; the other two main continents are Argonnessen. The world of Eberron has twelve moons. Siberys, the Dragon Above, is the name given to the planetary rings. Khyber, the Dragon Below, is the name given to the underworld, is similar to the Underdark in many other settings. According to the creation story, the world wa
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that employs steam power; however and Neo-Victorian are different in that the Neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk. Steampunk most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retrofuturistic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, is rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, architectural style, art; such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or of the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, China Miéville.
Other examples of steampunk contain alternative-history-style presentations of such technology as steam cannons, lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Steampunk may incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it a hybrid genre; the first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back as the 1950s or 1960s. Steampunk refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.
Steampunk is influenced by and adopts the style of the 19th-century scientific romances of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Edward S. Ellis's The Steam Man of the Prairies. Several more modern works of art and fiction significant to the development of the genre were produced before the genre had a name. Titus Alone, by Mervyn Peake, is regarded by scholars as the first novel in the genre proper, while others point to Michael Moorcock's 1971 novel The Warlord of the Air, influenced by Peake's work; the film Brazil was an important early cinematic influence that helped codify the aesthetics of the genre. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright was an early comic version of the Moorcock-style mover between timestreams. In fine art, Remedios Varo's paintings combine elements of Victorian dress and technofantasy imagery. In television, one of the earliest manifestations of the steampunk ethos in the mainstream media was the CBS television series The Wild Wild West, which inspired the film. Although many works now considered seminal to the genre were published in the 1960s and 1970s, the term steampunk originated in the late 1980s as a tongue-in-cheek variant of cyberpunk.
It was coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, trying to find a general term for works by Tim Powers, James Blaylock, himself —all of which took place in a 19th-century setting and imitated conventions of such actual Victorian speculative fiction as H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. In a letter to science fiction magazine Locus, printed in the April 1987 issue, Jeter wrote: Dear Locus, Enclosed is a copy of my 1979 novel Morlock Night. Though of course, I did find her review in the March Locus to be quite flattering. I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era. While Jeter's Morlock Night and Infernal Devices, Powers' The Anubis Gates, Blaylock's Lord Kelvin's Machine were the first novels to which Jeter's neologism would be applied, the three authors gave the term little thought at the time, they were far from the first modern science fiction writers to speculate on the development of steam-based technology or alternative histories.
Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium and Ronald W. Clark's Queen Victoria's Bomb apply modern speculation to past-age technology and society. Michael Moorcock's Warlord of the Air is another early example. Harry Harrison's novel A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! Portrays a British Empire of an alternative year 1973, full of atomic locomotives, coal-powered flying boats, ornate submarines, Victorian dialogue; the Adventures of Luther Arkwright was the first steampunk comic. In February 1980, Richard A. Lupoff and Steve Stiles published the first "chapter" of their 10-part comic strip The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer; the first use of the word in a title was in Paul Di Filippo's 1995 Steampunk Trilogy, consisting of three short novels: "Victoria", "Hottentots", "Walt and Emily", which imagine the replacement of Queen Victoria by a human/newt clone, an invasion of Massachusetts by Lovecraftian monsters, a love affair between
The term mecha may refer to both scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines controlled by people. Mechas are depicted as humanoid mobile robots; these machines vary in size and shape, but are distinguished from vehicles by their humanoid or biomorphic appearance and size—bigger than a human. Different subgenres exist, with varying connotations of realism; the concept of Super Robot and Real Robot are two such examples found in Japanese anime. The term may refer to real world piloted humanoid or non-humanoid robotic platforms, either in existence or still on the drawing board. Alternatively, in the original Japanese context of the word, "mecha" may refer to mobile machinery/vehicles in general, manned or otherwise; the word "mecha" is an abbreviation, first used in Japanese, of the word "mechanical". In Japanese, mecha encompasses all mechanical objects, including cars, guns and other devices, the term "robot" or "giant robot" is used to distinguish limbed vehicles from other mechanical devices.
Outside of this usage, it has become associated with large humanoid machines with limbs or other biological characteristics. Mechs differ from robots in that they are piloted from a cockpit located in the chest or head of the mech. While the distinction is hazy, mecha does not refer to form-fitting powered armor such as Iron Man's suit, they are much larger than the wearer, like Iron Man's enemy the Iron Monger, or the mobile suits depicted in the Gundam series. In most cases, mecha are depicted as fighting machines, whose appeal comes from the combination of potent weaponry with a more stylish combat technique than a mere vehicle, they are the primary means of combat, with conflicts sometimes being decided through gladiatorial matches. Other works represent mecha as one component of an integrated military force, supported by and fighting alongside tanks, fighter aircraft, infantry, functioning as a mechanical cavalry; the applications highlight the theoretical usefulness of such a device, combining a tank's resilience and firepower with infantry's ability to cross unstable terrain and a high degree of customization.
In some continuities, special scenarios are constructed to make mecha more viable than current-day status. For example, in Gundam the fictional Minovsky particle inhibits the use of radar, making long-range ballistic strikes impractical, thus favouring close range warfare of Mobile Suits. However, some stories, such as the manga/anime series Patlabor and the American wargame BattleTech universe encompass mecha used for civilian purposes such as heavy construction work, police functions or firefighting. Mecha see roles as transporters, advanced hazmat suits and other R and D applications. Mecha have been used in fantasy settings, for example in the anime series Aura Battler Dunbine, The Vision of Escaflowne, Panzer World Galient and Maze. In those cases, the mecha designs are based on some alternative or "lost" science-fiction technology from ancient times. In case of anime series Zoids, the machines resemble dinosaurs and animals, have been shown to evolve from native metallic organisms; the 1868 Edward S. Ellis novel The Steam Man of the Prairies featured a steam-powered, back piloted, mechanical man.
The 1880 Jules Verne novel La Maison à vapeur featured a steam-powered, mechanical elephant. One of the first appearances of such machines in modern literature was the tripods of H. G. Wells' famous The War of the Worlds; the novel does not contain a detailed description of the tripods' mode of locomotion, however it is hinted at: "Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression, but instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand." Ōgon Bat, a kamishibai that debuted in 1931, featured the first piloted humanoid giant robot, Dai Ningen Tanku, but as an enemy rather than a protagonist. The first humanoid giant robot piloted by the protagonist appeared in the manga Nuclear Power Android in 1948; the manga and anime Tetsujin 28-Go, introduced in 1956, featured a robot, controlled externally by an operator via remote control. The manga and anime Astro Boy, introduced in 1952, with its humanoid robot protagonist, was a key influence on the development of the giant robot genre in Japan.
The first anime featuring a giant mecha being piloted by the protagonist from within a cockpit was the Super Robot show Mazinger Z, written by Go Nagai and introduced in 1972. Early uses of mech-like machines in the United States include Kimball Kinnison's battle suit in E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman novel Galactic Patrol, the Mobile Infantry battle suits in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, the film The King and the Mockingbird. In Japan, "robot anime" is one of the oldest genres in anime. Robot anime is tied in with toy manufacturers. Large franchises such as Zoids and Gundam have hundreds of different model kits; the size of mecha can vary according to the story and concepts involved. Some of them may not be taller than a tank, some may be a few stories tall, others can be as tall as a skyscraper, some are big enough to contain an entire city, some the s
Ranger (character class)
A Ranger is an archetype found in works of fantasy fiction and role-playing games. Rangers are associated with the wisdom of nature. Rangers tend to be wise, hardy and perceptive in addition to being skilled woodsmen. Many are skilled in woodcraft, wilderness survival, beast-mastery, herbalism and sometimes "nature magic" or have a resistance to magic. Rangers spend a great deal of time hunting and camping—whether on a short- or long-term basis—and their preferred martial arts weapons leans towards practical-utility: archery, knife fighting, stick-fighting, axeplay and swordplay. Rangers skills in books and games can include and are not limited to: Combat expertise with bows and other ranged weapons the result of years hunting wild animals Use in martial combat weapons swords and daggers. Rangers gain offensive bonuses against certain creatures through the choosing of a "Favored Enemy", they may gain defensive bonuses within certain terrains through the choosing of a "Favored Environment" that stacks with their "Favored Enemy".
In addition, rangers have access to an animal companion to aid them in battle. Rangers tend to prefer the company of fellow rangers, they are extensively trained. However, good rangers will act as the guardians of others - whether appreciated or not - by repelling "evil" forces and protecting the weak; some noteworthy fictional rangers are Drizzt Do'Urden and Hank in the Dungeons and Dragons animated television series. Rangers have appeared as in various Final Fantasy games, including the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. Rangers have appeared in one form or another in other Final Fantasy games called Archer or Hunter. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Hunter is an upgraded class of Archer. Rangers in Guild Wars are sleek looking individuals who use bows, but are allowed to use some of the game's other weapons such as swords and spears. Rangers can tame pets, summon nature spirits, set traps, command beasts, use a variety of combat "stances" to evade attacks or run faster, use powerful marksmanship skills.
Human Rangers will worship Melandru, the Goddess of Earth and Nature, while Norn Rangers pay homage to animal spirits. Rangers wear medium armor. Subsequent expansions to the game added the Soulbeast specialization. In the Guild Battle portion of Guild Wars Player versus player rangers are known for their survivability and effectiveness as solo characters acting separately from the rest of the team, reflecting the hardy and cunning nature of a ranger. Rangers in Dark Age of Camelot are an archer class in the realm of Hibernia; the races of Elves, Lurikeen and Shar may become rangers. The differ from the archer class of the other realms in that they wield two weapons instead of a sword and shield, or a large spear; the weapon of choice for a Dark Age of Camelot Ranger is the Recurve Bow. Like all archers, they employ spells to augment their abilities as bowmen, are adept at stealth. In Fire Emblem units of the Archer class can wield only bows, allowing them to attack most enemy units without receiving a counterattack, but at the same time preventing them from counterattacking enemies who manage to close to melee range.
Hunter is a similar class with lower defensive stats, but the ability to move through forest terrain without being slowed. The Hunter's promoted form Horseman is a cavalry unit which can equip both swords and bows, making them flexible. In some games the Horseman class is instead known as Ranger, can be promoted from both Mercenary and Archer. In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance the protagonist Ike's initial class is named Ranger, but is otherwise identical to the Mercenary class described above; the rangers in Heroes of Might and Magic were a ranged class. However, they were notable for not having any connection to nature, only to pathfinding, for being an advanced class of either the barbarian or the thief. Although there are not definitive classes in RuneScape, Rangers are characters who have decided to invest most of their resources in the Ranged skill and its associated equipment, increasing their ability with bows, throwing knives, all of the game's ranged weapons, they have none of the association to nature and animals common in other milieux, being a distance attacker, though certain items
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, graphic novels and video games. Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works. Most fantasy uses other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these worlds. An identifying trait of fantasy is the author's reliance on imagination to create narrative elements that do not have to rely on history or nature to be coherent; this differs from realistic fiction in that realistic fiction has to attend to the history and natural laws of reality, where fantasy does not.
An author applies his or her imagination to come up with characters and settings that are impossible in reality. Many fantasy authors use real-world mythology as inspiration. For instance, a narrative that takes place in an imagined town in the northeastern United States could be considered realistic fiction as long as the plot and characters are consistent with the history of a region and the natural characteristics that someone, to the northeastern United States expects. Fantasy has been compared to science fiction and horror because they are the major categories of speculative fiction. Fantasy is distinguished from science fiction by the plausibility of the narrative elements. A science fiction narrative is unlikely, though possible through logical scientific or technological extrapolation, where fantasy narratives do not need to be scientifically possible. Authors have to rely on the readers' suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the unbelievable or impossible for the sake of enjoyment, in order to write effective fantasies.
Despite both genres' heavy reliance on the supernatural and horror are distinguishable. Horror evokes fear through the protagonists' weaknesses or inability to deal with the antagonists. Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were a part of literature from its beginning. Fantasy elements occur throughout the ancient Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh; the ancient Babylonian creation epic, the Enûma Eliš, in which the god Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat, contains the theme of a cosmic battle between good and evil, characteristic of the modern fantasy genre. Genres of romantic and fantasy literature existed in ancient Egypt; the Tales of the Court of King Khufu, preserved in the Westcar Papyrus and was written in the middle of the second half of the eighteenth century BC, preserves a mixture of stories with elements of historical fiction and satire. Egyptian funerary texts preserve mythological tales, the most significant of which are the myths of Osiris and his son Horus. Folk tales with fantastic elements intended for adults were a major genre of ancient Greek literature.
The comedies of Aristophanes are filled with fantastic elements his play The Birds, in which an Athenian man builds a city in the clouds with the birds and challenges Zeus's authority. Ovid's Metamorphoses and Apuleius's The Golden Ass are both works that influenced the development of the fantasy genre by taking mythic elements and weaving them into personal accounts. Both works involve complex narratives in which humans beings are transformed into animals or inanimate objects. Platonic teachings and early Christian theology are major influences on the modern fantasy genre. Plato used allegories to convey many of his teachings, early Christian writers interpreted both the Old and New Testaments as employing parables to relay spiritual truths; this ability to find meaning in a story, not true became the foundation that allowed the modern fantasy genre to develop. The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of many ancient and medieval folk tales.
Various characters from this epic have become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters in the Indian epics; the Panchatantra, for example, used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science. Chinese traditions have been influential in the vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart. Beowulf is among the best known of the Nordic tales in the English speaking world, has had deep influence on the fantasy genre. Norse mythology, as found in the Elder Edda and the Younger Edda, includes such figures as Odin and his fellow Aesir, dwarves, elves and giants; these elements have been directly imported into various fantasy works. The separate folklore of Ireland and Scotland has sometimes been us
Game design is the art of applying design and aesthetics to create a game for entertainment or for educational, exercise, or experimental purposes. Elements and principles of game design are applied to other interactions, in the form of gamification. Game design creates goals and challenges to define a board game, card game, dice game, casino game, role-playing game, video game, war game or simulation that produces desirable interactions among its participants and spectators. Academically, game design is part of game studies, while game theory studies strategic decision making. Games have inspired seminal research in the fields of probability, artificial intelligence and optimization theory. Applying game design to itself is a current research topic in metadesign. Sports and board games are known to have existed for at least nine thousand, six thousand, four thousand years. Tabletop games played today whose descent can be traced from ancient times include chess, go, backgammon, mahjong and pick-up sticks.
The rules of these games were not codified until early modern times and their features evolved and changed over time, through the folk process. Given this, these games are not considered to have had a designer or been the result of a design process in the modern sense. After the rise of commercial game publishing in the late 19th century, many games which had evolved via folk processes became commercial properties with custom scoring pads or preprepared material. For example, the similar public domain games Generala and Yatzy led to the commercial game Yahtzee in the mid-1950s. Today, many commercial games, such as Taboo, Pictionary, or Time's Up!, are descended from traditional parlour games. Adapting traditional games to become commercial properties is an example of game design. Many sports, such as soccer and baseball, are the result of folk processes, while others were designed, such as basketball, invented in 1891 by James Naismith. Technological advances have provided new media for games throughout history.
The printing press allowed packs of playing cards, adapted from Mahjong tiles, to be mass-produced, leading to many new card games. Accurate topographic maps produced as lithographs and provided free to Prussian officers helped popularize wargaming. Cheap bookbinding led to mass-produced board games with custom boards. Inexpensive lead figurine casting contributed to the development of miniature wargaming. Cheap custom dice led to poker dice. Flying discs led to Ultimate. Personal computers contributed to the popularity of computer games, leading to the wide availability of video game consoles and video games. Smart phones have led to a proliferation of mobile games; the first games in a new medium are adaptations of older games. Pong, one of the first disseminated video games, adapted table tennis. Games will exploit distinctive properties of a new medium. Adapting older games and creating original games for new media are both examples of game design. Game studies or gaming theory is a discipline that deals with the critical study of games, game design and their role in society and culture.
Prior to the late-twentieth century, the academic study of games was rare and limited to fields such as history and anthropology. As the video game revolution took off in the early 1980s, so did academic interest in games, resulting in a field that draws on diverse methodologies and schools of thought; these influences may be characterized broadly in three ways: the social science approach, the humanities approach, the industry and engineering approach. Broadly speaking, the social scientific approach has concerned itself with the question of "What do games do to people?" Using tools and methods such as surveys, controlled laboratory experiments, ethnography researchers have investigated both the positive and negative impacts that playing games could have on people. More sociologically informed research has sought to move away from simplistic ideas of gaming as either'negative' or'positive', but rather seeking to understand its role and location in the complexities of everyday life. In general terms, the humanities approach has concerned itself with the question of "What meanings are made through games?"
Using tools and methods such as interviews and participant observation, researchers have investigated the various roles that videogames play in people's lives and activities together with the meaning they assign to their experiences. From an industry perspective, a lot of game studies research can be seen as the academic response to the videogame industry's questions regarding the products it creates and sells; the main question this approach deals with can be summarized as "How can we create better games?" with the accompanying "What makes a game good?" "Good" can be taken to mean many different things, including providing an entertaining and an engaging experience, being easy to learn and play, being innovative and having novel experiences. Different approaches to studying this problem have included looking at describing how to design games and extracting guidelines and rules of thumb for making better games Game theory is a study of strategic decision making, it is "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers".
An alternative term suggested "as a more descriptive name for the discipline" is interactive decision theory. The subject first addressed zero-sum games, such that one person's gains equal net losses of the other participant or participan
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.. The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997, it was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry. D&D departs from traditional wargaming by allowing each player to create their own character to play instead of a military formation; these characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master serves as the game's referee and storyteller, while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world; the characters form a party and they interact with the setting's inhabitants and each other. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, gather treasure and knowledge.
In the process, the characters earn experience points in order to rise in levels, become powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions. The early success of D&D led to a proliferation of similar game systems. Despite the competition, D&D has remained as the market leader in the role-playing game industry. In 1977, the game was split into two branches: the rules-light game system of basic Dungeons & Dragons, the more structured, rules-heavy game system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. AD&D 2nd Edition was published in 1989. In 2000, a new system was released as D&D 3rd edition, continuing the edition numbering from AD&D; these 3rd edition rules formed the basis of the d20 System, available under the Open Game License for use by other publishers. D&D 4th edition was released in June 2008; the 5th edition of D&D, the most recent, was released during the second half of 2014. As of 2004, D&D remained the best-known, best-selling, role-playing game, with an estimated 20 million people having played the game, more than US$1 billion in book and equipment sales.
The game has been supplemented by many pre-made adventures, as well as commercial campaign settings suitable for use by regular gaming groups. D&D is known beyond the game itself for other D&D-branded products, references in popular culture, some of the controversies that have surrounded it a moral panic in the 1980s falsely linking it to Satanism and suicide; the game has been translated into many languages. Dungeons & Dragons is a open-ended role-playing game, it is played indoors with the participants seated around a tabletop. Each player controls only a single character, which represents an individual in a fictional setting; when working together as a group, these player characters are described as a "party" of adventurers, with each member having their own area of specialty which contributes to the success of the whole. During the course of play, each player directs the actions of their character and their interactions with other characters in the game; this activity is performed through the verbal impersonation of the characters by the players, while employing a variety of social and other useful cognitive skills, such as logic, basic mathematics and imagination.
A game continues over a series of meetings to complete a single adventure, longer into a series of related gaming adventures, called a "campaign". The results of the party's choices and the overall storyline for the game are determined by the Dungeon Master according to the rules of the game and the DM's interpretation of those rules; the DM selects and describes the various non-player characters that the party encounters, the settings in which these interactions occur, the outcomes of those encounters based on the players' choices and actions. Encounters take the form of battles with "monsters" – a generic term used in D&D to describe hostile beings such as animals, aberrant beings, or mythical creatures; the game's extensive rules – which cover diverse subjects such as social interactions, magic use and the effect of the environment on PCs – help the DM to make these decisions. The DM may choose to deviate from the published rules or make up new ones if they feel it is necessary; the most recent versions of the game's rules are detailed in three core rulebooks: The Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual.
The only items required to play the game are the rulebooks, a character sheet for each player, a number of polyhedral dice. Many players use miniature figures on a grid map as a visual aid during combat; some editions of the game presume such usage. Many optional accessories are available to enhance the game, such as expansion rulebooks, pre-designed adventures and various campaign settings. Before the game begins, each player creates their player character and records the details on a character sheet. First, a player determines their character's ability scores, which consist of Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma; each edition of the game has offered differing methods of determining these statistics. The player chooses a race such as human or elf, a character class such as fighter or wizard, an alignment, other features to round out the character's abilities and backstory, which have varied in nature through differing editions. During the game, players describe their PC's intended actions, such as punching an opponent or pi