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General A Brief Glossary of Acronyms and D&D Terms

Snarf Zagyg

Thrall of Coot.
So on another thread, some people asked "What is B/X?" And "What is OSE?"

Other than the joke-y answers, which are great, I thought I'd post a quick reference for those people who see the terms bandied about but where confused as to what all the various acronyms mean. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but illustrative. I had assumed many of these were somewhat common knowledge- but you know what happens when you assume .... you get a pony. Right? That's what happens?

1. D&D Editions.

This should be the easy one. But ... nothing is ever easy, is it?

The primary way many people break down the D&D editions is as follows (dates are appoximate)-

OD&D Original D&D, the 1974 rules (and supplements and other materials) until the released of AD&D. (1974-1979)
AD&D Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; sometimes only referring to 1e, but also refers to 1e and 2e. (1979 - 2000)
1e First Edition. (1979 - 1989)
2e Second Edition. (1989 - 2000)
3e Third Edition. (2000-2003)
3.5e The D&D "fork" /revision (2003-2008)
4e Fourth Edition (2008-2014)
5e Fifth, or current, Edition (2014-?)

Then there are the non-D&D references you will often see:
PF Pathfinder
PF2 Pathfinder 2

Finally, and confusingly, there are the various "Basic" D&D versions.
Holmes Strangely, Holmes Basic is NOT "Basic" D&D, but is OD&D.
B/X This is the Basic and Expert sets put out by Moldvay (Basic) and Cook (Expert), so it's sometimes called Moldvay/Cook, or just Moldvay.
BECMI Also called Mentzer, this is the Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, and Immortals rules.
RC or R/C Referred to, confusingly, both ways, this is the Rules Cyclopedia that is BECM (no I) plus some additional material.

2. Additional Stuff, just to Confuse You

Old School Revival (or Renaissance); refers to the players / systems / gestalt that developed over the last two decades to play, or emulate the play, of early RPGs, especially D&D. It can be an amorphous concept (it's not just D&D, playing old Traveler, for example, is OSR) and it can be unclear what exactly it refers to (at what point does playing 3e become old school gaming?), but it generally refers to the playing ethos of the 70s and early 80s.

Retroclone TTRPGs that seek to emulate, in whole or in part, the TTRPGs of yesteryear. They may tweak certain rules, add or subtract certain things, but they are trying to capture the feeling of, or be compatible with, the TTRPGs of the past. A list of D&D retroclones can be found here:

OSE Old School Essentials; this is a popular retroclones; others include systems like OSRIC (Old School Reference and Index Compilation). A common feature of many retroclones is that they tend to either be referred to by acronyms, or they use alliteration (Labyrinth Lord, Dark Dungeons, Dangers & Dweomers, Bandits & Battlecruisers, etc.).

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