This chart lists major events in the RPG industry in a timeline, including TSR, Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing, and General RPG.
Also see From TSR to WotC: A History of D&D and Ex-WotC Employees. For the Top 5 RPGs in each year, see Top 5 RPGs Compiled Charts 2008-Present.
Also see From TSR to WotC: A History of D&D
|Wizards of the Coast |
Also see Ex-WotC Employees
Also see Paizo Restrospective
(founded 14 billion years ago)
Also see The Internet
|1812||In 1812, Lieutenant Georg Leopold von Reiswitz creates the Kriegsspiel wargame to train Prussian officers.|
|1898||The first non-military gaming convention is held by Naval enthusiast and analyst Fred T. Jane in Oxford, Engand.|
|1913||H.G. Wells' creates a set of rules for playing with toy soldiers called Little Wars, ushering in miniature games.|
|1952||Avalon Hill is founded by Charles S. Roberts, "the father of board wargaming".|
|1958||The modern commercial board wargaming industry is considered to have begun with Avalon Hill's publication of Tactics II.|
|1967||The first "Gen Con" is a gathering of 12 wargaming enthusiasts at Gary Gygax's home in Lake Geneva.|
Gen Con established as a wargames convention in the Horticultural Hall at Lake Geneva by Gary Gygax.
Dave Arneson creates Blackmoor, the first fantasy RPG campaign.
Don Kaye, Mike Reese, Leon Tucker, and Gary Gygax create a military miniatures society called Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association. Robert Kuntz and Gygax found the Castle & Crusade Society.
Chainmail -- "The progenitor of Dungeons & Dragons. Ostensibly a straight-wargaming rulebook for miniatures, its "Fantasy Supplement" sparked a phenomenon."
|1972||Dave Arneson visits Gen Con at Lake Geneva and adapts his Blackmoor campaign to the Chainmail rules. The Fantasy Game is written by Gygax and Arneson. This is what would later be published as D&D.|
|1973||Avalon Hill turns down Gygax's offer to publish the new game. Gygax quits his job in insurance and he and Don Kaye form Tactical Studies Rules, an equal partnership.|
|1974||Original D&D (OD&D) Released, based on The Fantasy Game. A D&D review from 1974 by Arnold Hendrick. ".... I do not suggest these to the average wargamer." Brian Blume becomes a partner in the new Tactical Studies Rules.|
|1975||Supplement I: Greyhawk published as an expansion for D&D. The Strategic Review magazine is launched.|
Don Kaye passes away. His widow dissolves Tactical Studies Rules dissolved and Gygax and Blume found TSR Hobbies.
Dungeon! boardgame is launched, along with Aneson's Blackmoor supplement and the Boot Hill game.
Games Workshop is founded by John Peake, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. The Origins Game Fair launches in Baltimore.
The Dragon magazine is launched. Palace of the Vampire Queen is the first free-standing adventure ever released.
Metamorphosis Alpha is the first sci-fi RPG.
Gen Con is now managed by TSR.
Brian and Kevin Blume gain majority control of TSR. Dave Arneson leaves TSR.
|Judges Guild founded by Bob Bledsaw and Bill Owen. City State of the Invincible Overlord is released.|
|1977||Dungeons & Dragons Basic Boxed Set (Holmes)|
White Dwarf Magazine is launched by Games Workshop. Game Designers' Workshop (a different company) launches the Traveller RPG. Winter Fantasy convention launches.
|1978||Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition)|
Gamma World is launched.
RuneQuest is launched by Chaosium.
|1979||The Forgotten Realms makes its first appearance as an article in DRAGON Magazine.|
David L. Arneson, Plaintiff vs. Gary Gygax, Tactical Study Rules, a partnership consisting of Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, and TSR Hobbies, INC., a corporaton, Defendants.
|Villains and Vigilantes published by Fantasy Games Unlimited.|
James Dallas Egbert III attempts suicide under the steam tunnels of Michigan State University. D&D is blamed.
Choose Your Own Adventure is launched.
The World of Greyhawk folio edition released. Frank Mentzer creates the RPGA.
TSR launches Top Secret.
|Steve Jackson Games in founded. FASA is founded. Iron Crown Enterprises is also founded.|
|1981||BECMI Editions of D&D (Moldvay). Polyhedron Magazine is launched.|
Call of Cthulhu is launched by Chaosium. Paladium Books is founded by Kevin Siembieda. Hero Games launches Champions.
Mazes and Monsters, a fictionalized account of the James D. Egbert “steam tunnel incident”, published by Delacorte Press, exacerbating anti-D&D sentiment.
|1982||Star Frontiers and Gangbusters launched.|
ICE launches Rolemaster. FASA launches the Star Trek RPG. Warlock of Firetop Mountain is the first of a series of Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone,
which add dice and combat to the Choose Your Own Adventure concept.
Mayfair launches the Role Aids line of D&D-compatible products.
Mazes & Monsters becomes a TV movie starring Tom Hanks.
Irving Lee “Bink” Pulling kills himself. According to his mother Patricia, “hours after a D&D curse was placed on him during a game conducted at his local high school”. She sues the principal and then latter TSR over the death of her son.
|1983||D&D cartoon series.|
The company becomes TSR, Inc.
Gygax loses control of TSR -- "I was pretty much boxed out of the running of the company because the two guys, who between them had a controlling interest, thought they could run the company better than I could." (see Gary Gygax Interview and Gary Gygax Interview Pt. 2)
Games Workshop launches Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The Palladium Role-Playing Game is launched.
Patricia Pulling creates the Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (BADD) advocacy group.
Dragonlance Chronicles novel series launched, based on the Dragons of Despair adventure module.
Lorraine Williams hired as manager of TSR.
Marvel Super Heroes launched, as is the Indiana Jones RPG.
|The first mass-market Apple Macintosh ushers in widespread desktop publishing.|
Iron Crown Enterprises launches Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP). FASA launches Battletech.
Jack Chick writes the Dark Dungeons tract, adding to the anti-D&D hysteria.
|1985||Lorraine Williams gains control of TSR after purchasing a majority of shares. Gygax leaves in December 1985.|
Gen Con moves to Milwaukee.
Kara-Tur setting launched. Dungeon Adventures magazine launched.
Steve Jackson Games launches GURPS.
Forgotten RealmsCampaign Set launched based on Ed Greenwood's home campaign.
|Lisa Stevens joins Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein-Hagen in Lion Rampant, which launches Ars Magica.|
Games Workshop launches Warhammer 40,000. WEG launches Star Wars d6.
|1988||The Pool of Radiance video game is released.|
The Crystal Shard marks the first appearance of Drizzt Do'Urden.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition. Spelljammer settng released.
View attachment 61902
FASA launches Shadowrun.
Ravenloft setting launched.
WotC founded by Peter Adkison
|Lion Rampant merges with White Wolf.|
RIFTS is launched by Palladium Books.
Dark Sun setting launched. Sweetpea Entertainment first options the rights to a D&D movie.
|Lisa Stevens leaves White Wolf and joins Adkison's new company, WotC|
White Wolf Publishing is founded. Vampire: the Masquerade is launched.
|1992||Al-Qadim setting launched.||The Primal Order; Talislanta 3E|
|1993||TSR v Mayfair Games|
Magic: The Gathering is launched.
Council of Wyrms setting released. Planescape setting released.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition revised. Birthright campaign setting released.
|The Primal Order revised edition|
|1997||Acquiring TSR by Ryan Dancey. "In the winter of 1997, I traveled to Lake Geneva Wisconsin on a secret mission... I found myself standing in the snow outside of 201 Sheridan Springs Road staring at a building bearing a sign that said "TSR, Incorporated". Inside the building, I found a dead company."||WotC Acquires TSR -- "Wizards of the Coast Inc. today announced the completion of its acquisition of TSR Inc., finalizing a transaction that began in April when the two leaders of the adventure gaming industry announced the signing of a letter of intent. Both companies are privately held, and financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed."|
WotC granted US patent on collectible card games.
|1998||TSR attempts to sue Sweetpea for the D&D movie rights, but they are re-licensed to Sweetpea.|
WotC starts publishing the Pokemon CCG. WotC acquires The Game Keeper chain of gaming stores, changing its name to Wizards of the Coast. Hasbro Acquires WotC.
The Dragon Magzine CD-ROM Archive is released.
|Eric Noah's Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News opens. The EverQuest MMORPG is launched.|
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition released, as well as Star Wars d20; plus Ryan Dancey introduces the d20 System and the Open Gaming Movement
Kenzer & Co. gains a 7-yr license to use the D&D branding on its Kalamar products as part of a settlement with WotC due to their use of Kenzer's IP in the Dragon Magazine CD-ROM Archive.
|Lisa Stevens (WotC Star Wars brand manager) leaves WotC||Dungeons & Dragons movie released. Everyone cried a little inside.|
|2001||Peter Adkison (founder) leaves WotC; press release and his open letter. "Effective January 1, 2001, Vince Caluori, current President, will assume the duties of CEO. Peter Adkison, current Wizards of the Coast CEO, has made the decision to leave the company and enjoy some well-deserved time off to pursue new interests."|
EN World opens on Jan 1 2001; Eric Noah's site closes later that year. The first ENnies ceremony takes place, hosted by Gary Gygax.
RPGNow launches, ushering in the age of easy RPG PDF publishing.
d20 Modern is launched. DRAGON and DUNGEON magazines are licensed to Paizo. Chuck Huebner becomes President and CEO.
|Paizo Publishing founded by Lisa Stevens. Paizo Publishing acquired the rights to publish both DRAGON and DUNGEON under license from Wizards of the Coast.|
Gen Con is sold to former WotC CEO Peter Adkison. Mutants & Masterminds is launched by Green Ronin.
|2003||Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition revised (v3.5) released.|
D&D collectible pre-painted plastic miniatures launch.
2003: Fine-Tuning the Magazine Business --Johnny Wilson leaves Paizo.
Eve Online is launched by CCP. Gen Con moves to Indianapolis.
All WotC stores closed. Eberron campaign setting launched. Loren Greenwood becomes President and CEO.
|2004: The Worst of Times -- Star Wars magazines cease production.|
World of Warcraft MMORPG is launched by Blizzard Entertainment.
Facebook is launched, changing the way gamers communicate online. It will soon be followed by Twitter and Google+.
2005: Laying the Foundation -- The Age of Worms adventure path debuts in DUNGEON magazine.
|2006||WotC sues Daron Rutter, administrator of the MTGSalvation website for posting confidential prototypes for Magic: The Gathering card sets.||2006: Battling Headwinds -- The DRAGON and DUNGEON licenses are cancelled; Paizo almost closes.|
White Wolf merges with Eve Online publisher CCP. Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) launches.
DRAGON and DUNGEON magazines cease print production after a 32-year run. D&D Insider announced at Gen Con as a subscription-based electronic supplement to D&D. Star Wars SAGA Edition is released. D&D 4th Edition is announced.
|2007: The Year Everything Changed -- Jason Bulmahn works on the new Pathfinder RPG.|
|2008||Gary Gygax passes away.|
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition released. Greg Leeds becomes President and CEO.
|2008: Forging Our Own Path -- With lack of info on a D&D 4E license, Paizo decides to forge ahead with its own RPG, Pathfinder.|
|2009||Dave Arneson passes away.||WotC pulls all PDF versions of its products from online stores in order to "combat piracy".|
2009: Launching Our Own RPG --Pathfinder officially launches to great success.
Kickstarter.com is launched, paving the way for hundreds of new products.
Dungeons & Dragons Essentials launched. WotC's Star Wars license ends in May.
|2010: Following Up on Our Successes||Pathfinder ties D&D for first place in the quarterly ICv2 hobby games survey.|
Charles S Roberts, "The Father of Board Wargaming", passes away.
2011: Taking On the Role of Industry Leader
Goblinworks founded by Ryan Dancey, Lisa Stevens and Mark Kalmes to produce the Pathfinder MMO.
|In Q2 2011, Pathfinder becomes the top-selling RPG according to ICv2.|
D&D 5th Edition Announced and public playtest begins
|2012: Laying Groundwork for the Future|
Geek & Sundry launches the Tabletop web series.
|2013||WotC and DTRPG join forces to launch D&D Classics and a new PDF retail program.|
|2014||D&D 5th Edition Release. The Starter Set launches in June, the Player's Handbook in August, the Monster Manual in September, and the Dungeon Master's Guide in December.||Ryan Dancey leaves Goblinworks; Goblinworks lays off most employees.||D&D regains the top spot in the ICv2 charts.|
|2015||D&D 5E SRD released under the OGL; DMs Guild webstore launched.||Critical Role launches.|
|2018||Pathfinder 2E announced. Playtest launched.|
|2019||Pathfinder 2E released at Gen Con.|