Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition refers to an edition of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game rules released by Wizards of the Coast between 2000 and 2008. It is commonly abbreviated D&D 3e, or simply 3e.

D&D third edition received a major revision in 2003, known officially as Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5. The original third edition was retroactivelly termed "D&D 3.0", although. Despite numerous small changes between 3.0 and 3.5, the two editions are largely compatible.

D&D 3e is the successor to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, removing the term "Advanced" to avoid confusing new players, and as Wizards no longer maintained the separate introductory "Basic" product line. It was in turn succeeded by Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition in 2008.


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Announcement and release

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Reception and influence

Justin Alexander, a self-described outspoken critic of AD&D, praised Dungeons & Dragons third edition the for its realism and improvements over AD&D:[1]

Wizards of the Coast had assembled three incredibly talented game designers – Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams – to rework the system, and they had succeeded brilliantly. They stayed true to the roots of the game and captured the best parts of it, while shedding decades of detritus and poor design. There were still a few quibbles here and there, but they had taken advantage of the largest and most expensive design cycle for an RPG ever conceived and used it to deliver an incredibly robust, flexible, and powerful system.

In his 2020 video The History of D&D, Part VII: Third Edition (2000), Matt Colville analyzed the original release of D&D third edition, praising its unified ability score design in particular:[2]

You can't overstate how important this was. It was fun. We loved it. I was running several different games: I had a home game, I had two different games I was running at work, I had friends in LA that I would run D&D for at the same time.
It was the most robust version of the game, but that robustness came with a price. They did kind of go overboard. They made it, I think, too robust. There's too much detail, and a lot of the stuff in here didn't seem noodly and weird at the time, but it would come to be seen as restrictive and kind of over the top.