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The Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia is a 304-page sourcebook for Basic Dungeons & Dragons released in November 1991. It contains all of the rules necessary to play Dungeons & Dragons from 1st to 36th level.

Official synopsis[]

Whether you're a player or a Dungeon Master, the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Rules Cyclopedia® is now the comprehensive sourcebook you need for the original fantasy roleplaying game! For ages 12 and up, the Cyclopedia contains the compete game system and hundreds of features, including the following:

  • All the rules from the D&D® boxed set series, including Basic, Expert, Companion, and Masters.
  • Guidelines to develop and play characters from levels 1-36.
  • Comprehensive lists of weaponry and equipment.
  • Expansion rules including optional skills and talents.
  • An overview of the Known World and the HOLLOW WORLD™ game setting, the official D&D campaign world; and Rules to convert D&D games and characters into AD&D® 2nd edition game statistics and back again

Fully compatible with the new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Boxed Set, this volume allows players the full scope of fantasy role-playing from dungeons to the Outer Planes. Now, more than ever, the DUNGEON & DRAGONS game is ready and waiting for you!

Content[]

The Rules Cyclopedia collects together and revised the material from the Basic Rules (BECMI) (1983), Expert Rules (BECMI) (1983), Companion Rules (BECMI) (1984) and Master Rules (BECMI) (1985) into one book. It also includes rules for skills and magic item creation, drawn from the Gazetteer series.

Development and release[]

Development[]

The book was written by Aaron Allston and Frank Mentzer. Art was provided by Jeff Easley and Terry Dykstra.

An issue with the original Basic, Expert, Companion and Master sets was that, with content divided between seven different booklets, it was difficult to find material. In 1990, TSR made the decision to compile all four into a single hardcover book, with the addition of new rules added by the Gazetteer series, including skills and alternate classes.[1]

Work began compiling the Rules Cyclopedia in mid-1990. The amount of content added in the Gazetteer sourcebooks turned out to be substantial: around 150 pages, which would have seen the book balloon to over 500 pages. Much of the Gazetteer material was ultimately not included, reducing the final pagecount to 304.[1]

Several playtesting groups tested the product. Dory Watry and Jon Pickens were instrumental in editing assistance, particularly the indices and monster sections. The team destroyed several copies from overuse when checking and re-checking.[1]

Announcement and previews[]

The Rules Cyclopedia was teased in an editor's response on the letters page of Dragon #165 (Jan 1991). It described the product as compiling all rules from Basic to Masters, including "beefed-up" monster stats, a complete skill listing, a small atlas of the Known World setting, optional rules, and an AD&D 2e conversion guide. It was scheduled for release in Fall 1991.

Dragon #166 (Feb 1991) officially announced its release in October 1991. In the same article, Troy Denning's The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (1991) was announced for April 1991 release, as an introductory product. TSR Previews, Dragon #174 (Oct 1991), p.88, announced the release of the Rules Cyclopedia for November 1991.

Release[]

The Rules Cyclopedia was released by TSR in November 1991 for $24.95 US or £14.99 UK.

On July 2, 2013, it was re-released in digital format. It is currently available on DriveThruRPG and Dungeon Masters Guild for $9.99.

Reception and influence[]

Sales[]

The Rules Cyclopedia sold 93,252 copies between 1991 and 1996. It sold 48,132 copies in 1991, 21,754 copies in 1992, 18,643 copies in 1993, 44,12 copies in 1994, 312 copies in 1995, and -1 copies in 1996, due to returns.[2]

Critical reception[]

As of 2023, the Rules Cyclopedia reached the rank of Adamantine seller on DriveThruRPG, the highest rank. This is likely due to its good value as a collection of levels 1 to 36 in a single-volume work.

Influence on other works[]

The single-volume complete Rules Cyclopedia made it easier for adventure modules and sourcebooks to cite references. For example, articles in subsequent issues of Dragon magazine often referenced Rules Cyclopedia as the primary rules source.

The D&D retroclone Dark Dungeons is based on the Rules Cyclopedia.[3][4][5]

External links[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Game Wizards, Dragon #177 (Jan 1992), p.26-27.
  2. https://twitter.com/BenRiggs_/status/1554147918029938690/photo/1
  3. Dark Dungeons (Gurbintroll Games). Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  4. Is there a comprehensive comparison between RC and DD? (The Piazza). 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  5. Dark Dungeons: Rules Cyclopedia is back! (rpg.net). 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
Basic Dungeons & Dragons
Core rules
Holmes: Basic Set
Moldvay/Cook B/X: Basic SetExpert Set
BECMI: Basic RulesExpert RulesCompanion RulesMaster RulesImmortals Rules
Rules CyclopediaThe New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game
The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game
Supplements
Creature CrucibleGazetteer
Bestiary of Dragons and GiantsThe Book of Marvelous MagicThe Book of Wondrous InventionsChampions of Mystara: Heroes of the Princess ArkCreature CatalogueCreature CatalogPoor Wizard's Almanac & Book of FactsPoor Wizard's Almanac II & Book of FactsPoor Wizard's Almanac III & Book of FactsThe Shady Dragon InnThunder RiftWrath of the Immortals
Adventures
In Search of Adventure (In Search of the Unknown) • The Keep on the BorderlandsPalace of the Silver PrincessThe Lost CityHorror on the HillThe Veiled SocietyRahasiaJourney to The RockCastle Caldwell and Beyond) • Adventures in BlackmoorTemple of the FrogCity of the GodsThe Duchy of TenArena of ThyatisLegions of ThyatisEye of TraldarThe Dymrak DreadKing's FestivalQueen's HarvestAssault on Raven's RuinThe Best of IntentionsBlade of VengeanceBlizzard PassCastle AmberCrown of Ancient GloryCurse of XanathonDeath's RideThe Dragon's DenDrums on Fire MountainEarthshaker!The Endless StairEye of the WyvernFive Coins For A KingdomThe Gem and the StaffGhost of Lion CastleThe Goblin's LairThe Immortal StormIn the Phantom's WakeInto the MaelstromThe Isle of DreadMaze of the Riddling MinotaurThe Knight of NewtsLathan's GoldLegacy of BloodMaster of the Desert NomadsMystery of the Snow PearlsNight's Dark TerrorQuagmire!Quest for the HeartstoneQuest for the Silver SwordRage of the RakastaRed Arrow, Black ShieldSabre RiverSaga of the Shadow LordThe Savage CoastSkarda's MirrorSword and ShieldTalons of NightTemple of DeathTest of the WarlordsThunderdelve MountainThe Tree of LifeTwilight CallingVengeance of AlphaksThe War Rafts of KronWhere Chaos ReignsThe Wrath of OlympusWrath of the Minotaur
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