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Unearthed Arcana, released in 1985, is a sourcebook for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition.


Divided into two sections (one for players and one for Dungeon Masters), this 128-page book provides new races, character classes, magic items and spells, weapon types, deities, as well as some other expansion material.

Some of the more significant additions included the barbarian class, weapon specialization, cantrips, subraces for dwarves (hill dwarf, mountain dwarf, gray dwarf), subraces for elves (high elf, wood elf, gray elf wild elf, valley elf, dark elf), and the deep gnome as a playable gnome subrace. The book also included a visual guide to polearms.


Much of the material in Unearthed Arcana had previously appeared in Dragon Magazine.

A "premium edition" reprint of Unearthed Arcana was released in 2013, incorporating later errata, and making it the "most complete version of Unearthed Arcana ever printed."[1]

Reception and influence


Some fans consider Unearthed Arcana to mark the start of an "AD&D 1.5e", along with Oriental Adventures (1e) (1985), Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986), and Wilderness Survival Guide (1986).[1]

The new classes and character races presented in Unearthed Arcana were left out of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition Player's Handbook (2e) (1989), as they were considered unbalanced by the 2nd edition designers.[citation needed]


Some material from Unearthed Arcana was later incorporated directly into the Player's Handbook (2e) (1989) and Dungeon Master Guide (2e) (1989) for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition.[citation needed] Material that was not included was gradually revised and reintroduced in later 2nd edition sourcebooks.

The title Unearthed Arcana was reused for Unearthed Arcana (3e) (2004) for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. Unearthed Arcana is also an ongoing series of playtest articles released by Wizards of the the Coast for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.

The sourcebook also inspired Monte Cook's d20 System "variant Player's Handbook", Arcana Unearthed (2003).

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Unearthed Arcana (1e) (Dungeon Masters Guild). Retrieved 2020-10-24.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition
Core rules
Players HandbookDungeon Masters GuideMonster Manual
Battlesystem: Fantasy Combat SupplementThe Book of LairsThe Book of Lairs IIDeities & Demigods (Legends & Lore) • Dungeoneer's Survival GuideFiend FolioManual of the PlanesMonster Manual IIOriental AdventuresThe Rogues GalleryUnearthed ArcanaWilderness Survival Guide
Desert of Desolation (PharaohOasis of the White PalmLost Tomb of Martek) • Queen of the Spiders (Against the Giants (Steading of the Hill Giant ChiefGlacial Rift of the Frost Giant JarlHall of the Fire Giant King) • Descent Into the Depths of the EarthShrine of the Kuo-ToaVault of the DrowQueen of the Demonweb Pits) • Realms of Horror (Tomb of HorrorsWhite Plume MountainExpedition to the Barrier PeaksLost Caverns of Tsojcanth) • Scourge of the Slavelords (Slave Pits of the UndercitySecret of the Slavers StockadeAssault on the Aerie of the Slave LordsIn the Dungeons of the Slave Lords) • The Temple of Elemental Evil (The Village of Hommlet) • DungeonlandThe Land Beyond the Magic MirrorThe Secret of Bone HillThe Assassin's KnotDeep Dwarven DelveThe Sinister Secret of SaltmarshDanger at DunwaterThe Final EnemyAdventure Pack IAgainst the Cult of the Reptile GodAll That Glitters...Baltron's BeaconThe Bane of LlywelynBeyond the Crystal CaveDark Clouds GatherDay of Al'AkbarDestiny of KingsDwellers of the Forbidden CityEgg of the PhoenixEye of the SerpentThe Forest OracleThe GauntletThe Ghost Tower of InvernessThe Hidden Shrine of TamoachanThe Lost Island of CastanamirMidnight on Dagger AlleyNeedleRavager of TimeRavenloftRavenloft II: The House on Gryphon HillThe SentinelThe Shattered StatueTales of the Outer PlanesTo Find a KingTomb of the Lizard KingTreasure HuntWhen a Star Falls