Dungeons & Dragons was initially released in 1974, through the mind of the influential Gary Gygax. Back then, the book was a supplement to the TRPG Chainmail. It took one year – 1975 – for it to become a single-minded game. It took 45 more for it to become the media empire we see today. So where does 5e fit in here? It’s the most recent addition, but how old was it? Let’s drill down into the question “when did 5E come out?”
When Did 5e Come Out?
The Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition basic rulebook and starter set was released on July 15, 2014. It took a month and some change to release the Player’s Handbook, with all the options we know and love.
That’s right… 5e is almost 6 years old (at the time of this article!).
Well, as you may or may not know, 5e has quite a few supplementary books that release. I won’t go over everything, because that would include a bunch of tiny books that add only one or two options. The most important books of note are Volo’s Guide to Monsters (November 2016), Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (November 2017), and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (May 2018). These books all add tons of races, class features, feats, and enemies to the game, on top of the options in the Monster Manual (September 2014) and DMG (December 2014).
Another fact for your D&D Trivia game; 5e came out 6 years after 4e, which was a 2008 release. And 4e came out 5 years after 3.5. Might we be looking at a new edition soon?
Probably not, since 3rd edition was 11 years after 2nd, and 5e’s going strong with the supplements. Correlation does not imply causation!
The most recent guide, Mythic Odysseys of Theros, was released in June 2020. That’s a campaign guide, which did offer fantastic options for bringing the world of Magic to Dungeons & Dragons.
The age of a game doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, or dying out. Wizards reported quite good reports for 2019, and it seems that more people than ever are enjoying 5e.
Even so, if you’re looking for something new… Sometimes, it can be fun to look into the past. Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition had some really cool classes, but had balance choices that people weren’t exactly happy with. 3.5 and 3 had… absolutely insane character builds. Basic and Advanced are relics of the past, but some people stoically stand by them, and… it’s not hard to see why. This is a game series based on a core idea of roleplaying in a fantasy world. All of the editions have legitimate merit that make each edition worth revisiting.
Even so, it’s hard to resist the allure of the most recent edition… Even if it’s 6 years old.
Need more 5E? See our rundown on how to calculate Challenge Rating in 5E.