D&D History & Growth (2009 Edition)

How much has the 4th Edition grown over the past year?

Following last year’s investigation into the size and growth of each edition of D&D, the big question for this year’s updated graph is how fast is 4e’s rule base expanding? Is it likely to remain at a manageable size or will it become as bloated and unwieldy as the 3.0/3.5 edition?

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2009: A Bumper Year

In 2009, Wizards published almost 2000 pages of rules and supplements for 4th Edition in over 10 different books (see below for details). This is the third most prolific year for D&D publications though someway short of the record breaking year of 2004 with its 2432 pages.

The trend seems to be continuing into 2010 as well. We only have accurate information up until April/May 2010, but already nearly 1000 pages of supplements have been scheduled. This suggests that 2009 and 2010 will be very close in their published page counts which will make this edition, at least at the current rate, about the same size or maybe slightly smaller smaller than its predecessor.

4e: How Big and How Long?

The current level of output continues to suggest that 4th Edition will only last five or six years. According to the poll we took, this is also the general consensus amongst gamers. It is certainly hard to see how Wizards can keep churning out the same level of content without a serious drop off in sales. After all, how many different PHB’s does the average gamer need?

The signal for a new edition would be a larger than normal number of publications one year followed by a sharp drop off as projects are finished off and staff reassigned to 4.5 or 5th edition books. There is no sign of this in 2010 but next year’s graph could give us an early warning via the 2011 publishing schedule.

How the Graph was Made

The graph is a guide to the size of each edition, not a definitive document. It does not take into account the different sizes of each page (4e has at least twice as much surface area per page than the original edition). The selection of which books to include and which to exclude is also arbitrary. Where a supplement expands on a core part of the game, I have included it (e.g. Martial Power or PHB II) but where it above and beyond the default game (e.g. a campaign setting like Eberron), I’ve ignored it. This distinction is not always clear cut so I have made a judgement call where necessary. Whilst this is not an exact science, I believe the result reflect the general size and scale of each edition fairly well. Comments and suggestion on improvements are welcome.

Included Titles

Original D&D

Original Boxed Set (1974), Greyhawk (1975), Blackmoor (1975), Eldritch Wizardry (1976), Gods, Demi-gods & Heroes (1976), Swords & Spells (1976)


Monster Manual (1977), Players Handbook (1978), Dungeon Master’s Guide (1979), Deities & Demigods (Legends & Lore) (1980), Fiend Folio (1981), Monster Manual II (1983), Unearthed Arcarna (1985), Oriental Adventures (1985), Wilderness Survival Guide (1986), Dungeoneer’s survival guide (1986), Manual of the Planes (1987)

2nd Edition

Dungeon Master’s Guide (1989), Players Handbook (1989), Monstrous Compendium Volume 1(1989), Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989), PHBR1: The Complete Fighter’s Handbook (1989), Legends & Lore (1990), DMGR1: Campaign Source Book & Catacomb Guide (1990), DMGR2: Castle Guide (1990), PHBR3: The Complete Priest’s Handbook (1990), PHBR4: The Complete Wizard’s Handbook (1990), Tome of Magic (1990), DMGR3: Arms and Equipment Guide (1990), PHBR5: The Complete Psionics Handbook (1991), PHBR6: The Complete Book of Dwarves (1991), DMGR4: Monster Mythology (1992), PHBR7: The Complete Bard’s Handbook, Monstrous Manual (1993), DMGR5: Creative Campaigning (1993), Book of Artifacts (1993), PHBR8: The Complete Book of Elves (1993),
PHBR9: The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (1993), PHBR10: The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993), PHBR11: The Complete Ranger’s Handbook (1993), Monstrous Compendium, 1994 Annual, volume 1 (1994), DMGR6: Complete Book of Villains (1994), The Complete Paladin’s Handbook (1994), The Complete Druid’s Handbook (1994), Encyclopedia Magica, Volume I (1994), Encyclopedia Magica, Volume II (1994), DM’s Option: High-Level Campaigns (1995), Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics (1995), The Complete Barbarian’s Handbook (1995), The Complete Barbarian’s Handbook (1995), Encyclopedia Magica, Volume III (1995), Encyclopedia Magica, Volume IV (1995), Monstrous Compendium, 1995 Annual, volume 2 (1995), The Complete Book of Necromancers (1995),
Sages and Specialists (1995), Wizard’s Spell Compendium, Volume 1 (1996), Monstrous Compendium, 1996 Annual, volume 3 (1996), Of Ships and the Sea (1997), Player’s Option: Skills & Powers (1997), Player’s Option: Spells & Magic (1997), Wizard’s Spell Compendium, Volume 2 (1997), Wizard’s Spell Compendium, Volume 3 (1998), Wizard’s Spell Compendium, Volume 4 (1998), Monstrous Compendium, 1997 Annual, volume 4 (1998), Priest’s Spell Compendium, Volume 1 (1999), Priest’s Spell Compendium, Volume 2 (1999), Priest’s Spell Compendium, Volume 3(1999)

3rd Edition

Monster Manual (2000), Players Handbook (2000), Dungeon Master’s Guide (2000), Hero Builder’s Guidebook (2000), Psionics Handbook (2000), Defenders of the Faith: A Guidebook to Clerics and Paladins (2001), Manual of the Planes (2001), Oriental Adventures (2001), Sword and Fist: A Guidebook to Fighters and Monks (2001), Tome and Blood: A Guidebook to Wizards and Sorcerers (2001), Enemies and Allies (2001), Song and Silence: A Guidebook to Bards and Rogues (2001), Book of Vile Darkness (2002), Monster Manual 2 (2002), Masters of the Wild: A Guidebook to Barbarians, Druids, and Rangers (2002), Deities & Demigods (2002), Stronghold Builder’s Guidebook (2002), Epic Level Handbook (2002), Fiend Folio (2003), Arms & Equipment Guide (2003), Savage Species (2003)

3.5 Edition

Monster Manual (2003), Players Handbook (2003), Dungeon Master’s Guide (2003), The Complete Warrior (2003), Book of Exalted Deeds (2003), Planar Handbook (2004), Monster Manual III (2004), Libris Mortis: Book of the Undead (2004), Complete Arcane (2004), Races of Stone (2004), Expanded Psionics Handbook (2004), Races of Destiny (2004), Frostburn (2004), Heroes of Battle (2004), The Complete Divine (2004), Unearthed Arcana (2004), Players Handbook II (2004), Dungeon Master’s Guide II (2005), The Complete Adventurer (2005), Heroes of Horror (2005), Magic of Incarnum (2005), D&D Spell Compendium (2005), Sandstorm (2005), Races of the Wild (2005), Weapons of Legacy (2005), Stormwrack (2005), Monster Manual IV (2006), Cityscape (2006), Tome of Battle (2006), Tome of Magic (2006), Complete Mage (2006), Complete Psonics (2006), Complete Scoundrel (2007), Dungeonscape (2007), Elder Evils (2007), Examplars of Evil (2007), Magic Item Compendium (2007), Monster Manual V (2007), Complete Champion (2007), Rules Compendium (2007)

4th Edition

Monster Manual (2008), Players Handbook (2008), Dungeon Master’s Guide (2008), Adventurer’s Vault (2008), Martial Power (2008), Manual of the Planes (2008), Open Grave (2009), Players Handbook 2 (2009), Arcane Power (2009), Monster Manual 2 (2009), Divine Power (2009), Adventurer’s Vault 2 (2009), Dungeon Masters Guide 2 (2009), Primal Power (2009), Draconomicon 2: Metallic Dragons (2009), The Plane Below (2009), Underdark (2010), Dragonborn (2010), Martial Power 2 (2010), Player’s Handbook 3 (2010), Planes Above (2010), Players Strategy Guide (2010), Tiefling (2010), Monster Manual 3 (2010).