Dungeons & Dragons (novels)

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Dungeons & Dragons novels are works of fantasy fiction that are based upon campaign settings released for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.


The first novel based on the Dungeons & Dragons game was Quag Keep (1978) by Andre Norton. Based upon Norton's first experience at playing the Dungeons & Dragons game, it told the story of seven gamers who were drawn into a fantasy setting. The sequel, Return to Quag Keep (2006), was published after Norton had died in 2005.[1]

A series of authorized novels began in the early 1980s with a survey of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons players. The feedback indicated that the players wanted more dragons in the media products from TSR, Inc. In May, 1983, TSR commissioned Tracy Hickman to produce a new campaign setting that would be called Dragonlance. For marketing purposes, TSR also decided to release a series of books based in the same setting. The first three books became the highly successful Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy.[2]

As the time and cost needed to develop a commercial role-playing game are rarely matched by the profits made from selling the end product, the rulebooks are primarily sold to create a market for the sale of related products. TSR found a lucrative market when they released a series spinoff novels based on the Dragonlance and Dark Sun campaign settings.[3] These novels stood on their own and did not require knowledge of the game rules, making them accessible by a more general audience.[4] TSR published several gamebook series, such as Endless Quest, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks, Fantasy Forest, and HeartQuest, which were based on the D&D settings.

The most successful of the novel series produced by TSR during the 1990s were the books based upon the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance settings. These works also proved to have an unusual shelf life, remaining in print for at least a decade. As a result, some fantasy fiction authors that were introduced through the TSR novels became popular authors. Among these are R. A. Salvatore and the writing partnership of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.[4] Before they went bankrupt in 1997, TSR had published 242 novels based in their campaign settings, with 55 set in the Dragonlance setting and 64 set in the world of Forgotten Realms. TSR's novels were published in ten languages and some made it on to international best seller lists. Other publishers followed the TSR model, including FASA, White Wolf and West End Games.[5]

By the 2000s, a significant portion of all fantasy paperbacks sales were being published by Wizards of the Coast, the American game company that acquired TSR in 1997.[6] The works of R. A. Salvatore in particular have proven very popular, with his novels appearing on the New York Times best seller list 22 times as of 2010.[7]


The following authors have written one or more full length Dungeons & Dragons novels:[6][8][9]

Campaign settings[edit]

The following Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings have had one or more published novels based in the same fantasy world:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norton, Andre; Rabe, Jean (2008). Return to Quag Keep. Macmillan. p. 3. ISBN 0-7653-5152-8. 
  2. ^ Mackay, Daniel (2001). The fantasy role-playing game: a new performing art. McFarland. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-7864-0815-4. 
  3. ^ Clute, John; Grant, John (1999). The encyclopedia of fantasy (2nd ed.). Macmillan. p. 383. ISBN 0-312-19869-8. 
  4. ^ a b Oxoby, Marc (2003). The 1990s. American popular culture through history. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 148. ISBN 0-313-31615-5. 
  5. ^ Mackay, Daniel (2001). The fantasy role-playing game: a new performing art. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 0-7864-0815-4. 
  6. ^ a b Buker, Derek M. (2002). The science fiction and fantasy readers' advisory: the librarian's guide to cyborgs, aliens, and sorcerers. ALA readers' advisory series. ALA Editions. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-8389-0831-4. 
  7. ^ "R.A. Salvatore New Book Deal". Wizards of the Coast. January 11, 2010. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ Brown, Charles N.; Contento, William G. (January 2, 2010). "Site Directory". The Locus Index to Science Fiction. Lotus Publications. Retrieved 2010-01-25.  Note: individual authors can also be confirmed by a search from the Lotus home page.
  9. ^ Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Richard (2005). "The Ten Best D&D Novels". Dungeons & dragons for dummies. For Dummies. pp. 373–375. ISBN 0-7645-8459-6. 
  10. ^ Modine, Austin (March 4, 2008). "Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies". The Register. Retrieved 2010-01-23.