Every now and then we get questions from someone who might not understand there's actually more than one edition of D&D, or they have rulebooks from two or three different editions — but they all say "Dungeons & Dragons" on the cover, so they were thinking they're all for the same game.

I've been considering for some time whether we might benefit from having a viable canonical question we can point people to so they can identify which edition their books correspond to. We can point people to this when they need to determine what edition they're using (since the books don't exactly say on the cover), but also specifically my impetus for requesting this now is it would be a great thing to link to in the dungeons-and-dragons tag warning we're planning to add.

So my question comes in a few parts:

  • Is this a good idea and viable, or has my brain cranked out an unworkable idea? (I won't take it personally if you think this wouldn't work.)
  • Should we do this thing?
  • If it is viable, how should we go about making it?
  • If it isn't, is there some other way we should handle this, or something else we should do instead?

I'm guessing the most reliable thing to do would be to point them to the logos, since each edition has a fairly distinctly unique logo. 🤔 I'm not sure how universal or reliable that is though, especially when it comes to supplements, if we cover those.

For clarity the intention here is one question that serves as a canonical resource we point people to, not to OK a category of questions for specific books each. (I'm sure they'd be individually OK.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast That's not the same question - that's a comparison of super early D&D editions, this is "I don't know what edition this book is, or what editions exist, because I am new and they all just say Dungeons & Dragons on the cover" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, I see the distinction, comment removed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin Thanks. I might need to revise the question to make that clearer! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ This one might be me reading something into your question, as I'd just come from that question and saw your meta here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin Yeah that's fair, though that you and Trish have separate misunderstandings mean I probably can make it at least a bit more clear. 🤔 I've been tired today so I haven't been writing my best, I'll revisit it tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ An existing narrow example is How do you tell if a D&D book is 3.0 or 3.5? A more comprehensive version would definitely be useful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 4:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ did this question ever get made? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 2:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 It has not been made yet. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ For future readers, the question did end up getting made here: How do I know which edition of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) the books I'm looking at are for? (That said, it's not linked in the [dungeons-and-dragons] tag warning.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


Yes "What Edition is [instert Book here] for?" for would be a very well defined question.

While not mandatory, a picture showing the cover of the book would be great in that case.

The logo is good as a first indicator, but it can be unreliable in case of those books that were made during the edition change - especially 3rd Party publishers might have caught on late.

But another great question might be for tag: "How did the D&D Logo evolve over time?"

  • \$\begingroup\$ The last time I insterted a book the librarian charged me for the repairs. (Fun with typos ... 8^D ) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. Less looking at "what's this specific book" one by one, but a resource we can point anyone to as a self-identification source. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Taht would be the "How did the D&D Logo" part... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah gotcha, I think I follow better now... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 22:25

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