When Dungeons & Dragons is actually playing

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It’s relatively easy to guess when most of the D&D campaigns will happen in terms of real-world history, but the in-game calendar requires a closer look.

Dungeons is a long-running popular tabletop RPG. With campaigns from goblins and dragons, taverns and quests, magic and sword fighting, the game is ideal for those who have always wanted to inhabit a classic fantasy world. However, with 16 official Wizards of the Coast campaigns since 2014, it can be difficult for new players and veterans alike to keep track of when important events are happening. If you look at the technology available (or lack thereof), it’s relatively easy to guess when Dungeons Campaigns take place in relation to the real story, but the calendar system in the game requires deeper analysis.

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Lots of weapons, clothing, and other artifacts in Dungeons are reminiscent of a medieval Arthurian era. Swords and crossbows are basic combat tools that often ignore weapons or something more advanced. The clothing consists of tunics and chain mail, and the only non-magical light after sunset is a candle. Technology in the Forgotten realms sorely absent as its characters rely on magic to heal, communicate over a distance, or even fight.

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It is important to know that there are official offshoot campaigns that take place in time periods closer to an industrial revolution that offer players muskets and pistols and some items take on a steampunk effect. Veteran gamers are also known for creating their own campaigns, complete with uniquely designed rule systems. These D&D Campaigns are called homebrews, and although they are not canonical with the official Dungeons Contents can be discontinued at any time and introduce any number of mechanics that are inconsistent with the otherwise medieval setting of the Forgotten Realms.

D&D: Forgotten Realms Official Calendar System


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The passage of time in Dungeons reflects real life exactly – every day has 24 hours and a calendar year has 365 days. Most of Faerun, the great continent where most official Dungeons Campaigns uses the Heptos calendar to mark the passage of time each year. However, each region uses its own system of numbering past years, creating confusion in the dating of events in the Forgotten Realms. For example, 1 Dalereckoning (DR) which is believed to be the beginning of the present age would be referred to as 213 Tethyreckoning (TR) in Tethyr or -1031 Northreckoning (NR) in Waterdeep.

For player purposes, Dalereckoning is the most widely used and is considered the basic system, much like AD in real life. The youngest officer Dungeons Compilation, Candlestick secrets, set in about 1492 DR, about three years after the events of the previous campaign Icewind Dale: Frostmaiden’s Rime. So far it is Dungeons Campaigns followed an in-game linear timeline, so it stands to reason that the next adventure in the Forgotten Realms will follow suit.

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