La D&D Cyclopedia es una obra derivada y desarrollada por Aaron Allston basada principalmente en el Calabozos y Dragones original de E. Gygax y D. Arneson, así como en el trabajo de otros autores. Publicada en 1991 por la TSR Inc., la Cyclopedia contiene todo el material y reglamento de juego debidamente organizado de las cajas Basic, Expert, Companion, y Master.
En la página 5 del libro podemos encontrar la siguiente definición de JdR bajo el título de What is Role-Playing?, una que a mi particularmente me gusta por la analogía con la radio y las implicaciones psicológicas de la toma de decisiones basadas en la personalidad y la opciones de juego disponibles:
"Before television, there was radio. Audiences earlier in this century sat in front of their radios and thrilled to the exploits of bigger-than-life radio heroes. Since it was radio, they couldn't see what was going on, but they didn't need to—all the action was described by dialogue, narration, and sound effects, and was translated by the imaginations of the listeners into scenes they could see, experience, and remember.
Role-playing games are much like radio adventures, except for one important detail: they-'re interactive. One player provides the narrative and some of the dialogue, but the other players, instead of just sitting and envisioning what's going on, actually participate. Each player controls the actions of a character in the story, decides on his actions, supplies his character's dialogue, and makes decisions based on the character's personality and his current game options.
The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game is a fantasy role-playing game. This means that it's set in a world where men and women can wield powerful magic, where monsters like dragons thrive, and where heroes like Sinbad, Hercules, and Lancelot abound.
When you play the D&D game, one player will become the Dungeon Master (also known as the DM or referee). He or she will create the world and setting in which the adventures will .be taking place and will create a variety of characters to populate the world. The DM will also develop situations taking place in that world and will then run adventures—acting as the main narrator of the stories in which the other players' characters will participate.
The other players will create characters—the heroes of the DM's story. The DM will present their characters with situations, and they'll decide how to react to those situations. Several situations progressing toward a conclusion become an adventure or story; a number of adventures played one after another become a campaign." (las negrillas son mías)