RPGPundit Reviews: The Advanced Dungeons And Dragons Reprints
This is a (sort of) review of the AD&D reprint books, released a
couple of months ago by Wizards of the Coast as a kind of commemorative
This isn’t really going to be a review, not of the AD&D system
that is, since its pretty well the most famous RPG in the world and
really needs no reviewing. Instead, I’m just going to comment on this
I was lucky enough to receive all three books as a complementary
bonus to my gig as an official Consultant for the currently
under-development 5th edition of D&D. These books were a very
welcome arrival indeed; since by this point my own AD&D book
collection was in pretty pathetic state. My PHB and Monster Manual were
both long gone, and while I still had the 1e DMG, it was quite
literally falling to pieces from decades of use and abuse, to the point
that I cringed any time I had to try to remove it from the bookshelf
where it lives. So it was the perfect time to obtain a replacement.
These new books are absolutely majestic. Hardcover of course, with a
gorgeous colour, and texture too; the thing has bumps! All the little
decorations around the central cover image are three-dimensional.
There’s beautiful gold foil in the corners; and the central image of
each book is a recreation of a key part of the original cover image,
jutting out from their encapsulating circles as though moving to life.
Each book also has a sewn-in bookmark; blue in the
case of the PHB and MM, and red in the case of the DMG. The binding of
the books is really astounding and they have all the appearance of a
product made to last the ages (or at least the next two or three decades
of heavy use I plan to put them through).
The interior of the books are absolutely unchanged from the
originals, nothing added or taken away. Contrary to some concerns, the
margins are just fine and totally legible. The interior artwork is
fantastic as always, though some images have come out slightly darker
than the originals were. That’s probably the worst thing I could say
about these books.
I suppose I can’t really finish a review about the reprints without
saying something, at least, about the AD&D game itself. Getting the
books provided an opportunity to re-read the AD&D rules, something I
hadn’t done in quite a while (I’ve always been more of a Rules
Cyclopedia guy); and while some of the material in there seems clunky by
modern standards, some of it downright goofy in its excesses of detail,
I couldn’t help but be struck by the richness of material in the
AD&D rules, the quality of the game itself that has stood the test
of time, and its potential value beyond the game itself in terms of a
cornucopia of inspirational material that can be readily borrowed or
stolen for any number of other games. The AD&D Dungeon Master’s
Guide, in particular, is a magnum opus of an absolutely awe-inspiring
amount of both rules, advice, flavour and setting material. I couldn’t
help but imagine how, when it first came out, it would have been the
RPG-hobby’s equivalent of an atomic bomb: nothing like it had ever
existed before, and it would have absolutely changed the game for anyone
who bought it. Even to this day, anyone who hasn’t ever read it really
should; and not just glance over it, but make the effort of reading it
section by section to uncover all the amazing hidden gems it contains.
I pray to all the gods of creation that the main writers of the 5e game will bother to do so.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Horn + Gawith’s Perfection
(originally posted September 7th, 2012; on the old blog)