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Tor.com Reviews First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Friday, May 24th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

Over at Tor.com, Mordicai Knode has captured a lot of my own thoughts on First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Here he is on Gary Gygax’s original Monster Manual:

Even if you don’t play the game, you can still flip through it and think chimeras and hook horrors and mindflayers are awesome. Which follows through; even if you aren’t going to use any given monster, you can still find them interesting, and who knows, maybe flipping through you’ll find something that inspires you. I’ve built entire adventures, campaign tent poles, around a monster that tickled my fancy… I was very impressed with how closely the 1e Monster Manual adhered to my monster design philosophy: make every monster a mini-game.

Yes — exactly that. Even today, virtually every new adventure I design begins with flipping through MM (or MM II) until I see something that inspires me. These are books I’ve used more or less continuously for three decades. That’s my definition of a classic. The reprints, compliments of Wizards of the Coast, are geared towards the curious, and the exploding population of Old School Renaissance gamers.

Here’s Mordicai on the Dungeon Masters Guide:

The items, frankly, are neat as all get out. There is a good reason that all of the items here have been re-imagined in every subsequent edition — they are fantastic… The section on artifacts is…a mixed bag. First off, the Hand of Vecna! We all agree that the Hand and Eye of Vecna are the best artifacts, right?… While the backstories are wonderful, and I appreciate the impulse to leave artifacts open for DMs to tweak…a blank list of powers is just not helpful. Which is what you get, literal blank lines printed in the book. Come on, at least give a default suggestion!

What he said. Read the complete review here.

We last covered Tor.com with C.S.E. Cooney’s review of Paul Park’s poem Ragnarok.

6 Comments »

  1. I need to get these reissues, just because they look so damned cool.

    I miss playing regularly; haven’t for YEARS. The local convention (MISCON) is happening this weekend, and I’ve never gone. Thought about going just to jump on a gaming table, but that’s a slippery slope, heh. . . .

    Comment by chrislatray - May 24, 2013 6:00 pm

  2. > The local convention (MISCON) is happening this weekend, and I’ve never gone.
    > Thought about going just to jump on a gaming table, but that’s a slippery slope, heh…

    Chris,

    My own experience gaming at conventions has been mixed. In general, playing RPGs is something I tend to do with close friends. For decades I gamed with the same small group, even as we grew older and began to scatter across the continent.

    But… gaming is also about meeting new people, and making new friends — if you let it be. And conventions are an ideal place to do that.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 25, 2013 7:47 pm

  3. IMO, the teeth of Dahlvernar (sp?) were the best 1e artifact, followed by the rod of seven parts.

    As a DM you could (can) design entire campaigns around their systematic acquisition.

    And building them were fun, just roll the dice and see what pops up, then tweak if necessary to ensure a balance of good vs. bad effects.

    Comment by Gruud - May 25, 2013 8:01 pm

  4. err … was fun ^ _ ^

    Comment by Gruud - May 25, 2013 8:02 pm

  5. > IMO, the teeth of Dahlvernar (sp?) were the best 1e artifact, followed by the rod of seven parts.

    Okay, this is embarassing, but I have no idea what the teeth of Dahlvernar are. :)

    Now the Rod of Seven Parts… that’s a different story! I always wanted to play Skip William’s mega-adventure built around it:

    http://www.blackgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-Rod-of-Seven-Parts.jpg

    Comment by John ONeill - May 27, 2013 4:28 pm

  6. […] likewise sell for $80. Neither the DMG or UE are particularly rare (and in fact, both were recently reprinted), so I’m not sure what all the excitement was about, but it was good to see fan interest in […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » The Games Plus 2013 Spring Auction - March 8, 2014 2:29 am


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