Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Interests Me About the AD&D 1e Reprints

Wizards reprinting AD&D 1? That's certainly news to wake up to.

The books will be going for $34.95 (PH & MM) and $44.95 (DMG). Old copies are available from Ebay for far less. Should be interesting.

The first printings of these books from the 70s were top quality and if they haven't been flat-out abused, still hold up just fine today. Printed as books should be. If I get to see one of these I'll be very interested in the binding (and paper stock) and how the books compare physically to the originals.

How will the books be produced? The PDFs from a decade ago were bad scans, and there is no way the original production masters (in whatever form they used) could be used for a new print job, right?

New covers? Not necessarily a bad thing (that early printing Sutherland MM cover is terrible, for starters), but what will the new covers be? I think they're smart enough to not put 4e style art on the covers but being mindlessly old school will end in tears as well. I hope the Gygax memorial flyer next to the announcements (see here) is not an indication of what the covers will look like...


  1. That it's North America and hobby stores only means it will be difficult and expensive to get hold of them this side of the pond anyway...

  2. Or it might mean that the hobby "store exclusive" thing is only applicable in north America (like Mordenkaiden).

  3. My PH, MM and DMG have seen heavy use when I was in high school, and they are still in very good shape [at least the PH and the DMG... I sold the MM years ago]. I can't say the same of books that I have bought much more recently. As you write, all gaming books should be printed with the same quality in mind. And this is why Carcosa is so outstanding :)

  4. Those AD&D1 hardbacks are incredible objects. Mine are thirty years old and in excellent shape, whereas my AD&D2 Players Handbook (despite being ten years younger and having seen much less use) is fraying badly at the edges.

    As for the Gygax memorial art, that's the ever-awesome Erol Otus surely? Hell, the only reason I'd want these reprints is if the new covers are by Otus. (Although I'm somewhat disequilibriated by the very idea. In my mind, AD&D is Trampier and Sutherland, while B/X is Otus and Willingham.)

    Word verification: antated - having been ate by ants.

  5. Frankly I think everything that Otus has done art for in recent years is worse off because of it. All his people look like mushrooms these days.

    If these are successful and WotC reprints others books, I think it would be awesome if they made sure Unearthed Arcana had shit binding on purpose, for that authentic old school feel.

    1. "All his people look like mushrooms these days."

      You say that like it's a bad thing. Ah well, to each his own. I still get a kick out of Otus's art, old and new. I very much doubt he'll be getting the call from WotC, though.

  6. Your point about the binding quality is a good one. While I do not own any of the originals myself (having been too young at the time, and too recently interested in AD&D to have aquired them), I am always interested in books that last, because I intend to use them, and to keep them forever. Plenty of RPG materials in particular are printed in the cheapest possible fashion on the cheapest possible paper (but still in color!)... hopefully these come out better.

  7. There were some decent miniature reprints of the 1e books (and other stuff) some years ago. They were really amazing. Much better than the PDF scans. Maybe even good enough for full-sized printing. Maybe they have access whatever was used for those.

  8. The german versions of the 1st edition core rules are so crappy bound, they are more like loose leaf collections nowadays. But I will never part with them, anyhow.

    Word Verification: grapaw

    "Grapaw, what games did you play when you where young?"