The third Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium appendix was the opposite of the Mystara book for me. It is gorgeous and straightforward – Mark Nelson’s art rivals Stephen Fabian in capturing the mood of the campaign setting. Like all the Ravenloft appendices, this one largely focuses on making horrored-up versions of conventional D&D monsters. Unlike the previous two collections, though, I like these a lot. They feel more thought out somehow. ¶ Thing is, I could never figure out how to use them. They all feel so specific in application, and the opportunity has never come up. One exception: Fleas of Madness. That’s a good story, too, but I am going to save it for when I make a zine out of that adventure… ¶ #DnD#DungeonsAndDragons#ADnD#DandD#AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons#TSR#RPG#TabletopRPG#roleplayinggame#Ravenloft#StephenFabian#MarkNelson#Mystara#Horror#FleasofMadness
The Encyclopedia Magica Volume One is part of the four volume set that collects every magic item ever printed in a TSR publication up through 1993. Yep, everything. From core rulebooks to issues of Polyhedron, they're all there. Interestingly, they're pretty much straight reprints with no updating or balancing. It also including any background or lore from the original printing as well. As you might expect, it's quite the mixed bag! The first couple of photos are of a later printing. The original prints were heavily textured and embossed faux leather with bookmarks... and they don't really photograph as well, as you can see in the side-by-side comparison. #dungeonsanddragons#advanceddungeonsanddragons#adnd#dnd#dandd#rpg#roleplayinggame#tabletoprpg
The 1st edition Manual of the Planes was the culmination of ten years of cosmological development. Bits and pieces of information about the planes had been appearing as far back as 1977 is various sources, but were finally collected and expanded on in this volume. Covering the entirety of reality was a tall order for 128 pages, meaning there's not a lot of details, especially when it comes to the outer planes... but it did set up a lot of standards that have stood the test of time. I think it's safe to say that Planescape would not have been what it was without this book. An interesting aside, that famous astral dreadnought pictured on the cover didn't actually receive game statistics until eight years later when it appeared in a Planescape Monstrous Compendium! #dungeonsanddragons#advanceddungeonsanddragons#adnd#dnd#dandd#rpg#roleplayinggame#tabletoprpg#manualoftheplanes#planescape
The rest of this week, I’ll be looking at some of the square bound campaign-specific Monstrous Compendiums from 1994-95, the first being the Planescape Appendix. ¶ First things first, the cover is a bit of a disaster. It keeps the Easley trio established in the previous Monstrous Compendium appendices, but plops it rather unceremoniously onto the rusty Planescape background with zero graphic design elegance. Which, whatever. The interior is full of hot new DiTerlizzi art, so all is forgiven. ¶ I love this book. Granted, it is essentially a reprint of the Outer Planes appendix with new art, but that is why it is so important. Where DiTerlizzi’s art in the Planescape box set gave me a new way to see D&D in a broad, general way, his work on this book transformed things I knew and loved into things that were strange and new. This reinterpretation is what finally drove home the idea that D&D could be anything I wanted it to be. That, more than anything else, has sustained my interest in it and other RPGs for decades. ¶ #DnD#DungeonsAndDragons#ADnD#DandD#AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons#TSR#RPG#TabletopRPG#roleplayinggame#Planescape#Diterlizzi#MonstrousCompendium#JeffEasley#Outerplanes#Baxa
Here’s a big one. While I love many first edition and basic Dungeons & Dragons books for many reasons, the Monstrous Compendium is perhaps the first I love as a tool. From this binder sprang my hobby of trying to kill my friends with the coolest monsters, in the weirdest ways possible. ¶ The first cool thing about the Compendium is the cover. So clean, so white. That blue, so official looking. Next is the trio of monsters themselves, leaping out of limbo to Eff. You. Up. And what a group. These aren’t just any monsters. These weirdos are D&D monsters (well, the displacer beast is a rip-off of A. E. van Vogt alien, but whatever). Jeff Easley’s beholder has yet to be matched. ¶ The next important thing that the book isn’t a book, but an oversized binder. That’s very important to its appeal. A binder says, “This book isn’t finished.” Unlike the Monster Manuals, the Monstrous Compendium promised MORE. Also, loose leaf binders tap into a minor obsession I have with office supplies (which I suspect many DMs share). The process of selecting monsters, removing their sheets and compiling them with your adventure notes feels a bit like choosing your weapons for a duel… ¶ You’ll note I’ve not included any of the interior art. That’s partly because I am saving that for something fun for a later date and partly because, after many years, I realized that you could combine Volume One, Two and the first Forgotten Realms sheets into one alphabetical beast of a compendium and I am not entirely sure what goes with what at this point. Does the idea of that fill you with horror? Chew me out in the comments. ¶ #DnD#DungeonsAndDragons#ADnD#DandD#AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons#TSR#RPG#TabletopRPG#roleplayinggame#MonstrousCompendium#binder#JeffEasley#Beholder#officesupplies#MonsterManual#UmberHulk#DisplacerBeast#AEvanVogt#Coeurl
Score at the thrift store again!!! Boy, am I really killing my wallet bit by bit. 😂 But I mean, who the hell could resist a mere $15 for these two beauties?
So finally, I will be jumping on the Dragonlance bandwagon in just a bit. Really lucky to have found this boxset in almost new condition! Just reading the dramatis personae on the front few pages and I’m already hooked in this Raistlin character. A few months down the line, I’ll probably be chuckling to myself at how much I’ve been missing this series. Thanks to the previous owner, whoever you are. You’ve made a new fan of the Dragonlance Saga!
My second purchase is this really cool AD&D 2e supplement, Powers and Pantheons. A companion to the Faiths and Avatars book (which I shall hunt down and add to my reading list eventually), this already gives me a lot of insight on the different deities of the Faerunian pantheon. Perfect for the 5e modules that are currently out! It even has a chapter on Chultan deities, which is perfect for my future #tombofannihilation game!
Once again, thank you previous owners of these books. I’ll definitely put them to good use!
Although several countries had translations of the PHBR series, the Japanese version has a unique look. PHBR1 ファイターハンドブック (Complete Fighter's Handbook) opted for the faux-leather cover but with a rich tan coloration and a much heavier texturing. You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the red foil lettering really pops! Unfortunately, this was the only PHBR book released by Shinwa, although they also did DMGR1 with the same cover style in blue foil. #dungeonsanddragons#advanceddungeonsanddragons#adnd#dnd#dandd#rpg#roleplayinggame#tabletoprpg
Season four of the 4th edition Encounters program saw a change in format with the release of March of the Phantom Brigade. Instead of individual chapters coming out separately, this adventure was produced as a single 56-page volume including all three chapters (13 weeks) worth of play. It also varied from previous Encounters in that it was much less linear, allowing actions from previous sessions to direct the scenario along different paths. Though still centered around a single combat encounter per session, there were also more opportunities for roleplay presented along with plenty of more detailed NPCs. As an added bonus, there's a bit of C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness in here too! #dungeonsanddragons#adnd#advanceddungeonsanddragons#dnd#dandd#dnd4#dnd4e#dndencounters#rpg#roleplayinggame#tabletoprpg#ghosttower#ghosttowerofinverness
This was the first issue I got with my Dungeon subscription back in the fall of 1991. I don’t know if it was just good luck, or a personal bias because it was my first, but I consider this a high water mark for the magazine (admittedly, I haven’t read many of them). ¶ This issue features an excellent scenario focusing on shades and shadows, a great side adventure with a berbalang (which I am just now realizing I might have subconsciously ripped off in my most recent ongoing D&D game) and the amazing Ravenloft adventure “Bane of the Shadowborn.” This last, written by William Connors (a prominent hand in the development of Ravenloft as a campaign setting), deals with the most interesting Darklord of all: the intelligent sword Ebonbane. It is easily my favorite Ravenloft adventure and, unlike most Ravenloft material, works quite well as a horror game by measuring success by cleverness rather than material strength. Great stuff. ¶ #DnD#DungeonsAndDragons#ADnD#DandD#AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons#TSR#RPG#TabletopRPG#roleplayinggame#DungeonMagazine#RobinWood#Ravenloft#Ebonbane#Darklord#WilliamWConnors#BaneoftheShadowborn
Brand new 2nd edition material is somewhat hard to come by these days, so I jumped at the chance to pick up UW1 The Hags of Black Woods. Without giving away too much, it's a great change-of-pace adventure set in a creepy little town with creepy mask-wearing villagers protecting a creepy secret... the Wicker Man vibe makes me want to put on a bear suit and punch a witch! It's got mystery, outdoor exploration, some hack and slash and also introduces an intriguing antagonist designed for long-term use. Good stuff that's available for sale right now... check out @vintagerpg for link to ordering info. And if you're not already following him, you should be! #dungeonsanddragons#advanceddungeonsanddragons#adnd#dnd#dandd#rpg#roleplayinggame#tabletoprpg
Dungeon #29 ’s Tom Baxa cover is perhaps the one that lives on most strongly in my mind when I think of the magazine, even more so than Keith Parkinson’s excellent red dragon that featured on Issue #1 (perhaps because it featured in ads for the magazine, but I haven’t looked to confirm this). It’s funny, too, because I’ve never really figured out where I stand on Baxa’s art. He has an amazing sense of light and shadow, but his anatomy always seems flat and distorted. Both are true here, but the imagery – a red abishai devil appearing out of the pages of a sorcerous tome – just works in perfect dramatic fashion here. ¶ #DnD#DungeonsAndDragons#ADnD#DandD#AdvancedDungeonsAndDragons#TSR#RPG#TabletopRPG#roleplayinggame#DungeonMagazine#Abishai#TomBaxa