AD&D First Edition

First Edition Advanced D&D

The core books of first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons were written in the late 1970s by Gary Gygax. AD&D quickly replaced Original D&D as the most popular form of the game. It sold well, fixed most of the problems many had with Original D&D, and is still very popular today. Some people refuse to play any other edition of D&D.

AD&D 1E Rules

First Edition AD&D -- Finding the Rules

TSR kept the first edition of Advanced D&D in print from 1977 to the mid-1987. While they are now out of print, copies are easy to get (and often very affordable, especially the core rulebooks as lots of copies were printed) on eBay -- click here for more information on buying First Edition AD&D items on eBay. Used copies of many AD&D rulebooks are also available via Amazon.com at very reasonable prices. Copies in PDF format are also available for US$5 or US$6 a book.

Fan Rules Restatements

Fan "restatements" of older editions of D&D using the Open Gaming License and D&D SRD from Wizards of the Coast have become fairly popular in recent years. OSRIC is a restatement of the rules of First Edition AD&D. The first edition of OSRIC is fairly minimal, but the upcoming second edition is quite complete. While OSRIC has minor variations from the original TSR First Edition Advanced D&D rules, it is so close that it is a no-brainer to run published First Edition Advanced D&D adventures with them. OSRIC available as PDF files for free or as low-cost print-on-demand version.

What Rules Do I Really Need?

The first edition of AD&D has a large number of rulebooks, however, most are not necessary to play the game. If you are a player, all you need is a copy of the Player's Handbook. One copy of the Player's Handbook can even serve for several players in a group. The Dungeon Master needs a copy of the three "core" rulebooks: the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual. The first edition of OSRIC can substitute for the Player's Handbook in a pinch and the upcoming second edition of OSRIC can subsitute for all three core reulebooks -- pdf copies of OSRIC are free.

If one buys pdfs or carefully selected used copies, one can easily get started running a first edition for around the cost of a single new core rulebook for the current edition of D&D! If you go the PDF route, you could easily also get a copy of the Temple of Elemental Evil megamodule -- a classic campaign setting designed to take characters from just rolled 1st level characters to about 8th level -- and still be under the price of a single new core rulebook from the current edition of D&D.

Player's Handbook

Player's Handbook for First Edition Advanced D&D

Player's Handbook for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2010
Title: AD&D Player's Handbook
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1978
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: The Player's Handbook contains just about everything a player needs to know to create a character and play First edition AD&D. And one group can easily share a copy or two as most players will only to to use it heavily when creating a character or moving up a level.

From the back of the book:

NO MORE SEARCHING THROUGH STACKS OF BOOKS AND MAGAZINES TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. THE PLAYERS HANDBOOK PUTS IT ALL AT YOUR FINGERTIPS, INCLUDING:

  • ALL RECOMMENDED CHARACTER CLASSES:
    Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Magic-Users, etc.
  • CHARACTER RACES:
    Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Orcs, Humans, etc.
  • CHARACTER LEVEL STATISTICS
  • EQUIPMENT LISTS WITH COSTS
  • SPELL LISTINGS BY LEVEL AND DESCRIPTIONS OF EFFECTS (INCLUDING MANY NEW SPELLS!)

AS A DUNGEON ADVENTURER OR A DUNGEON MASTER, YOU WILL FIND THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK TO BE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. ALL USEFUL MATERIAL IS NOW COMPILED UNDER ONE COVER, ESPECIALLY FOR PLAYERS!

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Dungeon Master's Guide

Dungeon Master's Guide for First Edition Advanced D&D

Dungeon Master's Guide for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2011
Title: AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1979
Format: 240 page hardback book

Comments: Many consider this the best version of the Dungeon Master's Guide ever published. Sure, it's arrangement of information was quirky but Gary Gygax packed a great deal of useful information into 240 pages. You probably can't run a great First Edition AD&D game without it -- I know I would not want to try.

From the back of the book:

DUNGEON MASTERS EVERYWHERE, REJOICE! TOO LONG HAVE YOU HAD TO SUFFER ALONG WITH CRUCIAL CHARTS AND TABLES SPREAD THROUGH MANY WORKS. TOO LONG HAVE YOU HAD TO USE MAKESHIFT REFERENCES TRYING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. YOU NOW HAVE A COMPLETE COMPILATION OF THE MOST VALUABLE MATERIAL FOR YOUR REFEREEING, THE DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE. HEREIN YOU WILL FIND:

  • COMBAT MATRICES
  • ENCOUNTER TABLES
  • MONSTER ATTACKS ALPHABETICALLY LISTED
  • TREASURE AND MAGIC TABLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
  • GEM VALUES BY TYPE
  • RANDOM WILDERNESS TERRAIN GENERATION
  • RANDOM DUNGEON GENERATION
  • SUGGESTIONS ON GAMEMASTERING

...AND A WHOLE LOT MORE. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR EVERY DUNGEON MASTER!

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Monster Manual

Monster Manual for First Edition Advanced D&D

Monster Manual for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2009
Title: AD&D Monster Manual
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1977
Format: 112 page hardback book

Comments: The Monster Manual contains a large assortment of classic monsters written up for First Edition Advanced D&D. While the back cover claims that it is for both the Dungeon Master and players, players really don't need a copy. In fact, the game can be more fun if they don't have a copy at hand during play.

From the back of the book:

This book provides a complete alphabetical listing of all "monsters" encountered in the various works which comprise the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game system. It is an invaluable aid to players and Dungeon Masters alike!

For example:

Quasit

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 2
Move: 15"
Hit Dice: 5
% In Lair: 0%
Treasure Type: Q (x3)
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/ Attack: See below
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Size: S (2' tall)

The quasit is the unchanged form of the familiar of a chaotic evil magic-user or cleric, just as the imp is the unchanged form of the familiar of the lawful evil magic-user or cleric. As such it is very rarely encountered except in the planes of the abyss or upon the death of its master or...

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Monster Manual II

Monster Manual II for First Edition Advanced D&D

Monster Manual II for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2016
Title: AD&D Monster Manual II
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1983
Format: 160 page hardback book

Comments: The Monster Manual II was the third volume of monsters for First edition AD&D (the second was Fiend Folio). Although this book has more interesting/useful monsters than Fiend Folio, it is hardly a must have book. It is generally quite inexpensive used, however.

From the back of the book:

"the most complete alphabetical listing and description of the latest AD&D game creatures"

A must for the serious AD&D game player. This manual contains all the new monsters, from Abishai to Zygom, including new creatures like the Deadly Pudding, Devas, and Valley Elves. And you'll also have the advantage of the expanded lists of lycanthropes, giants, and other beasts.

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Oriental Adventures

Oriental Adventures for First Edition Advanced D&D

Oriental Adventures for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2018
Title: AD&D Oriental Adventures
Editor: Gary Gygax with David Cook and Francois Marcela-Froideval
Published: 1985
Format: 144 page hardback book

Comments: Oriental Adventures is an expansion of the First Edition AD&D rules to handle oriental based characters. It included new character classes, races, spells, and magic items with an oriental flavor. Many campaigns never used this material. Copies are generally quite inexpensive used.

From the back of the book:

"...The mysterious and exotic Orient, land of spices and warlords, has at last opened her gates to the West."

For beginners or experts, players or DMs, this book holds all the information on oriental character classes, races, spells,magical items, weapons, fighting styles, and monsters. The world of samurai and ninja awaits!

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Unearthed Arcana

Unearthed Arcana for First Edition Advanced D&D

Unearthed Arcana for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2017
Title: AD&D Unearthed Arcana
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1985
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: Unearthed Arcana adds a number of new classes and other features to AD&D including the Barbarian the Thief-Acrobat, and the Comeliness attribute. The book is fairly contraversial with some people considering it core AD&D rules and others considering much of the material added poorly designed. Copies are generally quite inexpensive used.

From the back of the book:

"...All the new discoveries, plus a wealth of just uncovered secrets, between one pair of covers."

This, the latest of the AD&D game books, further defines and describes the game system. Inside are new spells, character classes, magic items, weapons, and much more for both players and Dungeon Masters.

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Deities & Demigods (Legends & Lore)

Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore for First Edition Advanced D&D

Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2013
Title: AD&D Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore
Editor: James Wards with Robert Kuntz
Published: 1980/1983
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: This book was first published in 1980 as Deities & Demigods. In 1983, the book (with the same content) was retitled Legends & Lore -- and given a much more attractive cover. The name change was probably an attempt by TSR to defuse complaints about D&D by Fundamentalist Christians. The very early printings of Deities & Demigods had the Cthulhu and Melnibonean (Elric) deities. They were removed from later printings due to copyright issues. Printings of Deities & Demigods with the Cthulhu and Melnibonean deities can sell for very high prices. Later printings under either name are inexpensive. PDF copies are of Legends & Lore. This is definitely an optional book as one can run a AD&D for many years without actually requiring the information in this book.

From the back of the Deities & Demigods book:

DEITIES & DEMIGODS CYCLOPEDIA PROVIDES THE DUNGEON MASTER WITH GODS, HEROES AND MONSTERS FROM MYTH, FICTION AND LEGEND FOR USE IN ROUNDING OUT AN ADVANCED D&D CAMPAIGN. WITHIN THIS BOOK ARE SEVENTEEN PANTHEONS OF DIVINITIES, EACH PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED. ALSO INCLUDED ARE NEW MATERIAL ON CLERICS' CONDUCT AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR DEITIES, INFORMATION ON CHARACTER MORTALITY AND IMMORTALITY, AND MORE!

From the back of the Legends & Lore book:

"here are the legends and lore needed to recreate the heroic quests in the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS worlds of fantasy"

Now you can add the grandeur of epic quests to your game. This book provides the Dungeon Master with details of heroes, gods, and monters from myth, fiction, and legend for use in creating an AD&D fantasy world.!

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Dungeoneer's Survival Guide

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide for First Edition Advanced D&D

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2019
Title: AD&D Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
Editor: Douglas Niles
Published: 1986
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: This book talks about designing dungeons and various underworld monsters and civilizations (for DMs) and about exploring dungeons (for players). This is definitely an optional book as one can run a AD&D for many years without actually requiring the information in this book. To be honest, this book seemed more like an attempt to increase TSR's cash flow than to add important material to AD&D.

From the back of the book:

"...In the impenetrable darkness of the underearth, unimagined terrors and uncountable treasures await."

For beginners, advanced players, and DMs, this book open up grand new vistas in the realms of the underdark, that little-known region of dungeons and caverns far beneath the sunlit world of everyday existence. The worlds of subterranean adventure await!

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Fiend Folio

Fiend Folio for First Edition Advanced D&D

Fiend Folio for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2009
Title: AD&D Fiend Folio
Editor: Gary Gygax
Published: 1977
Format: 112 page hardback book

Comments: The Fiend Folio a large assortment of generally strange and useless monsters written up for First Edition Advanced D&D. This book was produced by TSR UK and most of the monsters come from the early issues of White Dwarf magazine. Unfortunately, they seemed to pick monsters based on quirkiness and weirdness rather than usefulness. While there were a few very unique and interesting monsters in Fiend Folio, this volume is probably the closest thing to a waste of paper in First Edition AD&D rulebooks. This makes it very easy to find used -- often at prices below that of the PDF copy (if you don't count postage).

From the back of the book:

THIS TOME CONTAINS ALPHABETICAL LISTINGS OF MONSTERS DESIGNED FOR USE WITH THE ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS GAME SYSTEM. EACH CREATURE IS DESCRIBED AND MOST ARE ILLUSTRATED FOR EASY IDENTIFICATION.

For Example:

BERBALANG
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOUR CLASS: 6
MOVE: 6"/24"
HIT DICE: 1+1
% IN LAIR: See below
TREASURE TYPE: D
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4/1-4/1-6
SPECIAL ATTAKCS: Nil
SPECIAL DEFENCES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Very
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: M
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defence Modes: Nil
LEVEL/X.P. VALUE: III/65 + 2 per hit point

The berbalang spends the greater part of each month in an apparently dormant state, hibernating preferably in a well-hidden cave. Though seemingly comatose, the berbalang is actually roaming the Astral Plane where it spends its time hunting creatures weaker than itself...

USING THE NEW ENCOUNTER TABLES CONTAINED HEREIN, THIS WORK IS SURE TO ADD NEW EXCITEMENT TO ANY AD&D GAME.

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Manual of the Planes

Manual of the Planes for First Edition Advanced D&D

Manual of the Planes for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2022
Title: AD&D Manual of the Planes
Editor: Jeff Grub
Published: 1987
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: This book discusses each of the planes in the standard AD&D plane system with destails on what the plane is like, what effects the plane has on characters and their magic spells and items, what types of creatures live on the plane, how the plane (and its subdivisions) are ruled, etc. This book is optional and is really only needed for games with high level characters, although the information on the astral and etherial planes can be useful to the DM at lower levels of play.

From the back of the book:

"...from Arcadia to Pandemonium, from the plane of elemental Fire to the Astral plane, vast new worlds of adventure are now open to players...."

A vital source book for players and DMs of all levels of experience, the Manual of the Planes details the manifold worlds of the known planes of existence. This book describes the inhabitants, rulers, and environments of these worlds, as well as rules for movement, survival, combat, and spell use in these alien surroundings. A different style of AD&D adventures awaits!

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Wilderness Survival Guide

Wilderness Survival Guide for First Edition Advanced D&D

Wilderness Survival Guide for First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Publisher: TSR
Item Code: #2020
Title: AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide
Editor: Kim Mohan
Published: 1986
Format: 128 page hardback book

Comments: This book talks about designing and running wilderness (aka non-dungeon) adventures and campaigns as well as the effects of weather and terrain on characters. While this is definitely an optional book, it is useful as most platers and DMs have much more experience in designing/playing indoor adventures than they do wilderness adventures.

From the back of the book:

"...the scope of the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game is much larger than the most expansive dungeon."

This book, for new players and Dungeon Masters as well as more experienced campaigners, presents rules for adventuring in the outdoors. Oppurtunities and challenges await characters brave enough and hardy enough to take on the biggest "monster" of all - the wilderness.

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AD&D 1E Adventures and Settings

Coming Soon!

C1 - The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan

C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (1e)

Author(s): Harold Johnson & Jeff R. Leason
Original Publisher: TSR
Original Publication Date: 1980

Description:
This module was originally used for the Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons tournament at Origins '79, and is the first in the Competition Series. This module contains a challenging setting as well as an original scoring system and an assortment of pre-rolled characters for adventuring. This module may thus be used for private competition among players, or as a separate, non-scored adventure! Also included herein are background information, a large-scale referee's map, referee's notes, and new monsters and descriptions for an added taste of excitement.

This adventure is meant to stand on its own, and includes areas on the map where DM's may add their own levels.

Special Notes:
none

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C2 - The Ghost Tower of Inverness

C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness (1e)

Author(s): Allen Hammack
Original Publisher: TSR
Original Publication Date: 1980

Description: A shadow from the past, the Ghost Tower of Inverness has loomed ever larger in the mind of the great Seer of Urnst. Now he has convinced the Duke that an expedition should be organized to go to the ancient keep and recover its greatest treasure - the fabled Soul Gem.

The module was originally written for the Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Game Tournament at Wintercon VIII, held in Detroit in November of 1979. It is the second in the Competition Series - adventures that were used in official tournaments. This adventure contains a challenging setting, a scouring system and characters specially prepared for the adventure. It may thus be used for competition among players (or groups of players), or as a non-scored adventure included in an ongoing campaign. Also included within are background information, referee's maps and notes, encounter descriptions for players, and a background scenario linked to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting.

Special Notes:
none

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