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Written Review – AD&D 2nd Edition Premium Reprint Core Rulebooks

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Wizards of the Coast has already released a Premium reprint of all the core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, but apparently that wasn’t enough. In an effort to please all fans of the Dungeons & Dragons community the developer has released yet another Premium reprinting of old D&D core rulebooks, and this time they’ve went after Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. That’s right – these are the rules that started it all back in the tournament circuit at Gen Con in its early beginnings.

Player’s Handbook

For many gamers the 2nd Edition AD&D core rulebooks served as their gateway into a brand new hobby. The Player’s Handbook offers everything a player needs to get started in the game, as well as a lot of background information that helps with the history of where the game came from. The Premium reprint includes a couple of really nice forewords by David Cook and Steve Winter. One of the best things about the Premium Player’s Handbook is that it’s gotten a huge overhaul when it comes to the appendices. Everything is nice and easy to find, and a newly-added table of contents really helps players get to exactly where they need to be when playing.

As with all the Premium reprints, the Player’s Handbook has a sleek new cover, complete with shiny artwork that really makes it stick out. I also feel that it’s bound better when compared to the older books, so it should last a lot longer if taken care of.

Dungeon Master Guide

Second-in-command for the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master Guide contains everything a player needs to become the Dungeon Master. This maniacal being is responsible for creating everything that players will encounter in the game, including monsters, maps, and of course, dungeons. It also contains forewords from the previously-mentioned writers, and they explain just what they went through to create this edition of the game.

One thing I really like about the reprint of this book is that I feel that things are much better explained according to how you play the game. Traps, tables, and equipment are all lined out in an easy-to-follow manner, as opposed to being choppy and broken up. The table of contents really makes for easy tabbing of pages, and it’s the best tool for anyone wanting to run their own AD&D 2nd Edition game.

Monstrous Manual

Dragons, beholders, and even the occasional lich show up in D&D games, and that’s a fact. As a Dungeon Master, dreaming these things up takes a lot of work unless you’ve a tool to help you. That’s where the Monstrous Manual comes in. This book catalogs each of the available minions players could encounter throughout their journeys in the AD&D universe.

Coming without the forewords that the previous books had, the Monstrous Manual gets straight to work with an immediate description of how to use the book. It lists, in alphabetical order, over 340 pages’ worth of enemies you can choose from. The artwork is in full-color, and the descriptions have been tightened to provide better information than before. What’s even better, the book offers up a little table for each monster so that if you want to create one from scratch you’ve the rules to do so. That’s pretty efficient.

The Verdict

All three of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition core rulebooks are available now at $50 a pop. They may be a bit expensive, but if you’re looking to replace the broken down books you have, or to grab substitutes to use while you preserve yours, these are a great choice. They’ve got brand new covers, tons of new information, and all-new binding that will surely make them last through a very long number of games. I think it’s time to bring AD&D 2nd Edition back, and throw a beholder right at your friends off the bat. If you’re looking to jump into AD&D for the first time, these books can be a great way for you to do so, but I’d recommend seeing if you’re into it before buying them.