Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dungeons & Dragons Goes PDF: Every Edition Available Again!

I almost entitled this entry How Nostalgia Broke My Credit Card.  The reason is simple, Wizards of the Coast, in association with DriveThruRPG, has made available for download in PDF format over 80 classic adventures and rulebooks.  I think I want to buy more than my credit card limit allows.

I still remember the first time I played Dungeons & Dragons.  It was 1980 and I was in 7th grade.  I rolled a rogue and we played the adventure included at the end of the blue rulesbook edited by Holmes.  It had to do with a wizard’s tower and the sprawling dungeon he created under the tower, and ended with access to a seaside cave where pirate ships were docked.

While Holmes rulesbook is not available right now, Tom Moldvay’s 1981 Basic Set rulesbook is.  So are a lot of old time/original Dungeons & Dragons modules.  I quickly found some of my favorites: X1 - Isle of Dread, Q-1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, D-3 Vault of the Drow.  The list goes on…

With this renewed web offering, Wizards of the Coast is attempting to please players of all editions, all six of them.  You can search for your favorite rulesbook, supplement, module or adventure, by name, edition, setting (Eberron, Forgotten Realms, Greyhwak, Planescape and Ravenloft), as well as by product type (sourcebooks, core rulebooks, RPG media).

Many of these products are at very reasonable prices.  You can buy 1st Edition’s D-3 Vault of the Drow or 3rd Edition’s Bastion of Broken Souls for $4.99.  Compilations and sourcebooks, like 1st Edition’s T1-T4 Temple of Elemental Evil or 2nd Edition’s Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins, are going for $9.99.  Rulebooks are a little more expensive.  For example, be prepared to pay a hefty $19.99 for 3.5 Edition’s Dungeon Master’s Guide II.

Yes, you can find all of the products offered in DnDClassic.com as pirated torrents on the internet.  However, not only is that illegal, many of the pirated reproductions are of bad quality.  Buying them from Wizards of the Coast/DriveThruRPG gives you a high quality scan that has the added bonus of being searchable.  Good luck searching a pirated PDF for a particular NPC or item, particularly if it is several hundred pages long like the aforementioned T1-T4 Temple of Elemental Evil.  More importantly, buying legitimate copies rewards the authors for their work and encourages Wizards of the Coast to make more of their offerings available for download.

Finally, I wish you good luck accessing DnDClassic.com.  Apparently, this untapped market for PDF versions of classic and not so classic products from TSR Hobbies, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast is so large that the servers are frequently overloaded. 


  1. After reading this post, all I have to say is... You were in 7th gtade in 1980? Dude you're old!

    No! Just kidding... I know how you feel. This is a good move on WotCs part and a way to create good will in the community.

    1. LMAO, Sunglar!! You are correct on both counts, though. I *am* old and it *is* a good move on WotC's part.

      On a more practical matter, I had the opportunity to DM a few of the adventures in EN World's adventure paths, both War of the Burning Sky and Zeitgeist, and can attest to the advantages of having a PDF adventure. You can easily search any reference within it, as well as bookmark, highlight and comment on important sections you'll need for your session. I guess this would be doubly so when it comes to rulesbooks.

      Thanks for the comment!