Covers of AD&D Reprint Rulebooks Released

Geek Culture

The covers of the three new AD&D core rulebook reprints. Like? No like?

As previously reported by GeekDad’s MJ Harnish, Wizards of the Coast announced last month that, as a fundraiser for the Gygax Memorial Fund, they’d be releasing reprints of the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual. They’re coming out in April, with guts that are, Wizards says, exact reproductions of the originals.

The original DM's Guide cover design. Oops. I mean "DMs Guide."

You remember that minuscule text and those impossible-to-read charts (especially in the DMs Guide)? I’m sure you also recall the very cool black and white interior artwork and cartoons — I know I do. What adolescent boy could forget the subtle nudity of the Monster Manual’s succubus and lamia?

Word has it that the insides, in all their sometimes impressive, sometimes goofy glory, will be preserved.

So while the new editions are using high-quality scans of those guts, there will be new art work and new designs for the covers.

Now, that new cover artwork — or, you might say, mash-up of old and new — has been revealed.

What do you think?

The original Players Handbook, with the whole D&D adventuring party. I love those guys prizing the jewel from the eye of the statue.

Are the visual references to the original books too subtle? Do they wreck the memory of those hallowed tomes and should have Wizards simply reproduced the original designs as-is?

For the Players Handbook, did folks want to see that ruby-eyed idol in the context of the full scene? Is the dragon (is it a dragon?) from the original Monster Manual cover, now poking through the hole of the new MM’s faux-leather tome, a classy touch, or just plain silly?

Yep, you know what this is. Circa 1977.

For the DMs guide design, I know I miss the magic-user and fighter in the foreground battling that nasty demon in the background. IMHO, it’s not just images of monsters that are evocative, but the characters confronting them that creates the drama in my mind.

One thing that is cool: the titles of the original “Players Handbook” and “Dungeon Masters Guide” lacked an apostrophe between “Player” and “s” and “Master” and “s” (or after the “s,” as some grammarians might argue).

Die-hards will be pleased to see the original grammatical error has been preserved. (I’m now bracing myself for a spirited discussion as to whether that was, indeed, an error.)

Looking forward to your thoughts.


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