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Original ‘D&D’ and 5th Edition, Some Side-by-Side Comparisons Part II

In the previous post in this series, I began a comparison of elements from the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D, 1974) boxed set to today’s 5th edition D&D (2014). For Part I, I selected elements for comparison from the 35-page Volume 1: Men & Magic relating to character classes, races, experience and spells. Let’s now jump to the challenges and rewards that those early OD&D players faced. For this, an examination of the OD&D monsters and magical items is needed, and that information was found in Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure. Let’s take a look at this 40-page booklet and see how it compares to today’s 352-page 5th edition Monster Manual.

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Side by Side

A Tale of Two Monster Manuals — 1977 AD&D and 2014 5e D&D

I enjoyed being a DM for my friends, and I’m looking forward to taking the reins again. The original AD&D Monster Manual was a great source of inspiration for many adventures — I’d pick the right Big Bad, create a dungeon or castle or other location, and then scatter lesser creatures around as needed. When I reached for the MM, my players knew something was coming… or around the corner… or hidden just beneath the water’s surface. The DMG and MM were all I needed (plus a few hours or more of prep time) to give my players a good adventure, and now it’s looking like I’m going to once again have a chance to create new adventures as the 5th edition books are two-thirds released. My original AD&D Monster Manual has sat proudly on my shelf, and now it has a neighbor… the new 5th edition D&D Monster Manual.

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