Announced during the keynote at Gen Con 2012, Wizards of the Coast and DriveThroughRPG have released Dungeons & Dragons Classics – a new store dedicated to giving customers access to materials from every edition of the classic game. I first played this game as a kid and contrary to the fears of the adults in my household, it did not change me in to a deranged lunatic. It was a way to have an adventure with my friends without having to leave the comforts of the home. For a suburbanite, this worked out pretty well and kept us away from more trouble than it ever caused. Over the years, the game has changed rules and ownership and it was often difficult to find original rulebooks after they had gone out of print. Now much of that is available again electronically at the new website, dndclassics.com.
I jumped in tonight and took a look at what was out there. I happen to have the Advanced D&D 2nd Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide (ISBN: 0-88038-729-7) in a cabinet right above my desk so I looked for that first. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on the site. I searched by title, author name, isbn, etc but it’s not there. I thought maybe it was because TSR originally published, but there are other TSR works and the original D&D books. Who knows? If I can find out, I will certainly update this post.
The site looked OK and the search functions seemed to work well. The Cart had some icons that were not totally intuitive to me. I accidentally moved an item from my cart to my wishlist since I wasn’t sure what the icon was supposed to represent. The rest of the process went smoothly though. I added some free items to my cart, started the check out process, created an id, then had to restart the check out process. Then the “purchase” process was smooth and the system was smart enough to know that my 2 free items did not require a credit card.
Downloading the files was easy and I was very curious as to how the company would keep these pdfs from being redistributed. I downloaded 2 items
1. “D&D_RPG_Starter_Set_Quickstart_(4e).pdf” and
The first one had no noticeable security options – all the text was indexed so I can run a search within the doc which is one of the main reason’s I’d want something like this electronically. The second doc had a watermark with my name and order number. In addition, the document was locked for edits. (see screenshots). A surprising feature was that I am allowed to print these documents should I choose. I find the restrictions and rights management to be more than fair. If I spent money on these I’d have the confidence that even if either of these companies went out of business, I’d still have my electronic doc since it does not appear to be phoning home each time I open it. Cool. I also don’t mind the watermark with my name – that’s fair too and a deterrent for anyone who might want to make the docs available illegally via a file sharing site.
All in all, this seems to be a great resource for the nostalgic gamer looking for a way to rekindle and re-use some of the old game rules and supplemental documents. There’s a ton of content available and the prices seem reasonable. If you’re a fan of D&D, please give them a visit.