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"Premium" versions of old D&D books


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So Amazon just sent me an email the other day recommending the "Premium" editions of just about every core D&D book from every edition except vanilla 3E. I had known about them doing a collector's reprint of AD&D 1E, but the other editions came as a bit of a surprise. While I won't be going and grabbing the 3.5 books, I was kind of tempted by the AD&D 2E books for the sake of wanting to play it at least once in my life.

 

Has anyone here gotten their hands on any of these books yet? Are they straight reprints of the old stuff, or do they have added errata in them like the reprinted Premium 3.5 books claim to have? That could influence my purchase since one of the things I heard when I first started playing 3E was that AD&D 2E had become a sloppy, patchwork mess of obscure rules and various "official" interpretations thanks to rulings in stuff like Dragon magazine and the numerous splatbooks. I know that as stuff gets added game bloat sets in and rules get increasingly distorted, but I was led to believe that many of the rules changes were necessary at the outset to keep the game balanced. Is the game going to be pretty broken and unbalanced without those rulings, or will it run just about as well as any other edition does when confined to just the 3 core books? For reference, according to some Amazon reviews the books are reprints of the 1995 AD&D 2E books.

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Context is important, and what separates a good critic from a grumpy hack.   That's why I maintain that Sucker Punch is grotesquely underrated. It's not a movie for everybody, but there's a lot to

They were my first D&D books. Problematic thought they were, I have a certain fondness for them the way people have fondness for the (usually) terrible children's books that first got them excite

I did a search on WOTC's D&D forums for "reprints 2nd errata", and found a thread in the May 25-27,2013 range indicated there that errata was incorporated into the 2e reprints. Two posters confir

I did a search on WOTC's D&D forums for "reprints 2nd errata", and found a thread in the May 25-27,2013 range indicated there that errata was incorporated into the 2e reprints. Two posters confirmed they owned the reprints and the included errata was worth the price to them even though they had the original. One of the posters clarified that the reprints were based on the 1995 version but with the final errata incorporated.

 

Just a disclaimer, I do not have these reprints myself, so I can not first hand confirm or deny anything about them.

Edited by badocter
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The only premium reprint I've purchased is the 3.5 Spell Compendium. We only had one before, and its a great resource for players and dm alike, so we wanted a second copy. The promo I saw for the premium edition claimed it had errata, updates, etc., so I spent the extra sow to get it, brand new, instead of getting a used non-premium edition from Half-price Books.

 

Bad decision.

 

It does have errata, which means apx. 3 spells scattered throughout have had some random attribute adjusted. It is not updated to be a compendium of all the spells not in the phb, because they did not add the content from the several books that came out after the original was published. This means I paid about $10 more than original retail, $30 more than HPB price now, for what? Shiny foil on the cover.

 

I swear, it's like collecting comics in the early nineties.

 

Anyway, for the 3.5 stuff, just buy used where you can. For the harder to find older edition stuff, the premium books are quite handsome, and where there's a considerable amount of errata, they may have enough content to be worth the shiny. But they come shrink-wrapped, so it's hard to see content before you buy. Buyer beware, and all.

 

My tuppence.

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The only premium reprint I've purchased is the 3.5 Spell Compendium. We only had one before, and its a great resource for players and dm alike, so we wanted a second copy. The promo I saw for the premium edition claimed it had errata, updates, etc., so I spent the extra sow to get it, brand new, instead of getting a used non-premium edition from Half-price Books.

Bad decision.

It does have errata, which means apx. 3 spells scattered throughout have had some random attribute adjusted. It is not updated to be a compendium of all the spells not in the phb, because they did not add the content from the several books that came out after the original was published. This means I paid about $10 more than original retail, $30 more than HPB price now, for what? Shiny foil on the cover.

I swear, it's like collecting comics in the early nineties.

Anyway, for the 3.5 stuff, just buy used where you can. For the harder to find older edition stuff, the premium books are quite handsome, and where there's a considerable amount of errata, they may have enough content to be worth the shiny. But they come shrink-wrapped, so it's hard to see content before you buy. Buyer beware, and all.

My tuppence.

That's exactly the book we got, mostly because it was the one 3.5 book we lacked and secondhand copies were going for ridiculous amounts. For our purposes I don't mind that it has not got much errata, although I personally found the price a bit much.

 

Not sure how I feel about the metallic covers.

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It does have errata, which means apx. 3 spells scattered throughout have had some random attribute adjusted. It is not updated to be a compendium of all the spells not in the phb, because they did not add the content from the several books that came out after the original was published. This means I paid about $10 more than original retail, $30 more than HPB price now, for what? Shiny foil on the cover.

 

I swear, it's like collecting comics in the early nineties.

 

You do know that errata are corrections or clarifications and not new content, right? I wouldn't expect there to be new content. Unless you were meaning that they didn't include all of the existing errata for the original printing. But the way you worded it makes me think you expected them to add entirely new spells from additional sources.

 

I'm more interested in the older editions anyways. If I want to play 3.5, I can break out my 3E or Pathfinder books to have a good enough go at it that it would scratch that itch. I could go play Swords and Wizardry, which I got for free from the Bones kickstarter, but it wouldn't be the same. And if I played the old stuff, I could maybe go back and play some of the classic and iconic modules without having to do any heavy lifting on the conversions. It would almost be like a trip through history itself.

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I don't know about 'premium' versions of books, I don't have any. It's always seemed like a waste of money to me; I actually use them and it's annoying enough when someone gets orange finger prints on them, or spills a soda. I wouldn't want to have an extra expensive version of the book on the table inviting disaster.

 

About 2nd ed. D&D--I've been playing it since it was released, as both a player and DM. I've never had an issue with it being broken or unbalanced, especially when just sticking with the 3 core books. Yes, when you begin adding in all the supplements and what-not, it starts to get a little hairy, but remember, none of those are required. I think that you wouldn't have any problems playing a balanced game using just the three core books. I'm not sure what the errata is, but I've been using the original printings forever now with no issues.

 

Vutpakdi brings up an excellent point--you can find the old 2nd ed. stuff fairly cheaply if you want to try it out before splurging for the premium version.

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If I were actively playing any of these it would be tempting to get the books just because the errata is already corrected though if push came to shove I'm not sure I'ld pay the premium involved unless I couldn't locate originals.

 

The two things that annoy me immensely about these editions are:

-They are shrink-wrapped so you can't flip through them at the store. I understand that these are 'collector' editions (snort), but I it has always annoyed the crap out of me not to be able to flip through a book before purchase and even though I know what's in these it irritates me on principle.

-I actually would have rather had the full cover artwork, especially for the 1st edition books. Nostalgia and all that.

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It does have errata, which means apx. 3 spells scattered throughout have had some random attribute adjusted. It is not updated to be a compendium of all the spells not in the phb, because they did not add the content from the several books that came out after the original was published. This means I paid about $10 more than original retail, $30 more than HPB price now, for what? Shiny foil on the cover.

 

I swear, it's like collecting comics in the early nineties.

 

You do know that errata are corrections or clarifications and not new content, right? I wouldn't expect there to be new content. Unless you were meaning that they didn't include all of the existing errata for the original printing. But the way you worded it makes me think you expected them to add entirely new spells from additional sources.

 

 

Yes, I'm aware of that, and if "errata" was the only claim the ads I'd seen at the time made, I wouldn't expect more. But the sales sheet I'd seen (I was the manager and buyer for a toys and games shop at the time) claimed errata and updates that collected spells from the entirety of published 3.5 material. It's murky enough language for me to accept that WotC meant what they said and not what I read into it, but the term "updates" implied to me that the premium book had been, well, updated. Which is a more far-reaching term than "errata."

 

Also, the price was far higher than it needed to be for a foil cover and errata (errata is typically compiled over time as part of a game's standard development, so the development staff should have been paid already; printing errata isn't a new project that requires further outlay of resources), so I assumed there was additional content going into the printing cost. Shame on me, for not looking at a page count.

 

It doesn't help that the retailer sales sheets were all I'd read before I bought it, and afterwards I read the consumer ads and didn't see any of the language that had implied more content. So ultimately, I'm annoyed with myself for not being a more intelligent consumer...Yes, I'm a little annoyed that these premium books are just a way for WotC to try to stem the hemorrhaging in the time between now and D&D Next*, but mostly I'm upset that I didn't see that for what it was when I made the purchase.

 

 

 

* Not that I blame them; 4th ed gained a lot of D&D players, but it lost almost as many if not more, and a net 15% increase in sales is probably still a 10% loss in market share**

 

**These numbers are not based in fact, but rather illustrate what I believe is an educated guess about D&D sales data in an age when the tabletop RPG genre has exploded like whoa (not to mention every other gaming genre that calls to us).

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I have the 1st edition reprints, that raised funds for the Gygax Memorial, and they're cool. I did pick them up for about $15 each as that was a price I was willing to pay for something that's more for the sake of having and less for planning on playing. The reason I say this is if you really want them, but don't have any rush, they'll go on sale in a year or two on FRPGames or MiniatureMarket (which is where I got mine) for a really good price.

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If you're willing to play the eBay game, you can get pretty good copies of the core rulebooks fr 2nd ed for a good price. Heck, even a bunch of the expanded stuff. I got the complete Encyclopedia Magica for my hubby for a mere $70 (including shipping). Not that he lets me read it /sulk

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Yes, I'm aware of that, and if "errata" was the only claim the ads I'd seen at the time made, I wouldn't expect more. But the sales sheet I'd seen (I was the manager and buyer for a toys and games shop at the time) claimed errata and updates that collected spells from the entirety of published 3.5 material. It's murky enough language for me to accept that WotC meant what they said and not what I read into it, but the term "updates" implied to me that the premium book had been, well, updated. Which is a more far-reaching term than "errata."

Ah, that makes sense then. I never saw the original retailer marketing crap, so I didn't know that they had made any mention of it being an updated form outside of including the errata.

 

In any case, I don't really think its overcharging much when it comes to the older editions. You can't exactly get 1E or 2E in perfect mint condition anymore, having to go through the used book market crapshoot instead, and from what I understand they've gone in and cleaned up the layouts of the old stuff as well. Then, if you buy them through Amazon like I intend to if I decide to actually get them, it's $35 for each book. That's pretty well in line with the cost for most big name game systems. Pathfinder books run around $30, Shadowrun is about the same, and GURPS and Call of Cthulhu run around $25. At least at Amazon prices. Full retail is around $5-10 more in each case. So maybe WotC are trying to up sell the stuff a little bit based on the name and nostalgia, but at least they're trying to make things available. Though the 3.5 premiums really do seem like a cash grab, since if what you say is true they're basically just reprinting the same exact books as they had for the entire run of the game. And considering that you can still find retailers with brand new copies of a lot of 3.5 materials, then it just makes the situation worse.

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My husband is really excited for the 2nd ed books. The player's handbook is a reprint of the 1995 version, which we have a copy of, so the layout won't be unfamiliar. One of the amazon reviewers noted that while they fixed some of the mistakes from the 1995 printing, there were a batch of new mistakes and one of their "corrections" was incorrect! Haha, good ol' wizards. Keeping the old school feel on accident.

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About 2nd ed. D&D--I've been playing it since it was released, as both a player and DM. I've never had an issue with it being broken or unbalanced, especially when just sticking with the 3 core books. Yes, when you begin adding in all the supplements and what-not, it starts to get a little hairy, but remember, none of those are required. I think that you wouldn't have any problems playing a balanced game using just the three core books.

 

 

Exactly my thoughts on the matter. The absolute second you start adding brown books it's off the rails. Priests are too weak, ambidexterity and 2-weapon style make specialist 2-handed swords useless. Extra powers. MORE extra powers. Free proficencies for everybody! New proficiencies that suck all the fun out and make every man a scholar.

 

To be perfectly honest, since I can't play this with anybody without the damned brown books, I think I've come to hate this game.

 

ETA: And my preference for books, as a collector, are pre-1995 releases. Once the font changes, my collection ends. The dragon ampersand is an icon, and I refuse to own any books without it.

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