Even as it conjures up the next incarnation of its iconic roleplaying game, Wizards of the Coast has launched a website devoted to selling downloads of content from older editions of Dungeons & Dragons. The move comes as D&D content also returns to other online sales portals such as DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.
WotC, a division of Hasbro, removed its PDF digital content from online marketplaces in 2009 in a bid to stem piracy.
To celebrate the launch of Dungeons & Dragons Classics, the game’s first introductory adventure module, “B1 In Search of the Unknown,” is available for free this week. The 1978 adventure, the first penned by someone other than D&D co-creator Gary Gygax, is for the game’s Basic edition. There are other free items, such as 4th Edition’s introductory adventure “H1 Keep on the Shadowfell & Quick-Start Rules.” Most titles seem to fall in a range from $5 to $20.
All the products I’ve browsed so far are listed as watermarked PDFs, but the site’s FAQs mention other ebook formats. The website is powered by DriveThruRPG’s technology.
More than a much-needed marketplace for older D&D content, Dungeons & Dragons Classics should act as a good repository of knowledge about the game’s various editions, including complete information about writers, artists and release history. You can also filter products by edition and campaign setting.
UPDATE: DriveThruRPG’s Matt M. McElroy announced the return of D&D to digital bookshelves in his email newsletter, which mentions the company’s partnership with WotC and how this will work for people who bought D&D titles from them before the blackout, as well as the load it has meant for the site’s servers:
Have you heard the big news? This week, we are thrilled to announce a new partnership with our friends at Wizards of the Coast. Since DnDClassics.com launched on Tuesday and the return of Dungeons & Dragons to DriveThruRPG, we’ve been overwhelmed with your excitement about the new site. If you purchased any of these titles previously, you will see the link become available in your Library again. The new files will be available to you as they are added to the site. This week’s launch included eighty D&D supplements — and there’s more coming!
You may have noticed our sites are loading slower than usual. The new site launch has exceeded all our projections. Our techno-goblins are doing everything they can to ensure you have a great experience shopping on our sites, so please be patient.