AD&D PDF re-releases raise creator, cost questions

Current D&D Campaign Adventures - Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

Some recent digital re-releases of classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons products are raising a few eyebrows among longtime fans of the roleplaying game.

The 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) Odyssey line, described as original D&D publisher TSR’s first fully online product release, consisted of pretty basic text with very limited imagery. The Savage Coast Campaign Book and its Orc’s Head supplement in this AD&D Odyssey series were recently re-released as PDFs by Wizards of the Coast, which purchased TSR, on the Dungeon Masters Guild website for digital products and fan creations using approved D&D assets.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Complete Starter Set

However, DMs Guild customers pointed out in the product comments that the versions released there are re-designed, more visually dynamic versions put out after the original release by fan creators, rather than the original TSR edition. (Though we’re no lawyers, it should be noted that free text or PDF releases don’t necessarily mean you can rework and redistribute those items free from all possible consequences, but a large company then going on to redistribute the visual and design enhancements of amateur or independent creators without even crediting their contributions would also usually be inadvisable, though it certainly does happen.)

Another recent archival AD&D PDF release, The Complete Starter Set: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Game 2E, caught customers’ attention for the unusually high price ($29.99) compared to other PDF-only DMs Guild products (the site also sells print-on-demand versions of select items, but not these books).

Also unusual for classic D&D releases on DMs Guild, none of these has any product history attached to their product page as has appeared there frequently in the past for other archival re-releases.

Nerdvana has reached out to Wizards of the Coast representatives for the company’s reaction to these AD&D PDF concerns, and will update readers when there is any official comment.

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About the author

Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.