D&D Collecting: Modules & Magazines

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Gear up for some more helpful tips from the world of D&D collecting!

D&D Modules & Magazines

See how I did that? I wrote modules & magazines with an ampersand, just like D&D does. Sometimes I’m too clever by half; sometimes, I’m not clever at all, so I think I’d best move into today’s topic: Tips on collecting the game’s other two pillars, its magazines (Dragon and Strategic Review) and its modules (the old ones).

The magazines are fun and easy to obtain. The original magazine that TSR put out in the mid-70s, when collars were big and disco still alive, was the Strategic Review. Copies of this periodical are rare, very expensive, and minimal. There were only 16 pages per copy and you needed a microscope to read their tiny fonta. The articles that dealt with D&D were usually meant to augment and clarify the original D&D rule set that was published in 1974. After a few issues TSR changed the magazine to The Dragon, and began a periodical that ran in print until 2007.

Early issues of The Dragon are pricy, too, especially for what you get. And unless you’re a hardcore collector, or have a particular sentimentality toward these early days, I would recommend steering clear. For example, since I am a hard core collector I just bought The Dragon No. 4 for $75. This has a sentimental value for me because it has an article about Metamorphosis Alpha, another game I played back in the day.

If you’re an old-school gamer who’s interested in reminiscing and playing old school D&D or AD&D you might find issues # 31 through 92 to be excellent ground for exploration (Note: After issue #38 the magazine was changed to Dragon). These issues were the ones on the newstands between 1980 and 1984, when most folks my age started playing. Each issue contained some fun recurring articles, like “Creature Feature”, “Sorcerers Scroll”, “Ecology of the [Monster], and the classic “Order of the Stick” comic strips.

Don’t miss our D&D themed episode of the JustUs Geeks podcast!

 

For me the fun in these old magazines is the ads. In those pre-web days of days of IBM PCs and Atari home computers, we saw all kinds of strange and amazing ideas. There were games being sold on floppy disk that would let you run through a dungeon using text input. There were attempts to play D&D by mail. Here, a DM would start a game via letter; his payers would write back telling to telling what their characters were doing. Can you imagine how slow that would be? Another thing that I found fascinating was the fact that letters to the editor were just that: letters to the editor. Probably handwritten or typed on a typewritten (shudder) and sent to TSR.

So, if you want some old D&D magazines your best bet is to stop over at eBay and look for issues starting at # 33 (the first of 1980). The prices are good and the reminiscing is priceless.

And now, modules. There are really just too many to list here, but no collector of D&D is going to be worth his salt without a set of the original, monochrome modules called the Giants and the Drow series. These modules have monochrome covers and have “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” in the original Quentin EF font, emblazoned on the top-center of the cover.

  • G1- Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
  • G2- The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
  • G3- Hall of the Fire Giant King
  • D1- Descent into the Depths of the Earth
  • D2- shrine of Kuo-Toa
  • D3- Vault of the Drow
  • S1- Tomb of Horror
  • S2 – White Plume Mountain
  • T1- The Village of Hommlet

The cool thing, in my opinion, is that these modules are not only interesting for sentiment sake, they are also remarkably fun to play. The story arc from G1 through D3 is actually one of the greatest super-dungeons ever created. So, with that, friends, I hope I’ve given you a fair taste of this niche, but interesting hobby. As they said back in the day, “Fight On!”

About author

Keith Parker

Keith Parker is a traditionally published science fiction and fantasy writer, history geek, college football fan, and long-time collector of games and shiny objects. You can find him at NASA unless he has transmogrified himself into an elephant.

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