The D&D Rules Cyclopaedia is now available again, in soft or hard covers, this time as a Print-On-Demand book. The softcover is about $US25, and the hardcover is about $US30, plus postage and what-not. I'm very tempted to buy a copy, but it would be a frivolous waste of my money since I don't even get any use out of the original copy I have, and postage to NZ would likely double the cost.

I think this was possibly the best version of D&D ever released. It is complete in one volume, so there's just the one book to carry around.

Advancement for characters runs up to 36th level, though no character in any campaign I've ever run or played in has even come close to those exalted heights: my highest-level character ever is Sir Fnord the Pretty Gosh-Darned Neat (some very old character sheets here) at a majestic 13th level, and that's after nearly forty years of (increasingly infrequent) play.

It includes all the critters a DM really needs, though it never hurts to have more up one's sleeve just to mess with those annoying players who have memorized all the standard monsters capabilities and weaknesses. Fortunately, it's pathetically easy to use the multitudinous AD&D/OSRIC bestiaries that have been produced with it; they hardly need massaging at all.

The beauty of this version of the game is that it is an excellent combination of completeness and freedom. It provides the supportive framework that can allow one to go berserk with invention without having to mess with the muscles and bones of the system; it is far less restrictive than AD&D or later versions. However, it is thorough enough to fully support players and DMs who aren't (yet) comfortable enough to diverge far from the beaten path.

Regrettably, I hardly even knew that B/X D&D existed when I first started playing in Palmerston North in '81, and even if I had, I would probably have turned my nose up at it, because we played ADVANCED D&D, not that baby "Basic" stuff. I was an ignorant idiot.

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