Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition, Adventure OSR Campaign Commentary, Classic Era TSR, the "Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine"

 "Are you running out of ideas for ways to stock your dungeon full of treasure? Do you need a quick and easy way to fill out your castle of 1,000 rooms with monsters? The Monster & Treasure Assortment has 900 monsters, 900 treasures, a host of treasure containers/protection devices/concealments, and complete instructions for using the assortment to fill in partially stocked or newly encountered dungeon levels. 

Designing and stocking any number of dungeon levels become a snap when Monster and Treasure Assortment is used in conjunction with Dungeon Geomorphs. TSR's geomorphs allow an almost endless variety of rooms to be laid out in virtually no time at all.

Just one more useful playing aid from the Game Wizards at TSR."

Coming out right after the AD&D Rogue's Gallery the  
"Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine" (1980) book came out in May. The Monster & Treasure book was/is a tool kit for dungeon,ruin,& adventure  design. This is the fourth printing of the book & this is where I came into its possession back in the Eighties. 

 This is a great book for stocking a dungeon that you've just mapped out & you've got your players coming over later that night. The chips are in the bag, the soda or beer is in the frig, & you've got a map done & are ready to stock it. This is the book to help you stock it in spades. And why would you use this book if you already have the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide?!


The answer is simple really, your players have the same Advanced Dungeons & Dragons classic Dungeon Master's Guide as you do. Using the "Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine"  gives you the DM some flavor, variation, & a whole lot of latitude in your dungeon or ruin design. Going back to 1977 there were some variation of this book on the market. Thanks to the Acaeum  site for that little nugget of info. 

If you think I'm wasting your time with this blog entry on "Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine" then check out this little nugget of information I found on  the Grognardia blog entry;
" One of the reasons I find it so fascinating is that the 1980 edition, which is the one I own, doesn't just compile the contents of the three sets from which it's made; it revises -- selectively. Consider that, when it was first released in 1977, there was OD&D, the AD&D Monster Manual, and the Holmes Basic Set. While there's a high degree of compatibility between these three variations on D&D, they're not identical to one another. By 1978, when the later installments of this series was released, the AD&D Players Handbook was available, adding yet another possible source of rules variations. The 1980 compilation predates the release of the Moldvay Basic Rules, but, looking through the monster and treasure listings, you'll see entries that seem to reflect the contents of Moldvay. In the end, it the Monster & Treasure Assortment seems to use a hodgepodge of rules sets rather than any single one.

This jumbled character is apparent too when you look at, for example, the format used in the monster entries. Each of the monsters has an abbreviation of "AL" followed by a number. According to the book's introduction, "AL" is attack level and it's THAC9, that is, the number needed by the monster in question to hit an unarmored opponent in OD&D and its descendant games (but not post-PHB AD&D). Saving throw entries are clearly Moldvay-derived, as there are references to racial classes. But then there are also references to monsters like Type I and Type III demons, multiclass halflings, and Will o' Wisps that once again make it clear that the Monster & Treasure Assortment was never fully updated in 1980 to a single, consistent rules set, instead being a mixture of elements from several different games."

The utility of this product is incredible, I've used it with D&D/AD&D crossover games of Gamma World, Boot Hill, & Metamorphosis Alpha. The reason for this is the fact that even some of the low level lists for treasures in the book are generous with magic items. They give the PC's a bit of an edge against some of the horrors that are in the book. This book is a mix of all sorts of different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. This is a reflection of the time of the book's release. Again this doesn't take away from the utility of the product at all.
 Infact I'll go one better & say that that 
the Monster & Treasure Assortment is more useful today with the number of OSR systems that emulate early editions of Dungeons & Dragons & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

I'm I still using 
the Monster & Treasure Assortment book at the table? Hell yes I'm still using my beat up copy & in fact I've used it recently for a Gamma World cross over game. 

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