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Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, first edition rulebooks

Contributed by Andy Delgado on Dec 11th, 2020. Artwork published in
circa 1977
.
    Cover of the first printing of the Monster Manual for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1977. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.
    Source: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com © Wizards of the Coast. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover of the first printing of the Monster Manual for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1977. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.

    These are the original covers to the rulebooks of the 1st edition of the well known fantasy role-playing game Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. All three rulebooks have cover art done by David C. Sutherland III (1949–2005), and were published by TSR Games between 1977 (for the Monster Manual) and 1979 (for the Dungeon Masters Guide [sic]).

    The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons logo uses Filmotype Quentin. This typeface had already been chosen for the original 1974 edition of the game. The titles are set in caps from Latin Bold Condensed, and smaller bits in Futura.

    Cover for the first printing of the Players Handbook [sic] for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1978. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.
    Source: https://www.previewsworld.com © Wizards of the Coast. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover for the first printing of the Players Handbook [sic] for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1978. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.

    Cover for the first printing of the Dungeon Masters Guide [sic] for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1979. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.
    Source: http://www.ebay.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover for the first printing of the Dungeon Masters Guide [sic] for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 1st edition, published by TSR Games in 1979. Cover design by David C. Sutherland III.

    Typefaces

    • Filmotype Quentin
    • Latin Bold
    • Futura
    • Chisel

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    3 Comments on “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, first edition rulebooks”

    1. Detail from the title page of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, 1979. Image by Jason Liebig.

      Thanks for this addition, Andy!

      Quentin was added to Filmotype’s library sometime in the second half of the 1950s. No designer is credited, but it’s likely an adaptation of a design made by Dave Davison for Photo-Lettering before 1954, named Carousel F. It was available from various manufacturers under various names.

      Chances are that the specific version used for Dungeons & Dragons is Mecanorma’s Gay Nineties. Mecanorma produced dry transfer lettering sheets similar to those by Letraset. Their products were distributed in the United States by Keuffel & Esser at least since 1973. The slightly uneven spacing and alignment suggest that the cover typography was made with rub-down type – it was a popular technique in low-budget/DIY contexts. Letraset carried this design, too, under the name Quentin. However, their ampersand has a different, wider form.

    2. Title page of the Monster Manual, 4th edition, Aug. 1979. Photo by 369george.

      I wondered where the Latin Bold Condensed might come from. As far as I can tell, this style wasn’t widely available in the 1970s. This title page might have the answer. Here, “Monster Manual” is shown in Chisel. This is an inline version, made in 1939 by cutting lines into the 19th-century Latin Bold Condensed. Chisel was very much available – it was carried by Mecanorma and Letraset, among others. I’d assume that the cover type isn’t Latin Bold Condensed, but actually a filled-in, (re-)solidified Chisel.

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