Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rare Find: 1993 TSR Master Catalog

Howdy folks. It's the day before Gencon and I have nothing new yet to report, so let's get nostalgic instead. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine found this gem and didn't want it. It's a near mint copy of the "Collector's Edition" of the 1993 TSR product catalog. This book is quite amazing. Not only is it a hardback, glossy paged catalog (wow), it's from the heyday of D&D during second edition when TSR was pumping out so many games and product lines it will make your head spin.

For example, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Dragonlance are at their height of course, but here we also have Al Qadim (this was the year it got official stuck to Faerun), Dark Sun, Ravenloft and Spelljammer still going strong. There was also the regular Dungeons & Dragons line that had your Mystara products such as Champions of Mystara boxed set (building off the famous "Princess Ark" Dragon Mag articles).

Not only was 1993 good for those D&D mainstays, TSR was showing off new material for the Buck Rogers High Adventure RPG, Gamma World and many board games like Dragon Quest. 93 saw the release of some notable books, supplements and adventures for D&D like the Book of Artifacts, City of Lankhmar, the Complete Gnome and Halfling Handbook and Dragon Mountain (wink).

What was Greyhawk debuting in 1993? It was the follow-up to the Greyhawk Wars so we saw some of Carl Sargent's most prolific works rolled out:

WGR4 The Marklands: "The foundations of the Greyhawk world have been shaken by disastrous wars. In the aftermath, the adventure intensifies!
Once the pre-eminent power of the north, Furyondy has been bled by years of war against the evil empire of Iuz. Borders once secure are now wastelands, dotted with isolated villages, struggling to withstand the tide of evil. The Marklands sourcebook combines years of background with new excitement and presents all the information needed for the Dungeon Master and players to adventure on this war-stricken frontier."

(A succinct blurb, it of course didn't have room to mention that the book also details Nyrond and the Vesve Forest)

WGR5 Iuz the Evil: "Iuz's empire of conquest and evil is detailed for the first time!
Surrounded by his fiendish minions, Iuz the Old, Iuz the Evil, has emerged as the greatest threat to the good lands in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. This sourcebook provides complete information on Iuz's lands, his fiendish armies and the horrid dungeons beneath Dorakaa. Only the bravest adventurers would dare infiltrate Iuz's blood-red empire."

(I wouldn't say WGR5 details any dungeons below Dorakaa, that is what this next one was for)

WGR6 The City of Skulls "Here, a daring crew of adventurers braves the capital city of the evil empire of Iuz!
The City of Skulls module sends adventurers up against one of the most diabolical and long-standing villains of the World of Greyhawk setting. Players must infiltrate the city on their secret mission, up to the very throne of Iuz himself!"

(I don't recall the module playing out that way, but hey it sounds impressive)

WGM1 Border Watch "The first full-blown adventure to take place in Nyrond and Furyondy since the Great War reshaped the World of Greyhawk setting.
Border Watch presents a brave new frontier that must be mastered. Players battle to stem the tides of evil from the vast northern empire of Iuz that threaten to engulf these good nations."

(As I recall this mod was only set in Furyondy. Not sure. The modules that followed Greyhawk Wars fell flat in my opinion and I imagine probably led to the greatest travesty in Greyhawk history, worse than the joke Castle Greyhawk - Ivid the Undying not getting published.)

All in all this was a fun book to thumb through and read. Now I'm off to Gencon to find out what the future holds for D&D. Stay tuned!


Mystic Scholar said...

You lucky dog! LOL

His loss, you're gain. ;)

Anthony Simeone said...

Wow, man, that thing is like solidified nostalgia! Ugh, you've infected me with even more nostalgia than I usually have coursing through my gamer's veins. I have a real problem...I love the utility, the ease of use, of more modern versions of D&D and other non-D&D derived RPGs...but, there's the nostalgic beast inside me sees something like this and leaps with joy! I really miss the heady days of the 2E era, where TSR was exploding with products. And no matter how great or mediocre those products were, at least they existed in all their glorious profusion! Ack, I have to go lay down...congrats on your score!

Anthony Simeone said...

P.S. Here's a post from a few years back when I had my own old D&D catalog discovery!


mortellan said...

Good post Anthony. Yeah when I flipped through this book I was blown away. Back then I was used to such a rich release schedule. Nowadays I'm impressed if I see one good book I like. Only Paizo I think has a diverse enough product lineup to compare.