Advanced Edition Companion: Initial Review and Reflection

I just got my copy of Advanced Edition Companion  in the mail from Lulu.  Man oh man oh man….I’ve only had the briefest chance to look through it, but it looks really, really good.  Did I mention really good?  I think Dan’s got my number with this product – almost like he was reading my mind.

James Maliszewski had provided an excellent review of Advanced Edition Companion on Grognardia, so I was very much looking forward to getting my own copy.  I think what I’ve really appreciated about Advanced Edition Companion in my initial perusal is that the entire book is essentially optional rules, rather than an “approved way to play.”  I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never gone along with the idea that OD&D with all its supplements is the same as AD&D, primarily because of this fundamental difference in philosophy.  OD&D resonates with the Afterword of Volume Three, in which Gary advises “…the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it just that way!” while AD&D ended up being the TSR “official set” – which meant that every referee and every campaign had to align themselves a greater or lesser distance from the Pattern of Lake Geneva.

Advanced Edition Companion avoids this by bringing lots of crunchiness from AD&D or OD&D with everything, and doing so in a way that makes it easier – not harder – for referees to use.  And it seems that Jamie Mal likes this, too.