A blast from D&D’s distant past

My friend and fellow gamer, Jon, sent me a message the other Sunday asking if CAM00565something he had found in a charity shop (I believe they call them Thrift Shops in the US) would be something I’d be interested in as he knew I was a bit of a D&D nut. When he told me that the contents were intact and in very good condition I was definitely interested. Jon said he’d pick it up for me and left it at our local FLGS (Tabletop Tyrant) for me to collect at the weekend when down there for my Keep on the Shadowfell game.

This is what he had found,  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Quest.

Released by TSR in 1994 as an introductory game somewhat similar to the earlier Red Box (later re-made for D&D Essentials 4e) but for AD&D 2e.

The box basically contained everything needed for a group to begin playing.

CAM00566To say I was impressed with the condition the box and its contents were in would be a massive understatement.

The supplied plastic miniatures to represent the player characters, while very basic compared to todays standards, were intact apart from one that had come adrift from the sprue. I’m pretty sure the elven archer is basically the same model they used for the current mini in the Heart of Cormyr Dungeon Command boxed set.

The polyhedral dice set supplied were still in their sealed plastic bag (and still are!).

CAM00567This was the biggest surprise in the box. First Quest came with a CD of atmospheric music which ties in with the included adventure (notes in the DM information direct which track to play when) and in older sets I’ve seen the CD was either missing or scratched up to hell. This one is immaculate.

There are also a set of character cards for the pregenerated characters which the minis represent with character portraits taken from some of AD&D’s iconic artwork (the elf archer is Tanis Half-elven from Dragonlance, the dwarf fighter is Bruenor Battlehammer as shown on the cover of The Crystal Shard).

CAM00568The booklets were in equal condition, not even any rusting on the staples. Each featuring cover art which I’m fairly certain I’m right in saying had previously graced one of the abundance of hardback rulebooks  previously released (the Monsters & Treasures book cover I believe was used on the 1e Monster Manual II).

The interiors of the book were also immaculate, no missing pages, tears or folds.


CAM00569The First Quest DM Screen while being very basic compared to the full-blown 2e  one is still really good as it introduces a new DM to the relevent information he’ll need to begin running his game.

The black and white pamphlets contained the spell descriptions for wizard and cleric players respectively and the eagle-eyed amongst you may recognise yet more classic Dragonlance art on their covers (Raistlin Majere on the wizard book, and Elistan on the clerics).

The fold out, double-sided maps were still there as were the original promotional slips for the RPGA etc and the nice big Mystara poster featuring a massive red dragon. All in as-new condition.

Now with the release of the D&D Next playtest rules lots of folks have found the similarities with 1e and 2e an advantage and an excuse to dig out those hidden classics from our shelves as now they wont take a ridiculous amount of work to convert and play. Indeed, aside from swapping monster stats for those in the new bestiary you could run as written.

So, after many messages of gratitude to Jon, I thought I’d share his find here….oh, and the cost of this hidden treasure of another age?


Now you can understand why I was so surprised and elated. So another huge thanks to Jon, and the British Heart Foundation shop in Coalville.


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