D&D Expert Set  & Cyclopedia              HomeUp
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Released as the obvious sequel to the D&D Basic Set, which left characters hanging at level 3.  For characters levels 4 - 14 (D&D Rules Cyclopedia covers levels 1 to 36).

D&D Expert Set (light blue box) edited by Dave Cook
D&D Expert Rules Set 2 (blue box) edited by Frank Mentzer
D&D Rules Cyclopedia by Aaron Allston

TSR wanted to make it even more clear that AD&D was not the sequel to the Basic Rules, but was a separate game entirely (and every official reference to a link was removed, such as the paragraph on page 6 of First-print B1 In Search of the Unknown).  Weíve heard this was due to legal reasons.

The Expert Set is supported specifically by the DA, O, and X-series of modules, as well as MSOLO2.

D&D Rules Cyclopedia is the replacement for the D&D Basic, Expert, Companion, and Master Rules.  It covers levels 1-36, and is further expanded upon by the Wrath of the Immortals set (thanks to Richard van Tol for this info).  An unofficial errata sheet has been compiled by Jason MacInnes, and is available in our Library section.

Exp Descrp


Printing Information  Foreign Logos

As with the D&D Basic Sets, the Expert Set rulebooks were available separately (shrinkwrapped) and have the same artwork as their respective box sets.  All the rulebook covers are in color.

  • First (1981)
    • Compatible with the Second Revision of the D&D Basic Set (Eighth print), and released at the same time
    • Light blue box, depicting a wizardís scrying of a battle (the scene in the crystal ball is of the cover to the D&D Basic Set); box artwork by Erol Otus
    • Box bottom does not have the Product Number in the lower right.  Border around the "STOP! READING THIS" text is black.  Lower right corner shows the latest copyright as 1980
    • 64-page rulebook, 3-hole-punched, with a black number "2" in the upper left (no white circle around it).  States a copyright of 1980 in several places, but the actual copyright is January 1981
    • X1 Isle of Dread (First print, no shrinkwrap)
    • Six uncolored dice and a dice crayon
    • Thanks to Rene Hurka and Bruce Robertson for help with this info, and the rulebook scan
       
  • Second
    • Light blue box, depicting a wizardís scrying of a battle; box artwork by Erol Otus
    • Box bottom does not have the Product Number in the lower right.  Border around the "STOP! READING THIS" text is red.  Lower right corner shows the latest copyright as 1981
    • 64-page rulebook, 3-hole-punched, with a black number "2" surrounded by a white circle in the upper left.  Copyright info has been corrected to 1981, and Steve Marsh has been added as co-editor.  Table of contents, index, and glossary are in black ink
    • X1 Isle of Dread (Second print, no shrinkwrap)
    • Six uncolored dice and a dice crayon
    • Thanks to Rene Hurka, Bruce Robertson, Bill Sweetapple for help with this info, and to Bruce Robertson for the rulebook scan
       
  • Third
    • Light blue box, depicting a wizardís scrying of a battle; box artwork by Erol Otus
    • Box bottom has the Product Number in the lower right
    • 64-page rulebook, 3-hole-punched, with a black number "2" surrounded by a white circle in the upper left.  Table of contents, index, and glossary are in blue ink
    • X1 Isle of Dread (Third print, no shrinkwrap)
    • Six uncolored dice and a dice crayon
    • Thanks to Bill Sweetapple and Alex Wu for this info
  • Fourth (1983)
    • Compatible with the Third Revision of the D&D Basic Rules Set 1 (Twelfth print) and Set 3: Companion Rules, released at the same time (as well as the Master and Immortal Rules Sets, released slightly later)
    • Entitled Expert Rules Set 2.  Solid blue box, showing a flying dragon battling a mounted warrior; box artwork by Larry Elmore
    • 64-page rulebook, July 1983
    • X1 Isle of Dread (Fourth print, no shrinkwrap)
    • Six uncolored dice and a dice crayon
    • Thanks to Aaron Leeder and Eric Pass for help with the info, to Norbert Jakobs for the scan of the set, and to Eric Pass for the scan of the rulebook
  • Fifth
    • Retitled Set 2: Expert Rules to bring it in-line with the other boxed sets.  Solid blue box, showing a flying dragon battling a mounted warrior; box artwork by Larry Elmore
    • 64-page rulebook, July 1983.  A few changes, notably the saving-throw matrices and Thief Skills progression table brought in-line with the Companion and later sets
    • X1 Isle of Dread (Fourth print, no shrinkwrap)
    • Six uncolored dice and a dice crayon
    • Thanks to Mike Stoddard and Jim Torbet for help with this info, and to Richard van Tol for the scan of the set

A subsequent revision of the Expert Rules was incorporated into the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. (Thanks to Adrian Newman for the scan of the Cyclopedia).
 
D&D Rules Cyclopedia Foreign

The D&D Rules Cyclopedia has no distinguishable prints.  A pre-production scan is accessible through this link; it was never actually printed, having been created solely for a TSR catalog photo shoot around 1990 (thanks to Richard van Tol for the scan).


Auction Commentary

For whatever reason, the Fifth print of the Expert Set (Set 2: Expert Rules) is very rare, compared to the Fourth print (Expert Rules Set 2).  Since the contents are identical, however, obtaining a Fifth print is understandably a low priority for collectors.


Current eBay Auctions

Expert Set
(1st - 3rd print)


Expert Rulebook (1st prt)


Expert Rulebook
(2nd/3rd prt)


Expert Rules Set 2
(4th print)


Set 2: Expert Rules
(5th print)


Expert Rulebook
(4th/5th print)


D&D Rules Cyclopedia