Monster Manual                                           Home Up


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The first hardcover AD&D manual.  Statistics, descriptions, and illustrations for a variety of monsters to populate your dungeon.

Monster Manual by Gary Gygax 

Gary Gygax was a proponent of a more in-depth gaming system than Original D&D provided, and in 1977 TSR published this first of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons hardcover manuals.  Redesigned from the ground up, AD&D provided "experienced" role players with complexity and detail (at the expense of individual creativity... AD&D encourages hand-holding).  Proving to be the more enduring of the two game systems, AD&D is still actively supported today, currently in its 4th Edition.


Printing Information  Foreign Logos

Corrections mentioned in the Errata article of Dragon Magazine #35 were gradually incorporated from the Second through the Fourth printings.

Thanks to Eric Banks, Rick Blumer, Scott Cordiner, Michael Deaton, Rich Franks, Jr, Jeff Gregor, Gary Kramer, David Lamontagne, Dave Macauley, Eric Niesley, Adrian Newman, Eric Pass, Ben Polson, Bruce Probst, Paul Stormberg, Tyson Vickers, and Susan Waldbiesser for their research and assistance on various details of the print sequence.

Thanks to Adrian Newman for the scan of the 3rd Print Beta / 4th print, and Michael Deaton for the scan of the Sixth print.

In the below listings, I've removed the hyperlinks (all of which were rather superfluous, internal links anyway), and added green highlighting to elements that changed from the previous print.  This should hopefully make it easier to identify which print you have.

  • First (Dec 1977)
    • Cover:
      • Lizard logo
      • Centered, red-lettered "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" at top, with "TM Reg Applied For" in small red letters under that
      • Rough textured (like a 1970's school textbook, which in fact it was)
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in red lettering, but no registered trademark symbol
      • States "Gary Gygax"
    • No ISBN anywhere
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • No printing number information on the copyright page
    • Catalog on last page refers to a future "Referee's Guide" and Outdoor Geomorphs sets 2-4
    • The first print was intended to be released in Sep 1977, but due to delays at the printer, was not released until after Christmas 1977 -- possibly even Jan 1978
    • Gygax has stated that this first print numbered 50,000 copies
    • About the publishing of this print (the first hardback RPG manual ever printed), again from Gygax: "It was no problem finding a printer that could do a stitched binding and school-book cover material, as I wanted the AD&D volumes to be as nearly indestructible as could be managed.  Later on the Blumes changed that to save a nickel or two on each copy printed... as if we weren't making enough as it was. (Acaeum note: this occurred with the Fourth Beta print).  Crown Books wanted me to write a special introductory game book exclusively for them, but that was a no-go.  Simon & Schuster contacted me about book trade distribution, but they were going to take a year to set it up, so I wasn't too thrilled.  Then I got a phone call from Mildred Marmur, then the VP of Sub-Rights Licensing at Random House.  They flew me out to NYC the next week and were ready to begin distribution in a month's time.  As the remainder of the deal I negotiated assured TSR cash flow and other great benefits, I signed my name up there in their offices on the second day of our meetings.  Having Millie as an advocate was a lot of help in cutting a great deal for TSR.  Both of her sons were D&Ders!"
       
  • Second (May 1978)
    • Cover:
      • Lizard logo
      • Centered, red-lettered "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" at top, but "TM Reg Applied For" has been removed
      • Rough textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in red lettering, and now has a registered trademark symbol
      • States "Gary Gygax"
    • No ISBN anywhere
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "2nd Edition, May 1978" on the copyright page
    • Catalog on last page refers to a future "Referee's Guide" and Outdoor Geomorphs sets 2-4
       
  • Third Alpha (Dec 1978)
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • Centered, red-lettered "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" at top
      • Rough textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in red lettering
      • States "Gary Gygax"
    • No ISBN anywhere
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "3rd Edition, December 1978" on the copyright page
    • Catalog on last page has been updated; now correctly reflects a future Dungeon Masters Guide and omits reference to Outdoor Geomorphs sets 2-4
       
  • Third Beta
    • This is a strange hybrid print.  The cover is identical to the Fourth Alpha print, but the spine and the interior are identical to the Third Alpha print
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • "Advanced D&D" in an angled yellow banner, top left corner; the red letters of "Advanced D&D" have black highlights, and there's no "TM" designation after it
      • "Monster Manual" title has moved from lower mid-cover to the top
      • Rough textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in red lettering
      • States "Gary Gygax"
    • No ISBN anywhere
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "3rd Edition, December 1978" on the copyright page
       
  • Fourth Alpha (Aug 1979)
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • "Advanced D&D" in an angled yellow banner; the red letters of "Advanced D&D" have black highlights, and there's no "TM" designation after it
      • "Monster Manual" title at top
      • Rough textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in white lettering
      • Now states "by Gary Gygax"
    • ISBN on spine, rear cover, and bottom of title page
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page; no Random House distribution notice
    • Considered the "final" version, with all the errata incorporated
       
  • Fourth Beta
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • "Advanced D&D" in an angled yellow banner; the red letters of "Advanced D&D" have black highlights, and there's no "TM" designation after it
      • "Monster Manual" title at top
      • Now smooth textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in white lettering
      • States "by Gary Gygax"
    • ISBN on spine, rear cover, and bottom of title page
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are red
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page, along with "Distributed to the book trade in the United States by Random House"
       
  • Fourth Gamma
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • "Advanced D&D" in an angled yellow banner; the red letters of "Advanced D&D" have black highlights, and there's no "TM" designation after it
      • "Monster Manual" title at top
      • Smooth textured
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in white lettering
      • States "by Gary Gygax"
    • ISBN on spine, rear cover, and bottom of title page
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are white
    • Pages are smooth
    • States "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page, along with "Distributed to the book trade in the United States by Random House"
       
  • Fifth (1980?)
    • Cover:
      • Wizard logo
      • "Advanced D&D" in an angled yellow banner; the red letters of "Advanced D&D" now have white highlights, and has a "TM" designation after it
      • "Monster Manual" title at top
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" in white lettering (altough a copy has been spotted with "Advanced D&D" instead)
      • States "by Gary Gygax"
    • ISBN on spine, rear cover, and title page
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are white (though a red-colored copy has been spotted -- further confirmation on this needed, since the sequence has been re-done since this was submitted)
    • Pages are now a rougher texture than previously (cheaper paper)
    • Still states "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page
    • By far the most common of all the Monster Manual prints
  • Sixth (1981)
    • Cover:
      • TSR Face logo
      • Added "Adventure Games" under "Advanced D&D" in the angled yellow banner
      • "Monster Manual" title is slightly lower than the Fifth print's
    • Spine:
      • "Advanced D&D" in white lettering
      • Now states "Adventure Games"
      • States "by Gary Gygax"
    • ISBN and TSR Product Number on spine and rear cover; ISBN alone appears on bottom of title page
    • Endpapers and flyleaves are white
    • Pages are rough
    • Still states "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page
    • Textual change in the preface (pg 4), adding "co-authored by Dave Arneson" (a direct result of the lawsuit between TSR and Arneson)
       
  • Seventh Alpha (1983)
    • Updated cover art (red dragon fighting a pegasus), matching the cover style of the newly-released Monster Manual II
    • Angled TSR logo
    • Orange spine
    • ISBN ("0-935696-00-8") stacked above the Product Number ("394-51113-1TSR1200") on the rear cover lower left; no UPC code nor price on rear cover
    • Still says "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page
    • Last page has a catalog
       
  • Seventh Beta
    • Updated cover art
    • Angled TSR logo
    • Orange spine
    • ISBN ("0-935696-00-8") and Product Number ("394-51113-1TSR1200") stacked above a UPC bar code on the rear cover center; Piece Code ("2009XXX7301") in the lower left corner, but no price
    • Still says "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page
    • Last page is blank, other than an Angled TSR logo
       
  • Eighth
    • Updated cover art
    • Angled TSR logo
    • Orange spine
    • ISBN above a UPC bar code on the rear cover center; and the price ($15.00) is in the lower right corner
    • Still says "4th Edition, August 1979" on the copyright page
    • Last page is blank, other than an Angled TSR logo
       
  • Ninth (Aug 1987), Tenth (Nov 1987), Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth (Nov 1988), Fifteenth (Jul 1989)
    • Updated cover art
    • Angled TSR logo
    • Orange spine
    • ISBN above a UPC bar code on the rear cover center, and the price ($15.00) is in the lower right corner
    • Now has printing numbers and dates on the copyright page.  We've done our best to keep these printing declarations in-line with our own previous (Eighth print and earlier) print sequence, which has been difficult!
    • Last page is blank, other than an Angled TSR logo
    • A printing has been found that states "Thirteenth Print, Jul 1990" inside.  As this is impossible, I surmise that the typo is in the printing number rather than the date, and this is probably the Sixteenth or Seventeenth print.  Thanks to Michael Deaton for this info.

An "errata sheet" was available for the First print; unknown where these sheets came from (since the books were not shrinkwrapped, it is highly unlikely they came with the book purchase).  Most of the errata mentioned on the sheet were corrected with the Second print, so we surmise it was released sometime between Dec 1977 and May 1978.  More info is needed.  Thanks to Michael Deaton for the scan.


Auction Commentary

The Monster Manual, being the first AD&D hardcover, was probably printed in greater numbers than any other D&D book.  As such, values are typically low for all bit the earliest prints.  The early prints have the added benefit of rugged construction, which helps retain their condition.

 


Monster Manual
(1st prt)


Monster Manual
(2nd prt)


Monster Manual
(3rd Alpha prt)


Monster Manual
(3rd Beta & 4th prts)


Monster Manual
(5th prt)


Monster Manual
(6th prt)


Monster Manual
(7th and later prints)


Errata sheet