One of the toughest challenges facing a DM (and I can only assume that everyone reading this either is, or wants to be, a DM) is keeping his game sessions fresh and exciting.

Those of us who produce new material for the AD&D game as a whole have a more or less similar task, although on a larger scale. We are constantly searching for ways to make adventures and game accessories unique, or at least original and distinctive. Like Sir Isaac Newton, we've learned from experience that when faced with multiple choices, the simplest alternative is often the best.

Hence the book you hold in your hands.

After six years, it was time for the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master Guide, the two most important AD&D rule books, to get freshened up. What could be better and simpler than a new coat of paint? Products that we publish today don't look like products we published in 1989, or even in 1993. We haven't changed the game in any substantial way (aside from the usual clarifications and corrections that go along with any reprint). But we have let these books catch up to our new standards. They're larger, more colorful, and more readable, all with an eye toward making your DMing job easier.

Bringing this project together rekindled a lot of memories. In particular, one day from 1987 stands out in my mind. I remember it vividly because it was the day when Dave Cook and I drew up the very first outline and schedule for the 2nd Edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game. What needed to be done, and how it should be done, looked clear and simple on our neat, four-page report. In fact, that massive undertaking occupied almost two years of our lives, and I've spent most of my time since then caring for the AD&D game.

That's a job that we enjoy, or we wouldn't be doing it. Most of us feel that we have a stake, to one extent or another, in every AD&D campaign out there. When you and your players get together, the months (often years) of designing, discussing, playtesting, redesigning, arguing, editing, sketching, and head scratching disappear into the background. But no matter whether you play by the books or with a binder full of home rules, we're all in this together, united by the common thread of the AD&D game.

Steve Winter

February 6, 1995

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