To Gazetteer or Not To Gazetteer

As I impatiently await a solution to the very heavy question of “How will I move the furniture I don’t want out of the game room?”, I struggle with an equally weighty question: “Should I offer the Gazetteers as a player resource during the Basic D&D phase of this campaign?”

The various Gazetteers (of which I only have the five pictured…maybe six if I’m forgetting one) were released as Known World supplements giving DMs greater detail about the Mystara Campaign Setting for Dungeons & Dragons. They, the ones focusing on Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings, in particular, also gave alternate character classes, such as a Dwarven Priest. The Orcs of Thar offered rules for running an entirely monstrous humanoid campaign.

Obviously, The Orcs of Thar is outside the scope of the Doctor Strangeroll campaign. But for players not used to the restrictions of Basic D&D, i.e. having their class be “Elf,” or “Dwarf,” or “Halfling,” the additional options in the Gazetteers might make them a little more comfortable with the older rules. I don’t know how it’ll affect the power level of the game, though. I’ve never known anyone who used the Gazetteers. By the time they came out, I was pretty much only paying attention to AD&D myself, so I ignored them. Of course, now that I’m going back and looking at them, acquiring them for the first time from the secondary market, I know what I’m missing. There was a lot of good fluff in those old books. I could easily see myself running several campaigns of Basic D&D using the nothing but the Rules Cyclopedia and the Gazetteers. It’s still a very good game.

Have any of you ever experienced D&D with the Gazetteers? Or known anyone who has? I’m interested to know what people’s experiences are.

Categories: Random Thoughts

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4 thoughts on “To Gazetteer or Not To Gazetteer

  1. newbiedm

    I would. I love those books.

  2. I am not familiar with these products but my thought would be to leave them out. Why? Not because of quality or anything, just that these (IMHO) take basic one step closer to AD&D (which you are already doing). Just a thought.

    • That was my first impulse, at least for the purposes of running the Classic Adventures for this blog. Later, if (when) I run a Basic D&D campaign, I think there won’t be any question: they’re in.

  3. George Fields

    I would offer them up. Those are great books.

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