Foreword to the 2nd Edition
A foreword is normally the place where the author of a book expresses thanks
and gratitude. I'm not going to do that here. It's not that everyone involved
doesn't deserve congratulations and praise, it's just that I already said all
those things in the foreword to the AD&D Player's Handbook. Everything I said there is true for this book, too. On to other things.
Let's assume that since you're reading this, your are, or plan to be, a
Dungeon Master. By now, you should be familiar with the rules in the Player's Handbook. You've probably already noticed things you like or things you would have
done differently. If you have, congratulations. You've got the spirit every
Dungeon Master needs. As you go through this rule book, I encourage you to continue
to make these choices.
Choice is what the AD&D game is all about. We've tried to offer you what we
think are the best choices for your AD&D campaign, but each of us has different
likes and dislikes. The game that I enjoy may be quite different from your own
campaign. But it is not for me to say what is right or wrong for your game.
True, I and everyone working on the AD&D game have had to make fundamental
decisions, but we've tried to avoid being dogmatic and inflexible. The AD&D game is
yours, it's mine, it's every player's game.
So is there an "official" AD&D game? Yes, but only when there needs to be.
Although I don't have a crystal ball, it's likely that tournaments and other
official events will use all of the core rules in these books. Optional rules may or
may not be used, but it's fair to say that all players need to know about them
even if they don't have the memorized.
The Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide give you what you're expected to know, but that doesn't mean the game begins
and ends there. Your game will go in directions not yet explored and your
players will try things others think strange. Sometimes these strange things will
work; sometimes they won't. Just accept this, be ready for it, and enjoy it.
Take the time to have fun with the AD&D rules. Add, create, expand, and
extrapolate. Don't just let the game sit there, and don't become a rules lawyer
worrying about each piddly little detail. If you can't figure out the answer, MAKE
IT UP! And whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of believing these rules
are complete. They are not. You cannot sit back and let the rule book do
everything for you. Take the time and effort to become not just a good DM, but a
At conventions, in letters, and over the phone I'm often asked for the instant
answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back
with a question—what do you feel is right? And the people asking the questions discover that not only can
they create an answer, but that their answer is as good as anyone else's. The
rules are only guidelines.
At the beginning of the first Dungeon Master Guide, Gary Gygax stressed that each of us, working from a common base, would make
the AD&D game grow in a variety of different directions. That is more true
today than ever. Don't be afraid of experimentation, but do be careful. As a
Dungeon Master, you have great power, and "with great power comes great
responsibility." Use it wisely.
David "Zeb" Cook
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