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 The Rules Cyclopedia, sing its praises proudly


A Most Sincere Poseur
Validated User
Earlier this week, something many old-school D&D fans have been yearning for finally came to be: hardcopy reprints of 1991's Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. Considered by many the best single-volume version of D&D (and by some the best version of D&D, period).

To celebrate this event, I'd like to hear fans talk about why they enjoy the Cyclopedia, what of it's features impresses them (and what of its quirks amuse them) and maybe pitch it to people unfailiar with it. As a secondry topic, it'd be interesting to hear folks thoughts on what it means for the hobby now that POD is bringing older games like this back into circulation.
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Validated User
For the uninitiated this is not a beginner/basic rules book. It is (almost) everything from four box set (Basic, Expert, Companion, Master) plus a pile o stuff from gazetteers and other BECMI/Known World sources. Oh and it has a ton of monsters!

As a Cyclopedia it is awesome, no more shifting through 8 plus saddle stitched softcovers for your Basic D&D goodness!

Those who are interested in 'basic' (also known as classic) DnD with race-as-class will be pleased to note that 'attack ranks' and weapon mastery rules extends demi-humans longevity beyond levels 8/10/12- human classes got to level 36 (!). What it also does over those 36 levels is really screw over Thieves, with their percentage chances that maxed out at level 14 in B/X, with the intention of giving them new abilities in the never made Companion rules, now maxxing out in the 20s and 30s levels! Weapon Mastery also makes fighting classes dangerous and interesting, with lots of tricks and manoeuvres to make combat interesting - tied with the Old School saving throw system, it keeps them much more relevant than in 3E that followed.

There is also a ton of DM goodness, aside from the pages of monsters, with rules/discussion on Immortals, campaigning, the planes, variant rules etc.

If you want a comprehensive old school DnD ruleset in just one book, you can;t go wrong - Rules Cornucopia it should be called!
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Thoroughly mediocre GM.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Rules Cyclopedia is a DnD edition I like. Whole complete game in a single book.

I'm also thankful to folks like BlackytheBlackball and other retrocloners for making versions of it that are both freely available and formatted in a way that makes my modern design sensibilities happier.


Registered User
Validated User
Hmmm... I see it's a scanned image title. Anyone have the PDF and able to confirm it's quality for printing?


GAMMA Clearance
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The Rules Cyclopedia sings with this sort of confident ambition that's just breathtaking. It suckers you in with a nice simple dungeon crawl, and then you hit Name level, so you want to build a fortress, here are fortress design rules... and you'll need a domain, so here's the domain subsystem... and now some mass battle rules... hey, have you considered running for godhood?
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