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My recent experience with Baldur's Gate series have filled me with the urge to master (or play) with AD&D for once, instead of recent editions. However, I think neither I can pay a visit to stores with the reprint (I live far, far away from there, and when I say far, it means my airplane ticket will cost much more than the books themselves), nor I think I can endure expenses from international shipping. Thus, I looked at D&D Classics, and I found out that while they sold a bunch of digital editions of supplements, I didn't find out any core rulebooks.

So, here is my question: Is there any way to buy digital editions for AD&D 2nd core rulebooks, namely PHB, DMG and MM?

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Have you actually checked the prices for shipping to your location? Sites like Abebooks.com offers second hand books from dealers worldwide with varying shipping costs. Might or might not work out for you but is worth checking. –  Sven Feb 10 '14 at 9:02
If they do become available, it'll be on D&D Classics. But it looks like the core rulebooks aren't getting put up there, so as to not compete with reprinted versions. Maybe they'll change their mind on that one day. –  Tridus Feb 10 '14 at 11:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be able to get your hands on a digital copy, legally at least. I've looked around some and every core rulebook of that edition that I've found have been physical reprints.

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If that is the case, I think I'd rather stick with my remaining campaign of D&D Next. Thank you for your research. –  Arle Camille Feb 13 '14 at 4:34

I checked and there seems to be no way to get it without the copy right owner reprinting or digitalising it, what they did not do for the last two decades, as far as I know. The did reprint it in 1995, but not without changing it. All physical copies I have seen so far have been inherited from one player to another or been bought for much money on the internet. And none of them was in a good shape.

On top of that, have a look at this copy right information, which explains how long the copy right will be up. To my regret I doubt it will end in our lifetime. In some cases they even made laws to make the copy right longer.

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Thought I wouldn't get to this until next week but finding this was way simpler than I thought it would be.

I've seen this link many times across various forums but never paid it much mind as I don't play (and don't want to play) 2nd edition. Because this site has been up for... years, I cannot believe it's illegitimate.

So here's the link:


Plus you're not getting much whiz-bang - see the rules of conduct there at the opening page - and I expect WotC to be releasing 2nd Edition stuff soon as they are already releasing PDFs of 1st Edition products (but I'm only guessing).

Full disclosure - If for some reason the MODS want to delete my answer I'm fine with that but I srsly wouldn't be posting it if I thought Purple Worm was illicit. I have no known personal connection to the website. I've poked around it a few times. It's one of the better RPG forums out there and the only one that I know of that focuses on 2nd Edition.


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Yeah, that site is definitely not doing that legally. The first sale doctrine doesn't work the way the disclaimer says it does, and that disclaimer/agreement doesn't let them legally avoid needing a license to republish. That it's been around for years just means WotC haven't noticed this one copyright violation (there are many pirate copies of 2e out there), or haven't bothered to C&D them, and not enforcing copyright doesn't weaken their ability to enforce it tomorrow (the way it does with trademarks). –  SevenSidedDie Jan 3 at 5:17
@SevenSidedDie - So I originally saw the Purple Worm link on the WotC site (since purged in one of the many re-orgs of their user forums), but have also seen it on GitP, and more recently over at the Paizo forum. I'm not a lawyer but from what I've heard WotC hasn't been shy about enforcing their rights. That still doesn't make it legal (or illegal), I'm just saying that Purple Worm doesn't seem to be something WotC is going to challenge given how long and how publicly this guy has been sharing the PDF scans of his D&D 2nd Edition collection. –  user23715 Jan 6 at 18:54
That means it's not likely to disappear soon, yes. But it's very much not a legal digital version of the books (I'm not a lawyer either, but I have ~15 years of copyright layman experience), which is what this question is asking about. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 6 at 20:47
@SevenSidedDie - So remove my answer or ask a MOD to. Why prattle on debating irrelevant legal points with someone who doesn't really care what you have to say in that regard? I am not at all convinced Purple Worm is illicit. If you are, then it is something you ought to report to WotC else you're complicit in Purple Worm's alleged crime. –  user23715 Jan 7 at 1:05
The legal point is crucial because the question is whether a legal digital option exists. Answering the question is the point of this site, and this isn't supplying a legal option. If you think it should be deleted then you can do that. For my part I'd rather downvote it for not being useful for this question. (I'm only complicit in the civil violation—not crime—if I use it.) –  SevenSidedDie Jan 7 at 1:09

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