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I’ve heard references to text having been removed for the reprinted boxed set of the original Dungeons & Dragons booklets, published by Wizards of the Coast in 2013, but I haven’t ever found a detailed explanation of the alleged changes. The most recent mention of this I’ve stumbled over goes so far as to call it “censored”, and heavily at that:

This is the heavily censored 2013 version, …

That review on the PDF edition also doesn’t elaborate what changes the objection is based on. (Googling has failed me, and when I thought I’d have to resign myself to digging through forums I remembered that’s exactly what SE exists to avoid.)

I haven’t seen a 2013 print copy, and don’t have ready access to a copy of the original printing to compare it with anyway. (I’ve always had to reference a friend’s copy.) I will probably get a copy of the PDFs as a reference that’s finally my own, but I want to know what I might be missing.

What (if any) textual changes were made or text was removed for the 2013 WotC reprints of OD&D, compared to the original 1974 TSR edition?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast [edition-comparison] doesn’t really help: it’s not a different edition as that tag uses “edition”, just a reprint that might have changes, and it demotes the system from the first tag spot, thus removing it from the page title and some Google searches. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 15 '18 at 22:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough! I wasn't sure if it was really appropriate. Though the inability to have one tag (in RPG.SE's case, the system tag) always appear first seems like a sitewide oversight. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 15 '18 at 22:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Being able to make certain tags “special” and always appear before non-special tags, like the four on meta do, would be a great feature. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 15 '18 at 23:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've made a post in meta about that issue. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 15 '18 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast If that means what I think it means, then 1974 me believes that an absolute travesty and plans to write a stern letter to TSR after he's finished his science homework and watched the The Six Million Dollar Man. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 16 '18 at 8:54
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A single reference to "hobbits" on page 6.

Someone who owns the very earliest printing of Dungeons & Dragons may indeed notice more differences—but these would be changes made between the original printing (1974) and sixth printing (1977), which notably removed several references to the works of Tolkien.

The 2013 reprint makes virtually no changes (even the art of the scantily clad Amazon remains!), except as follows:

  • On page 6, the line "Fighting-Men includes the characters of elves and dwarves and even hobbits" was changed to say "halflings" instead.
    • According to The Acaeum's page on the topic, the sixth printing in 1977 is believed to be the edition which removed references to hobbits, balrogs, ents, etc, owing to a lawsuit by Saul Zaentz, who in 1976 purchased exclusive merchandising rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. However, this edition missed a single reference to hobbits on page 6, which WotC was no doubt legally required to change for the reprint.
  • Men & Magic is now referred to as Book I, rather than Volume I. This convention is used throughout the books.
  • The cover art is new, and of professional quality.
  • Wizards of the Coast's logo appears on the 2013 product. TSR's address and a product listing of TSR products are omitted.

The complaint of censorship may refer to the replacement of the cover art of Eldritch Wizardry, which originally shows a naked woman tied to an altar. All of the reprints were given new cover art, including that book.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As JRR Tolkien passed away in 1973, presumably the changes to the 1977 edition were due to a lawsuit by the Tolkien estate, which is an altogether different situation... \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 17 '18 at 2:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I've corrected it. Interestingly, it seems the lawsuit was actually from a third party who had bought the rights from the Tolkien estate, rather than from the Tolkien estate themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Sep 17 '18 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for spotting that. I was confusing the seventh printing (1978-1979) which according to The Acaceum only changed the catalog page. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Sep 17 '18 at 11:14

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