TSR did something a bit confusing back at the introduction of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, and can cause headaches in online buying/selling today.
TSR used a “Volume” moniker for the first three Monstrous Compendium releases: Vols 1, 2, 3…
...and also their two binders: Volumes 1 and 2!
And so a MC sheets pack got the same identifier as the second three ring binder in the MC series: There were Two (2) MC Volume Twos!
Volume Two binder [TSR 2105: Dragonlance Appendix].
is not the same as
Volume Two sheets pack [TSR 2103: The other half of classic AD&D monsters began with the first binder]
TSR made a conscious break in eschewing a hardcover monster manual for AD&D 2e in 1989, in favor of an expandable Monstrous Compendium binder system, allowing for easy insertion of new monsters. For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was always introducing new monsters!
It meant many MC Appendix releases would follow. Lots of sheet expansion packs to name. The later sets were all tied to specific campaign settings. Which made the art and logos relatively straightforward.
The Classic Monsters came first
Scores of setting-less “generic” yet iconic AD&D creatures would be found in the first binder, and the first expansion pack, 72 sheets inside a color folio cover.
We need another binder, right?
With the first expansion pack sheets of classic monsters added to the binder, that meant 144 sheets would already pack the binder. Gamers were sure to add official and unofficial monster sheets from third party companies, homebrew creations, and photocopies from magazines or modules to their Monstrous Compendium binder.
TSR not surprisingly decided to release a second binder.
And further decided to brand the binder with the Dragonlance setting.
Kinda sorta anyway.
Dragonlance Appendix Binder
TSR 2105 was released as Monstrous Compendium, Volume Two binder with Dragonlance monster sheets, inside Monstrous Compendium: Dragonlance Appendix slipcase box.
The branding was half-hearted: Dragonlance isn’t mentioned at all on the binder graphics. Yet Krynn, Ansalon, and Taladas are all name-dropped in the back promo text, and the sheets inside all have the Dragonlance logo.
The slipcase box has the Dragonlance logo, but no “Volume Two” appelation. The slipcase was often discarded, leaving a complete V2 binder set a bit more scarce today – and the Dragonlance connection less clear…
I reckon they wanted the V2 binder cover graphics to match the generic V1 binder cover. And still brand it as Dragonlance at the same time. A have-it-both-ways solution.
In my opinion, binder two should have been fully “generic” like the first. TSR had other campaign settings even in 1989 (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Spelljammer), and more would soon follow (Ravenloft in 1990, Dark Sun in 1991, etc.). By 1991, Forgotten Realms was more prominent than Dragonlance in the catalogs.
I’d note selling the binder two with only 48 sheets was also a bit lame compared with binder 1’s 72 sheets. And the Dragonlance binder was $2 more than the MC1 binder in the TSR 1990 catalog!
TSR realized quickly this Volume nomenclature was confusing. Beginning with 1990’s MC5 Greyhawk Adventures pack, new releases dropped the “Volume” appellation going forward. They even revamped MC3 Forgotten Realms in a later printing.
Both Volume Twos remained in print, soldiering on in TSR’s backlist right up until TSR discontinued the binder/sheet format ca. mid 1993 in favor of a return to bound monster books.
The V2 binder graphics were never updated with the Dragonlance logo.
My RPG Reference site page for the Monstrous Compendium with all of them in order.
Monstrous Compendiums for sale in the shop
Monstrous Compendium PDFs for sale at DriveThruRPG
Some photos of the Volume Two Binder
MC3 Forgotten Realms Appendix: 1989 and 1991 FR Monstrous Compendium covers side-by-side
Reblogged this on DDOCentral.
Question on social media:
“I never heard of any 3rd party companies making compendium sheets, were there any?”
Mayfair Games. Their later iteration Role Aids black sets had MC sheets, serial numbers filed off of course. Probably one of the things that got TSR to go after them.
I know Mayfair had MC sheets in the four Denizens packs for Demons. Were there others as well?
Can’t think of others at the moment, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were more.
My contributor’s copy has been stuck in storage for years. Which version am I in ?