The FIRST QUEST and INTRODUCTION to ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS boxes were intended as starter sets to the AD&D 2nd edition rules. RPGs are traditionally learned by “doing” – playing in a group at a table. TSR was always looking for that holy grail, a set that a player could learn the flow and play of a roleplaying game (RPG) just from the written rules alone.

The two sets – which I’ll call FQ and IADD going forward – they look vaguely similar inside. In fact, IADD IS the 2nd printing of FQ. The text blocks, despite dramatic graphical differences, read mostly identical.

They are also at the point of change between the familiar 2nd edition graphical style, and the updated version of AD&D, nicknamed the 2.5 edition rules.

Let’s dig in!

First Quest: The Introduction to Role-Playing Games

1994 … Bruce Nesmith (design) & Julia Martin (editing) & Jeff Easley (cover) & Jeff Butler (interior art) … TSR 1105 … 1560768444

CONTENTS: * audio CD featuring over 60 minutes of soundtracks * 6 plastic player character miniatures with a hero card for each * Player aid/character sheet card and town map card * Dungeon Master Screen and adventure book * Rulebook and 2 spell books * Full-color book of monsters and treasures * Double-sided dungeon map * wall poster

Check Wayne’s Books Inventory

DriveThruRPG (PDF / Reprint)

Introduction to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Game

1995 … Bruce Nesmith (design) & Julia Martin / Thomas M. Reid (editing) & Jeff Easley (cover) & Bruce Eagle / Jeff Easley / Paul Jaquays / Walter Velez / Robin Wood (interior art) … TSR 1134 … ISBN 0786903325

CONTENTS: * Player Handbook (32 pages) * Dungeon Master Guide (64 pages) * Monstrous Manual (32 pages) * Dungeon Master Screen * Map (2 sides: Tomb of Damara / House on Harrow Hill) * Play cards, including 6 hero cards * Audio CD * 6 plastic figures * dice

Check Wayne’s Books Inventory


All photos, the 1994 FQ set will be left or top. The 1995 IADD set will be right or bottom in photos.

The First Quest box looks to have duller colors.


The Rules Book in FQ, plus the Cleric and Wizard Spell Books, are combined together into the IADD Player’s Handbook. The content is all the same, but completely re-typeset.

The switch to 2.5e’s graphical format is immediately evident. There’s a lot more color in IADD.

The Adventure Book in FQ is the Dungeon Master Guide in IADD.

In the biggest departure thus far, The Wildspace adventure in FQ was jettisoned in favor of the Town of Freedale in IADD.

The Tomb of Demara in FQ gets updated to “Damara” in IADD. Harrow Hill and Mount Dread remain.

More about TSR’s brief flirtation with Spelljammer rebranded as “Wildspace”:

In the last book, FQ goes from Monsters & Treasures Book to the more memorable Monstrous Manual in IADD. And, yes, they are mostly identical, to the point of having loot in the MM.


The Poster Map in IADD became more focused, with Damara on one side and Harrow Hill on the other. The Wildspace and Mount Dread maps didn’t carry over to IADD. The colors are much brighter, easier to read on the 1995 IADD maps.




Miniatures and Dice

First Quest does have a cool poster though!

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