I keep forgetting (and re-remembering) that the Fiend Folio has two distinct printings. Granted, there aren’t dramatic differences between the two prints, but those of us that collect old school Advanced Dungeons & Dragons want to know anyway.
First off, credit to The Acaeum for identifying the printings. I’m a visual guy, and prefer photos for rapid identification; that’s what I’m offering here today.
The Fiend Folio has a complicated history. The monsters derived from a regular article series in White Dwarf magazine called “The Fiend Factory.” TSR was courting Games Workshop for a merger – what a wild what-if there! – which ultimately failed. But we did get the Fiend Folio out of the process. See RPG historian Shannon Appelcline’s essay over at DTRPG for more. (You can also pick up a paperback(!) reprint of the FF for $12)
While many of the monsters in FF were goofy and too-specific, we did see many now-iconic creatures like the Drow Elf, Death Knight, Githyanki, Slaad, and many more.
The front covers are largely the same, although there is a distinct color shift. The awesome cover art of a Githyanki is credited to “Emmanuel”.
The spines. On the second print, above the ISBN, we see the weird code TSR was using in the early 80s for reasons that are opaque to me. The Acaeum calls it a “product number”… but isn’t that the “2012” on the back cover? Anyhow, this “product number” was composed of another ISBN (0394521749), “TSR”, and “1200” – which I reckon to be the MSRP ($12).
I’m not clear why TSR felt compelled to assign two ISBN numbers to their releases of the time, but it sure made a headache for online selling decades later. The Amazon catalog and other online databases are filled with duplicate listings for the same books because of this.
The back covers. First printing has copyright and TM notes.
Bonus photo: A Stack of Fiend Folios
This pic dates to November 2015. In the years leading up to then, AD&D hardcovers sold for very little. Unless they were in amazing shape, I often didn’t even bother to list them. So they accumulated in my storage shelves.
5th Edition D&D arrived about that time, and changed that dynamic. Dungeons & Dragons was now mainstream again, and this renaissance invigorated the market. Prices began to climb as eager players mined the classic RPG releases of decades past to add to their current game.
So I put up my backstock for sale. I should have waited. They’re worth even more today!