Finally, just over 20 months after it was initially announced, The Heroic Legendarium is finally available for purchase from DriveThruRPG (pdf and eventually print as well, once I've approved the proof copy).
This was an extended labor mostly of love, but also of frustration as I realized I utterly lacked the skills and resources to turn my Google Doc text document into a publishable book. Struggles with that ate up more than a year, before I ultimately decided to just release the book as-is and let its contents speak for themselves. Which means you'll get no art, no fancy graphics, and no advanced pdf features like bookmarks and hyperlinks. But what you will get is 154 pages of solid, gameable 1E content, almost all of it new and original (a few spells, monsters, and magic items are adapted from 1E-era sources but have been revised and modified as presented here, and in any event make up no more than about 5% of the total content).
If you've seen the earlier (non-OGL-compliant) version of this book, copies of which I know are still being privately traded even though I stopped distributing it several years ago, you're already familiar with about two-thirds of the contents, but even so enough new content has been added to hopefully make it worth taking another look, including:
- Three new PC races (note: the preview at DriveThruRPG includes these pages)
- The savant class, including 68 new spells
- Complete system for territory development and management by PCs
- 32 new magic items
- 49 new monsters
- New essays on tips and tricks for players and GMs, dungeon design, and extra-planar adventuring
- Assorted other minor additions and revisions
The page count of the new version is increased by 42 pages over the old one, but that number undersells the amount of new material because much of the earlier edition's appendix material (i.e. direct copy/paste reprints of magazine articles and monsters and magic items from modules) was removed, or at least reworked and adapted.
The earlier version had a narrower scope of compiling uncollected Gygaxiana and recreating "lost" system additions that he had mentioned (or were reverse-engineered from his later works). The savant class still fits within that mold, but the scope of the book generally has expanded to include more of my own voice and my own preferences and is less beholden to things that Gygax may or may not have planned or intended to do. While that might make it less valuable or interesting to some people whose interest is more historical or who want to keep their games as "pure" as possible, I am also confident that my additions and modifications maintain a consistency of style and flavor with that other material and are complementary to and will fit seamlessly alongside it. Having spent more than three decades immersed in this material and style of play I have developed a pretty solid feel for it.
Therefore, I would urge everybody who enjoys (or is curious about) the original creative and design paradigm of the First Advanced Edition to check this thing out, even if you already have the earlier version, because I am sure there is at least some material within it that you'll be able to use in your games to expand and freshen them up and help keep your players engaged, entertained, and challenged.
[And it's all been designated as "OSRIC Reference Content" so other authors and publishers are not only allowed but strongly encouraged to use this material in their OSRIC-branded adventures and supplements as long as you refer back to this book. Nothing would make me happier than to see this material picked up and adopted by others and for my contributions here to become part of the common lexicon of 1E gamers, existing ones and new ones alike.]
Edit/update: Lulu has unilaterally pulled this title and terminated my account (and will presumably keep the ~$400 in royalties I had earned from sales to date) because they determined that the old "AD&D Companion" (which I had put up on Lulu for private at-cost sale a few years ago) "may" be in violation of their Member Agreement by including third party IP - without any opportunity to appeal or to take down the possibly-offending title while leaving other titles in place. Since that book was uploaded ~5 years ago, the timing of this account termination feels fishy, like possibly some spiteful anti-fan found a link to that private page and reported me. Sorry to anyone who placed an order through Lulu because I have no idea whether you'll actually get the book - presumably if it's already shipped you will, but if it hasn't I'd recommend contacting Lulu customer support.