Here are some items on dndclassics.com that I thought were worth highlighting.
D&D Basic Set Rulebook (Moldvay edit): I may be biased. This was my first role-playing game purchase. I still think, however, that this is the best version of the game published under its own name. While it is heavily rooted in the original game; it is cleaned up, organized, and communicates more clearly than its predecessors. It’s compatible enough with all other TSR-era editions of D&D and AD&D that you can cherry pick bits from them when and if you want to expand on it.
This book only covers levels 1 to 3. With its companion Expert Set, you have a game that goes to level 14 and beyond. As I’m writing this, though, the Expert Set Rulebook is not yet available on dndclassics.com.
B2 The Keep on the Borderlands: This adventure came in the box set with the Basic Set Rulebook above. In some ways, I consider this as much part of the “core rules” as the Rulebook itself. It gives some practical advice and examples for Dungeon Masters.
HR1–7 The “historical reference” series: These are for me perhaps the best things to come out of the AD&D 2nd edition era. I’ve always liked a bit of history in my games. I think game books about history in some ways do a better job of giving you a feel for what historical periods were like than most history texts. Because they are more concerns with playing in that world rather than describing historically significant events. Here are the links:
- A bundle of all seven
- HR1 Vikings
- HR2 Charlemagne’s Paladins
- HR3 Celts
- HR4 A Mighty Fortress
- HR5 The Glory of Rome
- HR6 Age of Heroes
- HR7 The Crusades
Rules Compendium (3e): (Not to be confused with the Rules Cyclopedia, which I hope will appear on dndclassics.com in the future.) While the Wizards-era 3rd edition isn’t my favorite edition of the game; I do like it, and I do play it. So, I’m curious about a book that purports to bring the most important rules of that game together along with correcting errata. Although, I’m not sure it would be any more useful than the Hypertext d20 SRD.
Unearthed Arcana (3e): (Not to be confused with the first edition AD&D Unearthed Arcana which is not yet available through dndclassics.com.) This book may be the most “old school” book of the Wizards-era 3rd edition. Because it gives you all sorts of tools for modifying the game and making it your own. All the rules are also open content and available in the Hypertext d20 SRD. The book itself, however, also includes some helpful commentary.
Edit: ...and I have now purchased all the items on this list.