Dungeons & Dragons Master Rules (1985)

Master Rules. Look at the box. It kind of reminds me of a high-end credit card commercial from the 80s for some reason?

Anyway. The black box covers levels 26 through 36. As with the Companion Rules, there seems to be some confusion as to just what characters of this level are supposed to be doing. There is a surprising amount of space devoted to siege engines. There’s more about ruling domains. Meh. Worse: there’s a surprising lack of art.

There are some intriguing concepts though. The rules for artifacts are voluminous and more detailed than the AD&D rules for the same. Mentzer also rightly realizes that the concept of anti-magic (most commonly found as a beholder ability) is deserving of exploration, devoting a full page to its nuances.

Perhaps most important are the four pages on how to become an immortal (which, honestly, seems a bit brief?). There are four paths, one for each class. The cleric, for instance, must first find a time traveling artifact and use it to manipulate events so that three kings of different periods retain and expand their dynasties. Then the cleric must preside over a realm of at least 50,000 people and build a new capital. Finally, they must found a dynasty, ruling over it for 20 years and resolving four crises that threaten his country. Then he becomes a god? The paths for the other classes seem even more ridiculous. The fighter has it the worst, having to live additional lives as each of the other classes for extended periods. It is a little weird and doesn’t seem to be suited for normal play. Then, after all that work, the rules suggest immortals be retired.

Which is funny, considering the fifth box in the series…

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