AC9: Creature Catalogue (1986)

The AC-series products are at their best when they’re, you know, full of interesting things. Not that the screens or adventures are bad, but man, AC9: Creature Catalogue (1986)? Hell yea. Imagine hiding a whole monster manual in an accessory line!

This is a square-bound book and you know you’re in good hands because it’s got a Parkinson cover. Lots of nice details — the dwarf’s eyepatch, the garland of skulls, the gnome’s entire energy.

Inside is, well, it says on the cover — it’s a catalog of creatures from the basic D&D game. A lot of these are weird and unique to the game (until Mystara introduced them to AD&D in the mid-90s). All sorts of weirdies like the Crone of Chaos, Wyrds, Nagpa, Levellers and so many more. Basic D&D is strange.

In terms of art, though, the best part is the collection of title pages. Rather than just arranging the monsters in straight alphabetical order, they’re broken out into categories — Undead, Animals, etc. This isn’t great in terms of usability, but those title pages are Fantastic. I particularly like the thematic fonts.

This got reprinted in the 90s for the Challenger version of D&D. I posted that one back in January and I stick to my guns: this one is better, though for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. It isn’t JUST the title pages, there is something about the typesetting and the monster art crops that just looks better. I don’t get it, but it’s true.

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