Review, complete with pictures of the Print on Demand product, also appears here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/-
Going through some of my favorite Basic-era books and games and I should really spend some time with another favorite, but one that became a later favorite.
AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn was one of the first accessories for the BECMI flavor of the D&D game.
This book also has the distinction of being one of the first Print on Demand books that Wizards of the Coast would release for the old TSR catalog.
The book also has special interest to me since it features the stats for one of my favorite characters Skylla.
I will be reviewing both the PDF and the Print on Demand versions.
The book is 32 pages with color covers and black & white interiors. The print version is perfect bound; so no staples. The scan is sharp and clean and PoD version is easy to read.
The book features the titular inn, but really the main feature of this book is the collection of NPCs. Designed to be a bit like the original AD&D Rogues Gallery. This product though is a little more robust. The Shady Dragon Inn write-ups include some background on who these characters are, more than just a collection of stats. Maybe indicative of shift between the AD&D and D&D lines.
The characters are split by class. In each case, we get a dozen or so individual characters of Fighters, Thieves, Clerics, Magic-users, Dwarves, Elves and Halflings. with art by Jim Holloway and Larry Day. While the art helps, each write-up includes a brief description. This all covers roughly two-dozen pages.
There is another section of "Special" characters. These are the ones with TM next to their names. Such notables as Strongheart, Warduke, Kelek and of course Skylla.
There is a bit at the end about the Shady Dragon Inn itself along with some pre-gen adventuring parties based on level. A great aid for DMs that need some NPCs.
The Print on Demand version includes the maps to the Inn as part of the print. The main PDF does not have them, but they can be downloaded as a separate file. There are PDFs and image files to print out to use with minis. So with some minor tweaks, you can use this with any version of D&D you like. The characters inside can be converted to 5e easily enough.
Ignore the saving throws, and recalculate the base to hit as 20 - THAC0. I find that 22 or 23 -THAC0 actually works out a little bit better for 5e.
The maps are set to 1" = 5', so D&D 3, 4 & 5 standard.
The Print on Demand versions do not come out to 1" exactly, but when you buy the pdf you get the maps as files to print on your own.
While this book lacks the numbers of NPCs the Rogues Gallery does, it is superior in every other aspect. Starting in an Inn might be a D&D cliché, but a product like this makes you want to embrace the cliché anyway.
The Print on Demand version is fantastic really.
[5 of 5 Stars!]