So I was listening to Greg Tito on the Tome Show and he mentioned that WotC wants to make products that are going to be used for Decades to come and I was wondering what Products do you have that you have been using for Decades so far?
My most used books are, of course, the core rulebooks. Beyond that, I mostly use 'catalogue' books: additional Monster Manuals (and other monster books), but the Spell Compendium and Magic Item Compendium books also see a lot of use.
I also make extensive use of the Eberron setting books, though largely for fluff. So a single book that converted the crunch would be absolutely ideal (for me) but otherwise I don't need replacements.
And, finally, I still reference some of my world-builder books, notably the 2nd Ed "Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide", but again that's effectively system-neutral and so I don't need a replacement.
This shows up in every game:
Pathfinder: basic flip map (ereasabled square map)
Miniatures & dice
Dm/GM screens (both pathfinder and 5th ed)
Bestiaries and monster manuals
Pathfinder condition cards
With the advance of technology and since each time we know better the rules, core rulebook and players handbook disappeared in my tables. For pathfinder rules and dnd spells I use my tablet and players use their cellphones.
After that, long campaigns and connected modules are really usable for me. I dmed my own campaigns but that takes lot of time. Premade adventures help me to save time and play more (I work, train, read and play music, so I have to be efficient with time).
After those I don't remember any other item being so useful.
In no particulair order:
Dice Some have lasted for over 20 years.
Hero Quest and warhammer models.
The battle map and scenery.
Everything else books charactersheets is edition specific. But tablets/laptops are getting used more and more often!
I still use my original copy of the AD&D DMG that I bought when it first came out, nearly 40 years ago, and (counts on fingers) it's survived 9 house moves since then. I haven't played in a 1e game for many years but there's some good stuff in there, especially the tables at the back, that is still useful today for 5e. My AD&D PHB is even older but I can't honestly claim that I still use it.
(edit - added)
Oh, dice. Yes, the set that came in the box with the original Basic D&D set (blue cover booklet) are still in my dice bag and they pre-date AD&D, but only by a year or two. I might have lost the red crayon, though.
My copies of the 1E Core Three have by far seen the most use over my 40+ year RPGing career; 1E PHB most of all. My 3.5E Core Three have seen the second-most amount of usage, though by some great margin, with the 3.5E PHB taking the most abuse of those. I'm in and out of others for reference, from time to time when worldbuilding and such. I daresay that my 3.5 SRD Revised PDF Bundle has been utilized even more than my 3.5 Core Three books. It's much more useful to me and is always at hand. I can copy and paste stuff from it in an instant. I can do a quick search and find almost anything in three clicks or less because of the bookmarks and linking table of contents structure. It's probably saved my 3.5 Core Three from falling apart, too.
When I first released it, it was just a couple PDFs covering the full SRD: Monster as well as Basics, Spells, and Magic items. These were heavily hyperlinked and bookmarked for easy use. This originally sold for $5 and quickly became a hot seller. Then, individual PDFs were added for the spells of each spellcasting class. A separate PDF for the Psionics rules was added, then one for the additional Divine rules and one for Epic rules. Pentultimately, a Creature Stat Blocks PDF was constructed taking all of the SRD monsters and laying them out in standard stat block format. Finally, an Index page was made that tied all of the other 16 PDFs together and each PDF in the bundle was linked back to the Index page. It's all amazingly fast for anyone needing a quick rules clarification or to check monster stats or spell details. The price has gone up over the years as more and more was added to the original product but it is on sale for the holiday for the original $5 price so grab one here.
The sourcebooks out of the From the Ashes box set (which effectively rebooted the Greyhawk product line in the '90's) have been my go-to books for world, geography and deity information. Their supplements (The Marklands and Iuz the Evil) have seen use, though lesser than those in the box set.
The Living Greyhawk Gazetter (published under 3E) is also useful, but not as often as From the Ashes.
The other great source of information and inspiration is the Dungeons and Dragons Cyclopedia. I have also had many years' use out of the Middle Earth Role-Playing rulebook, mostly mining ideas for adventures and character situations from the descriptions, rather than using the rules.
For multiple decades? That would be AD&D core set (especially the DMG), Aftermath, Champions 3rd edition (and the associated little games Danger International and Justice, Inc.), Ars Magica 2nd and 3rd edition core rulebooks plus specific splatbooks (Covenants, Faeries, Mythic Places), and Whimsy Cards.
The two that really stand out are the AD&D DMG which is a terrific resource for a whole ton of things across ruleset and genre and Whimsy Cards which I've used to inject extra player agency into a whole bunch of games.
For me it is adventures that get used the most (outside of core books). I love having the smaller module adventures to throw in a campaign whenever I need it. The maps on the back of the covers or the fold out maps of 4e are also great.
I have several Pathfinder APs and the three 5e ones, but I haven't used any of them yet.
As a DM, battlemaps (Paizo paper foldout maps), miniatures, and 4E offline tools (character builder, monster builder) and 4E DDI were the most useful. That would be backed up by any book in PDF form. As a player, all I needed was the appropriate PHB and options supplements (feats, spells, maneuvers, powers). But those were also preferred in PDF format.
5E has room for progress for the above. Basically any book or tool in electronic format is a big win.
I've been playing for 25 years, and during this time I've always used:
- the original dice I found in the D&D black box starter set
- Forgotten Realms Adventures
- The Rock of Bral and Planescape (as goldomark said, and for the same reasons)
- Dungeon issues from the Ad&d 2nd edition era, which I've adapted to every other edition
- Several 1e adventures - especially G/D/Q series and ToEE
- 1e DMG (mostly the tables - new DMG has finally replaced it)
- Several issues of Dragon and Dungeon Magazines (too many to list)
- Painted miniatures
- A few boxed sets (Menzo/AlQadim/Planescape/Spelljammer)
Odd ball add on rules are the ones I use the most across the editions...
chronomancers handbook, necromancer handbook, and villain handbook from 2e
Book of vile darkness, Book of erotic fantasy (yes really), book of 9 swords, and Incarnum book 3e
Feywild and shadow books from 4e
One of my friends uses the volo's guide to all things magical
●1e: DMG,PHB, UA, Dieties & Demi-Gods, MM, MM2, FF, & DM/Players screens.
Granted, I regularly play 1e. But these books sans the phb/UA get used ALOT regardless of what edition I'm running.
●The core rulebooks for whatever edition I'm playing/running.
●3.5 DMG 2 - I get alot of use out of the Saltmarsh city chapter.
●Numerous adventure modules from Basic, Expert, & 1e, some from various 3pp, some from PF (individual chapters from thier APs, not the entire AP), the Ravenloft modules from 2e (hate the setting & never use it, but the modules make great stand alone adventures!)
Note: Individual adventures. NOT entire 1-15 campaigns!
●Several issues of Dragon & Dungeon Magazines
●The original World of Greyhawk boxed set, the original FR grey box set. World maps for these two settings, originals or newer versions.
●The Van Richton guides from 2e
●matures - all companies....
●my Chessex battle mat
●my model of Weathertop by Forge World - it makes an apearance in every campaign I DM.
●Paizos critical hit/miss decks
●The Deck of Many Things - physical deck by Green Rinin
●My original set of dice that came in my Basic set. This Christmas they'll have been serving me for 35 years!
(Alot of people had dice from this era that're "soft", resulting in chipped/rounded off corners. And indeed I got those in my Expert set. But my Basic set dice? They're different. They're this eggshell grey & hard as rocks. All this time, continuous use, & no chipping.)
●The red/black messenger bag I got at GenCon #? (In Indianapolis, has a dancing jester, but no year on the patch)
It's been in use since the day I bought it. It's proven as durable as my 1e books.
●Various maps from modules etc long gone. If I found a cool map I copied it & put it in a binder. Much easier nowdays.
Rules Cyclopedia - I keep going back to the D&D Rules Cyclopedia out of nostalgia and running a session or two here and there.
Council of Wyrms boxed set and Dragonstar (Starfarer's Handbook and Guide to the Galaxy) - These have been the foundation for the campaign setting I have been working on for the last decade or so and saw a fair amount of use before that as well.
The Sunless Citadel - This is my go-to 1st level adventure, regardless of edition. I've run it nearly a dozen times in various mediums.
World Builder's Guidebook - Though I haven't used it as much recently, this 2nd Edition gem used to be a constant companion for inspiration and just random table rolling when I was bored.