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TSR What TSR-era D&D material do you still put to use in your 5E games?


Moderator Emeritus
I know I could ask this question in the 5E forum, but I am more interested in what the folks who have played (or continue to play) 1E/2E/BECMI have incorporated into the 5E games they run than I am hearing from folks who are 3E or later aficionados (though I have incorporated some 3E stuff into my 5E games as well).

This could be modules/adventures, class/species abilities/restrictions, setting material, player options, etc. I am curious what it is about the particular material that appeals to you for use in 5E and what if anything you had to change to try to make it work (and if it actually works/ed).

What I am not interested in is hearing about how older material is completely incompatible with the newer rulesets. As someone who does it to varying degrees and finds the DIY/mix-n-match aspect of D&D one of its main appeals, I want to hear about what you are trying and doing, not what you think cannot be done based on pet theories.

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Setting material - my most recent campaign was set in Lamordia (Ravenloft), and started before Van Richten's Guide was released. Though even after that book, I wouldn't have changed anything. Likewise, if I ever come to run a Spelljammer campaign under 5e, it will be the classic setting and not the revised version.

(Conversely, if I were running Eberron, I likely wouldn't use any pre-5e material. Of course, Eberron isn't TSR-era...)


Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I use the Greyhawk setting for one campaign, Forgotten Realms for another (and I'm willing to pull resources from any version publication). I've also converted adventures. They're actually reasonably easy to do.

Enrico Poli1

Seriously, 5e is truly retrocompatible, so I can use most of my old material with 5e rules.
But I am at a point in which I enjoy experimenting, using adventures of a given edition with a ruleset from another edition (for example, running 3.5 Age of Worms with AD&D2e Dark Sun Characters).

That said, I routinely use BECMI, AD&D and AD&D2e modules with the 5e ruleset. Most of the time with Mystara or Greyhawk lore.

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
1. The modules. The classic B/X modules and the 1e modules are great, and I am able to convert them "on the fly" for use in 5e.

2. Greyhawk. I may have mentioned this once or a thousand times, but I'm a fan of the original Greyhawk setting, and I think that the Folio / Campaign Settting are still the ideal when it comes to a balance of plot hooks and leaving areas of the map for the table to fill in.

3. The 1e DMG. Still my favorite source of inspiration- in terms of rules, it's not great, but in terms of just random lore drops, I always can find something in there.

4. 3PP- whether it's supplements (like Grimtooth's or the Compleat series) or modules (Clockwork Mage et al) there's a ton of older material I mine for use.

4. 3PP- whether it's supplements (like Grimtooth's or the Compleat series) or modules (Clockwork Mage et al) there's a ton of older material I mine for use.

Grimtooth's Traps is great when you need diabolic, complex traps. Why have just a spiked pit trap when you can have a trampoline that throws PCs up into the spikes on the ceiling, then drops them back down to tear through the trampoline and fall into a pit of acid?

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalog is something I still use whenever I run games in the Forgotten Realms. When I need a price on something random or food & drink in Faerun, it's invaluable.

the Jester

So much stuff. I have converted literally hundreds of old monsters, spells, and magic items. I have converted old character concepts, kits, prestige classes, paragon paths, etc into 5e terms (either as subclasses or feats or npcs). I've run a number of old edition modules in 5e, from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks to Thunderspire Labyrinth to Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. I mine ideas for, well, everything liberally from, well, everywhere. I use a lot of the reference material in the 1e DMG (e.g. magical properties of gemstones).

I often try to bring back old classic material or obscure stuff to use; a perfect example would be the chagmat, a 1e monster from the adventure Chagmat from Dragon Magazine before there was a Dungeon Magazine- I just used them recently.

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