What’s your favourite edition of D&D?
That’s not an uncommon question in this neck of the internet. An uncommon answer is ‘The 1994 Japanese edition’! Who even knew there was such a thing?
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified these books as the 2006 edition.
Just glance at the three books in the Rules Cyclopedia. There’s the Player’s book, Dungeon Master’s book and Monsters book. That single glance might be enough to convince you that ‘The 1994 Japanese edition’ is a robust and defendable answer though. The books look amazing, using colour illustrations, limited text and spacing in a way that seems years ahead of some of their western counterparts.
Check out Thorfinn Tait’s Mystara for a dozen other scans, all as clear and all as visually impressive.
Tait’s Appendix J is a helpful list of localised D&D books in Japan dating back to 1985.
It’s worth noting that Thorfinn Tait is still very active in the RPG community. This isn’t some dusty archive Geek Native has found. The Atlas of Mystara updates regularly with hex art cartography for the world. Thorf also has nearly 40 patrons who find value in the hex maps and 3d height model-based stellite-style topographic maps he produces.