I dropped by my FLGS this morning, thinking as I got out of my car that I should leave my wallet under the seat. After all, I really couldn't afford much of anything. I mean, NOTHING at all.
I should have listened to my doubts.
Well, maybe; maybe not. I went in looking for a copy of the 2nd Edition AD&D title, The Complete Book of Dwarves. I was going through my shelves earlier this week and realized that my copy was missing. At least, I'm fairly sure I had a copy. The FLGS usually has an eclectic mix of out-of-print titles from earlier editions. They didn't have that title (although they did have The Complete Book of Psionics (which I'm not interested in) and The Complete Book of Fighters (which I already have)) but they did have a couple titles that piqued my interest. Titles that I got for around 60% of cover price (even the marked-down price was discounted for me).
First up was the Diablo II: Diablerie. One shelf down was the Diablo II: To Hell and Back. Both are 3.x supplements released by WotC, meant to build off of the popularity of the Diablo II video game. The first, the Diablerie is more of a brief "setting" book. Within its 96 pages you can find character classes for Diablo-specific classes, such as the Amazon, necromancer, and sorceress. There's some equipment lists and a bestiary. A blank character sheet template in the 3.x style. Even a sample adventure--five pages--that sets out a "How To" for the uninitiated (with differing levels of encounters: Basic Level, Nightmare Level, and Hell Level), explaining how to prepare an encounter for the Diablo-verse. Most of the book is geared this way: playing in the Diablo-verse.
The To Hell and Back volume is a detailed 192-page "module" set in the Diablo-verse. It contains a bigger bestiary, equipment lists, and magic items. I'm not sure that I'd ever use it as a stand-alone adventure path. I'll more likely cut it into pieces and use those pieces as drop-in encounters in our regular adventure. However, I can also imagine sitting the guys down one night and describing how they wake up next to a shimmering portal, a portal which disappears even as they awaken. They find themselves in a small hamlet, one terrorized by demonic creatures that have taken over a nearby church and accompanying catacombs. Heh. Just thinking about it makes it more intriguing.... Hmm....
They were previously-owned by the same person, as I found scribbled notes on steno-pad paper in several spots in both books. Also slipped inside To Hell and Back is a print-out of the web enhancement "The Secret Cow Level" that anyone familiar with Diablo will recognize. There's also a couple of old PC character sheets: Krump, the human barbarian (played by "Jake") and Isabell, the human Amazon (played by "Sally").
I'd be interested to know if anyone's played around with these books. If you have, drop me a line in the comments. Let me know your experiences, would you?