Advanced Search

PC1 Creature Crucible: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (Basic)Click to magnify
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

PC1 Creature Crucible: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (Basic)


The King of the Fairies rules a magical world of mischief, intrigue, danger, and adventure rivaling anything the human world can offer. From brownies, leprechauns, pixies, and sprites to pookas and even centaurs, all creatures of the enchanted woodlands reveal their secrets for the first time.

Product History

PC1: "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk" (1989), by John Nephew, is the first "PC" (Player Creature / Creature Crucible) supplement. It was published in September 1989.

Origins (I): Farewell to Gazetteers. In 1988 and 1989, the Gazetteer series of Known World supplements was winding down for a number of reasons. First, the "square" of land that had been laid out for the series was filling up. GAZ12: "The Golden Khan of Ethengar" (1989) and Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia (1989) would be the last supplements set above ground in that area. Meanwhile, TSR was becoming convinced that high-numbered module codes lowered sales. Finally, Bruce Heard also noted that there had been "two years of Gazetteer domination in [the Basic D&D] line".

It was time for something new.

Origins (II): Hello to Creatures. To replace the aging Gazetteer series, Known World Kzar Bruce Heard outlined a new series of Creature Crucibles. Each would focus "on a general type of creature, such as Woodland Beings, the Sea People, Giantkind, Dragons and Lizards, Swamp Things, etc." (Only the woodland beings and sea people books would actually get written, alongside books about lycanthropes and the people of a flying city.) The Crucibles would also move away from the geographical structure of the Gazetteers to instead focus on creatures (and adventures they could play in).

Origins (III): A Careful Contract. As Acquisitions Editor for TSR, Bruce Heard was very experienced with writing contracts for his freelancers that exhaustively detailed what should be included in a book. Thus, the five-page description of "Tall Tales" that John Nephew received contained an extensive description of how the 96-page supplement should be laid out.

This premiere Creature Crucible was divided between a 64-page creature book and a 32-page adventure book, with the creature book focusing on a set of new D&D classes (races) — including advice on GMing these new races, discussion of their secrets, and extensive rules for creating PCs. The outline also called for ten pages on the "campaign setting" — which meant that the setting of the Known World was to be minimized, but not abandoned. To allow for this minimal geographic description, designers would be writing about a "limited region", not "a full size nation". This region was to fall within the lands of one of the previous Gazetteers — with "Tall Tales" obviously fitting within the realms of GAZ5: "The Elves of Alfheim" (1988).

Origins (IV): Many Sources. Nephew of course used Known World material as references when working on "Tall Tales", including GAZ5: "The Elves of Alfheim" and GAZ10: "The Orcs of Thar" (1988). Other inspiration came from readings in Irish Folklore and from Nephew's recent involvement with a student-run production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1590s). So if you're wondering where the pookas and sidhe came from, let alone the Fay Court, that's where.

(Even more sources are listed in the bibliography in "Tall Tales".)

Origins (V): The Art of Magic. One other source might have been notable in Nephew's writing of "Tall Tales": Ars Magica (1987). This roleplaying game of wizards in the Middle Ages was the product of a small publishing company called Lion Rampant, made up of college students from St. Olaf College — as it happens, the traditional rival of Carleton College, where Nephew himself was studying. By late 1988, Nephew had joined their gaming group, and would join Lion Rampant as well — variously as an acquisition editor and even the President for a time.

It's not hyperbole to say this Minnesota gaming group might have been the most important gaming group of the '80s, because many of its principals went on to influence the industry. That starts with Ars Magica's designers, Mark Rein•Hagen and Jonathan Tweet. Rein•Hagen would co-found the White Wolf Game Studio, publisher of Vampire: The Masquerade (1991), and TSR's biggest rival in the '90s; while Tweet would produce a few proto-indie roleplaying games before becoming the lead designer of D&D 3e (2000). Nephew himself founded Atlas Games, which produced one of Tweet's earliest indie works and continues today as a publisher of card games and roleplaying games. And they weren't the only members of the club to hit it big. Nicole Lindroos went on to co-found Green Ronin; while Lisa Stevens would become Wizards of the Coast's first paid employee before founding her own Paizo Publishing, which became Wizards' biggest rival in the '10s.

Back in the fall and winter of 1988, when Nephew was working on "Tall Tales", he was also getting to know the Ars Magica crew. Some of the Art of Magic probably influenced his work as well.

About the Book. Like the Gazetteers, "Tall Tales" contained two books, one coming in at 64 pages and the other at 32 pages. However the focus of the two books was different for this first Creature Crucible: the books were labeled as a "DM's Booklet" and a "Adventure Booklet", with no "Player's Booklet" in sight.

Expanding D&D. The Gazetteers tended to each introduce one or two new classes for Basic D&D. "Tall Tales" blew that out of the water with a total of 13(!). They were all race-based classes (which was a common feature of Basic D&D).
The brownie, centaur, dryad, hsiao, leprechaun, pixie, sprite, treant, wood imp, and woodrake were all in Heard's original specifications for the book. Nephew added the faun, pooka, and sidhe — with the latter two obviously coming from his interest in Irish mythology. One critter was dropped from Heard's original listing, the sasquatch, because Nephew didn't think it fit.

Nephew followed the model of "The Orcs of Thar" when he wrote character classes for what were essentially D&D monsters. As would be shown down the road in D&D 3e (2000), the biggest problem with monstrous PCs of this sort is figuring out how to balance their notable powers with low-level D&D characters. "Orcs of Thar" largely handwaved the problem, saying that some classes were "younger specimens of their race". "Tall Tales" instead started some of the classes with negative experience points. Treants had the most: they had earn 48,000 to become a "normal monster" and another 48,000 to become 1st level!

"Tall Tales" also contains new fairy spells, a little bit of equipment, and of course the skills that were ever-present in Basic D&D.

Adventure Tropes. "Tall Tales" contains many short adventures, running the gamut of levels from Basic to Master. Some are "lairs", which was Heard's original concept for the short adventures, but others focused on myths. There's also a long Basic level adventure, "The Lost Seneschal". It's an encounter-focused adventure with plenty of wilderness travel, but the wilderness is quite constrained, not an open hex crawl. There's also a heavy story underlying everything — making it more an adventure of the '90s than the '80s.

Exploring the Known World. "Tall Tales" introduces a small corner of the Known World, The Dreamland. As planned by Heard it's a part of Alfheim, but Nephew also extended it a bit into Darokin to get away from elfin rulership. (The larger fay kingdom is actually said to be "without borders", including faerie from all over the Known World, which introduces a large new group of creatures to the setting.)

There's also a big change to the cosmology of the Known World in "Tall Tales". Previous books described the Known World's outer planes as five spheres: energy, matter, thought, time, and entropy — with entropy opposing the rest. "Tall Tales"
reveals that there's a cycle where life and chaos alternate in power. When chaos is ascendant, then the sphere of entropy blossoms into its own energy, matter, thought, and time, but in the present reality, those spheres are instead born of the sphere of life and controlled by order.

NPCs of Note. "Tall Tales" brings the mythological characters of Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream into the Known World, including High King Oberon, Queen Titania, and even Robin Goodfellow.

About the Creators. Nephew started writing for Dragon and Dungeon magazines, then contributed to Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (1988) and WG7: Castle Greyhawk (1988). This was his first solo project.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (3)
Discussions (14)
Customer avatar
Dean W January 26, 2024 6:15 pm UTC
How do we get POD for this product?
Customer avatar
Eron R April 14, 2023 10:53 pm UTC
I kindly and humbly request this title and all other Hollow World or Known World titles be made available in POD, please.
Customer avatar
Christopher L February 28, 2023 4:15 pm UTC
POD please!
Customer avatar
Joshua D January 07, 2023 6:38 pm UTC
As others have said POD is needed for all B/X BECMI materials
Customer avatar
Jamie B January 05, 2023 11:10 pm UTC
PODs for all B/X and BECMI materials for which this makes sense PLEASE (everything but character sheets, etc.).
Customer avatar
William L July 22, 2022 4:11 pm UTC
POD NOW!!!!!
Customer avatar
Stephen T July 10, 2022 8:21 pm UTC
POD please! This would be awesome!
Customer avatar
anthony A March 27, 2022 3:20 am UTC
This needs a print on demand option
Customer avatar
Rich E P March 15, 2022 11:20 am UTC
The Creature Crucibles absolutely need a POD option.
At the time of writing, PC3 Sea People has a physical option, but having PC1 and PC2 would be brilliant – all 4 would be amazing.
If it's too expensive to pay people to sort this out, I'm certain there'll be someone on the Vaults of Pandius who would love to help bring Mystara content back into print.

POD Pleeease!!
Customer avatar
michael M August 23, 2021 1:43 pm UTC
POD please!!
Customer avatar
Edward A July 15, 2021 8:53 pm UTC
A mass market paperback of this book sells on Amazon for $890. I will absolutely buy a print on demand of this book. This and the red box. I actually print my own copies off and have them bound at Staples for about $30. So yeah, there is money here.
Customer avatar
Amanda R April 18, 2021 4:48 pm UTC
POD please
Customer avatar
Peter D March 20, 2021 4:24 am UTC
Add POD and I will buy it.
Customer avatar
Carl B May 04, 2020 3:25 pm UTC
Can't find an affordable copy, would love this in POD please.
Narrow Results
$ to $
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Gold seller
Rules Edition(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9254
File Size:
57.55 MB
Scanned image Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF Click for more information
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
April 11, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on April 12, 2016.