Advanced Search

Fiend Folio (1e)Click to magnify
Full‑size Preview

Fiend Folio (1e)

Selected Option:

Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more of Santa's savings, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

A Guidebook of Creatures Malevolent and Benign

This tome contains alphabetical listings of monsters designed for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game system. Each creature is describes and most are illustrated for easy identification. Using the new encounter tables contained herein, this work is sure to add new excitement to any AD&D game.

Product History

Fiend Folio (1981) was the fifth hardcover book for AD&D, and the first book that wasn't part of Gary Gygax's original plan when he announced the new game in The Dragon #8 (July 1977). When it was released at Games Fair 1981 (July 1981), it marked the beginning of AD&D rulebooks as a once-a-year enterprise.

British Book. The Fiend Folio was also the first AD&D hardcover to have its genesis beyond the walls of TSR - and indeed beyond the shores of the United States. It originated in the pages of Games Workshop's White Dwarf as a column, edited by British gamer Don Turnbull, called "The Fiend Factory." The column was very long-lived, running from White Dwarf #6 (April/May 1976) to White Dwarf #73 (January 1986).

Early on, Turnbull found that he was getting even more content than he could publish in the pages of White Dwarf, so he decided to start collecting some for publication as a new collection of monsters. The resulting Fiend Folio consisted mostly of monsters that had been submitted for "The Fiend Factory," but only some of which had actually been published therein. Even the published monsters were generally expanded and cleaned up, such as the "gluey" in White Dwarf #7 (June/July 1978), which became the "adherer" in the actual Fiend Folio.

The Fiend Folio was to be published by Games Workshop as an official AD&D book, as announced in White Dwarf #12 (April/May 1979). At least that was the plan.

Legal Limbo. Don Turnbull started work on Fiend Folio in early 1979, before AD&D was completed; he finished work on it somewhere in August 1979, but it sat unpublished for almost two years. Turnbull later said that it had sat in a "legal limbo" for those two years, the result of disagreements between TSR and Games Workshop.

The problems may have been that TSR was growing much more reluctant to license third-party publications like the Fiend Folio. However, the situation with Games Workshop was more complex, because by late 1979 TSR was seeking a merger with them — and Games Workshop was resistant. Eventually TSR decided to form their own office in Britain, TSR UK, headed by none other than Don Turnbull. It opened for business on March 31, 1980.

TSR claimed that they'd come to an agreement with Games Workshop to publish the Fiend Folio themselves around the same time, in The Dragon #37 (May 1980). Apparently the "final agreement" that Gygax trumpeted wasn't quite as final as he thought, because the publication intended for that May or June was put off for more than a year more. Some have speculated that the creation of the TSR UK branch might have been the source of that new strife.

Legal limbo indeed!

Considerable Critique. When Fiend Folio was released, it received a surprising critique from Ed Greenwood in the pages of TSR's own magazine, Dragon #55 (November 1981). Greenwood didn't like some inconsistencies with the AD&D rules (in part the result of the Fiend Folio's early genesis), nor the fact that some monsters filled existing niches (nor the fact that some monsters didn't seem to have any niches at all). More broadly, the Fiend Folio gained a reputation in the '80s as being "that book of silly monsters." With critters like the adherer - which looks like a mummy but instead got weapons stuck to it - one can perhaps understand its reputation. The Fiend Folio was also the source of the infamous flumph, the flail snail, the lava children, and other monsters that were admittedly a bit… silly.

However, history has been much kinder to the Fiend Folio, which also turned out to contain some of the most unique and interesting critters seen to that date in the AD&D game. Neville White's shadow demon was quickly co-opted for the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon (1983-1985). Ian Livingstone's hook horror and phantom stalker have become iconic elements in the game. However, no Fiend Folio creator was as successful as future science-fiction novelist Charles Stross, who contributed the death knight, the githyanki, the githerzerai, and all of the slaad. The death knight would become a crucial feature in settings like Dragonlance and Ravenloft, while githyanki, the githerzerai, and the slaad went on to become three of the eleven protected monsters in the Product Identity of Wizards of the Coast's d20 SRD - suggesting that they've become some of the most well-recognized and (mostly) original monsters in the world of D&D.

About the Creators. Shortly after the release of Fiend Folio, the first of TSR UK's adventures saw publication - U1: "The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh" (1981). Don Turnbull contributed to Dave Browne's design of the adventure (though he was mostly busy running TSR UK in the years after Fiend Folio).

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, 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 (15)
Discussions (24)
Customer avatar
Davin K November 24, 2023 7:15 pm UTC
I'll echo some complaints from others who've purchased this book in regards to search/copy capability…

The two main reasons to even have a digital copy are irrelevant with this title. I already own a print copy of Fiend Folio, but was really hoping for something searchable and with the ability to copy/paste into my personal prep notes or share snippets with players while playing online… like I do with every other digital product I own. To add to the frustration, I just purchased this title, along with digital (and POD) copies of all the core books (and more) and THIS IS THE ONLY title that lacks search/copy (or an index.) This oversight (update?) is a serious disappointment. Please post an update with these features enabled.

Note that I was able run the file through Acrobat to OCR-scan and modify the document. So why the extra hassle?
Customer avatar
Stanley B June 09, 2023 3:20 pm UTC
From the preview, the text appears very light. I hope they decide to re-scan this one. An absolute classic!
Customer avatar
Geoffrey T December 25, 2022 2:50 am UTC
Great print, I think it look better than the original! Now onto the AD&D 1st ed manuals.
Customer avatar
Loren D December 17, 2022 4:15 pm UTC
This book suffers from the same issue as all of the rest of Wotc's 1st edition book, the art is overly dark and has lost details. This is a frustrating thing that can easily be fixed if they would have taken the time to scan the art individually, put it in image editing software and correct the lighting to make it match with the original printings. but, of course they didn't.
Customer avatar
Marco F September 29, 2022 8:47 am UTC
I just received my soft cover POD, honestly the printing quality is fine but the binding is terrible. Will you make it available in a hardback version, please?
Customer avatar
Brandon C September 24, 2022 1:36 am UTC
I seriously don't understand why WOTC won't make certain books available in hardcover. I'd GLADLY pay more for a ton of these books in a hardcover option.

I get that it's up to WOTC, but DriveThru needs to have some of their people push WOTC to allow more books in hardcover. And push for more stuff to be available as POD in general.
Customer avatar
James B June 07, 2022 3:16 am UTC
I don't suppose the higher-quality, searchable version will ever be restored? I'm glad I still have a copy of the old scan, but it's a shame we can't download it anymore.
Customer avatar
Patrick E May 01, 2022 2:31 pm UTC
Hardcover please!
Customer avatar
Aaron W January 16, 2022 2:43 pm UTC
Please release a hardcover version! I understand it'll be much more expensive.
Customer avatar
Thomas H June 01, 2021 11:29 am UTC
If hardcover becomes an option on this product, I will be ordering it in a heartbeat.
Customer avatar
Robert T April 20, 2021 7:12 pm UTC
I recently ordered the first edition Player's Handbook, DM guide and Unearthed Arcana and am overall quite pleased with the quality of the books. Based on these books, I am definitely inclined to order more products from you. Also, my order arrived faster than I'd expected. Thank you.
Customer avatar
Cynthia C January 02, 2021 2:43 pm UTC
Though ... if a PDF is released ... put the books in the right order, please. General and player's information, THEN the DM's stuff. Getting them backwards on the Spelljammer POD was embarrassing and made the book MUCH harder to use.
Customer avatar
Louis M January 01, 2020 9:02 am UTC
Just purchased this and am kind of disappointed in the quality of the PDF. Some pages have visible stains on them for goodness sake! My almost 40 year old book -- well used as a kid, I'll add -- looks to be in better shape than what they used for this scan.

I also got the POD version for my table, and am now worried about it's quality too. (It hasn't arrived yet, of course.) Fingers crossed...
Customer avatar
Don P June 09, 2018 3:16 pm UTC
what size is the softcover pod? is it standard 8.5 x 11?
Customer avatar
William M May 20, 2018 12:36 pm UTC
Hi. Just been reading the feedback here. Can we have some clarification on the quality of the PDF. Is it searchable? Can the text be selected? Is it a community-scan (with stains?)? Is the print copy up to the quality of other WotC TSR reprints?
See 16 more
Browse Categories
$ to $
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Adamantine seller
Rules Edition(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2012
File Size:
39.49 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:
July 20, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.