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The Mystery of the Missing Fiend Folio Cover

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Wherein I take a look at the Fiend Folio that never was.

By R. Nelson Bailey

The original Fiend Folio Tome (1981) cover feature art by the enigmatic "Emmanuel".

In 1983, TSR updated their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons hardcover books with new cover art and the iconic orange spine design. However, they did so for only four of the five books out at the time (1). Sadly, the Fiend Folio Tome never got the redesigned format to match its fellow hardcover rule books. However, new cover art for the Fiend Folio was created by house artist, Jeff Easley, who provided the covers for all the other updated books. Its cover illustration depicts a group of githyanki warriors in a reddish astral void.

Jeff Easley's updated Fiend Folio cover.

While Easley's artwork was never used for the cover of the book it was intended for, the picture appears in the book, The Art of the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game (TSR, 1985), bearing the caption “Fiend Folio Tome” (2). For some reason, TSR decided not to update the Fiend Folio cover, leaving fans of the game wondering why it was not updated like the other books (3). Since the updated cover of the Fiend Folio was never completed, I imagined how it might have looked and made one for it.

A cover mock-up of what the updated Fiend Folio cover would have looked like had it been released.


1: The four other AD&D hardcover books are the Monster Manual, Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Deities & Demigods (the latter book also has its title changed to “Legends & Lore”).

2: This picture was also used for OP1 Tales of the Outer Planes (1988) and the D&D box set The Goblin's Lair (1992).

3: Former TSR employees suggest that they did not bother since the Fiend Folio was the poorest selling of the five hardcover books. I cannot verify the veracity of this claim, but it seems plausible.

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