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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
(Sorry for being a johny come lately to the thread)
No need to apologise for that yet. Even if I can keep doing issues daily, it'll still take over a year to finish this. You're still in pretty near the ground floor.

I had a freind that played in a turnament game. His group was faced with an Umber Hulk guarding a door. So they bribe the Umber Hulk to get him to let them pass with out a fight. They were deducted points for not fighting the Umber Hulk. Unbelivable today but back then you were not expected to talk your way out of situations.
Yeah. Even today you still see that, particularly among people more used to playing computer games. Fight everything untill its dead, never retreat, never surrender is a hard habit to break.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
Or very easy. Just give them those overlong odds and let them get creamed, pasted or just plain dead. And when they bitch, remind them that even the flipping Fellowship knew when to run for it.
 

brianm

Registered User
Validated User
I had a freind that played in a turnament game. His group was faced with an Umber Hulk guarding a door. So they bribe the Umber Hulk to get him to let them pass with out a fight. They were deducted points for not fighting the Umber Hulk. Unbelivable today but back then you were not expected to talk your way out of situations.
Which comes across as utterly bizarre for me. When we were playing through "Keep on the Borderlands" using Moldvay Basic, that module taught us that it was always better to sneak, trick, or talk your way past monsters, since the alternative was almost always a quick, messy death. Which is, I suppose, just another example of the many different ways the game was played back then.

- Brian
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
The Dragon Issue 8: July 1977

Oohh. Several very cool things here. We get fiction from the creator of Lankhmar, Harry Fischer, plus the first proper map of the planar cosmology. We also get lots of hints on upcoming games. It seems that they are planning something big in the near future, putting a whole game into issue 11. We'll see how that one pans out. We also get a case of the disappearing freelancer, as the creator of finieous fingers goes AWOL. Again, I look forward to seeing how that turns out.

But enough of the future/distant past (we have got to invent better time travel tenses) In this issue:

The great wheel cosmology that has defined D&D all the way through 1st and 2nd edition, and still got plenty of coverage in 3rd, with various variations and additions; gets its first outing. It's still the same basic setup: 6 inner planes representing building blocks of reality in a sphere, 16 outer planes representing moral positions in a big ring, ethereal and astral planes to connect them to the prime material. There's still a few differences to the final model, the upper planes are in a different order, and there's no Outlands or demi/quasiplanes. What upheaval could move them to the classic form most of us are familiar with? As a longtime planescape fan, any further developments on this front will be reported with great enthusiasm.

The development of towns in D&D. Looks like we're starting to get thoughts on realism and worldbuilding. Guess sharing a magazine with professor barker all this time is starting to rub off. ;) Includes a whole bunch of implicit suggestions about the average level of characters and distribution of alignments that you may want to take or leave, but thats implicit setting stuff in general for you. You have to watch out for it and know how to change it for your own game.

The Finzer Family - A tale of modern magic, by Harry. O. Fischer, the original creator of lankhmar (Who's books are all out of print, it seems while fritz lieber continues to sell nicely. Quite shocking. ) This is a long story, taking up a full third of the issue, and ends on a too be continued. I won't spoil you on this one.

Gamma World! Coming soon, they give us a sneak preview. Seems a bit odd to release two gonzo sci-fi games within a few months of each other. And I can't say I'm overly inspired by the teaser either. I guess I've just seen these tropes done too many times, often better.

A set of tables for those of you who want more detailed gems and jewelry, measured in carats, and their respective value in GP. Pretty dull stuff, only for hose of you crave detail in everything.

So, you want realism in D&D. A joke article on how to translate youself into D&D ability scores. Most notable for its wisdom entry. Calculate the average number of hours in a week you spend playing D&D and working on your D&D campaign, and subtract it from 20 ;) Which also becomes a subtle dig at how often the writer actually gets to play, thanks to being a tsr staffer. Ahh, turning your hobby into your job. Destroying the joy you take in life since the age of 18. ;)

From the Fantasy Forge continues to point out miniatures for us. Not much reviewing this time though, just straight out pimping, which isn't briliant.

Name that monster! They give us a picture and then ask readers give a name and stats for it. Best entry gets published plus other prizes. I'll report how this one turns out.

Yet more stuff on Metamorphosis alpha by jim ward. He really is plugging this for all he's worth. I suppose it is his creation and all, so he has a strong stake in its success.

An odd little comic on the creation of the world.

This one's a mixed bag, going from the very interesting ( the planes and the fiction) to very dull with little in between. It's nice to see their imaginations are expanding along with their ambitions, but there's still something missing as far as consistency goes. Once again, due to their limited page count, they've bumped their "regular" features out the way to make space for the special stuff. Since they've only been going a few issues, that stops them from feeling regular, and letting people get a feel for their format. Which is a bit annoying. Still, I know they got there in the end. I just have to keep following the path to find out when.
 

Singing Smurf

I remember Akuze
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The Dragon Issue 8: July 1977

The great wheel cosmology that has defined D&D all the way through 1st and 2nd edition, and still got plenty of coverage in 3rd, with various variations and additions; gets its first outing. It's still the same basic setup: 6 inner planes representing building blocks of reality in a sphere, 16 outer planes representing moral positions in a big ring, ethereal and astral planes to connect them to the prime material. There's still a few differences to the final model, the upper planes are in a different order, and there's no Outlands or demi/quasiplanes. What upheaval could move them to the classic form most of us are familiar with? As a longtime planescape fan, any further developments on this front will be reported with great enthusiasm.
Oooh! Cool, I didn't know where the great wheel came from.


-S.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Oooh! Cool, I didn't know where the great wheel came from.


-S.
Yeah, the original planar layout comes directly from Gary. We got our first hint of it in SR6 - when he expanded on alignment there, he mentioned the 8 planes that exemplify the extreme ones, and those were the same that appear here. But we still have no info on what the planes are actually like, apart from what you can infer from their moral positions, and the mythologies that their names refer too. Exactly how much of that he had in his head and used in his own games at this time I don't know, obviously. But its pretty apparent he thought up big chunks of it long before it got published.
 

howard david ingham

We Don't Go Back
Validated User
On XP and how originally they were only about killing monsters and getting cash - this was why, in my early teens, it took my players forever to get to second level. I hadn't figured out that you could change the rules.
Ahh, turning your hobby into your job. Destroying the joy you take in life since the age of 18. ;)
So true.
 
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brianm

Registered User
Validated User
On XP and how originally they were only about killing monsters and getting cash - this was why, in my early teens, it took my players forever to get to second level. I hadn't figured out that you could change the rules.
Yep. As an example of how much the game has changed, my players loved taking on the minotaur from "Keep on the Borderlands". The way the game is often played today, that might seem like madness for even a large group of 1st level PCs. The minotaur had 6 hit dice and had a +2 bonus on damage due to its great strength. (I think it was using a spear, so damage would have been 1d6+2, a potentially lethal one-hit-kill for just about anybody in the party.) It wouldn't go down easily, and had the potential to slaughter the entire party in a straight-up fight.

But what my players saw was a single creature with a sizable treasure hoard who could be lured into a trap. According to the Moldvay Basic rulebook, minotaurs were "semi-intelligent", and getting such a beast in a bad position where the entire group could pour on the damage was their best bet to a galley-load of treasure and EXP.

- Brian
 

castiglione

Registered User
Validated User
A formal arena fighting system for monks. Essentially an entirely different system of combat based around selecting a sequence of fighting moves (6 in a row, which reminds me of burning wheels scripted combat.)
Sounds very similar to the En Garde! combat system (which Gary Gygax mentioned playing as well as other games by competitors); however, in En Garde, one planned 12 moves in advance except for the first turn where the better fighter planned out 6 moves while his opponent planned out 12.
 
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