• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


  • Total voters
    411

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
I noticed there's also a little blurb on the newly-released Monster Manual. This line was particularly WTF-worthy: "The hard binding makes it ideal for a mapping surface..." Yes! Let's all use our expensive hardbacks ($33.00 in today's money) to write on! Perfect! :p
Considering the quality of the binding/covers of the early MM printings, I wouldn't have been worried.

Those things were built to last. (Unlike, say, Unearth Arcana which fell apart if you looked at it funny.)
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
The Dragon Issue 13: April 1978

The announcement of monthly printing has finally caught up with them. From here on in, the years will seem to go by a lot slower, especially as the page count ramps up as well. This is also the first proper april fools issue, starting up the tradition of filking that would become a regular feature of these. In addition to the increase in publishing rate, they are also moving to bigger offices, as the company in general expands. So its still a meteoric rise then. Which is nice.

In this issue:

How heavy is my Giant: This is pretty self explanatory, as they do lots of maths to determine how heavy a giant of a particular size should be, and how much they should be able to lift. Relys on the laws of physics not being the same as here, as people of over 10 foot or so would need some serious structural redesign and reinforcement to stand upright without breaking their backs with the strain. Includes lots of weights for various materials, for those of you inclined to build a creature out of gold or something (as wizards will)

Tolkien in D&D: Yeah, D&D is heavily influenced by tolkien. No, that is not its only influence, we like other stuff as well. Yes, we know some things are different from their source, it is a game after all. Now please stop sending us tedious knit-picking (sic) letters. Please?! Anyone listening? Bueller? Yeah. internet forums haven't changed people at all, they've just given them a new avenue to express themselves.

The bionic supplement: Yeah. Thiiss iiiss the seventiiiiieees! More toys for metamorphosis alpha. Has both advantages and problems, obviously.

Demon generation: Another treat for those DM's who's players have memorised the entire monster manual already. Can create some obscenely powerful creatures, particularly if you take the safety checks off. Still, you need them that powerful to challenge the players.

The japanese mythos: Another pantheon detailed for you to worship or kill, as your players choose. As japan has a larger selection of kami who operate on a near human scale, there are a greater number of gods here that are on a reasonably defeatable scale than average. Nothing too surprising here.

The filks page: Lets not go there, shall we. I may have filked before, I may do so again. But it still makes me squirm to see popular songs so abused ;)

Errata for Warlord: Another game I don't remember, I'm afraid.

The winner of the stat that monster competition from issue 8, plus a new competition. This time you need to work from a description, rather than a picture.

Fiction: The stolen sacrifice. A third Niall story from Gardner F Fox, and we go increasingly epic in it. At the end of it, he manages to overthrow a kingdom and become a general. Is this a happy ending, or will the story continue? We shall see.

Fineous fingers and wormy continue.

Notes from a semi-sucessfull D&D player: A whole range of tricks for players, such as the now ubiquitous continual light on an object so you can carry it one, and the enormous usefulness of polymorph, plant growth and permanency spells. Tactical solutions are generally more effective than straight attacks, and this is particularly true back then before they nerfed most of the buff and utility spells. Lets face it, when the GM is against you, you need to use every trick you have to survive.

An ok issue, not as interesting as the last couple, but not bad. I guess it is significant because it starts the monthly circulation and the april fools thing, but it still feels like business as usual. Which I suppose is testament to the hard work of the writers and editors.
 

noisms

Booze Hound
Validated User
How heavy is my Giant: This is pretty self explanatory, as they do lots of maths to determine how heavy a giant of a particular size should be, and how much they should be able to lift. Relys on the laws of physics not being the same as here, as people of over 10 foot or so would need some serious structural redesign and reinforcement to stand upright without breaking their backs with the strain. Includes lots of weights for various materials, for those of you inclined to build a creature out of gold or something (as wizards will)
I always wondered about people building stuff out of gold. I mean, if I was a wizard I'd build my golems out of steel so that a) they'd be tougher and b) I'd still have all my gold available to buy stuff with.

The only advantage to having a magical servant made entirely out of gold is so that you can say to everyone "Look! That's how rich I am. Bill Gates, eat your heart out."
 

T. Foster

Retired User
The Dragon Issue 13: April 1978

...

An ok issue, not as interesting as the last couple, but not bad. I guess it is significant because it starts the monthly circulation and the april fools thing, but it still feels like business as usual.
The editors didn't agree with you, because almost every article from this issue (everything except for the filksongs, errata, contest winner, Gardner Fox story, and comics) was reprinted a couple years later in Best of The Dragon vol. I. Other than the Strategic Review issues (where pretty much every D&D article was reprinted) I think this is the best showing of any single issue so far.
 

committed hero

nude lamia mech
Validated User
Demon generation: Another treat for those DM's who's players have memorised the entire monster manual already. Can create some obscenely powerful creatures, particularly if you take the safety checks off. Still, you need them that powerful to challenge the players.
I think this was reprinted twice more, too - in the DMG (Random Generation of Creatures from the Lower Planes) and in the MM2 entry for Hordlings (basically the same thing).
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
The Dragon Issue 14: May 1978

36 pages. Quite a bit of sci-fi stuff in this one, both in articles and in adverts. If anything, it seems like Sci-fi held a bigger market share in gaming then than it does now. (on the other hand, modern setting games were virtually nonexistant, so I guess they had to push something out the way) We also get to see the start of one of the classic bits of gaming lingo. Keep reading to find out what I'm on about.

In this issue:

We get to see the actual stats from the winners of the Name that monster competition. This is of course interesting because people have inferred quite different stats and backstories from the same picture. The amount of setting stuff in the entries is rather higher than that of official D&D monsters at the time. Really folks, you're being shown up by amateurs. You need to step up your game.

Space Marines commentary and Errata by the designer. Rather a lot of it. Another case where I don't feel qualified to comment, other than to say that this looks like one rules heavy game.

Nomad gods: The second boardgame set in Glorantha is now out. (this is still pre Runequest, remember) The themes and characters that would become important in Heroquest, much later, are still evident here. Greg is already showing plenty of ability as a game designer. This is another thread of history I will comment upon with interest.

A review of the boardgame Cosmic encounter. A pretty favourable one. But then, self selection means most of the reviews here will be fairly positive. The frequency with which they talk about boardgames at this time reminds you just how much computer games have edged out boardgames and other more bulky forms of entertainment now. Tempus fugit, and all that.

Robots as players in Metamorphosis Alpha: Another article that does exactly what is says on the tin, opening up a new player type, and corresponding playstyle, due to their different abilities. Uses one of the earliest point buy systems to create their stats, rather than the random generation more common in this era, which is nice. I don't think this is the very first instance of point buy character creation, but it'd be funny if it was.

Fiction: An interview with a rust monster. A tale of adventurers being rather stupid, as is not uncommon. You don't mess with the rust monster, even if that rust monster is a polymorphed adventurer.

Gary Gygax explaining what the difference and relationship between the new (john holmes edition) basic set and AD&D is, and how they relate to OD&D, as well as why they chose to do it this way. He says that he intends to keep the original version in print as well. (yeah, how long is that going to last) At this point, it's pretty obvious that after getting through the 3 levels in the basic set, you need to go on to AD&D. The days when BECMI would make BD&D become its own branch of the game with slightly different advancement styles and tropes are still in the future.

Monty HAUL!: That old chessnut of the joke campaign where the characters are obscenely overpowered and the DM is incredibly generous with rewards gets its slang name here. This is the ultimate wargame of ultimate destiny, featuring the norse gods, a battalion of platinum dragons, T-rex's and martians.

Hastur is the KING OF AIR!! Another entertainingly pedantic letter by a viewer who thinks that something in a previous issue was innacurate, in this case the lovecraft mythos stuff from a couple of issues ago. The great old ones should be more powerfull, so powerfull no mortal can touch them! Yeah, whatever you say mate. Now calm down, put the pen down and walk away. Its only a game.

Yet another expansion for metamorphosis alpha. Was it really that popular back then, or was jim ward just a one-man creative pimp-house arsenal for his game?

Wormy and Fineous Fingers continue.

Lycanthropy, the progress of the disease: How infected characters manage to gain control of themselves after the change, what abilities they lose (mostly spellcasting ability), and how PC's advance. Also includes stuff on the social ramifications of becoming a werecreature. As this is long before Ravenloft, horror is not on the agenda. Lycanthropes in standard D&D at this time seem to be fairly easy to identify, even in human form, and quite family oriented. How things have changed. Still quite an entertaining article, and it makes more sense of early mystara stuff.

Quite a good issue, overall. We've seen both a decent amount of new things that would be used again later, and generally amusing stuff.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
He says that he intends to keep the original version in print as well. (yeah, how long is that going to last)
Bit over a year. Last printing of the OD&D box was sometime late in 1979.

(Not implying that you don't know, just providing the info for the curious who don't.)
 
Top Bottom