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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)

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Mr Teufel

RPGnet Member
Validated User
It's in order to keep these great heroes of story "magical" and "pure", untouched by the grubby coarseness of mortal stats.

I mean, just think how horrible it would be if your PCs actually met and killed one of these paragons of literature! *rollseyes* Obviously, these figures are too important to ever be equaled by the likes of mere PCs. :p

- Brian
"In our campaign we met Conan. We killed him and took his stuff!"


Making the Legend
Validated User
I heard they made Pickman, a typical man of the 1920s, a 9th level Fighter?
Well the stats they give for him are post ghoulification. So he has a bunch of other stuff beyond that But yeah. I guess hunting people down and eating their flesh'll do that for your combat skills. :sigh:
If I'm remembering correctly, this sets off a year-long, moderately heated discussion on the letters page.
It takes 3 months for people to start to react, due to the publishing cycle reaction time lag. But, yeah, It's just getting interesting for me. :D Counterarticles are amusing.


Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
"In our campaign we met Conan. We killed him and took his stuff!"
IIRC, players never seemed to care about Conan. The latest half-naked bar wench, a handful of Aquilonian coins, and 3 feet of fine (but nonmagical) steel isn't much of a haul.

Elric on the other hand had much better stuff.


Registered User
Validated User
Well the stats they give for him are post ghoulification. So he has a bunch of other stuff beyond that But yeah. I guess hunting people down and eating their flesh'll do that for your combat skills. :sigh:
I think HPL's ghouls mostly just ate grave corpses, and rarely attacked living humans - hence Pickman being able to join them. They seemed quite a peaceful bunch AIR.


Registered User
Validated User
Meeting demogorgon: You say demogorgon's name. He appears. What do the NPC's in the party do? Roll on this random table to find out. Not that it matters, because you're all going to die anyway. Even converting to worshiping him won't save you. Because our double headed demon lord friend is an admiral crankypants when he's just got out of the abyss in the morning.
Awesome article of awesome awesomeness. (hyperbolic, moi?)

Go on , quote us some, you know you want to ;)


That moment you realize you have to face the day.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I am morbidly curious as to what stats they gave Captain Blood, this being one of my favorite novels of all time.
Fighter 17 / Thief 10 / Cleric 8
HP:89 STR:18 (51) INT:17 WIS:15 DEX:18(00) CON:16 CHA:17
Brace of Pistols: 1-20 damage each
Special ability: Peter Blood’s luck is amazing. He is +2 extra to hit and damage, armor class, and all saves.


Making the Legend
Validated User
Yeah. I'm starting to consider if I should try posting each magazine in several smaller parts,

I think I'll open this question to a vote. Should I try posting the issues in several smaller chunks?
I think doing each issue in several posts is a good idea, but don't be afraid to skirt over anything that doesn't grab you.
And by 1 yes, no no's and 51,974 abstentions, (sigh) the ayes have it. Daily bite sized chunks it is then. Maybe I'll be able to catch up with noisms a bit in post and view counts now.

The Dragon Issue 37: May 1980

Part 1/4

72 pages. Yet another price increase this issue, to $3.00. Dear oh dear. It's been under half a year. Still, I suppose in percentages it's nothing compared to the increases they underwent in the first year.

In this issue:

Dragon rumbles is presented by jake this issue, as tim has quit to get a new job. No, there's nothing acrimonious about the split, he's just tired and just wants to try new things. (is that true, or were there backstage shenanigans we're not hearing about?) There are two new additions to the staff, so its not as if they're tightening their belts. They also deny being funded by TSR, and encourage people to send in stuff on systems other than D&D, so they can cover them. Yeah, if they weren't profitable, they would be dropped. Why do people find that hard to believe? They aren't headed by someone willing to pump money into their own vanity projects and run the company into the ground ;) .

Out on a limb: A particularly long letters section this issue. Two rather lengthy ones on realism in gaming, which recieves an equally lengthy reply.
A letter saying age is not a reliable indicator of maturity and ability to play well with others, and recommending against making listing age mandatory in classified ads. An article of generalized praise, but particularly pointing out the modules as cool and asking for more.
A letter complaining about how the magazine is too male oriented. To which they reply, when 98% of the submissions are by men, its pretty hard not for it to wind up being male oriented. We have a female rules lawyer on the team, and we've published stuff by women before (more on this later on) and will do so in the future if its good. But if you want more stuff, get off your ass and send it in. We can only work with the material we have. Amusingly enough, only recently we had someone else pleased that there were more women into roleplaying than there were into wargaming. I suppose everything's relative. Even when white wolf brought in a big load of new blood, the gender demographics never really reached parity. But I digress.
We also have another letter of generalised praise and commentary, and two letters commenting on the article on angels a couple of months ago. As is their wont, they provide a contrasting pair, one criticising them for being frivolous with the word of god, and one praising them for doing a good job on the topic. I suppose it's those kind of conflicting demands from both sides that would lead them to file the serial numbers off D&D angels and call them Devas and Archons.

The theory and use of gates: General talk of planeshifting (including the first mention of the city of brass.) and how to incorporate it into your games. Another Ed greenwood article, this mentions tons of popular authors, plus most of the RPG's around at the time, showing how well steeped in the culture he is. He encourages keeping things unpredictable, as the laws of physics change from universe to universe, and you should never be sure which bits of your powers and equipment are going to work the way you expect, or at all for that matter. Which is realistic, and keeps even disgustingly overpowered characters from getting complacent, but would never be allowed under current popular design philosophy for being biased and deprotagonising. Meh. Who gives a damn about fashion. This is good stuff.

The Gem dragons! Finally, neutrality gets it's own set of iconic dragons. They have the same iconic traits that they maintain all through the editions, Relatively low physical power, but high intelligence and charisma, and kickass psionic abilities. Includes their own singular high end badass to complement Bahamut and Tiamat, Sardior the ruby dragon. Who I don't remember seeing before, so he must not have caught on. But the dragon deities in 2nd ed were more interesting anyway.
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Whitemage of DOOM

New member
Erm, could you be a little clearer? Are you annoyed with them for doing this, or me for expressing my continued displeasure at them making characters in this fashion.

If option 1, Then yeah, I agree. They did not seem to really grasp the concept of genre emulation yet, with rules that were frequently rather unsuited to replicating the supposed source material. That they were then very willing to break those rules to make these characters fit into the game shows up the big gaps in their design.
I'm annoyed with them for statting up uber npcs.
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