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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


  • Total voters
    411

Tom McCambley

Excellent.
Validated User
IMO the next 2 years worth of issues (1982-83, issues 57-80) were the absolute apogee of the magazine. I wonder if your cold non-nostalgia-tinged eyes will agree...
If you extend that range to around 120 or so I think you and I are in complete agreement. :D
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 56: December 1981

part 2/4

Songs instead of spells: Another bardic article. This presents the idea that it would be more thematic for bards to create magical effects via playing and singing music, rather than the boring casting methods employed by other spellcasters. What a revolutionary idea ;) This article also gives them a custom spell list with a few new spells to replace the straight druid one. They really could do with a few more sound related spells. I guess they have yet to be invented. A fairly decent article, if still rather hampered by the limitations in scope of the era. It is so hard to really think outside the box.

Map hazard, not haphazard: Want more realistic geography in your games? (no thanks) Steal it from the real world! Take proper topographic maps, do a bit of rotating and resizing, and move the buildings around. They'll be more realistic than you could manage without an advanced degree in geophysics. And more detailed than any ordinary map you could create. Yeah, I can see that working. And even great creatives such as tolkien er, borrowed from the real world extensively. The important thing is knowing how to mix and hide your sources. Personally, I'd still prefer to custom create everything myself, but I recognize the practical impossibility of that.

From the sorceror's scroll: Iuz! Hello and welcome back to Dragon. It's been a while. What has that diabolical half-demon been up too? Same thing he's up to every year. Trying to take over Oerth. Ahh, metaplot. Gary fills us in on the geopolitics of years 575-9 of the oerdian calendar. That's a lot of warring going on. I suppose that's one of the things that makes Greyhawk a more gritty setting than the Forgotten Realms. Once again, Gary introduces a lot of interesting things that will continue to have an impact for the rest of the setting's history.

Minarian Legends: Dragons and sea serpents and ogres, oh my! The giant monsters of minaria, and their place in the world. Which side are they on, and what part will they play in your game? With so many different factions, no one side, even ones as individually powerful as this, can win on their own. There certainly must be a LOT of different ways they could be combined.

Mad Merc: Our Christmas module this year is a Top Secret one that goes to a full 20 pages. A sequel to Dr Yes, this is another semi-aquatic mission. With jetpacks, more bad pun names, and some terrible fashion choices, this is definitely on the more lighthearted end of the gritty/cinematic scale. Of course, that doesn't neccecarily mean it isn't a challenge. But I can't properly judge that. As ever, any stories of actual play from any of these modules would be welcomed.

Fiction: The doctor, by Robert Dunkie: Oookay. Now that's just nasty. Well done to you Robert, you've just told a genuinely creepy story in just a page and a half. Don't explain why, just show and tell, and present us with a concept that seems all too plausible from a twisted angle and goes right to the bottom of my mental uncanny valley. I seriously hope that this one doesn't give me nightmares.
 

Mr Teufel

Dashing
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Hmm. I can't find any other references to a "Robert Dunkie". I wonder, is he a nom de plume, or is that the only story he ever got published. Because you've piqued my curiosity.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Hmm. I can't find any other references to a "Robert Dunkie". I wonder, is he a nom de plume, or is that the only story he ever got published. Because you've piqued my curiosity.
Ha. I just googled it, and this thread came up first. Oh, the irony. Once again we see just how much stuff from only a couple of decades ago has never made it onto the internet. Do Kim or any of the other old skool staff post on any of the usual forums? They'd probably be the best people to ask.
 

Lord Shark

Varoonik!
Validated User
Wasn't the author of "The Doctor" J. Robert Dunkle (not Dunkie)? A quick Google only turns up a couple of lists of stories that include "The Doctor."

Of course, it's been a while, so he may have just gone back to being plain old Jack or Jerry or Jim or John instead of "J. Robert."

By the way, I used Jeff Goelz's revised bard in a few games I ran back in the day. Worked pretty well, and didn't seem too overpowered. It was certainly infinitely better than that monstrous practical joke in the back of the PHB.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 56: December 1981

part 3/4

Ral partha take out a full page colour advert just to wish us merry christmas, without even showing any products. That's ..... nice of them.

Figuratively speaking: This months miniatures are a troll, an ent, a storm giant, and an evil wizard. All get pretty average marks, nothing below 5 or above 8. How am I supposed to think of something interesting to say when the reviewer is being so conservative?

Dragon's bestiary: Shroom are annoying dog-bear things that like to kidnap people and ransom them for honey or whatever else they feel like at the time. Use them if you want a slightly more lighthearted break in your adventuring.
Colfel are weird looking creatures from the negative material plane. Which means they get energy draining attacks. So beware. Another interesting creature that would fill out the ecology of an underinhabited plane. At least, if they had shown up again. :(
Gem vars are another construct created by wizards. One of those creatures that eschews the standard hit point system in favour of exception based design that makes them a nuisance to kill. And careful how you do it, otherwise you'll damage the valuable materials they're made of, and won't be able to sell them for so much. They probably would be /nerfed/ standardised in later editions.

The dragon's augury: Survival/The barbarian is a packaged set of two short board games, that can be played solitare or in a small group. Both are fairly high on randomness, and probably won't hold up to lots of repeated play.
Dawn of the dead is a board game based off George Romero's movies. You know the drill. Find weapons, kill zombies, avoid having your brain eaten.
The argon gambit/Death station is another double adventure set for traveller. Both are fairly short, and offer a nice range of challenges within their scenarios. Either can be thrown in fairly easily to an established game when the GM is short of ideas for a session.
Fighting ships provides lots of really big spaceships for traveller. Unfortunately most of them will be out of the price range of PC's. Still, it gives both players and GM's something to drool over. And trying to get the money for one (or steal one) is the stuff adventures are made of, isn't it.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Checked. "J. Robert Dunkle" (with an L) is correct.
:slaps head: dear oh dear. I must proofread better. Unfortunately, it's too late to edit that here, but I've fixed it in my master copy. In my defense, the title was partialy obscured by a badly scanned picture behind it futzing with the contrast, making his name difficult to make out.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
:slaps head: dear oh dear. I must proofread better. Unfortunately, it's too late to edit that here, but I've fixed it in my master copy. In my defense, the title was partialy obscured by a badly scanned picture behind it futzing with the contrast, making his name difficult to make out.
I don't think anyone expects perfection :p.

I really, really wonder about the "shrooms". Is there a pychedelic drug reference in there somewhere, or was the author just totally oblivious?
 
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