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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


  • Total voters
    411

manjushri

Vorpalling Delusions
Wow. I've noticed this thread for a few days now, but haven't jumped into it until this moment. After reading the first post I was thinking, yeah right, (s)he'll never last--this will peter out after a dozen, maybe two at most, issues. But you're still at it through 57.

Kudos to you, (un)reason, for one of the all-time best threads I've seen on RPG.net in 8+ years of browsing.

Out of curiosity, are you still thinking you can make it all the way through?

I have a copy of the archives CD somewhere...I've have to dig it up to check out some of these classics.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Out of curiosity, are you still thinking you can make it all the way through?
I'm well over a sixth of the way through now, and it's pretty much stopped getting harder. (not that it's exactly easy still.) Barring major illness, total disaster like my house burning down, all my computer equipment being stolen, or some other big life event, it's more a matter of how quickly I can do it, and how sane I'll be at the end. (I'm hoping to be able to slip some cerebus style buckfuck authorial rants in somewhere along the line. :D ) My current target is to get it all done by 2 years after the start date, which is achievable if I keep up my current pace.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 58: February 1982

Part 1/4

88 pages

In this issue:

Dragon Rumbles: Oh dear oh dear. We have our second RPG controversy making the news. Someone LARPing was shot by the police, who believed their fake gun was real. This is why you should use cards if playing around non-participants who don't know what's going on. And once again Jake seems more concerned with the damage by association that this could do to tabletop gaming than extending any sympathy to the LARP community. There is a definite air of "I told you so" to this entry, which I find a bit disturbing. This would be a very different editorial if Tim was still in charge. It is a shame that the TT and LARP communities got so separated, and I wonder how much of that is the fault of the people in charge of TSR in these early days. White wolf might have done quite a bit to bring them back together, but the damage was already done. It's silly to over fragment in an already niche market.

Out on a limb: A letter spotting the editing errors in Mad Merc 2 issues ago, which they admit too, and add further corrections of their own.
A letter telling them that they are too scathing in their rebuttals to many of the letters they get. They reply that they aren't half as scathing as some of the ones they get in. And at least they don't swear or use bad spelling and grammar.
A letter asking them how the hell to handle premonitions of death when you don't know what's going to happen in game. They tell him just to fudge it and use your own guesswork. Sigh.
Another letter weighing in on the high level character debate, in support, and wishing they'd post more support for high level games. Which gets a strangely scathing reply in response. Kim obviously isn't a fan of high level games.
A letter asking for more house-rules and clarifications to the official rules, as for all its claims of mechanical rigour, there are still substantial amounts of vagueness and incompleteness. Next thing you know, people'll be asking for a new edition ;)

Leomund's tiny hut: Len gives us a bunch of new cleric spells, as he and gary felt they were still a little lacking in some respects. As this is done by official sanction, most of these made it into future books, such as water walking, dust devil, meld into stone and negative energy protection (at last, we have a counter to energy drainers). Yeah, this is a needed add-on. And it's nice enough to add a bunch of spells that are primarily useful for non-adventuring clerics, and an early synergistic metamagic spell, Combine. This is a definite step forward in terms of spell technology. Of course, that means wizards are likely to get a load of extra spells too soon. (Actually, I'm surprised they haven't thought of publishing those as regular articles before. It's certainly the kind of thing there's always demand for.) How are they going to keep fighters and thieves up? (oh, yeah, they aren't ;) )
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
How are they going to keep fighters and thieves up? (oh, yeah, they aren't ;) )
I never thought of it at the time, but the troupe-style organization from Ars Magica would certainly fit in an old school game. Very different sensibilities, but the same basic structure. All the PCs play wizards and deathmasters and clerics and druids and illusionists and, well, spellcasters. The grogs (fighters, paladins, and such) are effectively a pool of henchmen that the group plays and rotates out as they (inevitably) get slaughtered. Each commands a handful of men at arms that do all the things cannon fodder do. The PCs might have a professional (if distant) sense of responsibility for their pawns, or they might maneuver them with all the callousness of a Grand Master utilizing a chess piece. The skilled types, whether trap-detectors (thieves), or just all those miscellaneous hirelings in the DMG, are hired as needed or kept on retainer (the potential for a siege engineer or sapper and crew in a dungeon is almost limitless). Troupes aren't that far from the D&D default.
 

Merth

Registered User
Validated User
It is a shame that the TT and LARP communities got so separated, and I wonder how much of that is the fault of the people in charge of TSR in these early days. White wolf might have done quite a bit to bring them back together, but the damage was already done. It's silly to over fragment in an already niche market.

I dunno about that. I've played D&D with dozens of people over the years (since 1979), and none has ever talked about or expressed any interest in LARPing. I think they are two different hobbies, with about as much in common as creative writing and improv comedy.

Keep up the good work in the Dragon summaries. Brings back a lot of memories. My first issue was the one with Food Fight (#34?).
 

Lord Mhoram

Registered User
Validated User
Champions is one of the first iterations of the Hero system. And it's only around a tenth the size of the bullet-stopping brick 5th edition would become. Which means there are still significant gaps in the powerset and some point cost to effectiveness issues. But even so, the effort to fun ratio might still be higher than more recent comprehensive versions. Hard to say.

Just wanted to point out something that always makes me smile- that review was by Scott Bennie. Who ended up writing some of the best Champions/Hero books that came out.

Aaron Allston reviewed Champs for Space Gamer (If I remember the magazine correctly). And, of course, he did the same.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 58: February 1982

Part 2/4

Dragon's bestiary: Sull are another floating jellyfish creature. A surprisingly popular D&D ecological niche, really. These ones are psionic, and fight by ramming rather than stinging. Interesting.
Beguilers are kyoot little magical mammals. Which I guess is the point. They're also pretty magically powerful, and their parts are useful in making magical items. But how could you be so cruel as to hunt something this adorable down. You'd get far more benefit keeping one as a familiar.
Magenta's cats are another wizard creation. Yay. Intelligent psionic cats. Now there's a rare and original idea :rolleyes: You can have one as a familiar too. It'd probably be more useful than another party member at low level as well.

Blood of medusa: Nice. One of the more intricate pieces of greek mythology gets another look at. When the original medusa was killed, pegasus and chrysaor sprang from her blood. And descended from them in various ways are the hydra, chimera, sphinx, and quite a few monsters that don't have D&D versions such as echidna and cerberus. This gives stats for quite a few of them, and is in general a good sparker of imagination on how to create your own set of unique monsters for your own campaign. Which is a pretty good thing, as it makes monsters more mythic, and not just another faceless challenge to kill for XP and loot. Bringing family into it always makes things more interesting, as Grazzt, Iggwilv and Iuz demonstrate. I very much approve.

Four myths from greece: The greek theme continues, and they give us stats for Atalanta, Daedalus, Deiphobe the sybil, and Chiron the centaur. Despite not being under any of the regular columns devoted to this kind of thing, they are all as disgustingly high in every stat as ever, even the ones not connected to their legendary accomplishments.

The dwarven point of view: Looks like it's that time again. They've been doing themed issues for the classes recently. Now they're starting on the various races as well. This is an official article by Roger Moore, and goes quite a way towards filling in D&D's implied setting. Yes, dwarven females do have beards. But there's a whole lot more to them as a race than just that. Why do dwarves become thieves? Why are they so obsessed with craftmanship? Why can't they become wizards? All these and more answered here.

Bazaar of the Bizarre continues the dwarven theme. The high anvil of the dwarves is a general craftmanship booster, as if they needed it. Still, you've gotta have dwarven made magical items, and they need help for that. The helm of subterranean sagacity does the same for their mining abilities. Pretty dull pair really. Don't you have anything more inventive?

Sage advice also gets in on the act with the short bearded folk.
Why don't ettins suffer a penalty to hit dwarves (they have two heads)
Can an ioun stone increase your stats above 18. Would this allow a demihuman to exceed their maximum level. (no and no)
Do dwarves have alignment restrictions (no, just tendencies)
What are the chances of my character being a sub-race. (If your DM allows it, you can be. Your race is one thing you don't have to roll to determine.
What's the maximum level dwarf clerics can be? (8th with wis 18, 7th with less)
How come dwarves can be psionic when their god isn't. (Good question. Perhaps the psionic ones have some human blood)
What does Moradin's worhipper alignment entry Lawful good (dwarves) mean? ( he might prefer his worshippers good, but he's a magnaminous deity who will tolerate dwarves of other alignments. )
Can dwarves use long or bastard swords one-handed? ( That's your DM's decision. I'm not going to give a ruling on this (how odd))
 
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Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
Beguilers are kyoot little magical mammals. Which I guess is the point. They're also pretty magically powerful, and their parts are useful in making magical items. But how could you be so cruel as to hunt something this adorable down. You'd get far more benefit keeping one as a familiar.
Yes.

For organ harvesting, followed by regeneration. No permanent harm....
And descended from them in various ways are the hydra, chimera, sphinx, and quite a few monsters that don't have D&D versions such as echidna and cerberus.
There were a couple multi-headed dogs in the original Fiend Folio, so Cerberus is covered.
The dwarven point of view: Looks like it's that time again. They've been doing themed issues for the classes recently. Now they're starting on the various races as well. This is an official article by Roger Moore, and goes quite a way towards filling in D&D's implied setting. Yes, dwarven females do have beards. But there's a whole lot more to them as a race than just that. Why do dwarves become thieves? Why are they so obsessed with craftmanship? Why can't they become wizards? All these and more answered here.
Looking back, I'm not that impressed. But the Point of View articles were very good for their time.
 
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