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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
Dragon Issue 61: May 1982

Part 2/4

Or with a weird one: And here's the other side of the coin. Funny foreign weaponry. Tiger claws, Boomerangs, bullwhips (which paladins are forbidden to use :D ), caltrops. The mancatcher! ( now that's a far more efficient way of subduing an enemy than unarmed combat.) We'll be seeing quite a few of these again in official supplements. There is a certain amount of special effects creep here, but thankfully damage creep has been avoided. It would be bad for verisimilitude if all the indigenous cultures had better weaponry than the european analogues. (although if you're playing D&D, that should be the least of your worries) I'm sure some of you had lots of fun with these little babies.

The gnomish point of view: And so we reach the last of the common PC races. Quite a bit of attention is put on their tendency to be practical jokers. This may not have been the wisest decision, in hindsight. They also hate kobolds. Apart from that, they do seem to struggle to find a strong identity, having a bit of elves nature love, dwarves skill at crafting and underground stuff, and halflings sneakiness and love of community and food. They are pretty adaptable little creatures. But that's not good enough to get them in the A list, is it. You need a proper archetype. They should have given this to Ed instead of Roger. He'd (make a plan and he'd follow through, that's what Edward Greenwood would do) have figured something out.

The gods of the gnomes: And after the racial description, come the extra gods. Baervan wildwanderer, Sejolan earthcaller, Flandal Steelskin, All faced up against the crawler below, Urdlen. Well, the gnome deities are considerably more interesting than the halfling ones anyway, with their spread of portfolios, companions, and rather distinctive evil god. They certainly serve to flesh out what gnomes are and the ingredients that go into making them better than the previous article did. But will people take in that implied setting stuff? Hard to say. Probably not enough, considering the way they've been treated in 3rd and 4th edition. Which is a shame, really.

Quest for the midas orb: The third place module in the IDDC competition is only a 10 pager. Another location based adventure, this is actually fairly nice as adventures from that period go, with only a couple of arbitrary screwage attacks and boss monsters way above the average challenge rating. And the screwage is predictable enough that you could probably work out how to avoid it. In any case, the writing style is quite good. All in all, I quite enjoyed reading it, and wouldn't mind using it.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Okay. After a lot of deliberating and worrying, I've decided to take my first shot at syndicating this thread. Which gives me a chance to put some elaborations and corrections into the reviews, and everyone else another chance to get in on the ground floor and comment on the early issues. I wonder what different insights the folks over there will have, particularly as they're a more D&Dcentric community in general.
 

owe for the flesh

Servitor of LOLth
As such, I'm curious if the 3rd edition of DragonQuest is going to get much coverage once you hit the issues from around its release date. Granted, that's still 7 years away, so... ;)
My Dragon collection starts to pick-up in the 60s, and I remember a fair number of DragonQuest articles. There wasn't one in every issue and they were mostly fairly short, but they were there.
 

owe for the flesh

Servitor of LOLth
As such, I'm curious if the 3rd edition of DragonQuest is going to get much coverage once you hit the issues from around its release date. Granted, that's still 7 years away, so... ;)
My Dragon collection starts to pick-up in the 60s, and I remember a fair number of DragonQuest articles. There wasn't one in every issue and they were mostly fairly short, but they were there.
And I can't believe that you and I, of all people, did not think to check this in the index. Here's all the DragonQuest articles that appeared in Dragon:

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=11269>Travel & threads for DragonQuest</a> from issue #49.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=22434>The Versatile Magician</a> from #57.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=10608>The thrill of the hunt</a> from #78.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=10667>Enhancing the enchanter</a> from #82.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=15382>The Warrior Alternative</a> from #86.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=10521>Learn magic by the month</a> from #89.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=9507>Getting up and getting wet</a> from #92.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=15456>Getting in over your head</a> from #96.

<a href=http://index.rpg.net/display-article.phtml?articleid=15525>For a fuller background</a> from #97.
 
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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 61: May 1982

Part 3/4

Dragon's bestiary: Firetails are unpredictable little snaky things from the elemental plane. They could be friendly, or they could curse you and burn your stuff up. Best to banish them home to be sure.
Umbrae are shadows that attack your shadow. To beat them, you'll have to get used to the idea of attacking them with your own shadow. Or just turn the lights out, so you don't have a shadow for them to attack. Just don't mistake them for undead shadows.
Light worms take the hypnotic legends of snakes and take them literally, as they generate glowing mesmerizing patterns of light.
Tybor are exeedingly badass magical birds that have quite a bit in common with ki-rin, of all things. You probably don't want to provoke them.

Monster cards: Another innovation that'll show up quite a few times through the years. Condense monster stats onto little cards, and it can speed up play quite a bit. Buy them now! Get all the sets! Speed up the time when collectible card games will become a genre in their own right, and play a big part in RPG's mid-90's decline. Or something. I don't really have much of an opinion on this one.

Rules for aging in Ringside: My god, an article for this after all this time. And not by the original author either. I'm vaguely surprised. As you might expect from rules for aging, this is pretty brutal stuff, that'll take all but the best fighters out soon after they hit 30. Which is realistic, I guess, but depressing. Hey, it's only a game. At least you can start a new character, which is more than you can say for real life.

Jo-ga-oh: Ooh. Native american myths. Fae/ nature spirit analogues get everywhere, don't they. Only the names and specific powers and taboos change. These are some of the more benevolent examples of this group, and will only be a problem if you provoke them. Of course if your adventurers are foreigners who just blunder in killing things and taking stuff, they deserve what they get.

Special knowledge and a bureau for infiltrators: Gary gives us a new class and skills for Top Secret. Do you want to go into deep cover and spend months or years trying to get close to your enemies so they can be taken. This is the bureau for you then. They might not play well with a regular group, unless they're actually an agent from another country in deep cover amongst them. Pretty solid stuff ruleswise. Whether it's actually good for making the game more fun, I'm not so sure.
 
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Unka Josh

Social Justice Chimera
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I remember the Umbra... in a later issue, you'll see a letter or two bringing up issues with the critter. ("Doesn't my sword's shadow follow my sword when I attack it? What if I hold my torch near my sword to make a GIANT sword?")
 

T. Foster

Retired User
None of the articles in this issue (#61) sound very familiar. It must have been a hole in my collection, or perhaps just didn't make as strong an impression on my memory as the very solid issues surrounding it on both sides. Maybe something in part 4 of 4 will ring a bell...
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 61: May 1982

Part 4/4

The dragon's augury: Call of Cthulhu gets a pretty negative review. There are substantial flaws and holes in the rules, and the setting book just sucks. Interesting. While not quite an outright slating, this is definitely a lot harsher than most reviews in this magazine. I get the impression the reviewer is big lovecraft fan, and is judging things on that basis. They definitely don't know the game'll go on far longer than most of the things appearing here.
Hitlers war is, you've guessed it, another WWII wargame. The reviewer compares it quite heavily to third reich. But it is a somewhat shorter and more tactically zoomed out game than that one. Still, it seems to be worth it's price, with several different levels of complexity to choose from, depending on how long you want to play.

Off the shelf has a particularly high quotient of genuinely famous authors this month: Fall into darkness by Nicholas Yermakov Berkley puts a russian spin on the humans in space trope, which puts both american and russian tropes and politics into relief.
The deadliest show in town by Mike McQuay is another futuristic detective novel.
The claw of the conciliator by Gene Wolfe is another time and space spanning epic in the new sun series.
The restaraunt at the end of the universe by Douglas Adams is immediately recognized as an absolute classic, even more entertaining than the first book in this reviewers opinion. But I think most of you already have your own opinions on Mr Adams' work, so you don't need telling that.
The book of philip jose farmer is a well done compilation of his stories, with introductions to the stories, plus several new ones, and a great cover. Snap it up before it goes out of print. ;)
Durandal by Harold lamb is a pseudohistorical epic, telling the story of what happened to Roland's sword after he died. Much bloodyness and intrigue happens.
Beneath an opal moon by Eric van Lustbader is as predictably unpredictable and full of depth as most of his work.

What's new is contracturaly obliged to put off sex in D&D for another month while they tackle actual new games. Incidentally, did Ed Greenwood and Bryce Knorr really look anything like that? Wormy gets three whole pages, plus a cameo in what's new. Pretty decent.

One of the less interesting issues of this period. Apart from the gnomes and the reviews, not much has stuck in my mind. They can definitely do better than this.
 
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