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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
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Dragon Issue 73: May 1983

Part 3/4

Forest of Doom: Another module of Dooooooooooooom!? I guess the cliches become cliches because they work. A 16 pager, this is not a wilderness adventure as you might expect, but a dungeon set inside a giant tree. Which is a cool idea, albeit one we've seen quite a few times since then. (especially in zelda games) It's not quite as impressive as giant underwater plants, but it beats another miserable cavern. Course, at this level, a smart party with enough spells to spare could fly up to the top level and face the bosses, skipping everything else. Not a perfect module, but at least it tries to tie it's disparate monsters together with a plot rationale. Overall, neither brilliant or dreadful. Eh, it'll fill up a session or two.

New tools of the trade: More cool bits of gear for top secret, with a particular emphasis on concealment. From acid to wigs, this is mostly stuff that'll get you in, help you see, and generally get you more info on whatever you're investigating. Because lists of weaponry, no matter how extensive, can't solve all your problems as a spy. Many of these things should really have been in the corebook. I mean, grappling hooks, glass cutters. Where would a spy be without basic like that? Stuck on the outside, that's where. Another useful but not brilliant article.

Thief's climb should be leveled out: Not about their wall climbing percentages. An article criticizing the kinks in their xp scale, which means that sometimes they're better and sometimes they're worse. Ho hum. Yes, the rules might need some fixing, but a basic mathematical uneveness is not a game breaker. Bored now.

A rare way of viewing the wish: Another dull single page article. Lew pulsipher tries to limit the power of wishes (again) by asking the question. Who's granting them? what do they want in return? How will they screw the characters over if they ask the wrong thing? Nothing of note here. We'll probably see these ideas regurgitated again several times before the run's over.

Forever War, the game. Fight those Taurans as a mech suited superwarrior. Seems like rather missing the point of the original book. Show people a grim tale of the futility and ugliness of war, and there's always a few idiots who say cool, I want to do that! Anyway, was it a good game?

Patching the cracks in Champions: One of those articles that does exactly what it says on the tin. A lot of people are having trouble generating a character from concept up, as they're so used to random generation (Now that's amusing) So roll up a character in V&V, and then convert it. We also get some social advantages that seem pretty sensible. Good to see them catering to different games in here, even if it is just a one-off.

Fiction: The sagittarian by Jessica Amanda Salmonson. Ahh, poetic justice. Such a lovely phrase. What better kind is there. It makes for far more entertaining stories than the regular variety. Shame there's not enough mischevious gods and whimsical wizards around to enforce it properly. Anyway, man gets turned into stagtaur. (someone figure out the proper greek) Wackiness does not ensue, unless it happens in a follow-up story. Googling is unhelpful. More info would be good.
 

Kakita Kojiro

IL-series Cylon
RPGnet Member
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Anyway, man gets turned into stagtaur. (someone figure out the proper greek)
"Elaphocentaur".

The -centaur part is the suffix, not -taur. "Hippocentaur" is the proper term for a horse+man. "Bucentaur" for ox+man. "Onocentaur" for ass+man (useful as an obscure insult!).

This is the Jessica Amanda Salmonson who wrote the Tomoe Gozen fantasy novels, long ago?
 

Lord Mhoram

Registered User
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Dragon Issue 73: May 1983

Part 3/4

Forest of Doom: Another module of Dooooooooooooom!? I guess the cliches become cliches because they work. A 16 pager, this is not a wilderness adventure as you might expect, but a dungeon set inside a giant tree. Which is a cool idea, albeit one we've seen quite a few times since then. (especially in zelda games) It's not quite as impressive as giant underwater plants, but it beats another miserable cavern. Course, at this level, a smart party with enough spells to spare could fly up to the top level and face the bosses, skipping everything else. Not a perfect module, but at least it tries to tie it's disparate monsters together with a plot rationale. Overall, neither brilliant or dreadful. Eh, it'll fill up a session or two.
I remember that one - I had a monk in the party that went through that (if it's the same tree) and after the adventure he cleaned it out (with hirelings and such) so when he reached the level he had followers, he set it up as his monestary.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
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"Elaphocentaur".

The -centaur part is the suffix, not -taur. "Hippocentaur" is the proper term for a horse+man. "Bucentaur" for ox+man. "Onocentaur" for ass+man (useful as an obscure insult!).
Thankee muchly. I guess it's the same genericisation problem lycanthropes have as a name.
This is the Jessica Amanda Salmonson who wrote the Tomoe Gozen fantasy novels, long ago?
Seems likely. We've already had plenty of evidence just how quickly the fantasy and sci-fi writers community cottoned onto this newfangled roleplaying thingy.

I remember that one - I had a monk in the party that went through that (if it's the same tree) and after the adventure he cleaned it out (with hirelings and such) so when he reached the level he had followers, he set it up as his monestary.
Sounds like a fun game. It's good way to use dungeons in general. After all, otherwise all that valuable real estate would be going to waste. You know how much building walls costs in D&D.
 

Lord Mhoram

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Sounds like a fun game. It's good way to use dungeons in general. After all, otherwise all that valuable real estate would be going to waste. You know how much building walls costs in D&D.
Yeah - help clean up the forest, nice out of the way place, very naturlistic. :) And much cheaper.

I love the stuff you are doing - takes me down memory lane. We've reached the Dragons I know really well; I don't have to look up references reading your posts now, I remember them.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
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Dragon Issue 73: May 1983

Part 4/4

Up on a soapbox: Oh, for gods sake. Roger Moore goes on about how players should always work together as a team to complete their mission. If they don't they will fail miserably. Infighting and selfishness has no place in gaming. Fuck off. Did you not read the intro to every roleplaying game ever, where it says there's no winners and losers. It's not about the mission, it's about the fun you have playing your characters on the way. (ha) Okay, so if you're going to have a game with PvP and intrigue, you should establish that beforehand, so there's no OOC hard feelings when people get screwed over. But for a lot of us, that drama is a huge part of the fun, and something to be actively sought out. Maybe I'm just too new skool for these guys. But this shows a tremendous amount of blinkeredness about what roleplaying can be.
....... Well. That was an unexpectedly vehement reaction. As you may gather, I disapprove of this article. YMMV, of course, since this is very much a matter of personal preference.

Time, money, and the goon show: Tom wham gives us some extra stuff for file 13, for those of you who'd played it a few times, and need to put variations in to stay interested. This makes winning and losing much more definite, as there is a stronger scoring system. He also takes the time to point out the errors in kim's making of. Which isn't quite as funny as the original article, but still amusing.

Reviews: Moon base clavius is set in 1996. Ha. Its a military boardgame with a bunch of little scenarios. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to its promise and gets a poor to mediocre rating. As disappointing as the monorail. ;)
Grav armor is a futuristic tank wargame. It's sequence of play results in some unusual tactics being optimal, and it has good graphics, but otherwise is unexceptional. Another solid game you'd probably play a few times, and then lose interest in.
Dragonmaster is a card game. And once again, the reviewer is in a rather vicious mood this month, calling it bland and simplistic underneath it's pretty visuals and high production values. What's eating him? Oh well, I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts, because I'll probably be seeing lots more dull moderately positive ones in the future.

Mercinaries, spies and private eyes. That's quite a cool name for a game. And it sounds like it has more scope than top secret or gangbusters. Anyone remember this one?

Palladium! Their very first advert in the magazine. But not their last by a long shot. Weapons and armour and castles and assassins, oh my. No system though. It'll be interesting to see when they start developing their own setting stuff.

Gamers guide: Looks like their extra size comes at a cost. But thankfully that'll be taken up by extra advertising. Hey, at least they're putting it at the back so you don't have to wade through it if you don't want too. This is a commercial operation, you know. Don't worry. I'll still be keeping my eyes out for interesting adverts, and thinking about what they reveal about the scene at the time.

What's new and wormy are unfortunately illegible this issue. Suckitude. Dragonmirth is as entertaining as ever.

A very good issue indeed. With both excellent articles for D&D that move the games setting and agenda forward, and a reasonable quotient of articles for other games, plus quite a few cool and significant adverts, this is one of the best overall packages they've released in a long time. Still a few articles I don't agree with, but I'd probably get bored if I agreed with everything anyway. Lets hope they keep this style up for a bit, as I already like it more than last years one.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
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Palladium! Their very first advert in the magazine. But not their last by a long shot. Weapons and armour and castles and assassins, oh my. No system though. It'll be interesting to see when they start developing their own setting stuff.
The original versions of the Mechanoids trilogy were published in '81 and '82, the first printing of Palladium Fantasy came out later in '83 (as The Palladium RPG), and Heroes Unlimited was '84. The Index gives an idea of their release pattern.

What's new and wormy are unfortunately illegible this issue. Suckitude. Dragonmirth is as entertaining as ever.
What's New for May '83 should consist of this page, and this page, and also this page.
 
Last edited:

pg13

Retired User
Dragon Issue 73: May 1983

Mercenaries, spies and private eyes. That's quite a cool name for a game. And it sounds like it has more scope than top secret or gangbusters. Anyone remember this one?
Ahhhhhh yes, MiSPEe!

I played this for a couple of years (longer than I could manage to find people willing to play Top Secret)...and while most of my gaming stuff from that era has made its way into storage, I still keep my MSPE stuff in my "could grab and use at any time" shelves.

In practice, I found that the game tended to bog down and lose focus when you tried to run it with a group...and groups tended to work better in an AD&D campaign--but MSPE was great for random rainy afternoons when you and one of your AD&Ders were bored and looking for something to do.

It was great fun to imagine grand intrigue happening in the town we actually lived in, to explore what might be happening in the boarded up warehouses that we actually passed by every day...and then to have those adventure hooks leading you around the world.

In fact, the biggest problem was probably mine, as the person running the game--as when the whole modern world is available to you, it can be hard to maintain an entertaining direction in the game (something that I wouldn't find in a modern game until the Feng Shui/Hong Kong Action Theatre type games, years later.)

Reading this almost makes me want to see what my modern-game mind makes of what was basically Tunnels & Trolls Modern.

pg--I wonder if I still have the maps I made of Uptown Minneapolis, where my old campaign was based?--seattle
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 74: June 1983

part 1/4

87 pages. Welcome to another birthday issue. We have more dragons, more cool stuff from Ed, Lew, Roger, Len, and plenty of other articles. Also, Roger is now a full member of the editorial team, working in the same building rather than sending in articles from god knows where. Unfortunately, the pull-out extra pages on gen con do not appear to have been included in the scan, so I can't comment on them, which sucks. Oh well, there's plenty of other things still to do. Like spying. This issue has an unusually high number of top secret articles as well. Lets see what they've crammed in, and see if I can fit it into my already bulging skull.

In this issue:

Out on a limb: A letter defending giving each level a title. There's always going to be some reactionaries.
A letter complaining about the statistical analyses of classes, as well as their recent revisions and additions, saying that this does not help roleplaying, and boiling things down to the numbers discourages creativity and treating them as personalities. Kim gives a rather lengthy reply to this, and seems a bit baffled as they do also have plenty of articles of how to build personalities and background details.
A letter complaining about how male oriented the magazine is, and wondering why there's no incubi in the game. This gets the stock response of well, we're trying, but when the vast majority of submissions are by male writers and artists, of course it's going to be skewed to that viewpoint. (oh, and they did do incubi, back in issue 54, but kim forgets to point that out) You want to change that, send stuff in.

From the sorceror's scroll: Horseys! Gary gives us info on warhorses, barding, and how much of an expense it is to get hold of them. You may want to use that, because it is pretty helpful for your overland adventures.
More importantly, we get another talk about their current plans for the future. And this one's a doozy. They're planning on releasing more minis and constructable environments for them. The D&D movie has a script (written by an academy award winner, what the hell happened there?) now we just need someone to make it. The D&D cartoon is done, and will be sharing airtime with the smurfs and pac-man. (tee hee. Family friendly show) and he's working with Flint Dille to create another D&D TV show. (And so another seed of his downfall was sown) Very interesting indeed. So many big plans, to have so many crushed hopes and unexpected ramifications resulting from them. You think you can play with the big boys in hollywood and come out ahead? Oh boy. You will learn. Lets hope we get to see some more of the backstage drama unfold here in the future, because this is important stuff, and I don't want to miss these big events in their zenith years.

James bond, 007 gets a big full colour advert. Another big licence gets a game based upon it. Will we see more stuff on this soon?

Leomund (and Nystul's) tiny hut: We get a contribution that seems to have been misplaced from the april issue. The bureaucrat and politician classes, more ones that are technically functional, but completely unsuited for adventuring. This is about as interesting and funny as spending time around real bureaucrats. Next please.
 
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