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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


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    411

StormBringer

Registered User
Validated User
Paizo publishing has the entire line of Dragon Magazine issues scanned into PDF's. You can buy them here.

EDIT - It looks like you can't buy only certain early issues, and the first one I spotted was 90. Yeesh!
Yeah, a few later issues aren't available, either.

Good Lord! $10 an issue? For a scanned pdf?? I would probably pay $10 for the entire year, but not each issue. Especially the more recent ones, out of print or not.
 

brianm

Registered User
Validated User
Comic: The adventures of Finieous Fingers and Fred and Charly by JD. Considerably larger and more detailed than Dirt, but still a pretty simple self-contained premise. We've still got a way to go before we get demented metaplot and in-joke filled stuff like Yamara.
Not as long as you might think. Things start to improve on the comic front around issue #9. :D

- Brian
 

olshanski

Registered User
Validated User
Not that it matters, but at some point I was offered a lifetime subscription to Dragon for $100. I have a feeling it was just before the launch of Dragon.
I was just a kid and couldn't scrape up the money.

Later, I'd learn to regret it as early issues were worth more than $100 each to collectors.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
The Dragon issue 4: December 1976. Empire of the petal throne special issue.

Our first themed issue, this expands to 36 pages. As you may have noticed, tekumels setting detail has shown to be easily the best available in a game (well, it was still a small field) at this time. The people back then noticed it as well, and the editor goes as far as to call it "superior to middle-earth in matters that concern gamers". Which may be hyperbole, but hey.

This issue contains

Reports submitted to the petal throne. We see our first case of attempting to integrate peoples campaigns into a larger universe, and the inherent problems that generates with continuity, particularly when some GM's are "overly generous" with advancement. (M.A.R's opinion on this is pretty similar to Gary's, the players should have to work hard for every level they get, and the journey is more interesting than the destination, as high level characters acquire responsibilities with their power that make further adventuring difficult ) He concludes that the simplest solution is to consider all campaigns equally valid parallel universes.
From this point we get lots of adventure hooks and setting detail, presented as reports to the petal throne, and the emperor's reaction to these reports. Which is an interesting way of doing it, and makes it easy for GM's to turn them into adventures. Pretty good stuff overall.

Metamorphosis Alpha! TSR's first science fiction RPG starts here. Vat grown Androids have inflitrated the human tribes. They could be anyone, including the leaders. Only pink fuzzy balls can detect the interlopers and ensure the freedom of humanity! There's a bit more depth than that, but yes, this is a silly setting. Lets not go there. (cue camelot)

A random encounter table for tekumel.

The battle of the temple of Chanis. More dense, information heavy stuff combining setting overview with in character narration to give you an excellent snapshot of an event and the culture that surrounds it.

Monsters for Tekumel. The inscrutable, hermaphroditic, shapechanging Mihalli, and the Viragga, which are essentially organic squid/tank hybrids with lots of tentacles. As with other stuff, a lot more attention is placed upon their behaviors and place in the world than contempory D&D monsters.

An update on the joke monsters described in SR3. Beware the ring of wedding and Bi-labial fricative. Really. Don't say you weren't warned.

Fiction: Roads from Jakalla by Jerry Westergaard. Nice to see some tekumel stuff that isn't by M.A.R, as his distinctive tone does get a bit dull in large quantities.

They said Dirt was cancelled for space reasons in the editorial, and yet here it is. Guess there was a bit more room at the last minute than they expected.

Wargaming world: Lots of staple low level D&D monsters this time around.

A recommended reading by Gary Gygax. Poul Anderson, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Vance, Weinbaum; you ought to know the score by now. Go read them. It'll explain a lot.

Finieous fingers & fred & charly continues to entertain.

Magical Eyes for Tekumel.

The temple of Vimuhla for tekumel. A detailed set of photographs of its construction as a miniatures battleground. This suffers from the poor resolution of the .pdf scans, preventing me from looking as closely as I'd like. I suspect this problem will become more frequent in later issues as the amount of higher quality color artwork increases. Which is a shame.

After this issue, I definitely have a decent idea of what the setting of tekumel was like. Which is a lot more than can be said for greyhawk. Whatever happened to it? When and why did it descend into its current state of publishing limbo. Hopefully I'll find out as I read onwards.
 

brianm

Registered User
Validated User
Reports submitted to the petal throne. We see our first case of attempting to integrate peoples campaigns into a larger universe, and the inherent problems that generates with continuity, particularly when some GM's are "overly generous" with advancement. (M.A.R's opinion on this is pretty similar to Gary's, the players should have to work hard for every level they get, and the journey is more interesting than the destination, as high level characters acquire responsibilities with their power that make further adventuring difficult ) He concludes that the simplest solution is to consider all campaigns equally valid parallel universes.
From this point we get lots of adventure hooks and setting detail, presented as reports to the petal throne, and the emperor's reaction to these reports. Which is an interesting way of doing it, and makes it easy for GM's to turn them into adventures. Pretty good stuff overall.
I love this sort of thing, but some people point to things like this as the reason Tekumel never really took off. This reinforces the idea that Tekumel is Prof Barker's world, an idea that was already strong due to the very unusual, imaginative nature of the setting. It was very easy to fall into the trap of believing that those who didn't play Tekumel Dr. Barker's way were playing it "wrong". And here we see, even at the beginning of the hobby, the roots of a certain stagnation, where only settings that have elves in them get made because players will only play settings with elves in them.

It's not quite that bad yet, of course. This is they heyday of unusual settings, such as Jerune. But you can see already that the issue is a real one for folks trying to expand the hobby beyond the High Fantasy most players demand, in spit of Gygax's more pulpy reading lists.

- Brian
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
I love this sort of thing, but some people point to things like this as the reason Tekumel never really took off. This reinforces the idea that Tekumel is Prof Barker's world, an idea that was already strong due to the very unusual, imaginative nature of the setting. It was very easy to fall into the trap of believing that those who didn't play Tekumel Dr. Barker's way were playing it "wrong". And here we see, even at the beginning of the hobby, the roots of a certain stagnation, where only settings that have elves in them get made because players will only play settings with elves in them.

It's not quite that bad yet, of course. This is they heyday of unusual settings, such as Jerune. But you can see already that the issue is a real one for folks trying to expand the hobby beyond the High Fantasy most players demand, in spit of Gygax's more pulpy reading lists.

- Brian
I think thats an issue derrived from the comfort in familiarity thing. Sure, you can introduce new elements, but there needs to be enough continuity with things people already know and understand, otherwise they'll simply go WTF, what do I do with this. I see it in music all the time. People say they want something new, but what they really want is a variation on the themes and styles they already know and enjoy. It's a hard struggle finding that line of different enough to excite people, but similar enough that it still registers as music to them, and doesn't scare them off.
 

Blackwingedheaven

Crystal Human
Validated User
I'm afraid the answer is no, there wasn't. The legal hassles they experienced after publishing the Archive probably put them off that idea. And methinks that this is enough on my plate for now. However, if someone were to hunt them all down and make that thread, I would be very flattered indeed, and engage in crosslink promotion of that thread.
God help me, but I own every issue of Dungeon Magazine. That's right, issue 1 through issue 150. I'm so impressed by this particular thread that I'm more than willing to start one up myself. I'll get on that thing this weekend (and go ahead and create the thread itself today so that no one beats me to the punch). :D

I hope to be able to give readers as much of an insight into the last several decades of adventure design as you are into gaming trends. You're doing great work, (un)reason, and I hope that mine will be as impressive.

Jeremy Puckett
 
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