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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 95: March 1985

part 2/4

The world gamers guide: Looks like this is back, sorta. They're no longer going to publish the name of everyone who sends it in, because that'd take forever. Instead, they're going to concentrate on expanding international awareness. If you're in some far flung part of the world, and struggling to find any players at all, they'll help out. How nice of them.

Christians! Learn how to fight at the gates of hell with Dragonraider! Well, okay then. I'm sure your parents will object less than if you were playing that ghastly piece of satanic propaganda that is D&D ;)

How taxes take their toll: Taxes. Peh. Was there ever a thing adventurers hated more? Arthur Collins regales us with tales of the things kingdoms find to take money from you for having, and the way they do it with the least resistance. Catch them in the winter, when they can't run away. An annoying subject, but handled with humour and a good framing device. Will your adventurers aquiesce for the good of the kingdom, or will they slaughter anyone who has the temerity to try and leave or take over. And if they take over, how will they handle the whole finance situation. You might be able to live the high life on a dragons hoard for years, but it won't keep the roads smooth or the army paid for long. A dull subject, but still one you can build plenty of adventures around. Do you want those kinds of realistic ramifications in your game, or would you prefer to keep your play escapist? As ever, any amusing stories of how your characters acted when faced with the dread spectre of taxes are welcome.

The ecology of the cockatrice: Ed ropes Elminster in to help for the second issue in a row. He must be running out of time to do his own research, with all this rapid writing. We get one of his best stories yet, a nicely folklorish tale of ironic punishment featuring the red wizards of Thay and several now familiar bits of Realms geography. Once again we get plenty of detail on both their lifecycle and the uses to which their parts can be put (and the prices you can command for those parts. You want to make magic items of petrification, here's the thing you want to go for. Once again, he continues to outdo himself, with strong fiction, worldbuilding, ecology, and game-usefullness all handled in an exemplary manner. And he's got a decent balance between text and footnotes as well. Unless you don't like him putting Realms setting stuff in a supposedly generic article, this is practically the platonic ideal of an ecology article. Genius.

Prices for the roaring 20's: Hello Glenn. It's a while since we had some stuff from you. Once again he's put lots of effort into his research and writing to show us just how ridiculous inflation has been over the years. Cars for $200. Shoes for a couple of pounds. A cement mixer for $26, of all things. One of those system-free articles that'll come in handy if you find yourself in the appropriate position. He's got a good idea of what adventurers are likely to want. If your PC's want to go into the lair of the monster dressed in gingham, their desires are catered for. :D Another one for bookmarking.

Credit where credit is due: Katharine Kerr once again shows her distaste for hack and slash gaming and tries to get some more people to abandon it for the rarified realms of Proper Roleplaying™. This of course is tricky when the principle source of XP is killing things and taking their stuff. To change people's behaviour, you need to alter what the system rewards and punishes. Clever thought, and one which will be applied to great effect later on. Once again, her attention to detail is exemplary, but she also shows a certain didactic over-literalism in her writing. I sense that she is growing dissatisfied with this job. She certainly isn't producing as smoothly and reliably as Ed, Ken or Roger.

The many shapes of apes: Stephen Innis continues to be a prolific contributer. At this rate he'll be next to officially join the team. He returns to one of his subjects of expertise, animals. From little chimpanzees to the extinct (on earth) Gigantopithicus, (which really ought to be renamed for a fantasy campaign.) plus gorillas and orangutans. Compared to the recent stuff in the creature catalog, they're a bit dull really. So much for reality being stranger than fiction. Shoulda put bonobos in there as well. Bah. Family friendly magazine and all that crap. Not the most fun way this could have been handled.
 

lionrampant

Registered User
Validated User
Christians! Learn how to fight at the gates of hell with Dragonraid! Well, okay then. I'm sure your parents will object less than if you were playing that ghastly piece of satanic propaganda that is D&D ;)
Ah, Dragonraid. My first RPG experience, pretty much for the reasons you stated. Actually a pretty good system, mechanically, though it had its wonky bits. It had some pretty brutal (and optional) critical hit tables, too, which I thought were AWESOME when I was 10.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
How taxes take their toll: Taxes. Peh. Was there ever a thing adventurers hated more? Arthur Collins regales us with tales of the things kingdoms find to take money from you for having, and the way they do it with the least resistance. Catch them in the winter, when they can't run away. An annoying subject, but handled with humour and a good framing device. Will your adventurers aquiesce for the good of the kingdom, or will they slaughter anyone who has the temerity to try and leave or take over. And if they take over, how will they handle the whole finance situation. You might be able to live the high life on a dragons hoard for years, but it won't keep the roads smooth or the army paid for long. A dull subject, but still one you can build plenty of adventures around. Do you want those kinds of realistic ramifications in your game, or would you prefer to keep your play escapist? As ever, any amusing stories of how your characters acted when faced with the dread spectre of taxes are welcome.
The best article I'll never use.

Entertaining read, though.
Gigantopithicus, (which really ought to be renamed for a fantasy campaign.)
Giganthopithecus literally means "giant ape", so anything in that vein would work. Giant carnivorous ape, for instance. (Even if it was a likely herbivore; after all, in fantasy, everything's more bloodthirsty.)
 

demiurge1138

Registered User
Validated User
The many shapes of apes: Stephen Innis continues to be a prolific contributer. At this rate he'll be next to officially join the team. He returns to one of his subjects of expertise, animals. From little chimpanzees to the extinct (on earth) Gigantopithicus, (which really ought to be renamed for a fantasy campaign.) plus gorillas and orangutans.
How do you feel about dinosaurs in a fantasy campaign? Do you prefer them renamed too?

Just curious.
 

Mr Teufel

Dashing
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I think the wizard would know them as Gigantopithicus and Tyranosaurus Rex, respectively, but the ranger and druid would know them as Giant Ape and Tyrant lizard.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
As ever, any amusing stories of how your characters acted when faced with the dread spectre of taxes are welcome.
Mostly, they just rolled over and accepted it. Probably because people really don't think about fighting the taxman anymore. That's how they brought Capone down, after all.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 95: March 1985

part 3/4

Into the forgotten realms: Well well. Having been regailed with hints about it for the past four years, we finally get to play an official FR module this month. With UA as well, this is turning out to be a significant month. This is one of those modules you're not intended to solve by straight combat, with a boss way above your expected CR. It's also very much a tournament module, with a scoring system and definite winners and losers. Looks like despite his progressive tendencies, Ed can kick it old skool with the best of them as well. Is there no end to his talents? This'll test your ingenuity and your ability to play along with ridiculous situations. Will you take the pregens, or subject your regular characters to it.

Battles above the dungeon: We've had plenty of advice on how to set an adventure above ground by now. However, tactical advice for party level skirmishes has not been amongst that advice. And lets face it, positioning can have a pretty significant effect on a fight. Surrounding, hitting from the rear, ambushing with ranged attacks, cover, there are plenty of ways you can turn the tide. Once you add flight, and the artillery effects magic can provide, you can face hugely greater numbers and come out on top. Or vice versa, if it's your enemy that's using these tricks. A lengthy article full of cool ideas to get you to raise your game, that if anything is even more relevant today, with 4th ed's emphasis on positioning and it's manipulation. You can get a lot of use out of this one, regardless of the system you're using. A pretty strong article all round.

Fiction: Desperate acts by Gordon Linzer. A very dramatic tale of aging, ambition, treachery, necromancy, and hiding the truth from both yourself and others. Has the captain of the guard been holding on to her post too long? Who wants to get her removed and why? Obviously I won't spoil you, but the answer will remain mysterious until the last page. Once again, he puts an interesting slant on familiar ideas, taking them a step further to keep them interesting.

Coming attractions: Endless Quest gets two new subdivisions. Super Endless Quest offers more depth and choice, with it's first release, the Prisoners of Pax Tharkas. Meanwhile Crimson crystal uses the same trick as the old transformers toys. Use the crimson screen on the artwork to reveal the clues to solve the problems. It's first two adventures are Riddle of the Griffon and Search for the pegasus. Anyone remember any of this stuff. Seems odd that they aren't covering it in the magazine at all.
Top secret gets TS008: The seventh seal. Save Los Angeles from nuclear destruction. The stakes are pretty high. Are your agents up to the mission?
Marvel superheroes gets MHAC5: Project wideawake. Essentially, it's the mutant splatbook. Lots of stats and stuff for your enjoyment.
Conan gets his own standalone RPG. Another one of those boxed sets that show up just how much more accessable to new players RPG's were back then. 80 pages in total was considered a game of medium complexity. Even supposedly light games like savage worlds are more than twice that. Ridiculous, really.
AD&D gets lots of cool stuff. The battlesystem game means you finally have a system for mass combat. Let your characters lead armies! Woo! We also get module C5: The bane of Llewellyn, and DL6: Dragons of ice. Both continue the adventures from previous installments. Lots to keep your heroes busy with here.

The zuraqqor strike back!: Star frontiers Knight Hawks gets some more ship stats and scenarios. Quite a familiar tale, that. Beware the insectile Zuraqqor, and their massive hive-ships. They may seem slow, but there's lots of things even slower, that they can raid and loot. Should provide a few more hours of fun for you.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
How do you feel about dinosaurs in a fantasy campaign? Do you prefer them renamed too?

Just curious.
I certainly found it a big plus when Exalted did it. I hadn't really thought about it before then, but it's one of those things that seemed obvious in retrospect.
Mostly, they just rolled over and accepted it. Probably because people really don't think about fighting the taxman anymore. That's how they brought Capone down, after all.
:shakes head: Buncha wimps. ;) Taxes are just whoever's biggest and badesst in the area's way of making extorting money seem reasonable. Let them send an army at us. It'll just make us even stronger! Ahh, the joys of D&D experience. Yeah, I've had a very different experience from you, obviously.
 

Azimer the Mad

Knight of Chaos
Validated User
Into the forgotten realms: Well well. Having been regailed with hints about it for the past four years, we finally get to play an official FR module this month. With UA as well, this is turning out to be a significant month. This is one of those modules you're not intended to solve by straight combat, with a boss way above your expected CR.
As you can tell by my handle, that NPC was a group favorite I really grew into.. He was a great idea that became the Joker of all our shared stories. I miss him.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
I certainly found it a big plus when Exalted did it. I hadn't really thought about it before then, but it's one of those things that seemed obvious in retrospect.
What's the formal scientific name for the Beast of Resplendent Liquid? Diamorphinus urethrum?
 
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