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[Lets read] Dragon magazine - From the beginning

What can I say, I just like polls :)


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Kakita Kojiro

IL-series Cylon
RPGnet Member
Validated User
What is a spell engine?
It is called the Warlock's Wheel in Niven's The Magic Goes Away series. Basically, in these stories, the source of magic -- "mana" -- is a finite resource in any location. The Warlock realizes this, and creates a gadget for use in emergencies to use up all the mana in the vicinity, thus creating a dead-magic area where no spells work.

It really does not make sense in the D&D paradigm, but... eh, it's a homage.
 

hong

Big glowy smiley-thing
The forum: Michael D Selinker thinks that while there's nothing wrong with changing the game to suit your group, you ought to at least try playing it as written first, to make sure it isn't to your taste. If you can't handle playing AD&D as written, maybe you ought to go back to basic D&D instead.
Goes to show how old the badwrongfun meme is. :)
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 100: August 1985

part 3/4

The city beyond the gate: One of our longest modules ever, at a full 22 pages, plus interruptions by several full page ads. They've certainly pushed the boat for this one. It's a somewhat goofy adventure, as the adventurers stumble through a dimensional portal into modern day london. With victorian overtones, given the prevailance of horse drawn hackney cabs, thieving street urchins, and other amusing sorta-anachronisms. (You can tell it was written by an American) Dr Who makes a cameo, you'll get plenty of chances to roll on the random harlot table, you'll have to deal with the strange technology, (which is handled pretty well) and your money will be useless for spending, but incredibly valuable if converted. Not quite as brilliant as the hut of Baba Yaga, this is still a well written, open-ended, tremendously fun adventure, which could have all kinds of insane results if inserted into your game. This easily matches up to Expedition to the barrier peaks as a demonstration of how to put crossover stuff into your D&D, and has advice on how to stop it getting completely out of hand in the long run as well. As a special feature, this succeeds quite admirably.

ARES Log: The massive popularity of supers games, and the marvel super heroes game in particular, has resulted in them deciding to do a special on it for this month's ARES section. This starts off right away in the editorial, where they fill us in on the changes to various characters due to events in the comics. Plus Marvel superheroes will hopefully be getting an advanced version sometime soon. Other supers games will also get more coverage. Just don't ask us to do conversions, for legal crapola means we cannot. Intriguing developments here as well.

Creative conjuring: Magic. While found in both main supers universes on a regular basis, like gadgeteering, it's a definite problem from a gaming point of view, particularly if the ruleset is a simulationist one, because it implies a level of awareness of how your powers work, and ability to get them to do whole new things on a regular basis that most powers simply don't allow. So how are we to deal with this, make having magical powers balanced with the other options? You could make learning each spell require study and XP, but that wouldn't fit the source material very well, and would take up an entire sourcebook on it's own. This magazine doesn't have that kind of space. So instead, it breaks up magical power into a bunch of schools, which is fairly thematic, and still means you have access to broad swathes of abilities. A nerf, but probably a needed one.

Champions Plus!: New powers. You'll always need those for a superhero game. At least until you've been around a few decades, and your corebook is a bullet-stopping monstrosity that contains an elaborate, rigorously playtested point buy system. And even then, you'll need advice on how to properly apply them to a mileu. As you may guess, this article is for Champions. It contains 11 new powers, from Bouncing to Vertigo. A decidedly imaginative and quirky bunch of abilities that patch in holes in the current ruleset. Plenty of fun to be had in this short but sweet article.

The D&D Master set out now! The BD&D series is now almost complete. Are you ready to ascend to immortality? Leave your domains behind and take on the greatest adventures ever.

Charisma counts!: Oh dear. Using the Charisma system in villains and vigilantes as written doesn't work the way it should. This needs fixing, otherwise the plots will not emulate the genre correctly. What do we need?! More crunch!! When do we need it?! Right now!! Despite it having a very valid point, and solid ideas, I find myself inclined to dislike this article. Curious, as I can't really pinpoint why. Must be a writing style thing.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 100: August 1985

part 4/4

Defenders of the future: Marvel super heroes gets a second article. We zoom into the future to say hi to the defenders of the galaxy. Vance Astro. Charlie-27. Martinex. Yondu. Starhawk. And Nikki. (Talk about a dull name by comparison with everyone else. ) All ridiculously popular in their home time, to a degree modern superheroes can only dream of. I guess when you don't have your own series, you don't have to worry so much about everyday dramas which take the mystique from your character. They don't have to worry about that secret identity crap either. Life seems pretty good for them. At least, until some timeline fluctuation or writer whim, retcons them from existence. What are they up to these days, as I've never heard of them before.

The marvel-phile: And finally we have Jeff being his usual reliable yet witty self. By an amazing coincidence, this month he fills in the stats for the missing present day Defenders. Man, that's a lot of ™'s. Gargoyle (Oh woe, for I have lost my mortal body), Cloud (ZOMG gender switching to avert lesbianism! What's all that about then?) and Valkyrie (they have tables entitled Hack-and-slash and Slugfest. Genius.) The usual grab bag of disparate origins and weird powers you'll find on a superhero team, particularly one with a fluid roster. And once again I find myself learning more about something I've only ever had a casual interest in before now. My knowledge of Marvel canon will definitely be hugely expanded by the time this series finishes.

The chance of a lifetime: So now both D&D and AD&D have mass combat systems (albeit very different, largely unrelated ones) You know what this calls for? Author commentary! Let's hear it for Doug Niles on da microphone. I said, Douglas Niles on da Microphone! Booyakasha. Respec. [/Ali G] As this is AD&D, and they were devoting an entire book to it, they decided to go for a rather more complex and zoomed in system than the D&D one, with all the spells and special abilities from the regular game drectly convertable, and one-on one battles playing a part as well. The project seems to have had a rather chequered development history, with lots of writers contributing and sometimes pulling it in different directions. The results definitely seem more suited to skirmish level combat involving a few hundred creatures at most than truly massive armies. You can use this as an alternate combat system for variety in your AD&D games, or you can run an entire campaign focussing on it, with it's own advancement system. Well, that's their hope, anyway. I guess we'll see if this gets supported for the next few years, or dies an ignomious death like so many of their experiments.

From first draft to last gasp: The battlesystem commentary continues, with Michael Dobson the editor taking the reins. He discusses how this got tied into their new cardboard fold-up figures gimmick, and quite a bit of playtesting annoyance took place. They've taken care to involve the entire team in this, with modules for both AD&D and D&D planned. He also talks about how the Battlesystem and War Machine rules can co-exist in the same campaign, with War Machine used to fight really big battles involving your domain (Once again we see that BD&D handles the really epic stuff better) and stuff where you're not present and just want a quick resolution. He then encourages you to throw all sorts of wacky and epic stuff at the system. It will handle it, honest. You can have Nazi's Vs Slaadi Vs Gamma world mutants Vs Drow if you like. I must say, I'm tempted to take them up on their offer. Anyone have any opinions and experiences to contribute on this topic?

Wormy finally gets back to the giants. And once again we see how much Tramp's skills have improved, as we get some truly epic horror visuals. Snarfquest takes stock of what they've lost and what they still have.

Having been expanding the range of RPG's that they cover recently, this is another big leap outward in scope. They haven't tackled topics with this kind of diversity since 1981. And it's interesting that Gary is one of the primary forces behind this experimentation. He's evidently not happy with all the directions the magazine has taken, and would like to see more things on his other interests. However, it's also notable that despite their attempts to revitalize it with the Battlesystem, wargaming is pretty much dead by this point. If they want to expand the topics they cover, they'll have to do more books, PbM's, computer games and other such things instead. Are they up to the task? Or will this issue be an exception rather than a pointer for their future direction. Either way, as a celebratory issue, it's quite the success, breaking out of their rut and showing that there are plenty more things they can do to avoid getting repetitive and formulaic. Here's to the next hundred issues full of surprises and misadventures.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Well, we've finally made it to triple figures. I could probably go on for another year or so in this thread, but I'd rather keep things neat, and shut it off and move on at a nice round number, rather than waiting until I'm pushed. So here's an index of the first 100 issues, so you can read them at your leisure without having to find the entry you want. Feel free to keep discussing any stuff in them here. A new thread will follow shortly. Thanks for reading, everyone.

The Strategic Review Issue 1: Spring 1975
The Strategic Review Issue 2: Summer 1975
The Strategic Review Issue 3: Autumn 1975
The Strategic Review Issue 4: Winter 1975
The Strategic Review Issue 5: December 1975
The Strategic Review Issue 6: February 1976
The Strategic Review Issue 7: April 1976

The Dragon Issue 1: June 1976
The Dragon Issue 2: August 1976
The Dragon Issue 3: October 1976
The Dragon Issue 4: December 1976
The Dragon Issue 5: March 1977
The Dragon Issue 6: April 1977
The Dragon Issue 7: June 1977
The Dragon Issue 8: July 1977
The Dragon Issue 9: September 1977
The Dragon Issue 10: October 1977
The Dragon Issue 11: December 1977
The Dragon Issue 12: Februrary 1978
The Dragon Issue 13: April 1978
The Dragon Issue 14: May 1978
The Dragon Issue 15: June 1978
The Dragon Issue 16: July 1978
The Dragon Issue 17: August 1978
The Dragon Issue 18: September 1978
The Dragon Issue 19: October 1978
The Dragon Issue 20: November 1978
The Dragon Issue 21: December 1978
The Dragon Issue 22: Februrary 1979
The Dragon Issue 23: March 1979
The Dragon Issue 24: April 1979
The Dragon Issue 25: May 1979
The Dragon Issue 26: June 1979
The Dragon Issue 27: July 1979
The Dragon Issue 28: August 1979
The Dragon Issue 29: September 1979
The Dragon Issue 30: October 1979
The Dragon Issue 31: November 1979
The Dragon Issue 32: December 1979
The Dragon Issue 33: January 1980
The Dragon Issue 34: Februrary 1980
The Dragon Issue 35: March 1980
The Dragon Issue 36: April 1980
The Dragon Issue 37: May 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
The Dragon Issue 38: June 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 39: July 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 40: August 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 41: September 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 42: October 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 43: November 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 44: December 1980 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 45: January 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 46: Februrary 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 47: March 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 48: April 1981 part 1part i/1^0.5part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 49: May 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 50: June 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 51: July 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 52: August 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 53: September 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 54: October 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 55: November 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 56: December 1981 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 57: January 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 58: Februrary 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 59: March 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 60: April 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 61: May 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 62: June 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 63: July 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 64: August 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 65: September 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 66: October 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 67: November 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 68: December 1982 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 69: January 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 70: Februrary 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 71: March 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 72: April 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 73: May 1983part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 74: June 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 75: July 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 76: August 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 77: September 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 78: October 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 79: November 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 80: December 1983 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 81: January 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 82: Februrary 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 83: March 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 84: April 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 85: May 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 86: June 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 87: July 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 88: August 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 89: September 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 90: October 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 91: November 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 92: December 1984 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 93: January 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 94: Februrary 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 95: March 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 96: April 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 97: May 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 98: June 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 99: July 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
Dragon Issue 100: August 1985 part 1part 2part 3part 4
 
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Mr Teufel

Dashing
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Great work, mate! Can you put a link to your new thread in this one, when you start it?
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Oy, is that a lot of links.
Yup. That took a good three and a half hours of Dear god, the wall of hypertext is eating my EYES!!!! to do. Let me know if any of the links are wrong, preferably before the edit time limit runs out.
 
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