[Let's read] Dragon magazine - Part three: Fall and Rebirth

Many things have changed since I started this series, but I still like polls


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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
We've made it through another hundred issues. The second set took a little longer, and was somewhat harder to do, but I've managed to surmount them. But it's this third hundred that'll be a real challenge. We're starting to get into the period where sales were going down, and eventually WotC took over from TSR. In the process, I know they eventually cut out all 3rd party product coverage from the magazine, and make lots of other changes. Whether I'll like them or not I'm really not sure, since I stopped buying the magazine first time round on mid 1996. But hopefully it'll be fun finding out.


As I did last time, I'll start this off with another index. Issue 201 will follow shortly.



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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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Issue 101: September 1985 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 102: October 1985 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 103: November 1985 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 104: December 1985 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 105: January 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 106: February 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 107: March 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 108: April 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4
Dragon Issue 109: May 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 110: June 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 111: July 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 112: August 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 113: September 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 114: October 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 115: November 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 116: December 1986 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 117: January 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 118: February 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 119: March 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 120: April 1987 part pun part grue part triforce part quart in a pint mug part perfect sentai
Dragon Issue 121: May 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 122: June 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 123: July 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 124: August 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 125: September 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 126: October 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Issue 127: November 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 128: December 1987 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 129: January 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 130: February 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 131: March 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 132: April 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 134: June 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 135: July 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 136: August 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 137: September 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 138: October 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 139: November 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 140: December 1988 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 141: January 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 142: February 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 143: March 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 144: April 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 145: May 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 146: June 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 147: July 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 148: August 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 149: September 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 150: October 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 151: November 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 152: December 1989 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 153: January 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 154: February 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5
Dragon Magazine Issue 155: March 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 156: April 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 157: May 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 158: June 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 159: July 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 160: August 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 161: September 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 162: October 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 163: November 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 164: December 1990 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 165: January 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 166: February 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 167: March 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 168: April 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 169: May 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 170: June 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 171: July 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 172: August 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 173: September 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 174: October 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 175: November 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 176: December 1991 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 177: January 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 179: March 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 180: April 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6 part 7 part 8
Dragon Magazine Issue 182: June 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6 part 7 part 8
Dragon Magazine Issue 183: July 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6 part 7 part 8
Dragon Magazine Issue 184: August 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6 part 7 part 8
Dragon Magazine Issue 185: September 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 186: October 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 187: November 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 188: December 1992 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 189: January 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 190: February 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 191: March 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 192: April 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 193: May 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 194: June 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 195: July 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 196: August 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 197: September 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 198: October 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6
Dragon Magazine Issue 199: November 1993 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 part 5 part 6 part 7 part 8
Dragon Magazine Issue 200: December 1993
Introduction
Statement of Ownership
Editiorial
Magic from the gods
The Wizards Three
The color of magic
Familiar Faces
Bazaar of the Bizarre
Arcane Lore
The Whistling Skeleton
Santa's little Helpers
The known world Grimoire
Libram X
Making the most of a module
Centrefold
The Even more complete Psionicist
Minion Matters
Novel ideas
Role-playing Reviews
The Dragon Project
The Best
Elminster's Notebook
Comics
Through the Looking Glass
Conclusion
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 201: January 1994


part 1/6



124 pages. You know, I think this cover might actually be better than the issue 200 one. It's not quite as exquisitely photorealistic as issue 94, but it is both pretty and detailed, with a real sense of scale and depth to it. Guess we're back to reality after the high magic hijinks of last month. Course, that might mean a more consistently good issue overall, even if it doesn't have the extra size and budget. After all, they managed it in issue 51. Optimism, optimism, are you going to be crushed again?

In this issue:


Letters: A not too surprising complaint about the sideshuffling of mystara. This is putting too much emphasis on AD&D over the regular variety. Dale tries to sidestep the complaints rather than counter them, slipping in as much promotion for the upcoming products as possible along the way. Go on, tell us you're not happy about the move either.

A request for an indian setting. Like africa, you'll have to be content with an increased frequency of articles in the magazine for it.

A demonstration that roleplaying does indeed improve your writing skills. But then, we knew that already. Compare the level of discourse here with say, youtube comments, and there is very little contest.

Another query as to their online plans. They continue to be pretty conservative about this, keeping the web at arms length. And so they slip another small step behind the times, despite individual members of the company trying otherwise.

Another repeated topic, this time proper submissions procedure. You must still beware the no SASE ogres and their ravenous appetites. Grr, Argh.


Editorial: Kim may be the guy at the top of the masthead again, but he's not nearly as involved in day-to-day stuff as he used to be. From now on, it's mostly Dale that's doing the frontline work such as answering letters and writing the editorials. Well, he's still young and enthusiastic, and Kim was never really much of a gamer in the first place. He also has some pretty definite opinions on what he wants to see in the magazine, which doesn't hurt. More ecologies! More minis, non D&D articles and stuff applicable to any game! More detailed bits of setting! More advice on making your own settings! Stuff to grab the imagination, and be handy for all roleplayers, not just AD&D lovers. Not too dissimilar to Roger's aims actually, it's just that he hasn't been worn down by the responsibilities of the big chair and all the compromises and politics that come with it yet. This changeover isn't so much a fresh start, more a renewed determination to make their established formula work. Whether that's a good thing or not is a matter of opinion.


The city of lofty pillars: Most cultures have legends of some kind of shangri-la, a perfect secluded place where the troubles of the mundane world do not reach, fantastical things are commonplace, and time passes strangely. Often bound up with supernatural creatures such as fae, you can go there, but you may well have trouble leaving, and don't expect to be able to take much with you. Here we have an Arabian interpretation of that monomyth. The city of lofty pillars in the Realm of Dreams. Time passes at 10 times the normal rate there, and if you leave, you'll rapidly age back to catch up with real time, so extended stays are not a good idea as an adventurer. Jewels grow on trees, but of course melt away when you leave. And spirit creatures like makshi are the primary inhabitants, turning up and slipping away enigmatically. This is one of those articles that seems set up to provide a whole series of adventures, as it's a real struggle to get there, a real struggle to get back, quite possibly another load of hassle trying to return; and even if you do, chances are you won't be seeing much long-term profit from it, you'll just have a good story to tell in the bars afterwards. Which is very much in the arabian nights tradition, if not the D&D one. Even if I can see the formula, it's one that doesn't get used around here that much, (the last example I can remember is The Garden of Nefaron, way back in issue 53) and it's quite well done, so I welcome this. It's not quite one of their old plane revealing epics, but as a way to kick off an issue, it is well above average.
 
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(un)reason

Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 201: January 1994


part 2/6


Turkey's underground cities: From high fantasy to a look at the mundane middle east. Allen Varney shows us what he did on holiday last year, visiting one of reality's most impressive dungeon complexes. Not that it looks much like most D&D dungeons. As we've found before, caverns are rarely as neat as they appear on a map, with all kinds of odd-shaped, 3-dimensional rooms which developed organically in response to quirks in the geological composition of the rock. Ventilation is crucial for people to live down there, with large chimneys penetrating hundreds of feet down, ensuring a strong airflow nearly everywhere. It's all very interesting. The history which leads to it is also pretty fascinating. Originally they were just used as storage space, serious excavation and long-term underground dwelling only started in the early AD years, with the rapid growth and corresponding backlash against christianity. Yes folks, the early christians were one of the biggest groups of dungeon-dwellers around. How's that for massive irony, especially as we've already been through the fact that both founders of D&D were also Christians. It raises particularly interesting questions when juxtaposed with the tendency of D&D worlds towards polytheism, with the only people worshipping single gods some particularly obscure races. So this is useful, highly thought-provoking, and far less generic than the last article, taking us to the kind of place a single writer could never come up with on their own. There's a lot here for you to draw upon, and it's all presented with tremendous enthusiasm. This is exactly the kind of thing Dale said he wanted, as it is applicable to any system, and fills in info on an often neglected part of reality. A very definite 9/10er.


The evolution of a castle: A second dose of reality in quick succession. Somewhat less impressive, this is another reminder that in reality, things are created organically, and on a "this'll do for now" basis far more often than they follow some grand concept. Real castles are strongly shaped by the landscape features of the area, with their position chosen by where the resources are, and what bits seem most easily defended. They're frequently unevenly shaped, need expensive repairs that the owner might not have money for, and had things added on years after the original construction. Castles Forlorn, dealing in time travel weirdness as it does, has a great practical example of this. As this has pretty similar lessons to last article, only applied to a different topic, it does feel a bit like filler. Oh well, It's decent enough.


Seven steps to a successful castle: This, on the other hand, is another pretty darn impressive article. Rich Baker finishes the themed section off with a full 10 page special on building your own castle, with both sample base plans and a highly amusing illustration. Despite the size, this is of course far smaller and more accessible than a whole book on the topic would be, and as such, is pretty usable, presuming you can get up the money to use it, as costs will run into the millions of gold pieces if you want to build a really big impressive place to live after name level. Unless your DM is well and truly in the monty haul school, you'll probably have to club together to build a single fortress instead of drifting apart to become individual landowners under these rules. Or once again, build your castle in stages over a period of years, adding on extensions each time you finish another big adventure. You'll never be short of things you want to spend your money on next, making this a good one to return to again and again while also doing other things. This all seems relatively easy to use. Just spend quarter of an hour at the end of an adventure figuring out where the money's going to go and how long it'll take and you're away again. Just watch you don't spend more than you can afford and get in the debt trap like reality. :p


Sage advice: Can you use nonoffensive spells while wraithformed or invisible (To be sure, to be sure)

Do you have to roll a natural 20 to make saves while irresistably dancing no matter what buffs you have (yup. Not only is it exceedingly humiliating, it opens you up to further humiliation. )

How much damage does defiling regeneration inflict (No people, only plants. Die, filthy plants, spreading their filthy roots through the earth. )

What happens when a pouch of security's owner dies ( It bonds with the first person to show it a little affection. The craving for security runs both ways. )

Can nonevil goblinoids worship human gods (Only the non prejudiced ones. Racism isn't evil if it's justified. )

Can you tear a magic cloak in half and have two small creatures use it. ( No. Magic items are a bugger to destroy, and if you do ruin them the magic's lost, not shared. )

There are instances where the same spell shows up in different books at different levels. (oh noes. Go with the most recent one, or the one for the campaign world you're in. Precedence and all that.)

Can illiterate characters be affected by gyphs & symbols (yes. It's the seeing that matters, not the comprehension)

Can I worship a community deity in the forgotten realms (if your DM lets you)

Where are the rules for half-giant clerics ( What rules? They work just like any other race. Random alignment shifts are not an issue because Dark sun spirit patrons don't give a shit about that as long as you promote their element. )

How many stoneskins can you have on you (I think we need to properly implement the no stacking rule. Otherwise broken stuff happens)

We want more info on what tome of magic spheres various gods grant ( You don't even have to ask. Skip's not gonna forget his duty. Even druids are gonna feel some sweet lovin from skip, the private sage who puts the pages in the mages and the broomstick between the witches legs. Skips gonna be extra generous to the goddess of sweet lovin of the forgotten realms, giving her two extra major spheres. Mmmm. Major Spheres. None of those egyptian fuddy duddies can compete with that.)
 

Cultist of Sooty

Registered User
Validated User
Turkey's underground cities: From high fantasy to a look at the mundane middle east.
I have a feeling that this issue is the last Dragon magazine I ever read. It was around this time that I got out of gaming for several years, after some VERY poor experiences with gaming groups after I moved to London in the summer of 1992.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It's the only thing you've described here for a while that has rung any kind of bell with me.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 201: January 1994


part 3/6


The dragon project: Sandy again proves that hiring him was a damn good decision by the editorial staff, with this little pendragon feature. Quite different from his CoC dragon, this plays up the pendragon principle of adventure as moral challenge as much as physical threat. Sure, the dragon may well wipe out an unexperienced whole party with a few casual swats, but fighting it isn't the main focus. Instead, there's quite a bit of effort put into the reason it was released, the way it approaches the world, and the people it's affected. Defeating it will probably involve another adventure beforehand to get hold of equipment that'll boost your odds of success. Even if you win, it may still have interesting after-effects on the campaign, for it's treasure is cursed. I think this counts as another success in terms of understanding and exploiting the themes of the game you're writing for, and bringing them to an audience that may not be that familiar with them. Embrace that mythological style, with all it's quirks and bitter ironies.


The game wizards: Promotion time again. :yawn: Roger returns to try and give a shot in the arm to the historical sourcebooks line. Somehow I suspect they're not doing as well as the complete handbooks, and they'd rather like to clear now several years old stocks of the first books in the series. But they're hardly useless, and you can use them for games other than straight historical stories. Plus you have hundreds of external history books if you want more info. And articles from this magazine. This does all feel a bit forced. It's like he's got into his new office, had a browse through the accounts, and then gone oh shit, this area needs some serious shoring up. The result is completely unthrilling. Fastforward, fastforward, skip!


Forum:Eric Pollinger thinks that psionicists do not need nerfing. They're already unreliable enough as they are. Many of their powers even turn against them 1 in 20 times. That's a pretty ferocious balancing issue.

Another inadvertent Anonymous also argues in psionics favour. The main problem comes when one player uses it, but it's completely unintegrated, and none of the creatures or NPC's have any ability in it, or even knowledge of it. All obscure subsystems have that kind of inherent advantage, even if they are actually underpowered overall. It's the same principle that results in creatures transplanted to other continents having sudden population explosions and messing up the ecosystem.

Eric R. Filmer points out that Christianity plays a critical role in Pendragon. People wanting to incorporate real religion into their roleplaying could do a lot worse. Hell, they could hardly do better, given how awesome pendragon is. And it doesn't hit you over the head with it the way Dragonraid did.

Regina Larsen gives her experiences of last birthday's Dragon Dogfights. Even using little cardboard cutouts, it was surprisingly easy and fun, and not at all expensive either. More people should try it out.

James P. Buchanan has a rather odd suggestion. Cast silence on your silver bullets to shoot monsters. Ok. Seems rather oddly specific. There's a whole bunch of ways that could fall down.

Andrew Benson tells us all the ways his computer helps him roleplay. Character sheets, game logs, even dice rolls. The future marches ever ever on. Maybe we can take paper out of the equation altogether.

Benjamin E. Lake points out The Digital Dungeon. It really is that good! That kind of word of mouth'll probably shift a few more sales.

John Tomkins also talks about his new favourite program, as advertised in our sister magazine. Adventure Writer is both easy and fun. Yup, there's plenty of stuff out there. It just needs better promotion. Another reason I love internet search engines.

Christopher M. Cameron-Carey writes in to pimp his own personal mapmaking software, CARTOGRAFIX. Write in now to buy it! Take out an advert, dude.

Roger Smith finds it vaguely odd that RPG's are considered childish, when playing sports isn't. That's easily explained. When people are making obscene amounts of money from it publicly, that tends to stop those kinds of statements fairly quickly. The same applies to music. Dancing around in ludicrous outfits and doing pelvic thrusts on stage becomes a lot more respectable when you're raking in millions at every stadium gig you play. Until you can theoretically do the same roleplaying (wait, isn't that called being an actor) this will continue to be the case for us.

Amy Jones is among those who disapproves of cheesecake art. It's both ludicrous and pointless. Send those artists out into the world to learn about real female anatomy and dress sense!

Bryan Kirschner also thinks they're crap, especially since it's often so incongruous with the actual contents of the books, where sexual equality is exceedingly common. People do judge books by their covers. Marketing people should know that more than anyone.

Clarisa Fowler feels so strongly about this issue that she's created an amateur magazine for women and gaming. They certainly have plenty to talk about. As before, have fun trying to get hold of it. These things don't last very well.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 201: January 1994


part 4/6


Eye of the monitor: The 7th Saga is a somewhat FFish looking console RPG. Overhead map stuff, 3D fight scenes, you know the drill, although it's fairly new at this point. It also has tons and tons of side quests, which is another thing that's definitely on the up these days. Fashion come, fashion go.

Might & Magic: The World of Xeen are a duo of adventures which link up into a bigger one. It gets a so-so review. There's plenty of cool features, but also a few clunky and outdated ones. I believe this is the kind of situation they invented the word meh for.

Faceball 2000 does not get a very good review. It would have seemed impressive in the days of pac-man, but these days, endless maze-wandering palls rapidly, and the 3D aspect seems tacked on. Flicker and slowdown do not help things either.


Dragon Strike bogarts the centre pages with one of those double page, full colour spreads that so grab people's attention.


Role-playing reviews: Underground shows us what you can do with desktop publishing, becoming an obvious precursor to the modern age, where even books with tiny print runs like RPG's can be glossy and professional looking as long as they have a sufficiently dedicated designer. The game is quite interesting too, although it looks a bit dated now, being very much in the same paradigm as white wolf games, where your characters may have cool supernatural powers, but a lot of emphasis is put on the psychological effects of this, and the dark humour that often results. Still, government created superheroes who turn against their creators because they seem like the closest thing to 4-color villains out there? That seems more relevant than ever. Whatever happened to this game?

Magic: The gathering is greeted with great enthusiasm. Oh shiiiiiiiit. Allen loved the game, even before he knew it was going to be a huge hit. As a result, this review comes in two sections, written several months apart, as he discovered the world catching up with him with frightening speed. Not that it doesn't seem to deserve it, with Wizards of the Coast showing a dedication to customer service and pursuing new technology that makes TSR look positively moribund. A Challenger Appears! In a situation like this, where we know this is a significant historical step, we want plenty of context, and Allen does not disappoint, talking about the designers, the failed attempts to get something like this going in the past, and the social dynamics that are evolving around the TCG scene. It's all absolutely fascinating, if a bit scary. Just as notable is that White Wolf has already jumped on board, with the Jyhad cardcame in development as we speak. You can bet TSR is already planning their own attempts to break into this market. Watch this space!


The role of books: Ahh, double spacing. My eyes! Ok, I exaggerate a little, but seriously guys, this is a stupid formatting change. I hope you drop it soon. Anyway.

The well-favored man by Elizabeth Willey is a swashbuckler with surprisingly little actual buckling of swash, but plenty of fun storytelling regardless. Just as you can have an RPG with very little roleplaying, you can have a swashbuckler with little swashbuckling, and still have it work as an experience.

The black gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon gets a pretty good review, with some cool dogfighting between the titular gryphon riders, and well-defined characters who interact together well.

The robin and the kestrel by Mercedes Lackey on her own doesn't do nearly as well, with poor pacing and an overdose of monologues, exposition and setting building rather than actual story advancement. The difference is so striking that John seriously wonders how much merit her creative input has. Maybe she's been casting protection from editors too much lately, so it's up to her husband to keep her in check.

Bruce Coville's book of monsters is a playful little anthology that's aimed at younger readers, but still has plenty of scares for our adult reviewer. The kind of thing to read to your kids with a flashlight and lots of overdramatic voices.

The dark moon legacy series by Cynthia Blair gets a good picking apart for the inaccuracies in it's real world details. Native americans aren't some homogenous um how shamanistic morass. And Oregon doesn't have a mountain range right next to the sea. This is lazy cash-in writing, trying to make a werewolf equivalent to the vampire diaries. Ah yes, what goes around, gets mediocre copies. Funny to encounter that, just as paranormal romance has got to the floods of lazy cash-in books stage again.

The rising of the moon by Flynn Connolly gets compliments for it's plotting and characters, but loses marks for bad sci-fi. He is in a niggly mood today.

The wizard's apprentice by S P Somtow also seems fairly familiar, juxtaposing modern media magic with the real thing. This results in an interesting mix of optimism and cynicism, as befits it's hollywood setting. The result seems fun but not too weighty.
 

Tahmoh

archietype of insanity
Validated User
I actually started reading Dragon issue 198ish so this thread has finally started to bring back memories for me, consider this part subscribed to :)
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Man, the internet seems to be getting more and more unreliable these days.

Dragon Magazine Issue 201: January 1994


part 5/6


The ten commandments of tournament writing: This topic again. It's becoming one of the most regularly recurring highly specific topics over the years. There's plenty of demand for tournament modules now, and people are getting quite experienced at making them. Course, that means there's also going to be plenty of dross floating around. It also means things are quite different from the early modules in some ways. There's more emphasis on balanced encounters, and less on creating adventures that will kill the majority of parties, with the winner being who gets furthest before dying. There's also an emphasis on breaking the rules, or at least creating new ones, which is another huge sea change from the early 80's, where tournament stuff was supposed to be more standardised, and even though they did invent new rules, it was simply because there was no system in place to handle what they wanted to include. But many things remain the same, regardless of fashion shifts. You want good characters, good enemies, a good plot, and most of all, a good editor. For if your scenario doesn't add up, the only fun people will be having is MST3King you. Another article that's interesting in revealing the gradual changes in design theory over the years, but doesn't give us much advice we haven't seen before. Another article, a couple of xp more.


Shadowrun gets a Germany sourcebook. Ha ha! Is that the cause or the effect?


Fiction: The river children by Peni R Griffin. A fairytale within a fairytale here this month, which is rather amusing. It starts off by telling the original story, a classic ghost tale of betrayal and ironic punishment, and then jumps forward to centuries later, when the original tale is just a legend, and a child meets the characters from it. The result manages to be both cute and creepy, with definite shades of peter pan to it. I quite like this, and it also has the benefit of not resolving itself neatly, leaving the characters open to be used in further stories, or indeed, your game. So it's another story that's both quite good, and well targetted for the magazine.


Libram X has a rather unpleasant bit of imagery that I'm vaguely surprised got past the censors.


Undiscovered treasure troves: For a third time this issue, they remind us that reality has tons of interesting elements to plunder. Building a detailed setting is all about taking elements from reality, and remixing it sufficiently that people can't immediately say that it's a rip-off of a particular thing. Sure, if you can come up with a truly original idea or two, more power to you, but most of us are lucky to manage a few of those in our lifetimes, not enough to build a whole campaign world out of. So stop being embarrassed about having to do this, and focus your mental energy on hiding the sources you steal from and ways you remix them better. Methinks they're definitely descending into filler material again after the strong beginning. So much for this new year's resolution.


Swordplay cheats on their taxes like any sane self-employed business would. Ogrek's plan does indeed pan out and save Yamara. Dragonmirth makes fighting seem like an unwise prospect. Twilight empire has an annoying deus ex machina come out of nowhere to save the day.
 
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