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[Let's read] Dragon magazine - Part two: Gimme some Moore

So, how am I doing so far?


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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 132: April 1988

part 4/5

Cash and carry, gamma style: Another article asking you to apply proper economic principles here. Course the economic pressures on a community in gamma world are very different from those in D&D, modern day earth, or Star Frontiers. Strangely powered mutants are both an obstacle and an opportunity, but good food and water is much rarer, and as a result, much much more valuable. The power to defend what you've got also becomes more important, for if there's not enough to go round, people will fight and kill to survive personally. Yeah, this is exceedingly low on the gonzo scale, trying to introduce considerably more realism and worldbuilding to the game. Combined with the fact that most of this is stuff we've seen before for D&D, and this isn't a hugely consequential article. Another month, another bit of filler.

TSR previews: Still a bit messed up in here, smudging the stuff for last month and the one before together. Lets just look at now, shall we.
AD&D is getting OP1: Tales of the outer planes. Like with oriental adventures, they've opened up a milieu with a spiffy hardback, and now they want to milk it. Will we see any more in this series? Guess it depends on sales.
Top secret/S.I. gets High Stakes Gamble. A boxed set focussing on suave high society adventures, it certainly seems a good way to continue their desire to make the game more cinematic and social encounter based.
Marvel Superheroes gets ME1: Cosmos Cubed. I'm guessing the E stands for epic, because this is a really high power one. Are you ready to go cosmic, again. Are you ready to go back if it doesn't work?
Special Forces is our wargaming contribution. An SPI Sniper™ game, this seems to be a game of modern counterterrorist actions. Interesting. Rather a risky topic, really.
Our solo gamebooks are also tying into this theme, with book 5: ULTRA Deadly. Don't let the Nazi's crack the allies secret code early, change the course of history.
Appropriately, we get two Double Agent books this month. Hollow earth affair/The royal pain and Web of danger/Acolytes of darkness. Sebastian Cord and Agent 13 penetrate secrets and kick ass.
And finally, in pure fiction we have The Legend of Huma. Read about the legendary knight of Solamnia and his part in keeping evil from taking over Krynn. Poor Takhisis. She tries so hard, and never gets a break.

A little less super: A DC heroes article? They are covering different systems quite a bit lately. And as the title says, this is sort of a nerfing one, from someone who would prefer that not every character ends up at superman levels after a few years play. Curiously though, it's also one that would prefer not everyone starts at street level either, increasing the randomness in power levels at character generation, and then implementing a few house rules to ensure that while characters still advance, they don't go through the same kind of quantum leaps in power level. Which I guess brings things closer to the way things actually work in comics. It'd definitely require the right type of group to keep the game fun for everyone despite the power disparities. But it's still a good idea. I think we can make this one work.

Superheroes alive! Jeff Grubb gets in on the book reviews under a different name
The encyclopedias of super heroes and villains by Jeff Rovin are a pair of massive books that do exactly what they say. Not just the major comics, but cartoons, mythical characters, pulp novels, and anything else with superpowered characters gets meticulously combed. The villains one isn't quite as well written or edited as the heroes one (diminishing returns strike again), but both are massive, rather impressive works. You can both learn quite a bit, and get some enjoyable reading out of flipping through these.
Superman at fifty: the persistence of a legend by Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle is another bit of historical analysis. How did he become such an iconic figure, and how has he changed over the years to maintain that status. A whole bunch of people contribute, with examinations from the scholarly to the humourous, throwing their own interpretations on his personality, and why he works so well. As with so many successful characters, peoples ability to project their own ideas onto him seems to be an integral part of his success. Even Krypto the wonder dog can't spoil that.
Aces high, and jokers wild, edited by George R.R Martin, are the second and third books in the Wild Cards series. It continues to apply superhero powers to a decidedly non comic-booky world, weaving together stories by various authors into a larger whole. We find out a lot more about the history, and possible future of their world. Not entirely family-friendly, this is nonetheless highly recommended as story and a worldbuilding exercise. Even before getting it's own game, it seems very gamable.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
AD&D is getting OP1: Tales of the outer planes. [...] Will we see any more in this series?
The answer, by the way, is no.

I'll admit my knowledge isn't perfect, but I believe that's the only planar product that will actually get released until Planescape in 1994.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
That review has to be really bad (or the game is) if they have the Germans cracking Ultra (the decryption of their own code). Now, if the Nazis are trying to find proof that the Allies broke Enigma...
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 132: April 1988

part 5/5

The frontiers of design: Star frontiers' article this month is about improving the ship design process. Just how much can you fit in a ship? More than you'd think, if modern gadgetry is a good guideline. But it'll cost ya. Fairly dry stuff here, which by it's own admission has a bit of power creep. Whether it'll result in a more balanced or fun game is very much open to speculation. Another bit of filler, really.

The paranoia enquirer joins in on the adverts disguised as newspapers game. Space aliens eat Elvis's (sic) brain. The computer wants you to be well-informed. Buy it. But do not read the sections in colours higher than your clearance. That would be treasonous.

Looks very much like The marvel-phile: Rocket Raccoon! Jeff once again delivers the fun when all around him are staying resolutely sensible. Born on a planet inhabited largely by anthropomorphic animals, created to serve as doctors and security for all the insane people from worlds around, he became chief law officer, and faced down all kinds of opposition. We also get stats for Wal Russ, Uncle Pyko, Judson Jakes, Lord Dyvyne, and a whole bunch of generic creatures, including Killer Clowns, Prank Tanks, and Drakillers. Ahh, the joys of the marvel universe, mixing so many wacky elements together that somehow it manages to come full circle and become a serious story. Which has recently been resurrected in an even more serious form, as I see from wikipedia. (obsessive compulsive disorder?! :shakes head: ) Which cycles things back to amusing. So another entertaining but hardly worldshaking article here, especially once context is factored in.

The role of Computers: Beyond Zork, despite it's silly name, is an entirely serious text adventure game.(well, as serious as you can get when the macguffin is the coconut of quendor) Thankfully, they've been improving their parsers over the years, so our experienced reviewers have no trouble controlling the game. They also have automapping, randomisation of puzzle elements, and a booklet which will be nearly essential in completing the game. Well, you've gotta do something to fight piracy. Another tricky entry in a well-known series.
Pirates! (speaking of piracy) is an adventure game where you take the role of a ship's captain and go adventuring. Will you engage in legal trading, privateering for your country, or just raid all and sundry? While you can't really win it, if you're good, you can adventure for years of game time, and amass quite the fortune. With a wide range of choices and playstyles, they give it another 5 star rating.
Tons of mini-reviews as well, 17 to be exact, ranging from 2 to 5 stars. They certainly aren't short of material to cover. Less pleasing is the fact that they are unable to give awards for the best software of last year because not enough people voted. Even though they might be a fairly popular column, they aren't getting quite the reader responses they'd like. Oh well, I can understand how that happens.

Dragonmirth has several hellish jokes. Snarf gets out of one pit, but may well find himself in more trouble soon.

And so we come to the unceremonious end of Wormy, as the storyline simply cuts itself off midflow (at quite a dramatic point as well), and dissappears without a trace. Such a shame. Oh well. It's happened before, it'll happen again. Often the Fox network will be involved. All we can do is complain, write letters, and do our best to not let our own creative projects suffer the same fate. I'm doing my best. Are you?

An orcish map of the known world. Quite amusing. This of course ties in with the Orcwars game.

Despite the lack of a full themed section, this has been a fairly decent issue overall, both in terms of humour and usability. By spreading the mischief around, they keep it from being so groan-worthy, using it as a spice rather than a main course. Not such a bad idea, really. They're still covering a wide range of games, but the quality of their articles is even more variable than the D&D ones. Still, once again, I think they've managed to provide at least one thing that I'll use again later. So this is still a worthwhile exercise. Looks like zaniness will still go through several more ups and downs over the years. So let's get a filking move on. We three gamers of orient are. Killing things to gain ever more power :fade out:
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988

part 1/5

108 pages. Roger takes the time to give a nod to the other magazines in the field in this month's editorial. Now he's an editor himself, he can appreciate the work that goes into them all the more. Be they big or small, there's something to learn from all of them, even if sometimes it's what not to do. And he doesn't mind recommending a few of them either. A fairly promising start which shows that they're staying in touch with the rest of the hobby. No special feature this time, but that hasn't proved too great an indicator of quality. As usual, let's get to work.

In this issue:

Letters: A question about them doing an art collection. They must not have been paying attention, because they answered that a few months ago. They are indeed doing one. Still, never hurts to promote it again.
A letter suggesting that instead of setting up their own BBs, they should just set one up on compuserve. It'd be cheaper and more accessable. Roger agrees with this point and tells us that he already does some forum surfing and question answering. An early adopter, I see. And yet I don't recall him being a regular forumgoer in recent years. Is he still involved in gaming in any way?
A letter with 4 questions, mostly about future releases. All are answered with ease.
A letter from someone who's suffering burnout. Take a break, or make a change. There are tons of other systems out there.

Forum: David Godwin thinks advantages should always be balanced with disadvantages. Super-powerfull familiars break that balance, particularly if you get them at low level. They shouldn't overshadow their master.
S.D. Anderson on the other hand, thinks that at the moment, familiars are more of a liability than a advantage. They need a little redefining, to be more magical. Interesting. It could work.
Denise L Voskull is in favour of sorting out monty haulism by taking away adventurer's stuff, and disallowing unbalancing rules from supplements. If your gaming group disagrees, take a vote on it. That way, less than half of your group will walk out on you ;)
Jason Greff thinks that there's nothing wrong with the odds being stacked against magic-users at low level. What's life without a bit of challenge?

The ecology of the carnivorous ape: Back to the detached sagely pontification this month, with a fairly mundane creature. After all, there could be carnivorous apes in reality. It would only require a few minor evolutionary adaptions. The rest of this article is largely extrapolative as well, with lots of details stolen from real world animals. They don't hesitate to make sly King Kong references either. However, the lack of drama in the fiction bit, combined with the lightness of the footnotes, means that overall, this adds up to one of the less impressive entries in the series. They could definitely have done more with this one, as modules from this era (and much of Terra Primate) show. Where's Stephen Inniss when you need him?

Bazaar of the Bizarre turns it's attention to magical quivers. Why should bows and arrows be the only parts of the equation that makes a really badass archer?
Frief's magical quiver has the ingenious trick of making magical arrows multiply into lots of arrows of a slightly lower power. A a quirky trick, but a rather useful one. An item that is very exploitable by clever adventurers, but also has a hidden drawback, this could definitely spice up your adventure.
The Quiver of arrow storing is normal sized and weight, but can fit up to 200 arrows without causing any encumbrance. Just the thing for lengthy treks. Now your biggest problem is finding the right one in an emergency.
And then it's back to the arrows. They don't actually give us any magical arrows, instead giving us a load of mundane ways of customizing them, such as flaming arrows, grappling ones, and nasty barbed ones that do extra damage when pulled out. But then again, magical arrows are stupidly expensive for the amount of use you get from them, and not worth making most of the time. These, on the other hand, can make any archer quite a bit more versatile, and are cheap enough for you to restock. Quite a clever entry really. You can definitely use this one to the benefit of your characters, as it'll mesh nicely with their other enhancements.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988

part 2/5

Notice anything different: Ahh, perception. One area where White Wolf got things spectacularly right, and D&D still struggles to this day, with your ability to tell what's going on in an emergency awkwardly kludged into wisdom, where it isn't very appropriate for the classes that most use the connected skills. This would certainly be a far better and more frequently used addition to the ability score list than that bloody stupid double dump stat comeliness. This does pretty much as you would expect, setting up the new ability, and what bonuses and penalties high and low scores in it offer. I very much approve, and wish this had been incorporated into the official rules in some way. (maybe making it a bit more subtly graded, because at the moment only extreme scores have any effect) It would have saved thousands of us years of bother, really. Fools! Why did you not heed their advice decades ago! An article that isn't historically significant, but could have been, and quite possibly should have been. Ahh, the joys and woes of hindsight.

Role-playing reviews turns it's eye to tournament modules. One of the trickiest things to design, because they have to be played precisely as written, so if you screw up, it's gonna suck for most of the parties. It's no surprise they playtest them rather more intensively than normal modules. Ken is as usual full of contextual info on his current topic, sharing his insider knowledge of how these things come to pass. We get a recap of the old idea that AD&D was supposed to be primarily a tournament game (I remember that! :D ) the differences between tournament and regular campaign play, and plenty of other stuff that makes it look like this is going to be another strong selection of reviews.
C6, the official RPGA tournament handbook is a guide to constructing your own scenarios, and also has two sample ones within. Not just for prospective tournament writers and DM's, most of this is applicable to home games as well. It gets Ken's wholehearted recommendation.
A1-4 Scourge of the slavelords is the compiled version of the slaver series from 1980. Like B1-9, it's been rewritten to tie it in much more closely with the setting developed since then, and to bridge the gaps between the 4 original scenarios. This is not a perfect stitching together, but it does the job. You may still have to do a bit of railroading, particularly if you want to use the 4th scenario as written, but you could also deviate from the path, and use the locations and characters in your own way.
I12, Egg of the phoenix, on the other hand gets a pretty mixed review. While the individual scenarios are cool, the new plot trying to stitch them together is not well done, and there is quite a bit of editorial sloppiness. It all smacks of changes made due to marketing decisions, quite possibly at the last minute. If you can get the originals instead, do so.
Ken also takes the time to comment on comments about his reviewing, and clear up a few misconceptions. This is also fairly entertaining to read, and hopefully he'll use the criticisms to become an even better reviewer. He does seem to be a very strong part of the team at the moment.

The imperial gods: Ahhh, the roman pantheon. Not given much attention here because they're basically a reskinned greek pantheon, and that was covered quite adequately in Deities and Demigods. But as is often the case, the big similarities obscure the little cultural differences, and there are quite a few of those to examine. So this makes for a curious article, presenting a culture in which the gods may be important, but they are treated in quite a pragmatic manner. We give you veneration and sacrifices on a regular basis, you give us omens, good crops and other various goodies back. Clerics frequently give service to more than one god as the need arises, and are often quite cynical about the whole arrangement. Which is actually a pretty good model to adapt for a D&D campaign. After all, if the players are going to treat the cleric like a healbot and not actually give a damn about the IC religions anyway, you might as well make the problem into an opportunity to have a little fun. Perfect in particular for your god of business and the like. We also get the usual godly stats for Aeneas, Cybele, Divis Imperator, Eris, (Hail Discordia!) Janus, Mithras, Saturn, Serapis and Vesta. This is definitely a helpful article for me, being just what I needed to solve one of my current worldbuilding conundrums. After all, in a world where the gods are definitely real, active, and of great, but not omnipotent power, people are more likely to treat staying on their good side in a pragmatic manner rather than a mystical one. Considerably better than I was expecting.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988

part 3/5

The role of books: Aria takes off by Michel Wayland is a graphic novel from france. Stylisticly, it differs quite a bit from the current american comic book trends, with soft, rounded art, and a not particularly epic plot. Overall, it doesn't really impress the reviewer. Maybe it doesn't translate well, since it certainly seems to be doing pretty well over there, with over 30 volumes in the series now.

The dragonlance saga book 1 by Roy Thomas and Thomas Yeates is the graphic novel adaption of the first book in the series. It manages to convert the story fairly faithfully, even if the visuals and sound effects are sometimes a bit garish and overdone for the reviewers taste. If you liked the original, this is an entirely worthwhile purchase. If you didn't, you probably won't be converted.

The serpent's egg by Caroline Stevermer is a fun little tale of fantasy intrigue. Light on the supernatural Macguffins, and heavy on wit and plot twists, it manages to stand out both in tone and world-building.

Napoleon disentimed by Hayford Peirce gets a fairly negative review. Too many gimmicks, too much fast universe switching to get a good sense of the rules of the various realities, not enough tying together of the various elements. This is why you need to edit and split up your ideas to get the most out of them.

Soulstring by Midori Snyder is a classic fairy story with a twist, as told from the perspective of the rescued princess. A tyrannical wizard-king, a curse transforming the hero into a stag, it's romantic without being fluffy, and has plenty of stealable ideas for your game.

The burning realm by Michael Reaves is the long awaited sequel to The Shattered world. Not content with earth being reduced to a bunch of floating islands in space, now demons want to destroy the whole shebang. At least, some of them do, and they're as prone to making devious alliances to achieve their goals as demons in many other realities. The human characters are just as well developed and diverse in motivation, and the many elements are weaved together properly to build up to an epic finale. See. This is how you do it.

Greenbriar queen by Sheila Gilluly is another book that gets a mediocre review. It began life as a D&D game, and while it's not that the story is bad, it was probably a lot more fun, and made more sense when you were playing in it. Such is the nature of trying to get stuff from your head onto the page.


Wards against evil: Our Oriental Adventures article for this month is a little sumpin sumpin for the shukenja, if you know what I mean. The writer wants to boost their power a bit by making their power against spirits more akin to western clerics turning. Since this is a no cost power up, I somewhat disapprove. Even the editor doesn't seem too keen on the idea, pointing out that it doesn't appear in the literature, so not only does it makes them less differentiated, it does not help with emulation either. Which is no good at all. Guess this is an example of them providing explicitly optional material that they don't expect most of us to use. I'll definitely be leaving this one out.


The game wizards: More info on the upcoming D&D computer games this month. The dread hand of trilogyitus reaches even here, with not one, not two, but three Forgotten Realms computer games in development. They must be awfully confident they're going to be profitable. They also have two Dragonlance games, and two generic programs in the works. Quite an impressive list. I'll be even more impressed if they all actually come out in a timely fashion. :p This of course requires a whole bunch of development teams, and Jim talks about the various companies these projects have been farmed out too. He seems rather pleased with this development, currently having a good relationship with the companies responsible. Another optimistic entry in this column that is probably genuine. After all, they're trying something new, and it seems to be coming along nicely. It'll definitely be interesting to see what our game reviewers think about this stuff when it comes out.


The role of computers: Quarterstaff is another game which takes advantage of the burgeoning processing power of computers to create creatures with artificial intelligence. This means you have a rather better chance of making them friendly than in most games. Rather than having to figure out what vocabulary the parser has, you select options from a drop-down menu, and the instruction manual will help if you do need to describe more complex actions. Once again technology has brought computers closer to emulating the tabletop gaming experience and they give this 5 stars.

Dragon's Lair is of course a conversion of the classic arcade game. It has very good visuals for the era, but manages this by being exceedingly linear, with many of the rooms requiring a single exact sequence of actions to complete, and nothing else working. This makes it very tricky indeed to do, but once you've finished it there's no point going back, nothing new to discover. Still, now you can do it without burning away ridiculous amounts of money at the arcade. The reviewers give the impression they enjoyed playing it more than I did.

Not a huge amount of microreviews this month. However, they do have lots of news on the goings on at various companies. Moves, projects, new licenses, the computer industry continues it's meteoric rise to something that will rival TV, music and books as a economic force.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988

part 4/5

Mutants down under, a supplement for TMNT. Seems fitting. Kangaroos with mohawks and uzi's would fit right in in that universe.

Agents for hire: Top secret goes back to the idea of breaking away from your agency, and becoming a spy for hire. A risky business, with treachery from your employers a constant risk. Is it worth it, just to get a little more money? If you haven't built up a rep and some contacts, then you'll struggle to get any work at all. And rooting through bins for passwords, doing stakeouts for someone suspecting their wife of infidelity and similar stuff is a far cry from international espionage which influences the fate of nations. A rather lengthy article that seems mostly designed to point out how tricky this path is to tread, and mechanically codify the process of jobhunting, this is very much in the old edition's spirit (indeed, all it's rules references are to the 2nd ed books) and seems more likely to drive people away from this playstyle than encourage it. And I think that an article that discourages you from trying it out is a failure by most criteria, don't you.

Success by conventional means: This year's focus on wargaming conventions continues with this article on running your own. Setting up something like this is not an easy proposition, and can consume vast amounts of time and money even if done right. So here's advice from someone who built their own con up from nothing, and has been going for 5 years now. Don't overestimate, for you will be disappointed. One person cannot do everything. There is no such thing as too much publicity. Make sure everything works and is rehearsed before the night otherwise you will screw up somehow. Consider your pricing policies carefully. Always consider food, for it can make or break peoples experience. If you are careful, you can make at least a small profit at every stage. Like the freelancing advice that pops up every year or two, this is the kind of advice that can be applied to any commercial venture. Ignore it at your peril. One of those diversions that I'm quite happy to see in the magazine, as it helps break up the monotony.

Sage advice: How does ensnare restrict demons (They can't teleport away or summon more demons, but they can still pull lots of other tricks. Be vewy vewy wawy. )
Can I have some guidelines on wish. (Another nerfer? Not satisfied with the number of articles on this subject already. Skip is very very bored now. Unleash the didactics.)
Can a ring of spell turning affect a wish. (if its effect is aimed at the wearer. )
Can a magic user replace a spell in their book (yes. This is an entirely acceptable way of circumventing the spells known limit. )
Isn't polymorph incredibly abusable (Oh yes, but not quite as much as you seem to think. People who are transformed have an annoying habit of forgetting their original form. Also, system shock's a bitch. Like wish and haste, this'll come back and bite you if you use it frequently. )

Surprise!: Ahh yes, the problem of nonstandardised surprise probabilities in D&D. What do you do when one thing has a power that increases the chances, another has one that reduces them, and neither even use the same dice type. How do we fix that? Same way they do for the Monk and Sentinel, convert the probabilities into percentages, and then add or subtract the two differences from the base 33%. While there are probably more elegant ways of doing it, they would require a substantial system overhaul, and this seems to work, so I think I'll adopt it. So it's a compact and useful article here. I quite approve.

TSR previews: D&D goes from elves, to dwarves, with The Dwarves of Rockhome gazetteer. Find out more about the known world, and introduce dwarven clerics to your game.
AD&D gives us H4: The throne of bloodstone. Their highest level module ever, this may not have quite the level of the BD&D immortal level modules, but it's still pretty ridiculous. Go kick Orcus' butt. You have the Power! We need to set things up for the second edition changeover, so it may even stick for a bit.
Marvel superheroes gets MU1: gamers handbook of the marvel universe 1. A-D of every character, all with stats, and we're already up to 256 pages? There's gonna be quite a few more installments coming.
On the boardgame side, we have The Hunt for Red October game. Can you avert WWIII? The stakes are high in this little license.
Our novel this month is Black Wizards. Doug Niles continues his Moonshae trilogy. The plot thickens, just as it must. Will there be a satisfactory resolution?
And our solo gamebook this month is a Top Secret/S.I. one, The Final Bug. Descriptions are rather sketchy. The problem with solving this puzzle is not lack of evidence, but too much of it. Just slap it in the supercomputer and let that solve the problem.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 133: May 1988

part 5/5

The wild warriors: Berserkers. Now they were one of the weirder parts of the D&D monster list. Technically human, yet treated very much as just another marauding creature to kill or be killed by. This is also another one we've seen presented as an actual class before as well, way back in issue 3. Since the writeup then was pretty perfunctory, I think they are well due a more detailed revisiting.
Unsurprisingly, they draw quite heavily from the Barbarian stuff from issue 63 and UA. After all, they are from the same culture. And even more than them, they are designed to be problematic for a group. Not only do they have the same distaste for magic equipment and wizards, but they also have the blind battle rage problem which means they may end up attacking their allies in battle. Even if the player tries to play them as reasonably as possible, a little inadvertent PvP may wind up taking place. Since they are also combat monsters, especially when berserk, this is likely to end badly for the other character unless you have some way of escaping from or incapacitating them. (a barbarian cleric loaded with several hold person spells, for example) Unless you're playing a solo or comedy game, exercise great caution about allowing them as PC's.

The dragon's bestiary: Wormy may be gone, but this month's bestiary has a decidedly wormy theme. Scaling up tiny and microscopic creatures has already given us several cool articles, but given the numbers and diversity of these creatures all around us, you could do a whole book on this subject and only scratch the surface. Lets see how we can use reality to make our fiction stranger this time.
Neresis are little bristle worms that pounce out from their burrows to grab things. Course, in reality they're mostly herbivorous, but that won't stop the giant ones from trying to get their jaws around you.
Diopatra are one of those disturbing creatures with multiple mandible type jaws that allow them to both grab, hold and chew at the same time. They tend to appear in colonies as well, so several of them can be holding you down and trying to strip the flesh from you ASAP. Definitely nightmare fuel to be had there.
Vanadis evert their bodies to swallow you whole. Since they're pretty stretchy, they can even fit ogres inside. Sounds like a combination of snakes and Krenshar. Another excellent reason for adventurers to travel in parties. It's much easier to cut them out than it is to get out from inside.
Eurythoe are fairly slow and inoffensive, but their bristles are covered with agony inflicting poison. Just leave them alone.
Glyceria have venomous bites that paralyze you, which means they make good ambush predators. Another thing with decidedly disturbing looking jaw structures for creeping your players out with.
Sabella are another harmless bottom feeder. I don't think we need to worry too much about stats for those.
Terebella are also harmless, but they have the quirk of sorting the stuff they filter and dumping the inedible stuff in a pile next to them. This means you can get some treasure off them if you're lucky.
Pectinaria, also known as the ice-cream-cone worm, constructs a portable conical home for itself out of pebbles and mucus. Sometimes there are a few valuable ones amongst them. Another inoffensive creature in an entry rather high on them. This is definitely an entry that you use for flavour rather than just another combat encounter.

The marvel-phile creates an index of all the characters they've covered so far. This is the third time in only 5 years. What's up with that? 5 pages of rather small type follow, going from Abomination to ZZZax, and all the modules and stuff released so far. It's a good thing the marvel universe is constantly evolving, otherwise they would be running out of material to fill this column with. Obviously useful, but not hugely interesting, particularly as the hints of humour that livened the last couple of times have been lost in the attempt to compress the info as much as possible. Wonder how long it'll be before this turns up again.

Dragonmirth tells some more jokes (badum-tish) Snarf falls for the trap. Silly snarf.

A fairly polarized issue, with plenty of good ideas that I'd really like to use, but also an above average number of genuinely poor and ill-thought out articles as well. The reviews continue their strong showing, and the editing seems to be improving, but the articles are very much hit and miss. Overall, pretty decent though.
 

TGryph

Dire Halfling
Validated User
Thanks for the kind words about my article, The Wild Warriors. It was my first one, so I wanted to do something easier, so updating an old article to make it more compatible with the new rules for barbarians in UA seemed like a good idea.

You are right about the PC aspect. It was a lot of fun to play in the playtest, but caused interesting problems in the campaign. However, I did have one player who absolutely LOVED the violence, and just wouldn't give him up, until he died a Glorious (if extremelly violent) death.

TGryph
 
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