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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 136: August 1988

part 3/5

Sage advice is feeling particularly classy this month.
Can barbarians build a stonghold (If they can afford it. It would be more thematically appropriate for them to take an existing one by slaughtering their inhabitants and then making a pile of their skulls though.)

Can barbarians hire man-at-arms ( No. He couldn't possibly leave he-man. They're like, a canon pairing. )

How do barbarians summon hordes (by going home and getting their family so drunk they agree to attack whoever it is. )

Can barbarians get their special AC bonus when wearing magic chainmail (no. You should be ashamed of yourself. All you need is a good sword and a loincloth to take on the world. Maybe some boots as well if you want to be a high class barbarian. Leaving out the loin cloth and becoming a three weapon fighter (take that, wussy rangers ) is possble but not recommended. )

How often can barbarians apply first aid (once per wound. Lets hope no-one starts doing the cutting themselves to allow more hit points to be restored trick. )

What attacks do bards use (their fighter level. Yes, this does mean high level bards suck a bit at head-on combat. Suck it up. You've got plenty of other advantages. )

How many bonus Hp do bards get for high con ( Skip is generous to the laydees. Skip is not like that rape illusion monster creator Jean Wells. Skip lets bards keep the exceptional ability score bonuses from their fighter levels. Oh yeaaaah. )

What druidic powers do bards get. (All of them. Did I not say Skip is generous. If you want to make them really scary, that can include the heirophant powers as well. Being able to change previous rulings is a wonderful thing. Skip has the power, and he's not afraid to contradict people with it. )

Can a thief become a thief-acrobat before becoming a bard (No. Skip has already given you great benificence. Now you must feel the hard end of skip's stick. Yeah baby. )

Do cavaliers go berserk in combat (no, that's berserkers. And no, you can't dual-class cavalier/berserker. That's a dishonorable style, (yes, sir Turquine did it. but that's another game, in another universe ) and you'll lose your cavalierhood if you try. )

What die do Cavaliers and paladins get for HD (10 sided. They might be cooler than fighters, but they aren't tougher as well. )

Are cavaliers immune to dragon fear (yes, for all the good it'll do them. Foil-wrapped yummies, hee.)

What are the effects of percentage scores of abilities other than strength (None. They're just to slow you down from getting 19. Oh, and cavaliers can't increase their int or wis, contrary to what you seem to think. )

Can paladins drink alcohol. (Depends on their order. Probably, unless they actually do something immoral while drunk. You do not get to claim diminished responsibility when you chose to take the actions that got you into a mess. )

Do paladins become fighters or cavaliers when they lose their paladinhood (Cavaliers. Further falling is certainly not impossible though. )

Can paladins use cleric magic items (Nahh. You wouldn't let a nurse do doctor stuff, even if they have the same employer, and have been working there way longer. )

What should a paladin do when he captures an evil creature. (Keep him, and housetrain him, and dress him up properly and put a bow in his hair and call him Gerald. )

Can paladins detect ordinary evil aligned humans (Yes. You still can't go around killing everyone who pings positive though. )

Just how good is paladins protection from disease (strong enough to deal with anything a regular cure disease spell can handle. Lycanthropy, and some other magical diseases can indeed penetrate this. )

Why don't clerics have any missile weapons (Hang on, are you seriously telling me you missed the bit about the slings? Archetypical biblical giant killing weapon, innit, slings. You must have been playin' like puddings to miss that. )

Do neutral clerics turn or control undead (Pass. Your DM can decide that. )

Can druids turn undead (no. They already have way more cool powers than clerics. )

Can druids become giant or magical animals (Not until 3rd edition, dear. It's not as if the powers regular animals get aren't cool enough. )


The golem's craft: Our stalwart book reviewer steps out of his usual role to contribute this article on golem construction. This is rather more interesting than the other item creation piece, as it opens up options rather than constraining them, giving you several different ways of achieving the same ends. It's also interesting because it examines the fine details of the D&D rules, and picks them apart. Strangely, it seems that using manuals actually increases the time and cost needed to build a golem compared to doing it yourself. Similarly, Caryatid columns cost more than regular stone golems, but are considerably weaker. Those wacky ancients, eh, always shrouding their work with extraneous cosmetic gubbins. The overall format of this article is similar to the ecologies, with lots of IC references in the writing, followed by game mechanic footnotes. This all adds up to a pretty good article, that helps make building golems more accessable and internally coherent. If it had also provided some new ones to go with it it would have pushed from good to great, but oh well, it's still pretty usable.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 136: August 1988

part 4/5

Through the looking glass is kicking off by giving us some reviews. Given this year's real push to promote wargaming at the conventions, it's no surprise that lots of companies are bringing out stuff to coincide with this. From small indie companies like Stan Johansen miniatures, to the established giants of Games workshop and Grenadier, everyone's got stuff to sell. Plastic or lead, at various scales, all in one or needing some assembly, the choice is yours, etc etc. The reviews are fairly conservative, with the lowest score 2 stars, and the highest 3 and a half. More interesting is a lengthy rant on all the things that can go wrong in the design and distribution chain. Have a little sympathy for the poor shopkeeper, for they can't control it if a game is late, or only available in other countries. Like bullying, ranting begets more ranting, and so the cycle continues. As long as people keep having unrealistic targets and deadlines, it is no wonder that there will be painful disappointments on a regular basis.


TSR Previews: Starsong apparently got delayed, for it is first out the gate this month as well as last month. Or is it just a formatting error? Hmm. Not hugely important, anyway.

AD&D gets the new Greyhawk Adventures hardback. Now redesigned to be compatible with 2nd edition, and more differentiated from the Forgotten Realms. Now with 100% less Pluffet Smedger!

Talking of the Forgotten Realms, we get Ruins of Adventure, the back conversion of the recent AD&D computer game. How very amusing. That's like doing a novel of a movie. Will it be improved or messed up by the format change?

The Forgotten Realms also gets another novel. Doug Niles and R A Salvadore have already made their mark, now Ed Greenwood gets to show these new arrivals just what the creator of the world can do, with Spellfire. There may be twinkitude involved.

Dragonlance isn't neglected either, with a new boardgame based upon it. Find the Dragonlance and save the world! Is it Tuesday already?

Buck Rogers, of course, has to go one step further. Their boardgame isn't just about the fate of the world, it's about the entire solar system! Overthrow that tyrannical dictatorship! :roll of thunder, stab of organ music: Erm, or maybe not. Got to have something for the next generation of players to struggle against too.

Marvel Superheroes tops even that, with ME3: The left hand of eternity. Oh, the elders of the universe are in so much trouble now. WHAM! THWOK!! KERPOW!!! and all that.

Finally, we get to see Tom Wham's latest stroke of genius, Mertwig's maze. The usual madcap boardgaming fun ensues.


Damage control report: Star frontiers continues to get occasional support here, despite being a dead gameline now. A new damage system for space combat, with a little more variety in which systems get damaged in an attack, reducing short term lethality, but increasing long-term annoyances? Seems a reasonable enough change. After all, no-one likes having a TPK result from a single hit, as is a problem in space combat. And troubleshooting unexpected faults can become an adventure in itself. A short article that leaves me with little to say about it, this is very much in the old Ares section tradition.


New kicks in martial arts: Len Carpenter tries to rebalance the OA Martial art system, so you can create custom styles that are balanced with each other, and come closer to the official ones from the book. It's still not too great, not being nearly as flexible as it could be. This is really still an area that needs a complete rebuild rather than just patching. I don't think I'll be using you.


The game wizards: Top Secret/ S.I. has been out for a year now. Feedback time! Not only are we going to try and provide all the realism you wanted, we're also going to take the game further out there as well, providing multiple different settings for all your modern day espionage needs. When we overhauled the system, flexibility was one of our design goals. So supplements will be coming more frequently, and they will not all be compatible with one-another. Very interesting. Seems like they're trying to make it into more of a generic system. A risky gamble. Is this what kills it? They never had much luck with generic systems, as we see again with the Amazing Engine and Alternity. Hmm. This is definitely worth thinking about.
 

lionrampant

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Buck Rogers, of course, has to go one step further. Their boardgame isn't just about the fate of the world, it's about the entire solar system! Overthrow that tyrannical dictatorship! :roll of thunder, stab of organ music: Erm, or maybe not. Got to have something for the next generation of players to struggle against too.
This was a good game that holds up fairly well even today. For historical purposes, you may find it interesting to note that at least some of the plastic figures in the game used the same molds as the old Star Frontiers miniatures line, especially with the space ships.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 136: August 1988

part 5/5

The role of computers: Dungeon Master is one of those adventure games where you create a party, equip them, and take them through adventures, fighting monsters and leveling up as you go. Seems like they review a lot of those. Well, this is an RPG magazine. It gets a highly detailed review, with lots of screenshots, and plenty of praise. There's plenty of hidden stuff to find, (familiar looking) foes to to beat, resources to manage, and all that jazz. Visually, they are definitely improving quite a bit lately.

Basketball Challenge is a strategy simulation game, where you train up a basketball team, and dictate their tactics in games from the sidelines. Not too bad an idea, but not really my cup of tea.

Fantasyzone is rather more quirky. Primarily an arcade shoot-em-up, you also have to collect coins from fallen enemies, and get to spend them in shops for all kinds of upgrades. Picking the right power-up can make a big difference, particularly when facing the bosses. With an interestingly designed soundtrack and visuals, it's challenging, but a good player'll get a little further each time. Which is how it should be.


Gamma life in the big city: Gamma world joins in with the theme this month, despite not actually being in the themed section. The stereotype in postapocalyptic settings is that most of the cities are largely abandoned, with only small communities of scavengers picking through the rubble. But things get more interesting if there are still at least a few sizable communities. Course, this requires that there be the resources to support this population, and enough safe living environment that they not die too frequently and go into terminal decline. This frequently leads to insular attitudes and heavy fortifications. After all, resources must be protected, and only shared with the worthy. if you let mutie scum in, who knows where it'll end? This dials down the strangeness a little, but doesn't neglect it, pointing out plenty of ways you can derive humour from the settlements imitating and misinterpreting modern institutions. This is actually considerably more detailed than the earlier articles, giving you a one-stop set of info on using them both as home bases, as adversaries, and as locations for adventures. With sample characters, plot ideas, and plenty of advice, this is almost as useful as the other ones put together, and eminently convertable as well. Rather pleasing.


Role-playing reviews is also in theme, with reviews of products covering city settings.
City-state of the invincible overlord gets a very negative review, both as an updating of an older product, and as one in itself. The old nicely medieval, if rather hard to locate stuff on map has been replaced by a a fantasy Milton Keynes, everything neatly laid out in grids with lots of space between stuff. The metaplot isn't properly integrated with the setting, the way monsters just show up on random tables, yet the city doesn't react to them makes no sense, the religion is just a flavourless mishmash, the new races are twinked, there's just no cohesion in general. The only redeeming feature is the index. And what's the use of that if there's nothing you want to find? Zing! Now that's an entertaining slating.

Lankhmar: City of Adventure gets a rather more positive review. While there are a few irritating omissions that really need a supplement to fill them in, it presents a nice compromise between feel and detail, giving you plenty of room and tools to design your own adventure locations within the city. Massively downgrading the power and speed of magic to emulate the original stories, it shows you how you can mod AD&D to be more fighter and thief centric. Still, these rules changes, combined with the very strong flavour, mean this may be tricky to use in an existing campaign.

Carse is another generic citybook, produced by chaosium. While not brilliant, and rather too focussed on the little details over giving you the knowhow to use them, it's still better than the city state of the invincible overlord. One you'll really need to figure out how to make the most of yourself.

Tulan of the isles is another book in the same series, set in the same world. It manages to be slightly better in most respects, more general atmosphere, more detail on individual buildings, and more setting info on the world surrounding the city. It seems much easier as a starting point to build good adventures from.


The game fair update: Big ambitions, big hassles, as usual. They've been promoting the conventions strongly all year, but they've still had problems with organizing stuff. Stuff being late, stuff being overbooked, last minute changes, there's some people running around like headless chickens, trying to get everything done here. Will they pull it off? Will they put an optimistic spin on things no matter how badly it goes? Guess I'll have to wait for the aftermath. Let's put some Dr Dre on while we do so. Crank that bass, synchronised head nodding is go!


Dragonmirth is speciesist again. Yamara tries to fool joe the cleric, another of her companions. Win some, lose some. Snarfquest is still all about the races.

Our boardgames for Dragonlance and Buck Rogers are advertised in the back pages. How long before the magazine is forced to run articles on Buck Rogers products as well?


A fairly average issue overall. From good to bad, they run the gamut. Should we leave or stay put? Hang around too long and we'll be late in the terminal sense. And then this'll never be complete. Turn the page, shut the door, and open up the next one.
 

DrewID

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Dragon Magazine Issue 136: August 1988

part 5/5

Lankhmar: City of Adventure gets a rather more positive review. While there are a few irritating omissions that really need a supplement to fill them in, it presents a nice compromise between feel and detail, giving you plenty of room and tools to design your own adventure locations within the city. Massively downgrading the power and speed of magic to emulate the original stories, it shows you how you can mod AD&D to be more fighter and thief centric. Still, these rules changes, combined with the very strong flavour, mean this may be tricky to use in an existing campaign.
This wasn't too bad. It took a page from TSR's familiar Dungeon Geomorphs with Neighborhood Geomorphs. The city map placed the important stuff, but left lots of empty squares for you to fill in with the geomorph of your choice, and included a booklet where you could keep track of what geomorph you had used in a perticular location, and what significant buildings you had placed in it, as an aid to ongoing continuity in your Lankhmar. I ended up never running Lankhmar, but I got a fair amount of use out of the neighborhoods.

DrewID
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 137: September 1988

part 1/5

108 pages. A very photorealistic, but not particularly autumnal cover here. Once again we step into the wilderness, treking through hostile environments, and hunting down creatures dangerous and tasty. Not a place for the physically unfit. In high contrast, the editorial tackles disabilities and roleplaying. We've already had one article on that, but it's been a long time, and Roger's encountered quite a few other people with various physical problems in his years gaming. So he's taking the time to reassert that the magazine is disability friendly, and they would welcome suggestions to make it, and roleplaying in general, more so. Now, when will they tackle questions of sexuality or race? Is that too controversial? Maybe. Oh, the persistent problems of running a family friendly magazine.

In this issue:

The bullwinkle and rocky roleplaying party game?! Now there's a license I wasn't expecting to have a game for it.

The waterdeep city system. Another player favourite gets it's first in depth look at. The realms is really being filled in now.


Letters: A decidedly deranged spattering of anonymous odds and ends make up this month's letters page. Waldorf has destroyed greyhawk and enslaved its gods. Please send in all your characters so I can figure out how much XP I've earned. In other news, Isildiurs ring has been found as part of a two-piece bathing suit. Smexy. Roger Moore is still not the same Roger Moore that does the bond films. This one would never wear a toupee, no matter how much he might need it :p All very amusing. After all, they get the material, why should they waste it sticking to the sensible stuff all the time?


Forum: M A Cottle is finding that the publication of Watchmen has been having massive knock-on effects on everyone's roleplaying of superhero characters. Detailed psychological characterisation is replacing hack and slash (BIFF and KERPOW?) gaming even here.

Ed Friedlander talks about the decline of lethality in recent gaming. With regularly available raising, the advent of saving games in CRPG's, the elimination of assassins, it seems to definitely be on the down. And he's actually in favour of this. They may be only characters, but people get very attached to them. He'd rather defeat be merely humiliating, as he sees enough real death in his day job. This may provoke serious debate.

Bahman Rabii expresses contempt for the idea of formalizing nonweapon skills. It takes all the player thought out of the equation when they know exactly what they can do and just roll to do it. This isn't the True AD&D Way!

Peter Kirkup is another grognard who feels threatened by recent developments. In his case, it's the poncy actory types that were drawn in by the Dragonlance games. We want more stuff for the hack and slashers and problem solvers, and less purple prose and modules with a fixed story.

David Howery has suggestions to make the vanilla fighter class more interesting, so they can compete with the more exotic combat classes. Still a problem, I see.

R. J. Wenzel, on the other hand, thinks that the game still focusses too much on combat, and the current tendency towards power creep needs to be fought. The DM should be rewarding players for actually roleplaying and clever problem solving more.

Theodore Licktenstein points out that Silence spells are not a faultless stealth device. The complete absence of noise is rather disconcerting, and can be a giveaway. Like any tactic, if players are overusing it, it shouldn't work all the time.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 137: September 1988

part 2/5

What's for lunch: Hunting for food. A decidedly tedious business in reality, for finding easily edible plants is harder than it seems, and catching animals requires a lot of patience and luck. It's already been covered in one of the duller 1st ed books, the Wilderness survival guide. But no, someone's not satisfied, and wants to give it even more detail. Cue lots of tables of the natural animals common to various climates, and more than a few statblocks for creatures not covered in the MM's. Yeah, this is still dull stuff, and is problematic because of the usual difficulties in integrating the fantastic and mundane creatures in D&D settings. One to pull up when needed, and then pay no mind too the rest of the time.

Treasures of the wilds: Just how much is the stuff you find in the wild actually worth? This is a tricky one, because unlike gold and jewels, the value of harvested plants, furs, meat, etc is very time dependent. A day makes the difference between highly valuable and manky, especially in warmer climates. Perhaps ivory would be a better choice. Course, if it's maximum money to weight ratio you want, poison harvesting is the way to go. This is another one that doesn't make hugely interesting reading, being more than half tables, but would probably save a bit of time if you have the kind of adventurers that collect anything that could remotely be of value. Looks like we're gonna have to deal with quite a bit of grinding here if we want to level up again.

The ecology of carnivorous plants: Hmm. This is an unusual one. An article coving a whole range of flora with only one connecting factor. They like to eat adventurers. :D This article goes into an indepth look at real carnivorous plants, and then extrapolates from there when talking about fantasy ones. Most of them come from harsh environments where soil and sunlight are not sufficient to grow healthy plants. After all, nature is lazy. It won't evolve energy intensive adaptions unless there's a real advantage to doing so. And movement via highly selective growth spurts definitely falls into that category. This is another nice reminder of things I learnt in school, and haven't thought about since then. Another bit of pure pontification, this is both longer and more rigorous than the carnivorous ape one, but has less humour in it. Overall, it's a fairly so-so ecology, focussed a little too much on the biology of the creatures, rather than how they can be used to challenge (and be exploited by) adventurers. Gotta keep your playability in mind, especially when dealing with stuff we can get entire books of real world info on elsewhere.

Time-life books are advertising in dragon magazine? Way to lower the tone of the whole neighbourhood. Superlame.

Weathering the storms: Looks like table central is continuing this month, with a second article for high detail weather determination. (see issue 68 for the last one. ) And I'm afraid this is still dull, heavily realism focussed material that you could spend hours fiddling with, but would be unlikely to improve your game much. This is proving to be a very tiresome issue indeed. What are we to do with them?

Into the age of mammals: After the dinosaurs died out, there were several eras of time, filled with weird creatures that don't get nearly as much attention. Which means a rich seam of stuff for you to mine and surprise your players with. This article focusses on the cenozoic era, giving us info on 29 different creatures, 14 of which are new and get full stats. The rest are already statted creatures or variants on them, giving us more info on their place in that era. This is easily the best article so far this issue, with lots of fun little biology tidbits. Since we already have lots of stuff for dinosaurs (issue 112 and others) and more recent ice age stuff, (issue 68 again) putting in a substantial "lost world" region to my campaign increasingly seems both a desirable and achievable thing to do.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 137: September 1988

part 3/5

The fairest of the fairs: A quite different approach to a topic they've covered fairly recently. Issue 118 had a sample fair, including maps, and NPC's. This is more about the reasons to have something like this. Not that people really need an excuse for a party, but it helps if it happens regularly, so people know when to show up. And if you can placate some cranky gods at the same time, it's all for the good. So here's lots of sample reasons and appropriate times of year, to help you build your own. This is pretty nice, with both generic and campaign specific examples. In contrast to the weather stuff, this seems like the kind of thing you can whip up fairly quickly, and even if it doesn't make a huge amount of sense, it'll still add nicely to your world to throw in offhand references to them when characters are in a town.


The game wizards: The Hunt for Red October game gets a belated shill piece here this month. Must not be selling too well. Understandable though. After all, when you spent over $1000 just buying books for research, you really want your work to be a success. Doug Niles does his best to make the game seem appealing and drum up enthusiasm, and also do some errataing. Is my enthusiasm rising? Is my enthusiasm rising? :looks down: Um. No. Aww. So much for that plan then.


Up and running in the land of mutants: Gamma world's article this month is on speeding up character generation and advancement in the new edition. This involves lots more tables. Man, they are having a ridiculous number of those this issue. Once again, they look like they work, but still make decidedly tedious reading. It's becoming pretty obvious that I am not in the mood for what they currently want to serve.


Sage advice: What level do paladins cast spells at (We've already had this one. Do you forget so soon? Level-8)

Can you volantarily drop protection from evil ( Yes. Remember, attacking or forcing the protection up against them lets them come in. Violation of pax and all that. )

When do cavaliers and paladins get to use missile weapons (once they have free proficiency slots after learning all their required weapons. This may take a while )

Do paladins get extra spells for high wisdom ( no)

Can druids change into the same animal type more than once a day (no. Each of the orders is it's own power. Mammal, bird, reptile. Yes, that may put a crimp in your plans. Better study up on your zoology for maximum versatility. )

Do druids get bonus spells for high wisdom (yes)

Can druids identify plant's from unfamiliar terrains (Possibly. If not, they should be able to pick it up after a few weeks living out there. )

Why are all dwarven clerics so old! (Game balance. We never wanted you to be one in the first place so even though you whined us into giving in, we ain't going to be generous. )

What's the starting age of a drow cleric. (same as any other elf)

What happens when a character with % strength gains a point (they get 10% Crawlspeeeeeed, man.)

How much do bows for exceptional strength cost ( Ask Odysseus)

Where does it say fighters can do lawnmower attacks against creatures with less than 1 HD (page 25 of the PHB. Be very grateful for this power. )

What happens if a fighter is attacking a combination of creatures. (Then they'll have to choose between the regular rate or lawnmowering the mooks. One or the other, not both. I'd take out the kobolds. You never know when they might be using type E poison and kill everyone. )
 

zanshin

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Great job keeping this going dude.

Reading this sage advice for 1e reminds me why i don't play it anymore :D

Was fun at the time though.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 137: September 1988

part 4/5

The marvel-phile is also in a rather sagacious mood this month. Skip dresses up as Uatu the Watcher to keep things running.

What is a FEAT Roll (Only like the universal resolution mechanic of the entire goddamn game)

What do you mean a blocking character can't perform any other action (What part of stay still and do nothing else does not make sense? If you want to avoid damage and move, you shoulda selected dodge instead)

How do you convert Resources into money (You don't. Your wealth stays abstracted at all points throughout the transaction. )

How did you design the leaping table (Looking at real world figures and then making shit up)

How do you detect invisible creatures. (Using your other senses. Lots of powers can deal with this problem, one way or another)

How big is an Area. (Like a room, you ought to be able to tell from context. )

Do new characters use the ability modifier table (no)

How do rank numbers correlate to named ranks. (Each rank is a range of numbers. Advancing from one to the next is Sloooooow)

What are the stats of a megalodon (Just a simple scaling up of a regular shark)

Please send me stats for 100 characters. (That's the kinda number that makes up a whole sourcebook. Ain't no way you're getting that for free.)

How do you measure the distance for falling damage (Differential math. Don't worry, any hero with half decent toughness will shrug off even the longest fall.)

Can you use Agility to do a full move and attack in the same round (no, Endurance. Speedsters also need some toughness to make the most of things)

Do you get any bonuses when fighting hated enemies (only if you take it as a specific power)

Is there a limit to rogue's absorption powers (only the plot)

Does Iron man do more damage using both repulsors (No, he's just a bit more likely to hit. )

Can you use psychic powers on insubstantial things (Hell yeah. It's a standard technique. )

How do I stop my players from looting fort knox (Giant robot guards)

How do you build a class 1000 object (Godlike power)

Can you attack insubstantial characters with high power body armor slams (no)

Is there an addenda for the ultimate powers book (2 in fact)

How does someone made of electricity knock someone over (ask reality)

How much damage does regeneration heal (look at the table to translate ranks into points per round)


Role-playing reviews goes espionage this month:
James bond 007 game has been around for quite a while now. It has a decidedly quirky character generation system that encourages you to make extreme characters. While it uses a universal resolution table, said table is rather less clearly designed than it could be. The reviewer considers it cool, but not brilliant.

Top secret/S.I, on the other hand, gets a very positive review, to the point where I start to become skeptical of their impartiality. This is becoming an increasing problem, with the reviewers seeming to favour the TSR product in any direct comparison. Are the suits leaning on the reviewers? Any backstage info would be welcome here.


Robotech II, the sentinels now available on VHS (ha) A cancelled series, the three episodes have been edited into a single feature. The palladium sourcebook is also out now.
 
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