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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 157: May 1990

part 5/6


TSR Previews changes their system so the dates should be the release dates rather than the shipping dates. Which is more convenient for those of us on the recieving end, isn't it. It also means they finally look like they're covering this month and the next again, even though nothing's really changed timewise. Since I already covered this month last month, I shall have to stick to the next month previews.

First up, completely unsurprisingly for this special, is XXVc™: the 25th century roleplaying game. Curious that Buck isn't actually in the title. Anyway, Mike Pondsmith is the person who took this mugs job, giving us the chance to join in the grim battle for freedom in the 25th century. Any volunteers? Oi! What do you think you're playing at, all taking one step back and leaving me on my own?!

If you wanna do AD&D generically, you can get PHBR3: Complete priests manual. Course, you may regret it, because it nerfs clerics to buggery if they worship the gods in it, and the kits are nothing to sing about either. One of the weakest ones in this series, in both senses of the word.

Dragonlance gets a double helping this month. DLA2: Dragon knight sees Taladas continue to get attention. Kaz, the minotaur is the star of this month's novel there, which probably isn't a co-incidence.

Having been hordeariffic last month, our Toril installment goes past them to Kara
Tur again. OA6: Ronin Challenge sees intrigue at a martial arts tournament. So much for cosmic enlightenment.

Spelljammer gets a second module. Nigel Findley combines piracy with undead in Skull & Crossbones. Arr. Aha mateys. Let's get that adventurer booty! Sounds very promising indeed.

Greyhawk is also getting novels which tie into their modules, with Night Watch, by Robin Wayne Bailey. Course, with no PC's around, it's up to the captain of the guard to figure out why the city is in danger in the official version of events.

D&D goes underground, to reveal GAZ13: The shadow elves. Not quite the drow you know, they give yet more options for adventures, both as PC's and NPC enemies.

And Top Secret starts another module series, TSA1: The web. They've had this villainous organisation lurking ever since the start of the new edition. Now you get an official chance to strike at them, foil their plans. Go for it.


The role of books: Carmen Miranda's ghost is haunting space station three, edited by Don Saker (How would you know? Or is that Carmen Sandiego I'm thinking of?) is a decidedly quirky set of short stories based on the song of the same name. You wouldn't think it, but there were a lot of submissions for this anthology, and the ones that got accepted run the gamut of genres and tones. Sounds very amusing.

Eye of the world by Robert Jordan is one of his enormous books where very little actually happens. His continued megasales for this kind of workmanlike product baffles the reviewer. Get the animators of Dragonball Z to adapt the wheel of time, then it'll really be done justice. :p

The halfling's gem by R A Salvadore gets substantial accolades for it's high paced, well described swashbuckling fun. Drizzt and co are rapidly becoming not only popular, but influential. If this is what the next generation will be copying, then god help us all.

Ice dragon by Richard A Knaak is an enjoyable but insubstantial bit of generic fantasy. The reviewer compares it to eating fast food. It'll keep you alive until the next gourmet classic can be unearthed.

The mutant season by Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber takes a rather more gritty approach to the same issues that the Marvel comic books have been wrestling with for some time. The characters on both sides of the divide are pretty well fleshed out, and the plotting and worldbuilding is smartly done. As long as it doesn't hit too close to home, it should be enjoyable.

Too, too solid flesh by Nick O'Donohoe posits a world where androids that can perfectly play a role have taken over from human actors. Shakespearian and other theatrical references are the order of the day as this odd setting becomes the backdrop to a murder mystery. One for the literary reader.

The apprentice by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore gets a slightly baffled review. Just what is it that she's making that no-one else is? Anyone? Bueller? Oh well, if you write books to please yourself, you shouldn't be too surprised if other people don't get it.
 

Armitage

Registered User
Validated User
Carmen Miranda's ghost is haunting space station three (How would you know?)
Half the staff has seen her, plus the Portmaster and me.
And if you think we've had too much of Cookie's homemade rum,
Just tell me where those basket-hats of fruit keep coming from.

:D
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
Eye of the world by Robert Jordan is one of his enormous books where very little actually happens. His continued megasales for this kind of workmanlike product baffles the reviewer. Get the animators of Dragonball Z to adapt the wheel of time, then it'll really be done justice. :p
Wasn't this his first doorstopper to get megasales? I thought before that he just wrote Conan books.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
Wasn't this his first doorstopper to get megasales? I thought before that he just wrote Conan books.
From a check of his bibliography, you appear to be largely correct. At that point he'd also written a small handful of non-fantasy books under pen-names, but his novel output otherwise entirely consisted of installments in the '80s Conan series.

(Though I interpreted (un)reason's "continued megasales" comment as likely referring to the events from The Eye of the World to the present day, rather than events predating it.)
 
Last edited:

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
From a check of his bibliography, you appear to be largely correct. At that point he'd also written a small handful of non-fantasy books under pen-names, but his novel output otherwise entirely consisted of installments in the '80s Conan series.

(Though I interpreted (un)reason's "continued megasales" comment as likely referring to the events from The Eye of the World to the present day, rather than events predating it.)
The reviewer certainly acts as though he's familiar with him from earlier. And I guess that since it was 4 months after the book was published, the book company were already starting to see the rewards for their publicity campaign. The question then becomes why they picked this author for a sustained promotional effort.
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
The reviewer certainly acts as though he's familiar with him from earlier.
Well, given the location of the review I'd say it's highly likely that the reviewer has encountered his Conan fiction before. :) By 1990 he'd written 7 novels in the series, including the novelization of the second film, as well as a fairly well-known attempt at fitting all the disparate novels and short stories into some sort of chronology.
 

Kakita Kojiro

IL-series Cylon
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Half the staff has seen her, plus the Portmaster and me.
And if you think we've had too much of Cookie's homemade rum,
Just tell me where those basket-hats of fruit keep coming from.
The collection was based around that filk, IIRC.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
Dragonlance gets a double helping this month. DLA2: Dragon knight sees Taladas continue to get attention. Kaz, the minotaur is the star of this month's novel there, which probably isn't a co-incidence.
Actually, if memory serves Kaz the Minotaur involves leveling half the arena on Mithas (in Ansalon) so as to get a crack at chopping the head off of a red dragon.

One of the better Dragonlance books, since it actually involves dragons.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 157: May 1990

part 6/6


Dragonmirth tries to adapt to the modern world. Yamara is already getting bored of omniscience. Go have an affair with Dr Manhattan.


The role of computers: Knights of Legend may have got nul points on Apple systems but the PC version gets top marks. They've really enjoyed this adventure game, now the system woes have been alleviated. Goes to show doesn't it. A small difference in capabilities means the difference between brilliant and unworkable. Guess it's like genius and madness.

A Boy and his Blob is the classic platform puzzle game of feeding jellybeans to your blob to get round various problems. Joy. Another nostalgia hit for me.

Day of the Viper is yet another 5 starrer, a rather tricky adventure game using both top down and 3D viewscreens. Fight enemies, avoid traps and solve puzzles to save the world from rampaging androids that have gone out of control. They still have a long way to go on this one, but seem eager to make that effort.

Dr Plummet's House of Flux gets a low score, but a more positive review. A 2D spaceship flying game a la asteroids, only with a lot more complexity in the level design, and amusingly quirky themes, you have to negotiate your way through and rescue a bunch of astronauts. They obviously didn't find it as fun to play as to describe.

Keef the Thief gets nul points due to another ridiculously eye hurting copy protection scheme. They really are pushing that issue hard, encouraging us to vote with our wallets and kill the annoying DRM. It's an eternal battle. How do you hurt the pirates without being a problem to legitimate users?

Knight Force also gets a pretty negative review, this time because the game actually sucks. The graphics are outdated, and the game play is generic and dull. Just don't bother.

Lots of hints this time as well. The bards tale series gets particular attention, as do the various D&D computer games out there now. They encourage you to exploit quirks in the system that any DM would counteract easily if this was tabletop. There is no playing fair against computer opponents.


The twilight empire reveals what I suspected. Another person from the modern world has wound up in a fantasy world, and will probably end up becoming a hero.

As I mentioned before. the horde gets a novel trilogy. They also get a boxed set and an adventure trilogy, linking up Faerun and Kara-tur in the process. Doncha just love that kind of worldbuilding.

Already up to 6 monstrous compendia? God, they really are churning them out. I guess they want to catch up everything from last edition (apart from demons and devils ;) ) as quickly as possible. Now that's a good contrast with the rather sluggish release of monster manuals in 3rd and 4th edition.


Rather an interesting issue, despite the above average number of dodgy articles. The tensions in the company are actually fairly visible below the surface this time, and this makes for entertaining observations even as the number of dull articles proliferates. Will the creative side be able to claw back a little more control. Or will the evil overmistress continue to make decisions that neither the staff or the readership really want. Let's see if there's any gems to salvage from the next issue.
 
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