• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

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

So, how am I doing so far?


  • Total voters
    162

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 177: January 1992

part 3/6


The heroic worlds role-playing game quiz: Or let's add a bit of variety to our brain-teasers. Instead of just another crossword, we have a multiple choice questionnaire. Most have around 5-6 options to chose from, but some are more complex, based around matching one set with another. Many of them are based around non tsr games, and you'd need a pretty encyclopaedic gaming knowledge to get them all right. Another diverting little bit of filler that'll probably give you more opportunities to go "did you know" in the future.


The voyage of the princess ark: The Ark leaves the savage baronies behind, and ventures over the kingdom of Rob Roy ( I keed! I keed!) This is one of those ones that doesn't have a particular earth analogue, instead being a showcase for a class like Alphatia and Yavdlom. In this case it's Druids who are large and in charge. And lest we forget, neutrality does not always mean nice. They have pretty harsh standards for their monarchs, and if they fail the tests, they get "absorbed" into the forest. In their attempt to help the king, Haldemar violates one of those conditions, which results in his being sacrificed. This definitely leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. Damn immortals and their stupid conditions. It's alright, because the circle of life goes on, and we have some poetry to commemorate the departed. Yeah, I'd be seething if I was in his place as well. Fuck destiny. Fuck the cycle of nature and cosmic balance. I want to make things better, not have them just carry on as they are.

We get lots of cool new related crunch this month. Druids get several new tricks and spells, which bring them slightly closer to AD&D druids. We also get Druidic Knights, neutral counterparts to Paladins and Avengers with access to druid spells and social benefits with woodland creatures. They're probably not as badass as their lawful and chaotic counterparts, but are a bit better than regular Knights. We also get a new BD&D version of the Bard, which are basically slightly reskinned thieves. They're a bit underpowered really, but still nicely flavorful. If you already have a thief in your party, it can't hurt to give your characters a little more differentiation.

We also get lots of letters this month. It seems that the D&D line is definitely expanding this year, with new novels, rules for werewolf PC's, timeline advancements, and other stuff. Keep buying stuff, and they'll keep producing it.


Sage advice's new typeface is looking increasingly silly. The topic this month is dark sun stuff.

Can dark sun wizards be specialists (yes. We reserve the right to retcon this in future books)

How do dragon's magic harm animal life (Buy the supplements to find out. Till then, just use a fiaty save or die. Athas is a nasty place. )

What spheres do clerics and druids have ( Quite a different selection to people on other worlds. Generally not as good, either. Unless you become a templar. Being a baddie gets results. )

Do templars get bonus spells for wisdom. What weapons can they use. (Yes, and any their master says they can. This is subject to changes even more frequent and whimsical than the average deity.)

Can sorcerer-kings automatically read their templar's minds (No, but given their huge spell and power selections, it would be triviality itself for them to do so. They can root out any traitors without too much trouble as long as they don't get too generous with their gifts. Given monkeysphere limitations, that means a priesthood around 120-130 seems about optimal for maximum oppression without pockets of rebellion forming secretly within it. )

How far can templars be from their master and get spells (Anywhere in the world! )

Can a wild talent have attack or defense modes (if that's the power they rolled )

How do sleep and hold interact with the new races (generally they work, with a few exceptions. )

Athasian halflings are weaker than regular ones! Everyone else is pumped as well. This blows. ( yarly. Don't forget though, you can houserule. )

The 18% rule is messed up by athasian stat boosts. ( Yes, but it was pretty messed up anyway. Skip will provide you with a sample revision that may help. )

Can thri-kreen use sign language ( Sure, if they adapt it. Being four-handed, they could even make an extra elaborate sign language no-one else could speak.)
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
The voyage of the princess ark: The Ark leaves the savage baronies behind, and ventures over the kingdom of Rob Roy ( I keed! I keed!) This is one of those ones that doesn't have a particular earth analogue, instead being a showcase for a class like Alphatia and Yavdlom. In this case it's Druids who are large and in charge. And lest we forget, neutrality does not always mean nice. They have pretty harsh standards for their monarchs, and if they fail the tests, they get "absorbed" into the forest. In their attempt to help the king, Haldemar violates one of those conditions, which results in his being sacrificed. This definitely leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. Damn immortals and their stupid conditions. It's alright, because the circle of life goes on, and we have some poetry to commemorate the departed. Yeah, I'd be seething if I was in his place as well. Fuck destiny. Fuck the cycle of nature and cosmic balance. I want to make things better, not have them just carry on as they are.
My current 4E campaign is set here. Except years later when there are no kings anymore...
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
Vivian Vande Velde
Having several Dutch relatives, this is indeed a believable name. Van de Velde.

As for her parents giving her a V name, well, parents are like that. Take it up with Hubert H Humphrey III.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 177: January 1992

part 4/6


The role of computers: Copy protection strikes again! This time, they cover another awkward angle. That of certain cheat tricks having the potential to completely bork your disc. This means that if you want to use them, it's strongly advised to use copies, which runs into problems of it's own. A set of problems that cease to be an issue once CDs and DVDs become the dominant medium, and many games are loaded entirely onto your hard drive, so you don't need to insert the disk to play. Still, it is a good illustration why I don't miss that era of computing at all. Thank hardworking humanity for technological advancement.

Might and magic III:Isles of Terra is another strong entry in this series. Still a big adventure, but there are a lot more conveniences than there used to be, like automapping and various new action options. They give you plenty of hints on how to play and what to buy first. The number of franchises keeps on building.

Gateway to the savage frontier is another SSI Forgotten Realms game. It only gets 4 stars, simply because it hasn't improved upon their previous games at all. Just churning out new adventures formulaically won't get you praised, even in TSR's own magazine.

Martian Memorandum also gets a less than glowing review. While the graphics and sound are quite good, the gameplay is awkward and controls are inconsistent. Compared to last month's pick, it feels slapdash and rushed out.

Wing Commander II doesn't get the 6 star treatment it's precursor did, but still manages the full 5. Twice as big as the original, and allowing you to transfer your characters from it, it builds on the good features of it quite nicely. It does require quite powerful system specs for the time though, so not everyone will be able to buy it.

Space Quest I gets rereleased with upgrades that take advantage of the new technology. This is definitely considered a success by the reviewers.

Spider-Man for the Genesis is a decidedly interesting take on his powers. Climb walls, negotiate open levels quickly with web-slinging, recharge your web-shooter by taking photos of the things you're fighting and selling them to the papers, watch out for the random appearances by Venom, and try to get it all done in an overall time limit. This was the demo game in my LGS for ages, and had some most frustrating bits in, particularly level 4, with the gorilla and sandman. Ahh, nostalgia. Haven't thought about that in years.


Ediolon, city in the sky for shadow world. Now there's a fairly common (but still cool) idea.

Dark sun steps outside the city-states with Slave Tribes. Yeah, they don't have it easy either.


Forum: Harald Jeffery proposes docking your PC's charisma if they show no sign of being able to negotiate peacefully with NPCs. That or a Hound of Ill Omen. Aleaxes probably aren't a bad choice either. Hey, bad boys can be cool too. How many serial killers have fan clubs in reality, in contravention of all common sense?

Ian Johnsson shows somewhat more finesse in his attempts to get annoying players to accept NPC's right to exist. But if they still refuse, just let them be outlaws, feared by all. It is fantasy, after all.

C. J. Calo thinks the best way to make an NPC invaluable without having them step on the players is to make them primarily a source of information, not combat prowess. Making them able to kick the ass of all the PC's singlehandedly is only for the most anvilicious situations.

Jeff Ibach Is baffled how this situation began. Why keep trying to use NPC's as part of the party is the PC's obviously don't want them. And why give them equipment better than the PC's at all. That's just asking for trouble. And also, remember turnabout is fair play. Now they have all these cool items, they're open to being robbed in the night and left for dead. Ahh yes. Turnabout is ALWAYS fair play. Muahahaha. One guaranteed method a GM has of dealing with any problem.

William Lee Williams talks about the problems and benefits of using pregenerated materials. As usual, there's both benefits and drawbacks. With the vast amounts around these days, you get lots of different ideas and perspectives, albeit at a price. Of course, other people may also have read those ideas. Even if your players don't cheat, them owning the modules themselves does alter the experience a bit.

Angelo Barovier is also talking about the problem preexisting worlds present. The biggest one, of course, is the inability of PC's to make a difference to the setting. He also suggests using the Almanac style of keeping worlds vibrant and progressing forward day by day, which will of course be taken up by the known world/mystara shortly. Looks like this little idea, like the loose leaf monster sheets one, had it's origin in this magazine. Now that's something I get to say a good deal less these days.

Rick Tazzle goes back to the decanter of endles water article from issue 171, with some more defensive uses for it. Shoot it down the mouth of anything with breath weapons. Or make the ultimate industrial power source. One of them could provide the motive energy for a whole factory. Now that's how you change the world with a single item.

Toby Martin points out the many conflicts inherent in the various OA classes. They have to juggle a whole bunch of social and personal restrictions that drag the party apart if enforced strictly. Sounds about right. This is why adventurers are so frequently rebels, and also why just allowing players to make their characters in a vacuum leads to problems along the line. Gary did deliberately design the barbarian to be a pain in the butt, and zeb was just following in his footsteps here. Whether you see these conflicts as an obstacle to adventure or an adventure in themselves is up to you.

Stefan Schultz brings up the old argument about how much a serfs life sucked under feudalism. If it wasn't so bad, why did so many people flee it as soon as industrialisation made large cities an economically viable option?

Joe Piela speaks out in favour of scale mail, using his actual experience as a professional armorer for the SCA. What an awesome job to have on your resume. If anyone would know about it's protective qualities and ease of repair these days, it's him.

Beejay Johnson (o_O o_O [^0^] ≥O≤ :eek: ) wants half-ogres back. With neither them nor Barbarians updated to 2nd ed, the big dumb smashy guy niche has lost it's best fits. They'll be back soon. The splatbooks are rolling out at quite a comfortable rate, bringing everything up to date.

And finally we have another anonymous letter from a female reader complaining about the blatant sexism in her not so friendly local game shop. Gaaaaah. How many years have we had this problem repeated. Patronising behaviour bad. Don't make me have to come over there and hammer it in with an actual hammer.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
Actually, a look at the family tree this afternoon showed some collateral kin named Van der Veldt, which should be 'of the plains'.

Which gave me an idea for my next character.:D
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 177: January 1992

part 5/6


The marvel-phile: More cut characters this month. Once again, we see the sexism inherent in the system, as all 3 of the characters are female, and 2 are ones I've never heard of before. Marvel really has no luck with that. (and DC doesn't do much better. Girls come and go, but it's the same old boys club that get to keep their regular titles as it has been for the last few decades. And as long as both the writers artists and readers are also mostly male, that's a pretty intractable problem. So anyway, here's the usual potted stats and descriptions for Madame Hydra, Lady Deathstrike and Saturnyne. A villain who's the 6th to hold that title and is in love with a SHIELD agent she fights a lot, another villain who has serious daddy issues and is also strongly defined by her obsession with Wolverine, and a dimensional overseer who isn't nearly as impressive as say, the beyonder or Galactus, and who's alternate versions all fancy captain britain. Looks like they still aren't passing the bechdel test in many issues. I believe this is where I sigh heavily and shake my head. So who did get in this year, and what was their gender ratio like?


Defenders of the hearth: Hmm. Following on from giving the spheres for the elven gods, this month we have an article doing exactly the same thing for the halfling gods. Is this the start of a new series I smell? So here's what you'll get if you worship Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrrollalee, Sheela Peryroyl, Urogalan or Yondalla. As before, spheres, granted powers and restrictions vary substantially from the later Monster Mythology versions, and in some cases, the interpretation of their portfoiios does as well. (Urogalan is particularly different. ) This does make for an interesting session of compare and contrast, and is also another efficient bit of crunch for the readers in general. I approve, and wonder who'll be next in the cycle.


Fiction: Human voices by Jean Lorrah. Or the little mermaid, played kinda in reverse, albeit with just as much angst. Pining for a member of another species, especially one that can't even live in the same environment as you, is just asking for trouble. It all ends tragically, just as the narrator knew it would. Actually, the narrator makes this as much about her as the story she's telling, which does put a different spin on the whole thing, and contrasts very sharply with the recent Disney movie. A short one, but quite good, with the artwork once again complementing it well. Seems like we're going through another period of improvement in that area lately.


TSR Previews: A lot more generic stuff than usual this month. CR1: Wizard spell cards compiles all the spells from various supplements, and puts them ready to be selected and arrayed for less wear and tear on character sheets. Muahahaha! Betcha fireball and lightning bolt wear out first. More idiosyncratically, they're also compiling a whole load of the cardboard fold-ups that appeared in previous products, in GR1: Strongholds. More kudos to Dennis Kauth. Get several, so you can build really big settlements. With this, and the recent skirmishsystem and greyhawk wars, I wouldn't be surprised if we see another spate of ZOMG they're turning D&D into a minis game. If that's not enough, they're starting a new series of one-on-one modules, for those of you who can't find a bigger group. HHQ: Fighter's challenge kicks it off. Another attempt to make more newbie friendly material.

D&D is also still on a baby's first adventure kick. Quest for the silver sword doesn't even have some arcane product code. Just a basic item retrieving plot. Off you go then. Come back in one piece please.

Dark sun starts to release setting expanding supplements. DSR1: Slave tribes shows you how to wander the desert and not die horribly, and what you're likely to meet out there. They're only enslaving you and treating you like crap for your own good. ;) Now get grubbing for cacti flesh, worm.

The Forgotten Realms revisits another big seller in Pools of Darkness by Jim Ward and Anne Brown. Will the new crop of heroes enjoy the success of Alias and co?
 

g026r

I'm a boat
Validated User
D&D is also still on a baby's first adventure kick. Quest for the silver sword doesn't even have some arcane product code. Just a basic item retrieving plot. Off you go then. Come back in one piece please.
Huh. I had forgotten that the Thunder Rift setting started this far back.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Happy second anniversary to this thread. God, it really does feel like ages. I'm currently just after halfway in terms of issues done. Combine that with the various bits of reading ahead, and I'm probably about 5/8ths of the way through this in terms of writing. Still a hell of a way to go, and it's going to take well over another year, but it does look completable now.

Course, I do have my sanity to consider. And so I'm going to take another vacation for a bit. My long-stalled musical career appears to be starting to move again, and I need all my creativity free to concentrate on finishing an album. So I'll be posting at half speed over the duration of april. Normal service will resume come may.


Dragon Magazine Issue 177: January 1992

part 6/6


Think BIG: A second article from regular forumite Thomas M. Kane this month. We've had stuff on horses and flying mounts before. Now we have one on riding elephants. Tee hee. Just the thing for when you want awesome adversaries. Course, it's not that simple, with keeping them presenting vast logistical problems. Food, handling and training are big issues. Like some of Katherine Kerr's old articles, this doesn't seem sure if it wants to be encouraging you to try this, or warn you off doing so, and in the process leaves me ambivalent about the article. So I guess the choice is yours, you just have more information now. Hmm.


Special delivery from outer space: Ooh. An article for GURPS. Another nice little diversion from our usual fare. Like the runequest ones often are. this is a shiny toys one, giving you a bunch of gadgets aimed at a sci-fi game.

Temporal compressors are a decidedly cool piece of kit, that gives you the chance to do stuff in a hurry, and has rather harmful effects on anything half in, half out. They go into quite a bit of hard sci-fi info, which is pretty cool.

Biological factories are implanted into you, and allow you to synthesize stuff for free, although usually only one compound. You can then make a pretty penny on the black market.

Watcher-floater cameras are of course one of the awesome devices used by totalitarian states for surveilance. They fly, they swivel menacingly, they may also have disintegration lasers fitted so criminals can be instantly punished. Ah, the joys of cinematics.

Video glasses are one of those things that show how tech has advanced, since we could do even better than they imagined now fairly cheaply. An iSight camera, a cellphone transmitter and a several gig SD card could be discreetly incorporated into a bulky set of glasses no trouble. So an amusing end to another short but fun article, in a system they haven't covered before. Just the thing to keep the magazine open feeling.


Dragonmirth manages to slip in a little satire at TSR's legal policies. Yamara has an annoying crossover. David Bowie gets in trouble in Twilight empire.


Through the looking glass: We continue the slow build-up to the gulf war special this month, as Robert celebrates the anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. Once again, this all feels a bit strange, despite being less than 20 years ago. I doubt we'll be seeing anything similar on the Afghanistan invasion in 10 years time, so this does seem like a slightly tasteless curiosity already, like the women in gaming stuff from issue 3. While minis connected to this aren't reviewed this month, they do have quite a few photographs of them. Once again, really not sure what to make of this.

On the reviews side, we have grenadiers new fantasy wargame, which gets quite a good review as a game, despite the pieces not being the best quality. Ral Partha has licensed stuff for both D&D and Battletech, once again showing what a big name they are. Black Dragon Pewter produce another wizardly diorama, full of little details. RAFM give us a dark elf fighter and Drider, (not using the actual Drow and Drider names, of course.) The viking forge give us 3 Dwarf Comanders, while Alternative armies produce their natural enemies, a gang of hobgoblin raiders. Thunderbolt Mountain minis have another diorama, putting an interesting spin on that whole knight rescuing princess captured by dragon thing. And Stan Johansen Minis finish us off with a bunch of Cossack riders. Nothing much to say here.


Lots of high quality articles in this one, and also lots of high quality artwork as well. Looks like the increase in general editorial standards over last year is still going on. Guess Roger is still improving his skills at picking the right stuff out of the slush pile and cleaning it up for public consumption, with the various departments working together to deliver a neater package. Once again, the regular columns are probably less interesting than the features, but not to as big a degree as last issue. Looks like we could be getting into another golden age, if we're lucky. The 1st ed holdovers are pretty much gone, let's enjoy the stuff 2e has to offer.
 
Top Bottom