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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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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.
Quest for the Silver Sword was quite good fun. I ran it in an OD&D game a year or two after it came out, and then about 10 years later played it in a 3.5 campaign, where it had been scaled up to work with higher level characters. We were around 7th level at the time.


Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 1/6

124 pages. Another fighter special this month. Round and round we go, as they refuse to add any new actual classes this edition, so we have to figure out how to make the most of the existing ones. Still, it does seem that the themed issues covering regular topics tend to be of higher average quality these days, so there may well be enjoyable and useful material herein. Let's see if they can make playing fighters more interesting again.

In this issue:

Wizards spell cards! I remember these. Damn cool, and save quite a bit of character sheet scribbling, until you lose them or want to memorize the same spell more than once. Not that I ever did that. You've got to have some variety in your blasty spells, cause you never know what is going to be immune to each one.

Letters: A whole bunch of different bits of errata here this month. Tactical errata about the fighter stuff from issue 169. Mathematical errata about the probability of getting spells in Dark sun. More fighter issues, caused by the irritating discrepancy between books in who can specialise in what when. An unfortunate name misspelling. And some hitchhikers guide errata, of all the mad things to bother with. (especially given the casualness that facts and continuity are treated with in that series. ) I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's a hard life, working to the deadline.

Editorial: Oh god. Roger is continuing to invite ridicule with his attempt to appropriate the concept of Kinky in a gaming sense. Toon is the primary target, but shadowrun, paranoia, tekumel, jorune, elfquest, cthulhu, TMNT all get mentioned. That's such a broad net as to imply D&D is the gaming equivalent of the missionary position, and virtually everything else is kinky, which I think is pushing the metaphor well beyond breaking point, and also ignoring the amount of seriously gonzo stuff that D&D has incorporated right from it's early days. All goes to show that what you consider normal and weird is a seriously variable business, even in a single person over extended periods of time. Even the bible is pretty fucked up at times. Still, the stuff on breaking out of your own mould remains valid, even as the rest of this is risible and easily deconstructed. I wonder what he'll have to say to us next time.

The three faces of chivalry: Back to this almighty headache, I'm afraid. Paladins, cavaliers, and properly differentiating between the two when they're drawn from pretty much the same source, and often worked alongside each other. Both have pretty strict codes, although paladins have more to lose if they break them. And that distinction is what Len Carpenter picks to focus on. In an ideal world, you'd be able to balance temporal and spiritual pressures, no trouble. But in a world where adventurers are needed, and both gods and kings are frequently demanding and of questionable sanity, plus evil has it's own benefits that can seem all too tempting, this is a very real choice that you can use to shape your roleplaying. Will loyalty to your lord, serving your god, or pursuit of glory and love take priority for your character? If it's a paladin, you'd better believe your god'll know about anything you do wrong, while a temporal authority isn't so omniscient, so ordinary cavaliers can get up to some nasty stuff without losing everything, especially once they're too powerful to just dismiss casually. Pretty valid points, really, if not paradigm shaking. It also once again tries to deal with the problem of UA cavalier-paladins, which deserves credit. Not a terrible way to start things off, anyway.

Bazaar of the Bizarre: Since war is one of the biggest drivers of technological advancement in reality, that people would regularly be seeking a magical edge in fantasy worlds is no surprise. Even one moderately powerful item can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Both the battle itself and the logistics of moving and maintaining troops can be seriously expedited, if not to the extent having a high level cleric on the team. I wonder what angles these will tackle that problem from.

Battle Standards are pretty self explanatory. You hold them up, they buff all your troops as long as they're visible. Or maybe debuff all the enemy ones instead. Either way, substantial advantage your side, but make sure they're well protected, because smart enemies'll realise this and try to take them down.

Bigby's Demanding Ram is somewhat less amusing than it's name. It's just an extra damaging battering ram, no coming to life or ironic price for it's abilities at all. Most disappointing.

The Cask of the wind spy means a general doesn't have to rely on wizards quite so much for battlefield reconnaissance. On the other hand, it's neither as fast or powerful as an arial servant. Maybe you can get a cleric to make an upgraded version. But then it might go insane and come back to kill you. Compromises, compromises.

Durimal's philters are potion concentrates. Just add water and you have enough from one tiny bottle to affect 80 people. Now that's pretty damn handy for an army leader. They're probably cheaper than buying 80 potions too, so in a magic high campaign, these'll see plenty of use.

Excellent rods of engineering give you a whole bunch of powers to make buildings, and knock down other people's. This'll see plenty of use until it runs out of charges at an awkward time.

Fodder dust is another easy to transport concentrate, just add water for tons of food. Course, that won't be much help in a desert, and I wouldn't be surprised if it tastes like pot noodle, but nothing's perfect. It's probably better than dwarf bread.

Ipsissimo's black goose is a rather cute, but still effective mechanical guardian. Real geese can be scary in a way far greater than you'd think from their size, and this follows in their footsteps, protecting your territory from all comers and making an awful racket while at it. Easily my favourite of this collection.

The Iron forge of the armies takes care of that other great logistical hassle armies face, equipment maintenance. Still, it's only a force multiplier, not complete automation, and is a pain to transport itself. Unless you have a whole bunch of magitech conveniences, it won't be ideal.

The Manual of stratagems is another slightly quirky item that exemplifies the idea of beginners luck. Learn from the tactics it teaches, for the book'll soon stop helping you. And then you pass it on. At least it doesn't just disappear like old DMG ones.

A Quartermaster's chest is another supply aider, albeit a moderately costly and unpredictable one. It'll be a benefit over the long term, but frequently a pain in the short one. Just the thing I enjoy giving my players.

The Talisman of mire lets you create a swamp around you. The defensive benefits of this should be pretty apparent. Just don't use it when fighting lizard men, and don't let them get their mitts on it. Hmm. That's another pretty good plot hook, actually. This collection has been rather good in terms of inspiring me to think of variants and actual play uses for these items, which is a definite plus point. I can see myself getting quite a bit out of this lot.


Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 2/6

Follow the leader: Ooh. An expanded followers table. Haven't had one of those in a while. (see issues 99, 106, 113 & 115, all of which are obviously for the last edition.) This time, it's paladins turn, in an article which reduces the number of followers they get ( under the principle that extreme lawful goodness is a hard path to follow) but gives you more cool unique creatures attracted by your reputation. Using this, you could well end up with a lammasu, couatl, gold dragon or ki-rin helping you out, which seems pretty nifty. As ever, careful with the ones that are actually more powerful than the character, which should be used as friends and companions rather than outright followers, and turn on you if you should fall from your standards. It's not easy being a good guy. So no great surprises here, but useful for me nonetheless.

In defense of polearms: Ah yes, the much maligned (unfairly, too) polearm. They might not be as glamorous as swords, but they're highly damaging, cheaper, and much more useful in formation based fighting. Reach is a tremendously useful quality that only gets it's full credit next edition. And they can also serve as 10' poles. Multipurposing for greater efficiency! This is one of Greg Detwiler's efficient, above par filler articles, playing a valuable part in keeping the magazine chock full of stuff, but unlikely to really rock people's worlds. Looks like this particular themed section has been pretty low on big cool surprises then.

What not to include: Yup. This is an increasingly important part of game design once you have lots of different games to choose from. What is left out becomes as significant as what is put in in shaping the feel of the setting. And since TSR are currently adding new settings as fast as they can, this is a big issue at the time. (It is very interesting to note that Greyhawk, FR and later on Eberron, all started in times of comparatively few active settings, consciously go the other route, trying to find a place for everything.) Arthur Collins knows what he's talking about when he compares it to sculpting. You have all this material, and if you keep it all, your world will look little different from anyone else's. And you don't have to connect it all up to the official AD&D cosmology either. (even though that may involve changing or forbidding some spells. ) On top of this, there's advice about avoiding the generic monoculture races, changing up the things you do put in, sorting out the religion, gods, and history/myths, and making the things you do leave in seem suitably significant in the overall scheme of things. It may be a case of taking something mentioned in another article, and expanding it out to several pages of it's own, but this is a pretty good one.

TSR Previews: Back to a fairly regular schedule this month. The Forgotten Realms is getting FOR3: Pirates of the fallen stars in the gamebooks, and Prophets of moonshae, book 1 in the druidhome trilogy in the novels. Doug Niles returns to the lands he helped create, bringing another crisis with him. Time for a new generation of heroes to level up and kick some butt.

Dark sun gets it's very own monstrous compendium. MC12. They've long since converted most of the 1st ed stuff, so this is mostly new coolness too, with lots of psionic beasties. Now you can match up to the increased power of your PC's.

Spelljammer continues their latest big metaplot event in SJQ1: Heart of the enemy. Fight those goblinoids through multiple spheres. Just how much mess will they leave behind them?

Ravenloft does zombies, voodoo zombies (It's like james bond with swampwater and shabbier tuxedos) in RQ1: Night of the living dead. Another adventure designed for low level characters recently sucked into the mists. Are you ready to dance the night away and still foil their plans?

Greyhawk is still mid-war, in WGQ1: Patriots of Ulek. Yet another one for beginning adventurers who don't have the power to make a big difference to the fighting. I suspect we may be seeing similar products for every single gameworld. This is not very useful to your existing playerbase.

And finally, our standalone book this month is Thorn and Needle by Paul Thompson. Some rather quirky ad copy tries to set it above run of the mill fantasy. Does it live up to that promotion?


Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 3/6

The voyage of the princess ark: Another jaunt westward along the savage coast brings us to Eusdria, another blatant real world rip-off, in this case scandinavia. (despite it being a pretty warm locale, after all, this is even further south than the Baronies.) They're actually pretty civilized for such a warlike culture, thanks to the presence of lots of elves, and more than a few half-elves. (including the current king) Unfortunately for Haldemar, they're allied with the Heldanic knights, which gives them a perfect excuse to capture them (again) and have them tried for their "crimes" Once again, though, the ruler of the nation proves themself to be a smart cookie, more than able to deal with this kind of politics and come out ahead. Honestly, Haldemar, you really need to do more research. You have crystal balls and the like. Use them. Then maybe you wouldn't be in trouble so much of the time. ;)

We see in the OOC bit that Eusdria isn't quite a stereotyped as it first appears. Although they may be descended from your basic northern viking warrior types, they are properly integrated into their new environment, with technological developments, properly defined relationships with their neighbouring states, and an interesting plot hook that allows for raiding goblinoids to be a continuous problem. I'm surprisingly impressed by this.

We also get lots more variant classes. Rules for elven clerics and druids. Rules for elves to become Paladins and Avengers, and rules for half-elf PC's of all kinds. All are pretty simple and efficient, and have drawbacks as well as strengths. At this rate, BD&D will soon have as many class/race options as AD&D. Do we want to remove our strong fixed archetypes? Very good question. Even if they're not too unbalanced, you should consider carefully if you want to allow this or not.

Fiction: River's friend by Josepha Sherman. Another fairytaleish story from this author, this time with an eastern european dressing. But underneath the trappings, it's the same old hero's journey, as a boy from poor origins has to prove his worth to the people at court, and more importantly, to himself. Which is transferable everywhere, as there's always social class and an in and out crowd. More interesting are the human/supernatural interactions, with the fae creature in this one forced to interact with people on their own terms, but retaining a degree of it's own alienness. Overall, I Can't say I feel particularly strongly about this one either way.

The role of computers: Pools of Darkness continues the Realms story, allowing you to reach higher levels than before in a D&D computer game, while also improving on the visuals and sound. This allows them to regain that prized 5 star rating. As ever, don't expect it to be easy, and note that this time, the demihuman level limits are a real issue, so bringing in your old characters from previous games may or may not work too well. Still, that should keep their clue corner busy for quite a while.

SimAnt sees the sims series get educational, while still being pretty entertaining. Turn your hive into the biggest, baddest swarm in the garden by getting the right proportion of workers to soldiers and then bogarting all the food supplies. Less open-ended than the city one, it still has tons of replayability, with circumstances being different each time.

Gunship 2000 is another one they're pretty generous with. Get your heavily armed supply helicopter to the needed place, destroying any opposition along the way. Tactics will work much better than trying to charge in and use twitch reflexes, as usual.

Police Quest III doesn't get such a good review. It's fiddly, crash-prone, and has "adult subject matter" Seems like that's going to be this year's pet peeve for these reviewers. They're really not going to like Mortal Kombat then :p

Swamp gas visits the united states of america is a surprisingly good educational program. Combining geography questions with arcade action, it sounds silly, but I guess some of those things would manage to be good by luck. Not that it'll make it any easier for parents to persuade their kids to play them.

Shining in the Darkness is another decent enough Genesis adventure. It's no phantasy Star, but uses a lot of the same elements and should keep you busy for a while.

Vapor Trail is a top-down shooter, for one or two players. Apart from the choice of 3 planes with different capabilities, this seems very formulaic indeed. Yawn.

Arcus Odyssey also seems quite familiar, having a lot of design similarities with Gauntlet. Fantasy arcade action with plenty of hack and slashing and exploring, and a bit of roleplaying. Another one that'll fill up some time. Remember to write down your passwords.

On the conversions side we have The Immortal. Another RPG which uses passwords rather than saving, which does get rather annoying given the length of levels and the fiddlyness of the codes.

They also praise the Wing Commander strategy guide. Even they don't find these games easy, so this is quite welcome. A bit cheeky though. Well, I guess the book reviews have done plenty of books about computers so turnabout is fair play. :p


Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 4/6

The marvel-phile: A third set of characters rescued from the scrap-heap this month. Leir, the celtic god of lightning, which makes him a rival of Thor. Not a bad guy, but a hot-headed arrogant twit who is easily tricked, as so many gods are. Still, even he doesn't have as big a self-control problem as Nobilus, a flawed clone of Thor (again?! Silly mad scientists, forgetting the inverse ninja law. ) What was the High Evolutionary thinking trying a stunt like that? In any case, it didn't turn out well for him, and we won't be seeing these guys again very often, which once again makes it pretty obvious why they were cut. More filler here, I'm afraid.

Role-playing reviews is taken over by Rick Swan. Another personal favorite writer of mine (apart from the complete paladins handbook, which sucked) We finally get star ratings on our reviews here as well, (how long have the computer team been using them without the others catching on) which is another positive development in my opinion. Anyway, this month's review topic is another visit to minis based wargaming. Rick notes that while they may still seem popular at conventions it is now a surprisingly small number of people who actually play regularly. Although he doesn't phrase it so negatively, the market isn't in such good condition these days, with only a few big companies remaining. But ironically, the rulesets are possibly better than they've ever been. (now there's another familiar tale from both music and gaming) So I guess it's now his job to persuade us we want to buy things we don't need, and keep this hobby going a little longer.

Fantasy Warriors is Grenadier's attempt to provide a system for their many minis. It gets a solid rather than brilliant result. It's easy to learn, and the minis that come with it are quite nice, but there is some irritating rules cruft, and no sample scenarios at all. A new edition could make quite a few improvements.

The AD&D 2nd ed Battlesystem miniatures & skirmishes rules do slightly better, but still aren't perfect. Still, they are a substantial improvement on the 1st ed Battlesystem, with the presentation getting a clean-up akin to that of the various AD&D corebooks. The rules are nicely simplified as well, making running battles involving several hundred creatures on each side entirely feasible. The only major flaw (although it is a very big one), is the handling of magical effects, which is way too sketchy. This limits how fantastical things can really get, without some serious DM adjudication. Dark Sun'll probably take a bit of work then.

Bladestorm also gets a quite positive result. It manages to have both a good system, including cool magic; and a nicely imaginative setting to justify all the fighting that takes place. Strange races, advanced rules that improve the game rather than slowing it down, and spells that are designed around the battlefield make it all hang together nicely without being generic, and it's his favourite game of the month overall.

War Law gets our worst review. Like the rest of Rolemaster, it's insanely complex, with it's barrage of math and tables doing Rick's head in. Someone must be able to make head and tail of it, given the number of supplements they've managed, but if even experienced game writers have trouble, he wonders who the buyers are.

Novel ideas: The novels section continues to bloat in size as befits it's proportionate profitability. Course, they also have a couple of new gamelines as well, so they can increase the number of novels by splitting them amongst more subdivisions. Basic D&D is getting novels, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Spelljammer are busy building up their own fanbases, and they vainly try to keep the XXVc line alive for another year. They do seem to be reducing the number of generic books though, going from 6 last year to only 4 this time. Guess my hunch that they don't sell as well was probably right. Even so, that's at least 29 new books this year, several every month. More than enough for most people's disposable incomes, unless you're a total addict. Still, they're not publishing nearly as many novels as they are game books, apart from in the Dragonlance line. So no great problems here, yet.

The game wizards: This month, our other promotional column concentrates on the Marvel Superheroes game. Just like the basic D&D game last year, this is going through a revamp. Looks like they're reducing the number of adventures, and going for more splatbooks based upon specific superhero and villain groups. Mutants, Dr Doom & Latveria, The Avengers, and Spider-man's rogue gallery are their first choices. I suppose it fits in with their general policy at the moment, but I can see this getting very barrel-scraping within a few years. It also encourages you to use the canon characters in your games even more, rather than inventing your own heroes and villains, which is mildly objectionable on a creative level. I guess we'll see what changes they'll make in a few years, when the shine on this new trick starts to wear off. In any case, I can't say I'm too enthusiastic, but since they've managed to turn around dubious premises before, I'm not going to prejudge. Any opinions on this particular change of direction for the line?


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Fantasy Warriors is Grenadier's attempt to provide a system for their many minis. It gets a solid rather than brilliant result. It's easy to learn, and the minis that come with it are quite nice, but there is some irritating rules cruft, and no sample scenarios at all. A new edition could make quite a few improvements.
My younger brother and I had fun back in the mid '90s playing this game, even with the irritating rules cruft (it combined simulation and gameyness in ways that didn't always make consistent sense). Still the only miniatures game I've ever played that took the concept of command and control to the point that having crappy leaders could mean that they mis-interpret or ignore your orders and do something completely different.


Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 5/6

A swing and a hit: Some more fighting tricks for Top Secret this month. As with AD&D's OA, we haven't been short of a trick or two in this department. But like new spells and monsters, people'll always add a few more, even if they turn out to be just variants on already filled niches. So here's another 9. Choke holds, for killing people with when grappling. Crushing blows, letting you break bricks with a chop if you've built up enough strength. Disarming, always a favourite when the system doesn't make it more bother than just killing an enemy. Feinting, also a cool movie idea sometimes hampered by system. Cheap shots to people's vulnerable areas. What charming behaviour. Meditation as a means of making yourself more generally badass, which pushes at the bounds of supernatural capabilities. Attacking simultaneously with a weapon and doing unarmed MA stuff with the other hand, which pushes the bounds of cheese. Intimidating people with flashy displays of prowess, which is rather amusing. And steeling your body so it takes less damage from a blow. Rather a useful collection really, that'll offer quite an advantage to people using them. Watch players who want to introduce this one closely.

Sage advice is still on a Dark Sun kick. You change the rules substantially, and of course you will get a substantial amount of questions:

What levels and races are ranger's followers ( Mostly from the same races that become rangers )

Can athasian characters have kits (If they're culturally appropriate. That means no samurai or swashbuckers, for sure. )

Can water-finding be used in any terrain. Does it stack with Survival. (yes, and probably. This still may not be enough in Athas)

Do half-giants get extra damage on their weapons. Do they need to eat and drink more (no and yes. They're big enough to be inconvenient, but not big enough to completely smash the rules and setting up.))

Can thri-kreen use four weapons at once. (not unless they're specially trained. Claws are more natural than weapon weilding)

How do gladiators advance ( slowly, while spinning something spiky. )

Can bards backstab (no, thank god)

Do inactive characters get extra money when advanced (probably a good idea)

Are enchanted weapons less likely to break? (Probably)

How damaging are sandstorms (DM decision. Generally, death caused by sandstorm should be slow and lingering, as you are gradually flayed and dehydrated until nothing is left but your bones, to be buried underneath the shifting sands and forgotten.)

What athasian creatures does speak with animals work on (not enough. This will seem stupidly arbitrary to the natives who have no idea that some creatures exist on other worlds, and others don't. )

Why are there so few creatures in athas (ecological disaster. We're trying to engage in a bit of social commentary here. Art as moralising lecture on the evils of the real world and all that pretentiousness. Thiiissss iiis the 90's!!!!!!! )

Why no mind flayers or beholders (Mind flayers can plane shift, and are waaay too smart to stick around a dump like this. Beholders were just never here in the first place. (no way I'm buying the other possibilities, given much wimpier creatures have survived here. ))

Can I have a spelljammer crossover (no)

Does athas have an underdark (Possibly)

How much are thieves tools (relatively, a lot more expensive)

Can you backstab twice if wearing two wrist razors (general rules still apply. Don't think that just because a new gameline is out, you can get around Skip by phrasing the same question with altered fluff. Get back to the back of the queue. )

Why can't high level people detect invisibility anymore ( They can. We just moved the rules. )

Where's the thief?: As we near the end of the issue, we get another little filler article. Rules for sneaking around in the Battlesystem? I can see why some people would miss that capability and want to include it. So here's an efficient page and a half of conversions, allowing them to work as both individuals and units. I doubt I'll get to playtest them, but I still approve in principle of this add-on. Yet another useful but hardly mid-blowing delivery.


Making the Legend
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Dragon Magazine Issue 178: February 1992

part 6/6

Forum: John Cummings would rather undead drained ability scores than levels. You know, that's actually more of a problem if you can't get access to restoration spells.

Ivy K. Ryan thinks it's a rather good idea to make energy draining temporary. She also wants to nerf troglodytes strength draining effect. You can't stop effects from being more effective agains one class or another, and it strikes at the team nature of the game to completely cut stuff like that out.

Sabine Volkel continues the debate about DMPC's and the problems they cause. It does take quite a bit of work to avoid trouble, but can be done. Only the DM can break a game.

Dale Meier has another long letter about how to deal with that annoying star wars twink. This one is rapidly getting overdone, methinks.

James Lawrence-Knight wants to add a Reseaching nonweapon proficiency. Knowing how to best find pertinent info in large quantities of books is a definite skill, and another one we are probably losing as the internet becomes ever more taken for granted.

Marcus Wagner nitpicks 169's weapons article. That's not a basilard, it's a katar! Tee hee. So many silly sword variants.

J. B. Coburn discourages you from putting too many magical items in your game. The players shouldn't be overshadowed by their gear. Blah-de blah. Can't we just agree to disagree on this point?

Geof Gilmore complains about the balance problems psionics has when used in a campaign with magic. You can do a whole bunch of things at low level that wizards couldn't 'til much later, and screw people over from a distance they can't manage. It's not overall power that's really the problem, it's just that many other creatures don't take it into account in their design. Another thing that they heed and probably overcompensate for next edition.

Milwaukee by night for V:tM. With expanded rules for the ravenous Lupines :D Now that really rubs in how undeveloped the world of darkness still is. I'll bet their abilities bear little resemblance to the powers W:tA werewolves got.

Just who are these folks: Twilight empire gets a recap for those of us who didn't see the story from the start. Meanwhile, in this month's story, David Bowie needs a backup plan, and the others explore the ruins in the caves. Bad things happen, as you'd expect.

Dragonmirth is a bit depressed. Yamara has more discussion on the proper nature of romance. So fucked up. In a good way.

Through the looking glass: This time, the gulf war section at the start concentrates on the air side of things. Looks like there was quite a bit of variety, with different countries on the allied side having quite different air force compositions. Good luck hunting down models for all of them. Also, don't huff oil based paints. :shakes head: How silly can you get. Another irritating reminder that this magazine is primarily aimed at kids and teenagers these days.

Our minis this month are some dwarves with crossbows, giving your army some much needed missile capacity. A bunch of miscellaneous undead, none very pretty. And the usual assortment of D&D focussed models from grenadier. Half-elves & elves, paladins & anti-paladins, berserkers and bog standard warriors. The photographs occupy a bigger proportion of the section than usual, making the writing seem a bit insubstantial. I suppose you can judge for yourself now they're doing decent photography with reasonable reliability.

A rather filler heavy issue, one of those with lots of stuff that seems inconsequential, and was hard to form a strong opinion on. This far in, very little of what we see here will have any impact on the course of the game, or even be seen again. And so sifting out the good stuff becomes more of an effort. I hope other people are getting the benefit of all my effort, because it doesn't really seem worth it from the perspective of improving my gaming ability. Will it have been worth it in the end? I really am not sure. All I know is that I can't quit this far in.
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