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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
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Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 3/8


Bazaar of the Bizarre: Another oriental submission? You honour us with your great generosity, oh kind freelancer. Let me put it on the shelf with all the others.

Dragon Bones are what they say they are, and enhance your divinatory abilities. Yet another useful item you can make if you can kill a dragon, along with the armour, teeth, etc etc. Someone ought to compile all the magic items that require dragon parts in their construction and figure out exactly how many you could get from a single dragon.

Celestial Fury is a intelligent katana that may well be more trouble than it's worth. With the spirit of a rampaging dragon trapped inside, it brings thunderstorms wherever it goes, and is very blatant indeed in battle. It really gives a good definition to the idea of overkill and would be pretty scary in the hands of a villain. Emrikol the chaotic approves.


The voyage of the princess ark: Bellayne gets the spotlight upon it properly this issue. Thankfully, the conflict remains civilized. A myoshiman rakasta happens to be visiting, and of course reacts badly to myojo. But they decide to settle things in a sporting manner, with a little rat hunting. We see that while they may be civilized cat people around here, they're still cat people, with all the amusing instincts that entails. Once again, this is a fairly quiet episode for Haldemar & co, but there's lots of little character building bits, which is nice. They get to enjoy a banquet of stuffed giant rat, which is probably nicer than it sounds, and the ladies get to play with balls of wool :rolleyes: Once again I am conflicted between liking the cool stuff, and rolling my eyes at the silliness, which is a lot more noticable now than first time around. Ahh, the dreadful curse of maturity. Preventing you from getting enjoyment from the childish things you used to love.

On the OOC side, we have the usual travelogue of the place. History, population, gods, animals. We also finally get the rules for rakasta and lupin PC's. They take a different tack from the usual demihuman races, having the full range of classes available to humans, albeit at a quite substantial XP surcharge and penalty. They will be quite a bit more powerful at starting level, and then gradually fall behind, but they can still keep up way after dwarves and elves have maxed out their capabilities. This is an interesting development. We haven't seen many races with unlimited advancement in all classes around. I guess that since they also included 36 level progressions for the demihuman races as an option in the Rules Cyclopedia, there are a number of people who approve of the idea. It'll take a while to percolate through to general use though.

The letters also has an interesting thought. Why should characters with high ability scores get a further bonus in the form of XP bonuses. This is totally unfair. What if it was the other way around. Hmm. Another thing worth considering. And once again, this place covers stuff that would considerably change the game if implemented. Bruce is certainly pushing at the boundaries of what you can do with D&D, almost single-handedly. Just how much further can he go before burning out or running into some managmental obstacle?
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 4/8


More magic for beginners: Greg Detwiler feels like he's been doing this often and frequently enough to publish a sequel to one of his previous articles. Have a little more confidence in yourself. Ed was starting to do that kind of stuff right from his second submission. So here we have some more sample items and useful advice for those of you who want to be generous with the magic without breaking the game. The solution? Finer graining of powers.

Items of Proficiency and Specialisation allow anyone to use them straight away. This allows you to have a full golfbag of weapons, which is rather tricky to do normally under the proficiency system. Just be careful not to become too dependent on the item over your own skill, otherwise you'll be in big trouble if you lose it.

Weapons of Enchantment penetrate DR, but aren't any more likely to hit and cause damage. Just the thing for if you want to slow advancement into monty haul territory while still giving the players regular measurable upgrades. We know D&D has problems in this area, and here's part of the solution.

Miniature/Polymorphed gear are another couple of ways of getting round the encumbrance limit. just say the word, and it goes from full size to something else more convenient. This is particularly useful for rogues and other people who want to take stuff where it shouldn't be.

Illusory Missiles are further variants on his ideas from issue 149. You're unlikely to disbelieve them in the middle of a heated combat, so it's almost as good as the real thing. Just make sure you finish them off properly once they're down.

Continual Torches have both the benefits of a torch, and an item with continual light cast upon them. This means you can set fire to stuff, but also makes them trickier to put away. Decisions decisions. I can see some groups having a long discussion over the merits and ramifications of these two options.

Weapons of Illumination are another case of taking the benefits of established items, and splitting them up. Want a sword which sheds light, but doesn't give you any bonus to hit or damage? I suppose it's better than nothing, once again.

Hammers & spikes of Silence are of course ideal for the enterprising thief who doesn't want to wake people. It's the little things that make the big difference when the element of surprise is at stake.

Armor of comfort comes in various forms. The basic variety lets you sleep in it without penalty. There are also variants which allow you to stay comfortable in environmental extremes, with the strongest even protecting you against otherplanar environments. I think that's easily worth the equivalent of a plus or two in terms of convenience.

Sleeping bags of Armor Nullification are another solution to the same problem. Snooze in comfort without undressing. Just make sure you get out quickly when danger threatens. Another one that might not be particularly powerful, but can definitely be a lifesaver, and makes adventuring a much more pleasant experience in general. This is why you should stay on the good side of spellcasters.


The role of computers: The writers here continue to back the wrong horse, heaping praise on the Atari Lynx, and trying to make comparatively small figures look impressive. It's faintly embarrassing in hindsight. But then, the Dreamcast was also a good system that seemed to be finally picking up speed when it was cancelled. Like VHS and Betamax, it's hard to know who the winner of a console war will be, and the battles can go on years before one side concedes. For now, they're still fighting. Warbirds,Shangai, Block Out and Ishido all get short but very positive reviews. A whole bunch of different genres are catered for now. Get in while you still can.

Danger zone is our only negative review. With mediocre graphics and truly terrible sound, it really isn't keeping up with the other flight sims on the market. Seems a bit of an afterthought amongst the vast quantities of hints, many for years old games.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 5/8


TSR Previews: Toril is a busy little world as usual. Al-Qadim gets a monstrous compendium, MC13. Hang on, the Fiend Folio was number 14 and that was out last month. Someone's been la-ate on their deadlines. :p Ed Greenwood on the other hand, probably wasn't late with FRQ1: Haunted halls of eveningstar. A spooky little story, also intended for novice players. (set as it is right in the middle of safe territory. ) We'll have them going east to get revenge on the Horde before you know it. The Harpers also continue to get lots of attention. Book 4, The Night Parade has more spooky shenanigans. What are these creatures, and will they seem a lot less scary once statted out.

Ravenloft is also feeling more than a little spooky. RR5: Van Richten's guide to ghosts lets you scale your insubstantial boogaboos up or down so even the scariest party has to solve the puzzle of how to dissipate their frustrations to get rid of them permanently, rather than hacking and slashing with swords +5.

Dark sun, on the other hand, is scary in a consciously contrasting way as usual. Dragon Kings reveals just how obscene 21st level + wizard/psionicists are. You can beat them in a straight fight, but you'll have to be similarly geared up and ready to roll.

Lots of generalised bumpf this time round. We get another calendar of recycled artwork. Mostly Dragonlance, as they seem popular with the casual crowd, but some Forgotten Realms and Dark Sun stuff fills things out. Clerics follow in Wizards footsteps and get their own spell card collection. Once again, useful but hardly essential. And we get this year's batch of trading cards released, which is even less so on both counts. Yawnarama.


Ooh. Gamma world gets another edition. It's had more resurections than most comic book characters over the years.


Homebody heroes: Len Carpenter once again is prolific enough to get multiple articles published in the same issue. Here he tackles the irritating issue of nonadventuring characters with high levels in communities. Spellcasters and rogues can work their way up over the years primarily via their class based xp bonuses, but it certainly isn't as effective as adventuring in producing a well-rounded individual able to cope with anything. This brings the conflict between narrativist and simulationist design into the forefront. Is it right to assume that all NPCs had to work their way up to their power level in a way similar to PCs? If they didn't, should they be penalised for it? It's the kind of question that shows how much a class and level based system jarrs with attempts to create a naturalistic reality. Since this'll only apply to NPC's anyway, it seems a bit pointless to engage in detailed tracking of their skillset deficiencies. So it's one of those white elephant articles that's nice around to have because it's thought provoking, but I wouldn't want to slow things down by strictly applying the rules ideas in it in actual play.


Role-playing reviews: Ooh. Vikings. Now there's an adventuring friendly culture if ever there was one. No surprise that they've got enough products for different systems for Rick to do one of his compare and contrast themed reviews.

Vikings: nordic roleplaying for runequest gets the best review here. It mixes historical and fantasy elements in about the right quantity, the adventures are good, and it all seems very playable. His only real complaint is the ironically short shrift rune magic gets.

AD&D Vikings campaign sourcebook is from Zeb Cook, who of course also brought us Oriental Adventures. It doesn't go as far as that in providing new classes and removing existing stuff, but it doesn't have too really. Still, the crunch is the best part of the book, with adventure and setting material a bit lacking. You'll also need Legends & Lore to really get the most out of it. This is definitely a case where Gotta Collect 'em all is an issue.

GURPS Vikings also gets a middling review. More of a toolbox than the other two, it does tend towards the mundane, with only a few new magical bits and pieces. As usual with GURPS stuff, it helps you think clearly about exactly what kind of game you want to create, and how to accomplish that.

Rick also decides to review a bunch of GM screens and the stuff that comes with them. Vampire has an introductory adventure that is both pretentious and silly. Spelljammer has a bunch of amusing little fold-up cardboard bits and pieces, as does Champions. Star wars includes a 64 page adventure that'd make a decent supplement in itself, while CoC includes tons of little bits and pieces of dubious utility. What's fairly obvious is that few companies consider them worth it as a standalone product.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 6/8


Forum: Just when you though it was safe to go back to school, here we go again with the satanic crap. This issue was never such a hassle for the magazine in the 80's. Just get on with playing and making cool books, instead of worrying abut what other people think of you. Life seems so much simpler if you don't care.

Ralph deGennaro talks about his life, and the benefits he's got from roleplaying. It's expanded his vocabulary, increased his math skills, and brought him closer to his family. TV is a far worse influence on people than D&D in terms of encouraging violence, apathy and social isolation, yet near everyone has one in their house. And that in turn had people trying to ban it a generation ago. Just another manifestation of the cycle of history.

Shane F. Cameron reveals the roleplaying backlash has spread to australia too. It does make playing a slightly nerve-wracking experience. Stupid media people and stupid parents who listen to it.

John McCord is another person who lost a friend because of the influence of their family saying D&D is satanic. It's a shame, and he wishes he'd had a good rebuttal to them at the time. Can the magazine help with that?

Brian Philips wishes people would focus on the real causes of mental health problems and suicide, like abusive families and bullying, instead of trying to attack irrelevant things in search of a quick fix. Love and understanding is the real solution, as the bible keeps telling us, and it's preachers keep forgetting.

William Michael Kelly also points out the many inconsistencies in the attempts to root out and ban "satanic" stuff. Football has it's origin as a pagan ritual, and kills far more people than roleplaying. Should we ban that? Good luck with that one. Basketball is similarly derived from a mayan game. And of course trying to completely ignore drugs and contraception causes more problems than properly educating your kids about them. Course, they won't find it funny when you point all this out to them.

Casy Leah Williams is also annoyed by the refusal of people to listen to rational debate. We have facts here, and you just plug your ears and keep shouting BAD STUFF IS BAD! How are we supposed to solve this without stooping to the level of our opponents.

Walter Roberts is another bit of anecdotal evidence that roleplaying does not hurt your grades or your social life. Not only does it have educational benefits, it teaches you confidence and the value of teamwork. Some people'll go wrong regardless of how well they're treated.

ILT Bob MacKey talks about his experiences gaming in the army. (currently stationed in saudi arabia) He's another one who learned about teamwork from gaming. In fact, that's the big positive thing about RPG's as compared to ordinary games. If done right, everybody wins. That shouldn't be such a hard concept to understand.

Tammy Coppa talks about the same issue from the perspective of a soldier's wife. The army is a decidedly stressful career to be in, and it's no surprise that soldiers need to blow off a little steam. Roleplaying is much better recourse for that than drinking and whoring. It's also something the whole family can do together as well.

Curry A. Mosher ( no thanks, they're generally a bit sweaty and greasy) gives us a numbered list of the things to do if you want your complaining letter to be published by newspapers. They have a definite format, plus fairly tightly defined word count parameters, and you need to fit into them. Plus typing is increasingly a very good idea, for fewer and fewer people are putting in the practice to have needed to have elegant yet readable flowing handwriting.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 7/8


The role of books: Born to run by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon gets one of those reviews where the reviewer wants to like it, but can't quite and doesn't know why, as all the right ingredients seem to be there. Isn't it a pain when that happens. Where has the magic gone?

Escape from loki by Philip Jose Farmer is a Doc Savage pastiche prequel. It does not impress our reviewer, being very matter-of-fact and not pulpy at all in it's delivery. Must try harder.

Python isle by Kenneth Robeson is another Doc Savage pastiche. it also gets a negative result for it's clumsy, overblown prose, more like fanfic than professional writing. It seems that this property isn't in very good hands. Was it open domain at that point?

Horse fantastic, edited by Martin & Rosalind Greenberg is a story compilation about, you've guessed it, humanities favourite riding animal. With a mixture of fantasy and contemporary stories by a range of authors, it shows once again the strengths of the anthology format and the variety of stories you can tell within a seemingly limited topic. It's not all my little pony and black beauty.

Tom Swift 6 Aquatech warriors & 7 Moonstalker by Victor Appleton are two rather more successful modern day continuations of a classic pulp series. With surprisingly restrained technology and good packaging, it seems this franchise is in safe hands.

Dragon season by Micael Cassutt seems to have a lot in common with our own Twilight Empire. A guy has a girlfriend from another universe, who disappears back there and leaves him holding the baby. Course, there are also some substantial differences. The parallel world is more technologically focussed, and there's more emphasis on the philosophical ramifications of alternate choices. It more than manages to put it's own spin on these themes.

A matter of taste by Fred Saherhagen is a vampire story starring Dracula, alternating between modern day intrigue and flashbacks of his life. It has some interesting examination of how vampire's powers and weaknesses intersect with modern technology, and the historical stuff is well researched too. But the powers never overshadow the human drama, which is as it should be.


A world of darkness expands the WoD beyond just vampires. There is also poetry. What a surprise. Just the thing to draw in those Dragonlance lovers.


The game wizards: Zeb Cook surfaces again to remind us that in 2nd edition, the rules are not the final answer. Unlike in Gary's day, you are not expected to constantly keep up with the latest rules updates and incorporate all the supplements into your game. In fact, since some are contradictory (although not explicitly yet, genre emulation still isn't a mature science. ) this is actually impossible. Similarly, while modules may in theory have a canon date when they take place, adhering to this in your game is a bad idea, and you should change details, make up new rules, etc etc to benefit you. Basically, this is a big plea to all the people out there in reader land to get off his back. He may have been the lead architect of 2nd edition, but he's nowhere near the ultimate authority in the company. He cannot tell you how to play, nor does he want to. 2nd edition is going to continue to expand in multiple different directions, and no one person can keep track of it all. One of those articles that rubs in just how different the company is these days. Superficially it seems a good deal more pleasant, with no-one chewing out the customers, and a real attempt at running professional PR. Course, the behind the scenes atmosphere might not be so good, but they're not letting on. And of course, their overall editorial control is a bit lacking, which will definitely lead to problems along the line. What are we to do with them? :shakes head:


A very special agent: A bit more crunch for Top Secret. It certainly gets a lot more player-useful material than Marvel Superheroes, despite not getting articles as frequently. Probably something to do with the approvals process needed for the licence. So here's 5 new advantages and 6 new disadvantages to customise your character with. Well, I say new, but every single one of them I remember also seeing in GURPS, with the prices scaled almost precisely. So like the Runequest articles that convert D&D spells, this is helpful, but not very creative. Even the system for buying new advantages and paying off disadvantages is straight rip. It all rubs in that GURPS is just a better designed system in general. I find this very difficult to like as an article indeed.


Vampire release a limited edition dragonskin version of the corebook, and a rubber stamp courtesy of Chessex. Huh. Neither particularly obvious choices given the game's themes.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 181: May 1992

part 8/8


The marvel-phile: Oh, Canada, and other mutant teams. Let's see how they've changed, in these recent years. Yes folks, it's update time. Alpha Flight have a most amusing standardised costume. The Avengers have once again tried to rehabilitate villains and failed. There's been another brotherhood of evil mutants formed. The UK team have had their big plot arc build to a climax years in the making. And the Guardians of the galaxy have split into two groups to deal with several pressing threats. There's been the usual round of deaths and resurrections, Some characters have overcome old problems, while others have new ones to deal with, and yet others have had the resent button pushed on them, bringing back annoyances they thought they'd solved. Busy busy busy. The days of largely self-contained stories are long past. And of course, though they don't mention it here, they're haemorrhaging readers as a result of this. Could TSR have stopped it's own decline if they'd learned from the lessons of the comic crash? I think that's one of those alternate universe questions we'll never truly know. But it's certainly not impossible. As usual, no sense in crying about it now. On we go.


Sage advice: A mere 4 questions this issue, as skip takes the time to give some fairly pontificatory answers. I may not be so merciful, of course.

Art is in the eye of the beholder! One person's junk is another ones masterpiece! How do you define a failed roll in making a work of art? (Art, like morals, and gems and jewelery is objectively definable in quality and value in D&D. Get stuffed. )

Good sux. I want more support for playing the bad guy. (Go play white wolf games then. We like our PC's to be goody two shoes. Editorial policy, donchaknow. We're not allowed to hint that being bad could be a viable option capable of prospering long term, and corruption dogs the vast majority of reality. Lorraine (Rumble of thunder, stab of organ music) won't let us, under pain of, well, pain. )

Is EVERYTHING we know about space wrong in spelljammer (no)

Did your official hotline really say to ignore the rules and kick out the rules lawyers if they get in the way of the game?! (Yarly. We know our game doesn't hold up under detailed scrutiny, but instead of trying to fix it, we'll turn the blame back on the people doing the scrutinizing, and say they're the ones in the wrong for doing so. A classic tactic used by corrupt and perverted politicians, preachers and teachers to great success. )


Dragonmirth shows us how annoying living with wizards can be. It's no wonder they don't normally have relationships. Yamara winds up being the chosen one again, much to her displeasure. The twilight crew get hot and sweaty with the tentacle monster.


Through the looking glass: The iraq stuff is over, and so it's straight to the reviews with minimal preamble this month. Thunderbolt mountain minis show us a mummy red dragon brooding on her nest, protecting her babies. Ral partha take us to Battletech's orient and give us a samurai inspired mech. Grenadier have both necromancers and liches. (it's like playing both country and western music in a bar) That one of them could become the other over the course of a campaign does not seem at all improbable. Viking Forge release a set of 4 orcs. If you added up all the goblinoids ever released, you could have a decent army where every figure is unique. Stone mountain minis introduce their own creepy hive-based alien race, the Kryomek. Alternative Armies go back to oirland to get some formorians out. Unfortunately, they're made of primitive lead that breaks easily. And Black Dragon Pewter finish us off with a wizard in the middle of a little research. As is far too often the case these days, nothing here leaps out at me as being of any note.


Some cool stuff in the themed section, but the rest of this issue has been rather a slog to get through. This is another one that shows how diverse and spread out they are at the moment. Yet curiously, at the same time, they're still stuck inside their own paradigm when the wider industry is changing rapidly. The wild experimentations of a few years later still seem quite a way off. Guess the long slow progress with plenty of good individual articles, but little overall influence will continue for a while yet.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Note there is an easter egg on the cover of 181, though I forgot what it is. Check out the art description on the letters page for what.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 182: June 1992

part 1/8


124 pages. Year 16 has arrived. If the magazine was a person, it'd get a whole bunch of new legal rights. But instead, it's another round of Dragon related articles. It's as reliable as getting chocolates, and probably as welcome too. Will this selection be delicious truffles, or those horrible nutty ones that always get left until last? I shall consume the entirety of this pick-and-mix one by one, as usual.

In this issue:


Letters: A letter from someone who prefers 1st edition. It's getting increasingly hard to find the old stuff to replace his worn out copies. Don't worry, there's plenty of old copies floating around in bargain bins and convention sales. Those old hardbacks were built to last.

A letter asking about the various old issues of the magazine that were concerned with the people denouncing roleplaying. Roger gives quite a lengthy reply to this, and it is made very clear how the frequency with which this topic comes up has increased in the last few years. He used to think it was a joke, but the joke has worn increasingly thin as time goes on. They really do need to be stopped, albeit in a civilised manner that makes it clear we're the good guys. More on this over the page.


Editorial: Jack Chick. It's not an inherently scary name. Quite the opposite, if anything. But then, it's those with something to prove that often work the hardest. And Jack has certainly put his heart into the conversions business. Roger may have laughed him off back in issue 125, but he's not laughing any more. It really is rather worrying, the depth and breadth of topics he's attacked. Tracts tailored against every religion, including all the other christian denominations (it's WASP or damnation in chick's world) Music, Evolution, Roleplaying of course, even Masonry get their satanic underpinnings exposed. And most worryingly of all, a guide on how to most effectively distribute chick tracts. He's thought about this waaaay too much. Roger is evidently finding this increasingly irritating and worrying. Our enemies are bigger and better organised than we thought. We really ought to take this seriously. Yes, I know we've said that before, but I mean it this time. And then it's back to the day job :p It's hard to get too worked up about these things until they're actually on our doorsteps. And if these people were to get into power, they might well follow in hitler's footsteps of systematic reeducation and extermination. Man, believing in free speech, even for those who want to deny that privilege to others is a real bitch sometimes. Just when I though this topic was getting boring, they step it up a gear. It's evident that it's going to run and run, and possibly become even more hyperbolic. We have to make sure we don't lose interest first.


Not cheaper by the dozen: As they've complained several times, Dragonlance doesn't get many articles in here. Looks like it's up to their regular contributors to try and stimulate us. Spike Y. Jones once again comes up with a whole bunch of semi-connected ideas and integrates them into the setting smoothly. The kind of thing you usually see with the Realms, this is well up to Ed's usual standard. in fact, with specific dates and previously established events given, it's even easier to tie them in and check things for inconsistencies.

The Incubalum is an artifact egg that gives birth to random creatures, sometimes exceedingly powerful and strange. It's not really that useful, more a plot device. But it should be fun from a GM point of view.

Eggs of dragon breath are another way to abuse dragon eggs. Throw them and they release the effect of that dragon types breath weapon. They can be exceedingly expensive though no the point of diminishing returns, and they are rather fragile. Like any grenade, pack them with caution.

Shells of protection create a forcefield as long as you can keep them spinning like a top. This will obviously not keep out determined enemies forever, but in a nicely dramatic fashion.

Command Dragons breaks the pattern by being a spell instead. It bypasses he usual saves, but you need all the pieces of their eggshell to work, making this a rather tricky one you'll need a lengthy quest (probably involving said dragon's mother) to be able to use it, with no guarantee. And of course, once it wears off, you can expect trouble. Probably not worth it, on reflection.

Dreamhold is a magic egg that shows images of draconic history. Since TV hasn't been invented on Krynn, this can go for amazing amounts to the right buyer.

Mishakal's token lets you get pregnant easily, even if you don't have a partner. This is very valuable indeed just after a nasty great war, as long as people don't get selfish and pass it on once they've used it. We'll be seeing you again.

Apprentice's eggs are a really basic enchanted item that hold cantrips. Just the thing to ease people into building these things.

Eggs of Distraction are another one you activate by spinning. Unfortunately, they can hypnotise you as well, which will kinda ruin the effect.

Eggs of fascination are the refined version of the same item. They're harder to keep spinning, but don't backfire on you, and work even better in the dark. A good example of actual advancement, which can only really be shown with an actual timeline.

Eggs of imprisonment trap people in them temporarily. Course, in the meantime, you can set up more solid accommodation for the victim.

Ridiculators are the token Gnomish joke entry. They're basically automated egg-throwing catapults and mobile chicken coops. They aren't really any danger, but can be incredibly irritating. Another reason why krynn is avoided by many in the know.

Remove disease is a variant on the old illusionist cheat dispel exhaustion. It makes you look and feel better, but doesn't remove the underlying problem. This may actually make things worse in the long run. It saw plenty of use by charlatans when the gods were absent. I can see this one exported to other settings with great relish.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 182: June 1992

part 2/8


The vikings' dragons: Last month, they reviewed a bunch of viking themed supplements. One of the curious absences from the AD&D viking supplement was new dragons, given the number of them that appear in legends. Guess the magazine has an easy opening to fill again. Say hello to the Linnorms. Don't expect them to say hello back. They're not a very nice lot. While intelligent, they really are very antisocial, even more so than the chromatics. They kick their kids out almost as soon as they're hatched, and it only goes downhill from there. They take longer to grow up as well, which means they're rarer than regular dragons, thankfully. Still, that's cold comfort when one's in your woods, eating people and fouling the place up. These are ones that would later get put into an official MC appendix, showing they proved more popular than last year's ferrous dragons. Welcome to the joys of mythic resonance.

Forest linorms remain sleek and snaky no matter how long they get, allowing them to worm their way through thick undergrowth. With invisibility to animals at will, they have no trouble hunting, but still prefer human flesh when they can get it.

Land linorms are lanky looking, cautious things. They get viking runes instead of spells. With invisibility and shapeshifting, they could deal with humanity peacefully, but no. Dragons gotta scourge.

Sea linorms are cranky herbivores who hate anyone sculling through the water above their lair. They actually live in relative harmony with their environment, but that's small comfort for you when you lose your ship and life.

Frost linorms are the only sociable linnorms, forming into small cabals. Instead of the usual spells, they also get a small selection of runes from the viking sourcebook. They don't hesitate to use these tricks for long-range strategy, and combined with their illusionary powers, they're the most able and likely to toy with you instead of just killing you. Time to get your Xanatos gambits out fellahs.

Dread linorms are by far the strongest, with 2 heads, and tons more HD than normal dragons. Their physical and magical abilities are similarly impressive, even a gold dragon will be dwarfed by a full grown one. And if you do beat one, that 500 foot corpse is going to be a pretty hassle to clean up. This lot do manage to one-up the existing dragon species in interestingly unpleasant fashion. Just the thing to reveal when they get to really high levels.


The Dragon's bestiary: No surprise that we get a few more almost dragons in this department as well. Let's see if these ones are good or bad.

Swamp wyrms are enormous snakey things with breath weapons. Not as badass as proper dragons, they nonetheless have a quite substantial effect on the environment around them. If it wasn't a stagnant bog with temperatures mirroring it's occupant before, it soon will be. Now that's nicely atmospheric, and gives you a very good reason to hunt them down and kill them. I quite approve.

Lindworms are dragons born with the draconic equivalent of Down's syndrome or something. Course, what is a runty little mentally handicapped thing by draconic standards is still a large, cunning and vicious predatory monster for humans. Another dull one for DM's who want to skip the magic and charm and let a low level party have their dragon to slay.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 182: June 1992

part 3/8


Sage advice returns to previous topics like a dog to it's vomit.

You've missed out a load of multiclassed combinations (Look again. Also, remember that you can't have more than one class from the same group, due to power redundancy. I know you think you're being clever, but really, this is stupid. )

Can athasian clerics get quest spells (If they can convince their bosses they need them. Good luck on that one, especially if you're a templar. )

Can athasian spellcasters be wild mages (Yes. God help us all. )

What are athasian cleric's holy symbols (Templars use whatever their boss says. Others use a bit of the appropriate element. )

Can psionicists have wild talents. (no. They have full control anyway. That's what being a psionicist means, y'know. )

Why can't thri-kreen wear magical stuff (you try wearing clothes designed for a preying mantis, and see how well they fit you. Turnabout is fair play, and without any wizards, who's making the items for them? )

How do racial adjustments interact with the initial dice rolls on athas. (one step at a time. Don't try and do everything at once. )

What are athasian movement rates. (check their monster writeups. )

Whoa. Does being able to do 20 hour marches let mul & thri-kreen travel twice as fast. (Yup. This is the advantage of a single race party. Everyone else'll just slow you up. )

Do athasian elves automatically get the Running proficiency. No. If they buy that, it'll stack with their racial benefits. )

Do athasian dwarves have infravision. (probably. They haven't had time to un-evolve it.)

How do you manage your character trees (carefully, so a single death isn't crippling )

What can you do with alchemy on athas. (rather less than you could with proper magic. It'd be an inefficient avenue of study if cosmic power is your goal. )

Does the amount of water found with water finding scale with species requirements. (stop trying to pick the rules apart and cheat. )

Do merchants transact at their headquarters (No. That'd be like doing espionage deals at the home office. Too risky, normally)

You messed up the weapon chart on page 53 (yeah, keeping formatting straight's a bitch. )

How far can you throw a chatkcha (all the way to kamchatka)

How many PSP's do you get if you have more than one wild talent ( determine separately, and add them all up. You are at the mercy of randomness. Stuff like this is why psionics unbalances characters)

What happens if wild talents roll a power with prerequisites (they get them as well. And the scope for unfairness gets even bigger.)

What happens when you have power scores over 20 (natural 20 still fails. We don't like you taking anything for granted)

Animal affinity throws up irrelevant results ( yup. Replace them with athasian animals.)

How do thri-kreen regain PSP's/spells without sleeping (sitting around doing nothing for 8 hours. This is why they don't become spellcasters very often. When you've got a short life, you don't want to waste a third of it.)

Can preservers use defiler magic without becoming a defiler, so they can fake it socially. (No. Oh, it's a hard life.)

What's the spell progression for athasian wizards (same as it ever was. Fightin fire with fire. )

If you lose a spellbook, can you replace it (with even greater difficulty and cost than a normal game. Athas sucks for spellcasters. We want to encourage you to become psionicists)

When do half-giants change alignment ( Early in the morning, making mah breakfast. Daylight come and me wanna go home )

How long does a place stay barren after being defiled (many a year mon, busy wizard gotta keep movin on)

How much extra xp do fighters get for killing things ( Really not enough. )

How much do roads cost ( Less than walls, thankfully. )

How muck honey does a kank make (A glob a day. Not a very scientific measurement, is it. Glob. Glob Globglobglobglob. )

How do athasians react to spelljamers (like Skip said before, it aint gonna happen. If you try it, Skip will send the canon police to break down your door and beat your head in with the rulebooks. They just beat skip around the head about the lesser divination school and spending bonus slots from intelligence on weapons, so skip knows what skip is talking about. Don't mess with the canon police. They're well funded, and they're growing. They will fight against noncanonical games internationally, and cross system. And they have a bitchin theme tune. Canon police, do do de do do. Canon police, they're watchin you. With their psychic NDA hamsters, they follow the wishes of their masters. Canon police, fuck yeah. :guitar solo: Canon police. They're everywhere. Canon police! They're here, Beware! )
 
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