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

So, how am I doing so far?


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(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 198: October 1993


part 3/6


The dragon project I: Along with his new computer game column, Sandy contributes a little something to bolster his old RPG's position in the magazine. Mr Josh Wellmeat, a largely sessile, but still very scary creature from millions of years in the past that stretches the definition of dragon somewhat visually, but fits in perfectly from a thematic point of view, with his truly machiavellian level of scheming and hoarding, taking a long view with his plans to an extent that humans can't match because they simply don't have the lifespan. The way that he maintains a human facade is both clever and pretty horrifying, with lovingly crafted details to give it that truly cthulhu-esque san destroying air. He can be used as either an adversary or a rather dubious employer and provider of info, and either way, can be behind a good long adventure arc. This is a joy to read about, fulfilling all the several overlapping remits this column has with aplomb. He's really earned his keep here.


Role-playing reviews: Rick looks like he's facing the same kind of problem I sometimes have to deal with in coming up with introductions. How do you say something pretty similar to what you've said before and keep it both entertaining and informative? In this case, it's talking about what makes a good fantasy setting for him. Just because it's an RPG, doesn't mean you should forget the Chekov's gun principle. Keep your focus, and make the adventures fit the setting. Because there's a lot of settings out there now, and you have to make yours distinct if you want to get anywhere.

From the ashes gets a pretty positive review. Greyhawk finally has a consistent tone, rather than being a patchwork quilt of adventures sewn together into a setting post-hoc. This may displease some people, but you have to try. And you do wonder exactly how someone else could have done things differently so this didn't alienate so many people while still moving things forward. If only we could actually see parallel universes.

GURPS fantasy II sees the debut of Robin Laws, bringing a decidedly silly air with him. The giant moose and gopher gods stamp across the setting, throwing the utopian human culture into stark relief. Well, if you lived in a world that was virtually cartoonish at times, you'd come to throw away greed (as very little has enough permanency to really value) and treasure boredom where you could get it. It's a clever idea, but the theory is better than the execution. Guess that's why he got into theory in a big way later. :p

Eidolon: city in the sky is a sourcebook for Rolemaster's Shadow World. It's a cool setting idea, with the distinction between the haves and have-nots pretty obvious. The visuals are the best part of it though, with the adventure ideas and details on the inhabitants a bit lackluster. Once again, the concept exceeds the execution.


Eye of the monitor: Sega vs Nintendo. Mac vs PC. Computers vs Console. These interlocking wars are raging right now, with the great number of competitors that were flooding the market a few years ago being ruthlessly narrowed down. As we know now, the economics of scale where game development is involved means any advantage will rapidly tip further in the favour of the winning side, and push the others out of the market. Unless you can find a slightly different niche to target, as Apple managed to do, and then Nintendo a decade later, you will not survive for long outside the conglomerates. This is one of those topics that can run and run, and I don't doubt that we'll be seeing more unexpected twists and turns in future years too. What will the next generation of consoles bring, now the Wii has proved playability sells over the latest graphics cards and screaming processors? Will another company manage to come from no-where, or are computers pretty much entrenched now? Will the iPad take over the world. For all my examination of the flow of the past, I still can't predict the future.

A link to the Past is of course a stone-cold classic, both instantly accessible (none of the frigging cutscenes that really bog down the later instalments) and full of little hidden bits to discover. I can do it all in around 4 hours, including getting every single heart piece, but it'll take you a while to get that good. Playing around with the large quantity of magical items is called out as a particularly fun part, and I must admit there is a certain joy in sprinkling magic dust and making the beansprouts talk, or the pink skulls turn into fairys, or freezing monsters and throwing them at other ones. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you to get this one.

The Legend of Zelda doesn't do quite as well, simply because it is a bit dated now, and I must admit the saving is a bit clunky (but he would know there is a trick to it if he'd read the manual properly. ) And of course, there's the massive replay value, with the second harder quest and mass of really hard to find (albeit because there's no clues, and you have to burn every tree and bomb every bit of rock to find them) bits and pieces. (You must pay the door repair charge :p )

The Adventure of Link is well known as being a bit of an odd one out amongst the Zelda series, both stylistically and in terms of quality, and it seems Sandy agrees with the general consensus, giving it only 3 stars. The description is a bit sparse, and there's not as much to riff off. But you're going to buy it anyway, because you're completists.

Doom is previewed here, in it's own shareware incarnation. It of course manages to improve on wolfenstein in terms of graphics, and more importantly, the size and variety of your weapons. Even using your fists is more fun than usual, and as for the BFG's, my oh my you've just got to love them, and what they do to the enemy. :D \m/ So it's a full house of classic games this month. Haven't seen that before. Sandy is definitely making his mark as a reviewer and writer this time round.
 

Kakita Kojiro

IL-series Cylon
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Doom is previewed here, in it's own shareware incarnation. It of course manages to improve on wolfenstein in terms of graphics, and more importantly, the size and variety of your weapons. Even using your fists is more fun than usual, and as for the BFG's, my oh my you've just got to love them, and what they do to the enemy. :D \m/ So it's a full house of classic games this month. Haven't seen that before. Sandy is definitely making his mark as a reviewer and writer this time round.
So... did he mention that he was one of the designers on Doom?
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 198: October 1993


part 4/6


The dragon project II: Another of our reviewers is roped into covering the game they worked upon before TSR poached them. This time it's Lester Smith and the Dark Conspiracy game. He doesn't do as well as Sandy, with a more conventional stalking and ravaging monstrosity, quite possibly from another dimension. Still, even if it doesn't support a whole campaign as easily as Mr Wellmeat and his plot hooks, the Darkwyrm is pretty scary both physically and magically, with 5 heads, disintegrating lightning breath, and the ability to mess up all your technological equipment. I'm not sure exactly how big and experienced a party you'll need under this system to have a good chance of beating it, but it's pretty clear starting characters need not apply. Decent enough filler that would probably have more impact if they'd spread it out better, instead of having two in one issue and then a gap of a month or two. Like the fiction, reviews and promotional columns, you have to tread the line between too much and too little to appeal to the greatest demographic, and this is another skill they appear to be slipping on lately.


Campaign journal: Al-Qadim gets a turn in this column, showing us to combine arabian stuff with horror. After all, they have no shortage of their own ghost stories to draw upon. Why can't they be two tastes that taste great together? Fallen Nog and Kadar are already perfect grounds for forbidden lore, quite possibly of the sort that erodes sanity merely by reading it. Meanwhile the rest of the continent is riven by paranoia. The priests are more oppressive, the holy slayers considerably less holy, and the wizards and genies more mysterious and feared. Yak-men are another perfect horror creature with their rather nasty possession powers and skill at long term planning. It all fits together pretty easily, as if it were born to do this. Sometimes, you just get an easy assignment, where everything naturally flows into place.
Along with the strong advice, we also get two new kits and a monster, making this a fairly complete package with plenty of reasons for us to return to it. Looks like this is turning out to be a pretty good halloween.

Priest-defenders gain the ability to turn genies as well as undead, but are members of one of those obsessive orders that can never give up their quest to destroy evil without losing their powers, and are generally not well suited for integration into society. They can turn evil in the pursuit of smiting though, giving PC's plenty of chance to get into means and ends arguments with NPC's.

Sungazers fight evil, but are likely to fall to madness in their study of it, unless you have access to a cleric powerful enough to cast restoration regularly, in which case their hindrance will be mostly mitigated. A decidedly tricky one in determining game balance, since so much of their benefits and penalties are external action and situation dependent.

Zakharan Kraken are pretty similar to their brethren elsewhere, only albino and slightly more powerful. They're set up to be perfect big bads, with a greater tendency to accumulate slaves and cults. Better watch out, etc etc. Horror can be things from the deep just as much as it can be undead, and we know there really are some pretty horrific looking things down there. (even if they'd actually die from pressure issues if they tried to come up to the surface)


Forum: Anonymous writes in again, supporting talking things through with your players to figure out who their characters will be, and what kind of world they'll live in. A really good game starts long before you ever actually play. Whatever happened to just making stuff up as you went along?

Joe Katzman actually thinks fighters need a little nerfing! o_O Mostly due to specialisation providing an unfair advantage. Well, Len Lakofka thought the same. The disadvantages from having access to a narrower range of weapons do have to be deliberately attacked to become an issue. Another issue that probably needs tweaking.

Jeremy Pataky is yet another person suffering under the yoke of officials with stupid preconceptions about gaming. Epic education fail. This stuff gets you reading, writing and thinking. But of course they don't REALLY want to encourage that, do they. :p

Chris Scofield is angry that churches are attacking gaming when there are far bigger and realer issues like poverty and crime around. Oh, they're old news. It's always the fads that really get the attention.

Eyal Teler gives support to the idea of playing evil games. You can have a lot of fun, honest! Damn straight you can, even playing it Paranoia style. And it certainly doesn't make it easier either. You might not have to play fair, but it really is you against the world.

Karim Pedersen has a fairly brutal nerf for wizards, based on temporary ability drain when they cast spells. Since it's more dangerous for high level spells, this makes it a real risk casting them. Yeah, that works, if you want to encourage a low magic campaign. Maybe a little too well.

David Howery praises Roger Moore for reminding us that even most good DM's steal most of their ideas. It's all about twisting them enough that it's not immediately obvious. And even if they do spot it, twist things in the right way, and that supposed foreknowledge actually becomes a liability. Muahahaha. I like you.

Roger Smith answers a whole bunch of points from previous writers. Debate needs listeners and replies, not just people talking at each other. Otherwise it's just politics. ;)

Chris Morris also answers lots of letters with his personal experiences on their questions. He's managed to solve the demihuman issues in his campaign, but not the one where people always pick the powerful classes. Just make them roll randomly. That reduces the odds they get to pick those classes considerably, and really pleased if they do.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Zakharan Kraken are pretty similar to their brethren elsewhere, only albino and slightly more powerful.
I wonder what the artist was thinking when he made them look like morkoth. It is a great visual but doesn't mesh with the text at all.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 198: October 1993


part 5/6


Soul-swords & Spirit-slayers: Back to 1e for the first time in a while for another oriental flavoured article. Like the Al Qadim article, this has an interesting mix of ideas, giving you some nicely flavourful alternate uses for your honor points. You can gamble your honor in crafting an item, or invest part of your soul to make it permanently magical. However the mathematics on this one are rather iffy, especially since AD&D nonweapon proficiencies are roll low anyway, so the system they use for determining success simply doesn't work. This means I'm really not sure what to make of this one, as I want to like it, but it'll need ripping apart and reworking before actually using. Rather a pain, really.

Kamigoroshi are also a fascinating idea, but a bit of a headache mechanically. A monster that survives by consuming honor points? That raises the question of exactly what they represent. How can a monster absorb the degree of esteem others hold you in? I suppose it's magic, you shouldn't think about it too hard or it unravels. But combine that with the fact that they have no actual damage inflicting powers, and are perfectly vulnerable to normal weapons, and they become like rust monsters, an irritant that will wind up being killed fairly easily, it's merely a question of how much you'll lose in the process. That's a bit wonky in actual play. I think this makes this article qualify as a failed experiment, albeit an interesting one.


Novel ideas: A real bit of showing off this month, as they celebrate their hardcover releases. It's a step towards being Serious Literature, something that will endure for the ages. Or something like that. There are worse things to aspire too, even if it can be funny to see people trying too hard, I can't say I wouldn't want to be in their position, able to write and publish multiple bestselling hardcover books every year. Drizzt continues to go from strength to strength. And my god P. N. Elrod is having way too much fun with the Strahd gig. We must get inside the heads of these dark sexy brooding vampires. And I must force my husband to cosplay as him! She's basically just a squeeing pervy fangirl made good, isn't she. What are we to do with her? Aw hell, let's just rake in lots of money and keep the angst purely IC for a change. This one's just too much fun to dislike, even if it is basically just promotion.


Fiction: The dark warrens by Lois Tilton: An interesting spin on I am Legend this month. In a world where vampires are supreme, the few remaining free humans are a primitive and ignorant bunch, struggling to survive and stay free against creatures smarter and more powerful than them. Some people are immune to being turned, and obviously as the years have gone by, this proportion has grown simply due to the intensity of the vampire depredations. This kind of info is presented in a textbook example of show not tell, which lets you figure out a good deal about the setting and metaphysics without spelling it out via heavy exposition. It's pretty good gaming inspiration too, giving me an idea of how to combine horror with Dark Sun-esque survivalist struggles. Horror really can be a spice that mixes well with all sorts of other genres. And as long as they have stuff like this, that popularity will be justly maintained.


Swordplay is distracted by internal monologuing. Ogrek gets joe out while the drow are distracted by searching for the vampire's weakness. Dragonmirth gets in on the horror theme. Twilight war'll need to do some fast talking to say everything it needs to say while fighting. Maybe they should take lessons from Wolverine.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 198: October 1993


part 6/6


Through the looking glass: Things go from bad to worse in the minis section. The lead bill has ground through committee at last in new york, and lots of states are considering following suit. The combination of increased prices and general uncertainty amongst both retailers and public has really done a number on sales, which means the companies have shortages of money and are likely to cancel entire lines to try and survive. This really is the straw that breaks wargaming's back, isn't it. It fought on gamely through the 80's, still getting plenty of promotion at the conventions despite dropping sales, but now it's withering away, a whole bunch of factors simultaneously conspiring against it and draining the enthusiasm of everyone remaining still trying to treat this as an industry rather than a hobby. This also probably helps explain why games workshop ended up on top. As a brit based company, this chaos would have had less impact upon them, putting them in a good position to scavenge off the remains and consolidate their own position. Well, it sounds like a good bit of theorising. Anyone want to talk a bit more about the realities of the next few years in wargaming, since detailed info probably won't be forthcoming in the magazine?

But anyway, lets see what minis he's dug up this month. A mysterious cloaked, winged figure to haunt your dreams. A dragon with another mysterious cowled figure riding it, which wouldn't be at all out of place in Tolkien's setup. A diorama of adventurers discovering a treasure chest. This is not without it's dangers. A huge, oddly mawed worm bursting from the ground. A trio of hunched over ghouls, one with a natty hat. Two sets of three skeletal undead, with rather impressive weapons. Death on a Motorcycle, as we've seen on heavy metal album covers and will see parodied soon in the Discworld. Some nicely dressed muthafunkin tremere, ready to cast spells, drink blood, and look really sharp while doing so. And a set of 4 minis representing a wolfwere in it's myriad forms, from TSR's official line. Keep the ones you're not using hidden, so you don't spoil the surprise.


TSR Previews: The forgotten realms comes out looking good again. FRS1: The dalelands gives you some more info to help you adventure close to where Elminster can hear your cries of agony. A whole bunch of little independent states is perfect grounds for you to take one over if you're feeling evil as well. There's also Pool of Twilight by Jim Ward and Anne Brown. Once again, they try and recapture the magic of their famous mixed gender writing teams. See yet another generation of heroes come into play, possibly prematurely in this case. Oh well, child heroes are a well established fantasy trope. No reason D&D can't do them.

Al-Qadim expands upon genies in ALQ4: Secrets of the lamp. Now that's one that makes perfect sense, and will probably get pretty good sales. You can even get to adventure in the city of brass, although not in as much detail as 3e. Sweet.

Dragonlance is still busy, but less constructively. Leaves from the inn of last home gets reprinted, which I really don't think is worth the promotional space unless they've made some revisions and additions as well. And The Dwarven Kingdoms get a boxed set, tying in with their latest trilogy. Go them.

In Dark Sun, on the other hand, it's the elves that are getting another splatbook in DSS3. They're quite different from generic elves, and their kits and equipment reflects that. Watch them like a hawk, or they'll have your equipment too.

Lankhmar returns after a years gap. City of Lankhmar appears to be a reboot of sorts, giving us a new core. Seems like this is their only setting not being driven onwards by metaplot and timeline advances.

Our Generic product this month is another historical one HR5: The glory of rome. Combine with the Celts one for extra conquering and oppressing fun.

Gamma World has another adventure. GWQ3: Home before the sky falls. Ancient robot war machines have been reactivated. Sounds like this could require some gamma knights. That or discretion and finding a weak point. The usual adventurer dilemma then.


As is often the case with the october issues, the familiar and popular theme means they get lots of high quality articles in to choose from, giving us a fairly strong issue overall. Combine that with Sandy Petersen contributing two full-on classic articles on top of everything else, and this is a real home run even though the overall quality of the magazine is sliding. It makes their accomplishments feel all the more heroic, in a way, because things are becoming a genuine challenge again. A bit of fear and tension is just what the doctor ordered.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 199: November 1993


part 1/8


124 pages. It's blatant sadism time, with monsters being this issue's special theme. Like Magic, this is almost ridiculously broad a topic, that they really ought to focus a little more finely so as to reduce the frequency with which they repeat themselves. Guess they can only control what they get so much. Have the freelancers sent in some good stuff, or will we have to rely entirely on the staff writers again? Another day, another issue to fill.


In this issue:


Letters: A letter from someone amused to see a baffled boyfriend dragged along to game night for a change. Statistically, it had to happen at some point.

A letter from someone wondering what happened to Rillifane in monster mythology. We've already sorted that out. Twice. Let's hope the back issues are still available.

Another person who wants Roman stuff. By no co-incidence, they have a sourcebook out, oh, round about now. Gotta collect 'em all!

A request for the addresses of some other gaming companies. This is no trouble for them to fix.

A question about their old products from the 70's. This proves a little trickier. Their record keeping was apparently not the greatest in the early years of TSR. It's no wonder they keep getting dates wrong and forgetting old products.

And finally, a question asking what happened to Judges Guild. They died, but many of their properties live on! Don't hesitate to pursue the new editions. (even if they might suck compared to the old stuff)


Editorial: So the day has finally come for Rogar of Mooria to seek out new adventures. He's being promoted from mere editor to the title of Product Group Leader. A pretentious corporatespeak title that translates as guy who bosses around and co-ordinates the developers for all the different AD&D campaign worlds. (At least, that's what it looks like) Which means he'd like to thank all the people that helped him make the magazine as good as it could be over the last 7 years. Mwah, mwah, you're all stars in your own way. It's all pretty short and predictable for this kind of departure. What he does not say though, is who is replacing him. And flicking back to the contents page, it's Kim again! Weird. Well, I suppose he did leave the company for a few years to go off gallivanting with Gary. That probably set him back a few rungs on the career ladder when he did return to TSR. So it's quite possibly going to be all change again in the next few months. And they've already lost quite a few columns recently. Guess it's going to be interesting times again until they get a new pattern down. And the editing may suffer in the meantime. Still, at least it's not abrupt chaos like Kim's original departure. I guess we'll have to wait for TSR's collapse for some of that action.


Opening the book of beasts: David Howery once again shows us that bad artists imitate, while great ones steal. Fresh and tanned from exploring africa, he heads back to medieval europe, and discovers that there's still a surprising number of creatures unconverted from there. Plus of course, there's the many mythological distortions of real world animals, created by imaginative naturalists with little real world experience of their subjects, and chinese whispers descriptions of African animals. Those are almost completely lacking from D&D, pushed out by the soppy revisionist witterings of PETA girl. Making even the mundane creatures fantastical would help reinforce the game against those tedious stickers for realism in fantasy as well. And I approve of both these objectives. On top of the alterations to existing creatures both real and magical, there's several new ones too.

Calopus are horned pumas, making them fairly versatile in terms of attack mode, but not actually much more scary than regular big cats. Still, it'll make the adventurers wonder and maybe get paranoid, which is usually pretty fun.

Monocerus are somewhere between the magical unicorn, and the mundane rhino in appearance and behaviour. They do have some weird quirks, and are pretty much impossible to tame, which means they won't be studied easily either. Best to just drive them to extinction then. :p

Sea Orcs are presumably drawn from sightings of killer whales, aka orcas. They're described as being more like crocodiles, but you know how these things change via chinese whispers. In any case, they're big, somewhat intelligent, and quite capable of smashing your little boat and gobbling up the party.

Sea monks & bishops are curiously benevolent creatures, living in small enclaves under the sea. Since they do all have fairly substantial clerical powers, getting on their good side can result in much needed healing during adventures underwater.

Serra are giant fishes that use their upper fins like sails to travel at high speed on the surface and slice straight through your boat. Even Jaws was never that awesome. The kind of thing you include just to see the looks on the players faces when they pull their signature move. It's no wonder sailors were a superstitious lot who got drunk and blew their money first chance they got. The sea has a lot to be afraid of.

Yale have appeared here before, in issue 101's creature catalog. And from the looks of them, David remembers this, as the stats are virtually identical apart from being converted to 2e. I quite approve, and hope Greg Detwiler won't mind this uncredited recycling either.

Bestiary Dragons are based on those long, snaky, frequently poisonous western ones that kill by constriction more often than they do by bite. Whether they have any magical abilities on top of that is up to you. As the legends show, spiky armor may well be a lifesaver. Just because you're adventuring in traditional lands, doesn't mean you won't profit from using your brain to solve problems. I think this is a pretty good little milieu opener.
 

Blizzardborn

Hiding in a snowdrift
Validated User
For real fun, have your players run into a Bestiary Dragon that spits corrosive poison. That'll induce ophidiophobia in a heartbeat.
 

(un)reason

Making the Legend
Validated User
Dragon Magazine Issue 199: November 1993


part 2/8


Crude, but effective: Tuckers kobolds time yet again, reminding us how even dumb creatures become a lot scarier with basic tactics. Albeit with quite a bit of 4th wall breaking humour. Say hello to the Hobgoblin Elmonster. The kind of obvious rip-off character that would be more at home in the april issues. But the actual advice is as useful as ever, and include a few they didn't come up with last time. Traps, tricks, interesting synergies of relatively mundane monsters, even basic things like alarm systems and missile weapons. Use the damn things, for they will save lives, and help you kill enemies better. Even the dumbest of things don't want to die, except maybe bob-ombs. So this is a familiar topic that manages to justify itself by an excellent bit of tongue in cheek framing.


The dragon's bestiary: Trolls certainly aren't short of a few variants, including quite a few that appeared first in this magazine, such as issue 41, 51, 129, 141, more than their fair share of the minis review columns and tons of Wormy. Looks like that's not ending any time soon either, with the internet about to give their profile a further boost. Here's a few more.

Trollhounds show it's not just dragons that engage in pervy hybridisation. Basically just regenerating, extra ugly wolves with diseased bites, they're certainly not unbeatable or particularly strange. But since basic worgs managed to be pretty scary in The Hobbit, I guess it's how you play them that counts.

Phaze trolls operate on a similar principle to phase spiders. Mobility and misdirection make them the challenge they are. If you're extra unlucky they'll be psionic as well. I can definitely see them as a mid-level big bad or high level mook, so they're reasonably versatile enemies.

Gray Trolls have a poisonous bite, just to make things a little trickier, and uncommonly long range infravision, for some reason. They can assume gaseous form, and are burned by sunlight. That's what you get for hanging round with vampires. Another one you'll need a damn god lore roll to spot.

Stone trolls are tougher than normal trolls and have a unique weakness that you'll need to work quite hard to exploit. Still, their regeneration is slower than normal trolls, and they give lots of XP. Take wands full of healing and blasty effects to keep up with them long enough to finish them.

Fire trolls, unsurprisingly, are immune to fire, but have other weaknesses, although not exactly what you'd expect. (unless you watch lots of cartoons) On top of that, their acidic blood destroys metal weapons that hit them. They're big and tough enough to be a challenge even to name level adventurers. Probably best to have your spellcasters stock up on AoE blasty spells if you want to get out of this one alive too. A brutal ending to a collection obviously aimed at rather higher level parties than most of these.


Fiction: One-eyed death by Jonathan Shipley. A mystery story where the mystery is never really solved? Those can be pretty frustrating. Still, there's plenty of clues here. You'll just have to draw your own conclusions from them. Trouble is, it's nearly all loose ends. There are large amounts of vague worldbuilding that really need other stories to fill them in before this one can make satisfactory reading. Which if it was ever published, it wasn't in here. So this isn't terrible, but doesn't really work for me as is, needing some expansion. Writing truly self-contained short stories is actually a surprisingly tricky art.


The known world grimoire: Heraldry. Our third time round this topic. (see issue 53 and 154. ) And here we're reminded that Mystara is the only world that still uses alignment languages, and all the setting weirdness that goes with them. People know exactly where they stand on the major moral issues, and are generally not afraid to flaunt it either. Not that it matters, for obtaining nobility initially is entirely predicated on your ability to kick ass, rather than moral character. It may affect exactly what kinds of followers you attract though. This is a rather mixed up article, simultaneously trying to tackle real world history, and possible ideas for both D&D and AD&D game worlds. How you get them, what they look like, what different classes might do with them, it's very much a grab bag of options that you'll need to customise for your own campaign. The ideas for mechanical bonuses conferred by heraldic animals are pretty decent, and would work very well in a dominion style game. (transplanting to birthright shouldn't be hard at all. ) Plus it crosses over well with David Howery's article earlier on by talking about the medieval mythical connotations of real animals. Overall, I think I like this, despite not really wanting too. It gives us plenty of pointers without hemming things in too much, and reminds us just how weird you can make D&D by playing it's rules' logical consequences completely straight.
 
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