D&D Let's read the entire run - Page 13
  1. #121

    Shouldn't you have title this thread "Dragon Magazine Let's Slag the Entire Run"? Why do I get the sneaking suspicion you'll be throwing buy one get one free pie coupons and party beads from your parade float as soon as the grumpy old bearded guy from Wisconsin's influence on the magazine is gone? Or am I being needlessly cynical?

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedungeondelver View Post

    Shouldn't you have title this thread "Dragon Magazine Let's Slag the Entire Run"? Why do I get the sneaking suspicion you'll be throwing buy one get one free pie coupons and party beads from your parade float as soon as the grumpy old bearded guy from Wisconsin's influence on the magazine is gone? Or am I being needlessly cynical?
    Funny, I'm not getting the impression that he's slagging the run...it's just that those early issues were rather haphazard as far as the quality of the articles went so there's a lot of rubbish burying the gems...but I don't think (un)reason has ignore the latter.

  3. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    I'd like to see these rules. I hate Risk because it gets massively bogged down. Let's see the opponent build up that massive army in Yakustk now!
    Here you go. If a Mod objects, feel free to delete, but I don't think it's too egregious to post a single article from almost 30 years ago...


    As anyone knows who has played Risk, victory in the game is often a combination of lasting through the 255th battle turn, handing in the 34th set of cards for 1,019 armies and rolling straight 6’s on defense! To both shorten the game and return the excitement and tension (which is often lost in the slow buildup of ponderous Risk hordes), the following “nuclear options” are presented.

    Two modifications are necessary before play can begin:
    (1) Draw in additional oceanic paths between Western Australia and Madagascar; and between Argentina and Eastern Australia.
    (2) Only five players may participate-the sixth player’s pieces are used to represent nuclear weapons and areas of destruction (the RED player’s pieces are considered particularly appropriate for this use). Alternately, six may play if suitable pieces (coins, small poker chips, counters, etc.) are available to represent each player’s nuclear arsenal.

    Nuclear Moratorium
    From the beginning of the game through the end of the third game-turn, no nuclear weapons may be used. At the beginning of the fourth turn, they may be employed freely at the discretion of the owning player.

    First Strike
    The player who first uses nuclear weapons (thereby initiating thermonuclear holocaust!) may DOUBLE the effect of his nuclear weapons for that turn only (see Nuclear Weapons, Offensive Capabilities (below) for effects). This bonus is given both for initiative and surprise. Note that if he does not use all the nuclear weapons in his arsenal, the others’ effect is not doubled on succeeding turns.

    Nuclear Builds
    Nuclear weapons may be built instead of-but not in addition to-regular armies. A player may: (1) build regular armies only, (2) build nuclear weapons only, or (3) build a combination of both, provided the total of both regular armies and nuclear weapons does not exceed his total allowable builds from cards, continent bonuses, etc. each turn.

    Nuclear weapons are deployed like regular armies at the beginning of a player’s turn. However, they may not be redeployed until the strategic phase of that player’s turn, with all the limitations placed on them as on regular armies for strategic redeployment.

    Nuclear Weapons
    (1) Offensive Capabilities: One nuclear weapon automatically destroys one army unit in the target nation. Range is unlimited for an offensive nuclear weapon, i.e., it can reach any target nation on the board from any launching site on the board.

    (2) Defensive Capabilities: One nuclear weapon used in a defensive capacity automatically seeks out and destroys one offensive nuclear weapon in the air, within the following limitation: Range of defensive nuclear weapons is limited to the nation in which they are stationed and those nations immediately adjacent. Adjacent nations are defined as those having a contiguous border with the nation in which the defensive nuclear weapons are stationed. Bodies of water negate the-adjacent-nation status.

    (3) Dual Mission: The players should note that each nuclear weapon has both offensive and defensive capability. The actual employment of the weapon in either its attack or defense role is at the individual player’s discretion.

    (4) Use: Nuclear weaponry may be used any time during the combat portion of a player’s turn. The attacker need only state his intention of using nuclear weapons, the target nation and the number of weapons used. The defending player then states his intention to defend (if he can) and the number of weapons used in defense.

    The attack is resolved first by trading off defensive and offensive weapons on a one-for-one basis and removing them from the board. Any excess in offensive weapons remaining then strikes the defending armies in the target nation, removing them-again-on a one-for-one basis. Normal combat may then follow (or continue) at the attacker’s

    (5) Results: If all the defending armies in a target nation are destroyed through the use of nuclear weapons alone, that nation becomes an impassable nuclear wasteland for one complete turn. Although destroyed, that nation still counts toward the owning player’s builds and control of that continent.

    The only restriction is that no player may advance armies into such a territory until the beginning of that player’s turn who originally “wasted” that nation, and then only in the strategic movement phase of each player’s turn. Note that this gives the destroying player the advantage since, in his strategic movement phase, he can advance armies into the territory and take it for his own side!

    A player may waste his own armies through nuclear attack in order to create impassable “dead” zones between himself and the enemy hordes. However, if at least one defending army remains after nuclear attack, that nation does not become a wasteland and the offensive player may attack it again (at his option) conventionally.

    While nuclear weapons can destroy armies on the ground, they cannot destroy other nuclear weapons unless airborne. All player’s arsenals are assumed to be deeply buried in bomb-proof bunkers so that only a rare direct hit might destroy a single weapon. Direct attacks against another player’s arsenal are, therefore, not allowed.

    (6) Defense Against Ground Attack: Nuclear weapons have no defense against conventional ground attack. If all the defending armies in a nation are destroyed by the enemy’s regular armies and there is at least one attacking army left, all nuclear weapons stationed in that nation are automatically destroyed and removed from the board.

    Doomsday Device
    If any player is wiped out in a single turn through nuclear attack alone, his remaining nuclear weapons are not automatically removed from play (since nuclear weapons cannot destroy each other on the ground). Instead, that player may make an IMMEDIATE final strike against the player(s) of his choice, using whatever nuclear weapons remain in his arsenal at the end.

    If is STRONGLYsuggested that players form alliances and make limited treaties and non-aggression pacts well before the use of nuclear weapons becomes legal in the game. While such alliances and treaties are not binding on any player, they certainly help prevent turning 90% of the world into a glowing, radioactive waste on turn four!

    Experimental Rule
    Nuclear Submarines: Each player may place up to three nuclear weapons at sea in each of the following ocean areas: (a) Arctic, (b) Atlantic, (c) Antarctic, (d) Mediterranean, and (e) Pacific. Such nuclear weapons may be used in an offensive capacity only.

    Such weapons may not be attacked by conventional or nuclear arms while “at sea.” Range of submarine-fired nuclear weapons is limited to those nations which are immediately adjacent to an ocean area in which those nuclear weapons are stationed, i.e., the target nation must have a coastline on a body of water where an attacker’s submarine-based nuclear weapons are stationed in order to be attacked.

    The above variant rules to Risk were first conceived at U.S. Naval Base, Rota, Spain (hence the inclusion of the experimental nuclear submarines rule) and later fully playtested by members of the Mid-Columbia Wargaming Society of Richland, Washington. Richland is also the site of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where nuclear power plants are being built to generate electricity! Needless to say, Nuclear Risk has a large following in the area.

    In the playtesting sessions, it became obvious that additional paths were needed to prevent losing Australia and the entire Western Hemisphere early in the game. Both areas are too easy to defend with conventional forces, thus drawing nuclear fire and reducing them to separate piles of radioactive ash. Try playing these rules without the additional paths and you’ll understand what we mean!

    For the same reason, the nuclear moratorium was added to allow the players to consolidate a continent and build up forces-both conventional and nuclear—before the bombs started falling. The variant can be played without the moratorium, but an optional “trading period” —allowing the players to trade nations in order to gain a continent-should be added. Even so, games without the moratorium rule will go extremely fast (ten turns or less) and be less than satisfying . . . except to the winner.

    The “first strike” rule places both an advantage and a disadvantage on the player who goes first once the moratorium is lifted. The advantage is obvious: more destruction per weapon if you push the button before anyone else does. The disadvantage is that everyone else knows you have that advantage! This requires a certain amount of diplomacy to prevent being the target of a multi-player alliance, and some risk-taking if you choose not to fire your missiles first. Optionally, the players can roll each turn for first move (beginning with the fourth turn) until someone actually uses his nuclear weapons.

    Tactics enter the game when the player uses his nuclear weapons to aid a conventional attack.

    Ideally, there are three possibilities:
    (1) Attack first with nuclear weapons to “soften up” a position and then go in with conventional forces. This works best against such positions as the Siam barrier and other bottlenecks.

    (2) Attack conventionally first and, if the battle turns against you, use nuclear weapons to bring your opponent’s numbers down to your favor again. At that point, return to the attack with conventional forces until you win that battle (note that this tactic can be applied repeatedly to the same battle if your opponent continually rolls high on defense).

    (3) Begin the attack conventionally and end with a nuclear strike against your opponent’s surviving armies. This is a “desperation” tactic to be used only if your nuclear arsenal is running low and/or you are fighting defensively on that front (tying to gain a single card through conquest). It works best when you have the manpower to spare.

    One important strategy was discovered in playtesting this variant: creating “dead” zones by nuking out your own (or your opponent’s) armies. This is both offensive and defensive in nature: defensively, it allows you to trade space for time as you build up forces to return to the attack; offensively, it gives you a “free” country to conquer on your strategic movement phase—thereby gaining a card if you haven’t overrun anyone else that turn!

    Other strategies are possible using the Nuclear Risk variant rules— strategies you’ll discover when you sit down to a short, fast game of Nuclear Risk. Battle fatigue rarely sets in once the missiles begin flying, with most games ending in an hour. Even games ending with the entire world wasted can be useful, providing the broad “historical” background to such games as Gamma World or After the Holocaust.

    The next time you want some Risk action but don’t have ten hours to spare, try these rules and . . . “Nuke ‘em ‘til they glow!!!"

  4. #124
    The Dragon Issue 35: March 1980

    Part 2/2

    Sage advice: No preamble this time, just straight into the questions. Can magic users cast spells one handed? (yes, unless the GM rules otherwise for individual spells) Can a character who can't be raised normally be brought back by a wish (yes) Can you shoot arrows in hand to hand combat (no) How do I stop the assassins guild going after me for something I didn't do? (that, my dear, is up to the GM) Do druids automatically know speak with animals? (druids and clerics don't need spellbooks, they can pray for any spell on their list) Can evil characters cast protection from evil (oh yes) How do you deal with an annoying, treasure grabbing, bossy tantrum throwing player (Lay down the law, and stick to it, bitch! The rules can't solve this one for you) Do you have to read scrolls aloud to cast them (yes) I'm bored with dungeon delving. How do I spice up my game (start putting proper plots in it. Ask your players what they want to do.) Can you stack multiple armour types(no) Can thieves be chaotic good (no) Man, they really were harsh on thieves in those days, seems like every issue we have someone trying to question limitations on them that now don't exist anymore.

    Up on a soap box: Wargaming, a moral issue? Wargaming is a threat to the morals of our youth. If they play it they'll grow up thinking that fighting and killing is a perfectly normal thing to do. Classic. Is there a form of popular entertainment or technology that moralizing reactionary fearmongers haven't turned their sights upon in the history of creating stuff. Pay them no attention. A decade or two later their worries usually seem pretty comical.

    Angels in AD&D: Another attempt at this topic. This is pretty elaborate, and draws heavily on real world mythology. They have pretty much the abilities you'd expect. Nothing particularly exceptional to see here. Move along.

    Giants in the Earth: This time, the disgustingly twinked characters for your delectation are Cecelia Holland's Muirtagh the bowman, H. Rider Haggard's Umslopogaas, and Henry Kuttner's Edward Bond and Ganelan.

    Dastardly deeds and devious devices: A particularly elaborate set of traps this issue, two of which will cause you more harm if you take the obvious route to try and solve or get around them. No wonder adventurers who survived for any length of time became so paranoid. This is nasty stuff. I love it

    The AD&D national player rating system: More stuff supporting the use of AD&D as a tournament system, allowing you to work out how good a player you are compared to everyone else who's played in a particular con module. Includes the top 50 rankings from the recent tournaments, which of course has most of the TSR staff in fairly high places. No 1 ranking player in the world at the moment, however is Kristine Bailey, with the highest tsr staffer at 3rd, and Gary coming 47th, Oh, the woes of other people beating you at the game you invented.

    The mystery of the bow: Another one of those historical articles explaining the real world history of stuff. Seems very hung up over the handedness of bow firers, and the historical accuracy of various miniatures because of it. Which is a rather petty thing to spend so much time writing about. Worse things happen in academia.

    The History of Hothior: More cool stuff on the setting of Divine Right by its original creator.

    A big double page advert for citadel miniatures in the middle of the magazine. Someone's got money to spend.

    Simulation Corner: The history of wargaming company SPI. One of those potted history bits that presents the topic in a very positive light, focussing largely on their achievements, and saying the future looks great, without revealing any of the drama and work behind the products. Which is the most interesting part. So not a particularly interesting article.

    Reviews: Gangster, an RPG. Titan strke, a wargame. Double star, another sci-fi wargame. War in the Ice, a wargame. Plus lots of minireviews.

    Classified ads continue.

    TOP SECRET!!!! (shhhh). Having done fantasy, cowboys, and two gonzo sci-fi games, TSR moves into the spy adventure genre as well. I suspect we'll be seeing articles for this in the near future.

    Dragonmirth gets both pics and a joke article on the way the rules of the universe change with new editions. Even the most mighty character can be unexpectedly nerfed by the AD&D rules revision.

    Fineous fingers gets all 4th wall breaking in a double page finale.

    Errata for Quirks and Curses from last issue, that arrived just after printing. Ahh, deadlines. How many mistakes are not fixed properly because of them.

    Despite not being as long as last issue, this one has been a real slog to get through. All the articles start blurring into one after a while, which frankly is no fun at all. I shall have to develop a mental sorting method to keep my mind from getting overcluttered with the new information.

  5. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by thedungeondelver View Post

    Shouldn't you have title this thread "Dragon Magazine Let's Slag the Entire Run"? Why do I get the sneaking suspicion you'll be throwing buy one get one free pie coupons and party beads from your parade float as soon as the grumpy old bearded guy from Wisconsin's influence on the magazine is gone? Or am I being needlessly cynical?
    Good question. It's certainly true that I didn't start playing until later, and it's the 87-95 formats that really trip my personal nostalgia buttons. But there was plenty of duff articles in that period as well, and I certainly don't intend to sugar-coat them either. I've always found a good slagging off a more entertaining read than a bland positive review, and I'm making the gamble that the majority of my readers feel the same. It's not as if I haven't been enthusiastic about the things I like as well. Without the opinions, jokes and random cultural commentary this would basically just be a tedious exercise in cataloging. I don't think I could get through that.

    I think the bigger risk is that because I'm consuming so many of them at such a high pace, I might well end up like a film critic, cynical about the medium simply because you come to see the patterns and mechanics behind them, and get hit by just how few original ideas there are in the world. Such is the nature of fanboyism. We pick apart and complain endlessly about the things we love the most.

  6. #126
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    (un)reason, I think you're doing a great job! (and I love your user name).
    Former moderator and Story Hour author!

    Check out: The COMPLETE Out of the Frying Pan Story Hour and the the INCOMPLETE Second Son of a Second Son Story Hour.

    Also the Aquerra Homebrew Wiki

  7. #127
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    I too am loving these.

    Thanks also for that Nuclear Risk bit. That's very cool.

    As far as slagging goes, let's face it, Sturgeon was 90% right.

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedungeondelver View Post

    Shouldn't you have title this thread "Dragon Magazine Let's Slag the Entire Run"? Why do I get the sneaking suspicion you'll be throwing buy one get one free pie coupons and party beads from your parade float as soon as the grumpy old bearded guy from Wisconsin's influence on the magazine is gone? Or am I being needlessly cynical?
    Yes, you're being needlessly cynical. If you don't enjoy the thread, just ignore it.


  9. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    I've always found a good slagging off a more entertaining read than a bland positive review, and I'm making the gamble that the majority of my readers feel the same.
    And that gamble is paying off, I might add.

    You've also been reasonably balanced overall, in any case. Good times!

  10. #130
    And so a potential burst of flames is doused by speedy moderator intervention. So much for controversy. I guess I'd have to take this little show to therpgsite or something if I really wanted a tough crowd. Hmm. Tempting idea.

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