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  1. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    As well as everything else that got the ol' "Greyhawk" treatment.
    "Hey, DM, how many bedrolls did you say those bandits had? And how much are they worth?"

    lol
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  • #172
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    So, how do wedgies affect lizard boys? Cause you know he's just not going to fit in....
    Depends if he's derived from the kind of lizard that sheds and regrows it's tail fairly easily as a way to distract and get away from predators.

    Quote Originally Posted by amysrevenge View Post
    "Hey, DM, how many bedrolls did you say those bandits had? And how much are they worth?"

    lol
    Hmm. Has anyone ever pulled the "this dungeon was recently cleared by another band of adventurers that got there first" trick in their games. It'd be both creepy and annoying to this kind of player if the other party were the kind that only took the treasure, and left all the mundane loot like that behind.

  • #173
    Dragon Issue 41: September 1980

    Part 2/2

    Bazaar of the Bizarre: Magical doors for your amusement and the players frustration (particularly the intelligent talking ones, which are always a pain in the ass.) plus three interesting (and rather powerful) multipurpose Ed Greenwood items.

    Simulation corner: The spotlight again turns upon Avalon Hill, and their past, present and future business plans. Which seem to be pretty solid and well organized, if this article is to be believed. They may have found that the things that sell most were not their personal favourites as products, and had to adapt to the changing market. But they have done so, (although it's interesting to note that they are still supporting those less popular lines, which may or may not be a good thing in the long run.) and things seem to be going pretty well. Of course, they would say that, particularly in an official interview, because they want to make more money. Forgive me if maintain my sense of skepticism.

    AH meets the computer: Tom Wham comments on the processes of computer gaming, and it's ability to augment regular gaming. (with an optimism that has proved rather unfounded in hindsight, particularly in the speed and degree with which computers would become able to handle complex stuff like RPG's. Even now, the DDI is just about managing it, in the face of considerable amounts of apathy. ) We also get 4 reviews, B1 Nuclear Bombers, Planet Miners, Midway campaign, and Nukewar. These get considerably better quanititative evaluations than the regular reviews, with ratings out of 10 in a range of categories, plus solid info on what computer and memory size is required, loading time, etc. Which is a very good thing, in my opinion. Solid charted info is much quicker to evaluate, compare and digest than stuff put throughout the review as the author sees fit. It's now fairly standard in computer gaming magazines, but never caught on here. Which is a shame.

    Yet more reviews: Having done the computer reviews, they now move on to the physical products. Perilous encounters, a mini's gaming system, gets a pretty positive review. Dark nebula, a boardgame gets a slightly more ambivalent one. The company TA-HR gets generalized praise for the quality of their miniatures, and hope that more stores will stock them (and a wink from a magazine's worth a good few sales in the field, isn't it.) And The Golden Horde, a wargame modeling Gengis Khan's sweep across the known world, also gets a mostly positive review. Nothing hugely noteworthy here.

    Having talked about women and roleplaying, and clergy and roleplaying, they now want teachers to talk about roleplaying, particularly if they have used it in a positive manner as part of their lessons. Who next? (betcha "gamers of color" for 10 dollars) How long before this line of topics starts scraping the bottom of the barrel? As ever, time shall tell.

    Dastardly Deeds and Devious Devices: Transformation, drowning, one way doors. More fun ways to screw your party over, two impossible to avoid except by very paranoid players, and one literally impossible to deal with, except by luck. And where's the fun in that? I suppose it depends.

    The electric eye: Three awesome little programs to calculate stuff that would be rather lengthy to do manually. That is, if they work, and you don't spend more time trying to adapt it to your own system than you would making the stuff in the first place. Unfortunately, this is another area where I can't test these things out see how well they work. Still, good to see them supporting weird peripheral stuff like this anyway.

    Eye of the Dragon: Lots of new miniatures for sale this month. On top of that, there is a silver dragon hidden somewhere in america with a $10,000 prize for finding it. Oh, and Tim Kask is selling an issue of dragon no 1. Read into that what you will. Did he just have a spare? Nothing hugely classic coming soon this time.

    Guerilla warfare, Napoleonic style: A complete minigame, including an actual play scenario, in just 4 pages. Whoa. Obviously pretty simple, given the size, and very lethal indeed, so games won't last too long. Still, I must say I'm pretty impressed at the writer for managing to condense an entire game in this fashion. It looks like it should handle large scale battles in decent amounts of time. I thoroughly laud this article.

    Yay! another snits comic.

    Dragons bestiary: The silkie (more fruit tigra? Muahahahaha! I think you meant selkie) The classic skin shedding seal shapeshifter gets a D&D writeup that does pretty much what you'd expect, albeit with very ...... elaborate implied setting stuff that reminds us that even good faerie creatures aren't always very nice by human standards, as well as being insufferable munchkins. And the Tomb Tapper, another intriguingly alien Ed Greenwood monster, which has a believable set of motivations and proper integration with its ecological neighbours. With a bit of adaption, they would be entirely PCable.

    Jasmine continues, guess what, the heroine is the chosen one. Fineous fingers starts building up again. 10,000 Chinese peasants! What will he think of next?

    And finally, we have another full 16 page module, The halls of Beol-Dur. Another instance of ad hoc ability based saving throws appears here. We see a certain amount of plot, adaptive time responsive monsters, and unfortunately, a certain amount of railroading. Which is certainly a development from the first few modules. There's also quite a bit of stuff which'll permanently boost your attributes, which is quite progressive of them. Pretty intriguing.

    Another jam packed issue full of quality product, plus a certain amount of dross. No huge changes here, but fashion continue to turn, and the encroachment of computers onto every aspect of our life continues. The 70's already seem like a distant memory, as they produce issues both faster and larger. And the decade has still barely started. Oh well, onward we go.

  • #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    Who next? (betcha "gamers of color" for 10 dollars)
    I will take that bet. I have never seen a gaming article address race and gaming (not counting messageboard threads and blogs).
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  • #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    Depends if he's derived from the kind of lizard that sheds and regrows it's tail fairly easily as a way to distract and get away from predators.
    Oooh, I didn't think about that. Though I bet the bullies would just try to smack him aroun d with the tail or something.

    Hmm. Has anyone ever pulled the "this dungeon was recently cleared by another band of adventurers that got there first" trick in their games. It'd be both creepy and annoying to this kind of player if the other party were the kind that only took the treasure, and left all the mundane loot like that behind.
    Hmmm, I got to try that sometime. And sometimes those 1e PCs would take damn near everything that wasn't nailed down. I played a game once where one guy wanted to take along a bunch of big heavy chains that we found, and that annoyed the DM. I think either these guys were just greedy for the XP (what with that 1 gp = 1 XP rule and encounters being dangerous), or they thought "If the DM put it in, it MUST be important!"

    Or both.
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  • #176
    Quote Originally Posted by el-remmen View Post
    I will take that bet. I have never seen a gaming article address race and gaming (not counting messageboard threads and blogs).
    Unfortunately, a winnar is you*. I've done quite a bit of reading ahead for indexing purposes since writing that, and AFAIKT they never do do an article or editorial on it. (although it does get a few mentions in the Forum once that's up) Which is rather an obvious topic to miss, considering how many ones they recycle dozens of times over the run. I guess no-one (or at least none of the editors ) wanted to risk the flame wars that you know would ensue from it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Hmmm, I got to try that sometime. And sometimes those 1e PCs would take damn near everything that wasn't nailed down. I played a game once where one guy wanted to take along a bunch of big heavy chains that we found, and that annoyed the DM. I think either these guys were just greedy for the XP (what with that 1 gp = 1 XP rule and encounters being dangerous), or they thought "If the DM put it in, it MUST be important!"

    Or both.
    This is why we have encumbrance rules. If they tried to carry too much back then, they'd be staggering along at quarter speed, easy prey for any bunch of kobolds with slingshots. Either you drop some stuff, at least temporarily, or you get slowly whittled down at their leisure.

    *Winnings redeemable in the form of meal and beverages of your choice should you encounter me at any convention.

  • #177
    Dragon Issue 42: October 1980

    Part 1/2

    80 pages. This is where Dragon completely shakes itself free of its The. How does it feel, being liberated? Not that different, really. No one's even remarked upon it yet. I wonder if they will. Lets look inside and see, shall we.

    In this issue:

    Out on a limb: A letter complimenting them on the women in fantasy article in issue 39, with particular emphasis on the cheescake is annoying ad should be stopped aspect, and also expressing bafflement with the cover of issue 38 (yeah, I quite agree with that one, that's some equal opportunites WTFery there. )
    A letter expressing discomfort with dragon putting a sports game (ringside) in a magazine primarily devoted to fantasy and sci-fi. To which they reply that roleplaying doesn't always have to have supernatural elements, and they'd like to see RPG's that tackle other mileu as well.
    A letter complaining about the existance of gem dragons, calling them unneccecary. Its a game dear, the whole thing is unneccecary.
    And a letter complaining at the rules for "equalizing" the sexes in issue 39, saying they now grossly unbalance the game in favour of female characters. 1: it was tongue in cheek, and 2: does the word optional mean anything to you people? Once again the editorial staff sigh, and wonder how to get out of this pile of flaming letters. After all, they can't simply ban people from the board yet.

    Demons, devils and spirits: It's halloween. And that means scary stuff. This year, they seem to have decided to focus more on the fiendish side of things than the undead. Our first article introduces 4 quirky new extraplanar monsters, the saraph, apollyon, asperim, and Orcus' horse, the Hacamuli. (be very afraid of this last one in particular, as it has triple energy draining, aging and disease as a result of its various attacks.) An interesting set of monsters, none of which I've seen before, and which will probably be just as surprising to the characters when faced with them.

    The posessors: An attempt to model the mileu of The Exorcist in a D&D monster. This really really doesn't work, as the success of the creatures hinges on the PC's behaving in a genre appropriate way, which is very unlikely indeed. Nice idea, but sorry, you'll need some other game to properly take advantage of it.

    Patron demons: Mmmm, demonic pacts. A risky business, as demons are not particularly reliable at keeping long-term bargains. But as long as you keep a steady stream of sacrifices coming their way, most demon princes'll be pretty happy to send some monsters back the other way who'll (probably) do your bidding, or at least go off and kill your enemies, and not you. It may bite you in the ass sometime, but your odds of avoiding an eternity of slavery and torture are probably better than if you signed a deal with devils. (as long as you're willing to become the one doing the torturing once you die) Lots of random rolls are involved in this article, as you'd expect. I quite approve, as it plays up the differences between having a lawful evil and chaotic evil patron, while not making it a just plain worse option.

    Restless dead: A follow up on the funerals article a couple of months ago. Bury your enemies and companions properly, and don't nick all their stuff. Or they'll be back, going woogie woogie woogie, and getting ectoplasm all over your nice new armour. Which does not make you popular with women, children or animals, and may be hazardous to your hairline. Yet another thing that's cool if used occasionally, but'll really get tiresome if overdone, unless you're playing in Ravenloft, where stuff like this is to be expected. Oh, but Ravenloft hasn't been invented yet. Another bit of history that's still miles ahead. Look forward to it. :evil grin:

    From the sorcerer's scroll: Gary encourages you to play monsters intelligently, so they don't get walked over by sneaky players, do stuff between encounters, and have properly thought out relationships with other groups of monsters in the same area. They should not simply sit in their room, waiting for PC's to turn up, then attack until they die. Which he would of course explore again in Keep on the borderlands. All good stuff, if still presented somewhat antagonistically. And two spells that were cut from the PHB because they didn't have an appropriate dice type Crystalbrittle and Energy Drain. Which would both make it into the 2nd edition corebook, when they stopped trying to make spell lists geometrically pleasing in the number of spells each level had.

    Minarian Legends: The lands of Pon are the pat of the game that gets an extensive historical write-up this issue. I must say, I'm starting to get a bit bored of these. Just how many different countries and cultures are there to cover in Divine Right?

    Sage advice returns after a couple of months absence with new people answering the questions, Jim Ward and Will Niebling. Jean Wells may help out, but she has other jobs as well, and these will be occupying more of her time. And as Jim and Jean have the same initials, and that's all they sign the answers with, you can't tell who did which. Anyway, back to the questions.
    Can telekinesis shift a blade barrier (no)
    Is the holy water sprinkler a gun (WTF? No, it's a big ball with spikes. Your research is seriously erroneous.)
    Can a cleric attack while turning undead (no, it uses up his attack action for the round, like casting a spell. However, unlike spellcasting, it isn't disrupted if you are hit)
    What is the "life force" drained by a 9 lives stealer sword. (character levels, just like undead. Do we have to spell everything out for you?)
    Can you use an amulet of the planes as much as you like?(yes, but you never know where on the plane you'll end up, and you may appear somewhere that pisses off something powerfull. )
    Can an evil cleric turn holy lawful good monsters like paladins and lammasu (er, maybe. I know we made an offhand mention of that, but the rules were never fleshed out, cos we are dumb. If you do allow it, use the same probabilities as an undead of the same hit dice.)
    I don't understand the surprise procedure (read the goddamn rules again. Step by step, it's not that hard)
    You said a few issues ago that elves can't have psionics, but it says they can in the monster manual. Do I have to remove them from my character? (that depends on your GM, but we strongly reccomend it. Otherwise, you are not an Official AD&D Character. So there. Yes, we changed our minds. Suck it up. )
    Why is the gauntlet of ogre strength worth so much more than the various girdles of giant strength? (Because it gives you the proper protection and leverage to really take advantage of that strength. If you try superman crap with the girdles, you'll rip your flesh and break your bones. (and look stupid, because lets face it, you're wearing a girdle. Nothing can make that cool) Yes, this is bloody stupid, particularly in light of our previous statements that D&D isn't supposed to be realistic, and I'm probably pulling excuses out of my ass. Once again, suck it up.)
    If a spell has a range of touch, does that touch need to be with your hands? (Yes. No feet, no headbutts, no goddamn prehensile penii. And before you ask, no, you can't play a deepspawn magic-user. Just no )

  • #178
    Dragon Issue 42: October 1980

    Part 2/2

    Leomunds tiny hut: Woo!! An extensive article on the workings of the inner planes, and traveling too and from them. I've been looking forward to this. As is often the case, Len's conception of the subject differs substantially from Gary's on several points. (and interestingly, while Gary's vision would take precedence in AD&D, and on to the planescape setting, this version would be a substantial influence upon the one in the Companion set of BD&D) Most notable is that the positive and negative planes are referred to as material ones, not energy ones, and both they and the plane of fire can be entered without an immediate horrible death. Plus each plane has planetary systems that roughly correspond to those on the prime material, and if a plane is missing a corresponding planet, then the planet on the prime material parallel to that position will lack that element. To go with this, it also includes a basic system for interplanetary travel in D&D, so it's the first hint towards the spelljammer setting as well. A very interesting article, that despite being light on smaller scale details, goes a long way towards making the inner planes playable. Like the alignment article way back in SR6, this provides hints at the other ways the game could have gone, and makes me rather want to explore those alternatives.

    Giants in the earth: This months characters are Poul Anderson's Tauno Kraken's-Bane, Robert Adams' Sir Geros Lahvohettos, and Gordon R Dickenson's James Eckert, plus two more Norse heroes I've never heard of, Orvar-Odd, and Heidrek. I really should do some more research into scandinavian mythology, since Tolkien apparently drew on it heavily, and it seems to one of the closer ancestors to the fantasy gaming mileu.

    Readers react to Ringside: Brian Blume talks about the reaction to his game, with rules clarifications, justifications and possible improvements to the game. It all seems pretty reasonable. From this showing, I can't see why he's the one who gets painted as the villain in the Gary leaving TSR conflict, when it's Gary who showed the tendencies towards hyperbole, one true-wayery and unpleasant rants towards things that displeased him. Oh well. I guess that's still to come, and I shouldn't make that decision based on the few articles I've seen from him.

    Simulation corner: This time, they talk about the concept of "state of the art" as it pertains to wargaming, that it, the new innovations and refinements that are made in the field of game design, and filter outwards to most future games, as their utility is recognized. Games can be objectively better designed, and these guys believe they have become so in recent years. I am skeptical of this. Whether that makes them more fun to play is another matter altogether, as is demonstrated in many modern computer games.

    The electric eye: Oh, god. Text command based adventure games. I remember those with horror. ing limited vocabularies and grammatical nitpicking that made getting anything done a nightmare. May they remain in the past where they belong.

    Dragons bestiary:gets 5 monsters this issue, the Quatsch, Necroton, Well Spirits, plus sand and swamp bats. As with the articles, these may not be what is immediately thought of when horror is mentioned, but these guys are pretty freaky. The respective creators certainly have twisted imaginations (or have read books by twisted authors, as many of the ideas behind the monsters are familiar to me)

    Barsoom in a box: A big review of John Carter, Warlord of mars, a game based upon the books. Considerably more than a wargame, with dueling, scouting, and some social stuff involved, but not quite a full RPG (although like the old Heroquest board game you could probably use this as the framework for combat, and roleplay the events) this sits between firm classifications in an interesting way. It has its flaws, but many of those are simply because it emulates the source material a little too well. Which is interesting, and something to keep in mind when designing your own games. Sometimes perfection makes things less true.

    Reviews: The other reviews this month are Swashbuckler, another sorta wargame that works on an individual level and could be adapted to roleplaying. Time tripper, a wargame in the Quantum Leap/Sliders mould, where you play a soldier randomly bouncing through time with an experimental device trying to get home, facing enemies in each period. And Starmaster, a computer based play by mail game (my head hurts, these people need several thousand cc's of internet, Stat) that costs $2.50 per turn. Jesus. I think I'll skip that one, thank you very much. Not that it's still available anyway, as like anything that needs an external infrastructure to play, once the company stops supporting it, you're screwed.

    The day of the Dwarf: Fiction (possibly based off an actual play) by Roger Moore in the monty haul tradition. Mad crossovers happen, and Asmodeus gets shown up in a rather amusing fashion. Which is pretty cool, particularly as the whole thing is quite well written. But you probably wouldn't want to actually play in a game that featured this much GM favouratism.

    Jasmine and Wormy continue.

    And the modulicious fun continues with another halloween flavoured goodie, The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow. A decidedly odd module that is technically a D&D one, but does not fit in D&D at all, being designed for the players to be a bunch of modern day children, and making huge adaptions to the rules and tone to more properly emulate that kind of boys own/famous five style. Another ambitious piece of work that really throws the horrible limitations in the D&D ruleset into stark relief. I'm slightly surprised that this never got converted to ravenloft, since they drew on many old modules when making it. I guess they wanted to forget about the failed experiments, and concentrate on the ones that worked.

    Another issue that really felt bulky to mentally digest. But it has had more significant stuff that would go on to be developed later than most recent issues, and it's nice to see them do a halloween episode that doesn't focus on the undead. That kind of switching things around is neccecary to keep things interesting.

  • #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    This is why we have encumbrance rules. If they tried to carry too much back then, they'd be staggering along at quarter speed, easy prey for any bunch of kobolds with slingshots. Either you drop some stuff, at least temporarily, or you get slowly whittled down at their leisure.
    True enough, but what would D&D be without DMs ignoring some rules and then complaining about the consequences?

    Of course a lot of these things are due to the antagonistic mindset of the early game, which probably is understandable given the wargaming roots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    The electric eye: Oh, god. Text command based adventure games. I remember those with horror. ing limited vocabularies and grammatical nitpicking that made getting anything done a nightmare. May they remain in the past where they belong.
    Dear God they were an exercise in tedium! They were a cruel torturous joke unleashed by savage proto-techno-programmers hell bent on grammatically twisting a certain 12 year old boys fragile mind at the time.
    The surest sign that there is intelligent life in the Universe is that none have visited Earth.

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