General D&D Topics* Let's read the entire run - Page 20




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  1. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    Do you have an issue number for the later stuff? If you can find them, I'll compare 'em.
    Yeah, they started in #280, which is so far ahead I didn't bother number dropping. My last subscription ended with #283, so I only have 4 sets, but I think I've read it only went that far anyway. I'm pretty sure they were 1 in = 5 ft scale tiles given that that was the scale for the 3e rules. Mostly vasic but useable stuff, some dungeons, wilderness, even a sewer with gators.
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  • #192
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Yeah, they started in #280, which is so far ahead I didn't bother number dropping. My last subscription ended with #283, so I only have 4 sets, but I think I've read it only went that far anyway. I'm pretty sure they were 1 in = 5 ft scale tiles given that that was the scale for the 3e rules. Mostly vasic but useable stuff, some dungeons, wilderness, even a sewer with gators.
    :checks: Son of a cockmonkey! Whoever scanned in these issues decided not to include the tiles. (this kind of thing is a persistent problem with the post Archive issues, and is definitely going to make doing them less fulfilling than the classic set.) How irksome.

  • #193
    Dragon Issue 46: February 1981

    part 2/2

    The temple of poseidon: This month's module. Looks like leaving them in the middle, rather than interrupting the page count is the new standard for these things. I preferred the previous way, but oh well, its not a huge problem. This is a heavily lovecraft inspired work, with lots of water related stuff to deal with, designed for a large high level party (they recommend the team has at least 70 total levels between them.) So don't expect stopping the devil priests from unleashing the ancient monstrosity ythog-nthtei to be easy. But then again, you'd get more XP for letting him get unleashed then killing him, than stopping them before that point. What a dilemma for an ambitious group of adventurers.

    Reviews: World of greyhawk. The long awaited new D&D book gets a pretty substantial bit of promotion, with two different reviews devoted to it. Both are fairly satisfied with it, apart from a few quibbles, such as map inaccuracies, an accusation of anthropological insensitivity, and lack of information on the gods. And it is still only 32 pages, not really enough to go into more than a few paragraphs of detail on each country. But I guess it still has a lot more setting stuff than the original Greyhawk supplement from 6 years ago. D&D's gradual steps towards a proper shared setting continue, even if they are still well behind Runequest and Tekumel. They'll get there in the end.
    The complete book of wargames attempts to provide a newbie friendly introduction into the principles and tropes of the genre, along with an introductory game.
    The nine doctrines of darkness,Temple to athena and Mountain of Mystery are a trio of system free RPG adventures by Dimension Six, designed to be adapted to whatever game you might be playing. Which of course means they don't have to bother developing their own system or liscencing fees. Seems like stuff like that was more common back then. I guess not so many people were willing to take on the challenge of designing their own system.

    Giants in the earth is no longer Moldvay and Schick's private twinkfest, and is now accepting submissions from freelancers. Maybe new entries'll be a little less overpowered and more faithfull to the D&D rules. But I'm not going to bet on it.

    Sage advice: If a wizard shapechanges into a dragon, does his breath weapon do damage equal to his own current hit points.( Yes, and he doesn't get any more hp either. )
    Why can druids wear leather armor. You have to kill animals to make it. ( animals kill and eat each other normally. Druids can do the same True neutral + respect for nature =/= namby pamby ecopacifists.
    Do you get experienced points for doing something you were geased/quested to do. (yes. Being forced to do it does not stop you from learning normally from the experience. )
    What happens if turned undead can't escape you? (they cower in the corner, as far away as they can get. )
    Who can have 18% strength? (only fighters, and not girls) Because boys are stronger than girls, so ner.
    Does a luck blade give you a bonus to attack rolls? (not nececarily. The luck bonus is to your saving throws, and that's independent of any enhancement bonus to hit and damage it may have.
    What happens if you put a bag of holding into another one. ( It probably shouldn't work properly, otherwise it would be horribly breakable. Not sure how to enforce that yet. (they obviously have yet to think of the rule that multiple nested extradimensional spaces cause a rip that sends all the contents to the astral plane. ))
    The Quasit entry says they can be cleric's familiars. How do clerics get familiars? (ask their deity extra nicely. Do we have to give rules for everything?)
    Do paladins and rangers need to pray to a special patron god to get their spells?(No, they can devote themselves to any god of an alignment that fits their class restrictions. )
    What does vorpal mean? (nothing, really. It was a bit of nonsense from a poem. But in D&D it just means really really sharp. Mmm, severed heads. Pike 'em and roast 'em and put an apple in their mouth and serve 'em up for dinner. Its nutritious and delicious and you have good odds of being cursed to become a vampire when you die. Hey, immortality. A plan with no drawbacks.)

    Simulation Corner: A look back at last year from a wargamers perspective. The recent trend towards microgames seems to be ebbing. There was quite a large number of civil war based games, for some reason. Sci fi and fantasy continue their gradual takeover of the market. West end games failed to release anything new this year, which can't be good for them. One of those cool historical perspective articles that helps me see what things were like back then.

    Pinsom: May I just say WTF? Oh, they're Elves. Certainly an interesting artistic take on them. Reminds me of the Raccoons cartoon. (Run with us. We've got everything you need. Run with us, we are free. Great, now I've got that song stuck in my head.) Which is no bad thing, once the shock faded. How will this little story progress in future issues? I look forward to seeing.

    The electric eye: An assessment of the current top companies in the market, Radio shack, Apple, and Commodore, and their respective products, plus honorable mentions for Atari and APF. As this gives me a good idea of how much power computers had then, and how expensive they were, this is another neat historical footnote that I rather enjoyed reading.

    Jasmine's plot thickens. Another stereotypical female character type is introduced, that of the witch queen who'll do anything to remain young and beautiful looking forever. Fineous and Wormy are not present.

    Slightly more interesting than last issue, with several interesting new developments and historical footnotes. Still quite a few dull moments, but not enough to ruin the whole thing. They're still covering a wide range of topics for many different systems and styles of play.

  • #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    :checks: Son of a cockmonkey! Whoever scanned in these issues decided not to include the tiles. (this kind of thing is a persistent problem with the post Archive issues, and is definitely going to make doing them less fulfilling than the classic set.) How irksome.
    Hmm, interesting. You might still be able to find them, I thought that they were released for download on Dragon or WotC's website some time after the issues were circulated (they were early 2001, so around 2002 or 2003). At least I think I read they were going to make them available for download, and if they did, I'm not sure if they're still around.
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  • #195
    Dragon Issue 47: March 1981

    part 1/2

    80 pages. Once again, the D&D setting takes several steps forward this issue, with both planar and torillian stuff featured within. We also get another complete game, plenty of different topics covered. Oh, and a particularly blatant bit of cheesecake on the front cover. You might want to put some chaps on luv. Those scales'll chafe your legs something fierce if you ride at any speed. And you don't want to back up onto those spines.



    In this issue:

    Dragon rumbles: The editing stuff from issues 43 & 45 gets another followup, with bit of mock bickering between Robert Plamodon and Kim Mohan about Kim's savage editing job. Highly amusing and rather meta stuff. He does have a point though, that by doing things like this, Kim is setting himself up as a frontline performer who everyone reading knows about in his own right, rather than just a backstage worker who helps the writers shine brighter. (did I ever tell you you're my heeeero. Oh god, another song stuck in my head.) Still, If it gets him a better paid job and more chicks at cons, I guess it's a good strategy.

    Out on a limb: A letter expressing outrage at the Gm who doesn't let his players buy the magazine, telling him to go kiss an otyugh.
    A letter praising Gary for encouraging people to play monsters intelligently.
    A letter complaining about several flaws in some recent reviews.
    A letter encouraging the retirement of high level characters so you can start again with something new.
    Another letter complaining about GM's running horrifically overpowered games in their area, encouraging people to boycott games like that.
    A letter complaining about the Top Secret stats of various fictional characters in issue 44, quibbling about perceived inaccuracies. Yawn.
    A reply from the author of said article to the quibbling on it from last issue. Whch is amusing.
    And a letter defending the Professor Ludlow Module from the roasting it recieved a couple of months ago, saying it was a nice change of pace from standard gaming, and a good roleplaying challenge.

    Take the AD&D exam: A big questionaire on the AD&D rules, to see how good your mastery of their finer details is. Which of course involves some stupid and somewhat subjective questions, as many of the puzzles have more than one solution. FWIW, I got 43 out of 50. Which isn't bad, particularly as I don't own AD&D 1st ed, and was working off my memory of BECMI and 2nd edition.

    Elemental ideas for elemental adventuring: Like GitE last month, they've decided to accept stuff from freelancers on the nature of the planes. Which hey, means dilution of concept. Lets hope they keep editorial control over this stuff, otherwise there's going to be lots of articles that have inconsistencies with one another. The first article seems to promote a slightly more hostile view of the elemental planes than Len's, making them all innately harmful to creatures from the prime material and each other, and being far more restrictive on elemental spells from elsewhere. It does, however, include some cool ideas on the nature of the native flora and fauna of the planes, and how they will interact with adventurers. The second article doesn't actually have much to do with planar travel, but is actually about the probablity of finding someone with astral scanning and the time taken, given the size of the area scanned. Which involves some mildly complex mathematical formulae. Neither are particularly brilliant, overall.

    Creatures from elsewhere: The extraplanar theme continues with a load of new monsters. Wirchler are from gehenna, look like mouths with arms coming out their sides, and have a nasty no save power that's an instawin against anyone who can hear. Take them out hard and fast, or you'll watch your characters slowly die, and even if they're rescued, their ability scores'll be permanently reduced.
    Aruchai are from Limbo, and have a lot in common with chaos beasts, but are way way cooler, having an awesome plot hook that makes being killed by one both better and far worse than just dying, while not taking the characters out of play they way being undeadified would. These guys are worth the whole magazine.
    The Pheonix is .... You know what it is. Bloody immortal mary-sue bird with the favor of the gods. Virtually impossible to kill, and if you do, you get tortured by the gods, then geased to go back in time and make sure you don't kill it after all. Thankfully they got rid of that bit in the 2nd ed MM entry.
    Again, you ought to know what the furies are. They live in tartarus, and torture people who pissed off the olympian gods. They're pretty powerful too, so careful when you mess with them.
    Mapmakers are surprisingly adorable. Reptilian creatures from pandemonum, they have a fetish for maps, and their whole existance revolves around making and obtaining them. Which means they can be useful for trading with, but also might nick your stuff showing the way out if you aren't careful. And they are from pandemonium, so chances are the maps they make are oddly designed and filled with elaborations that may not be strictly accurate. Another really cool creature that I wish had made it into future books.
    Flard are from nirvana, and exist only to answer questions. Ahh, the omniscient monolith, such an overused archetype.
    Sugo were originally created by jubilex, but rebelled and now live in acheron, and show that the conception of this plane still hadn't reach its current state, still being much closer to it's original greek source. Essentially malevolent flumphs, they live in marshy areas, and try and eat passers by. Meh.

    Bazaar of the Bizarre: The planar theme continues here. The flute of dismissing gets rid of summoned gribleys, which can be pretty darn usefull.
    The staff of ethereal action allows you to hit ethereal creatures, and use Blink as well for some reason. Good for getting rid of those pesky phase spiders.
    Horeseshoes of hades turn a normal mount into a Nightmare. Which is not a good thing, unless you have some means of subduing the nasty bugger quickly.
    Syrar's silver sword (another Ed Greenwood mage gets a namecheck.) is another weapon for dealing with those pesky creatures who lurk on co-existant planes and attack you while you can't hit them back. Because everyone hates them, don't they. All in all, this has been a well above average set of items.

    Leomunds tiny hut: Len takes a closer look at thief abilities, and their proper application. Thieves should be able to make traps as well as disarm them, sneaking into place is a good way to make maps, so when the full party comes in, they can have more effective plans on how to clear place out. The rest of the stuff isn't very useful, but those two cool bits make up for it.

    Giants in the earth: Two women from greek myth get the twinktastic treatment this issue. Camilla from the Aeneid, and Medea from Jason & the argonauts. Although they do both have several abilities at average or below, so I guess opening this series up to the floor has helped a little.

  • #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    Hmm, interesting. You might still be able to find them, I thought that they were released for download on Dragon or WotC's website some time after the issues were circulated (they were early 2001, so around 2002 or 2003). At least I think I read they were going to make them available for download, and if they did, I'm not sure if they're still around.
    I'm not really sure what you guys are missing, but Paizo are selling Dragon (and Dungeon) magazine odds and ends on their website.

    paizo.com - Store / On Sale Now / Bits and Pieces -- Clearance!
    Embrace the chaos!

    Pathfinder RPG (no hearts were broken in the making of this product)

  • #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by (un)reason View Post
    Oh, and a particularly blatant bit of cheesecake on the front cover.
    And you post lizard boy and not this?

    Out on a limb: A letter expressing outrage at the Gm who doesn't let his players buy the magazine, telling him to go kiss an otyugh.
    I bet that DM just hated the player tips in later Dragon magazines, particularly the 3e ones with monster fighting tips, build advice, etc. If he was even still reading it at that point.

    Mapmakers are surprisingly adorable. Reptilian creatures from pandemonum, they have a fetish for maps, and their whole existance revolves around making and obtaining them. Which means they can be useful for trading with, but also might nick your stuff showing the way out if you aren't careful. And they are from pandemonium, so chances are the maps they make are oddly designed and filled with elaborations that may not be strictly accurate. Another really cool creature that I wish had made it into future books.
    If Shemeska's been following this, I think these guys sound like they'd work pretty well in the Planescape setting. Especially with all the Pandemonium madness intact.
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  • #198
    Dragon Issue 47: March 1981

    part 2/2

    The merry month of mirtul? The Forgotten Realms gets it's first proper named mention as Ed Greenwood talks about the calendar in his own game. He also talks about tailoring the setting in general to be more suitable for creating opportunity for adventures, by making the weather more extreme than on earth, with periods of rapid growth, technological/magical advancement and prosperity, regularly interrupted by freezing winters that cut off any large scale communication or travel for several months a year, and frequent (not so) natural disasters that kill off entire towns or even civilisations, leaving plenty of ruins to investigate. Looks like something close to points of light was part of the Realm's original design. So much for that being a new idea. Now this is a very interesting article, both in its own right and from a historical point of view. And it shows that despite becoming a full setting later, FR had a considerably longer history in the pages of the magazine than dragonlance did. We'll be seeing considerably more on this in the future.

    The rasmussen files: Multiclass characters and their titles and positions in a group. Get levels in all 4 roles, and you can become an Administrator, and start setting missions for other groups. As this offers advice on how to design and run a team of characters as a proper team, this is another article that feels fairly familiar in light of recent events.

    Crimefighters: A complete game by David Cook, this is based upon pulp comics and novels, with a particular emphasis on detective stuff. A rather fast and loose system, as you would expect given the theme and space available, with some big rules holes. But still, it's more suited to being bent to various situations than Ringside and Food Fight. At 21 pages, counting the introductory adventure, this is another pretty cool special feature, taking up more than a quarter of the magazine. I suspect we may see a few complaints about this, but I have to applaud them for pushing the envelope again.

    The pulps - Paper heroes: Bryce Knorr defends the often shallow and two dimensional characterization in pulp magazines. They may have been mass produced, primarily commercial products, that imitated one another quite a lot, but they still managed to produce lots of cool stuff along the way. And there are substantial cultural parallels betwen the 1930's, and the start of the 80's. Which may explain Indiana Jones' success. A bit of an anticlimax after the last article.

    Sage advice: Can paladins associate with neutral goods? (yes, they have good in the description, don't they, ya twit)
    How does the range of stuff in inches translate to real distances (1 inch = 10 foot inside or 10 yards outside. But spell areas of effect should stay the same inside or out.)
    Is everything in the monster manual a monster, and therefore you can't use speak to animals on it. (No. But giant versions of animals don't count as normal. )
    Do PC gnomes get the poison resistance mentioned in the MM? (yes)
    I don't understand how shields interact with the armor/to hit table (headdesk headdesk headdesk. How do these people remember to breathe?!)
    Can PC's be grey elves or drow? (if your DM allows it. )
    Is torture ok for chaotic good characters? (No. If you've got a good reason, (such as if they killed the pheonix :rolleyes: damn deities and their double standards) you might get away with it once or twice, but doing so with any regularity will stop you being good pretty damn quick. )

    Reviews: The tendency to put more emphasis on each individual review continues. Robots! is a game of resource management and combat set in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of earth, and gets a pretty positive review.
    Fast attack boats is a game of er, the 1973 arab-israli naval war, and gets a rather less positive review, with the reviewer critisizing it's dull counters and small play field.
    Starfire gets a new edition, which builds nicely on the previous one.
    Across the bright face and mission on mithril are a paired set of traveller adventures, set in the spinward marches. One is a planet based trek, while the other is a scout ship based mission. Which gives you a nice set of choices for directions to take your game in.
    Research station gamma is another traveller supplement. (they did seem to be releasing quite a lot of them at this point) It's basically a location based module, as was common in this era. Of course, a space station is somewhat different from a dungeon, but I'm sure the overall experience won't be that different.

    Figuratively speaking: A new column covering miniatures to replace the fantasysmiths workshop, with more emphasis on reviews, and less on customisation. Unfortunately, the bad contrast on the scanning makes most of the photos virtually illegible, which sucks. This month, we get some stuff from Martian metals, a whole load of arthurian models, some dungeon walls, and an evil wizard carried on a litter. Afraid I can't really comment more than that. Hopefully they'll move to colour soon, so I can get decent looks in.

    Simulation corner: More on the history of SPI. This focusses on the managerial changes they went through in the past year, and the changes in direction that resulted from that. As in previous articles, they try their best to put a positive spin on everything. Yes, they've cut the number of products they're making in half, but they intend to develop and playtest each one more thoroughly. Whatever you say. I'll be here in pessimist land, because I know you haven't survived to the present day. It's just a question of when you go under. And I won't spoil myself on that just yet.

    Squad leader: The 1945 scenarios continue on from last issue, as the russians rape and pillage berlin. Pull out the stops and invoke a whole bunch of special rules, because this is gonna be an epic one. Yet it still fits on half a page. Which is nice for the editors when they need a little something to complete the issue.

    The electric eye: This month, they focus on sports video games. Real time joystick controlled games, and strategic simulations both get examined, and several specific examples and companies get mentioned. Not my personal cup of tea, but still quite a well written article. I don't have a problem with this.

    Pinsom and jasmine continue to develop. Wormy returns after quite a bit with a fantasy sequence thing unconnected to the main storyline.

    A particularly cool back cover this month from Martian Metals, a mini's company, disguised as a newspaper cover. I am quite amused.

    This one's pretty good, although not in the articles I was expecting. Funny that, the ones I most enjoyed were the ones they didn't hype so much. Likes and dislikes are subjective things, and obviously I'm not entirely in tune with Kim's mind. But would you want that, anyway? Probably not. If I didn't have my own opinions, this would be a duller series.

  • #199
    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    And you post lizard boy and not this?
    Oh, if you insist

    If Shemeska's been following this, I think these guys sound like they'd work pretty well in the Planescape setting. Especially with all the Pandemonium madness intact.
    Yeah, apart from the Sugo, they can all be used with subsequent planar stuff with little problem. It's like all the forgotten realms stuff from this era. You couldn't use it very easily then without filling a load of stuff in yourself, but you can now.

  • #200
    Dragon Issue 48: April 1981

    part 1/2

    96 pages. Another april, another load of comic stuff in issue 48+1/2. Phil foglio does another tremendously entertaining cover piece. Meanwhile, the serious special topic this issue is underwater adventuring. But it only has three articles on it. You'd think they could have kept the adventure from number 46 for later, as it would have fit in better here. I guess long term planning is tricky when you've got to make pagecount for a deadline every month. We also see more signs of kim's growing dominance in the editing department, as Jake starts deferring to him, even if it is in jest. Verrry interesting.



    In this issue:

    Out on a limb: We start with a letter of generalised praise, with particular emphasis on the value for money of getting a whole module, plus loads of other stuff in each issue, especially when compared to the cost of most of the modules currently out there.
    A letter criticising the fact that the scale in the Dungeon design kit is not the same as the 1 inch = 10 foot scale that most of the miniatures and game rules use, hurting it's compatibility.
    A letter by someone bemoaning the over $400 they've spend on gaming over only 6 months. And that's even before the supplement treadmill became standard. Silly person. You need more willpower.
    A letter offering a balanced view on the power gaming debate, saying that there's nothing inherently wrong with high level characters, but they ought to work up to it properly, otherwise they won't be able to use their powers to full efficiency, or have well rounded personalities to match. And in his experience, maturity has surprisingly little correlation with age.

    Watery words to the wise: Lots of cool stuff on running coastal and underwater campaigns, and the challenges and opportunities that these present. 3d combat, a fun but tricky business. But for those monsters used to it, land combat would seem horribly constricting tactically, previously easy obstacles becoming insurmountable problems. Which is why sahuguin haven't scoured every coastal village clean. A pretty cool article, well deserving of being this months lead-in one, that reminds you that you don't have to go to other planes to have a very different adventuring experience.

    Dragons bestiary continues the underwater theme, with the water horse, (arthurian stickybacked breed) Golden ammonite (no relation to gold dragons, I hope) and sea demons, which aren't actualy demons, just intelligent malevolent giant octopi. No spectacular standout monsters here.

    Bazaar of the Bizarre also provides lots of water focused items as well, with 5 boring weapons with extra pluses against some water creature or other, the necklace of air breathing (don't put this on if you can already breathe air, because death by drowning often offends.) and the periapt of protection against vampiric Ixitachital (now how often are you going to encounter one of those) Oh and spongestone, which adds quite a few quirks to the real world item. A decidedly low interest article this time round, given the amount of recycled adaptions in it compared to actual ideas.

    Issue 48+1/2

    Dragon mumbles: Our joke articles begin with some incomprehensible gibberish from the editor. Some of it I can translate, but some of it is just stupid for stupids sake. Meh.

    Out in limbo: 4 comedy letters. There are no saving throws in school. And someone's found the wand of orcus and would like to return it to its proper owner. Yeah, that'll go well.

    Red dragon blues: The filking returns. Please don't sue us, Johnny Cash.

    A class that really counts: The accountant. Be very afraid. Thankfully, the rules for it aren't complete, or indeed entirely legitimate, so your players can't ask to play one. Which means you can relax, sorta.

    Real life: A minigame. I think the rules for this just about hold together. But you don't want to play it, because it's a very depressing game indeed. Everyone loses. Its just a matter of how long you can keep playing for.

    Saturday morning monsters: Bugs bunny and daffy duck, Popeye, Rocky and bullwinkle, and dudley do-right. Just about statistically legitimate, you still don't want to use these guys in your game unless you want your players to hate you forever. Because they're bigger pains in the ass to defeat than the denebian slime devil.

    The various Dragon comics crossover in puntacular fashion.

    The druid and the DM: Back to the serious stuff. This discusses the various abilities of druids, and how they can be applied. It also trys to dispel misconceptions. Druids are not all misanthropes, in fact, with their high charisma and powers useful to everyday life they can be quite politically powerful. And there are plenty of molds and oozes and other creatures in dungeons that stop them from being useless down there. It also includes some optional rules and abilities, that amazingly enough, spice things up without making the class more overpowered. Which makes it a pretty good article, overall.

    The druid and the dungeon: More druid stuff, this concentrates on how to optimize them for dungeoneering. Make sure you pack plenty of mistletoe, and pick up some hirelings and befriended animals, because you'll need all the help you can get. Work as part of a well oiled team that can cover your weaknesses, and you should be fine, after all, you have a decent weapon selection, attack rolls and hit points, plus quite a few spells that are still applicable down there. You're hardly a sitting duck. (unless you choose to shapechange into one) And they haven't even realized how effective a swiss army knife shapechanging is, even when you don't have feats, and therefore have to stick strictly to mundane animals. Useless in dungeons, I think not.

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