D&D General All Time Favorite Dragon Magazine or Dungeon Magazine Content


I wonder if there is a massive, complete and detailed index somewhere online. I know there is a dungeon index, but if I recall it isn't complete and doesn't tell you much about the adventures -- it just lists them.

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There was a ton of great stuff for 2E in Dragon, like way more than I could keep track of, and it was pretty inspirational in the early '90s. Later it got a bit too... slick... and focused on being "official" and was a lot less fun.

Dungeon never stopped being good value as long as it was published, for my money, but one of the best things I ever saw in it was in Dungeon #200, the adventure Blood Money by Logan Bonner, which conceptually pre-figured a lot of what Blades In the Dark does.


All of the above are among my favorites too. While @Celebrim is right that the rules for that "High Seas" article were basically useless, being so complicated, the general information on over a dozen kinds of ships, navigating, weather, etc. . were invaluable as I developed Aquerra - the homebrew made of archipelagos that I ran or played games in from 1989 to 2016.

It certainly did inspire us and send us off in the right direction. The real innovation I think was validating great age of sail as a D&D setting concept over the more period realistic cogs, galleys, and longships that had dominated D&D thinking about the sea before then. Prior to adopting Great Age of Sail tech, boats had purely been seen in the campaigns as uninspiring slow and weak means of transportation. Foy brought to D&D what modern people think of as ships when they think of ships, and in particular this meant Heroic Ships. D&D had been taking it's land cues from Heroic Ages like the Early Bronze and Middle Ages when a single armored hero could take on a dozen or more less well equipped foes, but had been taking its Naval cues from Democratic naval periods where conscription and mass navies ruled the waters without a single heroic focus like Great Age of Sail brings you with "the Captain on the Bridge". It was almost like finding a way to bring the Star Trek Enterprise into D&D. It didn't matter if it technically didn't make sense; from a stand point of mythic resonance it was as perfect as wizard-knights swinging laser swords in a Galactic Empire.

We would have been fine with complexity. What we weren't fine with was poor process simulation. I'm trying to remember what the original rules were like before we modified a lot of things, but one thing I seem to remember was that whenever a ship lost hull points it had a chance of immediately sinking equal to the percentage of hullpoints it had lost in total compared to the maximum.

Imagine if hit points worked like that and you had 8 hit points and took 2 damage, and therefore acquired a 25% chance of dying no save. Then you took 2 more damage and had a 50% chance of dying immediately. The effect on ships was that they would start sinking almost as soon as they took any damage at all.

There were a lot of little things like that were if you read over them they don't sound so bad but in play they were just horrendous.

The covers back in the day remain breathtaking to this day. Almost every one of them was a window into some new fantastical world, whether it depicted a fighter jet locking on a fire-breathing dragon, or a mournful scene of a unicorn and a long-dead skeleton in a sun-dappled forest.

Wormy, Snarfquest, Yamara, Twilight Empire all stick in my head.

As for top content, at the time I loved the "WOW Your Players!" article in Dragon 147, with its Wand of Wonder variants. For such a chaotic magic item, it added that much more uncertainty.

I still find myself categorizing gamers using 144's "A Field Guide to Game-Convention Ornithology."

Ed Greenwood's numerous Dragon's Bestiary articles had some great monsters in them. 138's "The Ungrateful Dead" had some cracking good undead beasties.

And though I didn't really appreciate them at the time, looking back Wyrms of the North was a pretty influential series, one that 5e would refer to many times in the present day.


I used the Anti-Paladin as a BBEG in a long-running campaign, so that sticks in my mind. I also still wake up shaking at what the Witch NPC did to my character and his friends in a Wilderlands campaign that I was playing in; not quite a TOK but close.
Loved Wormy of course.
The main thing for me, growing up in the UK, was a holistic magic that Dragon magazine bought by opening up the wider culture of the game, particularly the US side of things. The glamour might not have been as real as teenage-me actually felt, but every issue brought its own buzz.

Oh, and the sentient warhammer, Casrac, in a wonderful (for the time) mountain pass adventure in an early issue. That thing became a legend in our group’s long campaign in the early 80s.


Follower of the Way
I wasn't much into Dragon Magazine before 4e (it had a very bad reputation during 3rd edition), but some stuff from the 4e era was really, really good. My favorite Theme in the entirety of 4e came from the very last issue of Dragon: Ghost from the Past. It fair oozes with thematic and storyline hooks and it heavily supports using the History skill, one of my favorite skills.


Always loved the Ecology Of… articles, especially when it featured the monster hunter group.

I really enjoyed the fiction as well, especially the “Fool Wolf” series of stories.

The article I find myself going back to is the one that has the formula for creating a Lich, very informative article.

Wormy, Snarfquest, Downer and Nodwick were among my favorites of the dragon mirth sections.

Still have my Dragon CD archive, which I think goes up to #250. My physical copies long ago migrated to storage - just take up too much shelf space (Best of 1-5, #96 - when the physical mag was discontinued).

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