• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Dragon Reflections #46


Dragon Publishing
released Dragon issue 46 in February 1981. It is 80 pages long and has a cover price of $3.00. In this issue, we have an all-new D&D adventure, fiction from J. Eric Holmes, and the first reviews for World of Greyhawk!

Drmg046_Page_01 (002).jpg


Editor Jake Jaquet notes that they are giving Dragon magazine a "facelift" over the coming issues, starting with the switch to a three-column format. Jaquet also notes the formation of the TSR Role-Playing Game Association (RPGA). The initial goal of this organization was to provide a way for role players to network, but within a few years, the RPGA was strongly focused on organized play. It existed until 2014 when the Adventurers League replaced it.

This month's special feature is "The Temple of Poseidon," a D&D adventure by Paul Reiche III. Reiche, a childhood friend of Erol Otus, was a developer at TSR, and "The Temple of Poseidon" was his job application. The adventure is a good mix of combat, traps, and puzzles. Reiche was with TSR for only a short period before moving into computer games, where he has worked on titles like Tony Hawke and Skylanders.

"The Sorcerer's Jewel" is a short story by J. Eric Holmes and the fifth in his "Boinger the Halfling" series. It is pretty typical D&D-inspired fiction, and the complete series did not find a publisher in his lifetime. Holmes was best known, of course, for writing the original D&D Basic Set.

"Crane is what you make of it" by game designer Richard A. Lloyd responds to several criticisms leveled at The Tribes of Crane play-by-mail game in a recent issue. "Mightier than the pen" by Kyle Gray discusses famous swords from traditional epics such as Beowulf. Gray wrote several other articles for Dragon, most with a historical bent.

"Minarian Variants" by G. Arthur Raham describes several variant rules for TSR's popular Divine Right wargame. The same author shares some more setting lore in "Minarian Legends," which details a hideous lich called the Black Hand. Strangely, the magazine published this second article under a different name, "Glenn Raham."

"This here's Tyrannosaurus Tex" by Roger E. Moore is a Boot Hill scenario involving a tyrannosaurus rex. Good fun! "How to ease the Boot Hill identity crisis" by Paul Montgomery Crabaugh contains a well-considered occupation table for the game. Crabaugh published numerous articles for Dragon and other gaming magazines in the 80s.

On to the regular features! "Dragon's Bestiary" presents the Gaund, a typically well-described monster from Ed Greenwood. These three-eyed lizards were later published in the Forgotten Realms Appendix of the Monstrous Compendium.

"Giants in the Earth" provides D&D gaming statistics for characters from literature. This month, Tom Moldvay solicits reader submissions for future issues. "Sage Advice" has the usual collection of reader questions. This one caught my eye:

"Question: What would happen if you placed a full Bag of Holding into an empty Bag of Holding? I want to be able to carry as much treasure and magic as I can without encumbering myself. Do you think this is a good idea?"

The official response is that the full Bag of Holding essentially fills the empty one. Doing this in the modern game destroys both bags and opens a gate to the astral plane!

In "Simulation Corner," John Prados summarises the year 1980 in the wargame field. He observes the following trends: a move from micro-games toward larger games, a renewed focus on the Civil War, and a slower release schedule. He also notes a rumor that Task Force Games and Phoenix Games are going out of business. This rumor proved to be false as regards the former company but true for the latter.

"Dragon's Augury" is a little larger than usual this month. Tony Watson reviews The Complete Book of Wargames from Simon and Schuster, which is "a fine introduction to wargaming for the novice, but of only marginal utility to the veteran." Bill Fawcett reviews three D&D-compatible adventures from Dimension Six. Mountain of Mystery has "a few inconsistencies" but "some very good ideas." Temple of Athena has "several outstanding traps and rooms... the adventure is worth the price just for those." Meanwhile, The Nine Doctrines of Darkness (great title!) is "less of an adventure than a detailed landscape" but "allows for some fascinating possibilities."

Finally, we have two reviews for The World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting, as well as a formal response from TSR. This first edition consisted of a 32-page gazetteer and a 2-piece map in a cardboard folio. Jeff Seiken notes that this product has been "Often promised, but often delayed..." In a thorough review, he praises the maps effusively, describing them as "easily the highlight of the product." He is less enthusiastic about the gazetteer, noting that while it gives you "a pretty good understanding of the world depicted on the map," it has some "surprising omissions." For example, there is virtually no information on religion and famous personalities of the world. However, his most telling complaint comes in the final paragraph:

"There is a deeper problem with THE WORLD OF GREYHAWK... the sense of the fantastic... seems to be lacking. There are no thrilling revelations in the gazetteer or maps, nor is anything astounding disclosed. The world presented is very complete, logical and interesting, but the burden is on the DM to transform THE WORLD OF GREYHAWK into The Fantastic WORLD OF GREYHAWK."

Kenneth W. Burke spends most of his review focusing on problems he has with the gazetteer (no roads on the map, no settlement symbols, the use of the word "savages," etc.). It's a little jarring to get to his conclusion and read, "On a scale of one to ten, THE WORLD OF GREYHAWK deserves a rating of nine."

Lawrence Schick, Vice President of Product Development at TSR, makes a brief response. Where things are lacking, he suggests, it's because "We wanted to give DMs a push in the right direction without doing everything for them." For example, he dubiously asserts that there was no point including religion as "this is an area that almost all DMs handle differently." His final comment seems more credible, "The World of Greyhawk had a long and painful gestation period, but it turned into a child we're all proud of."

This month's cover was by Steve Swentson. The interior artists were Ed Greenwood, Jim Roslof, Susan Collins, James Holloway, Roger Raupp, Kenneth Rahman, and Mike Carroll.

And that's a wrap! The highlight articles for me were "The Temple of Poseidon" and the World of Greyhawk reviews. Next month, we have adventuring on the outer planes, the AD&D exam, and a complete RPG by David Cook!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

M.T. Black

M.T. Black

griffon8

Explorer
This was the first issue I ever bought, along with #48 & #50. Fifty was the latest issue and 46 & 48 were the only other issues on the shelf at my FLGS, the now gone Rider's Hobby Shop in Ann Arbor, MI. There are still stores in Flint and Grand Rapids. I remember seeing the shop advertised in Dragon in later issues.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

dave2008

Legend
Perusing the old Dragons......Greenwood's contribution to what is DnD cannot be over stated, imo. So much content. So much good to great content (with a few duds, but the ratio skews the positive way for sure).
I am not personally a huge Eddy G fan, but I completely agree with this statement.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
""The Sorcerer's Jewel" is a short story by J. Eric Holmes and the fifth in his "Boinger the Halfling" series. It is pretty typical D&D-inspired fiction, and the complete series did not find a publisher in his lifetime. "

I would point the reader to Tales of Peril: The Complete Boinger and Zereth Stories of John Eric Holmes by Black Blade Publishing. Over the span of months, me and my D&D group read the entire collection out-loud together, on nights we weren't up for playing TTRPGs. More than "typical", I say the stories are "archetypal." It was so interesting to see how one of the authors of BD&D interpreted and portrayed how the class and race traits work in a story. The stories are zany and fun. We laughed out loud many a time. I recommend the book. (And I'm not sure, but I believe they're all autographed and numbered too.)
I would love to read this, but the order process is hinky. Also, I do most of my reading on a kindle.
 

M.T. Black

Adventurer
""The Sorcerer's Jewel" is a short story by J. Eric Holmes and the fifth in his "Boinger the Halfling" series. It is pretty typical D&D-inspired fiction, and the complete series did not find a publisher in his lifetime. "

I would point the reader to Tales of Peril: The Complete Boinger and Zereth Stories of John Eric Holmes by Black Blade Publishing. Over the span of months, me and my D&D group read the entire collection out-loud together, on nights we weren't up for playing TTRPGs. More than "typical", I say the stories are "archetypal." It was so interesting to see how one of the authors of BD&D interpreted and portrayed how the class and race traits work in a story. The stories are zany and fun. We laughed out loud many a time. I recommend the book. (And I'm not sure, but I believe they're all autographed and numbered too.)
They are signed, but by Chris Holmes, who is Eric Holmes son. The book was published in 2017 and Holmes died in 2010. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, though, and I'm tempted to try and track down a copy now.
 

zenopus

Doomed Wizard

Thanks for plugging the book! I contributed the bibliography and article about Holmes' writings. That page hasn't been updated, but from communication with Allan and John (the folks behind Black Blade), I've heard that the first printing of Tales of Peril has sold out, and they are planning a reprint. If anyone who reads this is interested in a copy, if you email them at the address on that page they will add you to a list for notification when it has been reprinted.

Over the span of months, me and my D&D group read the entire collection out-loud together, on nights we weren't up for playing TTRPGs. More than "typical", I say the stories are "archetypal." It was so interesting to see how one of the authors of BD&D interpreted and portrayed how the class and race traits work in a story. The stories are zany and fun. We laughed out loud many a time. I recommend the book. (And I'm not sure, but I believe they're all autographed and numbered too.)

That's amazing...!
 

zenopus

Doomed Wizard
One interesting bit in Holmes' story is a reference to "under Witch's Hill, where the old Suloise city is supposed to be buried". I believe this is only reference to specific setting material from the World of Greyhawk in the Boinger and Zereth stories. Given that the World of Greyhawk folio, which as noted above was also reviewed in this issue, mentions "A lost, ruined city of the Old Suloise is said to be hidden somewhere in the Suss forest" (page 26), and the Sea of Dust has buried Suel cities (also page 26), this suggests that Holmes had a copy of the new WoG folio, or at least had heard about the material from Gygax.
 

CharlesRyan

Adventurer
I remember The Temple of Poseidon! It was basically a step into the Cthulhu mythos, slightly reskinned with classical mythology. This was well before we saw the mythos introduced to D&D in Deities and Demigods, if my memory serves.
 

Rabulias

Hero
I remember The Temple of Poseidon! It was basically a step into the Cthulhu mythos, slightly reskinned with classical mythology. This was well before we saw the mythos introduced to D&D in Deities and Demigods, if my memory serves.
Deities & Demigods came out sometime in 1980. The preface was written in May 1980, but the actual publication may have been much later. This issue of Dragon Magazine is cover dated February 1981, which means it probably came out during January 1981. I think D&DG came first, but maybe only by a matter of a few months.
 

M.T. Black

Adventurer
I remember The Temple of Poseidon! It was basically a step into the Cthulhu mythos, slightly reskinned with classical mythology. This was well before we saw the mythos introduced to D&D in Deities and Demigods, if my memory serves.
Cthulhu first met D&D back in Dragon issue #12, which was published February 1978. Rob Kuntz stated up a bunch of Lovecraftian nasties in that issue - presumably these are what were included in Deities & Demigods when that book rolled around. @Rob Kuntz may be able to comment on how much changed since I don't have a 1st edition Deities & Demigods to check.
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
Cthulhu first met D&D back in Dragon issue #12, which was published February 1978. Rob Kuntz stated up a bunch of Lovecraftian nasties in that issue - presumably these are what were included in Deities & Demigods when that book rolled around. @Rob Kuntz may be able to comment on how much changed since I don't have a 1st edition Deities & Demigods to check.
There are some similarities and some significant differences. HP tend to be higher in the 1E DDG (1980) version than in Dragon #12 article on the deity level members of the Mythos. The level abilities of them differ as well, with some having Fighter levels in DDG and being noted as a 16+ HD monsters under "Fighting Ability" in Dragon #12. The Magic Ability and Psionics Ratings are fairly similar. A number of creatures with set hit points in the Dragon article have HD in DDG. I'd say the differences are a progression from Original D&D to 1E but that would be a guess. The stats in the article seem more in line with the Gods, Demigods, and Heroes (1976) supplement for original D&D. And of course the Dragon article (1978) falls in the middle of the two books. As you say Rob Kuntz should be able to say what was what...
 

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top