Dragon Reflections #60

Dragon Publishing released Dragon issue 60 in April 1982. It is 87 pages long and has a cover price of $3.00. In this issue, we have D&D firearms, lots of lore about elves, and The Spawn of Fashan!

Drmg060_Page_01.jpg

This month's special attraction is "Flight of the Boodles." Described as "a simple game for those who aren't," it recreates "the Boodles' dramatic journey through the Grumjug-infested passes of the Snagrock Mountains." The whimsical names and cute art are reminiscent of a Tom Wham game, though the designer in this case was Chuck Stoll. Stoll appears to have done nothing else in the field of game design.

Roger E. Moore continues his series of player character races, this time describing elves. "The Elven Point of View" explains the culture of these wispy, long-lived humanoids, with Moore drawing heavily upon the work of Tolkien. "The Gods of the Elves" introduces us to deities such as Aerdrie, god of the air and weather, and Labelas, god of longevity. The Forgotten Realms mega-pantheon ultimately absorbed these creations. There is also a "Sage Advice" dedicated to elvish matters, addressing such essential questions as "An 8th-level monk is reincarnated into a half-elf; does he still retain his thief abilities and 4 damage?" (The answer is no).

"Firearms" by Ed Greenwood gives you rules and advice for using gunpowder in your D&D game. He provides a lot of historical context for the development of firearms and includes a good-sized table of balanced weapon stats. It's a quality article, as you'd expect from Greenwood.

"WearWolf" by Joel Rosenberg is a short story about an extraordinary suit. Rosenberg later published the popular Guardians of the Flame series, about a group of fantasy gamers transported into their game world. This idea was hardly original even in 1982, but Rosenberg managed to publish ten novels in the series.

"Science and Fantasy--a quiz" by Mike Holthaus is an unusual article. Holthaus is a mining engineer who posits that DMs need to know some fundamental physics to create a convincing world. He includes a quiz with questions such as:

You are with a party of players exploring a dungeon. As you descend, you notice that your torches, which normally burn with a reddish-orange color, now have a blue cap on their tips. Should the characters ignore this and press on, or should they consider another course of action?

I'll let my readers answer in the comments!

It's April, so this issue includes a satirical mini-zine titled "Gaming Magazine." It consists of the Jester class by Roger E. Moore, a new bard ability called Dairmuid's Last Jest, several NPC stat blocks (such as "Morc the Orc"), and monster statistics for creatures including Donald Duck. I don't find this annual feature especially funny, but it doesn't take up much space.

There are several other small feature articles. "Outfitting a New Agent" by Gary Gygax provides agent background rules for Top Secret. In "Trojan War," Glenn Rahman presents rules variants for his board game of the same name. Michael Fountain supplies D&D statistics for the famous Celtic spirit called a Pooka, while John Lees tries to give each alignment a practical description. For example, the entry for chaotic neutral reads: "The almost totally unpredictable non-conformist loner. Will stand by and watch the white knight battle the black knight without feeling compelled to take sides."

On to the regular offerings! The editorial team has been culling these columns back recently, and we only have a couple left. In "From the Sorcerer's Scroll," Gary Gygax supplies a new collection of wizard cantrips. Some of these are more obviously useful than those in the previous column, such as "Hide," which can turn a creature of virtually any size invisible for a short period!

Finally, "Dragon's Augury" reviews The Spawn of Fashan by Games of Fashan. The reviewer, Lawrence Schick, suggests the book is actually a parody of a fantasy roleplaying game. He describes it as "a gold mine of humor for the discerning gaming fan, and should be required reading for all prospective role-playing game designers."

This month's cover artist was Dean Morrissey. Interior artists include Darlene Pekul, Erol Otus, Jim Owsley, Roger Raupp, Phil Foglio, Alan Burton, Gilbert Rocha, Jim Holloway, and Dave Trampier.

And that's a wrap! This issue felt packed with content, despite the lack of regular offerings. The highlight was Greenwood's article on firearms, though I also enjoyed Schick's review. Next month, we have an extended feature on gnomes, rules for unarmed combat, and a new AD&D adventure!
 

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M.T. Black

M.T. Black





JohnA

Villager
Was the Holthaus article the same one where is said that wood, such as beams holding up a roof or mine tunnel, don't fail silently? They make a lot of noise, popping, cracking and groaning before utterly failing and crushing the players. If this is the same article, it left an impression on me to this day. That was the sort of info that makes the game better: this adds more depth to the description and gives the players another opportunity to roleplay instead of murderhoboing. If that's what the party wants, anyway.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
As I recall there was a letter in response to the Holthaus article responding that it was a little too real world. Things like "I'd trust the dwarf about underground specific" and quotes some game text about them being exceptional miners or underground. And rolling the spherical rock instead of trying to lift it. I appreciated that letter.
 




So much to love in this issue. The cover alone has what I imagine a bunch of adventurers would look like back then - a somewhat shady-looking band of hippies.

I allowed the Jester class in play once and I'm glad that one player took me up on that inclusion. I am also glad that he only made it to a handful of games! It was a hoot, but like seasoning, too much would be just too much.
 

aco175

Legend
I think I only read the first few books in the Guardians of the Flame series, but fondly remembering them. This was middle school though.
 


Hussar

Legend
I have taught Flight of the Boodles to my Japanese English students several times over the years, even as recently as a couple of years ago. Need to break it back out. Just way too much fun.
 


seebs

Adventurer
Other people don't seem to have thought Spawn of Fashan was an intentional parody, just a very enthusiastic and poorly-made game. I honestly can't tell.
 

talien

Community Supporter
I allowed the Jester class in play once and I'm glad that one player took me up on that inclusion. I am also glad that he only made it to a handful of games! It was a hoot, but like seasoning, too much would be just too much.
The Jester NPC class, like the Antipaladin NPC class, was a huge hit with my players. I DMed for several PC jesters.

Pretty sure they all died and nobody wanted to resurrect them.
 




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