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


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Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
And the problem is?
Mine would be that I only have 4 hours to game a week, and don't want to waste 25% of that time on a stall. I'd actually want to do something - do some roleplaying that actually has an impact (whether on the plot, or my character, or someone else's character... or just to have fun; fighting; actually exploring).
 



Mine would be that I only have 4 hours to game a week, and don't want to waste 25% of that time on a stall. I'd actually want to do something - do some roleplaying that actually has an impact (whether on the plot, or my character, or someone else's character... or just to have fun; fighting; actually exploring).
I wouldn't use explosive gas (the answer to the quiz question) as a stall, but rather as a way to reward the dwarf player for their choice.

"Dwarf, why are the torches changing colors?"

"Back the other way, go, go, go!"

Explosion behind the party, everyone's fine, but there's a bit of excitement and the DM has just explained why lower levels of the dungeon are less populated or have things that can survive fire.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I wouldn't use explosive gas (the answer to the quiz question) as a stall, but rather as a way to reward the dwarf player for their choice.

"Dwarf, why are the torches changing colors?"

"Back the other way, go, go, go!"

Explosion behind the party, everyone's fine, but there's a bit of excitement and the DM has just explained why lower levels of the dungeon are less populated or have things that can survive fire.
And that would be awesome. :D
 

I can dig it. There have been far worse starts to campaigns.

"Hey, man. We're going to do mushrooms and talk about our plans to invade the dragon's lair."

Several! Dare I ask if that's consecutive or concurrent?

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.
That art is absolutely one of the most metal pieces of class art:

1664994588220.png

Honestly, half of the anti-paladin's appeal was the world-class art, which was among the best Dragon ever published, for both versions of the class that they printed.
 


I thought that an open fire underground turning blue indicated the presence of firedamp (and that, therefore, your last birthday was definitely your LAST birthday).
 

griffon8

Explorer
I love reading these, but I fall behind on the latest ones. In my own attempts to go through the old issues, I'm up to #145. But I skip reviews and don't read every word of every article.
 



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