Dragon Reflections #67

Dragon Publishing released Dragon #67 in November 1982. It is 84 pages long and has a cover price of $3.00. In this issue, we have the Astral Plane, super spiders, and lots of Gygax!

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In the editorial, Kim Mohan notes that the former head of Dragon Publishing, Gary "Jake" Jaquet, has left the company and is launching a new periodical, Gameplay: The Magazine of Games and Gaming. This venture only lasted 14 issues, and Jaquet appears to have left the industry after that. The new boss of Dragon Publishing is Mike Cook, formerly head of the TSR Education Department.

This month's special attraction is an AD&D scenario called "Fedifensor" by Allen Rogers. The priests of Amphabese hire the characters to enter the Astral Plane and retrieve Fedifensor, a mighty magic sword. After a few random encounters, the characters find themselves in a githyanki outpost, and a conventional dungeon crawl follows. There are some nice thematic touches, such as the void cruiser and the weirdly shaped outpost. And it must surely be the first published scenario set on the Astral Plane. Rogers has no other RPG credits that I can find.

We have a grab bag of other features. First up, and complementing the special attraction, is a long article by Roger E. Moore on the Astral Plane. It greatly expands on the scant notes in the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, covering matters such as encounters, traveling, combat, magic, and the psychic wind. Gary Gygax wrote a short introduction calling the article "superb" and "about as official as is possible at this time." It is an excellent piece.

"Spy's Advice" is a rules Q&A for Top Secret by the game's creator, Merle M. Rasmussen. "Souping up the Spider" by Gregg Chamberlain presents several variants of D&D's giant spider, such as the whip and spitting spiders. This brief article has some excellent ideas, and I've made a note to revisit it for my own bestiary. It was Chamberlain's first; he wrote several more for Dragon over the coming years.

"King of the Cats" by Gillian FitzGerald is a short story about a love triangle involving the Sidhe. Nicely written, and I enjoyed the climax. FitzGerald wrote several other stories in this folk tale style and was included in 1982's "The Year's Best Fantasy Stories."

"Deities and Demigods of the World of Greyhawk" by Gary Gygax gives statistics for several deities: Heironeous, Hextor, Iuz, and St. Cuthbert. He also revises the list of standard divine abilities supplied in the Deities and Demigods book.

"Loyal Readers," also by Gygax, is a response to fan feedback about the classes he proposed for Unearthed Arcana. Thief-Acrobat and Barbarian were the most popular, Cavalier and Mountebank received average ratings, while Mystic rated lowest. He also introduces the comeliness attribute, which was never popular in my experience.

We have yet another article by Gygax! "Poker, Chess, and the AD&D System" also addresses fan feedback. Gygax notes that anyone using outside material with AD&D effectively plays a different game. He also notes that D&D is by far the biggest RPG on the market and that claims to the contrary should be ignored. Gygax then defends the new barbarian class against criticism and introduces a new planar creature, the Deva. It's quite an article!

On to the regular offerings, and we have two more Gygax articles. In "From the Sorcerer's Scroll," he describes over 30 new magic-user spells, including classics such as Grease, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter, and Evard's Black Tentacles. In "Featured Creatures," he introduces two new sub-races, the grugach elf and valley elf, along with the cooshee, described as an "elven dog."

In "Dragon's Augury," Lewis Pulsipher shares a list of valuable reference books in the area of myth, legend, and folklore. "Bulfinch's Mythology" offers a rich retelling of myths and legends, using a storytelling approach that avoids dry dictionary-style presentations. "Larousse World Mythology" presents a more analytical and comprehensive exploration of mythologies from around the world. Arthur Cotterell's "A Dictionary of World Mythology" is a recently compiled work with the depth of an encyclopedia. The "Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" is a century-old reference work focusing on phrases rather than fables. Lastly, Stith Thompson's "Motif-index of Folk Literature" is a specialist work lauded for its exhaustive categorization of narrative elements in folk tales, myths, and other literary forms.

Ken Rolston reviews Trollpak by Chaosium. This unique RuneQuest supplement delves deep into the culture and lifestyle of trolls in Glorantha. It includes three books, a map, and player handouts, offering rich narratives, character creation guides, and engaging lore. Rolston notes that Trollpak blends humor with profound reflections, providing an original and nuanced portrayal of trolls. He says, "The perspective is imaginative, the style entertaining and readable, and the materials intelligently designed... it is a model for detailed development of a non-human race."

This month's cover was by Jack Crane. Interior artists were Bruce Whitefield, Jim Roslof, Marc Hershon, Jim Holloway, Phil Foglio, Roger Raupp, Dave Trampier, and Jerry Eaton.

And that's a wrap! There was a lot of fun material in this issue, with no less than six contributions by Gary Gygax. However, my favorite article was Moore's introduction to the Astral Plane. Next month, we have ice age adventures, a feature on the cleric, and more Greyhawk deities!
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M.T. Black

M.T. Black

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I love those old goofy covers.

Also, was the sword Fedifensor mentioned somewhere else recently? It sounds familiar.

12-year-old Me was always surprised that the James Bond actor, who my dad knew as the Saint, also played RPGs.

Sir Roger Moore is by far my favorite Bond actor. The suave quips, the over-the-top gadgets...Moore's Bond was fun. Something I think the franchise could do with getting back to.


He had a lot invested in people playing by the rules at that point.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
Not just that (although that is a factor). The large amounts of criticism didn't help. Many critics saw other games as superior to D&D / AD&D. I would say they were different myself. EGG thought they were all building off his / TSRs success and believed he deserved more credit (skipping the Gygax / Arneson issue). A lot of factors contributed to his grumpiness.

edit As always love these retrospectives. I'm constantly reminded of the sources of a lot of my own game.
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Whizbang Dustyboots

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Fedifensor was one of the first Dragon adventures, IMO, that really swung for the fences in a way that TSR was then afraid to in their official adventures. It was a pretty big deal at the time and I still fondly remember it. I suspect the rights issues are a mess, but I'd love to see it name-checked in the new Planescape or something.


I don't think I recall ever seeing this issue. Funny, I started collecting very shortly after this though and it contains so much information that would later make it into my games - probably by way of other publications. Somehow this one completely passed me by.


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Fedifensor was one of the first Dragon adventures, IMO, that really swung for the fences in a way that TSR was then afraid to in their official adventures. It was a pretty big deal at the time and I still fondly remember it. I suspect the rights issues are a mess, but I'd love to see it name-checked in the new Planescape or something.
I ran Fedifensor for one of my PCs and it was hugely influential on our campaign. To your point, this was a time when adventures like that didn't come along so we jumped at the opportunity to use it.

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