Dragon Reflections #68

Dragon Publishing released Dragon #68 in December 1982. It is 104 pages long and has a cover price of $3.00. In this issue, we have ice age adventures, two-weapon fighting, and lots about the weather!

Drmg068_Page_001.jpg

This month's special attraction is "Weather in the World of Greyhawk: A climate for realistic AD&D adventuring." The author, David Axler, presents a relatively detailed meteorological simulation, ostensibly for Greyhawk but heavily based on Earth. It includes a dozen tables and enables you to calculate sky conditions, precipitation, lunar cycles, wind speed, temperature, day length, etc., for any time of the year. It's rather too fiddly for my tastes. These rules were included (without credit) in the 1983 version of the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting. Axler was an active member of the RPGA but had no more writing credits.

Continuing with the weather theme, "Thrills and Chills: Ice Age Adventures" by Arthur Collins is a set of rules and suggestions for an AD&D campaign set during the Pleistocene Epoch. It was inspired by Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel and does an excellent job of showing how such a campaign could work. It also includes a weather system that is more manageable than the one presented above! I was impressed by this little article. Collins went on to write many articles for Dragon and was a credited author on DMGR2: The Castle Guide.

We have a cornucopia of other features. In "Be a two-fisted fighter," Roger Moore explains and expands the rules for two-weapon fighting in the Dungeon Masters Guide, including the impact of Dexterity and increasing the list of allowable weapons. "Up, Up and Away" by Jim Quinn is an advertorial for the new edition of Dawn Patrol, a WWI air combat wargame previously known as Fight in the Skies. And "Beg, Borrow, or Steal" by Glenn Rahman presents some variant money rules for Barbarian Prince, a solo game by Dwarfstar.

"Castles by Carrol" is a new ongoing feature by artist Mike Carrol. In each issue, he will present a one-page illustration of a famous castle along with a potted history of it. This month is about Neuschwanstein in the Bavarian Alps.

In "What's in the Water?" Mark S. Harcourt presents expanded encounter tables for underwater adventures and several new monster variants, such as the freshwater sea hag. This article is Harcourt's only RPG credit.

Finally, "Gaming by mail" by Michael Gray introduces readers to play-by-mail games, while "You've always got a chance" by Katharine Kerr is another subsystem for using D&D ability scores to determine activity success. Gray later wrote several novels and modules for TSR, while Kerr became a contributing editor to Dragon before launching her bestselling series of Deverry novels.

On to the regular offerings! "Featured Creatures" by Gary Gygax supplies statistics for several fungal monsters: the ascomoid, basidirond, and phycomid. "From the Sorcerer's Scroll," also by Gygax, has a score of new high-level magic-user spells, including banishment, forcecage, and eyebite. Rounding out the trilogy, Gygax presents new "Deities & Demigods of the World of Greyhawk," which includes details for Celestian, Fharlanghn, Ehlonna, Pholzus, and Tritheron.

In Leomund's Tiny Hut, Lenard Lakofka notes that the AD&D cleric has a martial focus and wonders about all the other sorts of clerics you might meet in the temple or cloister. To this end, he created an NPC character class called the "cloistered cleric," who is a scholar rather than an adventurer. The article includes progression tables and new spells.

"Dragon's Augury" has three game reviews. Robert Plamondon looks at several solo adventures published for the High Fantasy game system by Reston Publishing. He finds them "fast-paced and exciting" and hopes they are "just the tip of the iceberg." Ken Rolston reviews Borderlands by Chaosium, a campaign guide and scenario collection for Runequest. He describes the box set as "innovative," "beautiful," and "an important benchmark in the development of the scenario pack." Also from Chaosium is Elric: Battle at the End of Time, a wargame set in the world of the titular hero. Reviewer Tony Watson finds the game atmospheric but "simplistic and uninteresting" and recommends it for die-hard fans only.

"Off the Shelf" by Chris Henderson returns with capsule reviews of many science fiction and fantasy books. Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan is "another winner from Hogan." In Confessions of a Crap Artist by Philip K. Dick we have "one of the best books he ever wrote." Somtow Sucharitkul's Light on the Sound is "a sad novel, but not at all a bad one." Meanwhile, The Darkling by David Kesterton is "a quality gift that will outlast the average paperback." And The White Plague by Frank Herbert is "social science fiction at its finest."

Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer is "a delight." Shadows of Sanctuary, edited by Robert Lynn Asprin, is "topnotch, as is the entire series." A. E. van Vogt's The Battle of Forever is "a classic." Outpost of Jupiter by Lester Del Rey is "an afternoon (at least) of lively reading." Robert Bloch's Psycho II is "a chilling nightmare of a book, as bloody psychologically as it is physically." And The Last Man on Earth, edited by Isaac Asimov, is full of stories that are "finely honed, interesting, and memorable."

Clique by Nicholas Yermakov is "as good as anything he has written to date." Brian Stableford's Journey to the Center is "one of [his] more interesting novels." The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by E. L. Ferman, is "a good buy if you can afford it." Finally, Strange Eons by Robert Bloch is "a book that pays tribute to Lovecraft and... scares the pants off the reader at the same time."

This month's cover is by Carl Lundgrun. Other artists include Phil Foglio, Daniel Wickstrom, L. Blankenship, M. Hanson-Roberts, Brian Born, Jeff Easley, Kim Gromoll, Jim Holloway, Mike Carroll, Roger Raupp, and Dave Trampier.

And that's a wrap! This issue felt strangely thin given it was over 100 pages long. My favorite article was "Thrills and Chills" by Arthur Collins. Next month, we have the thief-acrobat, a look at runes, and a complete board game!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

M.T. Black

M.T. Black

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For my last D&D campaign I just used an web site that had historic weather for a town that I thought was a good stand in. Made it a lot easier than random rolls as I just copied the info from the site into calander. Form then had three months of weather in my binder.
Great plan if you can be sure the PCs will stay in the same town or local region for a while.

As soon as they start to travel, however, that data becomes much less useful.
 

log in or register to remove this ad



Great plan if you can be sure the PCs will stay in the same town or local region for a while.

As soon as they start to travel, however, that data becomes much less useful.
I’m a fan of the “illusion of randomness” approach. As long as the area wasn’t massively different, I’d keep using the same pregenerated weather anyway
 
Last edited:

Thanks as always. I mainly remember this one for the cover :) My brother used the weather chart for his campaign (and still does). I had my own, simpler system already. As I flip back through it, it's a solid issue, but not, to me, that memorable. And yeah, I'd pay $10 for a monthly magaize like this.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So say use use Seattle as your base town. If they travel north then you look up Bellingham on that same date. if they head south you look up Olympia.
Thing is, while for the faux-Greek core of my setting I could in theory use Greece's weather I also can't, in that real-world Greece has sea to the south where in mine it's to the west. Real-world Greece also doesn't have a massive range of mountains not all that far to the east, mine does.

Homebrew worlds kinda need homebrew weather charts. :)
 

Von Ether

Legend
Thing is, while for the faux-Greek core of my setting I could in theory use Greece's weather I also can't, in that real-world Greece has sea to the south where in mine it's to the west. Real-world Greece also doesn't have a massive range of mountains not all that far to the east, mine does.

Homebrew worlds kinda need homebrew weather charts. :)
Nah. You just use the weather charts for the Black Sea area, the Bosporan Kingdoms were considered the first true Hellenistic state so it more than fits close enough for homemade. It's an even cooler choice as you can introduce things beyond the usual in a Greek campaign (like how the rulers presented themselves differently to external cultures.)


Weather is fun for naval campaigns. If you have a storm inland, PCs just hunker down. If you have a storm at seas, the GM can take the party anywhere.

But honestly, if making up homemade weather charts gives you joy, then enjoy.
 
Last edited:

Von Ether

Legend
Designing "realism" for a faux culture/time period that you have nerdtroped with magic and monsters is slippery slope anyway.

Sure having dragons be your air support during the Napoleonic era is hella cool but odds are having such tamable dragons (or just dragons) throughout human history is going to ensure you don't have a Napoleonic era at all.
 
Last edited:

Zaukrie

New Publisher
IMO, realism is over rated.....I like all kinds of fantastic stuff to happen in my games....cats and dogs raining, rivers that DON'T flow toward the nearest ocean, etc.......

I understand why realism is helpful, some grounding in what players expect can be helpful....but I find it less fun. YMMV, of course.
 

hedgeknight

Explorer
I need to go find this issue somewhere. Trithereon played a major role in a 10-year campaign we wrapped up a couple of years ago. Great time with some great players.
 

Related Articles

Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top