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!

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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!
 

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M.T. Black

M.T. Black

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.
When this Dragon Reflections came out a few days ago, I was reading it at work and immediately went to NobleKnight and bought the last one they had. Then I came home and realized I had it already on my shelf. With postage I paid $11 for it. When it comes in I'll send it to you if you want.
 

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hedgeknight

Explorer
When this Dragon Reflections came out a few days ago, I was reading it at work and immediately went to NobleKnight and bought the last one they had. Then I came home and realized I had it already on my shelf. With postage I paid $11 for it. When it comes in I'll send it to you if you want.
And I went on eBay last night and found one! Ha, great minds. Thanks anyway Michael.
 

MGibster

Legend
Clan of the Cave Bear. Wow, that takes me back. It's crazy how somethings seemed so big and hot back in the day and now they are deep cuts when it comes to trivia night.
The last book in the series was published in 2011. I've never read them, but I remember one of my anthropologist professors talking about it. He said something along the lines of, "The first book wasn't so bad, but then the main character goes on to discover horseback riding and the missionary position." It is kind of funny how something can be big for a few years and almost forgotten about just two decades later.

Others may disagree, but a lot of the extra stuff added for the sake of "realism" had diminishing ROI to me. What you want is verisimilitude, which over years we've seen done with less rules and less complexity.

Ditto. My group were more than happy to use the "NPC" classes as PCs, monsters, spells, etc., etc., but I don't think we ever adopted rules designed to control things like the weather in minutiae. It's just a lot of effort for something that's not particularly rewarding.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The last book in the series was published in 2011. I've never read them, but I remember one of my anthropologist professors talking about it. He said something along the lines of, "The first book wasn't so bad, but then the main character goes on to discover horseback riding and the missionary position." It is kind of funny how something can be big for a few years and almost forgotten about just two decades later.
Imagine how weird the cultural conversation was in the 1980s about the missionary position's discovery -- this was a big plot point and a point of discussion around the books -- given that there were no spaces other than pornography and sex ed books where sex was ever talked about even remotely frankly.

A whole lot of people lingering around these books in the local library, flipping to the well-read sections of each.
 

Richards

Legend
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, a couple of folks in my squadron were talking about the "Clan of the Cave Bear" books, and it was pointed out about how every 50 pages or so it was time for the next obligatory sex sequence. That led to one of the ladies mentioning what a great lover Jondalar was, allowing me to pipe up with, "Well, you know what they say about guys whose names have three syllables, the first of which is 'Jon'...." It took them a few moments of thought to get the self-reference I had just jokingly made.

Johnathan
 




Sounds like Dragon 68 was a good issu, from a classic era. I remember hearing the concept of cloistered cleric, and I put weather in my Greyhawk games, and especially sunset and sunrise, based on where I live = Bissel.
 

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