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TSR [Let's Read] Polyhedron/Dungeon

What, you really thought I wouldn't include one of these? As if!


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(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 3: Jan/Feb 1987




part 1/5



68 pages. Well, this is an odd selection of fashion and colour choices. Either these explosions are happening in the middle of the night, and everyone's fleeing in their bedclothes, or this is set in a land before the invention of trousers. Let's see where this set of adventures will take us, and if they'll bother to include much culture and worldbuilding amongst them.



Editorial: Only a couple of issues in, and Roger is already noticing very definite patterns in the submitted adventures. People love their evil wizard masterminds, so a vastly disproportionate number of big bads are wizards or illusionists. Illusionists are even less likely than generalist spellcasters to appear as anything other than enemies. A trickster who uses their powers for good? What is this, a saturday morning cartoon?! Meanwhile, the lesser enemies are most likely to be interchangeble fighty sorts. Why not mix things up, have a high level fighter leading an army of low level wizards each using their one or two spells a day in a logistically intelligent manner? You can't avoid cliches entirely, but at least you can mix them up and subvert them sometimes, and that's how you keep them from getting boring.



Letters: Our first two letters are about the logistics of submitting to the magazine, just like Polyhedron. They really need to get the number of submissions up for both publications, so they're pushing hard to get this sorted out.

Next we have a bit of errata for one of the adventures last issue. Perfectly normal editing mistake.

Then we have a letter asking where all the modules for evil parties are? Bad guys can break into random people & creature's homes, kill them and take their stuff too. It's not exclusively a thing heroes do.

Finally, we have someone afraid their players will buy the magazine too and know the adventures they're using on them. That could be said of using any prefab module. That's why you should change things around or use it as inspiration to make your own instead.
 

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(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 3: Jan/Feb 1987




part 2/5



Falcon's Peak: This issue, instead of leading with a long and spectacular adventure, they decide to sort them by order of level, starting with one for starting level characters and working their way up. Not a bad policy, if they'd stuck with it, (they don't) as they're the ones most likely to actually get played. All the things Roger talked about in the editorial are on full display here, as you have to deal with a bunch of brigands and hobgoblins, led by a wizard. So yeah, this doesn't do anything particularly innovative. What it does do well is make the place feel like a living event rather than just a bunch of monsters lurking in their rooms until someone kills them - the brigands have a plan, move around, take captives, will reinforce each other, and will generally respond like people who want to make a profit and not die instead of charging screaming at the players. It's all a little bit smarter than the likes of Keep on the borderlands. No problems with this one, but no high praise either.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 3: Jan/Feb 1987




part 3/5



Blood on the Snow: After getting very annoyed at the wasted opportunity Polyhedron made of it's Finnish adventures, it's very pleasing to see one in here which does properly take into account the everyday challenges of arctic life, and makes it a big part of your experience. It even uses a lot of the same mythological stuff, with both Norse & Finnish gods worshipped in the settlement. The seal hunters are having a lot of trouble with bandits this season, and the guildmaster suspects it's an inside job. So the PC's are hired to join the hunters on their expedition to protect them in case of attack, and try and figure out who the traitor might be. That makes this an unusual combination of wilderness adventure and detective story, with plenty of opportunities for roleplaying amid the intrinsic dangers of the terrain. (so think carefully before you pick fights with people, as you could get the right person and still freeze to death before you get home if not careful.) There's still some simplification, (the amount of daylight would actually have changed by well over an hour during the course of this two week timeline) but this goes a long way towards showing you just how many seemingly innocuous things can kill you when the temperature gets this low. It gives you both variety and freedom, while still giving you plenty of chances to fuck up and suffer in non-lethal ways. (frostbite is no joke until you can afford a regeneration spell.) Unless your players aren't fond of the gritty in general, or get squeamish about realistic depictions of hunting and prefer to stick to killing orcs and dragons I can highly recommend it.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 3: Jan/Feb 1987



part 4/5



The Deadly Sea: Ah yes, underwater adventures. If we were going by overall world geography and demographics, they ought to make up 70% of adventures. In practice, until merpeople become gamers, that's never going to happen. Still, this is welcome, even though only half it's content is actually underwater. Since it assumes the PC's are regular surface-dwelling adventurers and only have access to short-term water breathing powers, you need to sail a ship to find the place, facing the usual assortment of random swimming beasties, stopping off at a cliffside citadel that's been taken over by pirates to get more information. Once down there, they have to deal with both good and evil underwater creatures living in an uneasy truce, and getting to know the factions and play them off against one another will be more effective than just trying to kill everything, especially for groups that aren't used to underwater tactics. A pretty decent amount of variety here, and another one that isn't just a straight hack and slasher. Another good use of their page count that probably wouldn't sell well as a standalone adventure, but is handy to have in your arsenal.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 3: Jan/Feb 1987



part 5/5



The Book With No End: We finish off with a good old quest for a powerful artifact that could help it's owner take over the world …… or destroy it! Fittingly for it's name, this is the longest single-part adventure they've published yet, at 24 pages. Like the last two adventures, you actually have to seriously worry about the weather getting there, in this case a blasted desert created by the artifact that'll have them wandering lost for days and dying of dehydration if they don't have their shit together. Once you get there, you face a typical wizard's tower filled with traps, illusions, puzzles and magically summoned guardians. Some of them you'll be able to get around if you pay attention, think like a crossword puzzle solver, and use your divinations to give you further clues, but some you'll probably wind up fighting your way through. Some of the best treasure in here is found on the bodies of previous adventurers that failed, while the artifact itself is a booby prize that'll probably rapidly result in your downfall if you keep it. (unless you're a considerably higher level character than the adventure is aimed at, and have the skills to reverse engineer and improve on the original design, which is the kind of thing that's out of the scope of the AD&D system. ) It's all mildly irritating. Not one I find myself with any real desire to use.



With mountains, arctic, sea and desert, it seems like they went for a selection of less common wilderness terrains this issue to keep the variety up. Even if it's not an explicit theme, that's another way to pick out a complimentary collection from the submissions pile. The overall quality isn't quite as good as the first issue, once again confirming they probably saved up for that to make a splash. I guess I'd better see how they do next time, and if there's any particular patterns in the adventures they chose for that one.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 35: Mar/Apr 1987



part 1/5



31 pages. A static shot of a party of adventurers standing and posing for the camera? This doesn't suggest any particular exciting plotline. Oh well, at least they're not all going raar, like they will be in the early 2000's. Let's see what their relationships to one-another are, and if anything in here is worth using for our own games.



Notes from HQ drops the second and third word in it's title due to guest editor sloppiness. In their efforts to make themselves financially stable, they've decided to do an inflation-busting price rise on their club membership dues, which have remained the same for the last 5 years, since they started the idea. Given that they haven't promoted the scheme much since then, I wonder how many new clubs have actually joined anyway. On the plus side, they're stepping up the benefits for belonging, a plaque, some extra gaming books for the needy, and first shot at playtesting stuff, including the next edition of the core rules. They're not keeping that a secret at all, are they. It's been obvious since 1985 that they were planning it, unlike 3e & 4e, where they kept quiet until only a year before release. Different eras, and a different company. Another interesting little thread of history that hopefully I'll see follow-ups on in the future.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 35: Mar/Apr 1987



part 2/5



Letters: Our first letter is from one of their contributors, praising the people who do put in time and effort to improve the newszine, and telling the rest of the readers to just get on with it and submit articles with less worrying about if you're good enough or not. Even if you aren't, you'll improve your writing by the process of trying. What have you got to lose?

Next we have the suggestion that they need more presence in little conventions if they're to grow. If people have to drive all day, or even take a flight because there's none near them, they're only going to do it once or twice a year, and not going to consider a membership worth the money. They're entirely in favor of that, but it's very much a chicken and egg problem. Be the network externality you want to see.

Finally, we have a letter from someone who's very much in favour of being all squeaky clean, co-operation, equal shares of treasure, no sex, no, drugs, no PvP, proper warning labels on everything. You'll get bored eventually, and when you do, the dark side will be waiting….



Rogues Gallery: This column gets a bit of a glow-up, putting the statblocks in full-page spreads like their official character sheets, with ability score modifiers, to-hit tables, comeliness, saving throw numbers, height, weight, full descriptions of magic items, etc. However, while this may look nice, it definitely feels like padding, repeating stuff you could easily look up in the core book at the expense of putting more info on their history and personality. Their personalities are pretty bland too, very standard for their class and race and very little on their histories and interpersonal relationships. So in conclusion, this is a triumph of style over substance, stretching out over 6 pages when it could easily have fit all it's info into half that, and another step down in terms of actually giving us things that are useful in actual play, as without distinctive personality quirks, there's not much reason to come into conflict with these guys. At least the female dwarf has a beard.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 35: Mar/Apr 1987



part 3/5



And All The King's Men: Our Finnish tournament modules take a turn for the increasingly railroady, expecting the players to stand by dumbfounded while political machinations and assassinations happen, and then follow the mission given to them despite it being fairly obvious they're being played. The person you rescued last instalment gets assassinated with no chance to save them, the king gets nearly assassinated, and the meat of the actual adventure is an abandoned warehouse, which isn't very cultural at all. It all smells somewhat of filler, like they decided how many rounds they were going to have before they wrote the adventure, and had to pad out the number of events to get that number. It's thrown into particularly sharp relief by the more open-ended modules in Dungeon that are using an interesting variety of terrain-based and social challenges. To top it all off, it seems like they've skipped an instalment, as last issue was part 2, and this one says part 4. That's more a problem with the overall chaos in the staff rather than the writers of this adventure, but it shows how little they have their shit together with the revolving door of guest editors. This isn't going well at all.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 35: Mar/Apr 1987



part 4/5



The Undead Bole: They follow straight on with round 5, so they're filling a full 17 pages with this adventure, more than half the issue. Having long since given up on maintaining consistency of naming in their NPC's, they now decide to blatantly rip off The Black Cauldron, which was in turn based on Welsh myth. That's almost on the other side of europe entirely! So you have to take on a cavalcade of souped-up turn resistant undead, wind up being fucked over by another bit of no save trickery, and then railroaded into another linear quest to destroy the macguffin. They do at least include a full-frontal assault option and a stealth one for getting through the challenges, and some attempts to build spooky atmosphere, but this is really showing how linear and annoying multi-part tournament adventures become, especially ones where the parties are remixed every time, so you can't even have any consequences from previous rounds carry over to the next one if a team does do particularly well or badly. You have to completely idiot-proof the exposition and turn the scenery into static invincible backdrops to keep things on the rails. It just goes against the things an RPG is good at, to the point where you might as well be playing a computer game.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 35: Mar/Apr 1987



part 5/5



The Critical Hit: Ghostbusters! There's a franchise that proved surprisingly long-lived and resilient, largely due to the strength of the spin-offs. (until Slimer became increasingly dominant and ruined everything) Along with the cartoon and toy line, they also published an RPG, and that's obviously what Errol reviews here. Produced by the same people who did Paranoia, it's system light, low lethality fun with a basic dramatic editing system (which unfortunately doubles as XP and HP, making you have to choose between being cool now, or advancement in the future) similar to the Marvel Superheroic one. Of course, given the nature of the game, advancement isn't that important anyway, and there's not that much to spend it on, so it's a question of how long the basic gameplay loop of hunting ghosts and juggling your everyday human troubles can keep going before you get bored. It might show it's age a bit these days but there are still many far worse licensed games out there.



Convention Announcements: Most of the announcements this month are for conventions in november. One is even called Novocon rather than being based on where it's being held. Shows once again how far you need to plan ahead if you want people to come, and to have enough for them to see there.



A very disappointing and messy issue indeed, with only a few big articles, all bad, poor editing, a load of padding and repetition to stretch the amount of content they have to the length of a full issue, and a raft of people angry with them in the letters page. At least they're being honest and admitting that they're struggling, but it doesn't make the content any better. Once again I'm forced to move swiftly onward and hope that they're a little more on top of things next issue, because there's not much worth salvaging from this one.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 4: Mar/Apr 1987



part 1/5



68 pages. That's a curiously doughy looking cover image. I wonder what techniques the artist used to get it simultaneously cartoony and exaggerated, but also three-dimensional looking. All in the light and shading, I guess. Let's see if this issue is bright and heavenly, or filed with dark and he**ish. Wait, who turned the swear filter on? Oh no, it's april, isn't it. We're not getting out without a certain degree of ridiculousness, are we? Let's hope at least some of this is usable regardless of the comedy.



Editorial: I'm not suffering from the problem where the sheer volume of adventures I have to read through for this makes them start to blur into one yet, but Roger already is. Makes sense, since he has to read an order of magnitude more than actually get published, and I would hope he is actually picking out the better ones. He also has to remind us once again to write clearly and concisely. If the first page, maybe even the first sentence doesn't grab them, chances are they'll just write a submission off without reading the rest. They're only a 64 page magazine, so it's pointless submitting your thousand page epic dungeon you've been working on since 1975. They want bite-sized, clearly comprehensible writing that's applicable to most campaigns, not something that requires a ton of backstory and reading all the way through for the early parts to make sense. That's me out then. :p Curious that despite being smaller, Polyhedron is embracing multi-part adventures that are actually longer once all the parts are added together. Makes me wonder when they'll decide to stretch themselves, put at least a 2-3 parter in to boost reader retention, before going the full hog with year long adventure paths in 3e. Let's hope it's before the small adventures start to blur into one for me, not after.



Letters: Our first letter is David Howery contributing a bit of errata for his adventure last issue. The kind of note you make in your head, and then forget you never actually wrote it down in the submission.

Next, a regular question about the availability of back issues and multi-year subscriptions. They're new, so yes, all the back issues are still in stock. They'll sort out longer running subscriptions soon, hopefully.

Third, a complaint that their issues were damaged in transit by the post office. Yeah, this is a long-running problem. You don't even want to know what they went through in the 70's trying to get decent bulk postage rates and reliable delivery.

Fourth, someone who'd like to see a bit more variety in the modules they do. Dragon has non D&D articles. Dungeon would also be improved by maybe 1 non D&D adventure per issue. It's not as if it's hard to adapt them.

Fifth, a request if they're allowed to use stuff from other magazine articles. As long as they're clearly credited and referenced. How else are we to encourage our readers to collect 'em all?

Sixth, someone who wants the adventures all D&D, all generic all the time. Oh, and good floor plans. We shall see. Roger would like at least some diversity in their submissions.

Finally, a request for some prefab locations as well as full adventures. Not beyond the bounds of possibility if they get good submissions. They're doing it in this issue, for example.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 4: Mar/Apr 1987



part 2/5



Kingdom In The Swamp: Another vampire count? (A count by any other title still counts, and should be counted in the census. Ah ah ah!) We only had one 3 issues ago. Couldn't you save those for the october issues? They're the kind of thing that works best when used sparingly. This definitely feels like Ravenloft mad libs. An evil king made a deal with death Orcus for power, then welched on the deal. As a result, he was turned into a vampire with several extra unique powers, lost nearly all his kingdom apart from a tiny domain in the middle of a swamp that he could never leave and has to spend eternity there. Given how boring eternity can get, he'll do his best to keep any visitors alive for a while, playing with his food by capturing them, engaging in hit-and-run attacks, etc, before eventually turning them into his spawn. Pretty familiar, right? He's even used the centuries since to gain levels in wizard, just like Strahd. The big difference is that here you also have to deal with a comic relief cowardly halfling thief sidekick tagging along, as his previous party was captured recently and he'd like to rescue them, but, y'know, the whole cowardice thing. This does not improve the procedings. If Ravenloft was the original Scooby-doo mysteries, this is the new Scrappy-doo adventures. So this is the first sign of diminishing returns in here from repeating ideas. Rather sooner than I'd hoped. Oh well. I signed up to this knowing there'd be a fair bit of repetition. Just got to press onwards and get used to it.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 4: Mar/Apr 1987



part 3/5



Escape from the Tower of Midnight: Ah, now here's something completely different. An all-thief adventure where obviously, sneaking and social skills are paramount. The player's guild is subject to a hostile takeover, they're captured and scheduled to be executed in a couple of days. This puts them on a pretty strict timeline to escape, and hopefully get some revenge as well. As a tournament adventure, this does mean a bit of railroading to get the characters into the adventure in the first place if you put it in a regular game, but once in, you're pretty much free to solve the problem the way you choose, and to have it be a one-shot, or something that has long term campaign repercussions as the guild conflict escalates into a full-blown turf war. There are some pretty interesting setpieces, while not making the area design completely illogical, and some amusingly quirky NPC's that can be ally or enemy depending on how the PC's handle the encounter. While the intended party composition might rule out using it in a lot of campaigns, this is one I can definitely recommend, as it does something different, and does it pretty well. Adventures for solo characters or one class parties are definitely a niche that the magazine can fill as long as it keeps them to one an issue or less and remembers to cater to different ones each time.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 4: Mar/Apr 1987



part 4/5



Fluffy goes to Heck: Polyhedron may have been too distracted this year for comedy, but it looks like Dungeon won't escape the april fools shenanigans. Rick Reid, who appears to have based his whole roleplaying career on gag articles and adventures, brings his long-running Fluffyquest series to Dungeon, which will in turn serve as a springboard to him getting a chapter in the much-loathed Castle Greyhawk. The eponymous Fluffy has disappeared into a hole in the ground and the PC's have to rescue her, which as you might have guessed, involves going to a comedy version of hell. This turns into a linear set of gag setpieces featuring terrible puns, equally terrible pop culture references, and even gags in the statblocks, although they still remain just about numerically functional. It's mildly amusing to read, but not something I'd ever have any desire to play. At least the linear nature of it means it'd be less aggravating to play through than The Titan's Dream. Let's hope they keep nonsense like this to once a year at the most.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Dungeon Issue 4: Mar/Apr 1987



part 5/5



Trouble at Grog's: As they said in the letters page, they're finishing up with an adventure that's has a plot, but is actually primarily a bit of worldbuilding to drop into your game. A Half-Ogre has moved into a small town and set up a tavern. This is proving very divisive amongst the locals, and some of them are trying to drive him and his family out. Will the PC's give him a fair shake, or fall prey to fantasy racism and be the ones at the front of the mob? Get to know them and their neighbours over 24 pages of maps and writing describing nearly everything in town, with lots of quirky NPC's and a few interesting secret bits to find if they snoop around. That's more detail than Hommlet or the Keep on the Borderlands got in their respective adventures. The physical challenges are all aimed at starting level characters, and will be no trouble to a party with a few levels under their belt, but the social challenges here will still be interesting at any level, unless your party goes for scrying and mind-reading to cheat their way through like an infiltrating Rakshasa. Seems easy enough to insert into a game even if you aren't planning to use the central adventure. Put it somewhere the PC's are likely to pass through more than once over the course of a campaign and you can get a lot of use out of it. That's a better use of page count than a dungeon you're only ever going to see once. I thoroughly approve of this.



Another mixed bag, that sees them thread the needle between subtly goofy elements in adventures, and outright slapstick, and shows that it takes a lower level of silliness to ruin an adventure and make it unusable in a serious campaign than a small article where you can pick and mix individual monsters and items to put in your game. That's going to be another thing I'll watch with interest as the years go by, and probably miss when they stop altogether. Oh, the complications of life. Too much of anything gets boring. A few unplayable adventures are a small price to pay for keeping the magazine interesting to read in the long run.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 36: May/Jun 1987



part 1/5



36 pages. A surprisingly early instance of anime inspired art, as these shrine maidens have more in common with El-Hazard or Urusei Yatsura than real world Japan or Finland. I guess Oriental Adventures has been selling briskly for over a year now, and Ninjas have been cool longer than roleplaying, so I shouldn't be that shocked. Let's see what other cultural influences the insides of this issue have.



Notes from HQ: The best-laid plans of ravens and men. They were going to name their city after the idea that got the most votes in the competition, then they found out another RPG company had already used the name. That would interfere with trademarking and SEO, so they've got to change it, but preferably in a way that doesn't ruin the setting details they've already created. They have a location in the Forgotten Realms, as that's the cool new generic setting rather than stuffy old Greyhawk, a map, and lots of plans for adventures. There's still a lot of faff and compromises, but they're making progress, honest! Just don't get complacent and stop submitting stuff, because they still can't make this work without the players. This definitely isn't a smooth or easy journey. Let's hope it'll all be worth it in the end.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 36: May/Jun 1987



part 2/5



Letters: Our first letter is a rather long one complaining about how tournament-centric the RPGA is. There's so much more you could do for the gaming community. They could, but it'd involve a lot of unpaid volunteer work. Wanna step up?

David Carl Argall confronts the geological problems of putting a city on the coast in a D&D setting. You can't go very far down before you hit the water table and most of the dungeon levels are flooded. Unless you want to abandon realism in your worldbuilding entirely, which does not appear to be the case. That's definitely a tricky needle to thread, especially when you have hundreds of RPGA members putting their two cents in about their various areas of real world knowledge. A lesson Monte Cook must also have been paying attention too in his design of Ptolus, as he too put enormous cliffs between the docks and the rest of the city so there was room for plenty of dungeon levels in the middle.

Finally, Harold Johnson, one of TSR's marketing people, confronts the issue of support for their non D&D systems. They do have fans, often selling considerably more than the flagship games by rival companies, but not enough of them actually submit material that would let TSR keep up a regular supplement schedule. A problem that continues to this day, given the number of editions Gamma World has got, and then had abandoned after only a few supplements. It's not just a matter of cost-benefit analysis, but also of which systems have lots of active fans vs ones that mostly cater to passive consumers. A good example of just how complex the world really is.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 36: May/Jun 1987



part 3/5



Arcane Academe: Jeff decides to do a pivot from DM advice to player, and do a themed series covering all the classes over several issues. First up, Clerics & Druids. The result turns out very similar to the old Spelling Bees where they gave you uses for spells that might not be immediately obvious on first reading. Fortunately, although the format is familiar, the specific tips are mostly not recycled. It's another good reminder of just how flexible and dangerous divine spellcasters are. Despite being lumped as a support role, they're actually the best solo characters, since they aren't squishy like wizards, but still have an extensive repertoire of tricks to choose from. Don't let your real world feelings on religion fool you into making a suboptimal choice in game.



Pilgrim's Pool: If you managed to make it through all the previous bits of railroad without dying or getting thoroughly sick of it, there's no way you can get off now. You've been tainted by the forces of evil, and only have a couple of days to save both the country and yourself from a fate worth than death. So you have to head upriver on a very tight schedule, facing all manner of hazards, a very large fraction actually illusionary, ascend the great tree to save it from the Drow and Duergar, and then find out that the high priestess orchestrating all this is called Falafel, at which point any vestigial remnant of my ability to take this seriously evaporates. Oh come on! Did you dash this off at a schwarma joint on the way to the convention?! Did you think we wouldn't notice or care? I just can not, with this series. It has annoyed me all the way through, and this is no exception. Thank god it's over, and hopefully I'll never have to deal with it again.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 36: May/Jun 1987



part 4/5



On the road to The Living City: After dealing with two different types of trickery on their journey already, the players would be quite justified in being suspicious of the next encounter. So they take delight in subverting our expectations with a wizardly trader by the side of the road who looks suspicious and weird, but is actually honest. Unfortunately, he's also not very good at being a magic-user, and most of the magic items he's selling have drawbacks or side-effects, but there's a few cool bargains in there as well. This definitely feels like it would have gone in the april issue if they were a little more organised at the moment, as the combination of pure jokes and things that are actually useful despite the humorous veneer are about right. Despite the ravens in the title, the living city definitely isn't going to be a particularly dark or serious setting if these are anything to go by. When you have one of the largest concentrations of PC's in the multiverse, evil can't really get much of a foothold, so the challenges are more likely to be monsters of the week and the overall tone remain lighthearted. At least, until they get bored and decide to have a big metaplot event, but that's very much a mid-90's thing. You need to have a stable status quo for a while before shaking it up has any emotional impact.



A Case for Cultures: Speaking of shaking things up, here's a topic that shows up over and over again. The question of why humans have distinct cultures and languages for each country, while other intelligent creatures wind up with a stereotyped monoculture. We only have so much room in our minds, so the more different or far away things are from us, the more we have to generalise. As long as most of your articles are generic rather than for a specific setting, you'll never fix this problem, and if you have a single breakout character, it can wind up replacing the previous stereotype and dominating the characterisation for the race as a whole. (which is why the drow have so many Drizzt clones) So here's two examples of specific cultures from this writer's home setting. The Wild Elves of the mountains of Balon, and the Hobgoblins from the Desert of Screams. Neither go against their basic racial traits, but they add more specific details on top of that of history and technological development to give them more personality depth and make them slightly more challenging encounters. It's only a page each, and still generic enough to be easily ported into another campaign, but it's decently done, and hopefully it'll inspire you to do the same.
 

(un)reason

Adventurer
Polyhedron Issue 36: May/Jun 1987



part 5/5



The Critical Hit: Errol turns his eye back to D&D, and does a review of Oriental Adventures. Like the majority of reviewers, he's pretty positive about it in general. It provides an absolute ton of new options in a well-presented package. His two minor complaints are that it mixes up the player & DM info in one book, which is annoying if you don't want your players to know the full rules, and crossing over western & eastern characters has mild balance & playstyle expectation issues that may lead to IC conflict. All entirely surmountable. Nothing particularly controversial or comment-worthy here then.



The Classifieds have an unusually high number of ads specifically seeking female gamers. Must be something in the water.



The RPGA Network Club Program gets a bit of a revision, as they said in the editorial last time. The form has actually been simplified slightly, so it's quicker and easier than ever to set one up, despite the price increase. Let's hope it has a positive effect overall in their endless battle to get people more actively involved in their gaming experiences.



More variety than last issue, but once again, it's more interesting as a bit of historical development than for the quality of the individual articles. The living city is finally taking on shape, and we're actually getting to see concrete details, but it's not without growing pains, both in the offices and the RPGA in general. Once again, I'm left with the desire to keep on moving until we land in another good patch.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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