White Dwarf Revisited — Issue #2 Aug/Sep 1977

An evil wizard summons two foul beasts to ambush a cautious warrior. Surrounded with magical energy, the warrior shields his eyes and raised his bloody blade! In this issue, we get a review of the Green Planet Trilogy, how to score competitive D & D and another installment of the Monstermark series from issue one!

Within the Pages of the Old Tome

The first page contains vintage, quarter page ads for OGRE, Starship Troopers, 4000 AD and what I believe is the Games Workshop flagship store. Next is Ian Livingstone’s forward wherein he comments on a problem at the time—modern wargamers looking down on D & D and sci-fi game players, dismissing those games as childish nonsense. He suggests these gamers try the games before passing judgment on their players. Spoken like a true gentleman, Mr. Livingstone.

The magazine begins with the next session covering competitive D & D by Fred Hemmings. Hemmings outlines a series of point values for various accomplishments—having your character survive the dungeon, obtaining magic items, obtaining different levels and taking special actions. He also advises not to waste time while playing competitively, because time flies when you’re having fun playing D & D in competition with one another.

Next up, Ian Livingstone does a review of Asgard miniatures. Livingstone calls them “well-cast, requiring virtually no preparatory work before painting.” The weapons are interchangeable and the sculpts look great. There’s a troll, an ogre, a wererat, dragon, gigantic rat, golem, many dwarves, an old wizard, a bishop, a priest and a young wizard.

The Green Planet trilogy is reviewed by EN World’s own Lewis Pulsipher. At the beginning of the article, he tells us a bit about his review style before diving into the games, setting the tone for the review:

”As a gamer, I put realism in a subservient position but like some believabiltity — a feel that the game as a whole in some way reflects reality even if parts are ‘unrealistic.’ I detest luck insofar as it allows an inferior player to defeat a more skilled one — and this is usually the effect.”

The three games in the trilogy Mind War, The Sky Galleon and Warriors of the Green Planet. The review lasts three pages and is largely neutral, although Mind War is picked apart extensively as the weakest of the three titles.

Next, Hartley Patterson discusses the Midgard war gaming magazine and role-playing world. The game was written between 1970-1971 and bore some resemblance to what would later become D&D—a fact Patterson says is completely coincidental, as the author and Gary Gygax “ran in completely different circles.” The game also included rules for creating nations, includings such topics as taxation and military logistics.

Moving on, we come to Open Box—another great piece from Lewis Pulsipher—which focuses on the then-current game releases that were in the shops. From Metagaming Concepts came Ogre, a microgame featuring a futuristic robot tank. TSR gave us Lankhmar, an adventure story where a hero becomes a villain, followed by War of the Star Slavers, a poorly reviewed sci-fi game (with terrible movement!) from Attack Wargaming Association. Finally, there’s Tunnels & Trolls, the D&D variant aimed at RPG novices. The game receives some criticism because of how incomplete it feels—there are few examples of combat, no monsters or magic items and it can “feel tedious to veteran D&D players.”

The MonsterMark system makes its return here, overcomplicating fire-breathing monsters, golems and “other nasties” this time around. The goal of the system is to make a monster’s difficulty appropriate to the type of the creature. In the article, he uses an example that a White Dragon and a Weretiger in the then-current edition of the game would be the same difficulty level, at level six. His system figures out a way to fix that, based on the type of creature. The article is three pages long, with numerous tables and charts.

The Treasure Chest is the true highlight of this issue, revealing a new magic item and several interesting monsters. The Needle of Incalculable Power is an insanely powerful sewing needle. A scientist class is introduced by Dave Langford and there are five new monsters—the rather boring Giant Caterpillar, the foreboding Blood Hawk, the creepy Ning (a sinister creature resembling a genie), the spiky spinescale (a giant, spined frog) and the distant cousin of the Invisible Stalker, the Dune Stalker.

This issue wraps up with some positive feedback—and a few corrections—in the letters section, a brief classifieds section and the obligatory Games Workshop catalogue. That’s it for this issue, but be sure to join us next time when we dive into issue three.

This article was contributed by David J. Buck (Nostalgia Ward) as part of EN World's News Columnist (ENWC) program. When he isn’t learning to play or writing about RPGs, he can be found on Patreon or Twitter. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 
David J. Buck

Comments

I’m digging the dive into White Dwarf magazine. By the time it was on my radar, it had already turned into a GW-only appendage. This opens a window on a different era.
 

murquhart72

Explorer
I don't find it confusing as Traveller and Call of Cthulhu have more in common with D&D than T&T does. Maybe you should look through a copy or even play it sometime. It doesn't even use 20-sided dice or have armor class. It does have elves though, so there's that! But then, so does Pathfinder. And Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. And Role-Master. I guess ALL RPGs are just variants of D&D ;)
 

R_Chance

Explorer
I liked WD untill it turned into a house organ / Warhammer magazine. There were a lot of interesting articles on different games. Once it went straight Warhammer it was a waste of time if you didn't play Warhammer or its various tie ins. Dragon largely became a house organ later as well. The difference being that I played D&D long after I gave up on Warhammer :)
 

Jhaelen

Visitor
I don't find it confusing as Traveller and Call of Cthulhu have more in common with D&D than T&T does.
I have played T&T and I disagree. I don't know enough about Traveller to judge how similar it is to T&T, but CoC is definitely a very different system from D&D.

It's pretty much irrelevant which dice are used, btw., unless they're used in a different _way_, e.g. it's very different to roll 3d6 in a dice pool system vs. rolling 3d6, add up the results and try to beat a target number.

T&T was created to serve as a simpler variant of D&D, while CoC's mechanics (which is a variant of Runequest) are pretty much the antithesis of D&D.
 
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