White Dwarf Revisited — Issue #3 Oct/Nov 1977

Amid the backdrop of a dank cave, two adventurers prepare for battle with a man in the process of transforming into a werewolf. A lone treasure chest sits at the foot of the warrior as a spider looms above. Below, this issue promises to teach readers how to paint Conan and do some solo dungeon mapping.


[h=3]Within the Pages of the Old Tome[/h] One of my favorite things about these older issues of White Dwarf are the vintage ads. Gracing the first page of this issue are four quarter-page ads for Starship Troopers (TallyHo Games), the Ral Partha Angel of Death miniature, 4000 A.D. (Waddingtons House of Games) and a gaming shop—GAMES—in Liverpool.

In Ian Livingstone’s editor’s note, he asks readers if White Dwarf is covering too much D&D and whether they should branch out into other games a bit more. He asks for reader feedback about the direction of the magazine. If you were reading this—or if you did read it when it was new—what would you have responded to Mr. Livingstone’s question?

On page four, Roger Moores brings us an interesting piece on solo dungeon mapping. The basic idea here is to randomly generate a map while exploring a dungeon solo (go figure). There are some excellent illustrations of the maps themselves and a few tables for expanding your own solo dungeon map.

Fred Hemmings takes over with an essay on competitive D&D. This time, we explore a small dungeon called “Pandora’s Maze.” Hemmings expands the rules from the previous issue for making play competitive in this dungeon, the purpose of which is to scare and alarm players, rather than outright kill them. There are some colorful descriptions and some interesting dialogue choices.

In the news this month, there’s a revised D&D rulebook for levels 1-3, a new AD&D book and a book of over 350 D&D monsters! Other notable releases were Travellers from Game Designer’s Workshop, a zine called Underworld Oracle, and Chivalry & Sorcery. A whole host of other RPG’s are mentioned, but most notably was mention of the impending British release of a “film that is outselling Jaws in the United States” — Star Wars. Sorry, folks; you’ll have to wait until Dec. 26 to see the film on the big screen.

Next up is another fun entry on Don Turnbull’s MonsterMark system, this time focusing on determining XP and treasure rewards based off of how an encounter goes. The formulas become a bit more complex and a few more tables are provided for helping determine the difficulty/treasure/XP reward for each monster one creates. On the second page of the article, a sidebar hilariously remedies a few calculation errors from his previous MonsterMark article.

In this month’s Open Box, we have some brand new aids for D&D from “a relatively new American organisation” called Judges Guild. The first item on the review docket is their Ready Ref Sheets, a set of seven reference sheets for the game, labelled A-G by the author. Mostly, it’s material suited for tracking some of the character stats, saving throws, accounting, construction costs and so on. The sheets are given a favorable review (“this pack is worth the money for sheets A, B, D & F alone”) but readers are cautioned to put them in protective plastic as they are printed on flimsy A4 paper. The next item is The Judge’s Shield, a three-part reference sheet that can be assembled as a DM screen.

This DM screen contains the same information as the Ready Ref Sheets, along with additional information for the DM on one side of the screen and information for the players on the opposite side of the screen. For only £2.75, one can purchase a deck of TAC cards containing 135 cards to aid with combat. Most of them are weapons cards, a few have spell or wand information and the rest contain helpful tables. The author is dubious about the deck, believing the cards “are not essential” but “may go a long way towards regularising melee.” He doesn’t like the idea of the cards at all—many of which are more the opinions of Judges Guild writers rather than actual D&D rules—and strongly believes the cards will make D&D gameplay “mechanically more dull.”

Judges Guild also brings usTegel Manor (a haunted house scenario) and City State of the Invincible Overlord (a campaign centered around a city state and some spelunking) this month. Reviewer Don Turnbull criticizes this as well, stating “No DM worth his salt needs someone else to draw dungeons for him, though he would buy fully populated and stocked dungeons in order to gain fresh ideas for his own creation.”

Rounding out the Judges Guild material are Character Chronicle Cards(similar to the TAC Cards above) and First Fantasy Campaign, a release of Dave Arneson’s famous Blackmoor campaign setting. Turnbull overwhelmingly recommends the latter. The next Open Box entry focuses on Citadel (from Fantasy Games Unlimited), a two player game with plenty of maps. It’s a highly original game of good vs. evil, but it suffers from a lack of dice, miniatures and combat arithmetic. Finally, there’s a short review Fourth Dimension (J. A. Ball & Co), a sort of science fiction board game and Battle of the Five Armies (TSR), a wargame that reviewer Martin Easterbrook didn’t like very much. He says the game is frustrating, with unclear rules and isn’t accurate to the battle represented in the Tolkien book.

Lewis Pulsipher picks up the pen next to author a piece on D&D Campaigns, focusing on philosophy, detection spells and alignment. The highlight of the issue is the next story Colouring Conan’s Thews covers in-depth painting of a miniature of the character, displaying some interesting painting styles and techniques.

Andy Holt continues his series on The Loremaster of Avallon, with a chart to use for generating secret codes and some additional combat information, utilizing a deck of cards. John Rothwell brings readers the Assassin class. Originally appearing in Blackmoor, the assisin class is a bit of a powerhouse for the early editions of D&D. It’s nice to see it represented here. New Magic Rooms is a short piece on adding uniqueness to your dungeon with a cloning room and a clumsy room (they’re exactly what their names suggest).

The issue closes with a few letters— the first from a guy expressing disdain for the difficulty of Don Turnbull’s MonsterMark system (“if one is not a student of mathematics, the mechanics are impossible”) who was also incredibly annoyed with author Fred Hemmings. Apparently, Hemmings used a dungeon from the letter writer’s publication, The Dungeoneer, without attributing the source in the previous month’s Competitive D&D article. The other letters are from someone happy with the monster classification system from the previous issue and from a player lamenting the absence of miniatures with actual dungeon gear. In Classifieds, D&D Liverpool is looking for players while Games Workshop has a job opportunity available in London.


This month’s Games Workshop catalogue is packed full of D&D, dice, figures and science fiction games. On the back cover, a faerie kneels, eyes closed, concluding our third installment of a look back at White Dwarf. See you next issue!

Contributed by David J. Buck (Nostalgia Ward) as part of the EN World Columnist program. When he isn’t learning to play or writing about RPGs, he can be found at Tedium: the Dull Side of the Internet, Nerdvana Media,Patreon and Twitter.
 
David J. Buck

Comments

I could spend a year making a dungeon, and I don't think I'd ever come anywhere close to the compact complexity of Tegel Manor!

Judges Guild also brings usTegel Manor (a haunted house scenario) and City State of the Invincible Overlord (a campaign centered around a city state and some spelunking) this month. Reviewer Don Turnbull criticizes this as well, stating “No DM worth his salt needs someone else to draw dungeons for him, though he would buy fully populated and stocked dungeons in order to gain fresh ideas for his own creation.”
 

AriochQ

Adventurer
Do you have a picture of the Tallyho Games Starship Troopers ad? I have my Avalon Hill Starship Troopers, but wasn't aware there was another game out there.
 

ahungbunny

Visitor
"The issue closes with a few letters— the first from a guy expressing disdain for the difficulty of Don Turnbull’s MonsterMark system (“if one is not a student of mathematics, the mechanics are impossible”) who was also incredibly annoyed with author Fred Hemmings. Apparently, Hemmings used a dungeon from the letter writer’s publication, The Dungeoneer, without attributing the source in the previous month’s Competitive D&D article."
Had to laugh at the omission of that particular letter-writer's name. That's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennell_Jaquays , a fantastic artist and writer who wrote created two of the best D&D modules of all time in Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia. She later joined TSR in writing, editing, and artist capacities, and did work for seemingly every other RPG company at different times until the early '90s. She's one of the most talented people in first two decades of the hobby, in my estimation.
 
Had to laugh at the omission of that particular letter-writer's name. That's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennell_Jaquays , a fantastic artist and writer who wrote created two of the best D&D modules of all time in Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia. She later joined TSR in writing, editing, and artist capacities, and did work for seemingly every other RPG company at different times until the early '90s. She's one of the most talented people in first two decades of the hobby, in my estimation.
That is an amazing bit of information! Thanks for sharing! I didn't even make the connection. For the next installment, I'll have to look up the names (of the letter writers) and see if they have any unique connections as well.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Nice! Love these kinds of articles. Did you do write ups for issues 1 and 2? It would be nice if the posts would have links to prior posts in the series.

@Ralif Redhammer Frog God Games acquired the rights to Tegel Manor and successfully funded a new printing 5e through Kickstarter. I'm very excited to get the final product in my hands. It didn't spring for the full 1":5' scale cloth map as it was a bit too rich for me and I prefer to use the digital maps.
 
Nice! Love these kinds of articles. Did you do write ups for issues 1 and 2? It would be nice if the posts would have links to prior posts in the series.

@Ralif Redhammer Frog God Games acquired the rights to Tegel Manor and successfully funded a new printing 5e through Kickstarter. I'm very excited to get the final product in my hands. It didn't spring for the full 1":5' scale cloth map as it was a bit too rich for me and I prefer to use the digital maps.
That's a great suggestion!

Here is the first issue http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?5511-White-Dwarf-Revisited-%97-Issue-1-June-July-1977

Here's the second http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?5829-White-Dwarf-Revisited-%97-Issue-2-Aug-Sep-1977
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Thanks! After checking out the links I realized that I did read the first one, but had missed the second.

I like these kinds of series that dive into and summarize the content in old publications.

I don't have much interest in going back and reading every issue of Dragon, Dungeon, or White Dwarf. Much of the material didn't age well and little has relevance to the games I'm playing today, but I love the nostalgia and I like seeing the history and evolution of the game through their pages, which series like these do a great job at highlighting.
 
Thanks again! I'm happy to keep writing them. For me, it's a way to reconnect with the past and perhaps learn about things I may have overlooked through the years. Sometimes I may not realize the significance of something right away, but that's part of the fun. I'm writing the recap for issue #4 soon.
 

Emirikol

Explorer
Thanks for doing these. I alerted the wfrp community to keep an eye out for the evolution of the warhammer universe too so i hope you get more readers of these.
 
I already have the Goodman Games reprint of the original, which is probably enough for me. But I feel like a giant cloth map would make it a bit easier to keep track of things, that's for sure.

@Ralif Redhammer Frog God Games acquired the rights to Tegel Manor and successfully funded a new printing 5e through Kickstarter. I'm very excited to get the final product in my hands. It didn't spring for the full 1":5' scale cloth map as it was a bit too rich for me and I prefer to use the digital maps.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Didn't know Goodman Games did a reprint. That said, the amount of love and work that FGG is putting into this new edition has me excited. The new maps look like they'll be gorgeous.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
Thanks for yet another nostalgia binge :) It helps me remember just what I was thinking about / doing in RPGs at the time. Its interesting for me to look forward to what I'm doing now and see the influences. As WD continued it was, for me, more about Traveller and other RPGs than D&D.
 

Advertisement

Latest threads

In Our Store!

Advertisement

Top