Dragon by Dragon – April 1982 (60)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but things have sure been stressful lately. I’ve been working hard and praying for peace, and trying to relax with old TV shows, old movies and some podcasts about fun things. I will readily admit that my interests tend towards the old – movies from the 30’s and 40’s, TV from the 60’s through 80’s, “bronze age” comics, old games, etc. There’s something about the design and awkward charm that really get me, not to mention nostalgia for places and people I’ll never see again.

To that end, before I present the wonders of Dragon Magazine #60, I must say goodbye to an old family friend. When I went over to my dad’s house to help work on his patio this week, he let me know that the old Panasonic microwave had finally radiated its last cup of tea.

We bought the microwave back in 1980 (two years before this particular Dragon magazine was published), and I still remember where the shop was, though it’s long since been replaced. It was my parents’ first and only microwave oven. I don’t have any deep emotional attachment to the item, really, but I was rooting for it to stay operational forever. Still, 40 years is pretty damn good for an appliance.

So, farewell Panasonic – I learned to cook hot dogs in you, enjoyed chocolate candy my mother made in you, consumed waaay to many Tony’s microwave pizzas heated by you in my formative years (as in “forming a husky body”) and found about 20,000 cups of water placed in you for heating and subsequently forgotten by my dad. Salute!

Now – to Dragon Magazine. This baby was published in 1982 – so it is still prior to me discovering D&D, which would have been 1984. I don’t remember ever checking this one out from the library, so the contents are new to me – and as always, this is less a review than a “here’s what I dug about this issue”.

We start with an ad for a video game called Temple of Apshai. No memory of this one, but I do agree with their sentiment about slaying monsters. It came with a 56-page “book of lore”, which reminds me of the old Ultima and Might & Magic games that I had. Ultima had a cool cloth map (a tapestry, you know), and M&M had a book with all the spells and stuff in it. A little perusal of the interwebs reveals it was part of a trilogy, and that there are many places to download/play it, including the good old Internet Archive.

Nerd alert:

Dear editor:

There are a couple of problems with Robert Barrow’s article, “Aiming for Realism in Archery,” in issue #58 of DRAGON™ Magazine. From my standpoint, it seems that the good author spends too much time with modern archery and has read nothing of medieval history dealing with the subject.

I mean, the writer of that missive is probably correct … but jeez – can’t I just roll 1d20, maybe do some damage, and move on with my life. I’m not sure there’s any real value to re-creating an historical battle, but I’m positive that re-enacting a fictional fight with some orcs is positively goofy, to quote Jan Brady.

The first big piece in this issue is “All About Elves”. You get Roger E. Moore’s “The Elven Point of View”, with super cool Erol Otus art – the ultimate elven fighter/mage. I really dig the idea that only elves can be fighter/mages. There are, of course, lots of cool ideas in the article – Roger E. Moore is one of my favorites. Roger and Georgia Moore then present the Elven Gods – these are the additions to the pantheon beyond Corellon Larethian in Deities & Demigods. These days, I’m more apt to make up my own, but as a kid, articles like this were eye-openers to me. Notions I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Speaking of elves – here’s a question from Sage Advice:

Why are elven thieves always children?

Anyone who has a relatively recent edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide will probably think this question doesn’t make sense. The latest edition of the DMG lists 100+5d6 as the starting age for player-character elven thieves (page 12). This puts them into the “young adult” range according to the Age Categories chart (page 13) for high elves — the only kind of elves who can be player characters. However, it wasn’t always so. Earlier editions of the DMG gave 50+5d6 as the starting age, which would indeed mean that all elven thieves would start their adventuring lives as “adolescents” of 55 to 80 years old. Fortunately, this inaccuracy was spotted and corrected in later editions; anyone with an old book can simply make the appropriate change in the text.

Who else likes the idea that only elven teenagers become professional thieves? Sometimes, the “mistakes” are more fun and more inspirational than the corrections.

We also get the “Half-Elven Point of View” by Roger E. Moore to round things out.

Gygax’s “From the Sorcerer’s Scroll” is a big load of cantrips. AD&D cantrips were 0-level spells before later editions pumped them up and made them more useful. I think it would be cool to make these available to non-magic-users on scrolls. Most of these cantrips require the player to really use their imagination and creativity to make them useful in a dungeon adventure – so naturally, I love them.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I absolutely love the illustrations some companies used to illustrate the miniatures they produced. They always look cooler than the actual miniatures, and I just think they’re little works of art.

Ed Greenwood has an article on firearms for D&D which is aptly named “Firearms”. A semi-controversial subject, since Gygax went the direction of “gunpowder doesn’t work in a fantasy world” and many adopted that idea. As with so many articles in these days, it’s pretty thorough, and looks to me like it would blend nicely into the game. Handguns, for example, do 2d3 damage, firing every other round, with a max range of 50 – so they aren’t going to dominate the game. It might be a cool idea to use orcs in the way Tolkien did, as harbingers of the soulless machine age, and arm them with gunpowder weapons, while the heroes use the “elegant weapons of a more civilized age.”

I often include the first paragraph of short stories in Dragon, so here’s a sample of “Wear Wolf” by an unknown author:

The head of the Cheetah seemed to smile mockingly at me. You’ve forgotten something, I could almost hear it say. I resisted the urge to answer back, But I always forget something when I’m late. There are enough aFnimate objects to talk to; talking to inanimate ones is a waste of time.

Dragon #60 includes a complete game – Flight of the Boodles – by Chuck Stoll of Louisville, KY. It recreates the epic journey of the boodles through the “Grumjug-infested passes of the Snagrock Mountains”. The art makes it look like a fun game to me. The map and counters are included – with a little work you could probably recreate them in a cleaner format and print them out to play the game. Each player takes the side of the Boodles or Grumjugs, purchases the pieces they are going to use in their force, and then goes at it, the Boodles trying to break through the mountains and the Grumjugs trying to stop them. Basically – a fun little wargame.

This is an April issue, so April Fools Day jokes was a requirement. In this issue we get one pseudo-joke – the Jester NPC class by Roger E. Moore – who had some thief abilities – climb walls, pick pockets, catch objects – and some jester spells (levels 1 to 8). The spell list is not extensive, but the spells are pretty darn good. I think you could do a great campaign where a hidden evil threatens a kingdom, and the evil in question is a high level jester who wants to sieze the throne for his own, or maybe who is trying to spread chaos for the chaos gods.

Roger Moore also does “Midgets in the Earth” – a comical version of the usual “Giants in the Earth” articles presenting D&D stats for literary characters. This one gives you the likes of Eubeen Hadd, 20th level halfling thief, and Morc the Orc, 12th level snaga orc idiot. The Dragon’s Bestiary follows up with monster stats for Donald Duck by Tom Moldvay (which could work well in RuneQuest-inspired games) or any game where you’d like your PC’s to get whooped by an angry duck, the Tasmanian Devil by Steven Sullivan, the Jolly Green Giant by Michael Nystul (name sounds familiar), Marvin the Martian by David Cook (which one could use as the basis for a whole planet of martians in a cosmic adventure), Baseball Bugbears by Karl Kesel and Tom Richmond (probably a reference to the Bad News Bears) and the Werebeaver by Jeff Goetz (which looks suspiciously like Jerry Mathers). They’re all joke monsters, but all usable as well.

To follow up on the April levity, you get an in-depth article on the Pooka by Michael Fountain. I’ve seen many takes on this monster, which would take some real skill to make work in a game, as there’s such a big emphasis on illusion.

You also get some background stuff for agents in Top Secret, some variant scenarios for Trojan War and a big article on Alignment (since it’s the 80’s and there were many articles on alignment).

“Wormy” by Dave Trampier presents the secret handshake of trolls … which, of course, I cannot show in all good conscience.

“What’s New with Phil and Dixie” by Phil Foglio looks at minigames, including one called “Escape from Cthulhu” that just includes a short incantation …

And a tall order!

Fare well, lads and lasses, and find some love and happiness amid all the troubles of the world. Better yet – be the love and happiness in a troubled world!

Dragon by Dragon – April 1980 (36)

There will come a day when the April edition of The Dragon will be full of jokes. Based on the cover, I’d say that day was not in April of 1980.

The aforementioned cover is by Dean Morrissey, and it is inspired by that issue’s short story by Gardner Fox, “The Cube from Beyond”, a Niall of the Far Travels story. Mr. Morrissey is still a working artist – you can see some of his pieces HERE.

Let’s check out 10 cool things about issue #36 …


First and foremost, I’m always a sucker for a good sword & sorcery tale by Gardner Fox. Here’s a sample:

“Now Thavas Tomer was a doomed man. He had fled down the halls and corridors, seeking sanctuary—where no sanctuary was to be found. At his heels had come Niall, his great sword Blood-drinker in his hand, seeking to make an end to this magician-king who had slain and raped and robbed all those against whom he had sent his mercenaries.”

If somebody could figure out a way to make a random idea generator that plucked passages from fantasy stories, I bet it would be a great way to come up with adventures or campaigns. Three different passages from the same book might inspire three very different campaigns.


An interesting “Up on a Soap Box” by Larry DiTillio, regarding him running an adventure he normally ran for adults for some adults and teens at a convention. Here’s an excerpt:

“In the same game another incident occurred, again with that same Paladin player. This one involved a mysterious monk smoking a substance from a hookah which he offered to certain party members. My friends accepted somewhat overeagerly, while the Paladin again asked me that question. Was smoking a drug against his alignment? Now, I’m not a junkie, nor do I think drugs are of any benefit to teen-agers (no high is as good as your own natural openness to things at that age), but I have had a good deal of experience with a whole gamut of consciousness-altering substances and would be hard pressed to declare them categorically evil.”

The first incident involved a dungeon room where sex could be purchased. In both cases, the paladin inquires whether these acts are against his alignment. It’s a tricky question, and does get to a problem with alignment – i.e. the interpretation of what it means. No answers here, but an interesting problem, and an interesting article.


In this issue, Gygax chimes in with some stats for Conan. It’s funny, but I was actually searching for this article recently, looking for inspiration for maybe making some revisions to the barbarian class in Blood & Treasure.

In doing so, I found some comments on websites that this article was a mistake, in that the weird rules changes needed to simulate Conan showed the weakness of the D&D system. I disagree – D&D is a game. Conan was a character in stories. No random rolls there, no comparisons of hit rolls and Armor Class. That a game cannot simulate something in a story is not a condemnation of the game (which, in D&D’s case, was not designed specifically to simulate Conan stories in the first place).

So, how does Conan shake out? Well, which Conan. The piece actually presents Conan at different ages – 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. Neat idea. We also see how his fighter and thief levels change through his ages. His fighter level runs from a low of 4 at age 15 to a high of 24 at age 40 … and then back down to 12 by the time he’s 70.

How does a level drop? Well, there’s really no way to do it in the game, but I thought about using a rule that each year without adventuring might result in a character losing 10% of his earned XP. If you don’t stay in practice, you get rusty and, therefore, lose levels. Just a thought.

So, let’s look at Conan at age 25.

Conan, Human Fighter/Thief: Level 12/8; HP 132; AC 16; ATK attacks 5 times every 2 rounds; Str 18/00, Int 15, Wis 10, Dex 20, Con 18, Cha 15; AL Chaotic Neutral (good tendencies); Psionics–Latent–animal telepathy, detect magic, precognition, mind bar.

Conan gets the following special abilities:

  • When he rolls a total of “21” to hit, he scores double damage.
  • He is 75% undetectable in underbrush and woodlands.
  • He surprises opponents 50% of the time.
  • He is only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d20.
  • He gets a +4 bonus on all saves.
  • Poison can knock him unconscious, but never kill him.
  • He regains hit points at double the normal rate, and regains hit points at the normal rate even without resting.
  • He has 25% magic resistance if he is aware that magic is being used against him.
  • His psionics are all latent – he does not know he has them, and cannot consciously choose to use them.
  • When wielding an off-hand weapon, he can parry one attack per round with it.
  • He can move at a trot all day without tiring.
  • His trails are 75% undetectable.
  • His vision and hearing are 50% better than normal.
  • When he pummels people, his opponents are treated as slowed; his fists are treated as mailed even when bare.
  • When grappling, his effective height is 7′, and his effective weight is 350 lb.
  • He gets a 15% bonus to overbearing attacks
  • He does unarmed damage as though armed with a club


In “Sage Advice” by Jean Wells …

“Question: Why can’t half-orcs be raised, especially if they are 90% human as the Players Handbook says?

Answer: The Players Handbook does not say that half-orcs are 90% human. It says that 10% of them (from which player characters are drawn) resemble humans enough to pass for one under most circumstances. Genetically, a true half-orc is always 50% human. Half-orcs cannot be raised simply because they do not have souls. I went right to the top for the answer to this one, and according to Gary Gygax himself, ‘Half-orcs cannot be raised-period.'”

It occurs to me that the inability to raise demi-humans was a balancing factor in old D&D for all of their special abilities.


Len Lakofka tries his hand at setting all those deity-killing PC’s right by setting down some truths about the gods. How many DM’s, I wonder, design their pantheon specifically for one day fighting high-level adventurers?

Here are Lakofka’s definitions for deity-hood:

1. Has 180 or more hit points
2. Can cast a spell or has a power at the 20th level of ability
3. Can fight or perform acts as a 20th level Lord or 20th level Thief

Those who cannot do this are not deities. This includes Jubilex, Ki-rins and Yeenoghu. Baal, Orcus, Tiamat and Bahamut, on the other hand, are deities.

He also states that deities get their special abilities from the Outer Planes, while lesser beings get their powers from the inner planes or from deities.

Much more here, including abilities from ability scores of 19 or higher (or 25+ for strength).

It looks like the blueprint used for the later Deities & Demigods / Legends & Lore books.


Now that’s a great illustration for selling a monster book. You can pick up the PDF HERE.


Turns out there was a prank hiding inside this issue after all – technically The Dragon #36 1/2.

We have articles about how to make the most out of your pet dragon, some new monsters (see below), keeping your players poor with the tax man, Bazaar of the Ordinary (web of cob), a random table (d30!) of things to say when you accidentally (or maybe not accidentally) summon Demogorgon, Leomund’s in a Rut (expanding character footwear options), this month’s module – a 10×10 room with nothing in it (map provided), and an add that includes Detailed Advanced D&D, the next step in fantasy gaming.

As for one of those new monsters:

The Keebler, Small Fey: HD 0; AC 13; ATK none; MV 40′; XP 50; AL N (good tendencies); Special-Magic resistance 60%, bake cookies (Will save at -4 or charmed); Spells-3/day-create water, purify food & drink, slow poison, create food & water, neutralize poison, locate object (edible substances) – as though by 7th level cleric.

7) The Mongols

Neat article by Michael Kluever on the history, weapons and tactics of the Mongols. Mongols done the way they were are probably pretty underused in fantasy gaming – they were a pretty fascinating group, and a campaign that includes a rapidly expanding Mongol Empire (wherein PC’s leave town, adventure in a dungeon, and come back to find the town razed or absorbed into the empire) would be pretty cool, especially if that expansion ends up being crucial to the game.

How was the typical Mongol warrior equipped:

Armor ranged from none to leather to scale armor, plus conical helms (leather for light cavalry, steel for heavy cavalry) and small, circular shields made of wicker covered with leather; they also wore silk undershirts that apparently helped to minimize damage from arrows when they had to be removed from wounds

Two composite bows, one for short range, one for long range; they used armor-piercing arrows, whistling arrows to signal and incendiary arrows (tipped with small grenades – apparently the Duke boys didn’t invent the idea); each warrior carried two quivers with 60 arrows in each

Heavy cavalry also carried a scimitar, battle axe OR horseman’s mace, a 12′ long lance with a hook for yanking warriors off their horses and a dagger

Light cavalry carried a lighter sword, two to three javelins and a dagger

8) Giants in the Earth

This edition, by Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay, includes:

Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood (17th level fighter, 10th level thief, 8th level cleric)

Lovecraft’s Richard Upton Pickman (King of the Ghouls, 9th level fighter)

Thomas Burnett Swann’s Silverbells (forest minotaur 15th level ranger, 13th level paladin)

The last one caught my attention, since I’d never heard of the author. The idea is that the original stock of minotaurs, termed forest minotaurs here, were neutral good defenders of the woodlands and the fey creatures who lived therein. You can find his books for sale at Amazon.

9) A New Way to Track XP

Experience points, like alignment, are a perennial sub-system people are trying to improve. In this version, XP are based on actual damage inflicted (modified by the strength of the opponents), and for deeds actually done. To whit:

For non-magical monsters, you get 5 XP per point of damage done, multiplied by the difference between the monster’s AC and 10

For magical monsters, 10 XP per point of damage done, same modifier.

For spellcasting in combat, 10 XP per level of spell

For spellcasting in a hostile situation, 5 XP per level of spell

Thieves get XP for gold stolen, maybe only if they grab a larger share than the other members of their party

Not a bad idea, really.

10) The Fastest Guns that Never Lived

This is a reprint, collection and expansion of articles I remember covering many reviews ago. Designed for Boot Hill, it’s a pretty fun article for fans of westerns, and a great opportunity for fan debates. If you think it’s bunk, you can blame Allen Hammack, Brian Blume, Gary Gygax and Tim Kask.

So, let’s get to the winners in each stat:

Fastest Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Bob Steele, (3) Paladin

Slowest: Pancho

Most Accurate Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Will Sonnet and Col. Tim McCoy, (3) Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Paladin and Lee Van Cleef

Least: Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright

Bravest Gun in the West: Charles Bronson

Most Cowardly: Pancho

Strongest Gun in the West: Hoss Cartwright

Weakest: Will Sonnet

Somebody was in love with Clint Eastwood, huh?


Todd Lockwood (that one?) brings us the monster of the month, a race of warm-blooded flying reptile dudes. Here are the Blood & Treasure stats.

Krolli, Large Monstrous Humanoid: HD 2 to 6; AC 17; ATK 1 bite (1d6+1), rear claw (1d8+1), hand (1d8 or by weapon +4); MV 20′ (fly 40′); AL varies; XP 200 to 600; Special-High dexterity, multiple attacks, acute senses, surprised on 1 on 1d6, 25% magic resistance.

They are encountered in lairs, with 3d20 in lair, 25% females and young, with 2-3 and 1/2 HD each, and 1d8 7+2 HD chieftains. Encountered among men, they are usually mercenaries or slavers, and could be found as body guards or military officers.

They have high natural strength (20) and dexterity (23).

They may be of any class, though 95% are fighters. Of the remainder, 70% are clerics. They cannot wear armor, but often carry shields. They are almost never thieves or assassins.

Side note – I really loved Lockwood’s stuff for 3rd edition D&D – a very worthy artist to carry that torch, I think.

Hope you enjoyed this review … I leave you with Tramp

Dragon by Dragon – May 1978 (14)

I would have been 6 years old for this one, and 6 years away from discovery D&D. Let’s see what it has to offer …

First up, winners on that “Name the Monster” contest. Conrad Froelich of Wyoming, OH was the winner with “The Creature Some Call Jarnkung”. Runner’s up were Cursed Crimson Crawler by Thomas & Edward McCloud and The Ulik by Ann Corlon (who sez women didn’t play D&D back in the day). The winning stats were as follows:

Jarnkung, Large Magical Beast, Chaotic (NE), High Intelligent: HD 5; AC 3; Atk 1 tail (2d6) and 1 or 2 weapons; Move 20 (or 9 for S&W); Save F10 R11 W12 (or 12 for S&W); XP 500 (CL 6); Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, magic resistance 20%, detect thoughts (ESP) at will, may have psionic powers.

A. Mark Ratner now gives a review of Space Marines (not the later effort by Games Workshop), a game which he designed. Apparently it is a modified Tractics which owes something to Starguard. I wish that meant something to me. What did I learn about Space Marines from this article? Well, it has things like Nuclear Damper Fields, Mekpurrs (inspired by the killer herbivores from Satan’s World by Anderson), canineoid, rauwoofs, hissss*st (based on The Time Mercenaries by Philip High) and Klackons. The article has many rules ideas and additions for the game – mostly involving air combat and underwater combat. Makes it sound like a cool game.

J. Ward offers up a review of Nomad Gods. Unfortunately, this is another game I haven’t played or read, so I can’t comment much about it. Likewise with Tony Watson’s review of Cosmic Encounter.

Barton Stano and Jim Ward present Robots as Players in Metamorphosis Alpha. This one gets down into it, giving players structure points (115) and power points (100) to spend on propulsion, computer units, armor and various physical devices like quills, lead shielding and grasping claws. While this seems like a logical way to handle robots, it also stands as a preview of where RPG’s were going in terms of character building.

Michael McCrery now presents Excerpt From an Interview With a Rust Monster. Apparently this hinges on an NPC who was polymorphed into a rust monster, and now sometimes shows up as a wandering monster in McCrery’s dungeon.

Cool miniatures ad for spaceships …

Five sizes for each, which brings to my mind the ship sizes I used in Space Princess – starfighter, shuttle, corvette, star cruiser and dreadnaught. For their part, the ships are Galactic Dreadnaughts, Galactic Attack Carriers, Galactic Battlecruisers, Stellar Cruisers and Stellar Destroyers. OK – their names are better – I’ll give them that.

Gygax writes From the Sorcerer’s Scroll on D&D Relationships, the Parts and the Whole. This one gets into the edition mess that was forthcoming for TSR – i.e. what is the “Basic Set”, will the Original game be around much longer and what is Advanced D&D.

James Ward pops in now with Monty Haul and His Friends at Play. This appears to be a satirical piece about the folks at TSR. I dug the accompanying art:

And now, a peeved letter to the editor about the Cthulhu Mythos from the February issue. This is classic geek one-ups-manship at its finest, for example:

“First, the Elder Gods, after they defeated the Great Old Ones, stripped Azathoth of a lot of his power, so his hits should be lowered to 200 to 225.”

“If you’re wondering who is number one — YOG-SHOTHOTH his hits should be raised to 400. You can say that is rather powerful; you’re damn right. The Great Old Ones are so powerful, that the total power of the Elder Gods could not destroy them; only imprison them.”

“These may seem trivial, but if Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Augest Derleth, or Robert Howard saw your use, they’d roll over in their graves not once but at least ten times.”

Another one from James WardThe Total Person in Metamorphosis Alpha. This is a set of random tables for determining a character’s background. I always think these are most useful for Referees working out NPC’s.

Next we have an ogre fight in Wormy and Fineous Fingers being offered up as a sacrifice for a dark knight.

Gregory Rihn writes Lycanthropy – The Progress of the Disease. You can tell D&D is getting more advanced now and a little less free-wheeling for some folks in 1978. I dig this paragraph:

“A low-level werebear who takes six rounds to change fully would fight as follows: round one, normal level; round two, level minus two; round three, level minus four; round four, bear minus four; (claws and teeth have reached minimal offensive effectiveness) round five, bear minus two; round six, normal bear ability. Of course somewhere in here he has to shed his clothes.”

I like the idea of a lycanthrope changing during the course of a battle. The article includes a level table, which I would think was for adjudicating lycanthropes with class levels in the game – it has columns for “Changes Per Day”, “Chance of Involuntary Changes”, “Time Required for Change” and such – except it also has XP for each level. I guess it makes sense – XP determine one’s “lycanthrope level” separately from one’s normal class level.

And that’s it for #14. A few good bits in this one, but not my favorite issue. Even though I don’t always get much use for the articles in these issues, I still find the environment of gaming inspiration in these magazines. Well worth reading, especially for folks who have no grounding in the history of the game.

Dragon by Dragon – February 1978 (12)

The cover of this baby trumpets an exclusive preview of Andre Norton’s D&D novel, Quag Keep! Let’s see what else this issue has to offer …

The first article is Leon Wheeler‘s The More Humorous Side of D&D, which, if I’m honest, is the literary equivalent of “Let me tell you about my character”. My preference was for the little illustration …

Simple but effective line art … something missing from the more modern products, I think. But maybe I’m just an old fart.

Up next is a “D&D Variant” – A New Look at Illusionists by Rafael Ovalle. Rafael’s illusionist has a 7% chance per level of discerning an illusion created by a creature (i.e. rakshasa, succubus, leprechaun) and, if I’m reading this correctly, always can tell another illusionist’s handiwork. Their spells can affect astral and ethereal creatures because they involve light. A few new spells are added as well, including improved displacement, sensory displacement, discord, gaze of umber hulk, create spectres and basilisk gaze.

Jerome Arkenberg now provides us with The Persian Mythos. This is a quick list, and provides an Armor Class, Move, Hit Points, Magic Ability, Fighter Ability and Psionic Ability for each of the deities. Vohu Manah, “Good Mind”, for example, has the following stats:

Armor Class: 2

Move: 18″

Hit Points: 250

Magic Ability: Wizard – 20th

Fighter Ability: Lord – 15th

Psionic Ability: Class 1

Short and sweet, and probably enough to run a combat, if a combat was actually needed.  I’m sure more modern players will scoff at the AC, which would be 17 or 18 in modern games, but with 250 hit points and all that magical and fighting ability, it’s probably sufficient to clean a few old school clocks. More importantly, a combat encounter with this guy in old school rules would last about as long as it would with new school rules, just without a page of stats that will largely turn out to be useless.

It’s actually a pretty thorough list, and includes several heroes and archdemons.

Hey, check out the ad for this game …

Breaking new ground, those fellas.

In the Design Forum, James Ward lends us Some Thoughts on the Speed of a Lightning Bolt. In the article, he sings the praises of the new rule (or variant rule) on melee rounds in Eldritch Wizardry. It’s an odd article that, these days, would just be a post on a forum discussing the new TSR book.

James Endersby and John Carroll now offer another “forum comment” describing a Ship’s Cargo from some game they played involving a voyage to Japan.

James Bruner now has an article about The Druids. Probably a good synopsis of the current knowledge on druids, but much of what people thought of the druids in the 1970’s has turned out to be faulty. Still, some of it appears to be dead on, and I’m sure it was a useful article in its day, if only to veer people away from the “Druid = Fantasy Hippy” syndrome that sadly persists to this day.

Another neat ad …

If the Persian gods weren’t enough for you, Rob Kuntz now presents The Lovecraftian Mythos in Dungeons & Dragons. Apparently, J. Eric Holmes was primarily responsible. So, here’s what you all want to know …


Armor Class: 2

Move: 12″

Hit Points: 200

Magic Ability: (see below) [when you see below, you see nothing about magical ability]

Fighter Ability: 15th level

Psionic Ability: Class 1

Those who see him must save vs. fear, and if released from his sleep, all within 100 miles must save or go insane. He regenerates 10 hit points per round, can teleport 1/2 mile, is resistant to water, cold and vacuum and can call 10d10 deep ones up from the sea bottom. He retreats from the Elder Sign. He can attack physically and psionically each round – meaning, I suppose, that he can make an attack and use a psionic power each round.

A later issue has stats for Conan. When I come across it, I’ll have to pit Conan vs. Cthulhu and see how it turns out.

Another great ad, this time for All the World’s Monsters vol. 2.

It is followed by a quick, unbiased review for the new AD&D Monster Manual. The review calls it “An absolute must for every D&D enthusiast everywhere”.

The preview of Norton’s Quag Keep is next …

Milo Fagon, swordsman, and Naile Fangtooth, were-boar berserker, have met in an inn in the Thieves’ Quarter of Greyhawk. They have one thing in common, each wears on his wrist a wide copper bracelet in which are set a number of unusually shaped dice. Puzzling over this strange bond, they are also uneasily aware that something momentous is about to happen to them both, though they cannot see that any of the other people in the inn are paying any attention to them. 

Well, not a terrible issue – the pantheons might have come in handy, but much of the rest seems like the equivalent of chit chat. We finish with the following …

Deviant Friday – Steve LeCouilliard Edition

Steve LeCouilliar, AKA Fearless Fosdick, writes and draws comedy and action-comedy comic books. Specifically comics about a barbarian mom called Una and comics about Much the Miller’s Son. I love his pen and ink work and would love to see some single-panel strips of his show up in old school products a’la the strips that appear in the old DMG.














I would love to have somebody play an Una-like character in a game – barbarian woman with children. Would be lots of fun.

A moment for self-promotion …

Got to see a printer’s proof of my first Hexcrawl Classic for the Frog God yesterday. Looks good – hopefully will be out soon. I’m going to try to put up a permanent page for each “product line” I’m involved with, providing links to the books, blog posts related to them, etc. Hopefully I’ll get them finished this weekend.

Deviant Friday – Enymy Edition

Enymy does some nice stuff with a wild, somewhat weird, abstract style – not Erol Otus weird, in fact not very old school at all, but definitely high on the fun factor. Enjoy the images – and since they’re super hero centric, I’m throwing in some stats as well …

[alas, the image is gone, but I wanted the Spidey stats to remain]

I kinda like the more alien feel of this Cthulhu
Yeah, Cthulhu’s probably better to stat out as a monster, but what the hey …
I don’t really know who these people are, but I do agree with punching Hitler.
You know, I’ve never read any of the Hellboy universe of comics, even though it pushes many of my geek buttons. One of these days I’ll have to delve in.
And be sure to check out his Marvel A to Z bit …

Deviant Friday – Mike Dubisch Edition

Mike Dubisch does some wonderfully creepy drawings, mostly in the Cthulhu vein. Check it out boys and girls and then check your SAN. Some are a bit NSFW, unless you work in a topless bar, so beware.

Probably won’t be found singing with a crab any time soon, but she might run into trouble with a tentacled horror.
I understand Alan Gribben will be releasing a new version of the text that excludes the word F’tagn – shocking.
It’s not surprising to me that he doesn’t have a Red Sonja or Dejah Thoris in his gallery, but man would I be interested to see what he would do with them!

The Traveler

An astounding array of creatures passes through the Land of Nod, from elves to native-born humans to  ambulatory fungi and floating brains. But among the more interesting are the so-called Travelers. Travelers are human beings, often from our own waking world, who navigate the Land of Nod with the power of their dreaming mind. Although seemingly awake and aware, all travelers actually exist in a state of semi-consciousness, living out their fancies thanks to the shaky fabric of reality that makes up the nonsensical tapestry called Nod. Travelers are adventurers first and foremost, with a thirst for new and strange vistas. Travelers are imaginative and creative and often impulsive, for they are used to reality shifting to please them and sometimes taken back when events do not comply with their wishes.

PRIME REQUISITES: Charisma and Wisdom
HIT DICE: 1d6+1 (+2 hit points per level after 9th)
ARMOR PERMITTED: Leather, ring, chainmail, shields.
FOCUS: To use his special abilities, a traveler must possess a focus object and must be holding it in his hand. To use his abilities, the traveler must activate them with a successful saving throw. He must then remain in a somewhat calm reverie; emotional and physical disruptions can stop the traveler in his tracks and necessitate further saving throws to maintain the reverie.
From 1st to 4th level, a traveler can impose his will upon his immediate surroundings. To use these abilities, he must be grasping a walking stick with a silver tip. Such a stick can be obtained for 30 gp, and can be used as a club in combat.
From 5th to 8th level, a traveler can use his powers to explore on a global scale. To use abilities gained from 4th to 6th level, the traveler must possess a golden compass. Such a compass can be constructed by an expert jeweler at a cost of 500 gp.
From 9th on, the traveler learns to pierce the veil of time itself. In order to use his new abilities, he must possess a pocket watch made of gold and studded with diamonds. Such a device can be constructed by an expert jeweler at a cost of 3,000 gp.
Creatures wishing to accompany the traveler on his extra-dimensional trips must take care. The traveler can travel with one person per two levels. These hangers-on must keep their eyes closed tight while traveling or go mad. Even with their eyes closed, they are ripped from their own sense of dimension and time, and thus must pass a saving throw or become nauseous for 1d4 rounds after they finish their trip.
SLEEP RESISTANCE: Although not immune to sleep, travelers enjoy a +2 bonus to save against sleep spells and effects. Strangely, when knocked into unconsciousness by a sleep spell a traveler still perceives the world around him, and can act on it by animating inanimate objects. The traveler can animate one small object at 1st level, one man-sized object at 4th level and one large object at 7th level. The object acts with the traveler’s will. If destroyed in combat, the traveler loses 1d6 hit points for a small object, 2d6 for a man-sized object and 3d6 for a large object.
ECCENTRICITIES: The traveler’s ability to perceive the spaces between dimensions gives them a slightly alien mindset that reveals itself in their eccentricities. At each level beyond 1st, a traveler must roll on the following table. The term “unnerved” indicates that the traveler suffers a -1 penalty to all d20 rolls while in the presence of the thing that unnerves him. Rolling an eccentricity a second time makes it more intense (i.e. being unnerved imposes a -2 penalty, etc).
Unnerved by a certain color
Unnerved by small animals or children
Must stand next to the tallest or shortest or fattest or thinnest person in a room
Frightened by gourds and melons
Can only eat or never eat with his fingers
Accidentally reverses the meanings of words
Becomes unnerved, morose, angry or giddy when traveling in one of the cardinal directions
Suffers from agoraphobia
Stares at people and takes long pauses before he speaks
Will not drink water, only wine
Unnerved by sea creatures and seafood
Laughs at innapropriate moments
Unnerved (or even frightened) by an innocuous word or phrase
Never calls people by their names, only nicknames that change from day to day
Only walks backwards across bridges or under arches
Feels the need to touch people while talking to them
Unnatural fear of cabbages and other leafy vegetables – this becomes panic at the sight of leafy plant monsters
Will not willingly get on a boat – mumbles something about the stars when asked to
Talks to himself, often in the middle of the night, increasing the chance of wandering monsters by 1
Super fastidious and clean
NON-EUCLIDIAN PRINCIPALS: A 1st level traveler perceives that the shortest route between two points is a non-Euclidian curve and increases his speed by 3 (or by 30 ft in some system or 5 ft in others). To use these abilities, he must be grasping a walking stick with a silver tip. Such a stick can be obtained for 30 gp, and can be used as a club in combat.
MAKE HASTE: For exactly one minute per day, the 2nd level traveler can operate under the effects of a haste spell. The traveler must take care not to exceed one minute of hasted movement, for beyond this he begins aging 1 year for every minute of hasted activity.
BETWEEN DIMENSIONS: The 3rd level traveler’s inherent perception of the space between dimensions allows him to slide between them, duplicating the effects of the dimension door spell. He can do this once per day without incident, but additional uses carry with them an increasing chance of attracting the attention of an inter-dimensional being such as a demon or ethereal marauder. The second time in a day that a traveler uses dimension door carries a 1 in 6 chance of a weird encounter. Each additional use increases the chances by 1.
NORTH STAR: At 4th level, a traveler always knows which direction is north and can duplicate the effects of a Find the Path spell by making a successful saving throw. A failed saving throw gives the traveler false information, usually sending him in the opposite direction that he desired.
THROUGH THE SHADOWS: The 6th level traveler learns the true nature of shadows, and gains the ability to step into them and emerge many miles away as though using the spell teleport. The journey through the shadows seems to take a normal amount of time to the traveler (i.e. covering 6 miles on foot in 8 hours of travel), but in fact takes only 1 minute per mile traveled. The traveler suffers the same possibility of error while navigating the shadow realm, but does not run the risk of teleporting low or high, though their soul can be lost in the spaces between realities.
AMONG THE STARS: At 8th level, the traveler can fall into a deep sleep and travel in astral form, per the Astral Spell. If awakened while so travelling, the shock of returning to his senses robs the traveler of half his hit points (the heal naturally) and his bloodcurtling scream may attract wandering monsters.
PLANE SHIFT: The 10th level traveler can use his ability to slide between dimensions to visit other planes and realities. Traveling to another reality does not necessarily mean the traveler has the ability to survive in that reality, so care must be taken not to visit a place hostile to life.
FOURTH DIMENSIONAL THINKING: The 12th level traveler reaches the pinnacle of his art and learns to move frictionles between the falling sands of time, effectively stopping time around himself per the spell Time Stop.
Time Lord

+300,000 XP per level thereafter

Top illustration by Helsa Amadi
Bottom illustration by Winsor McCay