Dragon by Dragon – April 1979 (24)

April of 1979 – those heady days of stuff that was happening and things and stuff. Okay, I’m too lazy at the moment to look up what was happening back then, but hey – who cares, right? We know the Dragon was happening, so let’s focus on that.

What did the Dragon have to offer in 1979? More importantly, can we use any of this stuff now?

Lost Civilizations (A Fantasy Supplement for Source of the Nile) by J. Eric Holmes

When you see Dr. Holmes as the author, you know you’ve got some quality material in your hands. Hell, I’ve never even played Source of the Nile and I know this article has to have something useful in it. The article is all about adding some fantasy to the more realistic game of African exploration, specifically of the sort you might get in an H. Rider Haggard or E. R. Burroughs novel.

First up, I love the list of explorer types used in Source of the Nile: Missionaries, Doctors, Zoologists, Geologists and Adventurers. If you were doing an RPG of Victorian exploration, you have your class list right there.

His idea is that when you enter a completely uninhabited hex, there is a chance of it containing a lost city (a roll of 2-3 on 2d6). If in a desert, the city is uninhabited. Otherwise, it is inhabited by survivors of lost Atlantis. The people use bronze weapons and wear ornaments of gold and gemstones, and then you roll dice to determine the city’s organization. Roll 1d6; on a 1-3 the city is ruled by a warrior-king with 1d6 x 1d6 x 1d6 + 10 warriors; if the roll is 4-6 it is ruled by an evil high priest and a white goddess who command 1d6 x 1d6 x 1d6 + 5 warriors. I include this bit because it could be adapted to almost any hex exploration style fantasy game.

When exploring an uninhabited desert city for treasure, you roll 1d6: 1-2 he discovers that the ancient gods still live, his expedition is destroyed and he escapes completely mad; 3-4 traps kill half his askaris and bearers, but he escapes with a bag of diamonds and rubies worth $500 and the secret passages are closed off forever; 5-6 he loots the city for $1000 worth of gems and $200 worth of gold.

This brings to mind something I once did for a game. I was starting with characters above 1st level, and they were from various places in my campaign world (Nod – you might have heard of it). For each character, I came up with one past adventure for each level, each adventure leading them from where they were born to where the adventure was to start. In this way, I gave each player a bit of knowledge about the campaign world and some cool tidbits about their characters. Something to consider.

Keeping the Magic-User In His Place by Ronald Pehr

A classic of old Dragon (hell, a classic of modern articles as well, in as much as it addresses the idea of “balance” between characters). Ronald includes a few ideas of controlling these damn wizards so they don’t mess up the game. Interesting, because it introduces the idea of forced fairness to the game – i.e. I want the game to go one way, but the rules aren’t allowing that to happen. Think of the article previous – the explorer explores a lost city and you roll a dice and that determines what happens – amazing wealth or complete insanity. That’s it. Why? It’s a game, and those are the rules, and playing the game is more important than winning. Or, to state it another way, winning or losing should be a product of the game experience, not a preconceived idea that the game play must support. Why not have wizards who “ruin” the game with fireballs and charm spells? Let everybody have their time to shine, and play it smart. A fireball is a tricky thing, and over reliance on them might be a wizard’s undoing.

Chinese Dragons by David Sweet

One day, these fine monsters will appear in the Fiend Folio, and they were always pretty cool. In fact, it might be fun to do something similar with occidental dragons, replacing the red-blue-green-etc. dragons with ones based on the famous dragons of European myth.

Another Look at LYCANTHROPY by Jon Mattson

This article throws in the idea of different types of lycanthropes that a bitten character might turn into. They are as follows (in summary):

A. Turns completely into the lycanthrope that bit him; i.e. new alignment, etc.
B. Remains in human form, but takes on the mentality of the lycanthrope.
C. Character takes lycanthrope form, but retains his own mentality.
D. As A, but only changes under a full moon or great stress.
E. As B, but only changes under a full moon or great stress.
F. As C, but only … well, you know.
G. Under full moon or great stress, changes into a hybrid of beast and man.

Under option G, he actually writes, “This may sound something like the “Incredible Hulk,” but that is the general idea.” Love it.

There is also a percentage chance for figuring out the character’s new alignment. The new lycanthrope has half the character’s spells and abilities while in lycanthrope form and some modifiers to his ability scores.

Another great quote:

Note: To many people it may seem strange that a wolfs constitution would be better than that of say a bear, but remember that wolves often survive through incredible hardships such as hunger and cold, and I’ve yet to see a bear do as well.

What the?

Ultimately, this is a pretty cool article as it allows the chance that a PC can remain a PC and an interesting party member even after succumbing to lycanthropy.

Roman Military Organization, A Classic Warfare Update by Gary Gygax

An interesting article on the organization of the Roman army.

A Viking Campaign in the Caspian Sea by James E. Brunner

This is a nice history of an actual (well, I assume actual) Viking foray into the Caspian Sea for plunder. A sample:

“In the tenth century the Caspian Sea lay like a great pearl in an ocean of endless steppes and towering mountains. The prows that cut its placid waters belonged to poor fishermen and merchants from every land. Unlike the Black Sea that lay to the west, no northern pirate fleets had ravaged its shores and carried off its great wealth. To the north and the east lay the powerful Khazar Khanate whose capital, Itil, on the Volga Delta, controlled the major trade route to the north. Any merchant or pirate that sought wealth in the Muslim lands to the south had first to deal with the Khazar Khan, whose greed was legendary.”

Primarily interesting to me as it reminds me of Howard’s Vilayet Sea and the adventures had in and around it. When you find fantasy that interests you, take the time to find the reality that underlies it. You might find it even more inspirational.

The article also includes rules for fighting the Battle of Barda’a using Classic Warfare.

The Melee in D&D by Gary Gygax

Here, Mr. Gygax offers up some thoughts on how melee combat is supposed to work in D&D, specifically it seems to answer the complaints of folks who would like more realism in the system. A few important points:

– The game is mostly about creating fantasy personas and their adventures, and that means more than just fighting

– Hack and slash shouldn’t be the first resort of characters

– The system isn’t too unrealistic – it’s built to ensure relative speed of resolution without bogging the ref down in paperwork or creating a high probability of character death

Here’s a bit I found interesting:

“Don Turnbull stated that he envisioned that three sorts of attacks were continually taking place during melee:

1) attacks which had no chance of hitting, including feints, parries, and the like;

2) attacks which had a chance of doing damage but which missed as indicated by the die roll; and

3) attacks which were telling as indicated by the dice roll and subsequent damage determination.

This is a correct summation of what the D&D melee procedure subsumes. Note that the skill factor of higher level of higher level fighters — as well as natural abilities and/or speed of some monsters — allows more than one opportunity per melee round of scoring a telling attack as they are more able to take advantage of openings left by adversaries during the course of sparring. Similarly, zero level men, and monsters under one full hit die, are considered as being less able to defend; thus, opponents of two of more levels of hit dice are able to get in one telling blow for each such level or hit die.”

An article well worth the read.

DUNGEON – More Variations on the Theme by George Laking

This is a collection of extra rules for the DUNGEON game. Since it’s being published again, this might be a good article for folks who love it.

Armies of the Renaissance by Nick Nascati

This is the second part of an article from last issue (I think – too lazy to look at the moment). It covers The Swiss. I’ve long thought the Swiss would be an excellent folk on which to model dwarf armies.

Narcisstics by Darrel Plant and Jon Pitchford

Some monster humor of the disgruntled geek variety, statting up jocks and their female groupies as monsters. I’d convert them to B&T format, but the format in the article is hard to make out, and frankly they’re not just worth it.

Psionics Revisited by Ronald Pehr

This variant takes some of the random chance out of the powers psychic characters receive, tying them more closely to their professions (or so the article says). It appears to divide the powers into two categories: Cognitive Powers and Kinetic Powers, adding a few new powers to the game.

Disease by Lenny Buettuer

This is a set of tables for determining how long it takes a disease to kill a person, and what symptoms are suffered in the meantime. The fatality interval goes from immediate to 10 months, based on a percentile dice roll. Another table determines how many symptoms are suffered and a third what those symptoms are. Honestly – a great idea and one I wish I’d thought of. After all, why do I care what the disease is called? All I want to know is how long the adventurer has to live (more on this below) and what happens to him until he can receive healing.

The other thing I got from this article is the point of diseases in the game. There are many ways to die in D&D, and each should offer up different challenges to the players. Disease in this case becomes a race to be cured.

Bergenhome ’77: the CAT’s Test of American Armor by Stanley Schriefer

If nothing else, this article presents an interesting moment in the history of the magazine. The article is about how well American armor (as in tanks) did in a NATO competition. No stats here. None. Not tied to any game. Just military news that might be interesting to wargamers.

The Return of Conan Maol by Paul Karlsson Johnstone

Weird little article about bagpipers and such.

Choir Practice at the First Church of Lawful Evil (Orthodox): The Ramifications of Alignment by Lawrence Schick

Another interesting article about the three-tier alignment system and their relationship to gods and the powers of those gods. It also divides the three alignments into several “sects” or versions of each alignment. Lawful, for example, is divided into the following:

(A) Absolute Order (High Law)
(B) Harmony/Goodness
(C) Justice/Vengeance
(D) Knowledge
(E) Evolution (Social Darwinism )
(F) War

It then gives information on each of these versions of alignment – its tenets, its practitioners, it’s prime deity. Here’s one example:

Law: JUSTICE/VENGEANCE (Monks, Paladins, Assassins)

Tenets: Good (Law) must be rewarded and Evil (Chaos) must be punished. All creatures are judged impartially by weighing their “good’ and “evil” deeds. Transgressors will be punished according to the depth of their depravity. Criminals must be diligently pursued until brought to justice. (Examples of this alignment’s enforcers might include Solomon Kane, The Shadow, Mr. A., and Javert.)

Prime Deity: MARLY
AC: -4 HP: 300 MOVE:24”
MAGIC: Standard plus See Past plus Detect Truth/Lie.

Honestly – one of the most usable alignment articles I’ve yet read. A great take on the subject, and quite usable. Bonus: Nice piece of art!

Naming People, Places and Things in Petal Throne by G. Arthur Rahman

This article provides a random table for generating the rather non-European names common to MAR Barker’s campaign world.

Monty Haul and the Best of Freddie by James M. Ward

Another adventure in the annals of Monty Haul. A sample:

“The Bronze Dragon was of tremendous size for its breed, measuring over 80 hands long and able to rear to a height of more than half that. The creature had gleaming claws as sharp and damaging as scimitars; buffed with gold dust. Its fanged jaws were kept sharp by biting heavy platemail vests that were a part of its horde. Its massive scaled body rested regally on an altar made of its own gold and silver. Chalices of platinum and coffers of gems and jewels were all about, arranged to please the delicate sensibilities of the dragon. Its giant eyes, that had been but a moment before closed in dragonslumber, opened, aware of the tread of footsteps down the echoing marble corridor, designed for just that echoing effect.”

In Defense of Extraordinary Characters by Rodford E. Smith

A very quick bit about why high level characters make sense, giving as examples from literature Odysseus, Daedalus, Hercules, John Carter, Conan and “everyone’s favorite Kryptonian.” So there you go.

The Society for Creative Anachronism by Allen Hammack

An overview of the society and their doings. These days, this would be what we term a “web page”.

And there you have the April 1979 issue of The Dragon. Not a bad issue all told, with at least two or three articles that I think most folks would find useful.

Dragon by Dragon – November 1978 (20)

And so we come to November of 1978, which is notable … for nothing that I’m aware of, other than this magazine. This appears to be their Halloween issue (why November? Kask explains it’s because November is the dreariest month of the year – what with all the football and Thanksgiving? – and thus a good month for horror stories).

Whatever the reason, let’s see what Dragon #20 has to offer.

Designer’s Forum – The Making of a Winner: Imperium – Outstanding Game of 1977 by Marc Miller

Yeah, that Marc Miller. In this article, Miller describes the origins of Imperium. Apparently it began as two games, Imperium being a giant sci-fi game of economics and conquest, and StarFleet, which was on a smaller scale. Ultimately, StarFleet was put on the back burner while Traveler was made. When Lou Zocchi mentioned that the name could get them in trouble with the Star Trek folks, and when they decided Imperium was too big to publish, they decided to take what they had learned making Traveler and apply to StarFleet, which would now be renamed Imperium.

Anywho – the article goes on to describe the design process behind Imperium, and to also provide some rules clarifications and addenda.

I enjoyed this bit …

Whatever happened to that guy?

Distributing Eyes & Amulets in EPT by Mike Crane

One of those great articles that makes perfect sense to people who play the game. The article is just a series of random tables that makes sure “rare” eyes and amulets show up less often than “common” eyes and amulets.

The Mythos of Polynesia in Dungeons & Dragons by Jerome Arkenberg

This article covers everyone from Tangoroa, God of the Ocean, to Pele the Destroyer, to Miru, God of the Underworld. The heroes seem more interesting …

The Polynesian Heroes were born in non-human form, and were brought up by their maternal grandparents, from whom they derived their magic. When in human form, they could transform, stretch, or shrink themselves, fly, take giant strides, and perform great feats of strength.

Maui is, of course, the badass of the crew (and he happens to look like a buffoon with eight heads) – here are some stats for Blood & Treasure.

Maui, Challenger of the Gods: Magic-User 18 and Fighter 15; HP 140; AC 12; ATK 4 slams +7 (1d3+5); MV 30 (Fly 40); F 6 R 9 W 4; XP 4500; Special: Dominate foes with 0 HD or less, 4 attacks per round, spells per day (4/4/4/4/4/4/4/3/3/2); Str 20, Int 18, Wis 18, Con 18, Dex 17, Cha 3.


In this episode, Frank and Dudley abscond with one of the demon eggs to spring them on the ogres. It’s amazing how engaging this strip was right from the beginning.

D&D Variant: Another Look at Witches and Witchcraft in D&D by Ronald Pehr

Love the editor’s note:

Editor’s Note: This seems to be a well thought out class-variant. At the very least, it makes an excellent NPC or hireling/acquaintance. For those DM’s bold enough to try it, it provides a very viable character for ladies; be they sisters, girlfriends, lady gamer or others. D&D was one of the first games to appeal to females, and I for one, find it a better game because of that fact.

It manages to be both inclusive and a bit sexist at the same time.

So, what do the ladies get with this witch? It’s actually a nice class, and, I believe, the origin of the later witch class that showed up in Dragon in the 80’s. Witches here are not Satanists, but more nature lovers who use magic to charm and control – I guess what you would call an enchanter in more modern versions of the game – and who can brew potions, narcotics, hallucinogens, etc. Witches get eight levels of spells, many of them new, and they appear to straddle the normal magic-user/cleric divide.

D&D Variant: Demonology Made Easy by Gregory Rihn

This article is all about conjuring demons (and devils). The key here is learning a demon’s name, and the process is simple and clever: You research a demon or devil’s true name the same way you research a spell:

Demon prince, arch-devil = 9th level spell
Type VI, pit fiend = 8th level spell
Type V, ice devil, succubus = 7th level spell
Type IV, horned devil, night hag = 6th level spell
Type III, bone devil = 5th level spell
Type II, barbed devil = 4th level spell
Type I, erinyes, misc. = 3rd level spell

Definitely one of those, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that” moments.

Once you get down to the conjuration, you roll some percentile dice to see if what you call is what you get. Calling a demon prince, for example, has the following chances:

01-50 = Type V demon
51-75 = Type VI demon
76-00 = Demon Prince

High level conjurations require assistants and sacrifices, and there are additional chances for failure for characters below 20th level. Very good article.

GenCon XI Photo Album

Greg Costikyan of SPI … I believe I recognize the woman as Gygax’s daughter
That Gygax fellow
J Eric Holmes and his son Chris
Jeff Perren
Lou Zocchi and Woody … proving that GenCon’s best days are clearly behind it
Marc Miller
Mike Carr
Tim Kask
Tom Shaw of Avalon Hill

Review: See Africa and Die! or, Mr. Stanley, Meet Dr. Livingstone by Gary Gygax

Gygax reviews Source of the Nile here. Apparently, this is a super long play game. It is pretty extensive review, and it looks like a pretty cool game. Best line of the review:

Be certain to read and KNOW the rules before you attempt to play. The rules are not well organized, nor are they very complete. In fact, in many ways they remind me of those originally written for D&D®.

Gygax also gives some additional ideas for the game.

The Asimov Cluster by William B. Fawcett

This article discusses the problems inherent in recreating scenes from sci-fi novels in games of Traveler. It also provides stats for the planets of the Asimov Cluster from the Foundation Trilogy.

Advert for the drow modules. The drow are going to change quite a bit over the next 30 years.

Preview: The Lord of the Rings by Allen Hammack

This preview is for the Bakshi animated version (which I’ll admit I like, sue me). It mostly gathers together some stills from the movie and a few production notes from Bakshi.

It’s a Good Day to Die by Lyle Fitzgerald

This article compiles death statistics of a D&D campaign in Saskatoon. In two to three years, this campaign racked up 600 deaths of PCs and their advance-able hirelings. Wow! I know the old game was deadly (I’ve played it), but this does seem excessive. The top killers are Miscellaneous Causes (14.6 percent) and goblin races (10.1 percent). Dragons were responsible for 7.5 percent of the kills and giants 5.7 percent – respectable numbers for the big guys. War only caused 6 deaths – I guess one of the four horsemen needs to be replaced by a goblin.

War of the Ring Variant by Allen Hammack

Simple rule change – hide the movement of the fellowship so the bad guys don’t have to pretend they don’t know where they are. Honestly – can’t believe the designers didn’t think of this.

Fineous Fingers

A dragon throws a stupid paladin off a cliff. Nice tactic – fake a subdual.

Demonic Possession in the Dungeon by Chas. Sagui

This article takes the rules to task on the inability of demons to possess victims. In Chas’ rules, only demons of Type IV or higher can possess mortals. Interesting line:

The rule of the thumb is that only those demons that are immune to all but magical weapons and therefore exist upon two planes at once may possess.

One of those, “wait – is that really why, or did he just make that up?” lines.

The basic idea is that the DM let’s the players all know they might be possessed. Everyone rolls a saving throw, but only one character is really the victim. The victim is chosen “randomly” – i.e. first person into a room, last person, etc. A save vs. magic is allowed to avoid the possession.

The possessed dude has his normal AC, but attacks as the possessing demon. They cannot use lawful-aligned magic weapons. The demon can use its normal powers, provided its new body doesn’t preclude it. All damage is taken by the body, not the demon.

There’s more, but you’ll need to read the article.

Not a bad issue, really. The witch and the demon conjuration articles are my favorites. I’d recommend hunting it down.

Dragon by Dragon – December 1977 (11)

Merry Christmas 1977! I would have been five, having my first Christmas in Las Vegas and opening, well, I have no memory of what I received for Christmas when I was five. I’m sure I was stoked. What were Dragon magazine subscriber’s opening?

First and foremost … best cover yet. A wagon of startled doxies pulled by God-knows-what is accosted by a red-robed dude and his captive troll while the triple-flail-armed driver looks on. Nice! Painted by Elrohir.

Second … an ad for newly released miniatures of the various demons plus Orcus and Demogorgon. The Type VI looks more like “naked guy with wings” than they are typically portrayed, which I think makes him creepier than the “OMG DEMON!” look.

Big announcement from Tim Kask … Dragon is going monthly! Oh, and they’re finally sending checks out to authors and artists! He also announces coming fiction in The Dragon from L. Sprague DeCamp and Andre Norton, as well as fiction from Fritz Leiber in this issue.

Gygax now chimes in with a defense of TSR defending its intellectual property from cheap and crappy imitations and outright theft in the form of reprints of D&D material. He has some nice words for GDW, but seems to be telling everyone else to piss off. He also mentions the coming release of the AD&D Monster Manual and future release of other AD&D material.

Enough announcements and editorials … let’s get to the gaming.

Rob Kuntz presents a system for Brawling (The Easy Way “Out” in D&D) which, at first glance, is way more system than I need. Brawling and grappling are always a problem, it seems, because they offer the chance of knocking someone out or disabling enough to make them an easy kill, thus tons of extra rules. This one compares ability scores of the fighters to get a modifier, and then a dice roll to score “damage” to one of the ability scores. Grappling, for example, involves averaging the dexterity and strength of both combatants and comparing them on a grapple table, then rolling 2d6 to discover how it works. Punching is similar, but determines the amount of damage.

Tony Watson then explains how to stop good old O.G.R.E. (not the monster, the mega-death machine) – basically tips and tricks for the game. I played it once, O.G.R.E. won, and my yen to play O.G.R.E. was satisfied.

In the Design Forum, Thomas Filmore, who opines on the value of role playing in D&D, as opposed to just wargaming. Pretty common blogpost material here, but perhaps a rather new concept back in the day, when many characters did seem to be more about puns and action than deeply invested backgrounds (i.e. the good old days).

Archive Miniatures has an ad for Star Rovers – 25mm miniatures. I dig the names of the figures, all of whom would be at home in a game of Space Princess: Planetary Scout, Funky Robot, Andromeda Annie, Bianca Snow, Doc Crock, Galactic Centaur, Alien Lizards, Walktapus (pre-Runequest?) and Sassanid War Elephant. Wait, Sassanid War Elephant? Why not.

MAR Barker continues answering reader questions in his Seal of the Imperium article.

Next up are some expansions to the Snits game that was featured last issue. Apparently the snits took the world by storm.

The Sorcerer’s Scroll is a new feature, and this first one is written by Rob Kuntz. Here, he mostly goes into the new Monster Manual (with “stupendous art by David Sutherland, David Trampier and Tom Wham”) and the eventual release of ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (I forgot that it was always written in all caps (“Fighters will now take 10-sided dice to determine their hit points and clerics 8-sided, etc.”). He also mentions Judge’s Guild, who continues to “saturate the D&D market with new variants” (and that TSR has undertaken to “make their new rule variant/additions … much more refined and interesting to the hard core D&D player” – I don’t like the sound of that). He has some kind words for Chivalry & Sorcery, but explains that it falls short due to its “smallish” print.

Fritz Leiber is next with Sea Magic. An excerpt:

“On the world of Nehwon and in the land of Simorgya, six days fast sailing south from Rime Isle, two handsome silvery personages conversed intimately yet tensely in a dimly and irregularly lit hall of pillars open overhead to the darkness. Very strange was that illumination — greenish and yellowish by turns, it seemed to come chiefly from grotesquely shaped rugs patching the Stygian floor and lapping the pillars’ bases and also from slowly moving globes and sinuosities that floated about at head height and wove amongst the pillars, softly dimming and brightening like lethargic and plague-stricken giant fireflies.”

Ral Partha’s new releases would make a nice random encounter list:

2. Gremlin War Party (3d6 winged goblins with spears)
3. Dwarf Lord (6th level dwarf fighter with chainmail and battle axe)
4. Satyr (Pan) (1% chance the encounter is with Pan, otherwise 1d6 satyrs)
5. Centaur Archer (1d8 centaurs armed with shortbows)
6. Land Dragon with Captain (treat land dragon as wyvern without wings, captain is 5th level fighter with splintmail, shield and lance)
7. Land Dragon with Lancer (lancer is 1st level fighter with breastplate, lance and shield)
8. Witch (female magic-user level 1d4+2; males must pass Will save or be fascinated with her breasts)
9. Monk (1d6 first level monks armed with staves)
10. Sprite War Band (3d6 sprites with swords led by 3rd level sprite fighter on fey mount)
11. Imp War Party (2d6 flying monkeys with sword or axe, shield and breastplate)
12. Were Bear (1d4)
13. Wing Lord (winged 3rd level fighter with spear and scale mail)
14. Paladin (dismounted) (5th level paladin with war harness (+2 AC), shield, pole axe and HUGE wings on his helmet)
15. Armored Knight (dismounted) (4th level fighter with platemail, shield and halberd)
16. Roomen War Party* (2d6 roomen with shield and spear)
17. Earth Demon (combo of stone giant and earth elemental)
18. Undead War Band (3d6 skeletons armed with swords, scythes and spears)
19. Woman Plunderer (1d6 levels of female barbarians with swords and chainmail)
20. Roll two times on table

* They’re freaking mutant kangaroo warriors!

Roomen (N Medium Humanoid): HD 1+1; AC 13; Atk 1 weapon (1d8) or kick (1d4+1); Move 40; Save F 13, R 15, W 15; XP 50; Special: Bound 60 ft. as charge attack.

James M. Ward now presents Quarterstaff Fighting Rules. This is like a mini-game that could be integrated into a normal game of D&D – somewhat like the jousting rules from Chainmail.

In Tramp’s Wormy, Wormy asks a bunch of dwarves “What wears chainmail and looks like black pudding?” – any guesses?

In Fineous Fingers, the adventurers discover that the evil wizard Kask has forced the local hobbits to try to conquer the city by capturing their princess.

The issue ends with a withering critique of NBC’s The Hobbit, by Rankin-Bass. I know, not the best adaptation, but I dig the design on the wood elves.

Overall, an issue that leaves me of two minds. I’m a big fan of Leiber, so the short story was cool. The EPT and O.G.R.E. stuff is not really aimed at me, so no complaints there. The brawling and quarterstaff fighting are nice mini-games/sub-systems, but probably not things I would include in my regular D&D game. Strangely enough, it’s often the ads that I’m enjoying the most – little snippets of creativity with no rules/stats attached. There’s the suggestion that in 1977, the creative energy of D&D is slipping away from TSR – they have some pretty good modules left in them, of course, but things are becoming more controlled and professional, and that carries with it a price to pay.

Dragon by Dragon – September 1977 (9)

Let’s get right into it, shall we? Because the first page we see past the cover is this …

Let the edition wars begin, I guess. Note the “For 3 or more adult players” [emphasis mine]. TSR would learn a little something about the purchasing power of the younger set in a few years.

The second page is an ad for 25 mm Minifigs D&D miniatures, which such evocative names as “5 Different Hobgoblins” and “10 Kobolds”. You can see some painted versions HERE, HERE (didn’t know hobgoblins were so randy) and HERE.

OK – to the meat of the issue. Our first offering is from Gygax, and is entitled Varied Player Character and Non-Player Character Alignment in the Dungeons & Dragons Campaign. The article is about the problems that alignment presents to DM’s. The line that caught my attention early in the article was:

“The most common problem area seems to lie in established campaigns with a co-operating block of players, all of whom are of like alignment. These higher level player characters force new entrants into the same alignment, and if the newcomers fail to conform they dispatch them.”

Nice to know that DM’s used to have help from the players in terms of managing alignment. It sounds like players with high-level characters could be real dicks back in the day.

Also interesting was this, about Gary’s Greyhawk Campaign:

“The Greyhawk Campaign is built around the precept that “good” is the desired end sought by the majority of humanity and its allied races (gnomes, elves, et al.). I have this preference because the general aim is such that more than self-interest (or mental abberation) motivates the alignment. This is not to say that a war of lawful good against chaotic good is precluded, either or both opponents being allied with evil beings of lawful or chaotic alignment. What is said is that most planned actions which are written into the campaign are based on a threat to the overall good by the forces of evil.”

Probably sounds a bit rail-roady to some of the old schoolers out there. If I’m honest, the article somewhat meanders a bit and didn’t really teach me much on its professed subject, other than to conclude that a variety of alignments is a good thing in a campaign. So that’s settled.

Next up is the continuation of The Finzer Family, the longest damn story I think I ever saw in a Dragon Magazine. I’m going to skip the continuation, just as I skipped the first part, but I will draw notice to this:

The gaming world is taking shape!

I’m going to post this next ad for miniatures because, frankly, they’re pretty dang nice. I tried to find some painted samples online, but came up short.

Almost 20 pages later, we’re finally done with the Finzer Family, and onto an article by MAR Barker entitled Seal of the Imperium. The article is designed to answer reader questions, but the first declaration of Prof. Barker is an interesting one regarding the difference between “real” Tekumel and the “game” Tekumel:

“Just to point up the contrasts, let me cite some differences: (a) “real” Tékumel has a lot less magic and magical paraphernalia lying about than one picks up in the game — with all the Thoroughly Useful Eyes and spells of revivification possible in the game, no citizen of Tsolyánu would ever have to die! — and there would be heaps of treasure and goodies for all”

The eternal problem with D&D. As Prof. Barker explains:

“All of these things, plus the ever-useful Divine Intervention, make it a LOT easier to succeed in the game than in “real” Tsolyánu. The same is true of “Monopoly” or “Alexander the Great”; games abstract, simplify, and simulate only those parts of “reality” which the designer feels are crucial.”

In other words – “Don’t sweat it, it’s just a game”. Good advice, then and now.

Brian Blume now rides in with The Fastest Guns that Never Lived (Part II), a list of actors from old westerns, along with their stats for Boot Hill. You have no idea how much this makes me wish I had the Boot Hill rules, just for the chance to put the Cisco Kid and Poncho on the trail of Lee Van Cleef.

James M. Ward now presents Tombs & Crypts. It’s a neat little graph for randomly generating the contents of a tomb or crypt. The table allows one to roll a d12 to get a set of modifiers for several other tables that determine the treasure in the crypt (gold pieces, gems, jewelry, misc. magic items, special items and artifacts) as well as the guardian and structure of the tomb. I’ll reproduce those last two tables:

01-30: None
31-50: Magic spell (wizard lock, curse, etc.)
51-80: Invisible stalkers (1d4)
81-99: Creature from the 6th level monster chart
100: A stronger monster + roll again for another guardian

Tomb Itself
01-40: 1 room/cave/mound of dirt
41-50: Hall with spring trap of some type and a secret door at the end of it
51-60: A 2-6 room/cave complex with many doors leading to other areas trying to lure the robbers away
61-80: 1-10 rooms/caves with a secret door to the tomb and 1-10 traps in the rooms
81-90: 1-10 rooms with 1-20 corridors, with 2-20 traps guarding the rooms and tombs and a secret door
91-99: 1-10 connecting rooms with traps, secret doors, and magical guard spells (wizard locks, symbols, etc.) guarding the way
100: 1-20 rooms with traps, secret doors, and a being guard. It requires a special word to open the final door to the tomb. The word should not be found in the tomb.

Next cool ad:

I found a shot of a painted one HERE.

Almost to the end, and I discover another famous first for Dragon …

When you combine Basic D&D, White Dwarf, Wormy and a long article about alignments, I think you might be able to peg September 1977 as the beginning of the modern era of D&D.

See you next week, when I give the Blood & Treasure mass combat rules a whirl with the Battle of Gaudin’s Ford, pitting a moot of halflings against a rampaging orc tribe.

Oh yeah – the cover – no room for it up above, but it is pretty groovy …

New game – stat the cover.

HORST HAMMERFIST, 5th level fighting-man with psionic powers, an amulet of advanced mathematics and a +2 ray gun of lightning.

Dragon by Dragon – June 1977 (7)

Happy birthday The Dragon! June 1977 marked the beginning of the second year of the magazine’s publication. Kask starts off by bragging on the improvement in the art and the 300% growth in circulation in a year (which could mean they went from selling 1 copy a month to selling 3 … but I think they were doing better than that). Kask goes on to say that, despite the increase in readership and the magazine now being published 8 times a year (they had NOD beat – 6 is almost more than I can manage), he remains the only staff member. He gives thanks to the help provided by Gary Jaquet, but explains that he can only do so much because he lives 4 HOURS away. Boy, have things changed for the better. The editor for Blood & Treasure lives across the continent from me, and he might as well be in the next room.


Anyhow … what has the birthday boy in store for us today?

First up, we see an advert for the Third Annual SC Awards for Creativity in Wargaming. Some of the things that didn’t make the ballot include Bunnies and Burrows (for best game) and Jim Dunnigan (for design of Russian Civil War … you might want to check out his Strategy Page site for information on everything going on in the world of conflict). Lankhmar and Metamorphosis Alpha were up for Outstanding Game of 1976, Gygax’s Swords & Spells was up for Outstanding Miniatures Rules of 1976 and Grenadier’s wonderfully named Wizzards & Warriors was up for Outstanding Miniatures Series of 1976. They also list a Fantasy Gaming Hall of Fame, which includes Lord Dunsanay, C.S. Lewis, A. Merritt, Fletcher Pratt, Clark Ashton Smith, Poul Anderson, M.A.R. Barker, Lin Carter, L. Sprague DeCamp, Gardner Fox, Katherine Kurtz, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny – and I just cannot argue with such a list. Spot on for 1977.

Omar Kwalish (didn’t he invent some sort of apparatus?) presents tips on what to do when “… Calamity Befalls You Twenty Minutes Before the Game Club Gets To your Place”. In essence, the article shows how you can generate percentages with two standard D6, and other ways of dealing with being without dice – chits in a jar, random numbers generated on high-tech calculators (such as the TI-SR51-A), cutting cards (roll 1d4 with the suits, etc.), using a watch with a second hand, spinners, coin flips (an obscure study financed by government grant proved that the dime was the ideal coin to flip), phonebook and blindfold, etc.

Gary Gygax uses the Designer’s Forum to tell of the origins of the game, in which he writes, “Although D&D was not Dave’s game system by any form or measure, he was given co-billing as author for his valuable idea kernels.” Let the lawsuits begin.

Lynn Harpold describes Mystery Hill, America’s Stonehenge. A very ’70s article, if you remember that time period, and things like In Search Of.

One of Ral Partha’s new releases is “Foregum” Super Hero (Bare-Chested) – no picture, but he is now my favorite miniature of all time. Luckily, I found an image …

And a copy of Ral Partha’s 1981 Catalog. CHECK IT.

Great illustration by Morno on page 11, to go with his story The Journey Most Alone. Again – new rule of Dragon by Dragon is to post a random paragraph from the story, so …

“There he paused in wonder.”

Okay, that was a bit cheap, how about the next paragraph as well …

“Before him he saw the vistas of a wide universe from the height of a splendid cliff. Awaiting him was a massive throne of silver and of tortoiseshell, metalwork twining like vinery around the dark surfaces of the seat. Leaf and stem of silver entwined in ecstatic embrace, and here, upon the highlights, and there, among the shadows, gleamed jet and onyx, lapis and obsidian, nested like gleaming grapes in beds of many other stones. From this pinnacle Visaque beheld the five extremities of his cosmos and the many marvels therein; beheld amber castles and perilous beasts, paradise and power to his world’s edge. At the foot of the throne knelt spirits of the four elements and one awaiting his ascension. Tiny heralds on elven birds trumpeted a fanfare at his coming.”

In the middle of the story there is an ad by FanTac Games in South Orange, NJ for a new game called “Space Marines”. Looks like they beat the Brits to the punch.

I wonder what 464 Lenox Avenue looks like now …

M.A.R. Barker has a new article on Military Formations of the Nations of the Universe, recounting military formations of … well, you get the idea. The universe, in this case, is confined to Tekumel.

I cannot go further without printing the following menu in an ad for the Third Annual Strategists Club Awards Banquet at Playboy Resort …

Honestly, they had me at sardines and onion rings.

The Featured Creature this month is the Prowler. Its B&T stats would be:

Prowler: HD 14; AC 18; Atk Bite (1d8) and constriction (4d12 per turn); MV 30; SV 10; CL/XP 15/1400; SP – Gaze (save vs. magic or mind blanked and become a zombei [sic] under the prowler’s control; can only be restored by having 3 patriarchs cast dispel magic at the same time), inject eggs (with brown tentacles around mouth, injects into zombeis, eggs hatch in 2d4 days and eat the zombei).

Tough monster, and a nice bit of art to go with it.

Fineous Fingers tries to rob a guy from TSR and ends up skewered, while the kid he was training gets a 1,000 gp reward for tipping off his target.

In the Editor’s Library, Metagaming Concepts (makers of Stellar Quest, the first “good, playable space game”) announce their new micro-game … OGRE! I doubt it went anywhere.

Mcewan Miniatures has a sweet little ad for their new figures …

I’d like to think all of those fellows would fit in nicely in a Space Princess game somewhere. Maybe the Terrellians are a species that has built their culture around the worship of this guy …

But that’s just me. (And yeah, that would probably make them Chaotic).

Mystery author Garrison Ernst (just can’t figure out who this guy could be) presents another installment of the Gnome Cache.

“A column of dark smoke announced that they were approaching the castlewick of Blackmoor. It was the morning of an otherwise bright day not long since the slaughter took place on the narrow road to Weal. The two had traveled fast. Several times they had quickly left the lance for the safety of the surrounding wood as a band of Nehronland foot or a rare body of horse passed northwards laden with plunder and marching with much jesting and laughter. Each time Mellerd would salute their passing with various rude gestures, for he daily came to hate all Nehronlanders more passionately as he missed the Kimbri Vardobothet whose death came at their hands. There was now a particularly thorny problem facing them. They could not, of course, proceed directly through the place ahead, for it was obviously swarming with enemy soldiers. To the east was a jumble of broken terrain stretching away for endless leagues towards the sea. Worse, it was the home of many of the various bands of Nehron, so passage through that place would be nearly as dangerous as going straight along the road through Blackmoor. But to the west was a trackless forest which led to the slopes of the Senescent Hills, most inhospitable and the dwelling place of creatures who did not welcome men intruding upon their domain. The trick would be to swing wide enough to bypass the fortress unseen by any of the numerous warriors thereabouts, and then come back onto a route south again. If they went east they would eventually make the road to Rheyton as they circled back. In the other direction they would strike the passage to the free city of Humpbridge which bent from southwest to south across the base of the Senescent range. Dunstan was faced with making a decision from what he remembered of maps and his experiences on the trek which brought them to these straits originally.”

The emphasis is mine. Humpbridge!

And so ends the seventh issue of The Dragon. If I’m honest, the ads were the best part of this issue – pretty weak on game content, and Barker’s article on military formations seemed endless. What I have learned, though, in reading these is that I need to start using multiple pseudonyms when writing NOD. Fake names, anagrams and bad puns are as much a part of the D&D experience as Armor Class and hit points, and I’ve been missing out!

Dragon by Dragon … April 1977 (6)

Ah – spring of 1977. I’m sure after the big Bucharest earthquake and the discovery of rings around Uranus, people were almost too worn out to delve into another issue of The Dragon, but delve they did!

The cover for this issue was by “Morno”, AKA Brad Schenck, who you can find at deviantART. He’s mostly known for his contributions to Arduin and computer gaming, and he has lots of nice retro sci-fi material in his gallery. Check it out.

First article is by Guy W. McLimore, Jr.An Alternate Beginning Sequence For Metamorphosis: Alpha. Article begins with a neat little graphic of old pseudo-computer code … takes me back to programming BASIC on my old Vic-20. Good times. The article takes a while to get to the point, describing a clone bank on the Warden. [Hey – just got it – James Ward – Warden – damn I’m slow]. The meat of the article is a little d% table to determine whether you are human, a latent mutant or a true mutant and how many mutations and defects you have. Do the new versions of WOTC Gamma World delve into defects at all? I dig that defects are just part of character creation back in the day … you play the cards the dice deal you.

The article continues with many more tables, including more detail for latent mutants and the number of programmed ship skills one might have, including some special psychic skills for humans only.

The author would go on to be a part of the Doctor Who RPG, Mekton Empires and a host of products for Star Trek and Starfleet Command.

Ronald C. Spencer, Jr. (another junior … I smell conspiracy) presents Sea Trade in D&D Campaigns. This one springs from a campaign being played on the ballistic missile sub USS Benjamin Franklin … I love the stuff that comes from actual play. In this case, a fighting-man wanted to set up a shipping business on the side – smart guy!

D&D produces two wonderful sorts of rules. On the one hand, you have the super simple, elegant rule – like shields will be splintered – and on the other hand, the baroque set of charts that put a warm glow into the hearts of people like me, even if we never plan on actually using them. This one has a single chart and a few assumptions – one page to cover the whole concept. I like it.

The basics of the system are set up as a number of assumptions. To be brief … (1) Cargo is not specified; (2) small merchant ships can carry a max value of 10,000 gp, large merchants 50,000 gp; (3) ships have to pay a pilot fee of 500 gp for small ships, 2,500 gp for large ships and a 5% import tax based on the value of the cargo; (4) profit/loss is determined with a dice roll (i.e. the neat little chart) and is based on the number of ports the ship bypasses (i.e. the further you go, the more you make, but the more likely you are to lose a ship to storms or pirates).

The ship owner invests in a cargo and then gives sailing orders to hit ship – where to go, which ports to bypass, how much profit/loss to accept (if a port is bypassed to avoid a loss, it counts as a bypassed port – I suppose this involves ignoring a bad roll and trying again). Ultimately, the DM (or D/M as he writes it – love this period when things were not yet settled and official) makes the percentile roll and money is either lost or made.

Ships are delayed 1d4 weeks at ports other than their home port, and when ships are lost at sea the owner is notified 1d6+2 weeks later. Neat system, which I’ll happily use in my Blood & Treasure campaign, assuming anyone goes to the trouble of buying a ship or investing in one.

M.A.R. Barker now chimes in with a painting guide for Legions of the Petal Throne. I can’t imagine how anyone in the hobby back in the day could have resisted buying the Tekumel material … very evocative. Love the art.

Morno (Brad Schenck) now provides some fiction in the form of The Forest of Flame. From now on, I will present one random paragraph from each bit of fiction …

Some obsure glory, had thought Visaque, must belong to one who unlocked the musty secrets of the tome; the dream was even now fresh on him. Weeks, then months of spare hours were spent in the attempt of understanding the mysterious text. By the time its crabbed script was half-deciphered the task became somewhat simpler, and often he read in the small hours its forgotten tales by candlelight. He read of the Elder Days and the Days To Come: of heroes, mages, and of strange devices . . . of Crowyn the Worme’s Bane and of his star-crossed blade; Of the strange curse of Vyckar the Grim; Akor the Valkrian, Nokra Negreth, the Red Branch heroes . . . all the warriors and their impeccable deeds. And then, the mages: Bran-Herla whose soul was lost by the wide waters; Vergil Magus; Garanyr the Heart-Misled; of Myrddin, of Verbius, Therion, and the loremaster Isaac Decapole D’alsace . . . and in an indefinite reference on a faded page, was inscribed the name of Vishre Vishran. When Visaque first read that name it struck an eerie chord within him, as if of a misplaced memory. Even now the name was uncomfortably close to an identity. Yet for contemplation there was, today, no time. That the mage was called an Ipsissimus, he knew, but knew not the rank so named. For all his study (so unclear in the remembering . . .) all Visaque had learned was that Vishran dwelt in the Castle Arestel, atop the mountains eastward. (Arestel . . .)

In the Designer’s Forum (that’s a neat idea … a place where game designers can just add a few bits and pieces and corrections to their games – if any designers out there want to talk about their stuff in NOD, let me know).

This forum is by James Ward, with Further Rules, Modifications and Clarifications for Metamorphosis Alpha. He goes into mutations for taller mutants (roll 1d20 for additional height, add one “striking die” for each four feet above normal height – you can get some tall freaking mutants in MA!), shorter mutants, additional body parts, wings and some psychic powers.

Next, there’s an add for D&D miniatures. They guarantee satisfaction. Fantasy Forge has some neat Tekumel miniatures (I wonder how many are still out there, painted and waiting to be used), followed by an ad for Space Gamer out of Austin, TX.

After the adverts, we get chapter 6 of the Gnome Cache. I quote from the summary …

Unable to resist the wanderlust any longer, Dunstan has robbed his father’s strongbox and set forth on his quest for adventure and glory.

In his naivete, Dunstan casts his lot in with a band of scurrilous cutthroats, believing them to be adventurers sharing his noble pursuits.

Our hero learns the true nature of his erstwhile companions, and his pockets are the poorer for it. Dunstan parts company from the band, narrowly escaping apprehension by the Warders. In the confusion, he ‘liberates’ a horse, and sets off for Huddlefoot, there to spend the night in the stables.

Our would-be knight acquires a would-be squire, and strikes a bargain with Evan to travel with his caravan to Rheyton and Nehron. This arranged, he takes care of the incriminating horse, spinning a tall tale of being on official business. This done, they await departure . . .

David W. Miller presents: D&D Option: Determination of Psionic Abilities, giving some additional ways people could pick up psionics in the game. I kinda dig the baroque nature of psionics in old D&D, though I don’t remember if we ever used them or not. Maybe one or two characters were lucky enough to develop them.

Jim Hayes and Bill Gilbert cover Morale in D&D – an important system when you consider the game’s wargaming roots and the importance of wandering dungeons with large bodies of men-at-arms and torch bearers. This one has a couple charts, lots of modifiers and … honestly, I’d rather just roll 2d6 and be done with it.

In Fineous Fingers, we get a visit from Bored-Flak, the Bolt Lobber, who has a firing sight on his finger. He saves the party’s bacon and then disappears into the dungeon.

The Featured Creature is the Death Angel by John Sullivan. Not the toughest monster in the world – 7 Hit Dice (d8’s, it notes) and AC 4 (or 15, in modern games), but it does a death scythe that forces people to make a save vs. death at -3 (and you lose a point of constitution if you fail). If you can take this sucker on at range, you’re okay … except it can teleport at will. They also have 95% magic resistance. Fortunately, they only attack their intended victim – essentially somebody who has pissed off a god or demi-god. The take away here … leave those gemstone eyes in the idol alone!

Next (and final) add is for the old dungeon geomorphs – only $2.99.

All in all, a decent issue, but not spectacular.

Dragon by Dragon – December 1976 (4)

The Dragon closed out 1976 with an issue dedicated to The Empire of the Petal Throne – they even added 4 pages to the magazine to handle all the goodness.

Full disclosure … as long as I’ve been playing D&D and learning about it, I still know relatively little about MAR Barker’s baby. I know the basics and the general history, but it’s always seemed like a setting that required immersion to really grok.

The December issue kicks off with what we would now refer to as a campaign log by the man himself, MAR Barker, updating folks on the going’s-on of Tekumel (really a follow-up to a similar article published in the final issue of “The Strategic Review”. I mostly found this one interesting because it serves as a glimpse into another style of campaign play. Early in the aricle, Barker explains the need (or at least desire) to coordinate the various campaigns in Tekumel to avoid “parallel universe” development. Each DM back in the day really WAS his or her campaign. When you played with a DM, you visited his little universe. I think you’ll find a similar sentiment in the FLAILSNAILs concept.

Next up – James M. Ward provides some notes on Androids on the starship Warden. The androids, it seems, play the role of doppelgangers, taking positions of power among the human tribes and keeping them in conflict with the mutants so that the androids are free to continue their drive for power.  I dig that he refers to them as the “chemical men”. I also dig that the “history” of the androids was supplied by “Emaj the fat mutant philosopher as translated by Yra the Wise.” Honestly, if your not making weird plays on your name and inserting them liberally into your campaign, you just ain’t doin’ it Old School.

Steven Klein provides a random encounter table for the foreign quarter of Jakalla, a city of Tekumel. In essence, this isn’t much different from Gary’s city encounter table in the old DMG. Watch out for the priests of the Goddess of the Pale Bone!

MAR Barker now chimes in again with notes on war gaming in Tekumel. Like Gygax and Arneson, Barker was a war gamer, and here he gives a report on the Battle of the Temple of Chanis: 2020 A.S. as a way of introducing people to the military thinking on Tekumel. He introduces the idea of “Little War” battles that are like duel battles and “Great War” battles that involve hundreds and thousands of troops. The idea of battles that mostly revolve around challenges between individuals in the two forces reminds me of stories from Celtic antiquity, and it’s not a bad way to handle some mass battles in your game without having to deal with actual war games. The length of the invented history of this battle (well, probably play report from his game) suggests how immersed people were in the game … it’s a long article to read just to learn about something that never actually handled.

The Creature Feature presents two creatures from Tekumel, the Mihalli and Vriyagga, both getting some nice color art. In S&W terms, they would have the following stats:

Mihalli: HD 3; AC 1 [18]; Atk1 weapon; Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Magic spells, shape-change, magic items.

The Mihalli were non-humans that had subterranean spy facilities that were wiped out with nuclear fission bombs. Only a few now persist. They are hermaphroditic humanoids with skin that ranges from dull green to coppery brown that signify their class – green for lower, coppery brown for upper. They are shape-changers who are sometimes given away (20%) by their opalescent red eyes. All are magic-users and most have magic items, including the wonderfully named Ball of Immediate Eventuation, which can fire energy bolts, create defense shields against non-magical projectiles (I think we call it shield these days), cause their users to become invisible and produce clouds of poisonous gas. They come in various strengths, indicated by their colors.

Vriyagga, Small: HD 10; AC 1 [19]; Atk 4 tentacles (2d6 + constrict) and bite (1d6 + poison); Move 8; Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Tentacles up to 10 feet long.

Vriyagga, Medium: HD 15; AC 1 [19]; Atk 4 tentacles (4d6 + constrict) and bite (1d8 + poison); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 17/3500; Special: Tentacles up to 20 feet long.

Vriyagga, Large: HD 25; AC 1 [19]; Atk 4 tentacles (6d6 + constrict) and bite (1d10 + poison); Move 15; Save 3; CL/XP 27/6500; Special: Tentacles up to 40 feet long.

These babies are excellent – two giant wheels with knotted muscles around a central spoke, brain pans hanging from that with weird faces from which extend four tentacles covered in suckers and a mouth lined with poisonous, purple feelers. They have ebon eyes that can see in the dark. The tentacles are very tough (AC 2 [17] to sever). Vriyagga enjoy the taste of juicy humans over the pale shrimp-things who they normally dine on.

Gary Jaquet now gives us “Miscellaneous Treasure, Magic, Weapons, Artifacts and Monsters – Additions, Deletions, Omissions, Corrections, Changes, Variations and Otherwise Confusing Alterations” etc.  This is a comedy bit with things like Creeping Crud (resembles cigarette butts, crushed Fritos, spilled Dr. Pepper, sweat from players’ foreheads and referees’ dice rolling arm, pencil shavings and old character cards), dice lice, etc.

Jerry Westergaard presents some fiction – “Roads from Jakalla”. This, along with the other articles by Barker, do a good job of presenting the setting.

Another side bar presents the old “Generals can do X, Colonels can do Y … Privates can do everything” bit, only starting with 22nd level wizards and working down to Referees.

Wargaming World – no author credit – examines the new miniature lines for EPT and D&D. The reproductions of the miniatures are almost impossible to see, so, not much help really.

Page 29 does have an interesting bit – maybe the first appearance of Appendix N. Titled “Fantasy/Swords & Sorcery: Recommended Reading From Gary Gygax”. It goes from Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions to Roger Zelazny’s Jack of Shadows (etal), Lord of Light and Nine Princes of Amber series.

Fineous Fingers gives a nice demonstration of “climbing sheer walls” for thieves.

Page 31 gives the percentile chance for obtaining an “Eye” as treasure in EPT, and the issue then ends with some pictures (boy were they hard to reproduce back in the day) of a scale model of the Temple of Vimuhla.

Not a bad issue if you want to wade into Tekumel and test the waters, and if you can’t find something to do with the Vriyagga, you just aren’t trying.