Sunday, March 18, 2012

Some Beloved Dragon Articles

In no particular order.

"D&D Option: Orgies, Inc" - Jon Pickens, issue #10, page 5+.  This gem and the similar rules in Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign are the primary influences on my carousing rules.  Pickens' "D&D Option: Demon Generation" in issue #13 is also pretty sweet.

"Good Hits & Bad Misses" - Carl Parlagreco, issue #39, page 34+.  Fun critical/fumble system my group played the crap out of during our high school years.  Reprinted in one of the Best of Dragon volumes, number 3 or 4 I think.

"Customized Classes" - Paul Montgomery Crabaugh, issue #109, page 8+.  Recent work done on the web has probably rendered Crabaugh's method of making non-Advanced classes obsolete, but I've gotten a tone of cool results out of his system.

"Dragonchess" - Gary Gygax, issue #100, page 34+.  My introduction to the crazy mixed-up world of chess variants.  I've been working on a couple 2-d versions of Dragonchess on and off for maybe a decade now.  (Nice folks waiting for Fleet Captain updates probably shouldn't think about that last sentence too much.)

"Believe It or Not, Fantasy Has Reality" - Douglas P. Bachmann, issue #40, page 10+.  Bachmann's system bends fantasy gaming into a more new age hippie/psychedelic fairytale/Campbellian monomyth direction.  Although written with D&D and Chivalry & Sorcery in mind, I recommend this one for Pendragon fans.

"Gandalf Was Only A Fifth Level Magic-User" - Bill Seligman, issue #5, page 27.  My vote for the best article ever printed in the magazine.  Should be required reading for anyone who thinks you need a large number in the Level field of your charsheet in order to experience "epic" play.

"The Taming of Brimstone" - Donald Mumma, issue #71, page 35+. Kickass little Boot Hill module.

"Dino Wars!" - Tom Moldvay, issue #166, page 48+. Tabletop rules for little plastic army men versus rubber dinosaurs.  Ran this at a con once with buildings made of cereal boxes.  Good times.

"King of the Tabletop" - Tom Wham, issue #77, page 33+. A classic Tom Wham silly boardgame.  I suspect that playing this one when we were kids is the secret origin of my sister's vast boardgame collection.

"Spells Between the Covers" - Bruce Heard, issue #82, page 55+.  The earliest system I've seen where an MU must obtain and track the contents of their library.  A little over-complicated perhaps, but the percentage chart full of magical treatises totally rules.

"Not Quite the Marvel-PHILE" - Jeff Grub, issue 97, page 77+.  Because who doesn't need stats for Frog-Man and Howard the Duck?

13 comments:

  1. I concur on all of your choices. I'll admit, I was always a sucker for new "NPC" classes as well.

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  2. Would you mind posting a sampling of those Magical Treatises? They sound interesting enough.

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  3. I have the "Dino Wars" issue, though I've never played the game. Ah, remember the days when a magazine would contain a complete game? I guess "Strategy & Tactics" still does...

    The "Gandalf is level 5" idea was in the first and only post-3e Dragon Annual, too, the same place they suggested D&D Scooby-Doo, if I recall.

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  4. Ah! Taming of Brimstone is one of my favorite modules - regardless of system or genre. It really first showed me a "sandbox-type" setting where multiple threads at multiple locations all tied together depending on the PC actions. Loved it.

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  5. I'm a big fan of crabaugh's class article - which more recent work were you referring to re custom classic classes? I'd love to see how other people tackle the issue. Thanks in advance for any response!

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    1. More recent work in this field includes the 2nd edition DMG, Erin Smale's Building the Perfect Class http://www.breeyark.org/building-perfect-class/ and Quibish's extensive reworking of Crabaugh's approach http://quibish.blogspot.com/search/label/Customized%20Classes .

      Of the three, I favor Quibish's work.

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  6. I really dislike that Bill Seligman article, though I can't really articulate why, unless it's that it commits a basic category error.

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    1. I don't think there's a category error IF you read the piece as exaggeration to make a rhetorical point. Which I do.

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  7. Dino Wars! was quite a lot of fun, I also had in addition to green US G.I's bag of gray Wehrmacht, yellow brown British and red Soviet plastic soldiers as dino feed. It made games more "interesting" as there were multiple players with their own plastic soldiers and instead of you know sniping at humblest of all God's creatures, the Tyrannosaurus Rex you could take a guilt free shot at mowing down nazis.

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  8. You do us all a great service with these lists!

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  9. Nice list though I would have gone with Search for the Emperor's Treasure for the Wham game.

    "Believe It or Not, Fantasy Has Reality" is the one article I can point to that influenced me both back in the day and today. http://hillcantons.blogspot.com/2010/11/introducing-mystery-and-legend-into.html

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  10. Excellent choices. I'd add "Living in a Material World" from #81 (which allows material components to actually be used), "When It Gets Hit, It Gets Hurt" (the only critical hit system I ever liked) from #73, "Elemental Gods" in #77 (inspirational, if nothing else), "For King and Country" (the best alignment system for D&D outside of the original Law/Neutral/Chaos version) in #101, "Great Stoney" in #86 (which exists in most of my game settings in some form), and Lisa Cabala's article on weather in #137, "Weathering the Storms". I'm also fond of articles that cover aspects of the endgame, but those are pretty focused.

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