Saturday, January 09, 2021

a minor Dragon magazine mystery

So this morning I was flipping through Dragon issue #47 (March '81), as I wanted to take a gander at David Cook's Crimefighters, a small pulp hero RPG printed in its entirety in that issue. Anyhoo, I noticed this small item on page 11:


That's obviously meant to be a teaser ad of the enigmatic type, designed to make one curious and therefore more attentive for a follow-up ad that better explains itself and the product involved. The thing is, I have no idea what the item being advertised actually turned out to be. The name Namalk the Seventh doesn't ring a bell. I looked through the rest of the issue to no avail, so I also did a quick search of the next four issues. Nothing seemed to connect back to this tiny illo of a mysterious cloaked figure approaching a castle.

Maybe I just missed it. Or maybe the people who bought this add never followed through by purchasing a follow-up ad. Or maybe the follow-up isn't clearly connected back to this teaser (i.e. the ad campaign wasn't designed very well). If anybody knows what's going on here, please leave a comment.

Adventure Hook: Rumors abound in the realm that "Namalk is coming" but no one seems to be able to agree as to who or what Namalk is. A paranoid noble hires the PCs to get to the bottom of this mystery. Until they can assure him of Namalk's identity and purpose, he won't be able to sleep well.

7 comments:

  1. I have fond memories of playing Crimefighters for a year or so way back when, but I don't recall this ad at all, or any follow up or product based on it. A quick web search reveals a Twitter account under the name Namalk though. Maybe you could contact him and ask if he's the seventh in a long line of Namalks? :)

    https://twitter.com/namalk

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  2. Interestingly, “Lord Namalk” is still unique enough (until your query gets indexed) that there is literally only one result for it on a quoted Google web search. Unfortunately, it just leads to a “Circle of Eight Modding Committee” forum member that hasn’t had any activity.

    No book results either.

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  3. Yes! Yes!

    Keep searching! Spread his name! Bring forth his magnificence!

    Our Lord and Master--Namalk the Seventh!

    As was foretold.

    His two-score years of exile are soon at an end.

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  4. Perhaps it was purchased by one or more players to poke at a Dragon-reading DM as a joke. “Lord Namalk” might be one of those perpetual characters who keeps getting replaced upon his death by his practically-the-same-character heir, much to the DM’s chagrin. It would be kind of funny to discover the ad was an inside joke about a running gag from some otherwise unknown campaign of yesteryear.

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    Replies
    1. Charlie, that's an amazing theory!

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  5. That's it, I'm adding Lord Namalk VII to my game, exactly in the manner suggested: a series of broadsheets appear around town, mysteriously, over time. Perhaps the players themselves will, in their speculations, give me the perfect idea for the villain!

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