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.


  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? :)

  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.

  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.

  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.

    1. Charlie, that's an amazing theory!

  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!