Wednesday, February 8, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday Issue 5

Here we are again for our mid-week delve into the past with White Dwarf.   Today I want to discuss issue #5 which came out Feb/March 1978.

Our editorial is another feature ripped from today's blogs, if that is Ian Livingstone had figured out how to read the blogs 30 years before they were published.  The editorial deals with the issues of copyrights and how one can play a game in someone else's worlds.  He mention Star Wars specifically (ok so he didn't see the future where you can play "D&D Star Wars" thanks to the d20 System), but also the Tolkien estate and TSR's short lived "Battle of the Five Armies" game.  Granted the point of view at this time is "hopefully one day we can play in those worlds" which we ended up being able to do.  Today the cry is more "this should be in the public domain".  An argument for a later post I think.

Lew Pulsipher gives us a nice review of FGU's new game "Chivalry & Sorcery".  Actually it is part review, part play report and part advertising to be honest.  I am not faulting him on this, on the contrary, I am rather enjoying the open fondness everyone had for the games back then.  He likes this game and wants you to try it.
We are treated to a 2-page review/overview of Der Kriegspielers ("The War Gamers") new line 25mm minis.  These mins have a strong Middle-Earth feel for them (they had not read the Editorial yet it seems).

More monsters from Don Turnbull in Monsters Mild and Malign. The presentation of the information has not improved any here.  The monsters are detailed in the article with their stats inserted where needed.  Among the monsters we get this time are the Fuzzy and Steely which actually come from an article from The Dungeoneer about Beholder-like creatures.  We have modern monsters like the Gremlin and Cyborg.  The Bogy is an interesting beast (and pictured) as something like a three-armed satyr that might be related to the Type III Demon.  That one deserves to be worked up a bit more I think.  A bunch of other creatures are also mentioned including Imps of various sizes (and Monstermark ratings) and a crawling hand.  Of note though is the final entry which mentions that a new feature will be coming with the next issue, The Fiend Factory.

Don Turnbull returns with more on D&D Campaigns where he discusses Alignment, Magic, Treasure and whether or not Players should play more than one Character.  Each one of these is interesting in their own right and most of all how none of these have stopped being a point of conversation among D&D players.  I think it would be good for the playtesters and authors of D&D.Next to re-read some of these old articles.

Open Box gives us new reviews.  Three book from a company named "Little Soldier" are reviewed; Book of Monsters, Book of Demons and Book of Sorcery.   Book of Monsters has 100 new monsters, mostly from myth and legend with some "near D&D" like stats. Book of Demons is similar, but also includes the magic and magicians used to deal with these creatures.  The Book of Sorcery includes spell fumble rules and more magic items.  While the reviewer (Pulsipher) does not care for them (no rating is given) I can't help now but to want them and try to find them! (ETA: I found them!).  We also have a review of War of the Ring from FGU which only gets 5/10.  Chaosium's (still called "The Chaosium" at this point) "All The World's Monsters" is reviewed. Described as a 110+ page book of 265 monsters for D&D and fantasy RPGs. It was printed on thick stock and featured 3-ring punching long before this was a common feature for some games.  There are a lot of good features to this book, but the reviewer (Again Don Turnbull) found it a little lacking, giving it 5 out of 10 and saying that quality was sacrificed for quantity.

A review of Games Day III (Dec 17, 1978) follows.   An article on how to get food and water on the Starship Warden for MA.
The news section informs us of the release of the D&D Basic box and that the AD&D Monster Manual is next.  Followed soon by the AD&D Player's Handbook and the "AD&D Referee's Guide".

The first comic for White Dwarf is featured.  A full page comic called Kalgar.
Treasure Chest gives us some neat magic items.  The Rainbow Sword for charming (based on an item in the Led Zeppelin movie The Song Remains the Same) and two waters, the Waters of Beguilement and the Waters of Enchantment.
The "Asbury System" of awarding experience points based on PC level is presented by Brian Asbury.  It reminds me of the charts in the 3.x DMG of awarding experience to characters based on CR.  The only thing this is missing is a way to tie it in to Monstermark.

Letters continues with more Monstermark clarifications and how to separate player interaction from character interaction.

One gets the feel here that White Dwarf is becoming something more now.  Gone are the silly classes and weapons.  The art is taking a notch up and the regular features are in getting into place.  It comapres well to others of it's kind at the time, but I feel the writing is getting better, the analysis is more in-depth.  At one year old WD is getting ready to be the fantastic RPG magazine I knew it to be.

Want to read more of this issue? Get it from Noble Knight Games. White Dwarf #5.


scottsz said...

Love that cover art!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

You are not likely to see that on the cover of Dragon these days.

scottsz said...


It would make an impressive wall poster, though!