Wednesday, May 2, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #14

We continue our trek through time and space back to England of the late 1970s with White Dwarf #14 from Aug/Sept 1979.

How do you know you are reading White Dwarf and not The Dragon?  The ads have topless women in them. This was not the first time I noticed this, but 6 pages into the issue and already I have seen 4 topless women.  Mind you I am not complaining, but I am pointing out how different the attitudes were between the American game circles and the overseas ones.  This is the same theme (differences between the two groups, not nudity) of the editorial.  Ian Livingstone discusses the differences between British conventions and American ones.  Ian mentions his recent trip to America and we get more of that later.

Andy Slack is back with more expansions to the Traveller Universe. White Dwarf was the reason I picked up Traveller in the first place.  I never quite wrapped my head around it to be honest.   I would love to try it again someday.

Don Turnbull is also back with the fiends of the Fiend Factory.  This seems to be the also-rans of the bunch since non of these made it to the Fiend Folio.  We get a demonic elphant (the Gurgotch), the group entity Mindweb,  an Energy Cyclone, the Gazer (a weird beholder-like creature made of 1000s of eyes) and a frozen naked girl, the Ice Maiden.  But there is something else to note here.  Along with last issue alignments are now presented in AD&D format, so Chaotic Evil, Neutral Good.  But this issue the Monstermark scores are gone.  We knew it was coming, but they are now gone.   Another interesting bit, a note added later (but before publication) mentions "The Folio" for the first time.

Open Box we have reviews of Traveller book 4 (Mercenary) and 1001 Characters.  They get a 9 and 6 respectively from Don Turnbull.    Some Judges Guild books, The Dragon Crown and Of Skulls and Scrapfaggot Green. Both of these were used as Convention adventures but they were not particularly well liked by Don Turnbull giving them only a 5 and 7 respectively.  Mostly due to spelling and print errors but alos for some odd rule interpretations.

We are treated to a Runequest adventure "Lair of the White Wyrm" by John Bethell which would work for D&D with some tweaks.  But I want to try it with CoC to be honest.

Treasure Chest gives us a one-page dungeon (see, there is nothing new under the sun), The Bath-House of the Pharaoh. Well it's one page, front and back.
The letters page concerns itself with various attacks and defenses of the Monstermark and Fiend Factory.

The big feature of the issue is an interview with Gary Gygax.
A lot of this is stuff we now know and take for granted.  Highlights:  At the time of the interview TSR had 20-25 employees and expected that to grow to over 30 or 40 by August of 1980.  He does credit Dave Arneson's campaign and Dave Megarry's Dungeon board game as influences.  At the time WD estimates there are 30,000 D&D players in the UK and GG estimates that there are 250,000 to 300,000 in the US and Canada.  When asked what extent have other games (RPGs) have had on D&D Gary says "None to speak of."   The World of Greyhawk is planned for the summer of 1980.

We end the magazine with the few pages of ads.

Certainly more ads this time around, but not as strong of issue as the last one was.

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