Wednesday, May 9, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #15

White Dwarf Issue #15, October/November 1979.

White Dwarf #15 is an interesting one for me to do today.  First off, it is one of the first WDs I remember ever seeing in the stores (and to this day I can't look at the cover and not hear Ozzy's "Bark at the Moon").
It is also one of the issues I am missing pages of.  Page 6/7 and 26/27 have been torn out.  Honestly I didn't recall them being missing till I picked it back up to read the Editorial.

Let's jump right in shall we?
Well my issue starts with some ads and then gets into the stalwart of early game zines, an article on HP!
Roger Musson gives us what might be the first "Wounds" system based on Con.  It is certainly playable since I have seen dozens of iterations of the same idea over the last few years AND it is as current as posts in my Google Reader today.  As good as it is, I am still a "HP as abstraction" kinda guy.

Andy Slack has Part 3 of his Expanding Traveller Universe article. This one is more interesting than last weeks. Lots of cool tables on planets and alien life.  Weird, trippy, 70s sci-fi always appeals to me and Traveller encapsulates that.

In the main feature of the magazine is a new board game/mini game called Barbarian from Ian Livingstone.  The purpose of this two player game is regain a magical sword and shield of the "Old Fathers".  The game is simple (it even says so).  There is a two page board, counters and charts.  All that is missing are players and dice.  One player plays Vaarn the Barbarian, the other plays the creatures trying to stop him.  The combat advantage is given to Vaarn, but there are more than one monster to play.

Don Turnbull has an EXCELLENT article on running the "New" D series of modules.  Honestly, if I ever run these again I am going to copy this page and stick inside the modules.

Open Box has some new reviews up.  Metagaming Microgames has two offerings this month Ice War (5/10) and Black Hole (9/10). Don Turnbull felt that Ice War should have been a bigger game, but Black Hole was a near perfect mini-game.  King Arthur's Knights from The Chaosium is not as it turns out a prequel to Pendragon, but one can't help think it influenced it somehow.  This is a 16-page mini game  that received a 7/10 review from Jacek Gabrielczyk.  We are treated to a bunch of Traveller books including 3 from Judges Guild. A mixed bag of Traveller Screen 7/10, Traveller Logbook 9/10 and Starships,and Spacecraft 5/10.  We also get Animal Encounters from Game Designers' Workshop 9/10.
It was certainly a great time to be a Traveller fan in late 1979.

Treasure Chest gives us a very cool height and weight based on race and strength table.   So good in fact that I did Xerox this one!  We also get an alternate undead draining table that drains Abilities.  It is different than the one I have done, but the idea is the same.

Fiend Factory is back with an acknowledgement of all the letters it has been bringing in of late.  Don Turnbull mentions that he is keeping a eye on the quality and hopes that the feature continues to give us good monsters. Some monsters have Monster Marks, others do not.  What do we get this issue? Well...we get a metal sphere that spits fire in the form of the Heat Monster. The Dragon Dog (related to dragons and the Hell Hound) and the Tacharnid (which has no stats). Next is the weird Russian Doll monster. This thing starts as an Ogre till you do 10 points of damage to it, then the skin peels off and it's now a Bugbear, 9 points later a Gnoll, 8 points later an Orc...you get the idea till we end up with a kobold of 4 hp AND then till we get to the very end, to discover it was a Leprechaun operating the monster from the inside.  They went ahead and calculated it's Monster Mark and it comes out to be as much of a challenge as a Stone Giant (OD&D).   We round up the lot with a Time Freezer, a monster that can freeze time, to at least one creature.  And the Pebble Gnome, a gnome completely immune to magic of all sorts.
This marks the 10th issue of Fiend Factory.  Coming up is the top 10 as voted on by readers.

And finally. Ads.

Next up, end of the 70s, beginning of the 80s and when yours truly discovers this cool/odd little game.

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