We close out 1980 and start 1981 with more subtle changes to White Dwarf. We are getting to the tiem where so many of us started that these magazines now elicit memories of games past.
Page 1, we get what I think is the first full page ad for the Fantasy Trip. I could be wrong. All in all five pages of ads. Our editorial this issue is the discussion of what is the best Fantasy role-playing system. Ian Livingstone is asking what the readers think is the best and why among D&D, C&S, RuneQuest, The Fantasy Trip and others.
Pictures from GamesDay '80 cover the next couple of pages and the 1980 awards results.
Mervyn Lemon gives us some advice on how to build 3-D dungeons. A good one for today's world to be honest.
Rick D. Stuart writes "Robe and Blaster" upgrading Aristocracy in Traveller. Page and a half.
Treasure Chest is up next. It's a mixed bag. Crystal Fruit (magical crystals full of fruit juice) and the Assissin's Quill (brass knuckles with crossbow bolts), Stonerings (turns you to stone till taken off), the Stones of Li-Chao (all sorts of cures), Tenser's Shield (floating disc turned on it's side) and others.
Open Box gets a little facelift and some new games. Charles Vasey gives Mythology from Yaquinto Games a glowing 9/10. Likewise John Lambsehd gives Metagaming's Stellar Conquest a 9/10. Not doing as well are Runquest's Bestiary (Andy Slack gives it a 6/10) and Task Force Games' Asteroid Zero-Four (also a 6/10 from Alestrair Brown).
Lew Pulsipher pulls out all the stops and gives us an article about evil priests, "Black Priests" that also includes art of a nude woman about to be sacrificed. Certainly not something we would see to today in any gaming magazine. Odd, when I first saw this pic I thought her right arm had been cut off. It is just how the blood spill is.
The class is, well, evil. The have abilities of clerics, some Monster Summoning ala magic-users and even some thief and assassin talents. They use cleric spells and cleric level titles only with the word "Black" added to them so Black Curate and so on. Their experience point per level is more inline with magic-users. We got a few "evil" classes around this time. Anti-Paladins, the revised Witch and Death Master from Dragon. Not sure what this trend was about really. I am guessing it was because the "normal" classes were very safe and played to be good.
Barney Sloane presents "The Search for the Temple of the Golden Spire" an AD&D min-module for 7 2nd-4th level characters. It was used as a competition module at Dragonmeet III. It is four pages long, but no scoring for competition. Just good little adventure.
Letters concerns itself with alignments, again showing us there are no new arguments.
Star Base, the Sci-fi regular feature. This is one of the first reader submissions, this time from S.L.A McIntyre on Port Facilities for Traveller. And to understand how much Traveller was the only game in town, the game's name is not even mentioned till 3/4 of the article.
Fiend Factory is back and again sporting the new design. This time we get some heavy hitters. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are undead vassals of Orcus. They remind me of Skeleton Warriors under the control of a Death Knight, and in fact that is probably how they were played, save that these warrirors have 12 HD and the leader is 16 HD. We also get Ungoliant the (Demonic) Queen of the Spiders. Yes we do. She is more powerful than Lolth, but not as much personality. There is the Capricorn (in case you forgot how close the 70s still were) which is an aquatic goat of some power and good. Actually the concept of the monster is so interesting that it would be worth reviving it as a powerful celestial beast. Might need to come back to this one. We end the article with the Crystal Golem. Not a bad little creature. Described as the only golem that an Illusionist can build.
Lew Pulsipher is back with a treatise on character stats in AD&D and what the numbers mean. It is one of the first "Simulation" articles I ever recalled reading back in the day; and that is that AD&D is not a Simulation game. But he does refer to it as a wargame.
We get News of the newest game company, Steve Jackson Games. Chaosium is coming out with a boxed set for Runequest. More news on their new Elric game. TSR releases A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity (one fo the first modules I went through in AD&D). And plenty of Traveller news with Games Workshop getting the ok to produce official Traveller material in the UK.
Classifieds and more ads follow.
A very solid issue that highlights the growth WD was experiencing at the time. The switch in my mind will be complete over the next year or so. D&D/AD&D and Traveller still reign supreme among the games. That's fits my experiences as well. I bought Traveller because of the ads in Dragon and White Dwarf.