Wednesday, July 18, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #24

White Dwarf gets a little bit bigger again in April/May of 1981.  And again we get a great looking cover.

The editorial doesn't get started till page 9, where Ian Livingstone talks about the growth of the hobby. Games in plastic zip-lock bags are a thing of the past and now we get games in boxes with full color cover art.  He notes that D&D alone sold more 500,000 sets.  I am unclear whether these are considered the Golden Age or the Silver Age (I think 1983 is the cut-off most people agree on) but they were certainly the Halcyon Days.

Lew Pulsipher is back with his Part II of an Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons.  Again this reads so fresh to me today that I am going to xerox the whole series and use it with my new groups.

Andy Slack provides the coverage for the other big game of the day, Traveller, in "Backdrop of Stars". This article deals with setting up a Traveller campaign.  So much of this article has been personally ingrained with me on what Traveller is that I am a little surprised re-reading it all these years later.  I didn't know it was separate from the game.  As an aside my oldest got to play some Traveller this past weekend.  He ran into the issues that most of did 30 years ago; characters dying or being so horrible that they were next to useless.

Open Box has some interesting reviews up this issue.  Quirks is an odd little game of plant and animal mutation.  It reads like Pokemon set in Gamma World, but I am sure that is not it (though that sounds cool).  Ian Livingstone gives it 9/10.  Shooting Stars from then giant Yaquinto Publications is a ship to ship tactical space game.  It gets 8/10 from Nick Henfrey calling it "delightful to play".  Valley of the Four Winds (the same as the fiction that used to appear in WD) is a new game from Games Workshop.  It was designed by Lew Pulsipher and is given a 9/10 by Alan Paull.  GDW gives us a new Traveller book, Adventure 3 Twilight's Peak.  Andy slack gives this classic adventure a 10/10 calling it the "best FRP scenario of any kind I have ever seen".  I recall this one as being good, but the best of the best?  Well it has been 30 or so years.

Marcus Rowland presents another new class, the Detective.  This class is very much cut from the same cloth as Sherlock Holmes, but re-crafted to fit the D&D world better.  In many ways this is offered as a "good" alternative to the Thief and Assassin classes; with similar skills, progression and attacks.  The Detective also gets a bit of spells. As a custom class goes it looks pretty solid, but I can never recall seeing one in play even in the wild and crazy days of Jr high where everyone was playing some weird class they found.

Letters has some rule questions for D&D and one on the Fiend Factory from Issue 22.

An AD&D mini-module by Mark Byng is up next.  I do note that it is referred to as a Mini-Module and not a Mini-Adventure.  The Lair of Maldred the Might spans the next few pages and it is layout like a an old tome.

Starbase is back with more Traveller material and an article I remember reading many times.  Laser Sword and Foil was about bringing lightsabers into Traveller.

O.C. Macdonald discusses Alignment in Role-Playing Games.  The discussion begins with D&D and then moves on to AD&D and C&C.  The article generally pro-alignment even if it admits that it adds little to the games.

Fiend Factory falls into the April Fools trap and gives us some joke monsters.  I used to enjoy these sort of features, but anymore I don't find them as funny.  Granted at 40 something I am no longer the target audience of 1981.  So what do we have, the Bonacon which is a cow that stinks. There is an alternate version that is a flying cow.  Llort is a Troll with nilbogism. The todal which is some sort of monster sent to punish evil doers for not doing enough evil. The unique Tali Monster which is so huge it has to be carried by 35 goblins. Finally there is the Dungeon Master, which I am loathe to explain.

Treasure chest renew my faith with some interesting and deadly tricks and traps for dungeon rooms.

News is very interesting this issue.  It is telling us about the arrival of the D&D clones!  In particular the new Expert Set.  I recall seeing the picture back in the day and to me it looked like a metal tin with rounded edges and I thought for sure there were Expert Sets (and Basic Sets) that were metal tins.  Sadly that never happened.   In more back to the future news Yaquinto is going to give us a space game called Demon's Run.  No idea if it includes Sapphic 19th century Silurians or not. 

We have classifieds, and ads till the end.

A good issue marred by some silly monsters.
Lots of space given over to D&D and Traveller this issue, but not so much for the other big game, Rune Quest.


UrbanZomB said...

I think this cover is great. This image kinda summarizes the style imagery that gave me so many ideas for my games when I was a kid. I never read White Dwarf, but thanks for summarizing the issues.

Unknown said...

That's a very attractive cover!

Thanks for dropping by the
A to Z Challenge Blog and we have guest spots open if you are interested.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Sweet cover man.