Wednesday, October 10, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #35

White Dwarf Issue #35 came out for November 1982.
Our cover art is a cool looking druid-like character. Though  given the content it is more likely to be a necromancer.  More on that soon.

Ian Livingstone talks about the differences between favorite game (opinions) and popular games (sales), as well as the differences between the USA and UK markets.  This is a gulf that will become wider.

Lew Pulsipher comes out of the gate with the Necromancer class. If I had a dollar for every necromancer class I have seen, I'd use that money to buy one I hadn't.  Let's be honest here, evil necromancers, black priests (also by Pulsipher) and the Death Master (from Dragon) make some of the best antagonists ever.  While today this one reads a bit like a cliche, this was really before the cliche.
There is this whole human sacrifice factor, but these guys are supposed to be evil.
Mechanics wise the XP per level seems a bit low and for an AD&D class they only get up to 5th level spells.  He makes up for it (a little) in special abilities.   Now I am more of the old-old-school where Necromancer means speakers to the dead and they implore them to do their magic for them.  But this is still better than the weaker necromancers I have seen, or worst, the uber-powerful gods of the dead at 5th level.
One of my first re-occuring bad guys was a cross between this and the Dragon mag Death Master.

Starbase has some Traveller advice for Referees who get caught unaware.
Now mind you, I still think the best book for running a game, any game, can be found in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG. But a lot of people in other games don't know that.  So this article is good Traveller specific advice, but it all sounds like something we had all already been doing in D&D for years.

Open Box has some classics.  Richard Meadows gives 9/10 to Games Workshop's Judge Dredd.  Everything I knew about JD came from the pages of Dragon and White Dwarf.  I don't think I ever truly appreciated it as a property or as a game. Next up we have some classic D&D and AD&D modules. Jim Bambra doesn't spend a lot of time on any of them but in general he likes them.  G123 and B3 get  10/10. He thinks that B3 should replaced B2 in the basic set, though he never goes into it's shady past. U1 gets 1 9/10 for the home team of TSR-UK, and L1 gets an 8.  I think it is partially because of this issue that L1 and X2 were always high on my list of modules to run.  Speaking of which X2 only gets a 6/10, which he downgrades because of the urban areas and chaotic nature of the module.  See that is what attracted me to it!  Oliver Dickinson wrapps it up with Chaosium's Borderlands.  Which always made me thing of B2. He gives this adventure pack a 10/10.

Phil Masters is up with Whips in D&D.  Some text and combat tables (for AD&D) follow.
Quickly after that is Andrew Brice and RuneRites with some weapons for RuneQuest.    I always felt that articles like this could be combined.  Give us the flavor text then follow up with multi stats for various games.

Lew is back with his Part II of A Guide to Dungeon Mastering.  This one covers Monsters and Magic.  Mostly this is about the judicial use of magic items and not making the characters or the monsters too powerful.

Next up a Traveller Scenario for 6 or more players by Marcus L. Rowland, the Green Horizon.  Your jump drive misfires and sends your to 20th century Earth; 1944 to be exact. The goal is to repair your jump drive and get back to more friendly space.  All the while avoiding the Nazis.  I don't really recall this adventure to be honest.

There is a page on Games Day 82 with some pictures.

Letters has some questions on why clerics can't used edged weapons or shed blood (or is it both?). Some issues with calling the Vietnam War "obscene" yet gleefully tossing around fireballs. And oddities about the Mind Flayer god.

Fiend Factory has an adventure and monsters around the Lords of Kanuu. The Spidron is a powerful evil creature based on a recent episode of the Tomorrow People.  The Beggar Louse is basically a giant louse of different types. Wrapping up with some evil bats and undead rats.

Treasure Chest is mixed again with some magic items, a word search and a new spell.

We end with some ads and one of the first ads for Star Frontiers in the pages of White Dwarf.

We are winding down 1982 here and in my personal history I am about to hit some of the best days of gaming in my youth.  It will be interesting to see if this age and my memories of it are in anyway reflected in the pages of White Dwarf.


Lee Lawrence said...

Loving these recaps as this the period when I was reading White Dwarf.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I am rather enjoying them too!

Unknown said...

What you missed about Green Horizon is that the characters are all aliens (called something like Kzfchi), that look a little like kobolds from German and Nordic folk tales.

Back in issue 19, one of the NPCs in The Halls of Tizun Thane uses this necromancer class - there's enough info given to play him (just), but you'd have had to have waited 2 years to get the full class!