Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to the Other Side and my weekly feature White Dwarf Wednesdays. Every Wednesday I take an issue of White Dwarf and run through it both with an eye towards what the issue meant to me then and what it means in the scope of my gaming today.
Let's start with the cover. An improvement over last week I think. Futuristic flying city with jet fighters. Cool idea. I wonder if this was supposed to be taking place in 2013!
We have the usual pages of ads including a new one for Battlecars from Games Workshop.
Our editorial this month comes once again from Ian Livinstone. He discusses the latest landmark reached by White Dwarf, 20,000 copies per month. He credits this to the rise in the RPG hobby, which at the time was nearly 10 years old and the inclusion of WD in WHSmith stores.
First up in the articles we have Phil Palmer trying to bring some logic to wandering monsters. This is territory that has been well covered. I am not even sure if games today even talk about wandering monsters anymore. I still use them out of habit, but they have to make some sort of sense. I am not sure if it was reading this article that got to me to that point, or it just seemed logical.
Open Box is next with the RuneQuest Companion as reviewed by Oliver Dickinson. He gives it an 8/10. Mentioned as the first of the series, I'll have to go back and check to see if they kept up with that. The next item up is the re-issue (as they call it) of FGU's Chivalry & Sorcery. Marcus Rowland gives it high marks all around with an overall score of 8/10. I am a touch surprised that no one has tried to retro-clone this game. And finally the Sanctuary Board Game from local guys (local to me now that is) Mayfair Games. It gets a 7/10 from Allan E. Paull.
Critical Mass has some reviews of new books. One that always grabbed my attention, but I never read was "Golden Witchbreed" by Mary Gentle. I have to say that going back over these Critical Mass articles have made me want to go back and revisit some of the classics of my youth. It is 100% nostalgia, but I know I missed some good ones from back then.
Counterpoint is back with a new board game, Dragonhunt. These articles were always very detailed affairs. Which begs the question. Was there a greater connection to RPGs and Boardgames in England than here in the US or was I just not that interested in Board Games?
Part 3 of the 3 part Dealing With Demons focuses on the Demonic Nobility. There is a lot of good advice here for any game that has demons. The demons themselves do not inspire me, but they are certainly usable.
Phil Masters has some world governments for Traveller.
Lew Pulsipher goes over some non-fiction sources for use in RPGs.
Letters has a letter complaining about the cover for WD 44. 30 years later we still haven't gotten the chainmail bikini worked out of our system. A later asking people to leave D&D for "newer and better" games. And some alignment squabbles.
Part 5 or 6 of Irilian is up. I don't recall this one as well but there is a ton of detail.
Play by Mail is the subject of Microview. Using the computer to handle the PBM turns and then print out and send the GM responses to everyone. This is a rare window on a time when we knew computers would change everything, we just didn't exactly know how. While I would say that at least 80% of WD is still usable today, with 10% of the remainder either needing updated or in use already. The last 10% or so is something like this. Artifacts of the hobby that have been left in the past. PBM would be a foreign concept to many new players and the idea that you would print out something and mailing it makes very little sense. This is also one of the cases where computers have really improved the experience in my opinion. A Play By Message Board (PBMB) does allow for the same sort of interaction that MMORPGS only sort of do, but also the ability to connect to other players around the world. Google+ Hangouts are the current ultimate evolution of these.
Thrud the Barbarian gets hungry and the Travellers leave hyperspace.
Fiend Factory has been lacking a bit for me lately. The crazy monsters are thankfully something of the past, but now I find I miss the creativity that came along with them. This one features a collection of woodland monsters and an associated mini adventure. We get some intelligent plants like the Ivyix, Crimson Carpet, the Puffbal Plant and the Acrophids which are a bit like Triffids. We also get the Vily (woodland spirits) and Dame Vertes (green lady), which are a sisterhood of protectors.
RuneRites has some combat related ideas for RuneQuest.
Lew Pulsipher devotes a page to a single spell, but to be fair it is a big one. The Hellwalk Spell sends victims to a pocket universe where they must defeat monsters. It's a neat idea and one that would work with any game system or edition. In D&D4 terms this would be more of a Ritual than anything else.
There is an odd page, Pirate Eye, that is attempting some humor. I like gamer and geek humor as much as the next guy, but this one seems too out there for me. Maybe it is too British and I am not grounded in the same culture. There are bits of news here too. I guess it is trying to come off as a gossip column for gamers.
Though I will admit that the use of Steve Jackson was amusing. As in "Steve Jackson-not-of-Car-Wars" and "not-this-Steve Jackson".
Some small ads and Gobbledigook. More ads. An ad and sign up for Games Fair '84 featuring E. Gary Gygax. Color ads for RunwQuest and for the new Star Frontiers set, Knight Hawks.
All in all this issue didn't wow me. I enjoyed Irilian as usual, but the rest didn't do much for me. Ah well. There is next issue!