Wednesday, January 23, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #49

White Dwarf #49 opens up 1984 for us.  A big year in gaming for me personally.  Let's see what this issue has in store for us.  A sci-fi inspired one, no doubt for the multi-system adventure later on.

Ian Livingstone comments on the Orwellian overtones, or lack thereof, of today's gaming.  Honestly it seemed like a weak linking to me.  It's 1984 and you need to say something about 1984.  Interestingly enough I read 1984 just the year prior.  Never really thought there was much for RPGs in it.  Computer gaming yes, but not TTRPGs.

Up first is Shuttle Scuttle by Thomas M Price. This is the mentioned multi-system adventure.  This one supports Traveller (natch), Space Opera and Laserburn.  I'll admit, I have never heard of Laserburn and I am sure it is not one I forgot.  Now as a general rule I love multi-system products.  I like them for their own value but also for the insight they give on conversions. The adventure is 4 pages, so not a bad deal really.

Open Box has reviews.  Up first is the Monster Manual II for AD&D by TSR.  Megan C. Evans gives it a 7/10 stating that there too many high level monsters and no "good" aligned monsters.  Up next Marcus Rowland reviews a couple of  solitaire adventure books by Puffin Books/Steve Jackson, Starship Traveller and City of Thieves.  They get 9/10 and 8/10 respectively.  We get some Traveller expansions by GDW,
Supplement 12 - Forms and Charts, Supplement 13 - Veterans and Adventure 9 - Nomads of the World Ocean.  Again Andy Slack is on Traveller duty, but he gives the first two a rare 2/10 and 3/10 claiming that most of this is available elsewhere.  Adventure 9 gets a more respectable 9/10.  Jon Sutherland takes on the classic Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes.  Though he doesn't seem to think so giving it and it's adventure, The Jade Jaguar, a 4/10 and 3/10.

Critical Mass has a bit on the book The Neverending Story.  The upcoming movie is mentioned, but honestly could anything prepare us for Limahl?

Chris Felton has Clay to Marble: Construction in AD&D. A neat little article with guidelines for constructions times. I seem to recall reading this years ago since some of this sounds very familiar.

Thurd the Barbarian goes up against the evil Necromancer.  Not sure if this is the Necromancer from #35 or not. ;)

Dave Morris has some variant rules for RuneQuest in Runes in the Dungeon.  Skills groups and other rules to help build D&D-like characters.  In particular I like the "witch" rules.  I would expand it into a 120 page book, but that is just me.   RuneRites is up next with various questions and answers.

StarBase has more fleets for your Traveller game.
Letters covers mostly praise for Irillan and the new look of WD.

The Key of Tirandor Part 1 is a new campaign for levels 6-9 by Mike Polling.  This part is five pages and includes 6 PCs.  It looks quite interesting to be honest.

There is more of The Goblin Cult of Kernu for RuneQuest, but like I mentioned before it is interesting enough and flexible enough to use in D&D.

Travellers is next trying to fit in any and every sci-fi in joke and reference it can.  I am not sure I can even find the story here to be honest.  There is though an 2000 AD comic feel to this one. 

Super Mole is back as an RPG "gossip" column.  Normally I like these sorts of things. Much for the same reasons I like previews in the movie theaters, I like to know what is coming up.  Reviewing a 30 year old gossip column though is odd to say the least. What is interesting is not what was going to come out, but what didn't.  Though there are some bits that are interesting.  Such as Rose Estes leaving TSR. There is a bit about Mayfair vs. TSR and the eventual fate of what will become the loved BECMI sets.  Mole does not predict I at all.

Fiend Factory features Insect World this month with the Skullcatcher, Giant Praying Mantis, Giant Moth and the Golden Beetle.  Serviceable, but nothing special.  

Treasure Chest covers Illusions and Illusionists. I can't help but feel a lot of work was being put in to making the Illusionist interesting and cool and having it all sort of fall flat.  I did have an Illusionist character back in the day.  As much as I liked the guy I still felt and feel that he was really nothing more than a weak Wizard.  Obviously I thought the Witch was a better choice as a class.  I think I was even getting all my materials together at this point for my very first witch class.

The survey results from #45 are in. Long story short, most people like most things about WD.  There are not a lot of surprises here really. Microview and Counterpoint were the lowest rated articles.   Of the recent features, The Dungeon Architect was #1, followed by Irilian, the Town Planner, Dealing with Demons and The Necromancer.  Lew get's his revenge.
Issue 44 had the best art work proving once again that near-nudity sells.  Dragon and Imagine are the two other magazines most often read/bought in addition to WD. AD&D, RuneQuest and Traveller are the top 3 games played. Followed by D&D, T&T and Call of Cthulhu. Home computer ownership is about 50/50 and most of the ones that do own them do play games on it.  98% of the readership is Male and the median age is (was) 15.  Yeah. That was me.  

Gobbledigook gets deep. And we end with the normal small ads/classifieds and ads. 

A good issue. Not an inspired one to be sure, but solidly good.  
We are going into the 50s now where my memories of them are less solid.  I was not reading WD much into and past 1984.  I was solidly into Dragon at this point, but I still enjoyed WD and picked it up again in 1987 or so with some of the back issues going back to the 60s.  


Unknown said...

Duh, colour me stupid! I asked about Keys of Tirandor back when you reviewed Issue 47, and I was getting confused. Issue 47 was the first one I bought, after that I subscribed as WD was hard to get hold of regularly, but it took me and GW a combination of 2 months to get our acts together so the first issue I got by subscription was #50, and I think I got the two mixed up.

Shuttle Scuttle looks fun, giving PCs unprecedented resources, but is more of a one-off. I might try to run it via PbP some day.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah. Most times I don't remember what I read where until I open the issue that week!

faoladh said...

Megan C. Evans must have been sleeping when reading the MMII in preparation for her review, as that was the product that included the Planetars, Solars, Devas, Baku, Pheonix, and so on; that is, it was where all the good-aligned monsters were presented!

thekelvingreen said...

I'll admit, I have never heard of Laserburn and I am sure it is not one I forgot.

Laserburn is -- sort of -- the proto-Warhammer 40,000 but even so I'm surprised that it got coverage in White Dwarf, as I don't remember it getting much coverage anywhere!

There is though an 2000 AD comic feel to this one.

Mark Harrison went on to work on 2000AD, and he's since updated The Travellers in his more modern style here.