Wednesday, July 3, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #70

White Dwarf for October 1985 feels like it should be ushering in a new era in WD.  It doesn't, at least not yet, but there is change coming.  We begin with a cool cover of a barbarian of some sort fighting an undead wizard or lich and his demonic concubine/familiar/slave in front of a golden idol.  Pretty cool.  The cover is by Brian Williams.

Our editorial is interesting since it covers the demise of Imagine.  I picked up the first dozen or so issues of Imagine myself and wanted to do a retrospective of them as well.  When James over at Grognardia was doing his I was hoping that the months we reviewed would have been close together to get a good idea of what was going on in 1983-1985 gaming wise, at least from a perspective outside my own local one and my own remembrances. But like Imagine, the retrospectives stopped short of their full potential.  Pity really.  Maybe I will pick up Imagine someday.   Ian waxes nostalgic as well.

White Dwarf had been over the last few issues moving into newer games, mostly Golden Heroes.  This issue though is a pretty firm "D&D" one.  We begin with Graemme Davis discussing literacy and languages in AD&D.  The rules he suggests are more complicated than what most of us would want to use today, but I can totally see people using this.

The Coven is a group of super villains for Golden Heroes and the focus of Heroes & Villains this issue.  The members are listed, but only one is detailed.  They are a bit (ok a lot) cliched, but for comic book/supers villains they are not so bad.  There are five members and each one takes on the name of some other mytho-historic figure (Morgan, Salome, Cain, Moloch and Maximilian).  With some tweaks they could be fun.

Crawling Chaos has a great article on converting 1920s Call of Cthulhu prices from American dollars to British Pounds, Shillings and Pence (Britain was not on a decimal money system till 1971).  This article seems quaint to us now, not just because we have Cthulhu by Gaslight, but also because such things are easy to find on the net now.  Heck even in the 10 years since I wrote Ghosts of Albion this stuff is easier to find (unless of course you happen to have the rates of inflation between 1837 and 1845 memorized).

Open Box does D&D this month.  The X modules are reviewed, X6, X7 and X8 as well as the AD&D DL5 module. Graham Staplehurst reviews all four giving them 8/10, 8/10, 8/10 and 6/10 respectively.  Megan Robertson, who still reviews today for DriveThruRPG reviewed The Lost Shrine of Kasar-Khan. It is an adventure for any FRPG (coughh*D&D*cough) and gets 8/10.  The AD&D Battle System for large battles is reviewed by Graeme Davis. He says it is a good system but maybe over priced.

We get a Golden Heroes and Champions adventure next, Reunion by Simon Burley.  I was never sure why Golden Heroes was given precedence over Champions.  Must have been a local thing.

Diane and Richard John discuss Bounty Hunters as a career in Traveller.  Pretty much every character I ever conceived of in Traveller was some sort of bounty hunter.

In Too Deep has nothing to do with the Phil Collins song out at the same time but an underwater AD&D adventure for 3-6 characters. The adventure is quite detailed and I am struck by how I could work this into the whole Saltmarsh series with some tweaks.
Following up on this is Part 3 of Beneath the Waves.  This issue covers Creatures of the Depths.

Treasure Chest pretends to be Fiend Folio this issue and gives us some monstrous NPCs, a lizard man, a stone giant and an intellect devourer.

Tabletop Heroes covers customizing minis.  My favorite is the saxaphone playing T-Rex.

Gobbledigook is now a full page. The last few pages are all ads.

All in all I like this issue and I hope it is signals some positive changes in the future of WD.  Looking ahead I think I will be pleased, but I know the changes are coming.


faoladh said...

There's an easy answer to your question: Golden Heroes was Games Workshop's product, and White Dwarf was well on its way toward House Organ city (though not yet as far along as Dragon was at the time; both would continue to pretend for a while yet).

How could a Tyrannosaurus rex play sax with those tiny little arms?

Lee Lawrence said...

I think you're right faoladh. I loved GH. Mind you it's still the only Supers game I've GM'ed so there's there's not much competition.

Enjoying this series of WD retrospectives, Tim. Good stuff.