Wednesday, December 4, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #89

It's the end of the 80s for White Dwarf. Not the 1980s, but the issues.  White Dwarf 89 takes us to May, 1987.  Our cover art is another Chris Achilleos one. But unlike the past ones that invoked a strong Heavy Metal feel this one is pure Warhammer to me.  Of course this is tied in with their big Citadel Miniatures give away.

Mike Brunton discusses the give-away in the editorial.  They giving out £2,000 worth of minis, a grand prize of £1,000 and four £250 prizes.  The details are in the center pages, more on that when we get there.  In other editorial news WD will celebrate it's 10th anniversary (they say birthday) and they are raising the price to £1.25! Ok to be fair there has not been a price increase in a while and we are just under 70 pages. They are promising an extra 16 pages of articles. We are already at a lot more cool than the previous few issues.
There is also an apology to West End Games for the tone and content of their remarks made in WD87 about "The Price of Freedom".

Open Box covers a few of the "home team" games like the Rogue Trooper board game and supplement for Judge Dredd ("Slaughter Margin").  The one that interested me then and I'll admit now, it the slick new Traveller 2300 game.  I remember playing this one in college a bit my freshman year. I remember a lot of talk about merging it with Twilight 2000, but I never saw it happen.  In their token D&D review Graeme Davis takes on module X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord.  He was disapointed by it, claiming it was just like the like the adventures they were doing 5 years ago (1982) which I guess would make it a big seller now.  I also didn't care for it, but for different reasons.  My reasons were it wasn't what I thought it could be; a nice tie-in with Death's Ride.  Again it would not be for another year or so till I got my hands on this one.

Awesome Lies, the news/gossip column (if I can call it that) is next. But there are some tidbits here of interest. The mention West End Games grabbing the Star Wars licence. A note about the post-TSR career path of EGG at New Infinities with Frank Mentzer and Kim Mohan.

Critical Mass covers some of then new books. Fredick Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats is reviewed and I ate that book up. Wow. It was one of those books that went right into my game playing.  My then DM and I, already big on the idea of the multiverse, went all out gonzo on it.  In fact a lot of what makes up my Mystoerth world had its beginnings here and with this book.  It's funny how even sitting here now more than 25 years later how much of the book is coming back to me.  Though this review seems rather down on all the titles.

Thrud battles the Ramones from Space. Or something. Can't tell and don't care.

Be Afraid Be Very Afraid covers phobias in Call of Cthulhu. It is a laundry list from the DSM.  Hell maybe even from the same DSMIII-R I still own.  Generally speaking I don't like how most games handle insanity, madness and mental disorders.  I was a QMHP for years working in a center for schizophrenics. Most games get it so horriblly wrong as to be laughable. Call of Cthulhu is a notable exception even if it is simplistic and hand-waves a lot of the details; it works for the game.  This article is neat reading, but not much in the way of good game content.  By that I mean that one gaming group might use 2, maybe 3 of these, ever.

Next is a Paranoia scenario, Do Troubleshooters Dream of Electric Sheep.  Is it me or do all of these look the same? I think it must be me.

On Ealden Bergen is an "Adventure" or is is a supplement from Iron Crown Enterprises about Robin Hood. It is designed to be a "system-less" system but obviously based on Rolemaster. It reminds me in many ways of the their later Nightmares of Mine horror book.   It could be adapted and used with other systems, but a working knowledge of MERP or Rolemaster is really needed.  So much for "Systemless".

No we get to the middle and the contest, Ravening Hordes.  Simple, write a Warhammer Battle scenario and send it in by August 3, 1987.  I'll update when the winners are announced.

Friends in High Places is a generic fantasy RPG article about deception and intrigue in your games.  It is a pretty good read really. It discusses who the npcs are, what are their motivations and then what are their means of getting to them. Heavy on court intrigue, I think it is a good thing to try out.  Granted, Vampire will come along in a few years and take this to the Nth degree, but this is a cool look at the state of FRPGs in a post AD&D world.

An ad for the Snarf Quest book. Which is interesting given that Larry Elmore is just now starting a Kickstarter for a new Snarf Quest book.

'Eavy Metal covers painter Phil Lewis. I know a couple of the guys that are big into painting these days and they have their own "stars" and "rogues" just like all sorts of other fandoms.  Me. I am lucky if I can draw a straight line with a ruler and laser guide.

Character advancement in Warhammer Fantasy.  I can't but help think that many of the topics that were covered for D&D 8 years ago, RuneQuest 6 years ago and Rolemaster 4 years ago are now being recycled for Warhammer now.  Still. If you are using secondary skills in your flavor of D&D today then there is some ideas here.

Three pages of Unearthed Arcana errata is next.  I am of the mind that if I didn't read it and my players never read it then the errata didn't matter.  Sure it made for some weird ass rules, but often we would house rule them away anyway.  The bits about Method V is a laugh though. It's like reading some grognard blog posts today about D&D4/Next.  More proof that gamers never really change.  If the pages were falling out I'd consider sticking them into my UA, but they are still in there.   Did any of you ever care about the errata for UA?

Letters are next. Do you  remember the old Monty Python skit where they read letters that were supposedly sent into the show? I recall one from Richard Nixon...that is the feeling I get here.  I think at this point people where writing in just to get their name published; the 1987 version of "First!".

Small ads and then more ads.  There is a great Citadel miniatures ad for Daleks and Cybermen.  I have a few of the Daleks still myself.

A big issue, but not really full of anything I found interesting for gaming, just nostalgia.  We will see where the next 10-11 issues take us.


ERIC! said...

Speaking about the UA errata, back in the day we never even knew such a concept existed, we just played the game "as is" and hand waved what we didn't like.

This attitude carried with me up until my 3.5 days, I just didn't care enough to worry about the stuff.

However with the popularity of PDFs now and "Drivethrurpg" it's easy to get updated versions of the games I play. That can be printed out and placed in binders.


Unknown said...

As I recall from my WD read-through, the UA "errata" aren't actually errata at all, in the sense that TSR said "oops, we made some errors, here are the corrections". Rather, they are an extended rant by the author of the article expressing his personal views on how the book breaks the game. I'm pretty sure he's got a sequel coming up.

Really it reads like a lot of the comments that came around the time 3e was released, then 4e and so on. Plus ca change.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah it had that tone, but I didn't know if that was it or just my read on it. I never paid much attention to the UA errata to know if this guy was spot on or not.

Unknown said...

On Ealden Bergen was essentially an adventure trailer for ICE's Robin Hood supplement written by Graham Staplehurst, then an excellent freelancer for ICE. I never took the systemless tag seriously; all WD's scenarios had a specific RPG or RPGs in mind (obviously Rolemaster/MERP here but WFRP would also have worked). I don't think the supplement was ever produced in great numbers - the RPGnet review essentially sold the product to me but I've been looking for it at a reasonable (sub-£20, $30) price ever since.

ALL the Unearthed Arcana stuff produced for WD was useless, primarily because in my view UA itself was one of the most pointless pieces to emerge from Wisconsin in the eighties. Any regular AD&D player unhappy with certain elements of AD&D 2nd edition by that time had cobbled together their own house rules to cover them: as for extra spells etc. these were readily available from other sources. I know we can look back after nearly three decades and know this stuff but I guess it doesn't come to mind when you're fifteen and fairly green to the hobby.

By WD89, WFRP had been out for about eight months - the best WD scenarios for it are on their way, although sadly the reviews section went downhill fast from this point.