Wednesday, December 11, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #90

June 1987.  I graduated from High School and started working two jobs to have extra money for college.  White Dwarf also hit a few milestones.  The price increased to £1.25, we hit the 90s (issue numbers), the issue is larger (as promised last week) and celebrate 10 years of White Dwarf.  It is also nearing the final turn from a general games magazine to a purely Games Workshop one.  But first lets see what is inside.

The cover features the White Dwarf himself by John Sibbick. The cover is marred by the unfortunate choice of blue and yellow text.  Not sure what the thinking was here.

The editorial is the expected reminiscing over the past issues and the long two month wait between those early issues.  More of this stuff later on.

Open box covers the new Warhammer Battle supplement teased last issue, Ravening Hordes.  It gets a good review.  There is The Shattered Ilse for Stormbringer, but the highlight (for me) is Terror Austrails for Call of Cthulhu proving once again that games are not immune to the popular trends of the time.  You might recall that just the summer past (1986) one of the biggest movies was Crocodile Dundee.  At least Terror Australis is much better reminder of this time than Yahoo Serious.  One does not normally put Australia and Lovecraft together, but they really are a chocolate and peanut butter mix.  Aboriginal myths and legends are practically Lovecraftian anyway.  This book, one of the must haves for CoC in my opinion, really gets into that.
Open Box also covers local favorites Mayfair Games adventures, Wizard's Revenge, Pinnacle, Crystal Barrier and Beneath Two Suns.  I had real love-hate relationship with Mayfair at this time. I liked thier D&D products on principle even if I thought some of them were not very good.  My opinion would change in a couple years when I got to play more DC Heroes, 2nd Ed Chill and of course their famous book Witches.

Awesome Lies, the upcoming news and rumors feature lets us in on the next Bloodstone/BattleSystem module, H3 Bloodstone Wars.  I remember picking this one up only after I had gone through H4.  There is mention of two branches of the same Greyhawk novels tree, the New Infinities "it's not in Greyhawk honest!" Gord the Rogue book and Rose Estes' The Price of Power.

Green and Pleasant Language was supposed to be included in the CoC adventure A Green and Pleasant Land.  It covers various bits of colloquial British and American slang and well as words from Cornish and Welsh.  Great actually if you want to capture the feel of some NPCs from some rural areas of Great Britain.

Ian Livingstone is back with Ten Years On a retrospective of the early days of  White Dwarf and it's fore-runner Owl & Weasel. There is a lot of interesting tidbits about Brian Blume getting a copy of O&W because he subscribed to Albion.  This lead to Blume sending Livingstone a copy of the Original D&D rules.   They loved it of course and turned issue 6 into a "D&D" issue.  O&W had 25 issues till it morphed into White Dwarf.  It was named that to cover both Fantasy and Sci-Fi gaming.   I think it would be interesting to see those early issues of Owl & Weasel.  Though I stumbled on these WDs and there were no Owl & Weasels to be had.  I didn't even know about it till I started doing this retrospective myself.

The Magard Scrolls is an interesting article.  It's a bit like the old Ecology of articles from Dragon. This one deals with a particularly silly (on the surface) monster, the Jack O'Bear. A bear with the head of pumpkin.  Yeah.  Though in the elvish they are called Yalarvagoon. Ok less silly. And they are some foul chaos monster with a swollen head. Ok even less sill now.  Might need to adapt this one.

Fear & Ignorance covers being a better Paranoia game master.

Practice Makes Perfect is more career guidelines for Warhammer Fantasy, but can be used as a guideline in other FRPGS.

Killing in Silk is one of the last of the AD&D adventures in the pages of White Dwarf and it is not a very long one.  Though it has everything I would have loved back then, a city-based adventure, lots of NPCs and dubious legality of the actions of the PCs.  You won't find a bunch of monsters in this one, save the townspeople and no dungeons to speak of.

There is article on playing criminals in Judge Dredd, something I am sure came up a lot in the game but the rules didn't cover.  It's a longer piece and a pretty good one too.  While I don't play Judge Dredd I could see the potential in the game.  There are some neat ideas that I could see applied to Shadowrun.

Two parallel articles are next, The Difference and A Monstrous Regiment dealing with the female persona and the female warrior respectively.  Interesting reads, just odd it took THIS long to get into the pages of White Dwarf.  But I am coming at this from a Post-90s, Post-White Wolf age and from the point view of guy that likes playing witches.  The Difference deals mostly with female sterotypes in the game. Not how they are played or portrayed, but what those stereotypes, or even archetypes, are.   This isn't Mongooses' rather awful Guide to the Female Gamer, but nor is it Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress either. There is a quite a lot of myopia here that I am not sure if it was because of the 80s or England or this particular author.   A Monstrous Regiment provides a different point of view that is closer to what we except now as the role of the female character in a game; ie anything one gender can do, so can the other in terms of role-playing activity.

Graham Staplehurst covers Ley Lines and their connections to ancient monuments.  No game is specified though many are mentioned (including Traveller), though special attention is given to MERP, Warhammer Fantasy and some AD&D.  It is a general guide on how to use ley lines as a power source.

More Judge Dredd in Tales From Mega City 1.  A bunch of adventure ideas.
Letters is up to it's usual odd bits of nonsense.

Finally there are some new cards for the Rogue Trooper board game.

Ok so 10th anniversary.  I was expecting more to be honest. Now keep in mind I have been reading and rereading these a lot over the last two years, but I would have liked more articles like Ian Livingstone's. Maybe an article on the covers or one on the changes they have seen in gaming hobby in England or even more insight on where WD wants to go next.  Huge build up, but only a little pay off.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I really liked Graham Staplehurst's "The Ley of the Land" and still refer to it occasionally even now - I think all his submissions to WD were pretty decent in fact.

As interesting a piece as "Ten Years On" was we were never going to see an article similar to this, and certainly not ever again, in WD - the mag changed radically over the following two years and became unrecognisable to roleplayers, especially those playing non-GW games. A retrospective thereafter was never on the cards. Perhaps if Ian Livingstone publishes his autobiography one day we'll learn something more about WD's progression during the eighties?