Wednesday, January 15, 2014

White Dwarf Wednesday #93

Before going back to September of 1987 for White Dwarf #93 I want to mention that White Dwarf in its present incarnation will become a weekly magazine.  The Press Release was just posted today over at Games Workshop. So an interesting time in the history of WD.

Today's issue features the first Warhamer 40k inspired cover.  When you get right down to it, WH40k is pretty much everything White Dwarf ever did in one game. It's fantasy (like WH, D&D and RQ), it is Sci-Fi (like Traveller), it is horror (like CoC) and it is minis.  I guess it really is no surprise.

Mike Brunton delivers his last editorial urging folks not to read editorials and instead read the rest of the magazine.

Open Quest hits us with five Games Workshop related products.  Block Mania and Mega Mania are board games, Death on the Reik is a supplement for WH, The Talisman Dungeon a board game expansion and GW's reissue of RuneQuest Monsters.  The Talisman Dungeon board game expansion is an interesting one to me since I recently did something similar to my own sets of TSR's Dungeon game (not related).  Also covered are a couple of TSR aAD&D books. The I3-5 Desert of Desolation series (which Jim Bambra liked a lot) and Treasure Hunt a "well crafted and truly creative" adventure from TSR. Something that Carl Sargent says is a rarity these days.  There is a board game called "Chase" from TSR as well.  Mike Brunton calls it easy to learn but easily one of the hardest games to play (in a good way). It sounds interesting but I don't recall it all.

Awesome Lies discusses how soon you will be able to see your own local GW store! There is mention of TSR releasing Car Wars books, I am not sure if that is a typo or something that never came to pass. More on the New Infinities and TSR troubles.  One bit of interest to me is a mention of the GW Dracula game.  Later released as The Fury of Dracula. I rather enjoyed the plot behind this one, 8 years (7 in this article) later Dracula is back and fighting the original hunters.

Critical Mass covers more books, but the only one I had read on the list was Wielding a Red Sword by Piers Anthony.  I also had a number of issues with this book, though not the same as the review.  I tried to read Mirror of Her Dreams, but gave up and decided that Stephen Donaldson just isn't for me.

The first feature article is a Tournament Adventure for AD&D. Getting Away From Most Of It is designed for 8 characters of levels 2-4.   Interestingly enough the idea here is the characters are on vacation and have motivations while they are here (to get a tan, to get drunk, to buy/get souvenirs).  It is a bit tongue in cheek, but the fatality rate looks like it will be pretty high. The adventures are pressed into returning a minor artifact to a demon and they only have 2 hours to do it. That is 2 hours of real time.  Looks like it would be fun with the right people or even in a convention setting.

Vances Evocation of Arcane Delight covers, what else, the "Vancian" magic system of D&D.  The author, Simon Nicholson, states that the magic of Jack Vance is far more interesting than what we typically know of it in AD&D.  Reading through this I am motivated (again) to do more with my *D&D spells and motivated (again) to read the works of Jack Vance.  Spells should have cool names and, well, magic about them. This is one (of 100s of) thing CoC gets right.

The main focus of the issue is next, a huge color supplement/advertising for Warhammer 40,000.

Some miniatures awards are next.

Eureka is a smaller adventure for Warhammer Fantasy.  Though it is overshadowed in my my mind by the next adventure.

"Letters from a Foreign Land" easily wins the golden WTF award for concept.  It is an adventure for Warhammer Fantasy, Call of Cthulhu and MERP. Imagine the Venn Diagram of that. What can possibly be the spot where all three overlap.  And why not just throw AD&D into the mix while you are at it! This is one of those adventures I would want to run just to be able to say I did it. Granted, this is not a crossover, but a triple-stated one.  Still though.  It is a decent size and would take a couple of sessions to run.  If it were smaller, say four hours, it would a fun thing to try at GenCon, running it under a different system each night.

'Eavy Metal covers painting.  I new painting minis is hard, but there are lot more steps here than I ever knew about.

All The Lonely People gives us some NPCs for Judge Dredd.

Sound Familiar? discusses familiars and pets for your FRPG. While nothing I haven't seen elsewhere, it is a nice treatise on familiars and how they can be used.

We end with letters and ads.

In general I have to say the articles are improving. Everything is actually better quality than it was in the last two years.  Yes the focus is shifting, but it mirrors what was going on in gaming at the time too.  At this point in 1987 I wasn't playing much myself. Though there is an interesting note. I introduced a friend to the game around this time and her character later stuck around in my games as an NPC that became a vampire.  That character is still being used in my games today as the only known human to have ever been cured of vampirism.

I keep expecting each issue to have less and less that interests me, and that is roughly true, but the issue themselves have been quite good.


Unknown said...

This issue sees the last specifically D&D stuff to be printed in WD - the Getting Away From Most of It adventure and the articles on Vancian magic and familiars (although both of these are pretty much stat-free as far as I recall and could be used for any fantasy system).

On a different note, Death on the Reik is a great adventure/campaign pack for WHFRP, full of sub-plots and potential subplots, probably the best installment of the Enemy Within campaign.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Cool. Thanks for that insight. The Vancian magic and familiars articles are pure fluff. It is good fluff, but no stats or systems.

anarchist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anarchist said...

There was a Car Wars gamebook series which started in 1986, published by TSR. Maybe that was what they were talking about?


Donald Foster said...

The TRS board game Chase came out 1985, I believe. It's played with dice as playing pieces, but it's a pure strategy game. The rules are nothing like Chess, but just as hard to play. The rules are simple, but you must pay attention to all pieces on the board and their location to you. The game board has no boundaries. The board is made into a cylinder and the piece on the other side of the board is actually right next to you. I enjoy playing more than chess.