Thursday, March 9, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #97

Grabbing the next issue on the pile is a very mildewy Dragon #97 from May 1985.  When this was published I would have been slightly older than my youngest son is now.  This issue either pre-dates or was published around the same time as Unearthed Arcana.  There are some letters and Forum comments on his article on demi-humans limits from issue #95.   Personally I never got the logic behind level limits for demihumans and never used them myself.

Gary is still publishing articles in Dragon at this point, though we know now that it is not going to last.  His article in this issue is about clerics and their gods.  We had a run of articles on playing clerics closer to their gods; it seemed to be a big deal in the pages, but something we, or at least I, always did.  I see now that it was not as universal as I thought.

There is an ad for the Pendragon game.  I so wanted to play this back then but never saw it stores and never knew anyone that was playing it.

Another ad for the "Dragonfire" software for DMs.  I should see if I can find a copy of this somewhere. I was always curious about it. There is a Wikipedia page for it and the manual is here. There are some interviews and other links, but I can't find the software itself.

An interesting article on improvised weapons.  Personally I wouldn't use this. The article is good and details a lot weapons like chairs, frames and other things.  But there are more improvised weapons that can be covered.  I read it then for ideas and I am sure I never used it.  These days I am more likely to use a 1d4+Strength or 1d6+Strength for any weapon.

Ecology of the Gorgon is interesting to me only because it was written by Ed Greenwood and I focusing on these things now.  I noticed that the article never mentions a Medusa at all.  As a fan of classical mythology I always though it was very odd that a Gorgon was a bull like creature. I am not sure if there was a mythological or literature-based reason for this. That is other than you can get "gored" by a bull.

Speaking of Ed, one of my favorite features is next.  Pages from the Mages is back for round four.  I collected a lot these over the years.  Some of the spells were cool, others were odd.  I loved the idea of spellbooks as treasure, and loved making my own unique spellbooks.  Wish I knew where that document got off to.   I know the Pages form the Mages book collected and edited these all, so I will ahve to add that to my list of Realms books to read over.

Game design icon Lew Pulsipher is back with an article on how to deal with captives in The Only Good Captive.

The Ares section covers some Traveller material and some Canadian supers for the Marvel Superhero game.

The trouble with nostalgia is there is the desire to look at everything old as being good. This is a case in point of how this is not the case at all.  Not that this is a bad issue. It's not. It's also not full of any insights or secrets into playing the game we all enjoy.
While I am sure that there are people that will read the improvised weapons articles and shout for joy that it is the exact thing they have been looking for, others (like me) will find it overkill.
I found more interest in the ads.

4 comments:

Stelios V. Perdios said...

I love the cover art of that issue.

There's an adventure idea in that somewhere...

Rob Schwarz said...

Gorgons, I think Gary decided to use Medusa as a race instead of as a person. Once he did that the name Gorgon was freed up so he used it.

I always thought it was strange as well, Medusa and her sisters should have been in Deities and Demigods as unique individuals rather than a race of creatures.

Alea iactanda est said...

Gary Gygax seems to have been working off a description by Edward Topsell:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/oddnotes/topsellgorgon.html

Topsell seems to have gotten his information from Athenaeus (who was quoting Alexander the Myndian):

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Ath.+5.pos%3D401&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2013.01.0003

Timothy Brannan said...

Awesome. That is kind of cool really.

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