Wednesday, May 22, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #65

What was the RPG scene like 28 years ago? Tales of the RPG market in decline! Rules vs. Role-playing! New Star Trek! New stuff from Tolkien and Herbert!  Hmm.  Doesn't sound too different from today to be honest.  Let's get the details in this edition of White Dwarf Wednesday with issue number 65.

#65 has a place of honor in my collection. Honor that is if you consider it one of the issues where I decided that WD just wasn't as good as it used to be.  I know such things are highly subjective, especially considering the source of this was my 15 year old self.  I remember this cover though, another Chris Achilleos.  This is one of his more famous ones to be sure.

Ian Livingstone talks about the rise of FRPGs worldwide even if the market is cooling in America.  This tracks with what we know of the world wide sales of D&D falling after the heyday of early 80s.  May 1985 was nothing but the start of a downhill slide.  Makes the whole nostalgia thing a little sour I guess...

Phil Masters is up first with NPCs in Superhero games.  Still a pretty good read, well.  Minus the terrible red art over 80% of the page.

Open Box has some classics. Marcus Rowland covers Paranoia. He enjoyed it but not sure he would run it as a long term game.  He gives it 7/10.  There are some Traveller Alien books next. Aslan, K'Kree and Vargr they get 9, 7 and 9/10 respectively from Bob McWilliams.  I remember reading these all a couple years later in my university's book store.  New reviewer R. Jarnor covers three new Trek books, The Romulans, The Orion Ruse and Margin of Profit.  I had always wanted that Romulan one.  I thought they were an under appreciated race. He gives them 9, 9, and 8/10 respectively.  All of these books I did not see till college a couple years later.  I played Paranoia and concur with Rowland; fun for a few hours and then that is it.

Critical Mass covers the new Dune book, Chapter House Dune, and the reissue of the older Dunes.

WD tries out fiction again with a tale from Dave Langford.

Graham Miller has a Traveller adventure for us.  At some point they became "adventures" and no longer "sceanrios".  Not sure when that happened.

Mike Lewis has the meaty article of "Rules and Role-Playing Don't Mix" in "Balancing Act".  The basic gist here is that long involved rules impede real role-playing.  I am not sure i buy into that really. That constantly pausing to look up rules is a determent to the flow of the game; which has some merits but it is not as dire as I think he makes it out here.

The Shuagin's Heel is next, an AD&D adventure for 6-8 characters of 2nd to 4th level.   It is a pretty good sized with 6 islands and a dungeon level. Good little side adventure for some seasoned characters.

Starbase has some more organizations for Traveller, in this case something for civilians.
RuneRites covers forecasting and divinations.
Fiend Factory has some very interesting monsters this time around.  The Noegyth Nibin or  "Petty Dwarfs" from Tolkein's Silmarillion.  The art makes them look like a cross between gnome, dwarf and goblin.  Instead though of presenting them as a race we get NPC stats for 9 different personalities.

Treasure Chest has more weapons for AD&D.  Some of which I recall seeing in Dragon and/or Unearthed Arcarna.

Tabletop Heroes covers painting horses.

Newsboard tells us of a rumor of the Buck Rogers rights being sold to TSR.  Not the TV series, but the old original Buck. They also mention some "board room shuffles" at TSR.

We end with adds.

Again, not a great issue, but there are some moments.  The AD&D adventure is nice.
A lot of new names on articles so maybe there are some changes on the way.

We will see.


Suzy, The Grey Brunette said...

Hey Tim! I'm going to be honest with you... I often stop by your blog and read your posts but I am usually so stumped that I don't know what to say, because I have no clue what you're talking about! No... no, I'm not saying you're talking rubbish (goodness no!), I mean, I have no clue what all these sci fi things are! What is RPG, WD, and FRPGs for instance? And White Dwarf? Erm... [shrugs shoulders in confusion]. I clearly need to read 'The Other Side Blog for Dummies'!!!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

HAHA! No worries. I have the same conversation with my wife.

So White Dwarf (WD) was/is a British magazine for the Role-Playing Game hobby.

So RPG = Role-playing Game
FRPG = Fantasy Role-playing game.

I got a stack of these numbered 1 to 96 (missing some in the middle) So every week I review one. I am planning doing 1 to 100 (which is what I have now). Not sure what to do after that!

faoladh said...

I always thought that the K'kree were more useful as an NPC alien species. I liked them, but rolling up a whole herd was a pain in the ass. With computer assistance, it would probably be a lot easier, I imagine.

Suzy, The Grey Brunette said...

lol thanks Tim! Now I can understand your posts! Does WD have any connection to Red Dwarf - that TV show?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Suzy. None other than both being British and out about the same time.

@faoladh, yeah I was way out of Traveller by this point. But I liked the Aslan. Thought they would make a good Trek alien.

faoladh said...

Oh, the Fteirle (what the Aslan call themselves; it means "Honorable Ones") are my favorite Traveller alien to play. They're a little bit like Japanese, a little bit like Kzinti, a little bit like lions, and a lot like themselves.