Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #61

Going WAY back for this one today.  Let's see May of 1982 I was in 7th Grade.  I know I had seen this issue back then because I remember way too much of it now.  I believe my then DM had a copy. This is another of my favorite covers.  I don't know much about it really, save it is by Susan Collins.

The biggest news in this issue is the acquisition of SPI by TSR, and Amazing Stories by Dragon magazine.  The future can decide if these are good choices, I personally liked the Amazing Stories content that Dragon brought to me in the next few years.

Out on a Limb has some luminaries as Rick Loomis and Len Lakofka sharing their opinions on small press and clerics respectively.

Gary Gygax is up first in the Sorcerer's Scroll with something I was looking forward to the most in this issue.  Illusionist Cantrips. Of course, this is all old news to us now, but looking at it again now this was some great stuff. I always liked the idea of cantrips, both as a game item and as in an in-world item.  Also if any class needs cantrips it's the illusionist.

Giants in the Earth is next and another favorite of mine.  Roger E. Moore covers three heroes that I really don't know anything about, but that is fine.  Correction.  In my second pass, I see that the last character is Tarl Cabot from the Gor novels of John Norman.   I know of this character, but I can't say I know him.  Reading the character description he seems like an asshole.
One of the features of this article is to introduce readers to new books via the lens of AD&D.  I know for a fact there are books I read because of GitE.  If that was the purpose then it worked for me.

Phil Meyers and Rory Bowman are up with a tag team articles on Weaponless Combat and Weird Weapons.  The Exotic weapons article is an interesting one with some really cool weapons.  Some we will see again in the upcoming Oriental Adventures, but that is still years off.

The Gnomish Point of View is up from Roger E. Moore.  Again, we will see this later in UA. I like gnomes. They are underrated really and a lot of fun.  Too bad absolutely NONE of my previous DMs ever liked gnomes.   The article is great, too bad the art is not up to it.  The Gods of the Gnomes follows this and continues the thread.

Our Centerpiece is Quest of the Midas Orb by Jennie Good. This adventure was the Third place winner of the Dungeon Design Contest II they had back then.  It's a fun little adventure revolving around the return of the said orb.

One of my favorite features is up next, Dragon's Bestiary. Here we get four new monsters.  The only one I remember is the Firetail from Ed Greenwood.  Still, they would be fun to use in a game sometime, just to shake things up some.

New AD&D aid: Monster Cards features the newest product from TSR.  I have to admit I LOVED these cards. Really. I spent so much time picking them up at Waldenbooks and Belobrajdic's bookstore. I never got them.  My income was a paper route so I had to make the dollars count.  By the time I could get them, they were gone.  Oh, don't worry, I bought them. Bought them at an auction from a collection of a TSR employee.  I spent...well a lot, but it was totally worth it.
The magazine has pictures of all the monsters, but none of that stats.  But that is fine.  Maybe if I had read this issue then I would have bought the cards sooner and saved a ... well a lot.

An ad for something I did buy is next, the Best of Dragon II. Now that was a great buy back then. I read and re-read that I don't know how many times.

Next up is something we really just don't see anymore that is a huge shame.
Conrad Froehlich gives Jo-Ga-Oh, the Little People of the Iroquois.  I love stuff like this.  It is often way too easy to keep going back to the well travelled well of Dark Age Europe, or to shake it up a bit "head out East".  Here we get something that is new, exciting and much, much closer to home.  Great background and three new "monsters" to use.

Gary is back with a rare outing for Top Secret. Special Knowledge and a bureau for Infiltrators. It's a pretty long article, to be honest, it adds a lot of new material to Top Secret.   I wish I knew more about the game!

Ah now here is a game I know a lot about!  David Cook reviews Call of Cthulhu.  The review is largely positive but I don't think he "gets" the game.  Now granted, I have the benefit of years, no decades, of playing and reading Lovecraft and his imitators.  So his perceived shortcomings in the game I see as features. Like how light the rules are on combat.  CoC is not a combat game. It's more than that.

Off the Shelf has some book reviews.  One of them is the NEW "Resturant at the End of Universe" by Douglas Adams. Oh my, the number of times I read that book.

What's New with Phil and Dixie covers "new" games, with a special guest appearance by Wormy.
Wormy has his own spread right after and that is all for the comics in this issue; no Dragonsmirth.

The last page is an ad for the Basic and Exper line.  Not sure what it was about the Basic/Expert ads but I always liked them more than some of the ads for the AD&D line. 

I am pretty sure the girl in the red shirt is Jami Gertz, who would go on to bigger fame as "Star" in The Lost Boys among other roles.  This ad was part of the same marketing that featured this television spot.

It also features a pre-Ferris Bueller Allan Ruck.

I think the most interesting thing about this issue is how much of it would later find it's way into official books.  If not this material exactly then something very close.

Want to see what I was saying about White Dwarf from this time?  Check out White Dwarf Wednesday #30.


Ruprecht said...

The few Giants in the Earth fictional characters that I already knew about seemed way off the way they were written up making me think the serious was pointless. Book reviews including usable ideas from the novel would have been more useful (and the caverns of Moria provide nice atmosphere for a dungeon crawl...)

The Angry Monk said...

That is Jamie Gertz. *sigh*

JB said...

Ditto Angry Monk. *sigh*