Thursday, May 31, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #99

Setting the controls on the Delorean for July 1995.  Summer of between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school.  I played AD&D every weekday that I wasn't working and on the weekends when I could.  One big screen is Back to the Future, a franchise that will one day head to the magical futuristic year of 2015.  Our cars still don't fly.  Duran Duran get's the first #1 song for Bond Film on the US charts. So let's get into our Delorean's, set the flux capacitor to July 1985 and dance into the fire of Issue #99 of This Old Dragon!

Issue #99 is an often forgotten issue in my mind.  On one side we have issue #90, the Tenth Anniversary issue and on the other #100.  Poor old 99 kinda gets forgotten.  The cover from Clyde Duensing III is fine, but nothing special.

Letters has some questions about the Gorgon from the last Ecology Of article.

Kim Mohan's editorial talks about how Unearthed Arcana will "change the way the AD&D game is played."  Not sure it did that, but it certainly began what would later become the edition wars.

The Forum covers some of these questions, in particular, the new Demi-human level limits.

Stephen Inniss is back this time with The Neutral Point of View. Or how to play those lawful, chaotic, and true neutral characters, monsters and NPCs.  It's a good read and some of the philosophy would later appear in D&D 3.

Tables and Table of Troops by James Yates is actually a little more than just tables.  It does, however, talk a lot about how armies move. I am pretty sure my then DM used these ideas for our world-wide war.  The advantage to this article is it can still be used with every version of the D&D game.

Win $10,000 for playing an RPG?  Can't be true! But that is what Pacesetter says in this ad.

Nigel D. Findley, a name I associate a lot with later 80s D&D, is up with The Ecology of the Will-o-Wisp. I covers what I always felt was ill-defined at best, the relationship between boggarts and Wisps.  I think I prefer the undead version of the Wisp found in D&D 5.

Ah now, this article I do remember.  Kevin Anderson and Kristine Thompson team up to give us That's Life in the Big City.  We came back to this article a lot when we (my then gaming group) were working on our "Urban Survival Guide".  There is not a lot here, but there is a good overview of what a fortified city is like.

Some ads.
Flipping back I see I am missing pages 30 to 39.
Looking at my CD-Rom I see it was History of a game that failed:An essay on mistakes  and how not to make them by David F. Godwin. I wonder why the original owner cut this one out?

The World Gamer's Guide.  Coming Attractions from TSR.  This includes a new RPG, PROTON FIRE by Bruce Nesmith.  Can't wait to play that one!! (more later)

The centerpiece here is the Treasure Trove II but mine is gone.  No surprise there I guess.
It's too bad really.  The article on Swords was good if I recall right.

Merle and Jackie Rasmussen are back with Authentic Agencies, Part III. This time they cover the Communist Bloc including the KGB and SSD, and the Middle East.  It's like a trip down memory lane.

Another ad from our good friend Ramal LaMarr.

After the fiction bit we come to the Ares section.

Let's see.  Alex Curylo gives us some tanks for Star Frontiers in Tanks a Lot!
It's actually kind of a great article and I remember cutting it out and putting it in my KnightHawks boxed set.

Psybots and Battle Mechs gives us a look at the new PROTON FIRE game.  Look closely, because to my knowledge this is all we will ever see of that game.   I have no idea why it never saw the light of day.

Marvel-Phile has some Russian super-heroes.
A Gamma-World article that has been cut out.

Lots of Cons in the Convention Calendar.

Gamer's Guide has the small ads.

Wormy weighs in at 2 pages. Snarf at 3.

All in all not a real memorable issue, minus the magic items and the article on the cities.
Want to know what was going on over the pond at this time?  Check out my review for White Dwarf #67.

Take us home Ramal!


faoladh said...

You set your Delorean wrong, and ended up a decade late to the party!

Anyway, I like this issue. The mercenary troops tables and rules were and are useful, unlike just about anything in issue 100 (I mean, I liked the Sabratact article in theory, and Dragonchess is a fun variant, but come on), the article dissecting why a game failed is interesting and helpful, and anything for Top Secret is aces in my book.

Anthony N. Emmel said...

I like this issue greatly and was waiting for you to cover it. Now, I had been gaming since 1981, but this was the first Dragon I ever bought. Alan's Comics in Longview, TX, had just opened and it was my first opportunity (Neither Waldenbooks nor Kroger's nor Circus World carried Dragon amongst their gaming offerings.)

I found the troop tables wonderful, probably because I mostly played fighters back in the day. But having various troops available based on terrain and, in a couple of instances, on race was wonderful. My fighter a the time, Demetrios Ironfist, had just reached name level and was clearing land and building a stronghold and made great use of these tables.

evildm said...

I remember that ad about the $10,000. Doesanyone know if they ever paid up?

faoladh said...

@Jeff M: Unfortunately, only the first part of the puzzle, "Map of Halaal", was ever published before Pacesetter went out of business, so no one has ever solved it. Given that apparently essential information simply does not exist, it is unlikely that anyone ever will.