Friday, October 28, 2011
Dragon #52, Wracking Pains
Looking through these old issues are really often bittersweet. It is nice to relive some of the memories but then it hits home that it may never be this good again. It is possible that in 30 years someone the age I am now will be saying the same things I am now but just like comics and TV sometimes the best stuff will most often always be the older stuff.
The first article in the magazine is one dealing with clerics. It is actually a set of three related article written by two different authors. The three articles drive home to me how much clerics often become divine magic users more than agents of their deities. Played right a cleric should not be wandering dungeons with nonbelievers unless it directly serves the agenda of their church. Even then they should be trying to convert or at the worst admonishing those who do not believe.
The next article is by none other than J. Eric Holmes who is discussing the basic set of his creation as well as that of Tom Moldvay. The article is broken up though by another article which I would normally hate except in this case it is commentary by Tom Moldvay. These two articles alone make the magazine one to own. If it has not been done I think gaming companies should scour the older publications for insight into games design like this and make it part of a company manual.
The next offering may be one of the articles I used most while I was running a campaign set in Greyhawk. It is Leomund's Tiny Hut, written by Lenard Lakofka, it is one of the regular columns in the magazine. This topic is birth tables for the world of Greyhawk. It starts with the tables for human characters along with possible alignments from each location. It then provides a table and sub-table for demihumans with the primary table being what be considered demi-human lands and the sub-table being the possible locations where demi-humans might also be born. It then goes over the languages that might be spoken by inhabitants of each realm in an exhaustive manner. It then ends with an appendix by Gary Gygax concerning the human racial types in Greyhawk. Just a whole level up of awesomeness here!
The next article deals with undercover jobs. The information on salaries will be dated as it was written thirty years ago. It is funny to see those numbers though and how the levels for each profession have shifted some. The item that is still useful is that it rates each profession as far as their travel potential. This plays a role in what profession they may want to be hidden in. How may conferences can a elementary school teacher really play off that they are going to.
Next is the cover story article on Boris. This is a nice read but as I said earlier he has never been a favorite of mine and I bought these magazines way back when for gaming purposes. Not a selling point for me but it might be for some.
The next article was one of my favorite parts of issues from Dragon from that era. It is the Giants In the Earth series. This one deals with island enchanters. The two topics of this offering are Prospero and Circe. I had not noticed until writing this that the author for this is Katherine Kerr who has gone on to write a number of well received fantasy series.
Next is a short Gamma World scenario called Cavern of the Sub-Train. It is intended for beginning to intermediate level players and deals with them exploring a recently discovered subway system. I do not think that I ever ran this and I for the life of me can't imagine why. I will have to remember this if I ever get a chance to run 1e Gamma World again.
Following another regular column, the Dragon's Bestiary, we are presented with an article on the history of siege warfare. I recall as a teen that this was most likely my first real exposure to this type of information. We discussed sieges in history classes but never with the detail on what was involved just that it happened.
We are next presented with an article that was in response to a readers letter from an earlier issue. I wonder how many letters were sent in as a result of just announcing that. I have spoken ill of prestige classes many times so I hate bringing up these but the article presents three variants of bounty hunters. One is a merger of rangers and assassins. The second is a hybrid ranger and thief class and the latter is a subclass of fighter. I prefer the middle offering but feel like a hypocrite in even saying that. I did roll one up as a player at one time I think :(
There are a number of other normal offerings in the magazine that I won't write about. I do want to mention the Minarian Legends though. This series has to be on of the most overlooked gems from that time period. It takes the world from the Divine Right games and expands it in such a way that it could be used as a campaign setting. Something I still might get around to doing sometime.
Note: Missed yesterday due to an Internet outage. Actually it was cable, phone and Internet. The story about not putting all your eggs into one basket came to mind often yesterday!
Duration: 6 Rounds
Area of Effect: One Creature
Casting Time: 3 Segments
Saving Throw: Halves
This spell allows the magic user to cause a series of increasing pains to occur in the target creature. The spell will cause increasing levels of damage as well as hinder the target.
The spell will start by doing 1s4 for the initial round of the spell. The creature will be entitled to a saving throw and if made they will suffer half damage rounded up. The spell will cause a progression in the possible damage by one dice type each round (d6, d8, d10,d12 & d20). The target is entitled to a save each round to halve the damage.
In addition to the damage the spell will hinder any actions that the target creature may be attempting. The saving throw made each round for damage will determine how the creature is affected. For each round after the first if the save is made the creature will suffer a -2 to all to hit, damage and saving throw rolls. They will also suffer a +2 to their effective armor class. If the save is failed then it becomes a -4 to all rolls but the +2 will remain the same. The spell will not prevent any actions just make them less effective or harder to accomplish.
Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.
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