Friday, October 12, 2018

Best of the Dragon Vol I & II: Old school D&D Straight from the Source!

Greetings fellow gamers of a bygone era! Back again with a look at some ancient tomes: The Best of the Dragon magazine Vols I & II! Ready to return to an age before the interwebs, 24 hour news cycles & ebay? Me too....lets go!

     "The Best of the Dragon magazine Vol I & II" were published in 1980 &'81 respectively. I actually picked up Vol I "back in the day" and loved it. Wasn't running my own campaign back then...but loved the articles & stories that are in it regardless!
I believe anyone looking to add a bit of "old school" authenticity" to their gaming would love these collections. Straight from the creators...both magazines contain interesting & thought provoking articles that will spice up any campaign! And you don't have to buy numerous old issues of The Dragon to get the articles! "Fiscal Responsibility" to everyone can agree upon!

Vol I opens with an intro from Tim Klask, the original editor of both the Dragon magazine as well as its predecessor The Strategic Review. Check out his Youtube series "The Curmudgeon in the Cellar"!
Excellent insight into the early days of D&D!
Want a little background into the beginning of Sci/fi gaming? How about an article on "Metamorphosis Alpha", the forerunner on "Gamma World"!

Pretty cool to see the charts that create your own custom mutant!
Great article by Rob Kuntz on the influence of Tolkien on original D&D.

Have to dig that add for "The DUNGEON! Hobby Shop"!

Looks like the work of Tom Wham to me....and it is spectacular! "Old School" D&D right before your eyes!
Want some wisdom from the man himself? Plenty of articles from Mr Gary Gygax himself! Covers everything from Alignments to being a creative & fair DM!

Another bit of nostalgia...a full page Judges Guild ad! Just look at those prices! Imagine if you loaded up on supplies "back in the day"! Those old JG products are worth a King's ransom now!

Need a bit of levity in your day? Try the short story "The Search for the Forbidden Chamber" by Jake Jaquet. Chronicling the adventures of Ralph the Wizard, Dimwit the Dwarf & Lumbo the (Stoner) Elf.

Very funny story with a surprise ending that I loved as a teen! No spoilers here, Bub!
Hoe about a full page TSR add, with the *NEW* Wizard logo? They've got ya covered!

How about the charts for Rangers & Monks before AD&D? Check! I very much favor the idea of a Bard being able to build a stronghold at 12th opposed to 23rd as in the Players Handbook! And a Monk combat diagram...for taking on those Higher Level Monks when you have to "Level Up"!

Want some old school D&D weirdness you won't find in any book? Check out the stats for a NPC Witch! Pretty nasty or helpful NPCS if you were to run into one! Probably a good idea that this was left out of D&D "back in the day". The Occult accusations were bad enough...this would have only added fuel to the fire!

You even get some killer art from some of the Icons of D&D: David A. Trampier & Tom Wham!

Vol I of "The Best of the Dragon" is a treasure trove of great & useful information for the DM & gamer alike! I've only scratched the surface of the greatness of this magazine!
I highly recommend that anyone into D&D, old or new, pick it up!
Vol II picks up were Vol I left off with killer articles & great ideas! 

Anytime I see a cartoon/caricature of Gary Gygax I break into a smile. You had better, too!

Vol II has a bunch of Player Character classes, sub-classes & NPCs that showed up elsewhere in later years...or not at all!

The "Anti-Paladin" is a brutally powerful & evil arch nemesis for any group of adventurers! Berserkers & scribes would add some flair to any campaign!
I love the idea of a Healer as a class! Cleric/Fighter Combo...think of having your own M.A.S.H. unit traveling with your group!

Articles on the "finer" points of the game by Gary Gygax abound in this collection as well!

There are many more than this....stuff for a DM to really sink there teeth into!
A number of articles by other early D&D minds as well. "Blueprint for a Lich" by Lenard Lakofka is suitably creepy for this time of year!

"Varieties of Vampires" by R. P. Smith gives a list & abilities for various Vampires from around the globe. If your campaign heads into distance lands...this article is for you!

"Best of the Dragon" magazine Vols I & II are two old school mags with a ton of brilliant articles & ideas. Both pop up periodically on Ebay or might have to pick your spot to get 'em at a reasonable price! Very highly recommended & worth every penny!
Here's an old "Tunnels & Trolls" ad to tide you over till the next installment of this blog! 'Till then....Excelsior!