Tuesday, June 10, 2014

& Magazine, Issue 9




& Magazine is primarily devoted to 1st Edition AD&D, but a great deal of the content can be ported over to another edition without too much trouble. There are maps, monsters, and more in every issue and it just keeps getting better.

Issue 9 is a jam-packed 96 pages of pdf gaming goodness all about Spells and Spellcasters. There's also an interview with Ernie Gygax and a fairly diverse selection of spells, magic items, monsters, NPCs, and the like all  through the issue. They also started two new columns--one on starting a campaign, and another on cooking for your gaming group.

The map of the Desert Ziggurat by Fingolwyn is a classic adventure site that looks like it came out of an old TSR module.

The articles on spontaneous casting and spell memorization were both short and sweet re-workings of Ye Olde Rules that both seem workable and The Perils of Psionic Blast was a fun read--it reminded me of some rather heated discussions about this very topic back in the old days.

Mr. Lakofka's article ought to be handed out to anyone considering playing a magic-user in any old-school game. This is a fairly useful reference for newcomers that explains the peculiarities of the spell system in the older editions, and it could save a lot of trouble, turmoil and tummy-aches at the table. There are some good things in this issue, but this one article is probably my favorite, mostly because I wish that we'd had something like this all those years ago; it would have stopped a lot of pointless arguments and let us get back to the gaming. I really like his analogy of the different levels of spells to derringers of differing caliber--that was brilliant.

The article on Greater Faeries was interesting, well thought-out and provided some handy tables for creating random faeries that would make a great generator like what Logan and those guys are doing these days.

The interview with Ernie Gygax was short but fun, so were the top three entries for statting-up the Harpoonapus creature.

The Ecology of the Dragon Turtle reminded me of the old Dragon magazine 'Ecology Of...' articles and it gives us three new variants of the Dragon Turtle, which I thought were pretty well done. The illustration for the Subterrene Dragon Turtle on p.39 was my favorite image in the issue.

There is also another 'Ecology Of' article for the "Oculus Despot," that provided a quick and easy way to randomize the eye-beams to this classic redacted monster.

The rest of the issue is packed with more new monsters, new weapons, new NPCs, and loads of resources that run the gamut from silly to inspired. The Stone Spirals are really interesting and could open up some interesting scenario options. There are a lot of new spells including Errgo's Gnawing Slabs that I hope my character Ushnab over on Unseen Servant gets to learn one of these days. It's Fifth Level, so it'll be a while...

The Tactical Magic article examines scrolls in AD&D and is a good book-end to Lakofka's article on spell casting.

The piece on Homebrewed Campaigns felt kind of random, but it was a decent first installment for what is going to be an ongoing column.

The Businesses of Gamington not only had a nifty map of the little fortified town, it detailed a number of interesting shops that really gave the place some character and was complemented by an article detailing three more shops (one is an inn) that can also be dragged and dropped into any campaign. Gamington is a great seed that could really grow into something fun and wonderful.

Juju Zombie Bandits, a Western Lake Lands Hexcrawl, and the second map for the Desert Ziggurat all provide some ready-to-go adventuring fodder, and the Gaming Gourmet tells you how to make some delicious pulled pork for feeding a pack of hungry gamers.

All in all this is a pretty fine read. Download a copy and see for yourself. It's free, so what are you waiting for?

4 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this one. Thanks for the head's up.

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  2. Thanks for the review! It's fantastic to know that we're giving people what they can use!

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    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed the zine, so it was easy to do a review. We don't do a lot of reviews, but this was worth doing. Your team really packs a lot of content into each issue, so there's bound to be something of use or interest for most anyone.

      Now that we've decided to do a few more reviews, we need to do a review for Mr. Brannon's The Witch, and a couple of other things that have been buried on the desk here...

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