Saturday, July 06, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 24: The Strategic Review #7

Cover-dated April 1976, this is the final issue of The Strategic Review. TSR has formed a new division, TSR Periodicals, which will oversee the creation of two new magazines: Little Wars for miniature wargaming, and The Dragon for fantasy gaming. One of those magazines doesn't last very long, and the other stays in print for over three decades before moving into the digital realm. No prizes for guessing which...

In other news, Mike Carr and Dave Sutherland are joining TSR, a game called Little Big Horn is in the works, and another game based on Lankhmar is being created. There's also an ad for Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry, which says it will be on sale May 1st.

Other articles include a collection of military symbols for Classic Warfare, an exploration of ancient missile weapons (also for Classic Warfare), a fantasy short story (which I'm ignoring because it's not by a TSR designer),

The Dungeons & Dragons Magic System by Gary Gygax: Gary defends and clarifies D&D's "Vancian" spell system. Along the way he introduces the concept of spell components: verbal, somatic, material, and "psychic" (the last relating to the memorisation aspect of spells). He also breaks down the various spell effects by type, which is a step along the path to introducing the different schools of magic (conjuration, evocation, illusion, etc.). There's not much else here of interest to my project.

The Fastest Guns That Never Lived by Brian Blume: Boot Hill stats are given for various fictional cowboys: the Lone Ranger, Tonto, the Rifleman, Clint Eastwood, Yancy Derringer, Pahoo, Johnny Yuma, Matt Dillon, John Wayne, Paladin, Josh Randall, Yul Brynner, and Hopalong Cassidy. I only recognise about half of those, and obviously some of them are actors. Nevertheless, they'll all be around should players in my campaign venture to the Old West.

Hints for D&D Judges Part I: Towns by Joe Fischer: Some basic but solid advice for creating a home base for your PCs. The only possible relevance it has for me is the mention of Castle Black Star, the first level of which was given over to inns, pubs and shops, including the shop of a crazy wizard who employed a balrog named Boris and always seemed to have a little bit of everything (Gondorian Red, Mordorian Black, etc.). I started thinking about Black Star a while back based on some of Fischer's other articles, and may or may not develop it further.

Mighty Magic Miscellany by Neal Healey: A number of new magic items are introduced:

  • The Cup and Talisman of Akbar
  • Staff of the Priest Kings
  • Brazen Bottle
The Cup and Talisman are carved with the name of Allah in Kufic script, which suggests that it might have originated on Earth (although paladins, rangers and dervishes can use it, which bears thinking about). The staff alludes to the existence of Priest Kings at some point in the past.

Creature Features: Two new monsters are introduced:
  • Denebian Slime Devil
  • Catoblepas
The catoblepas goes on to become an official monster, so it's definitely in my campaign. As for the Slime Devil, it's an obvious joke monster. I'll throw one in somewhere, in a place that's very difficult to find.

Thief Bonuses for Dexterity by David Klempa: The thief gets some bonuses to their skills for having a high Dexterity. The concept of "exceptional Dexterity" (akin to exceptional Strength for fighters) is brought in.

To the Everlasting Glory of the Petal Throne by MAR Barker: This is a collection of snippets of news and rumours as to what's going on in Tekumel, the setting for Empire of the Petal Throne. I won't go into any detail, because most of this will probably never be relevant to my project. I do plan to include a way for PCs to get to Tekumel, and I'm currently reading Empire of the Petal Throne to get a better grasp on the setting. I'll do an interlude post about it in the near future.

D&D is Only as Good as the DM by Gary Gygax: A DMing advice article mostly geared at keeping power levels down and fleecing PCs of their gold. Gary sticks the boots in to CalTech's ultra-high-level "Dungeons & Beavers" campaign, and notes that no PC in either Blackmoor or Greyhawk has advanced beyond 14th level.

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