Thursday, February 25, 2010

Barbarians, Bandits, and Ballyhoo (Part One)

Dragon #63 (July 1982) made a huge impression on the way I viewed Dungeons & Dragons as a game master (or Dungeon Master in the old tongue). It changed - rather, created - a worldview perspective from top to bottom for all those myriad adventures. This issue brought the concepts of monster societies and world-building to the game in a ways I'd never fully explored before. It offered me big ideas and tools for making them felt in an intimate way on the ground level of our games.

The rule books (especially the awesome 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide) and TSR's adventure modules already encouraged the game master to think of D&D as something more than just a series of dungeon crawls, but Dragon #63 put it in just the right combination and concentration for me. I never felt the same way about the game. 

First, take a look at the cover (see right). While I liked a lot of Dragon's covers, this one really seems to capture not only the essence of the issue, but the common reality of the medieval world - even if a fantasy one - bandits in the forest. This painting of highwaymen still resonates with me.

More to follow...

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