Friday, February 26, 2010

Barbarians, Bandits, and Ballyhoo (Part Two)

As I mentioned in the last post, Dragon #63 proved to be quite an epiphany for me. I'll get right to the articles that made this issue such a great treasure in my early gaming days. 

The Big, Bad Barbarian
This is where Gygax introduced the barbarian class. A version of it appeared later in the Unearthed Arcana D&D source book a few years later (1986?). What I thought was so cool about the article - besides the class itself - was that Gygax devoted a lot of text to help the reader make sense of the assorted abilities the character could have. He put the abilities in context of real world barbaric/heroic societies and their equivalent in his World of Greyhawk setting. 

Bandits and Bandit Kingdoms
Dragon #63 introduced the bandit NPC (non-player character) class, sort of a mix between ranger and thief. I used this one a few times. Ultimately, it seemed kind of underpowered but it still seemed pretty cool. 

The issue also spent a few pages detailing the World of Greyhawk's Bandit Kingdoms, complete with brief leader and army stats. Of course, I can't recall most of the kingdom names, but I think Rookroost was one of them. This brings me to another tangent point about the interesting place names from the World of Greyhawk: I never played the setting, but the names of the regions, countries, and cities were so interesting, I had to bring them into my game. Those evocative names brought some kind of gravity to the vaguely-formed world in which we played. 

In the next blog, I'll review some bits about monster societies and world-building. 

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