Dragon Magazine: Player Advice Collection (Part 3 of 6)
These are my reading notes of various Dragon Magazine articles. Learn more about the collection here.
Swords Slicing into a Sharp Topic
Author: David Nalle Issue: Dragon Magazine #58 Rating: ★★☆☆☆
A brief historical overview of the sword. Main message is summed up with this paragraph:
Swords weren’t just stamped out by the hundreds. Each one was a unique work, embodying the skill of a bladesmith. Swords of quality should not be sold cheaply and are a warrior’s mark of success.
Or in other words, think twice before hand-waving away a band of 10+ adventurers walking in a hamlet in the middle of fucking nowhere and buying swords, armours, and 100 gallons of oil.
Enchanting Weapons: Putting the “Magic” into Magical Weapons
Author: Mike Nystul Issue: Dragon Magazine #243 Rating: ★★☆☆☆
A series of prompts on how to make magic weapons a bit more unique, divided into following categories:
- Weapon's origin: commission, badge of office, masterpiece, secret society, special purpose.
- Weapon's location: bad guy, in a stomach/digestive tract of dangerous monster, fields of the fallen, test, thieves, twist of fate.
- Assigning abilities: interesting is more effective than powerful, attunement, damage dice, helping hand, initiation, priming, restrictions.
- Associated plotlines: equal but opposite, give it back, it isn't working, one of many, treasure hunt, whatever you desire.
It's a fine article to read once or twice, but hardly a mandatory one.
Always Wear Your Best Suit: Making armor and weapons unique for all characters
Author: Gordon R. Menzies Issue: Dragon Magazine #148 Rating: ★★★★★
Three ways to pimp your arms and armour:
- Decorations: enamelling, simple engraving, complex engraving, and elaborate engraving.
- Plating with precious metals: copper, bronze, silver, electrum, gold, platinum, mithral, and adamantite.
- Making them from different metals: copper, bronze, meteorite iron, mithral, and adamantite.
Everything has cost, impact on value of base item, time required, impact on encumbrance, and functionality. Each metal has brief description, plus reference to an article Fire For Effect! in Dragon Magazine #123 which includes melting points for each.
Now, this is exactly the type of article I am looking for! Just three pages, has fluff, has mechanics & procedures, and tables! perfect. Yes, I will include it in the master collection.
In Defense of the Shield: Shield-using skills in the AD&D game
Author: Tim Merrett Issue: Dragon Magazine #127 Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ OR ★★★★☆
Do you think shield improving AC is too simple? Do you yearn for CRUNCHY SHIELDS?! Do you agree that shields were historically difficult to use? That they were more important than armour? Ever wished you could spend your proficiency slots on handling a shield?
Well, then this is the perfect article for you!!!
Not for me though.
Two Hands Are Better Than One: A handy guide on handling weapons
Author: Donald D. Miller Issue: Dragon Magazine #127 Rating: ★★★★☆
At first I thought that the only good thing about this article is the illustration of cleric bonking some pitiful fool, sporting a big ass grin, a big ass cross, and double wielding maces.
But then I had the following question in one of my game sessions:
“Wait, can dwarves carry polearms? Aren't they huge?”
This article provides and answer in one page of text, and two tables. And I love it! It provides maximum length and weight for secondary (off-hand), primary (prime-hand), one-handed, two-handed, and pole arm weapons for dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, and humans.
And then, to make it even easier, it lists all AD&D weapons and races and how many hands it takes them to wield 'em. Perfect.
This one might be included in the final collection.
Different Totes for Different Folks: Basic backpacks for every D&D game adventurer
Author: Vince Garcia Issue: Dragon Magazine #191 Rating: ★★★★★
It replicates and expands adventuring gear from the core rulebooks in just page and a half. All the additions are meaningful, with clear in-game application. In other words, the spirit of simplicity is maintained.
Here is a list of all added items: explorer's backpack, waterproof backpack, bandages, bedroll, block and tackle, bow strings, candle, chisel, hand-held climbing hook, disguise kit, hand-drill, heavy gloves, soft gloves, inexpensive holy symbol, vial of ink, blank journal, knapsack, utility knife, bullseye lantern, leather lasso, leather in bulk, lockpicks, magnifying glass, explorers' map, detailed map, general map, stringed musical instrument, wind musical instrument, oil in metal flask, papyrus, parchment, parka, cooking pot, quill pen, quiver (back and belt), salt, waterproof scroll case, sewing kit, blank spellbook, spellbook cover, tents, twine, empty glass vial, and whistle.
Further, each class gets a starting kit as well, which are in essence predefined equipment packs with price and encumbrance.
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