The Dragon in Review, Issue Fifty

By Keith Senkowski
On July 27, 2016

Dragons! There are Dragons everywhere, because of course they are. How else do you celebrate both the 5TH anniversary and 50TH issue of a magazine named The Dragon? By filling it with Dragons of course!

A 5TH Anniversary Cover Must Have a Dragon

I gotta say, I am a big fan of this piece of artwork. It does strike me as odd that the 50TH issue and 5TH anniversary issue went back to the brand they have established for the covers. I thought that they might continue the full page artwork for this cover that they had in the previous issue, but alas the border is back.

A return to the brand guidelines with a cover by Carl Lundgren.

This doesn’t at all deter from the work though. Carl Lundgren’s style remminds me of Richard Corben in the rounded look to his dragon, which is wonderful. The rest of the piece is strong, but pretty standard fantasy, but that dragon is just weird enough to make me super happy.

I encourage you to go to his site and take a look at his artwork. He isn’t by any means the typical fantasy artist, having worked in the 60’s as a concert poster artist and Underground Comix publisher.

Dragon Articles

This issue opens with three straight dragon themed. Each one is fun and interesting in it’s own way.

  • Self Defense for Dragons takes the stance that dragons are an endangered species, being pushed out by rapidly reproducing humans. Gregory Rihn, the author of the article, explores ways in which the creatures can survive encounters with adventurers.
  • True Dragons, by Lewis Pulsipher, revamps how dragons are used in play, exploring all of their abilities, and if I recall their old stat bock correctly, adding a whole lot of extra edge.
  • Hatching is Only the Beginning…, by Colleen A. Bishop, explores the hatching and development of baby dragons. That was one thing we never explored when I played a lot of D&D, encountering baby dragons. Now I want to use them some how.

A wonderful color illustration by Corinna Taylor.

Zines

I thought this was pretty interesting in light of the resurgence of zines in the OSR community. This article, by David F. Nalle, rates and reviews a bunch from the time, which makes me kinda want to do the same thing. The Zines he looks at are:

  • Abyss, a magazine
  • Alarums & Excursions, an Amateur Press Association
  • The Beholder, a magazine
  • The Lords of Chaos, an Amateur Press Association
  • Morningstar, an Amateur Press Association
  • Pandemonium, an Amateur Press Association
  • Quick Quincy Gazette, a magazine
  • The Stormlord, a magazine
  • Trollcrusher, an Amateur Press Association
  • The Wild Hunt, an Amateur Press Association
  • Zeppelin, a magazine

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Chapel of Silence

It couldn’t be an anniversary issue if there wasn’t an adventure included. This issue gifts us with Mollie Plants’ The Chapel of Silence. It is listed as “First Place, Basic Division IDDC II” which means nothing to me. I assume it is from some sort of tournament, but that was never my thing.

I love the title of this adventure.

The adventure is designed for a balanced party of six second to third level characters. It begins with some prophetic dreams and has some basic room descriptions but no maps included. It reads like it would be a lot of fun, and has some nice twists and turns.

Giant Vampire Frog

This picture and stat block… I am with out words how awesome this critter, created by Alan Fomorin, is. Well done Alan. Well done.

This is the best thing ever.

  • FREQUENCY: Uncommon
  • NO. APPEARING: 3-18
  • ARMOR CLASS: 5
  • MOVE: 6″/18″
  • HIT DICE: 2
  • % IN LAIR: 80%
  • TREASURE TYPE: Nil
  • NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
  • DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-2/1-2/1-6
  • SPECIAL ATTACKS: Drain blood
  • SPECIAL DEFENSES: 50% attack aimed at the vampire frog will hit the victim instead.
  • MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
  • INTELLIGENCE: Animal
  • ALIGNMENT: Neutral
  • SIZE: S
  • PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
  • ATTACK/DEFENSE MODES: Nil