Assistant Editor's summary of the issue contents:
We’ve put it all together for our first issue of Dragon magazine for 1981 - and now it’s up to you, our readers, to take it apart and put issue #45 to good use. In the center of this month’s presentation you’ll find the Dragon Dungeon Design Kit - cardboard reproductions of walls, furniture, and accessories which can be arranged by a referee to give players a two-dimensional look at what their characters have gotten themselves into. The kit also includes a two-sided grid sheet (squares and hexes) and instructions and suggestions on how to put the components to their best use.
Our first cover painting of the new year comes from an old friend - Dean Morrissey. This most recent piece represents his fifth appearance on the magazine’s cover - making him, quite logically, the dean of all our cover artists.
Leading off the article section this month is a pair of pithy pieces from the pen of Robert Plamondon on how to put poison gas into your dungeon - and how to get it out, by incorporating a ventilation system into your subterranean world.
Next in line are a couple of essays by Roger Moore in our continuing series of non-player character classes for use with Advanced D&D™, the Astrologer and the Alchemist. Actually, the new NPCs in this issue number three, counting the Archer subclass which is detailed in Leomund’s Tiny Hut as part of Len Lakofka’s examination of missile combat.
If the charts in the Dungeon Masters Guide for determining magic items in the possession of a randomly created party don’t go far enough to suit you, look into Philip Meyers’ Magic Items for Everyman, an expansion of those charts which is more suited for assigning magic items to individuals or parties of a certain level.
Creativity is the topic of a pair of articles in the Up On A Soapbox section. Kristan Wheaton addresses the general subject of being a creative game-player, and Lew Pulsipher attacks the issue from a specific angle - namely, what should a DM do about characters who have become too powerful to be handled in a "normal" fashion?
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at writing for Dragon magazine or one of the other gaming publications, but didn’t know what to do and how to do it? Author Robert Plamondon and assistant editor Kim Mohan have "teamed up" on an article which, one way or another, should answer any general questions a would-be writer might have.
Top Secret players will enjoy rummaging through another one of the Rasmussen Files, wherein TS author Merle Rasmussen puts forth rule additions and modifications to make spying more satisfying.
Castles weren’t nearly as rare in their heyday as most people think they were, according to author Michael Kluever, and there’s no reason why they need to be scarce in an adventure or a campaign either. His descriptive and historical essay will allow a player or DM to choose and "construct" the type of castle which best suits the environment and circumstances.
Regular features which can be found inside this issue include another installment of Minarian Legends by Divine Right author/designer Glenn Rahman; another of Bryan Beecher’s scenarios for Squad Leader, John Prados’ discussion of "gamespeak" in Simulation Corner, a dice-rolling program for the pocket calculator, described and listed in The Electric Eye, Mark Herro’s computer-gaming column, and a batch of strange new magic items - some of which may seem familiar to you - in Bazaar of the Bizarre.
We’ve added three more cages to the Dragon’s Bestiary, and this time the new creatures are all desert dwellers. The next pile of shifting sand you see may be a lizard in disguise!
This installment of Dragon’s Augury takes a look at three games that are about as varied in theme as three games can be - "Bloodtree Rebellion", "Space Marines" and "Grail Quest".
All in all, there are more than 30 different articles and features on the pages which follow this one. Unless you’re a very fast - or a very finicky - reader, this issue of Dragon magazine ought to last you until we put the next one together --Kim