From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Issue #61 was the last time we published a "Dragon's Bestiary" column, which had been our every-issue vehicle for dishing out new monsters contributed by our readers. We abandoned our "must run a monster in every issue" approach after that - and a lot of you have told us since then that you want the Bestiary back. Well, we haven't done that, but we've put together something that's a lot better than the next best thing. In the center 20 pages of this 112 page issue is the Creature Catalog, a collection of 29 reader-submitted monsters that should whet the appetites of those of you who've been asking, "Where's the beast?" for the last 2-1/2 years.
We expect the Creature Catalog to be popular. We expect some of you to write up and send in your new monster creations after seeing it. And if those two expectations come to pass, we'll plan on putting out other editions of the Catalog in the months and years to come.
Speaking of popular, this issue's cover art has probably knocked your socks off already. For those of you who've been buried under a mound of dice for the last six months, "Check" is the third and final element in the series of chess-oriented fantasy paintings from Denis Beauvais.
"Checkmate" and "Stalemate," which adorned issues #83 and #86 respectively, were two of the most well-received covers in our history, and we're pretty sure that "Check" will be regarded right up there with the other two.
Now that the front-and-center talk is over, I've got precious little space left to mention all the other great stuff in the table of contents. "Something for everyone" is a tough label to live up to, but we'll probably never come any closer than in this issue. You want magic items? Check out Ed Greenwood's "Six very special shields" on page 14. You want a new NPC? Andy Pierce's sentinel is standing guard on page 34. You want theory? See Stephen Inniss's essay "Survival is a group effort" on page 8. You want theory that's put into practice? Flip to page 48 for "What is a monster worth?" by Roger Moore.
The next installment of Len Lakofka's series on the deities of the Suel pantheon features Pyremius, Beltar and Llerg. In response to one of our "wish list" topics (#82), Charles Olsen expounds on "The many types of magic" in the AD&D game.
We managed to squeeze in articles on the TOP SECRET and DRAGONQUEST games, plus features on four SF/superhero games in the ARES Science Fiction Section, plus our usual excursion into fiction. And for something unusual, grab a pencil with a big eraser and try to tackle "Monster in the Middle," the best crossword puzzle with a gaming connection that we've ever been offered. Well, of course it's not an easy puzzle: What do you think we think you are? - KM