Editor's Content Summary:
This month, TD is proud to present the first in what promises to be a long line of modules for use with Top Secret, TSR’s new espionage role-playing game. "The Missile Mission" is the brainchild of Mike Carr, the general manager of TSR Hobbies and one of the people who helped put Merle Rasmussen’s Top Secret game manuscript into its final form.
The colorful cover you just saw for the first time is the work of Steve Swenston, a California-based artist whose work we hope to put on display many more times in the future. And, speaking of art, how’s this for another first: At the back of the magazine you’ll find, all together for the first time in one issue, Finieous Fingers, Wormy, and Jasmine. "The Big Three" will be back as a group on every possible occasion from now on.
All you DM’s with an evil streak inside will simply adore The Dragon’s latest addition to the panoply of non-player characters for D&D or AD&D: The Anti-Paladin. Tim Mesford and George Laking have collaborated on the definitive version of everybody’s favorite bad guy—because, we suppose, no one author could think up all those nasty things.
Other special features this month include an in-depth examination of the role of women—both as real people and as player-characters—in fantasy role-playing games. Jean Wells of the TSR Hobbies Development Department did the research and accumulated the information for an overview of the situation, and yours truly authored the final version of "Women Want Equality—and Why Not?" A companion piece is provided by Kyle Gray, who makes some specific suggestions about how women's inherent advantages over men, as well as their inherent disadvantages, ought to be considered when generating player characters. Food for thought, for gamers of either gender.
This month’s "adventure story" by Tom Armstrong is about a female—coincidentally enough—who comes back from the grave but suffers some grave consequences in so doing. For the historians among you, Bill Fawcett presents an overview of the types of bows used in real life and how their characteristics apply for gaming purposes. In the "charts and tables" department, Carl Parlagreco has prepared a new system for determining and describing the controversial phenomena of critical hits and fumbles.
Remember the little spacemen we pictured in TD-34 with a request to readers for information about their origin? Well, we got some answers, and TD staff member Bryce Knorr played "private eye" to provide a solution to the mystery, which is almost as authentic as it is amusing. Karl Horak looks at the development of fantasy role-playing from Chainmail through D&D to AD&D and wonders whether uniformity between the various game systems is possible, or even desirable.
A wealth of inspiration and information is offered in July’s regular features. Len Lakofka puts forth guidelines for beginning a campaign in Leomund’s Tiny Hut. Then, when you’ve got things rolling, you can inject a few items from Bazaar of the Bizarre, and employ the awesome Groundsquid, Larry DiTillio’s contribution to Dragon’s Bestiary. Larry’s last appearance in these pages is what prompted Douglas Bachmann to address the issue of morality in fantasy in Up on a Soapbox.
Glenn Rahman favors us with the story of the barbarians and their hero, Juulute Wolfheart, in the latest edition of the Minarian Legends, designed to enhance your enjoyment of Divine Right. In a slight deviation from the norm, Tom Moldvay describes two figures from Norse legend in this month’s installment of Giants in the Earth. Two real-life personages from the world of gaming are spotlighted in John Prados’ Simulation Corner; Redmond Simonsen and Rodger MacGowan. The Fantasysmith hopes to help all you painters and producers of miniature figures get out of the "unfinished" rut by describing the "Work in Process" method of turning out finished figures.
The Electric Eye has become a monthly column, for at least as long as Mark Herro can work around his other obligations and keep the articles coming in. This one is a glossary to help computer neophytes translate the language that’s tossed around in the world of electronic gaming. Back after a month’s hiatus is Sage Advice, and in The Dragon’s Augury are examined two widely diverse games, The Beastlord and Intruder.
Last but not least, you’ll find inside the rules for the second International Dungeon Design Competition, which were printed for the first time in TD-38. Time is of the essence for anyone who wants to be considered for a top prize, because the entry deadline is Sept. 1. We hope to have your adventure here by then.—Kim