From the assistant editors introduction:
This month's cover was produced by Ray Cioni, an artist/animator from Chicago who created Morley the Wizard, the cartoon figure which was the main feature for television commercials touting Gen Con XIII which appeared on many broadcast outlets in the Midwest in Mid-August prior to the convention. He was happy to provide us with a rendition of a witch for our cover, to serve as a lead-in to our feature inside on the witch as a non-player character - and we were happy to have it.
There are plenty more colorful pages on the inside of the magazine - more color than Dragon has ever published before in a single issue. The eye-catching art includes a full-page witch painting by Alan Burton which leads off the NPC article on page 6. It's a relatively rare occasion when we can present our three color comic strips in the same issue, but this is one of those occasions. Wormy, Finieous Fingers, and Jasmine are all together again at the rear of the magazine.
And in the middle, there's more color - a full-page painting by Erol Otus of the TSR Hobbies art department which goes well with the first entry in this month's Bestiary; a color photo of the impressive components from Azhanti High Lightning, the ultimate supplement for TRAVELLER; and, sandwiched between those pages, Dragon's first TRAVELLER adventure, courtesy of the imaginative mind and busy typewriter of Roberto Camino.
The main course among this month's articles is the Witch, an extensive look at that legendary figure as it might be portrayed in an AD&D game or another role-playing context as a non-player character. The original manuscript sent in by Bill Muhlhausen was polished and refined by yours truly and Tom Moldvay of the TSR Hobbies Design Dept. to arrive at the pages of text which appear herein. Mr. Moldvay, a witchologist of no small stature, also provided a short historical piece on how witches came to be called witches, and how the legends and traditions concerning them evolved.
We move from the magical realm of the witch into the futuristic territory of TRAVELLER with Canard, an adventure specially for use with the popular science-fiction role-playing game. Players will need all the skills at their disposal to contend with the perils, obvious and unseen, which lurk within the complex of rooms and chambers they will explore. Accompanying drawings by Chris Roth help to convey the intensity and suspense contained within the text.
As a concession to reality, we offer four pages of convention/tournament coverage inside, led off by Dragon editor Jake Jaquet's informal examination and comparison of three of 1980's major gaming gatherings. He wrote the piece because he was the only Dragon Publishing representative who attended all three conventions - and because, since Bryce wrote Dragon Rumbles this month, we had to come up with some other way to get the boss's name in print. Following Jake's story are words of wisdom from Dave Cook, author of the new TSR module Slave Pits of the Undercity, on the giant AD&D Open Tournament at Gen Con, along with tips for future players on how to persevere against the threat of the Slave Lords. Realism story number three spotlights Frank Mentzer, who emerged as the DM with the mostest from the recent D&D Masters Invitational, which was concluded at Gen Con.
Have you, as a DM, ever wished there was an organized, universally accepted way to find out from your players how you're doing as a world-designer? Have you, as a player, ever yearned for a way to compliment and criticize the person behind your campaign without resorting to raising your voice or grumbling under your breath? Then take pencil in hand and fill out DeAnn Iwan's Dungeon Master Evaluation Form - a way for players to petition for help with grievances, or to pass out well-deserved praise on a piece of paper.
There are plenty of other articles sprinkled throughout #43, most of which will be of primary interest to D&D and AD&D players. Philip Meyers presents a detailed examination of the AD&D illusionist spells and how they ought to be played, with regard to the creatures who view the attempted illusions. Leonard Lakofka sets forth some more suggestions for conducting characters' activities during the melee round, and Larry DiTillio has a rebuttal to Doug Bachmann's rebuttal of Larry's original piece on morality as it relates to role-playing.
Mark Herro is back with another installment of Electric Eye, reviewing an offering of computer games. Sage Advice returns bigger than ever - nearly two full pages of questions and answers about D&D and AD&D. Stefan Neubauer wrote an interesting and illuminating letter about D&D in Germany which we've reproduced word for word, and our intermittent series of Squad Leader scenarios continues with Bryan Beecher's depiction of the fall of Sevastopol.