From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
We've tried to score some points with you this month by including a special module; how many points you score when you undertake Cavern Quest remains to be seen. The adventure, created and written by Bill Fawcett and specially designed for point-by-point competition between groups of players, received an enthusiastic response from those who "playtested" it as part of a Cavern Quest tournament at CWA-Con '81 in July. And the player who won the competition, Peter Lundberg of Maywood, Ill., was the only contestant to complete the entire quest. It may be an unusual module, but it ain't easy.
Halloween's just around the corner, and our observance of that scary occasion comes in the form of an eerie cover painting by Jack Crane and "Abomination," a piece of short, spooky fiction by D. Aaron Achen which fits the mood of Jack's painting to a "B" - for boo, that is.
Our feature section is led off by an extra-long treatise, courtesy of contributing editor Ed Greenwood, on the theory and method of developing a powerful and playable pantheon for a campaign using many of the personalities from the DEITIES & DEMIGODS Cyclopedia - the first in-depth examination that we know of concerning how the DDG book can be used to best advantage.
If length is strength, then Arn Ashleigh Parker's essay on ruins is pretty powerful, too. Abandoned cities (above-ground dungeons, if you prefer) offer a wealth of, so to speak, unexplored possibilities for adventuring. You can start to explore them by turning to page 10.
Weapons are just as breakable as the characters who wield them, says John Shaw, and thereby was born his article on how to incorporate rules for weapons that wilt. And if your sword happens to snap while your jousting with a Jabberwock, watch out. Mark Nuiver's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's fearsome monster for use in an AD&D game appears on page 30.
This issue's edition of Sage Advice is designed to clear up questions about all those spooky, scary creatures we love to hate. Richard Meyer and Kerry Lloyd, the designers of the Thieves Guild products from Gamelords, Inc., describe how playing the "bad guys" can be fun, and offer some inside information in their designers' notes written especially for DRAGON.
The second appearance of Larger Than Life spotlights a Chinese crew known as the "Righteous Robbers of Liang Shan P'o." Righteous robbers? If you can accept that, check out Giants in the Earth for a quartet of "demons" who are (gasp!) lawful good! How's that for giving the good guys equal time?
Lots more of our regular features can be found inside: The latest chapter of the Minarian Legends by Glenn Rahman, author of the DIVINE RIGHT game; part three of John Prados' short course on game design in Simulation Corner; and Mark Herro's computer quiz to have fun with in The Electric Eye.
As evidence of his versatility, Glenn Rahman also appears inside as the author of a price list for BOOT HILL gear, and the author of a review on Barbarian Prince. Holding down the lead position in this month's review section is Bill Fawcett's evaluation of the Thieves Guild line.
It just occurred to me that a boggart would probably be the world's greatest trick-or-treater, if you could control one long enough to get the candy from him. You'll find the boggart and two more new creatures in the Dragon's Bestiary, beginning on page 28.
Our Dragon Mirth section is five pages big this time, including (sniff) the last episode of Finieous Fingers.
Please accept our apologies for all the little critters you're liable to find sprinkled from here to who knows where inside these pages. Things got a little out of hand last month in "What's New," if you'll recall, and it took until just before deadline this time until we got the "overflow" problem licked. Never again, Phil... - KM