Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Old Dragons

I returned to my LGS on Friday evening and grabbed issues #183 and #136, even though I haven't entirely finished reading the issues picked up last weekend. It seems I strayed into the early 90's. I still find it quite amusing to see advertisements for "upcoming" games or editions thereof that are now long out of print.

A few thoughts on my Dragon acquisitions:

-There was an article that redesigns martial arts styles from Oriental Adventures. Anyone who's been reading for a month or so may remember my dissatisfaction with the system as written and intention to someday fix it to suit my tastes...well, it looks like someone else did it for me about 18 years ago. Fair enough.

-I'm not sure I really get what the point of "NPC classes" are. NPCs need not abide by any particular structure; their statistics can remain "under the hood" as it were. While I can see the alchemist being adaptable to a PC, I really don't see why merchant needs to be a class of it's own, much less one with spell casting ability. My wife did find the notion of a merchant casting a spell to call bullshit on a fake magical item quite amusing. I doubt I'd adapt this class to be PC. Perhaps that would work if the entire campaign were centered around mercantile enterprise, which isn't really that awful of an idea, but that isn't where my AD&D game is going.

-A decent look in cities and societies in Gamma World, which is good because the last time I ran GW, the towns felt little different than D&D towns, with taverns and town guards and everything. (Of course, last time I ran GW, I was 12)

All in all, I found these volumes a bit less useful than the ones I bought last weekend. However, I think I'll be at the LGS this coming Friday to pick up one or two more.


  1. I think the term 'NPC class' was used by the Dragon editorial team as a bit of a figleaf: No player could claim 'You have to let me use this class, it's in Dragon! That makes it official!' but DMs could allow them to be used as PCs if they desired.

  2. Not just a bit of a fig-leaf, but literally a means by which they could continue to be printed. It seems that Gygax kept a fairly tight control on "official" material, by which was meant only the things he wrote or specifically endorsed.

    Stuff like the Merchant class speaks directly to a codified strand of traditional gaming that runs parallel to the more familiar "NPCs are classless" idea. I believe City State of the Invincible Overlord or another third party supplement too k this approach to its extreme with townsman classes, which prefigured the NPC classes of D20/3e.