Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Some Quick Notes on Best of the Dragon Vol. I From the Strategic Review and The Dragon Vol. I & II

There comes a time when you have to go back to the source material once again. For many people this means going back to Cons & onto forums of original Dungeons & Dragons. But for me its crack open a dog eared copy of the Best Of The Dragon Volume I & II. This tome has within it a whole array of articles from the hey days of the Strategic Review & Dragon's earliest issues.

So why is this particular piece of Dragon magazine history important? Well for my own perspective as a dungeon master its not just the articles by James Ward on Metamorphis Alpha first edition or the sage advice of Gary Gygax himself. These are essential to the history of the grand game but also the articles by
These are great articles for designing towns & hex locations in OD&D & went way towards helping me as a young dungeon master to design interesting & unique encounters not just in OD&D but also Gamma World as well.  There's another article called Hints for D&D Judges byJoe Fischer which was an article that had a huge influence at the table top level. Robert J Kuntz's Tolkien in D&D gave me a lot of thought about Middle Earth in OD&D or my lack there of. 
This volume doesn't get mentioned to much except perhaps in passing on some forums as a curious piece of the history of OD&D. Not so for me because for me this volume was a living & breathing artifact from the roots of the game. I don't mean this in this high praise of the altar of gaming although I'm in awe of the creativity & experimental DYI nature of the early halcyon days of the hobby.

What I find amazing is the usefulness of this material in the OSR after all of this time since these articles were published. Everything from the original bard class to the illusionist still gets referenced depending upon what edition of Dungeons & Dragons or its retroclones are being used. Maybe its the late night echoes of nostalgia  talking here but this book still even after all these years gets the creative juices flowing.
For me
Best of the Dragon Vol. I
From the Strategic Review and The Dragon Vol. I & II is one the most useful books for original Dungeons & Dragons & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. The articles are easily applicable to the current crop of OSR retroclone games & adventures. This is one volume of killer & no filler material. Grab a copy if you can find this volume at a reasonable price.

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