Alright, I've had my copies of Gygax Magazine Issue #1 for 24 hours now and have given it a decent read through. Have I read every word? No. Some articles are about games I know little or less about, and some just lost my interest. It's a mixed bag of sorts.
First, let me say this - it looks, feels, tastes and smells like Dragon Magazine from the 80's in presentation, layout, font, paper type, etc. It is very nearly a trip back in time from that alone. I like that aspect. I like that a lot.
As for the articles... there are some gems, there some games I don't play and there is a shitload of reminiscing and proving old School cred. Lets get down to the specifics:
The Cosmology of Role-playing Games by James Carpio - it's kinda like a history of RPGs grouped by arbitrary associations that the author used placed on the backdrop of a "cosmos" type star map. Interesting, but he lists "Thieves' World" as an RPG system, when it was a multi-system setting. Yep, a nitpick, but as it's part of the "Alpha Prime" listing (the first list he presents) it makes me a bit wary of the rest of the article. Not an awesome start to the magazine. Lets move on.
Still Playing After All of these Years by Tim Kask - the first of an assortment of "here's my old school cred" articles, it's interesting from a history standpoint. From a gaming standpoint? Eh.
Leomund's Secure Shelter by Lenard Lakofka - Len handles the "here's my old school cred" and some personal background on himself AND does some AD&D math showing that + 1 Damage is better than + 1 to hit. Includes a chart and everything. It's an actual article that deals with actual gaming and game theory. Not bad at all.
The Ecology of the Banshee by Ronald Corn - I never read the ecology articles back in the days of Dragon and God knows I don't plan to start now. That being said, the Banshee's abilities and their variant's are described in a systemless manner, which is good, especially if you want to present the magazine as something applicable to gamers of all systems. Well done article, even if I don't like "ecology" articles in general.
Bridging Generations by Luke Gygax - Yet another "here's my old school cred" article, this time by one of the Gygax's. Moving on.
Gaming With a Virtual Tabletop by Nevin P. Jones - An article about running games using Roll20. I use TableTop Forge for my online gaming, but with the current dungeon crawl campaign in Rappan Athuk, I may need to check out Roll20 if it allows for maps to be saved in progress between sessions. So, if the article is making me consider checking out a different gaming app, it's a decent article.
Keeping Magic Magical by Dennis Sustare - Dennis doesn't need to bore us with a history of his "old school gaming cred", he shows us why he has such cred with an article talking about possible ideas to houserule magic to make it more special. I'm not saying I'd run with any of the ideas he presented, but they are interesting and inspirational. Nice.
Playing it the Science Fiction Way by James M. Ward - yes, yet another "here's my old school cred" article. Back, meet hand. A bit of history here too, once you get past the "One of my claims to fame is the creation of the first science-fiction role-playing game, Metamorphosis Alpha." I guess another claim would be destroying The Crusader magazine.
Alright, end of the first part of the two part review.
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The Minotaur for Old-School Essentials
*Requirements:* Minimum STR 9, Minimum CON 9
*Prime Requisite:* STR and CON
*Hit Dice:* 1d10
*Maximum Level:* 8
*Armor:* Leather, including shield...