Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gygax Magazine #4 is Here - in PDF at Least

I haven't done more than a quick scan of the PDF, so all I can do is bring up some observations that come to mind.

The cover literally screams Dragon Magazine from the rooftop of the hobby in the loudest of all possible voices. Which usually leads to disappointment when one reads the table of contents, and is reminded that Gygax Magazine isn't the old school magazine whose trade dress it apes, from cover to font to presentation.

All of which leads me to a mild surprise with Issue #4 - there is a decent amount within that is applicable to "old school" D&D. It does seem, however, the system used for reference varies with each article (AD&D, S&W, RuneQuest, Top Secret, AD&D 2e(?) 13th Age). The various Classic / OSR systems used are not labeled but are obviously not the same system in each article. I'm assuming this is to avoid saying "Dungeon & Dragons", but it's awkward. There are enough clones to use as reference, and the Necromancer's Cookbook is obviously using the S&W format with both ascending and descending AC. Just say such.

Which leads me to yet another observation - the OSR's lack of an "in print" magazine is noticeable, and Gygax Magazine is an inconsistent filler of the gap. We do have a wealth of 'zines, but the lack of a true magazine in our corner of the hobby (Fight On! and KnockSpell seem like faded dreams at this point) is noticeable. It's a shame, because one of the things the OSR does not lack in is creativity (as evidenced by the 'zine and the abundance of small press publishers).

Issue contents are:

Operation: Rendevous Oasis (A Top Secret adventure) by Merle M. Rasmussen

Men and monsters of Polynesia by Michael O. Varhola

Leomund's Secure Shelter by Lenard Lakofka

Adventuring without the magic by Jon Peterson

The Necromancer's Cookbook by Dave Olson

Djinn by Lawrence Whitaker & Pete Nash

Randomize your realm by Timothy Connolly

Psionics without the points by Bill McDonald

Ed’s Effulgent Euphuism by Ed Greenwood

Melee Masters by Brian Liberge


Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew

Reviews (0) Discussions (0)   Follow this discussion


  1. I'm not sure I understand your comment - " The cover screams Dragon Magazine"

    Because it's seems to me it was intentional homage Den Beauvais's "Chess" series of Dragon covers (#83, #86, #89, #118)

    1. every issue of Gygax is a homage to Dragon, which is both it's strength and it's weakness

    2. Hmm...does it truly count as an homage if the artist you're paying the homage to is the one who painted said homage? Yes, Den is the credit for the Issue #4 cover (...and a just few more cause I like the sound of it: homage homage homage homage homage!!)

    3. yes you can to homage to own work from 20 years ago and dragon at same time

  2. Like real Dragon I find a godd day or week blogging better than any magazine - if i want art there are thousands of places - i used to spend a hundred a week on mags now magazines poor imitation of net to leave on cofee table

  3. Unfortunately, I don't think the current OSR can support a long-term print magazine on a monthly basis. It's too small a niche.

  4. I see from the cover that there's a new Top Secret adventure in this issue. Is there a retroclone of Top Secret in existence? Because that would be very cool. Also...what Venger Satanis indicated; when your audience is buying the magazine to get an article on a game that's been oop like Top Secret for nearly thirty years, then odds are you're not really interested in sales growth so much as a good community...nothing wrong with that.

  5. I think it's great they're doing articles/adventures on out-of-print games and non-D&D games. Sure wish Different Worlds was still around.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition