Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old School: Mining White Dwarf 2

Things are starting to get moving! Still not lots, but definitely a few items of interest to an old school fan in this issue.

First up is the second part of Fred Hemmings' Competitive D&D essay. In this he describes an excellent set-up for an old school competitive dungeon.  The PCs (pre-rolled characters, two per player) are all members of the same family, brought together for the reading of the will of a deceased patriarch, an adventurer of renown.  Each gets two basic magic treasures but are told that the real inheritance is hidden in a dungeon.  Nothing wrong with that!  Interestingly, the players were (it seems) given a list of tasks that would gain them points in the competition, but this was done in the form of cryptic clues.  Thus, visiting Mars (and living!) would gain them a measly 5 points.  This refers to standing on a painting of Mars in a room the floor of which was decorated with a depiction of the solar system.  The list of objectives is itself very evocative of old school tomfoolery.

Next up is a taste of things to come - a one page review of Asgard miniatures.  One of them, the Old Wizard, who looks more like an orthodox priest, still makes regular appearances in my campaigns as a Grey Sage.  To think he cost but 12p (around 20c) in 1977!  I'm also reminded of Asgard's giant dwarves, which were seemingly 3" shorter than humans on average...

Lengthy Lew Puslipher review of The Green Planet series or games (sigh), so let's move on, past the almost useless description of the famous Midgard play-by mail campaign, pausing only to observe Pulsipher's review of first edition Tunnels & Trolls, which he decries as silly (and therefore possibly appealing to the British!), and part 2 of the Monstermark system, until we get to Treasure Chest.  Now this is something.

There's a new magic item, the Needle of Incalculable Power, which essentially does whatever its user thinks it might do, but at a high cost - 5 prime requisite characteristic points, for a month. Heavy, but lovable. There's the Scientist character class, which contains some good jokes, but is notable mainly for being the creation of SF writer/reviewer Dave Langford.  Then comes the meat - five excellent new monsters, the Spinescale, the Dune Stalker, the Ning, the Giant Caterpillar and the Blood Hawk, all of which saw some use in my dungeons.  I love this, for instance, in the description of the least interesting monster, the Giant Caterpillar:
They are often hunted as their skins are highly sought-after, especially by Hill People, for manufacture of ceremonial dancing costumes.  Prices of up to 200GPs per skin are often paid.
Then we finish off with part 2 of the ridicualously complicated "what's wrong with D&D and what I'm doing about it," notable only for "grudge points," seemingly an early version of Hero Points.

Someone has archived White Dwarf 2 as a PDF here.

1 comment:

  1. Really bringing up great memories of White Dwarf. I recall having issue #1 through around 12 or 14 or so.

    Can't wait till you get to the ish that had the Stair Stalker, one of only a few of WD morts that never made it to the Fiend Folio (they must have thought it made too much sense - heh heh