Monday, December 30, 2013

Gygax Magazine Issue #3 Review

After receiving issue #3 of Gygax magazine I decided I must dust off this old tome of a blog. Between work, raising kids and running several active RPG campaigns I’m a busy guy. That said I enjoy Gygax magazine so much I felt compelled to write a review in support of it.

Back when the magazine was first announced I immediately jumped on board. Just the thought of having a real RPG magazine to thumb through again was exciting to me. Back in 1983 when I was a fledgling gamer obtaining an issue of Dragon magazine was like unearthing a great mythical treasure. 

When Dragon magazine (and its sister Dungeon) went digital copy only it was a blow to the hobby. For me the tactile nature of the publication was part of its charm and allure. It was akin to feeling dice in your hands or that worn lucky pencil which has seen you through several harrowing adventures. That void has been filled with a the magical Gygax magazine and I must say improved upon.

Gygax magazine issue #3 arrived with a wonderful piece of cover art by the legendary Clyde Caldwell.  What a fantastic way to proclaim the arrival of this third issue of RPG goodness. Caldwell’s art has graced the works of Dungeons & Dragons for years and just draws up nostalgia immediately. 

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the magazine is articles crossing multiple RPG systems. I absolutely love that Gygax magazine is brave enough to do this. The market is saturated in role playing games and everyone has an old or new favorite. Having a publication which is not afraid to go down many paths will have my subscription forever.

As a GM of thirty years I love looking at different systems and game designs. In fact some of my best inspirations over the years have been obtained from glancing over other games. Additionally being exposed to other systems could introduce a reader to a game that they never knew even existed.

To the right is an example of the contents page of issue #3 just so you can see the vast myriad of articles spanning multiple game systems.

My favorite part of the issue without a doubt is The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat’uul by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. and Benoist PoirĂ©. No sooner than opening the map and reading the background was I warped back to my earliest days of gaming. 

After thirty years of various iterations of the D&D game and hundreds of sessions, reading The Marmoreal Tomb of Garn Pat’uul was like riding an old bike. Everything from the style of writing, presentation and awesome artwork of Jim Holloway – this is a gem. What a great adventure which has all the best aspects of the old school but is polished enough for the new school. 

I can hardly wait for the module HSD1 – THE HOBBY SHOP DUNGEON, to be published by TSR in late 2014. I think the best thing about Gygax magazine is it has created another chance for new gamers to discover the hobby.  Just seeing my 7 year old son pick up the magazine randomly one day and ask relentless questions about it is proof positive.

Classic Holloway Art
In the future when people have “unplug” parties and there is a renaissance to have real social interaction we can all chuckle. But in order to make the chuckle come from the heart we need to do our best to pass table top gaming on to the next generation. That includes supporting this wonderful publication known as Gygax Magazine. I feel so inspired I plan to write an article in the future (or two) and submit them!