Friday, 22 January 2010

White Dwarf 5

OH NOES! A big, bad company with a Space Opera "property" (itself heavily - ahem -
influenced by similar Space Opera "properties" that have gone before) is flexing it's legal muscles and trying to drive the manufacturers of science-fiction figures and games out of business! Damn them and their attempts to claim generic war-in-space imagery and concepts as purely their own invention! If only there was a young, British company with a punk anti-establishment attitude prepared to stand up against faceless big business and their questionable ethics!

Happily there was. I mean is. I mean was.

I suspect that back in the happy days before George Lucas's neck started to consume his own head, this figure range might have been problematical (actually we are taking advantage of our White Dwarf Time Tunnel here and leaping four months into the exciting future of 1978 to WD7 to grab this advert scan).

On the subject of white metal, I'm also struck by extracts of an advert for Greenwood & Ball describing their large scale diorama kits - "girl prisoner, woman wielding whip" and "evil queen clad in long robe lolls on a fantastic throne" and "standing over a shrieking lady prisoner" and "terrified girl lying at his feet" and "girl prisoner" (a different one this time). That's five kits in the advert and a quote from each advert giving us a S&M-tastic hit rate of 100%. The 70s eh? Makes me wonder if early RPGers were taking some influence from Gor or Eric Stanton (NSFW).

Also around in WD5 - Chivalry and Sorcery appears for review with an unintentionally amusing warning from Mr. Pulsipher.

"People new to the fantasy game genre should not try C&S."

Don Turnbull's column "Monsters Mild and Malign" (like anyone feels remotely threatened by Monsters that are mild...) is a mix of useful stuff and more novelty nonsense like the Goldeater, a floating hand that climbs in backpacks to consume gold (a clear attempt to rail back a Monty Haul campaign), Cyborgs and the Threep, a three-headed humanoid with a Cleric head, Fighter head and Magic-User head. Next issue this column becomes the Fiend Factory and we all know where that ends up.

(There is perhaps potential here for a Fiend Folio Rejects post for the future, cross-referencing the FF and it's publishing date with the MMM/FF columns in WD and seeing what exactly didn't make the cut in order to clear room for obvious heavyweights like the Flumph).

Games Day 1977 was in December and had 1000+ attendees. That seems a lot but then I suppose the hobby of wargaming in general was at something of a high water-mark in the UK in the 1970s so that might explain it. The D&D tournament was so over-subscribed that the first round wasn't even a scenario but a 15 question quiz designed to weed out a whole bunch of the 200+ hopefuls with questions like

What are the Hit Dice of a Hippogriff? 2+1, 2+2, 3, 3+1 or 4
How many types of Potion are listed in the rules? 22, 24, 26, 28 or 30?

Not much fun I guess if you turned up to play and got kicked out after a D&D rules trivia test. Still you could have bid on The Dragon #3 in the auction which reached a claimed World Record price of all of £4!

Big news items hide away in the almost contemptuously-mentioned-in-passing news column. GW are printing the UK edition of D&D (the rare version of the "Holmes" edition with the John Blanche cover and redrawn interior illos by Fangorn) and something called the Monster Manual, Advanced D&D Player's Handbook and Advanced D&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Perhaps the total lack of fanfare associated with this is down to misunderstanding the contents and new direction of the games, WD's news column simply says

"The important parts of Greyhawk, Blackmoor and Eldritch Wizardry (supplements for the old D&D set will be incorporated into the advanced rulebooks..."

Perhaps people just thought this would be a minor revision and an omnibus edition of White Box/Brown Booklets plus the supplements.

Last word has to go to the Monstermark which not only won't die, it also won't print correctly.

Is this correction even correct? I have no idea...

Next issue - Traveller.

1 comment:

  1. actually, they did misunderstand it. a few issues later he'll review the Players' Handbook and the stance is clearly that it is the same game, just a few rules have changed (he specifically says that Barbarians and Paladins now have restrictions they did not have before and they would have to be dropped down to Fighters, if the referee did not just decide to have them play like that).
    Most likely you did mention that in the entry on that issue, but I am going chronologically here.