Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kobold Quarterly review---plus, do we really need magazines?

I was one of probably 40000 bloggers given a free review copy of KQ 11 a couple weeks ago.  I've seen it before, both in paper and pdf, and I like it.  It's very reminiscent in style to the older Dragon magazines of a couple decades ago.  The articles are very informative and interesting, covering both 3.x/PF and 4.0.  One article from Monte Cook in particular stood out.  What I liked the most was the ads though. The one from Planet Stories stood out as pretty neat, with a retro look as befits the line of books published by Paizo. 

I remember riding my bike to the mall, so I could hide in the corner of the bookstore and read Dragon Magazine cover to cover, being too broke to afford to buy it.  (That's also where I tore off the shrink wrap from stuff to read it, so I wouldn't have to buy it sight unseen...or to just try to memorize it because I couldn't afford modules either)  Back then, I hardly knew anyone who played DnD, and Dragon was my only glimpse into the bigger world of DnD.   The ads let me know what new stuff was coming out.  I read the magazine as much for the ads as for the articles.  We took the articles as official canon, not knowing any better.  The letters to the editor were really interesting, both the questions people had and the responses given opened up our  isolated game table to other new ideas we would try to incorporate. 

Kobold Quarterly has all that.   My question is, do we need it?  With the Internet, we have an overabundance of everything the magazine gives us.  Even the RPG Notables who were featured in a couple of the KQ articles have blogs, and are approachable on the Internet in a variety of mediums.  Some of the blog and board posts where people made up content or fiction is better than what you find in KQ---through no fault of KQ.  Like I said, it's a good magazine, and brings back fond memories of crouching in a corner at Waldenbooks all afternoon. But since the advent of OGL/d20 where nothing is canon unless you want it to be; and boards, blogs, and chatrooms where anything and everything is discussed and created;  and mailing lists and web pages letting you know what new products are coming out, why do we need a magazine?

I wouldn't buy the magazine, personally, as the Internet fills my needs.  That is not a reflection on KQ though.  It does what it does very well.  It's a good magazine. I just don't feel that I have a need for it.