Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RPG Magazines

Everyone seems to be talking about magazines these days. Kobold Quarterly, Knockspell, Fight On!, and I think even Goodman Games has one, right? I was always excited to read Dragon Magazine as a kid. It gave me a little bit of a window into the rest of the world of RPG's, as well as the world of D&D. I would get a little bit of everything---help with questions, new spells/monsters/gear, ecology stories, maybe some good adventure ideas. Pre-internet, for a guy who didn't really game outside his circle of friends, and never went to conventions, it was really my only glimpse into the rest of the D&D Universe.

I read through some issues of Kobold Quarterly recently, and while it does evoke some of the same memories (and I love looking at the ads for other companies to see what everyone is up to), it lacks something. I follow 5 or 6 boards a day, probably scan through hundreds of Blogs, and have gigabytes of material on a harddrive. I don't now what a magazine can offer me anymore in terms of game content. What's yet another take on minotaurs going to do for me, when I have access to 5 or 6 takes already through the Internet and harddrive? With chat groups and discussion forums of every type, where I can talk to 5 people at the same time from all around the world, and ask questions on boards and get 50 responses in an hour, what can a magazine do for me in terms of feeling part of a community that I don't have already?

There was something special with Dragon magazine in particular, in that it was "Official". We treated whatever was in there no differently than what was in the rulebooks. There was something special when reading something written by Gygax or Kuntz, or one of the other big names back then. With the market flooded with supplements and OGL/d20 products, and every conceivable resource imaginable on the Internet for free, nothing feels special anymore.

It's kind of sad, actually. I love the ability to have massive amounts of information at my fingertips. But I do miss what I used to get from reading Dragon, while sitting on the floor with my brother in the back of Waldenbooks.

p.s.---as for digital magazines, for me paper magazines are a bottomline must for it to be called a magazine. A digital magazine may as well be called a webpage, blog, or a Word document. No different to me.)



  1. I think you left out Dragon Roots from your list.

    For me, magazine are bathroom reading. Whether in paper format or digital on my Kindle DX, magazines are meant to be piecemeal.

    All that being said, Dragon was something special back in the day. The first issue I picked up at B. Dalton Booksellers was issue 65. Yes, it was magical. But then again, I was in high school, and now I'm 41. There seems to be less magic these days ;)

  2. @Tenkar - In someways, I think it was magical in someways because it was the first time we have heard about some of the subjects.

    I actually have the Dragon 1-250 PDF archive on CDs. What's amazes me is that for almost any topic you want to talk about today, there seems like there was already an article in an old copy of Dragon. Of course that's just my opinion.

  3. I read a few copies of Footprint. Like most rpg superflous material from now and the olden days (Dragon, White Dwarf), I find it great reading on the toilet, with great ideas, but nothing I really end up using.

    I should check-out Kobold though.


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