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Dragon Magazine #88

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Vol. IX, No. 3 August 1984


ELEFANT HUNT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45Safari, so good: The latest gamefrom Tom Wham�s imagination


Falling damage: a matter of gravity

Physics and falling damage. . . . . . . . . . . . .12The argument in favor of velocity

Scientific facts behind the system. . . . . . . .13

Kinetic energy is the key . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

TheIt chews what you want to use

ecology of the rust monster . . . . .

Beyond the dungeon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28The great outdoors, part 2

Key to Ramali. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58A story about Camelot, sort of

Index to advertisers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87


Out on a Limb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Letters and answers

The forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Opinions and observations

Gods of the Suel pantheon. . . . . . . . . . . . .8Part 3: Syrul, Fortubo, and Wee Jas

Off the shelf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Reviews of fantasy & SF literature

Convention calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

ICE can stand the heat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64Reviewing the Rolemaster series

The ARES� Section. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6916 pages of SF gaming articles

Gamers� Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86

Dragon Mirth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

W o r m y . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 9

Snarfquest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93

. . 22

Publisher: Mike CookEditor-in-Chief: Kim MohanEditorial staff: Roger Raupp

Patrick Lucien PriceMary KirchoffRoger Moore

Subscriptions: Mellody KnullContributing Editors: Ed Greenwood

Katherine KerrKen Rolston

Advertising Sales Administrator:Mary Parkinson

This issue�s contributing artists:James Holloway Keith ParkinsonJeff Butler Brian BornRoger Raupp Kurt ErichsenTom Wham Dave TrampierMark Nelson Larry Elmore

DRAGON® Magazine (ISSN 0279-6848) ispublished monthly for a subscription price of $24per year by Dragon Publishing, a division ofTSR, Inc. The mailing address of DragonPublishing for all material except subscriptionorders is P.O. Box 110, Lake Geneva WI 53147;the business telephone number is (414)248-8044.

DRAGON Magazine is available at hobbystores and bookstores throughout the UnitedStates and Canada, and through a limitednumber of overseas outlets. Subscription ratesare as follows: $24 for 12 issues sent to an addressin the U.S., $30 in Canada; $50 U.S. for 12issues sent via surface mail or $95 for 12 issuessent via air mail to any other country. Allsubscription payments must be in advance, andshould be sent to Dragon Publishing, P.O. Box72089, Chicago IL 60690.

A limited quantity of certain back issues ofDRAGON Magazine can be purchased from theDungeon Hobby Shop. (See the list of availableissues printed elsewhere in each magazine.) Pay-ment in advance by check or money order mustaccompany all orders. Payments cannot be madethrough a credit card, and orders cannot be takennor merchandise reserved by telephone. Neitheran individual customer nor an institution can bebilled for a subscription order or a back-issuepurchase unless prior arrangements are made.

The issue of expiration for each subscription isprinted on the mailing label for each subscriber�scopy of the magazine. Changes of address for thedelivery of subscription copies must be receivedat least six weeks prior to the effective date of thechange in order to insure uninterrupted delivery.

All material published in DRAGONMagazine becomes the exclusive property of thepublisher upon publication, unless special ar-rangements to the contrary are made prior topublication. DRAGON Magazine welcomesunsolicited submissions of written material andartwork; however, no responsibility for such sub-missions can be assumed by the publisher in anyevent. Any submission which is accompanied bya self-addressed, stamped envelope of sufficientsize will be returned if it cannot be published.

DRAGON is a registered trademark forDragon Publishing�s monthly adventure playingaid. All rights on the contents of this publicationare reserved, and nothing may be reproducedfrom it in whole or in part without first obtainingpermission in writing from the publisher.Copyright ©1984 TSR, Inc.

Second-class postage paid at Lake Geneva,Wis., and additional mailing offices.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes toDragon Publishing, P.O. Box 110, Lake GenevaWI 53147, USPS 318-790, ISSN 0279-6848.

D R A G O N , D U N G E O N S & D R A G O N S , A D V A N C E D D U N G E O N S & D R A G O N S , D & D , A D & D , T O PSECRET, BOOT HILL, and GAMMA WORLD are registered trademarks owned by TSR, Inc.� designates other trademarks owned by TSR, Inc., unless otherwise indicated.

One little wordThose of us who work with words are

seldom surprised by instances where onelittle word makes a lot of difference. That�sthe way it is with words, we say knowingly.But we got a letter the other day that wassurprising.

It came from Eric Dott, president ofMonarch Avalon Industries, Inc., and thebody of the letter goes like this: �Please beadvised that from this date forward, everyreference to The Avalon Hill Game Com-pany in your publication MUST be statedas �The Avalon Hill Game Company� andnothing else. It is important that the defi-nite article �The� precede the words �AvalonHill Game Company�. Any deviation fromthe full phrase �The Avalon Hill GameCompany� or any use of the word �Avalon�other than as part of the full phrase �TheAvalon Hill Game Company� is improperand may result in further litigation.�

All of the hubbub over the word �The�and the word �Avalon� came about when acompany named Avalon Industries, Inc.,filed suit against The Avalon Hill GameCompany, apparently contending that thegame company was infringing on the othercompany�s possession of the trade name�Avalon.� The agreement reached betweenthe two parties is summed up in the require-ments spelled out in Mr. Dott�s letter.

The whole thing would be none of ourbusiness, except for the fact that this maga-zine (or any other publication) could beliable for a lawsuit if we don�t help upholdthe agreement. And the issue may not meananything to you as a reader of this maga-zine, except that it points out the impor-tance and the sanctity of names that identifycompanies or the products they market. Forthe same general reasons, this is why we atTSR, Inc., have to be eternally watchfulover the trademarks and other propertiesthat this company owns. It may seem harm-less, for instance, if another game companyputs out a product identified as �for usewith AD&D,� or words to that effect. But ifthe company that owns the AD&D® trade-mark allows this to happen, unintentionallyor otherwise, then we�re running the risk ofhaving the ownership of that trade nametaken away from us.

It�s going to be awkward if we ever haveto refer to a product as �a The Avalon HillGame Company game,� but we�ll find away to deal with that, because it would be alot more awkward to get up in front of ajudge somewhere and explain why wedidn�t do it. After all, we shouldn�t need acourt of law to tell us that one little worddoes make a big difference.

2 A U G U S T 1984

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ave you ever wanted to bea big game hunter? If so,you�ll have to keep on hunt-ing, because we don�t haveenough space to give you a

big game. But in the meantime, you�ll likethe little game inside this issue. ElefantHunt is Tom Wham�s latest exercise inpurposeful silliness, which is a big-wordway of saying that he makes good gamedesigns that are also fun to play.

Although he didn�t know it was going towork out this way when he painted it, JimHolloway�s cover art ties in pretty wellwith an article that�s also purposeful butdefinitely not silly. If the damsel with thedagger falls from the safety of her perch,she�s going to get hurt by the fall. Andthat�s where �Physics and falling damage�comes in. Arn Ashleigh Parker, who has adegree in physics as well as a lot of gamingexperience, applied her knowledge in bothareas to come up with yet another systemfor calculating falling damage. Is it theultimate system? Well, as with so manyother things, that probably depends onyour point of view. Steve Winter, whodelved into physics before becoming agame editor for TSR, Inc., offers a rebut-tal to Ms. Parker�s proposal in �Kineticenergy is the key.�

In part 2 of �Beyond the dungeon,�contributing editor Katharine Kerr con-cludes her advice on how to leave under-ground rooms and corridors and make anAD&D® game campaign mesh with theworld in which it takes place. Although it�sdirected primarily at players and DMswho haven�t tried aboveground adventur-ing before, this article and its predecessorhave some thoughts and tips that evenexperienced campaigners can use.

If the AD&D game universe contains amore unusual critter than the rust mon-ster, I don�t know what it could be. In thisissue�s ecology article, Ed Greenwood fillsin some details about �rusty� that shouldhelp play go more smoothly the next timeyour character�s sword becomes a snack.

This issue�s installment of the deities ofthe Suel pantheon from Len Lakofkaincludes the first two females we�ve pub-lished, surly Syrul and wicked Wee Jas,flanking good old Fortubo, who�s a goodexample of the strong, silent type.

One of the treats inside the ARES�Science Fiction Section is the first articlewe�ve ever printed on the new MARVELSUPERHEROES� game, written by onewho ought to know � Jeff Grubb, whodesigned the game system.

Noted SF/fantasy author Ardath May-har makes her first appearance in thesepages with �Key to Ramali,� an intrigu-ing story that makes some interestingpoints about values and viewpoints andjust happens to be built around the con-cept of . . . a mechanical camel?! Yeah,that�s what I thought I said. � KM

Who wrote it?Dear Editor:

I have a problem that I think other DMs mightalso experience at one time or another. One of theplayers in a dungeon had an argument withanother player. I don�t remember the exactsituation, but one of them said, �Let�s send it toDragon for the answer.� I truly don�t believe thata letter was ever sent to your offices. However,after about two months he showed us a letter thatwas supposedly written by Gary Gygax statingthat he was in the right. The letter was not signedand it was typed on normal typing paper.

My question is this: If a letter is not printed inyour magazine, will it still be answered, and if sowill it be typed on Dragon letterhead? I wouldgreatly appreciate any information you could giveme about this.

Andy BowlesLitchfield, Ill.

If anyone representing DRAGON® Magazineanswers a letter from a reader, you can bet thatresponse will be signed, even if it’s only a “KM”or “RM” at the end of one of the passages in thiscolumn. I can‘t speak for Mr. Gygax, but I reallycan‘t imagine him sending an unsigned letter toanyone, either.

I also can’t imagine him or anyone else whorepresents this company writing a letter on ordi-nary paper. The letters we send out are eithertyped on actual letterhead or they’re computerprintouts that are still unmistakeably identifiableas coming from (in this case) someone on themagazine staff.

No, we don‘t answer every letter that we don‘tpublish, but if we do send a response, we surearen’t going to conceal who wrote it or where itcame from. It sounds to me like someone tried topull a fast one on you, Andy — and I do mean“tried.” — KM

A show of strengthDear Editor:

I noticed what appears to be a typographicalerror in �How to finish fights faster� (#83), in thelist that gave the average racial strengths. Half-elves were placed under the strength of 11 and12. I assume the former is correct, because it�smidway between elf and human. Also, I wouldlike to know why strengths for other humanoid-type creatures weren�t added. Is it just thatcharacters don�t very often �duke it out� withthings like vegepygmies?

Jon KohlFoxboro, Mass.

Half-elves should have been listed under the 11strength category only; that was a correct as-sumption, Jon. And your suspicion about whyother creatures weren’t included is also correct;

some limits had to be set on what creatures couldbe included, based on who was or wasn’t likely to“duke it out” with player characters. Of course,DMs can come up with their own statistics forcreature types not on the list. — RM

Why no numbers?Dear Dragon:

In issue #87, you showed us the plant/animalsof Hortus, but you didn�t tell us their attacks, hitdice, armor class, etc. Will you please either sendme these facts, or put them in the next issue ofthe magazine.

Eric StaufferChadds Ford, Pa.

“The legacy of Hortus” was not presented as acavalcade of new monster types for the AD&D®game, but rather as a bit of entertainment that wehoped would spark the imagination of anyonewho wanted to install these “beasts” into a gam-ing envronment. In fact, we aren’t even sure thatwe could come up with statistics that everyonewould find acceptable. (For instance, can you sayfor sure how many hit points of damage it wouldtake to cut through the stalk of a cowslip?) Sorry,but we can’t and won’t try to turn Hortus’screations into actual AD&D game monsters —which gives you a golden opportunity to givethem the numbers that you think they shouldhave. — KM

Magic mysteriesDear Editor:

Though �Five new enchanted objects� in #86was very good, I still have a few questions.

The scepter of defense, as the article says, canbe used by all fighter classes, clerics, druids,thieves, assassins, and monks. I would like toknow if this also applies to anti-paladins, samu-rai, ninjas, or any other NPCs that have ap-peared in DRAGON.

Also, can someone who uses the necklace ofalteration be affected by rust dust if they havebeen bestowed a metallic composition? And if so,what would their saving throw be? What dometallic magical items get for a saving throwagainst rust dust if their properties aren�t mea-sured by a +1, +2, etc.?

Charles KluzSchofield, Wis.

The scepter of defense can be used by NPCclasses which are similar to those listed in thearticle; thus, anti-paladins, samurai, ninjas,duelists, and so forth could use it. However,magic-user subclasses (like the alchemist) couldnot.

Someone wearing a necklace of alterationcannot be affected by rust dust; the wearer’s body


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merely takes on the appearance of another sub-stance, not the its actual properties. And, if amagic item doesn't have a “plus,” then it onlyhas a 10% chance of saving against destructionby rust dust, as noted in the article. — RM

Not enough deitiesDear Editor:

One of my favorite articles in #86 was �Drag-ons and their deities,� which presents manyexciting possibilities for my campaign. My onlydilemma is this: If good dragons worship Baha-mut and bad ones Tiamat, then what of neutralones (pan lung, mist dragon, etc.)? Do theyworship at all, is it DM�s discretion, or is itassumed that chaotic ones worship Tiamat andlawful ones Bahamut (which still leaves the ques-tion about neutrals). Please clarify this, so thatDMs with more than just the Monster Manualcan run their campaigns smoothly.

Damien HennessyWilliamstown, Mass.

It’s easy to answer this question directly bysimply using the “DM’s discretion” escape hatch,which Damien has conveniently provided for us.Since the whole idea of dragon worship is aninvention anyway (that is, it’s not in the rules),there’s nothing wrong with making the inventionmore sophisticated by drawing up your personal-ized version of a neutral dragon deity. Or, if youwant to use someone else’s idea, check out ArthurCollins’ article on neutral dragons, originallypublished in issue #37 and reprinted in our Bestof DRAGON Vol. II anthology One of thejeweled wonders in that article is Sardior, the

ruby dragon, who could give either one of theother dragon deities a run for its money

This seems like a good place to make a generalpoint: As much as we’d like to be a neverendingfountain of innovation and information, we don'thave all the answers and never will. If we publishan article that seems to leave a few stones un-turned (such as something that refers only tocreatures in the first Monster Manual), then youcan take matters into your own brain and supple-ment what another author has already done withsome creative work of your own. Fill it out, fix itup to fit into your way of playing, and you'll havea system for (in this case) dragon deities thatmeshes with your campaign much more smoothlythan any article you'll ever find on these pages.We do like to get questions (that proves you’rereading and examining what we're printing), andwe do like to answer many of them (because itmakes us feel good to be “right”). But pleasedon't expect us to do all the work. — KM

What�s official?Dear Editor:

I have read in �Out on a Limb� in issue #80that �. . . . anything you use from an article orfeature is not a rule change that would be recog-nized in any official tournament or competition. . .� But I also read (in a place which I cannotrecall) that submissions by Gary Gygax are to beconsidered official changes. Which is correct?

Christopher GrayNaperville, Ill.

I can't blame you, Chris, for being confused bythe use of the word “official.” The difference, as

it applies in these two cases, is this:We call Mr. Gygax's articles official because

(by their very nature) they have been sanctionedby him. In other words, the creator of theAD&D® game has contributed additional mate-rial which, although it’s not part of the actualrules, is compatible with what has already beenpublished in the hardbound rule books or certainAD&D game supplements, such as the WORLDOF GREYHAWK� Fantasy Setting. On rareoccasions, material written by other people hasbeen given this official status after its original“unofficial” publication. Two examples that cometo mind are the faerie dragon in Monster ManualII and the weather system in the new WORLDOF GREYHAWK package, both of which firstappeared in the magazine.

However, when Mr. Gygax writes an officialarticle, that still doesn’t mean that the informa-tion is to be considered part of the actual rules.And, as such, these articles cannot fairly be usedin official (there’s that word again) AD&D gametournaments. In a large, structured competitionsuch as the AD&D Open Tournament that’sconducted at the GEN CON® Convention, itwould be inappropriate — and, indeed, illegal —to use (for instance) information about the cava-lier character class that Mr. Gygax has created,because not everyone can be expected or requiredto possess the issue of the magazine in which thecavalier was introduced. An official tournamentrelies only on what’s in the actual rule books, anddoes not penalize participants for a lack of knowl-edge they may not be able to do anything about.An official article may someday become part ofthe rules, but unless and until it does, it’s not fairgame for tournament play I sure hope thatexplains the difference, because I just ran out ofspace. — K M

4 AUGUST 1984

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The forumOpinions and observations

In response to Mr. Godwin�s letter in issue #87about �Monty Haul campaigns . . . being builtinto the game,� I wish to simply point out thatthere is a paragraph in virtually every modulethat TSR, Inc., puts on the market (usuallyunder the heading of Dungeon Master�s Notes)that explains to the DM something to the effect of�If this dungeon doesn�t suit your present cam-paign, feel free to alter it in any way for yourplayers.� Mr. Godwin�s disappointment atGauntlets of Ogre Power being in the G seriesdungeons (something I�m sure any fighter whoread that issue and who had not been in any Gseries module would have loved to hear about,and if he didn�t catch it there he�ll get it here)could have greatly been avoided by simple re-moval, reduction in force, or replacement of thatmagic item.

�Monty Haul� characters aren�t as nasty as somany Dungeon Masters point out in their variousletters to The Forum. It just requires specialskills, both tactical and imaginative, to DM suchsuper-powered beings.

Articles like the current series by KatharineKerr as well as just plain common sense aboutcampaign building and planning will, I think,greatly aid any DM who takes on the responsibil-ity of playing with higher level characters.

I wish, however, to offer up my own advice.First of all, when you play with super-high levelcharacters, such things as charts and tables, dicerolling, and other picky little numerals must bede-emphasized, and the character (what he/shelikes, loves, hates, wants, is repulsed by, is in-spired by) must be emphasized with much greaterdetail.

When characters of 10th-25th level open upthemselves and look back on what they have donethroughout their past careers as dungeoneers, Ifind that most players are distraught at what theyfind � there is no human being in the humans,no heart in any of them, and they have advancedthis far and this well and they have yet to haveany personality beyond simple character quirksand oversimplified, unoriginal stereotypes.

With the advent of the character as a character,with a real personality and set goals (other thankilling everything in sight, hoarding magic andtreasure, and surviving, of course), the DM hashis or her work cut out. After setting down pre-liminarily what their world will be like (hmmm,let�s see, sea port here, major fortress there, thesepeople live off of trade coming down the river . ..) and after determining some of the major NPCsto be found there, then it is the time and the placefor the World to blossom, change, mature, and tobecome infinitely better than the outlines origi-nally set down for it.

The characters, being realistically �human�and having personalities, will, with their travels,do more for creating your campaign world thanany DM could ever hope to do � and oh, will itbe worth it!

Sam ChuppConyers, Ga.

* * * *

Regarding Mr. Sisk�s letter in issue #87, it hasbeen my experience that a PC, once he or she hastaken damage from the phantasmal force spell, is�stuck with it� and it cannot be reversed (though

a properly phrased wish spell, of course, would bean exception). One of the phrases is �The illusionlasts until struck by an opponent . . .� whichmeans that the illusion will not cause damageover and over again because once the characterhits the �pit,� the illusion lasts long enough forcausing damage once, then it is immediatelydispelled. This also means the character cannotstate disbelief at that time because the spell wouldno longer exist at this point.

Most saving throws are versus spells, unlessotherwise stated. If it is not stated in the text ofthe spell, then I would rule that the charactermust state he or she is disbelieving and roll a d20,otherwise characters with 18 intelligence wouldnever have to roll, and that would take the chal-lenge and danger out of the spell.

Disbelief is not automatic, otherwise whatwould be the use of casting the spell in the firstplace? Mr. Sisk is right in stating that the charac-ter in question must state disbelief, but if thephantasmal force is dispelled, never seeing thetrue nature of the phantasmal force becomes amoot point.

Kevin DeeveyBloomfeld Hills, Mich.

* * * *

The comments by David Sisk in issue #87 areones that I have had a difficult time dealing withalso. I am even now putting together an adven-ture in which many illusions are included. As aresult, I have done a lot of thinking and come upwith a few guidelines for the handling of illusions.

In my opinion, it is ludicrous for player charac-ters to always declare �I disbelieve� every timethey encounter a monster, magic, or the un-known. Not only does this tend to upset the DM,who has taken much time to prepare a coherentadventure, but it wastes quite a bit of game time.Besides, when you see a spell caster among theevil creatures you are combating, how do youknow if he is a cleric, druid, magic-user, orillusionist? The former two are usually dressed inidentifiable clothing, but there is seldom anydistinguishing attributes for the latter two. Afterall, if I was an illusionist, I certainly would not goabout my way carrying a sign �Illusionist here �attempt to disbelieve�!

So now the question at hand: How does onedeal with the illusions encountered in an adven-ture?

First, as stated before, the DM should notallow players to have their characters constantlydisbelieve everything. If this occurs, the DM cansimply say to the player, �This is ridiculous. Howare you going to tell reality from illusion whenyou actually encounter it?�

Second, the DM should require characters tostate what it is about the supposed illusion thatthey will use as a basis for their disbelief. Indeed,if one encounters an illusion, and knows it forsuch, on what comparison does he make thisjudgment? The obvious difference between realityand illusion, of course.

This, then, means that most illusions havesome sort of recognizable discrepancy. The bestexample of this is when an illusionary monsterattacks someone. If the person has fought suchcreatures before, it is likely that he will be able torecognize the correct behavior of the creature in

combat. Thus, an illusionist, who is not a fighterclass, would have a difficult time re-creating theexact combat behavior of the creature. If thecharacter notices this fact, then he has a basis fordisbelief, and is entitled to a saving throw.

This of course means that the DM must becareful and be consistent with his descriptions ofall monsters and magic used in the game. This isobviously no easy task, but if it is undertaken, itallows good handling of illusions.

The same sort of thing could be used whendealing with illusions of magic spells. Any magic-using character should have a chance of recogniz-ing an improperly cast spell, or one whose effectsare abnormal. After all, illusionists are not capa-ble of casting an actual fireball or lightning boltas a magic-user would, although they can inter-pret and copy its effects. Thus, a spell caster whosaw some sort of discrepancy in the spell cast athim would have a chance at disbelieving and beentitled to a saving throw.

For high level illusionists, perhaps 11th leveland above, there will be little chance for inconsis-tencies in their illusions, due to the vast experi-ence of the spell caster. Thus, illusions withvisual, audible, olfactory, and thermal compo-nents would be as good as if they were real.Therefore, I suggest that characters who attemptto disbelieve have at least some general reason forthe attempt, and under these circumstancesshould be required to roll 4d6 or even 5d6. Ascore equal to or less than their intelligenceattribute is necessary to disbelieve. A generalreason could be something like, �I disbelievebecause I�m in an illusionist�s work room,� or�This can�t be real because there was nothingdown that passage before, and the evil illusionistjust escaped that way.�

Now, let me attempt to address some of Mr.Sisk�s questions. First, when a character believesthat he has fallen into an illusionary pit (and thusfailed his saving throw), who is to say that theillusion of the pit disappears from his mind?Certainly, if he believed that he fell into the pit,he believed the illusion, and he is not all of asudden going to stop believing! This is becausethe character gets one saving throw versus theillusion, not many. Thus, the illusionary pit willalways be there for him, even if the others in hisgroup tell him it isn�t. And of course, since it stillaffects his mind, he still believes himselfwounded.

As to the phantasmal killer versus shadowmonster spells, I would again use the 4d6 (or 5d6)with bonuses/subtractions in place of a savingthrow. Since the work of the illusionist is moreoriented toward attacking the victim�s mind andchallenging his intelligence, this type of save ismore logical.

Last, in reference to disbelief and whether ornot it is �automatic,� I believe that my initialstatements decide this issue.

In conclusion, this system of handling illusionsis not only more game-realistic, but it will alsorequire the DM to add precise descriptions to thegame, thereby making the players and theircharacters more involved. For, if they are to havean attempt at disbelieving, they must have acatalog of knowledge on the creatures they havefought.

Richard EmerichNew Canaan, Conn.

* * * *

I have been greatly disturbed with the over-abundance of letters describing high level cam-paigns as being Monty Haul campaigns. I myself

(Turn to page 54)

6 AUGUST 1984

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Gods of the Suel pantheonA terribly diverse trio: Syrul, Fortubo, and Wee Jasby Lenard Lakofka ©1984 E. Gary Gygax. All Rights Reserved.


Goddess of False Promises and Deceit

Lesser goddess


(see below)SPECIAL ATTACKS: See belowSPECIAL DEFENSES: Can see through

any illusion or lieMAGIC RESISTANCE: 60%SIZE: M (5� 6" tall)ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil (lawful)WORSHIPERS� ALIGNMENT: Evil

figures, including many humanoidsSYMBOL: A forked tonguePLANE: Gehenna or HadesCLERIC/DRUID: 3rd level clericFIGHTER: NilM-U/ILLUSIONIST: 15th level illusionistTHIEF/ASSASSIN: 11th level assassinMONK/BARD: 11th level monkPSIONIC ABILITY: VIS: 18 (+1, +2) I: 19 W: 20D: 20 C: 18 Ch: 13

Syrul appears as a dirty, smelly old hag intattered clothing. This is a permanent illu-sion which can be seen through, but at -5on a normal saving throw. She wears acloak that has the properties of a displacercloak and a robe of scintillating colors.Either function is usable (but not both atonce) immediately when she wills the cloakto operate, and she can change between thetwo functions in as little as one segment.

Her special dagger of venom is stronglyaligned to neutral evil. It will poison,through the hilt, anyone of a different align-ment who picks it up. It is otherwise like astandard dagger of venom except that it is+2 on damage (no plus to hit), and savingthrows against its poison are made at a -3penalty; this applies whether the dagger ispicked up or it injects its poison on a �tohit� score of 20.

The other weapon she carries is a rod thatcan wither or beguile an opponent in addi-tion to doing hit point damage. When Syruluses it as a rod of withering, the attackaffords no saving throw. The victim is aged10 years, must make a system shock roll tosurvive, and suffers 3-10 (d8 +2) points ofincidental damage. (See staff of witheringfor details of its effects.) The rod serves as a+3 weapon �to hit� for purposes of deter-

8 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

mining what creatures can be struck by it,but it has no actual bonus to hit or damage.Syrul can attack once with each of herweapons (dagger and rod) per round.

No one can lie to Syrul or place an illu-sion before her, because she has natural�eyes of true seeing� and �ears of truelistening.� She can instantly perceive adeception or illusion for what it is.

She can polymorph self at will into acreature as small as a fly or as large as alion. She can polymorph into an object as

well, but it must be a basically undecoratedobject like a clay pot, a simple weapon, or aplain shield. A painted or engraved vase, abejeweled dagger, or an embroidered gownwould all be too complex for her to dupli-cate. She can assume the form of an annis,a greenhag, or a night hag, with all appro-priate powers, whenever she desires.

Syrul can use an alter reality spell onceper day, in the same manner that a devil ordemon prince can fulfill another�s wish orlimited wish. She can also grant a deservingworshiper the use of a vision spell, at thenormal chance for successful casting. When present (each is represented in the portion

a member of the Scarlet Brotherhood who is of Hades that is her home): black dragons,an assassin, illusionist, thief, or monk at- evil cloud giants, larvae, evil liches, nighttains the 9th level of experience, Syrul will hags, nightmares, giant octopi, greenhags,

on her personal nightmare, Flamedevil. IfFlamedevil is killed, he returns to Hades tobe revivified and can be called forth again13 days later. Syrul will not come to thePrime Material plane without Flamedevil orsome other ally; if Flamedevil is not availa-ble, she will seek 2-5 other neutral evilmonsters to accompany her, such as nighthags, other nightmares, wyverns, or blackdragons (young or young adult) of neutralevil alignment. The following types of mon-sters will never attack her, and she canalways command them to service if they are

personally attend the level-advancementceremony to wish the character �evil luck.�Such a character is granted a vision spellwith no strings attached � that is, thevision will be automatically granted, andonly a token material component (not nec-essarily a sacrifice of something valuable) isrequired to bring the spell into effect. Syrulalso bestows upon the �graduating� charac-ter a permanent +1 �to hit� on any weaponattack or open-hand attack (as applicable).

Syrul rides to the Prime Material plane

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annis, giant rats, winter wolves, worgs,giant wolverines, and wyverns. Note thatshe can summon these creatures in Hades,but not on the Prime Material plane.

Flamedevil: HD 10; MV 18"/42�; 3attacks for 3-12/4-16/4-16 damage; SAflame breath, covers 90-degree arc in frontof Flamedevil out to a distance of 20 feet,causing 4-16 damage (2-8 if a saving throwis made) and making victims -3 to hit be-cause of obscured vision (those who makethe saving throw are only -1 to hit); SDblink (as a blink dog) three times per day;MR 35%; HP 88. Flamedevil is telepathic

out to a range of 1200 feet and can commu- yellow robes adorned with a red forkednicate with any intelligent creature (its own tongue. Beginning at third level, her clericsintelligence is 19). When it is in combat in receive the power to obscure alignment oncethe air versus other winged horses (pegasi, per day, at will, in addition to the othergriffons, hippogriffs, etc.), its breath does spells they are permitted. Beginning atdouble damage. Any such steed that gets seventh level, they also receive the extrawithin 60 feet of Flamedevil must make a ability to use undetectable lie once per day.saving throw vs. spells or be affected by The only other bonus that Syrul bestows isfear. The affected creature will flee and will the �evil luck� benefits mentioned above.try to buck off any rider the steed might be Syrul is worshiped in the Barbariancarrying. (Ki-rin and other creatures from States, on Lendore Isle, and by the Scarletthe outer planes are immune to this fear Brotherhood; also, in several large citieseffect.) around the continent, worshipers of her

Members of Syrul�s clergy wear golden- may be found in the city�s thieves� quarter.


God of Stone, Metals, and Mountains

Lesser god


or stone weapons; immuneto petrification

MAGIC RESISTANCE: 65%SIZE: M (5 �tall)ALIGNMENT: Lawful good (neutral

tendencies)WORSHIPERS� ALIGNMENT: Lawful

and neutral miners, including dwarvesand gnomes

SYMBOL: Hammer with a glowing headPLANE: Twin ParadisesCLERIC/DRUID: 16th level clericFIGHTER: 11th level fighterM-U/ILLUSIONIST: Nil, but see belowTHIEF/ASSASSIN: 7th level thiefMONK/BARD: NilPSIONIC ABILITY: VIS: 21 (+4, +9) I: 19 W: 20D: 19 C: 22 Ch: 13

Fortubo appears as a small, almostdwarvish-looking man. He wears leatherarmor and bracers of defense (AC 2). Hishammer, Golbi, is +4 to hit and to damage,and automatically returns to his hand afterbeing thrown. He can hit a target with itfrom as far away as 200 yards. The hammerwill return to him even if he teleports toanother plane after throwing it, and inorder to return it will burst itself from thegrasp of any other creature with a strengthof less than 23.

The weapon has an ego of 18 and anintelligence of 18 and is aligned lawfulgood. In addition to its properties as ahammer, Golbi serves as a storehouse forcertain types of magic that Fortubo canbring forth from it: faerie fire, protectionfrom normal missiles, protection from evil

10� radius, detect magic, and continual immune to petrification from any source.light, which can be made to emanate from He cannot be harmed by any weapon ofthe hammer itself or from another object metal or stone, including rocks thrown bychosen by Fortubo. These powers are usa- giants or a boulder �thrown� by an ani-ble one at a time, at will, and each is evoked mate rock spell. Move earth, dig, and trans-by the use of a different command word. mute rock to mud will fail if cast on groundThe protections the hammer offers will stay within 2� of Fortubo.in effect around Fortubo even if the ham- He has 98% accuracy in the under-mer is thrown. ground skills: detect grade or slope, detect

Fortubo is resistant or immune to many new construction, detect sliding or shiftingspells that involve rock or earth. He cannot walls, detect traps involving falling blocks,be affected by stone to flesh or statue, and is and determine depth underground. Fortubo

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can impart this level of skill to a dwarf or clergy, their offspring will all have wisdomgnome worshiper, if he desires, for a dura- of at least 13, constitution of at least 12, andtion of up to 36 hours, but seldom will give a score of at least 11 in all other abilities.the power twice to the same individual. Hecan identify any metal, alloy, stone, or gemand assess its value down to the exact cop-per piece.

Fortubo is said to have found little plea-sure in men. He has allied himself with thedwarven gods Moradin (see DEITIES &DEMIGODS� Cyclopedia) and Berronar(see DRAGON® Magazine #58 or Best ofDRAGON Magazine, Vol. III) in theirstruggle against humanoids who harm theearth with mindless tunneling. Golbi is saidto be a personal gift to Fortubo from Mora-din himself.

While Fortubo has human clerics (20% ofhis clergy), the majority are dwarves (75%)with very few (5%) being lawful goodgnomes. Males and females are welcome inhis clergy; in fact, married couples areencouraged to enter the priesthood together.Fortubo demands absolute devotion fromhis priests; they cannot be multi-classedcharacters or characters with two classes.Clerics of Fortubo gain +1 to hit and dam-age with any stone or metal weapon, andupon attaining 5th level they receive a +1bonus to their saving throw vs. petrificationfor each level of experience attained beyondthe 4th. Fortubo�s clergy are required towear or carry no special gear. Any hammerwill serve as a holy symbol. If a husbandand wife are both members of Fortubo�s

Fortubo chooses one dwarven cleric to behis high priest; this will always be a charac-ter who has advanced through the 8th levelof experience (the highest level that a dwar-ven NPC cleric can attain). The high priesthas the ability to cast the raise dead spell,but can only perform the magic on dwarvesand gnomes. Only one such high priest willexist at one time in the world; the currenthigh priest is Dobfur, of the town ofDwarfhaven on Lendore Isle.

Fortubo is never kind to those who havefallen from good, though he tolerates thoseof the various neutral alignments. He istotally opposed to theft or murder, and thusno dwarven, gnome, or human thief orassassin would worship him. He is opposedto evil and to the subjugation of his fol-lowers. To this end, Fortubo offers indirectaid to those who would free his people orwho would reestablish a temple to himself,Moradin, or Berronar. Fortubo can raisethe constitution of one of his chosen �chil-dren� to as high as 19. Such a great boon isgiven only for deeds done in his name. Hecan also lower the constitution of any hu-manoid to as low as 3, but only does this tothe worst of his enemies or desecrators ofhis name.

Temples to Fortubo are often (75%) setup in natural underground cave complexesor caverns, sometimes associated with a

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nearby mining operation. A temple dedi-cated to him is sometimes (25%) builtabove ground in an area heavily populatedby dwarves and/or gnomes. Fortubo isknown to have temples in various places inthe Flanaess, especially in the Flinty Hills,around Irongate, and on Lendore Isle.


Goddess of Magic and Death

Greater goddess


of invulnerabilitySIZE: M (5� 9� tall)ALIGNMENT: Lawful neutral (evil)WORSHIPERS� ALIGNMENT: Highly

intelligent lawful figuresSYMBOL: A skull lit from behind

by a fireballPLANE: AcheronCLERIC/DRUID: See belowFIGHTER: NilM-U/ILLUSIONIST: See belowTHIEF/ASSASSIN: NilMONK/BARD: NilPSIONIC ABILITY: VIS: 18 (+1, +3) I: 24 W: 17D : 1 7 C : 8 Ch: 20

Wee Jas is an attractive woman whonever diminishes her awe ability whenappearing to mortals. She wears beautifuland expensive gowns and delights in chang-ing them often (instantly, by magic). If shegives a gown to a woman, it will act as acloak of protection +3 for the next 72 hours.Wee Jas wears no armor; her excellentarmor class comes from the powerful magicthat surrounds her. She cannot be harmedby non-magical weapons or missiles.

In addition to her high magic resistance,she has a permanent globe of invulnerabilityaround her which cannot be brought down,making her immune to magics of the 1stthrough 4th levels, even from devices. Shecan, at will, make the globe radiate as muchlight as she desires, up to the brightness of asunburst from a wand of illumination.

Wee Jas is a master of magic. She knowsevery magic-user spell of any level, plusevery cleric, druid, or illusionist spell of 5thlevel or lower. She can cast up to 9 spelllevels worth of magic in a single round(maximum of three separate castings perround), mixing them as to type and level asshe sees fit, and casting each at the 25thlevel of ability. She can use up to fivemagic-user spells per day of each spell levelfrom 6th through 9th, and can use an un-limited number of 1st-5th level spells perday, taking them as desired from the spelllists of all the spell-casting classes.

As the goddess of death, Wee Jas can turnor command undead as a 25th level cleric.Intelligent undead creatures often try to fleefrom her to avoid the sunburst effect of herglobe of invulnerability which she canmaintain indefinitely. She is the guardian ofthe dead as well; her clergy are forbidden touse raise dead or resurrection magic on anycharacter or creature before communingwith her directly and gaining permission.

Wee Jas is loath to allow anyone to be raisedor resurrected who is lower than 9th level ornot lawful. It is 50% likely that she will notallow her clergy to raise a being who isneutral with respect to law and chaos, andthere is only a 15% chance that she willallow the raising of a chaotic creature orcharacter. A priest of Wee Jas who goesagainst her wishes or does not consult her inthe matter of raising dead will be demoted

one experience level and forfeit three levels�worth of spell casting ability until he or sheperforms an atonement.

She can summon groups of lawful undeador lawful dragons (but not Tiamat or Baha-mut or their attendants) to do her bidding,but the task she sets for them must not be inviolation of their alignment. Summonableundead are wights, wraiths, spectres, mum-mies, or ghosts, as she chooses. Any drag-ons she summons will be of adult age orolder and capable of speech and magic use;she can call blue, green, bronze, silver, orgold dragons, as she chooses. Summonedcreatures will come to her in Acheron or onthe Prime Material plane within 1-4rounds, and from 2-5 of any creature willappear to answer a single call.

Wee Jas has the power of ability altera-tion. She can raise or lower the intelligence,wisdom, and/or charisma of any character,to a maximum of 4 points� worth of altera-tion on any single figure (one ability 4points; two abilities 2 points each; oneability 2 points and the two others 1 pointeach, and so forth). Her alteration cannotraise a score above 18 or lower it below 3,and she cannot affect the same charactermore than once, even to reverse the effectsof her own tampering. Since she is highlylawful, she will only perform this alterationon someone who has done her an extremeservice or disservice.

She is not on good terms with any chaoticdeity. She is favored by Phaulkon amongthe Suloise deities of good alignment and byBralm among the evil Suel deities. She is onfavorable terms with all lawful deities be-cause she is known to uphold law above allelse. Demons and all other chaotic figuresloathe and despise her. Chaotic undeadavoid her, but must obey her if she com-mands them into service.

Her clergy are always lawful, and withinany particular church they will all be of thesame alignment (50% lawful neutral, 30%lawful evil, and 20% lawful good). Mem-bers of her clergy wear black vestments ifgood, gray if neutral, and white if evil. Allof her churches are huge, elaborate struc-tures, and services to her are long andcomplex affairs lasting for hours.

Clerics of Wee Jas receive a special bonus� reduced casting time for their spells.Clerics of levels 1-5 can cast 1st and 2ndlevel spells in one less segment than normal;at levels 6-10, her clerics can cast their 1stand 2nd level spells in two less segments; atlevels 11-15, they can also cast 3rd and 4thlevel spells one segment faster than normal.At level 16 and above, clerics of Wee Jascan cast 3rd and 4th level spells in twosegments less time, and 5th level spells inone segment less. Any spell reduced to acasting time of zero or less by these bonusesis considered to have a casting time of ½segment. In any case, the cleric can onlycast one spell per round.

Wee Jas is worshiped in highly lawful andcivilized communities including LoReltarma, the Scarlet Brotherhood, and theTheocracy of the Pale.

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Physics and falling damageVelocity�s the key to understanding crash landingsby Arn Ashleigh Parker

Holger thrust his sword into the giant�sthigh. The giant grunted; then he lookeddown at Holger and drooled. Holger triedto move away, but he was already danger-ously close to the edge of the cliff. Heturned back again in time to see the shadowof the giant�s body envelop his form. Thenhe looked up and saw the giant raise oneenormous fist. If the blow didn�t kill himoutright, surely it would propel Holger overthe edge of the cliff. In what would perhapsbe his last conscious decision, Holger de-cided to take his chances with the cliff. Hespun around and muttered a silent prayeras he stepped outward � and down. . . .

What happens to Holger now? Can hesurvive the fall, or would he have beenbetter off letting the giant put him out of hismisery? The answer to that question de-pends on a couple of important factors �first, the height of the cliff, and second, thesystem for computing falling damage that isused in Holger�s world.

The standard methods for determiningfalling damage in the AD&D® game can be,extremely confusing. The system from thePlayers Handbook calls for 1d6 of damageper 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6 fora 200-foot fall. A revised system, describedin issue #70 of DRAGON® Magazine byFrank Mentzer, requires a cumulative 1d6

of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximumof 20d6 at just under 60 feet � therefore,the character takes 1d6 damage for 10�, 1d6+ 2d6 (=3d6) for 20�, 1d6 + 2d6 + 3d6 (=6d6)for 30� � and the damage adds up in ahurry. (Editor�s note: According to Frank�sarticle, this was the system that AD&Dgame designer E. Gary Gygax intended tobe part of the rules, but the pertinent pas-sage in the Players Handbook was edited sothat the meaning of Gary�s original rule wasaltered.) Unfortunately, neither of thesesystems agrees with the laws of physicsgoverning falling bodies.

The purpose of this article is to offer analternative system for falling damage thatpays special attention to the physical laws ofthe real world. This proposed system isbased on the laws of velocity. Before launch-ing into an explanation of the system, how-ever, we�d best get our vocabulary straight,and define some of the terms we need touse.

The first equation given in the shortarticle on the facing page defines velocity asfollows:

The average velocity in one dimension equals the distance moved di-vided by the time elapsed

For example, if you run 100 yards in 10seconds, then you have run at an averagespeed of 10 yards per second. If you run at

Defining the termsThe following terms are used in the physics falling damage article and the ac-

companying equations article. You don�t have to study these definitions at length;just refer to them if you need assistance in deciphering an equation.

V z

V x

V 0









The speed of a body in the z, or �down,� direction.The velocity in one dimension.The initial velocity of a body.Acceleration due to gravity.Acceleration in one dimension.Distance fallen.Distance moved in one dimension.The number of six-sided dice of damage caused by the fall.The time elapsed at a given instant.The time when movement began.The potential energy of a system.The kinetic energy of a body.The mass of a body.A constant.Indicates a change in the quantity that follows it (pronounced �delta�).A line over a letter or value indicates the average of the value in

question (in this case, average velocity).

that speed in a specified direction � say,down a football field � then you have runat an average velocity of 10 yards per sec-ond in the direction of the football field�send zone. In short, velocity is speed with adirection attached.

The example above illustrates averagevelocity. In physics, however, instantaneousvelocity is far more useful. If your velocitychanges while you run down the field �you jog for 5 seconds and sprint the rest ofthe way � then your average velocity tellsus nothing about your speed at any givenmoment. Instantaneous velocity describesthis. If you�d like to see the scientific defini-tion of instantaneous velocity, refer to theequations article.

Because average and instantaneous veloc-ities can differ, we know that accelerationcan be a factor: if you start slow and endfast, you�ve accelerated. Like velocity,acceleration can be measured as an averagequantity or an instantaneous one. Equa-tions for acceleration are also included inthe accompanying article. We�ll draw fromthese equations later, but you don�t need tostudy them now.

The physics of falling damageUsing physics to describe falling damage

is not an open-and-shut proposition, be-cause no definitive method exists. Hitpoints reflect a fantasy situation whereinjury is quantified. But in the real world,we cannot quantify injury; we can onlymeasure it in qualitative terms. For exam-ple, let�s say two cars collide head-on.Driver A ends up with a fractured wrist.Driver B receives a concussion, a brokenarm, and a back injury. How much worseoff is Driver B than Driver A? Three times?Ten times? A hundred times? The point isthis: We cannot describe real injury inquantitative terms � a broken arm doesnot mean one-eighth dead, for example. Wecan only describe real injury in qualitativeterms; the back injury was severe, the frac-tured wrist comparatively minor.

But hit points are a quantitative measure-ment. Therefore, we must make an assump-tion as to what quantitative property inphysics can best relate to the calculation offalling damage. I believe that the propertyin question is velocity, and I believe that therelationship between velocity and fallingdamage is linear. If a character hits theground at speed x, then he should take xpoints of damage. If he hits the ground atspeed 2x, then he should take 2x points ofdamage, and so on.

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If we accept this assumption, all we haveto do is determine the velocity at which acharacter hits the ground if he falls from agiven height. Equations 1 and 5 from theequations article can get us started. To-gether, they allow us to derive the followingtable, which provides the instantaneousvelocity at the time of impact for specificdistances fallen.

Table ITime Instantaneous Distance(sec.) velocity (ft./sec.) (ft.)

1 32 162 64 643 96 1444 128 2565 160 4006 192 576

Unfortunately, Table I does not includethe effects of air resistance. As a personfalls, the air retards his acceleration. Astime increases, the person�s velocity ap-proaches a constant value, eventually reach-ing a point at which he keeps falling at thesame speed. This value is called terminalvelocity � the maximum velocity of afalling body. Air friction acts as a balancingforce, eventually stopping the accelerationcaused by gravity.

Terminal velocity is important to under-stand, because that should be the velocity atwhich maximum damage occurs. A personmay keep falling, but if his velocity nolonger increases, the damage he incursshouldn�t increase either.

The following table is extracted from thebook Skydiving by Bud Sellick. The tablegives the actual distance that a 200-poundperson falls during a free fall of a certainduration, if the person falls from an initialheight of 2,200 feet.

Table IITime Avg. velocity for Distance(sec.) each sec. (ft./sec.) (ft.)

1 16 162 46 623 76 1384 104 2425 124 3666 138 504

12 174* 1500*� terminal velocity

If we compare Tables I and II, we seethat air resistance does have some effect onvelocity, which is reflected by the distancefallen. According to Sellick, terminal veloc-ity varies depending on the height fromwhich a person falls, and it takes anywhere

from 12 to 14 seconds to reach terminalvelocity in a skydiving free fall. If the per-son falls from 30,000 feet, his terminalvelocity is 235 ft./sec. If he falls from 1,000feet, his terminal velocity is 160 ft./sec. Ifwe compare these figures to the terminalvelocity in Table II (for a fall of 2,200 feet),we see that the terminal velocity is indeedlower when the person falls from a lowerelevation.

But few characters in the AD&D gamefall from 30,000 feet, or even 1,000 feet. Inorder to make the physics falling damagesystem work, we have to determine a termi-nal velocity that is appropriate to the com-mon heights in game play.

Let�s look at Table II. After 5 seconds offalling, the increase in average velocity(from the 5th to the 6th second, and pre-sumably from second to second thereafter)seems insignificant. How do we decide whatis insignificant? I propose that any increasein the average velocity that is less than theaverage velocity during the first second ofthe fall is insignificant for our purposes. InTable II, the average velocity for the firstsecond of the fall is 16 ft./sec. The increasefrom the 5th to the 6th second is only 14 ft./sec. (138 minus 124). Therefore, I believethe increase in velocity after the 5th secondis insignificant.

Scientific facts behind the systemThe equations in this article give struc-

ture to the physics falling damage system.Some are merely intermediate steps, whichallow us to reach another equation we need.At times, the main article refers to an equa-tion in this article, and you may want tolook at the specific equation at that time.You don�t have to study these equations tounderstand the falling damage system setforth in the main article; they are presentedhere in full for those who are interested infollowing the reasoning of the system.

The following equation relates the averagevelocity in one dimension to the distancemoved and to the time elapsed:

The equation for instantaneous velocityallows us to determine the velocity of aperson at any given time (where d / dt is anoperation called the �derivative�):

V x = ( d / d t ) x = d x / d t

Average acceleration is defined as:

Instantaneous acceleration equals:

ax = dx / dt

With the equations above, we can proceedto equations of motion. For a constantacceleration in one dimension (such as the

acceleration due to gravity, ag), the averageand instantaneous accelerations are identi-cal in value. This value is expressed asfollows:

We can rearrange the equation above if wetake t0 (the starting time) to be zero:

(1) Vz = V0 + agt

Now, for a constant acceleration only, theaverage velocity over an interval of timeequals one-half the sum of the instantaneousvelocities at the beginning and the end ofthe time interval:

(2) V z = ½ ( V z + V 0 )

The position of the falling person (if thebeginning point of the fall is taken as theorigin) is:

By substituting the right side of equation 2for Vz, the result is:

(3) Z = ½ t ( V z + V 0 )

If we solve equation 3 for Vz and plug theresult into equation 1, we can derive thisequation:

(4) (2z / t) - V0 = V0 + agt

By solving equation 4 for z, we can find thedistance that a person has fallen if his initialvelocity and elapsed falling time are known:

(5) z = V0t + ½agt2

The value of equation 5 is this: we can findthe position of a falling person withoutknowing his or her instantaneous velocity.Solving equation 1 for t yields:

t = ( V z - V 0 ) / a g

If this value for t is plugged into equation 5,the expression becomes:


If we multiply both sides of equation 6 by2ag and cancel where appropriate, we ob-tain the following:

(7) 2agz = -V02 + Vz


Solving equation 7 for Vz gives us:


It is equation 8, referred to several times inthe main article, that allows us to computethe velocity of a falling body at any giveninstant. It is the cornerstone of the physicsfalling damage system, which equates fall-ing damage to the velocity of the fallingbody at the instant it hits the earth.

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This definition of significance is accept-able from both the standpoints of physicsand gameplay. Physicists are very willing toapproximate data when, as is the case here,the increase in the average velocity is negli-gible when compared to the average veloc-ity. This is especially so considering thatvery few characters in an AD&D game everfall from distances where the terminal veloc-ity varies less than 1 ft./sec. (starting atabout 1,500 feet).

Since the increase in average velocityfrom the 5th to the 6th second is insignifi-cant, shall we say that the distance fallenafter 5 seconds � 366 feet � is whereterminal velocity occurs in the game? Ifmost adventurers fell from an elevation of2,200 feet like the skydivers from Table II,the answer would be yes. But most charac-ters fall from a much lower elevation. Andvelocity increases more slowly at lowerelevations, because the air is heavier. There-fore, the terminal velocity for our purposeswill be reached after a significantly shorterdistance has been fallen; 366 feet is still toohigh.

A glance at Table II reveals that theincrease in average velocity from the end ofthe 4th to the end of the 5th second is only20 ft./sec. (124 minus 104). We know thetable is based on a fall from 2,200 feet � anelevation far higher than that most adven-turers would encounter. Therefore, it is notunreasonable to assume that the velocitydifference for the 4th and 5th seconds of an

adventurer�s fall is less than 16 ft./sec., andthus is an insignificant amount. We can alsoassume that the terminal velocity of anadventurer�s free fall, therefore, occurs atabout the 4th second of the fall. Looking atTables I and II, we can see that the charac-ter would have fallen about 250 feet at thispoint in time.

It�s good that our approximation of whereterminal velocity (and hence, maximumdamage) occurs is so near 200 feet. Gamerswho are used to having maximum damageoccur at 200 feet (as per the Players Hand-book) won�t have to alter their conceptionsmuch to accommodate the physics fallingdamage system.

I propose that we set 256 feet as the exactdistance at which terminal velocity isreached. This distance is as accurate as anyother near 250 feet, and the number 256makes the resultant equation in the physicsfalling damage system easier to use andremember.

With all the above points in mind, a briefexamination of the two current systems,plus another common proposal, should yielda good understanding of why those systemsdon�t work � and why a system based onvelocity will.

1d6 per 10 feet fallenThis system indicates that damage in-

creases linearly with the distance fallen: 1d6for 10�, 2d6 for 20�, 3d6 for 30�, etc. Max-imum damage (terminal velocity) is reached

at 200�, when the victim takes 20d6 pointsof damage. The maximum damage point isnot too bad, but the damage taken beforethat should not increase linearly with thedistance fallen. If we accept that velocityrelates directly to damage, the damageshould reflect the speed of the victim whenhe hits the ground. As we can see fromTables I and II, velocity does not increasethe same way distance does: speed increaseslinearly, while distance increases geometri-cally. In other words, distance increasesmuch faster than velocity. Therefore, if acharacter takes 2d6 of damage in a fall from20 feet, he should not take 4d6 in a fall from40 feet; he should take less than 4d6.

1d6 cumulative per 10 feet fallenIn every sense, this system is worse than

the previous one. Instead of terminal veloc-ity being reached at 250� or even 200�, it isattained at approximately 60�! Further-more, damage is 1d6 at 10�, 3d6 at 20�,6d6 at 30� � a geometric progression. Thisdirectly opposes the real relationship be-tween distance and velocity, which is ageometric retrogression.

Why kinetic energy isn�t the answerThere are several principles on which

falling damage can be based. As I havealready stated, I believe the appropriateprinciple is velocity. However, the energyinvolved in a fall, particularly kinetic en-ergy, may also seem appropriate � at first,

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anyway. Is there a direct relationship be-tween kinetic energy and falling damage? Iintend to show that there is not, but beforethat, we must clarify what the energy in afall is all about.

We will discuss two kinds of energy:kinetic and potential. Kinetic energy is theenergy of motion. When a person is falling,he has a certain amount of kinetic energy.Potential energy is energy that is stored in asystem and cannot be attributed to anyparticular object.

A person does work when he walks up ahill � work in the sense of physically op-posing a given force. The amount of workhe does equals the potential energy (P),calculated by the equation P = magz.

The equation is read as �Potential energyequals mass times acceleration due to grav-ity times the height above the earth.� Thisassumes that at the surface of the earthpotential energy is zero, which is okay forour discussion.

Figure 1 illustrates the physics of kineticand potential energies in a fall. At point A,the person begins to climb the hill. Potentialenergy equals zero. At point B, the personuses �work� to walk up the hill. This�work� gives the system (which includeseverything in the diagram) a potential en-ergy of magz when the person is at point C.

At point D, the total energy of the systeminvolves both some potential energy andsome kinetic energy; the former is presentin the system, while the latter has beenimparted to the falling person. Just beforepoint E, when the person is about to smashinto the earth, all of the energy in the sys-tem is kinetic energy, all of which is con-tained in the person�s body. When theperson hits the ground, he loses all of hiskinetic energy to the earth � and the earthmoves a minuscule amount in the directionindicated by the arrow.

Now that we understand the basics ofkinetic and potential energy (right?), we canexamine the relationship between kineticenergy and falling damage. If kinetic energyand falling damage were directly related, weshould be able to illustrate how kineticenergy can be used to calculate the damagefrom a fall.

If we accept that the transfer of kineticenergy from the person to the earth is thedirect cause of falling damage, then we needonly use the implied linear relationshipbetween the two to set up our equation:

½mVz2 = magz = kd

Essentially, the equation reads �Kineticenergy equals potential energy, which is alsoequal to a constant (k) times the dice ofdamage sustained (d). This illustrates thelinear relationship between the distancefallen (z) and the dice of damage sustainedin the fall (d) � the original system in thePlayers Handbook!

But everything above is based on theassumption that a linear relationship existsbetween falling damage and kinetic energy.No physical law exists that says kinetic

energy is the direct cause of physical injury.We know that there is some relationshipbetween the two � because the more ki-netic energy a person transfers to the earth,the greater his injuries are. But no lawstates that this relationship is linear, or thatall the factors involved in kinetic energyrelate to the injury. It may be, then, thatsome part of kinetic energy relates linearlyto falling damage. Since no formula existsto tell us what part this might be, we haveto use our intuition to determine the crucialproperty.

Once again, we must ask ourselves, Whatproperty could we reasonably assume tohave a linear relationship to falling damage?A suitable answer, as I have saidbefore, would be velocity. It just seems rightthat if a person takes d amount of damageafter falling at speed x, then that personshould take 2d of damage if he hits theground falling at a speed that�s twice as fast.Some variation would exist, of course, butthat�s why we use six-sided dice to deter-mine falling damage, instead of just assign-ing a number of hit points lost.

The problem with using kinetic energy todetermine damage is this: kinetic energy isa function of the square of velocity. Every-day physics (the classical mechanics) is verymuch intuitive. It does not make sense thatthe square of velocity linearly relates tofalling damage; it does make sense thatvelocity itself directly relates to damage.When a person hits the ground at speed 2x,he should take 2d of damage � not 4d.Therefore, we should feel free to discard theconcept that kinetic energy is linearly re-lated to falling damage.

The physics falling damage systemAll systems that purport to do something

useful usually begin with at least one as-sumption. For the physics falling damagesystem, I have made two assumptions:First, I assume that velocity and damageare linearly related. This is a good assump-tion, because it is intuitively correct. Sec-ond, I assume that maximum damageoccurs at terminal velocity. At best, this isnot an assumption at all, but fact. Indeed,where else could maximum damage occur?Not when the speed of the object is stillincreasing at a significant rate � that is,before terminal velocity is reached. And

certainly, any additional damage due towind burn after terminal velocity is reached(for those falling extraordinary distances)does not come under the heading of fallingdamage.

In the AD&D game, maximum fallingdamage is 20d6. We do not intend tochange this. Earlier, we established that theterminal velocity of an adventurer�s fall wasreached at a distance of 256 feet. Thus, weknow that 20d6 of damage must be incurredafter a fall of 256 feet. With this knowledge,and the physics equations from the accom-panying article, we can devise a new systemfor falling damage.

Our starting point is equation 8, whichrelates velocity to acceleration and the


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distance fallen. If we look at Table I, we seethat the instantaneous velocity for the firstsecond is 32 ft./sec. If we substitute thisquantity for the acceleration due to gravity(ag) in equation 8 from the other article, wecan derive this equation:

Unfortunately, the equation above doesnot include the effect of air resistance on thevelocity of a falling body, but the mathemat-ics of determining air resistance are far toocomplicated to be treated here. Fortunately,however, air resistance only causes Vz (thevelocity in the �down� direction) to bereduced by a few feet per second; therefore,we can consider it negligible in our calcula-tions. Ironically, the very force that makesthe physics falling damage system possible(by creating terminal velocity) contributesvery little to the determination of velocityitself. And velocity is the factor we need tomeasure to determine falling damage.

From Table I, we know that at a distancefallen of 256 feet, the speed of the fallingperson is 128 ft./sec. We also know that thedamage is 20d6, because the body reachesterminal velocity at 256 feet. We can plugthis information into the preceding equationto determine the dice of damage per dis-tance fallen:

For an initial velocityequation reduces to:

(V0) of zero, this

128 ft./sec. = k x 20d6

Dividing 128 ft./sec. by 20d6 yields thevalue of the constant:

(128 ft./sec.) / 20d6 = 6.4 ft./(sec. x d6)

Using d as the symbol for dice of dam-age, we can rewrite the main equation as:

We can solve the equation for d by divid-ing the right side of the expression by 6.4:

Again, since the initial speed of the fall-ing body is usually zero, we can simplify theequation further to:

Now we have a simple equationdetermines falling damage:


Dice of damage (d) equals 5 times thesquare root of the distance fallen (z),divided by 4.

Rounding out the system: saving throwsAlthough the equation above has all the

elements we need to determine damage, thephysics system is not yet complete. Let�s

1 6 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

make a simple check on the new system as itstands, and see if the results are reasonable.If we use 10 feet for z (the distance fallen),the result is 3.95 dice of damage. Indeed,that seems to be quite a bit of damage for amere 10-foot drop (unless the characterlands on his head). Both of the old systemswould inflict only 1d6 for a 10-foot fall �significantly less than our new system. Butas I said, the physics system is not yet com-plete, and to finish it, we must solve thisproblem.

The solution lies on page 81 of the Dun-geon Masters Guide, where falling damageis described as an attack form that allowsthe victim a bonus on his saving throw ifhe�s wearing magic armor. A saving throwfor falling damage? Never has such a thingexisted in the AD&D rules. Thus, we havethe opportunity to fix two holes at once: onein the game itself, and one in our new dam-age system.

The saving throw for the physics systemis based on dexterity. (Estimate the dexter-ity of monsters based on their physicalcharacteristics and other attributes.) Onlythose who can maneuver in some way canobtain a saving throw. For instance, neithera bird bereft of its wings nor a man whoselegs and arms are bound can save againstfalling damage. (However, if the man�s legsare bound while his arms are free, he savesat -10. If his arms are bound while his legsare free, he saves at -5.)

If the distance fallen is more than 2 feet,you must make a subtraction from thecharacter�s dexterity to determine the sav-ing throw. This subtraction equals thenumber of damage dice done to the crea-ture, reduced to an integer (see the tablesthat follow). For instance, for a 10-foot fall,the character takes 3d6+ of damage, so thecharacter must subtract 3 from his dexterityscore and use that number as a basis for thesaving throw.

In the physics system, three savingthrows are possible. The first throw deter-mines whether only half damage is incurredfrom the fall: roll the character�s adjusteddexterity score or less on 1d20 for success.Also use the adjusted dexterity score todetermine the other two saves. If the firstroll is successful, a second save is possible: aroll of one-half of the first number (rounddown) or less on 1d20 means the victimtakes one-fourth normal damage. Finally, ifthe first and second rolls are made, a thirdsave is possible: if this roll equals one-fourthof the base number or less, the characterreceives one-eighth damage. The damagecannot be reduced further, and a minimumof one point of damage is mandatory.

Our first example of the system in action(3.94 damage dice for a 10-foot fall) showsthat the new system�s equation may yield aremainder; and in fact, this is usually thecase. To translate this leftover fraction intoan equivalent amount of damage, round offthe remainder to the nearest hundredth anduse these guidelines: a fraction of .16 or lessequals 1 point of damage; .17 through .33equals 1-2 points of damage; .34 through

.50 equals 1-3 points; a fraction of .51through .75 equals 1-4 points; and .76through .99 equals 1-5 points. For example,after a fall of 10 feet the victim takes 3d6plus 1-5 points of damage (before consider-ing saving throws), since the remainder of.94 calls for an extra 1-5 points to be addedto the total.

As a final note, the reader should realizethat this system tends to break down atdistances very close to the ground. For fallsof 2 feet or less, only 1 point of damage isincurred. Falls of between 2 feet and 5 feet,including falls from horseback, should cause1d6 of damage.

The following examples illustrate how thephysics falling damage system works as awhole. The second example includes calcu-lations for falls in which the character startswith a velocity above zero � for instance,when the character is thrown by a giant.

Example oneA thief with 33 hit points and a dexterity

score of 19 falls from a height of 170 feet.According to the formula, the fall does16.29 dice of damage, which converts to16d6 and 1-2 extra points. To compute thethief's saving throws, first subtract 16 fromthe character�s dexterity score (correspond-ing to the 16d6), so a 3 or less must berolled for the first saving throw. Miracu-lously, the roll is a 3, so the thief suffers�only� half damage. Since the first savewas successful, the thief can try for thesecond saving throw. Because half of 3 is1.5, the save to obtain one-quarter damageis a roll of 1 on 1d20 (all fractions arerounded down in saving-throw calcula-tions). This time, the roll is a 2, so the thiefbarely misses the second save. No furthersaving throw is possible, so the thief takeshalf damage from the fall.

After the saving-throw procedure is com-pleted, we determine the actual damage. Aroll of 16d6 generates a result of 66, and a 1is rolled for the additional 1-2 points possi-ble, so the total full damage is 67 points.Since the character made his first save, hetakes only half of that amount, or 34 hitpoints of damage. (When calculating dam-age, round fractions up.) The thief, whostarted with 33 hit points, now has -1 hitpoints and is quite possibly going to suc-cumb to his injuries.

Armor modifications: Now, let�s back upfor a minute. What if the thief was wearing+1 leather armor? The bonus for his magicarmor is added to his saving throw require-ment, meaning that his first saving throwfor half damage must be 4 or less (instead of3). The requirements for his subsequentsaving throws are based on the newamount; now, the character must roll 2 or less for one-quarter damage (instead of 1),and 1 or less for one-eighth damage. So ifthe second roll was a 2, as we proposed infirst part of this example, the thief wouldtake one-quarter damage and would still berelatively healthy. In addition, the thief nowgets to try the third throw for one-eighthdamage. Even if the result of this third roll

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is not a 1, he now only takes one-quarterdamage, which means 17 hit points. Be-cause he was wearing the +1 leather armor,he still has 16 hit points left.

Example twoNow let�s see what happens if a 12-foot-

tall stone giant picks up the thief and hurlshim off a 90-foot-high cliff. To determinethe damage in this case, we cannot use thesimple equation that we used for exampleone. We must consider the extra speedimparted to the thief when the giant hurlshim downward. To do this, we have to backup one step to the equation containing theexpression (V0 / 6.4) and plug in a value forV0 that is not zero:

Let�s assume that the giant can impart aspeed of 20 miles per hour to the thief'sbody. By multiplying the speed by 5280 (thenumber of feet in a mile) and dividing by3600 (the number of seconds in an hour),we can convert this speed into the properunits for the equation, feet per second. Theresult is 29.3 ft./sec.

The thief falls 90 feet (the height of thecliff) plus 12 feet, assuming the giant throwsthe thief by lifting him over his head andthen casting him downward. Therefore:

This figure converts to 17d6 plus 1-2points of damage.

The thief is worse off than he was inexample one, even though he�s falling ashorter distance. Velocity is the key to thissystem, and the giant has substantiallyincreased the velocity of the thief's fall, somore damage dice are rolled. A modifier of-17 is added to the thief's dexterity to deter-mine the first saving throw, compared to-16 from the previous example. The thiefneeds a roll of 2 or less to receive half dam-age, and (assuming that roll succeeds) a rollof 1 to take only one-quarter damage. Hehas no chance of decreasing his damage toone-eighth of the base amount, since half of1 (rounded down) is zero, and a roll of zerois not possible.

Label your letterThe address of DRAGON® Magazineis P.O. Box 110, Lake Geneva WI53147, and that�s all you need tomake sure your letter gets here. Butyou can help us serve you morequickly by adding a line at the top ofthe address to tell us what depart-ment should receive your letter orpackage. Call it a �manuscript sub-mission,� �cartoon submission,��query letter,� or any other shortphrase that tells us what�s inside, andit�ll get exactly where it�s supposedto go.

We can use the same rolls from example 1for comparison. For the first roll, the thiefgets a 3. But in this case, the thief needs a 2or less, so he takes full damage and has nochance for further reductions. Let�s say thatthe roll of 17d6 generates 68 points of dam-age, and 1 point is determined for the extra1-2 points possible. That makes a total of 69hit points of damage. The thief is quite deadat -36 hit points.

Armor modifications: Again, let�s use thesame modification from example one. Thethief wears +1 leather armor. Therefore, hisfirst saving throw is 3 instead of 2. Since a 3was rolled, the thief receives only half dam-age. The next roll is a 2, but the thiefneeded a 1 to reduce the damage to one-quarter. Thus, he only makes the firstthrow, and the thief takes half damage. Halfof 69 points is 35 (remember � round upfor damage, down for saving throws). Afterthe fall, the thief has -2 hit points and is stillin pretty bad shape, although he mightsurvive under the right circumstances (forinstance, if someone happened to be close tohis point of impact and could administerimmediate aid).

The following chart shows the damagecaused by falls from distances of 10 feetthrough 260 feet, at 10� intervals, assumingan initial velocity of zero. To figure thedamage for intermediate distances, plug theproper distance (z) into the equation.

The column marked �old systems� liststhe Players Handbook version first, fol-

lowed by the cumulative system fromDRAGON® issue #70.

Distance Damage,(ft.) new system

10 3d6 + 1-5 1 d 620 5d6 + 1-4 3d630 6d6 + 1-5 6 d 640 7d6 + 1-5

Damage,old systems

1d62d63d64d6 10d6

50 8d6 + 1-5 5d6 15d660 9d6 + 1-4 6d6 2 0 d 670 10d6 + 1-3 7d6 "80 11d6 + 1 8d6 "

90 11d6 + 1-5 "

100 12d6 + 1-3 "

110 13d6 + 1 "120 13d6 + 1-4 "

130 14d6 + 1-2 "

140 14d6 + 1-5 "150 15d6 + 1-2 "

160 15d6 + 1-5


13d614d615d616d6 "

170 16d6 + 1-2 "

180 16d6 + 1-5 "

190 17d6 + 1-2 "

200 17d6 + 1-4 "

210 18d6 + 1 "220 18d6 + 1-4 "

230 18d6 + 1-5 "240 19d6 + 1-3


"""" "

250 19d6 + 1-5 "

260 20d6

"" "

18 AUGUST 1984

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Kinetic energy is the keyA brief rebuttal to the physics falling damage systemby Steven Winter

While it seems intuitively correct thatinjuries suffered in a fall are linearly relatedto velocity, that notion is incorrect. Thefactor that Ms. Parker rejects � kineticenergy � is the real culprit.

The confusion arises from the fact thatthe collision between a falling body and theearth is essentially inelastic. In an elasticcollision, two bodies smash together andthen bounce apart; colliding billiard ballsare a classic example. Kinetic energy isconserved in an elastic collision. In aninelastic collision, two bodies smash to-gether and stick together, like couplingrailroad cars. When a body falls to theearth, it doesn�t bounce (at least not much);gravity pins it to the surface. Kinetic energyis not conserved in an inelastic collision,contrary to what Ms. Parker�s exampleillustrates. Momentum is conserved, andtotal energy is conserved, but kinetic energyis not. In the case of a human body hittingthe earth, the amount of kinetic energyconserved as actual kinetic energy is as-toundingly small � much less than 0.00001percent (if we ignore the earth�s kineticenergy, assuming its velocity to be zero).

What happens to the kinetic energy?Some of it produces a loud �thud,� some ofit raises a cloud of dust, and some of itproduces heat. But most of it becomes�internal energy� that dissipates by doingwork: breaking bones, crushing organs, andsetting up elastic waves in the body and inthe earth. I couldn�t state offhand howmuch energy is absorbed by the ground andhow much by the person, but most of itprobably goes into the person, since a hu-man body is more elastic than packed earth.

The important point is that injuries arecaused by this �missing� kinetic energy,

which is proportional to the square of thefalling body�s velocity, or to some constantfraction of the square of the velocity.

How this system playsAs might be expected, relating damage to

kinetic energy has an interesting effect onthe game.

The table below is an analysis of theenergy states of a falling body. D is thedistance that the object has fallen, measuredin feet. T is the number of seconds that theobject has been in free fall. V is the object�svelocity at distance D, in feet per second.V2 is the square of the velocity, and is di-rectly proportional to the object�s kineticenergy. is the increase in V2 from theprevious entry for D and the current valueof D, a number which is directly propor-tional to the increase in the object�s kineticenergy.

What the table shows is that, when afalling object�s kinetic energy is sampled atregular intervals of distance, the increase is

Got a question about an article? Asubject you�d like us to cover � ornot cover? What do you think of themagazine you�re reading? Drop us aline at �Out on a Limb,� P.O. Box110, Lake Geneva WI 53147. We�llread every letter we get, and we�llselect certain letters of general in-terest for publication � maybe evenyours!

linear. If this constant increase is arbitrarilyassumed to equal 1d6 points of damage forevery 10 feet fallen, we are right back at thegame�s original falling damage system, asexpressed in the Players Handbook. Possi-bly a coincidence, but . . .

D T V V 2

10 0 . 7 9 2 5 . 2 9 6 4 0 6 4 020 1.11 35.77 1,280 6 4 030 1 . 3 6 4 3 . 8 1 1,920 6 4 04 0 1 . 5 8 5 0 . 5 9 2,560 6 4 050 1 . 7 6 5 6 . 5 6 3,200 6 4 0

60 1 . 9 3 6 1 . 9 6 3,840 6 4 070 2 . 0 9 6 6 . 9 3 4,480 6 4 080 2.23 71.55 5 , 1 2 0 6 4 09 0 2 . 3 7 7 5 . 8 9 5,760 6 4 0

100 2 . 5 0 8 0 . 0 0 6 , 4 0 0 6 4 0

150 3 . 0 6 9 7 . 9 7 9 , 6 0 0 3 , 2 0 0200 3 . 5 3 1 1 3 . 1 3 12,800 3 , 2 0 0


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20 AUGUST 1984

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The ecology ofthe rust monster

by Ed Greenwood

From the Physiologus Veritas of the sageBaerdalumi, with notes appended by theauthor:

The rust monster is a creature of curious,even comical appearance. It waddles withgreat speed in an ungainly, rocking motionlike a raccoon cub, dubbed �gallumphing�by some long-ago observer, and chitters inthe fashion of field mice. It is much re-spected by artisans and fighting-men, how-ever, for its power to cause metal to rust orcorrode away by its touch, which corrodedmetal it then devours and lives on. Anexample of this respect is the great merce-nary general Gulgathas, who has issuedstanding orders that all smithies in his ar-my�s encampments are to be encircled witha bristling row of sloped, fire-hardenedstakes, or propped spears, to discourage theattacks of such creatures.

2 2 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

Rust monsters are non-aggressive, butare both curious and utterly fearless �even, it is said, being immune to magicaland psionic influence in their single-mindedpursuit of metal.1 They can smell metalfrom as far away as a man can make out thefeatures of another man, and are known toprefer ferrous metals over non-ferroussorts.2 Metal clearly visible to the eyes butbeyond smell range is apparently nonexis-tent to rust monsters, and they climb poorly,so the lofty upper reaches of any pole or treethat can withstand their gallumphingcharges is a safe haven against the crea-tures. They have near-infinite patience andperseverance, however, and have beenknown to wait at the base of such a nearbytrove for a month or more.3

Perhaps the best way of battling a rustmonster is to crush it in a deadfall, withrolled boulders, or perhaps to trap it in a pit

and strike it from above with rocks andclubs. If one must face it in open-field bat-tle, it can often be successfully disabled byfirst striking at its antennae and then at itslegs, possibly enabling one to escape withprized metal (magical weapon, coins, jew-elry) intact. Beware its tail � an ankle-high, lashing sweep of this appendage hasknocked many a warrior on his rump, andbefore he can rise the creature has spunabout to beat upon his armor with its anten-nae, and greedily seek out buckles, weap-ons, flasks, coffers, and even mirrors burieddeep in backpacks!4 It has a dexterous,sticky, six-inch-long tongue that it can ex-tend from under its beak to catch up eventhe smallest flakes of metal or rust.

It is not known what rust monsters origi-nally ate, or why they developed a bony�shell� of armor, an oddly shaped tail, ortheir strangely specialized antennae, but

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since recorded history began these curiousbeasts have lived in symbiosis with a partic-ular type of bacteria that can apparentlycoexist with no other species of creature.

These bacteria are found in a rust mon-ster�s antennae, stomach, and bloodstream,and have a particular need for metallic ores.They gain energy from the sun (the monsterabsorbs heat through its body armor andtail), and with this and ingested metallicoxides (more commonly called �rust�), theyproduce chemical energy (sugar) to power,repair, and nourish for growth both them-selves (the bacteria cells) and their host, therust monster.

The bacteria � a type not yet identifiedor reproduced by any alchemist � canupon contact with any metal (there are noknown exceptions) oxidize the metal,5 evenif it is inside a rust monster. Thus, anythingswallowed by a rust monster, touched by itsantennae or tongue, or that draws bloodfrom its innards will rust. A weapon thatbounces harmlessly off a rust monster�s tail,legs, or bony shell will be unaffected, butany metal weapon that pierces its bony shelland wounds the beast will immediately rustand become useless. Hand-held woodenpiercing weapons do not have enoughstrength to penetrate the shell, and can onlyharm-its eyes and mouth. Wooden clubs areeffective weapons against the beast, as arecrossbow bolts and arrows.

Rust monsters cannot dig through rock,but can scratch away loose rubble and earthto uncover buried metal (in tombs orcaches). They can glean sustenance from allferrous metallic ores, and often follow thesubterranean tunnels of umber hulks, pur-ple worms, and the like, searching for ex-posed veins of ore in the tunnel walls, ormetal treasure in the lairs of various under-ground creatures. Many an otyugh hasdined on a rust monster that tried to rootthrough it to get at treasure lying under-neath.

The beasts will often be found exploringmines in search of tools and ironmongery.In one mine north of Mirabar, a standingguard of warriors with wooden weapons isemployed to keep lurking rust monstersaway from the exposed veins of ore, toolsand hoists, and quarried ore. Magic-usersare sometimes hired to rid a place of rustmonsters by the use of �chain traps.�Lengths of old, rusty chain are laid in alarge circle in a strategically located cavernor other large area; at the center of thecircle sits the magic-user and a few body-guards with wooden staves. When a rustmonster gallumphs up to feast, it ignoresthe men, the magic-user leisurely throws afireball at the beast, and its body is rolledaside with the staves. If scavengers (such ashunting dogs or dungeon inhabitants) arenot likely to dispose of the remains, thebody is painted with a rune or message towarn away other adventurers. Rust monsterantennae will continue to rust metal forsome time after the creature�s death.6

Rust monsters wander endlessly in searchof food, their bony exterior armor protect-

ing them from most predators. They do notpair for life or choose specific mates, butmerely mate with another rust monsterwhen circumstances allow. This prolificacyhas kept the curiously unaggressive rustmonster from dying out in the face of at-tacks from humans and natural predators.7

Notes1. A rust monster has only animal intelli-

gence, and although it will choose to avoidnoise, light, and groups of other livingcreatures, these cautious habits are sweptaway when it smells a meal. It will pursueedible metal that it has detected regardlessof attacks upon it, potential danger, orattempts to charm, dominate, or otherwisecontrol its actions by magical or psionicmeans. (This includes a repulsion spell, buta push from a magic-user of sufficientlyhigh level would work. A gust of wind,however, will not even slow a hungry,ground-hugging rust monster.) The beast�sinstinctive hunger for metal is too strong forthe monster�s dim intellect to even noticeany other forces attempting to coerce it. Intheory, charm monster could affect the beast� but only if it is not commanded to doanything that violates its basic nature. (Inother words, any command it is given mustdirectly involve getting something to eat, orthe charm is liable to be broken.) Psionicdomination of a rust monster is also possi-ble, but it can be troublesome and expen-sive to maintain control of the monsterwhile forcing it to act against its nature.

2. The sense of smell of a rust monster isapparently linked to magnetism; it increasesin effectiveness as the amount and purity ofthe metal increases. Thus, traces of metalimmersed or suspended in liquid, sand, orsome forms of clay would escape the rustmonster�s attention; but rusty nails or tinyshards of metal from a notched or scratchedweapon would not. The beast�s acute (effec-tive up to 9" distant) sense of smell is be-lieved to be a result of a strain of bacteriaunique to rust monsters, which also lendsthem their rusting ability. Rust monsterscan also smell non-ferrous (non-magnetic)metal, but only at a distance of 2�.

3. A rust monster can go for as long astwo months between one full meal (a suit ofplate mail, or equivalent weight in metal)and the next, if it does not expend muchenergy in the meantime. The monster willunthinkingly try to wait out a targetperched in a tree, but won�t wait so longthat it starves to death. (The unfortunatefigure in the tree will probably fall uncon-scious and drop out of the tree long beforethis anyway.)

4. If the die roll for the rust monster�schance to hit is one or two digits lower thanthe number needed for a successful strikewith its antennae, there is a chance that ithas knocked over an adversary with its tail.Any humanoid standing to the rear of themonster or on either side of it within 5 feetof its body must roll his dexterity or loweron d20 to avoid being knocked down by asweep of the tail. The rust monster is +4 to

Although [a rustmonster] will chooseto avoid noise, light,and groups of otherliving creatures,these cautious habitsare swept awaywhen it smells ameal.

hit in the following round against any singletarget that was knocked down; a miss indi-cates that the character managed to scram-ble to his feet and get out of reach of theantennae in time. No character who isknocked down can attack the rust monsterin the following round.

5. The bacteria will spread rapidly acrossthe entire surface of any metal object itcomes into contact with. A dagger or swordblade or any other relatively small piece ofmetal will rust completely in 2 segments,and a full suit of plate mail will be corrodedwithin 5 segments after contact. Metalweapons that pierce a rust monster�s bodywill do normal damage on that strike, butwill rust immediately afterward. If pulledback from the creature�s body and wieldedagain, the weapon will crumble harmlesslyinto chunks of rusted metal. The rust mon-ster takes significantly longer to consumethe rust � typically 1 round for a buckle,handful of coins, or dagger blade; 2 roundsfor a helm; 3 rounds for a shield; 5 roundsfor a complete suit of mail; and 6 rounds orlonger for horse barding or full coat-of-plate. A rust monster will not stop to eatwhen it is being attacked, but will begingobbling its spoils as soon as it perceivesthat all attacks upon it have ceased.

The DM should judge the effects of asuccessful rust monster antenna-strike ac-cording to the circumstances. If only acertain part of a character�s body or weaponis exposed through a doorway or hole, thenonly that part can be affected. However, therust does spread across the extent of anentire area of metal; if a character clad in aring mail jersey strikes at a rust monsterthrough a small opening and his arm is hitby one of the antennae, the rust will travelalong the jersey and the character will soonlose his shirt. The corrosive action does not�jump� across gaps between two objects orareas of metal. For instance, a characterwho wears metal leggings and a metalbreastplate that aren�t in contact with eachother will not have all of his armor affected

D R A G O N 2 3

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When forced to fighton open ground, arust monster willtend to strike at thenearest and largestconcentration offerrous metal.

by the same strike, in the same way that asuit of armor and a helm cannot be rustedat the same time � unless there is a metal-to-metal connection between the armor andthe helm.

When forced to fight on open ground, arust monster will tend to strike at the near-est and largest concentration of ferrousmetal, but may not be right on target be-cause of evasive action taken by the target.In such cases, the following table can beused to determine where a rust monster�santenna strike hits:Dice roll Item struck01-36 Weapon37-64 Shield65-85 Armor86-95 Helm96-00 Minor but visible metal object

(belt buckle, headband, gaunt-let, etc.)

Obviously, the item struck will only beaffected if it is being held, carried, or wornby the target, and only if the item is metal.Re-roll if an effect on an absent or non-metallic item is indicated, or simply assign aresult if only one of the above items is appli-cable. The rust monster never fails to rustsomething on a successful hit, as long as thetarget is wearing or carrying anything

metallic in plain view. If the target charac-ter or creature has no metal to be rusted,there can�t be a successful hit in the firstplace. Even so, the rust monster will smellmetal items in a backpack or belt pouch,and will relentlessly try to get at the metal itcannot see unless and until a better prospectcomes along.

Metal gates, statues (even animated,magical ones such as iron golems) and thelike can be affected by rust monster anten-nae strikes. Very large objects may take 1 or2 rounds before rusting entirely and thencollapsing. Magical objects with a �plus�get a straight saving throw, at 10% per�plus,� to avoid being rusted, as per theMonster Manual. Large enchanted objects(such as an iron golem) get a saving throwvs. petrification at +1 to avoid the rustingeffect. An iron golem striking a rust mon-ster would do 4-40 points of damage, per-haps killing the creature � but if a golemcarrying an edged weapon struck the anten-nae or the body of the rust monster with itsblade and not with a crushing blow from itsfist (the golem is unintelligent and does notchoose its attack mode deliberately), thegolem would begin to corrode immediatelyand would collapse into a mound of rust atthe end of the following round. During this

second round, it can move only 3" withouttoppling, and it will do only half damage onany attack.

A rust monster antenna will take at least5 hit points of damage before being severed.Rust monsters are apparently immune to allforms of poison, including the breath weap-ons of iron golems and those of brass,bronze, silver, green, and gold dragons(who must often fight rust monsters todefend their hoards), and liquid poisonsproduced by various creatures and by men(and smeared on weapons). Fire does nor-mal damage to a rust monster, but acidrarely seems to have an effect (+3 on savingthrow, half damage if save fails, no damageif save succeeds).

6. The bacteria can survive, and continueto act through the antennae, for 6-105 daysafter the death of the host rust monster,depending on the availability of food. Thebacteria can thrive on previously devouredmetallic oxides in the stomach and blood-stream of the monster, any metallic weaponsleft lodged in the monster�s body, or newlyintroduced metal � but the bacteria will diewhen such supplies are exhausted. A rustmonster antenna that was placed in a bowlof water with rust and a lot of metal couldcontinue to thrive indefinitely, and perhapscould even be carried as a weapon for occa-sions of 5 days or less before the bacteriawould need to have their food supply re-plenished.

A scavenger that devours a rust monsterwould have any previously devoured metal-lic treasure still in its body rusted and eatenby the bacteria, but the bacteria could nottake over the creature so that its attackswould have the ability to rust. Only thecreature known as the rust monster (sageshave argued over a �proper� name for thisbeast for decades, but none has gainedcommon acceptance, or seems likely to) cansupport the mysterious bacteria, and rustmonsters do not eat each other. In the ex-ample of the scavenger mentioned above,the bacteria would die when its metallicfood in the scavenger�s stomach was usedup, without harming the host, and would beexcreted.

7. Rust monsters mate often, following aritual in which each one of the pair makesagitated chittering noises for several min-utes. If one of the adults is fertilized, ayoung rust monster will begin to form in thebody of the parent. It will be born 4-7months later, live, whole, and active, andwill usually accompany its parent until it isfull grown.

Newly born rust monsters have all thepowers of an adult (there is a transferal ofsome of the bacteria from parent to child),but have only 1+4 HD and are size S, with a5-foot-long tail and 3-foot-long antennae.Such a �rusty� will grow rapidly to ayoung, 3 HD, M-size form, with full adult-size tail (10�) and antennae (7�), usuallywithin 8 months or so, but this growth isdependent on food supply. After a year oflife a rust monster is a mature adult and canmate with others of its kind.

24 AUGUST 1984

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Books reviewed by Chris Henderson


Del Rey $2.50 345-31344-5This novel starts in the middle of a galac-

tic emergency: ChaosCenter has deter-mined that someone, or something, hasdiscovered a means by which to harness thenatural forces of chaos in the universe, so asto use these forces as a weapon. One byone, the greatest thinkers and leaders die bynatural causes, occurrences which leavetelltale signs of having been carefullyplanned. Concerned that the future growthof humanity may be greatly endangered ifits best diplomats, inventors, philosophers,generals, and others are all murdered,ChaosCenter sends Space Marshal JymWildheit to investigate and end thesekillings.

The space marshals as developed byKapp are a unique creation � a charactertype that a Traveller® game player wouldlove to role-play, if it were possible to roll upa character this good. Space marshals notonly have the standard abilities as greatfighters, fast thinkers, and skilled escapeartists, but they also have an additionaledge: they are in contact with the gods.Each space marshal is trained to believe in a

godlike being from another dimension, tothe extent that this faith results in contactwith one of these gods. Perched on the

shoulder of the selected space marshal, thegodlike being waits for opportunities to beof assistance to the marshal, feeding on hisor her belief.

And so The Chaos Weapon progressesfrom one scene to another, with impossiblecharacters lighting for survival, each char-acter more powerful than the next. Nosooner are the marshals introduced thanmen enter the act who are capable of fling-ing them about like ping-pong balls.Wildheit and his invisible godlike compan-ion team up with a female sensitive, awoman who can read the patterns of thefuture. The three of them manage to findand join their superior attackers, only torealize that the actual enemy is a menace athousand times more powerful and withseemingly limitless resources.

Despite some problems with characteriza-tion, The Chaos Weapon is a rousing tale,and it�s well worth reading.

THE PARADOXICONNicholas Falletta

Doubleday $14.95 0-385-17932-4The dictionary defines paradox as �an

act, statement, or phenomenon which is orappears self-contradictory or which dis-agrees with common sense, or a valid argu-ment which cannot be assigned a truthvalue.� From Leonardo da Vinci toBertrand Russell, people throughout historyhave been fascinated by these mind puzzles.

Instead of having simply amassed abushel of brainteasers, Falletta has written abook for the general reader who is inter-ested in paradoxes, but who may lack thetechnical background in mathematics, logic,science, or philosophy to dissect them ade-quately. In its twenty-five chapters, TheParadoxicon attempts to analyze and dis-cuss the nature of each of the types of para-doxes displayed � word puzzles, reversibledrawings, impossible rooms, and knottedstrings of logic, for example. Such discus-sion gives the reader a feel for what is in-volved in trying to solve each type ofparadox and why such paradoxes haveconcerned many of mankind�s prominentthinkers. After reading this book, those wholike including puzzles and riddles in theirgame campaigns will have many examplesfrom which to choose.


Signet $2.95 0-451-12883-4With the novel The Sleeping Dragon,

Joel Rosenberg introduced his series enti-

tled Guardians of the Flame. This seriesdeals with a group of young adult fantasygamers who are transported to the landcreated by their campaign referee. Theirstory continues in Rosenberg�s second book,The Sword and the Chain.

In this second installment, the charactersmust pool their resources and decide whatthey are going to do with their lives nowthat they are stuck in this fantastic land.They know, for instance, that their leaderKarl has pledged to free all of that world�sslaves. With that goal in mind, the charac-ters are pitted against some interestingantagonists.

Besides the well-developed plotline, whatmakes The Sword and the Chain so fasci-nating is Rosenberg�s ability to combinegame concepts with real people. The authoruses modern students, with realisticstrengths and weaknesses, as the centralcharacters. Through their experiences,these people learn about their new environ-ment, about their physical and magicalabilities, and about themselves as humanbeings. For example, Karl had rolled up afairly good swordsman character beforethe group was transported to the fantasyworld. Once there, Karl is quite pleased byhis physical attributes. But as the storyprogresses, he realizes that there areswordsmen much better than he is, and thathe really doesn't know what makes him

26 AUGUST 1984

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good, or what makes the superior swords-men better than he is. Being unaware ofwhat his missing skills are is both an amus-ing and a sobering experience for Karl as hetries to discover new talents. This self-discovery is intriguing, and Rosenberg doeswell combining the fantasy game elementswith characterization of believable people.

Rosenberg�s approach to fantasy litera-ture is refreshing, and The Sword and theChain is a delightful continuation of hisseries. We can only hope for an equallyenjoyable third novel.


Timescape $15.95 0-671-44668-1In this novel, two important focal points

of action exist. The first one concerns thebuilding and launching of the world�s firstinterstellar ship, Lancer. Its mission is toexplore the galaxy and discover its secrets.The second centers on an alien invasion ofEarth. The two plots are woven into onetangled story wherein delayed news travelsback and forth between Lancer and Earth.

The problem with Benford�s story, in thiscase, is that the two plots don�t merge well.On the starship, the major characters playpolitical games while the fate of mankindhangs in the balance. On Earth, chaosensues while nations argue and the aliensinvade. Whatever the message of the storymay be, it�s lost in the never-ending self-pity and hopelessness of the story�s primaryvoices. By the end of the novel, the reader isso perplexed by the breakdown of the au-thor�s direction that the entertainment valueof the book becomes nonexistent.

Across the Sea of Suns is a disappointingbook. Benford�s writing is generally moreconcise, clear, and insightful than whatappears in this work. Though some of thescenes are among the author�s best, thetransitional elements wrapped around themare so few that the story becomes confusing.Had he not begun searching for lofty sym-bols midway through the story, Benfordmight have written a more enjoyable novel.


DAW Books $2.95 0-87997-898-8In Llewellyn�s latest novel, aliens who

remain undetected by mankind havedeemed the inhabitants of Earth too danger-ous for contact. In addition, the aliens�computers have predicted the end of humancivilization in the near future. With Earth�sdestruction so close at hand, an expeditionis sent post haste to silence a satellite beaconwhich had been placed decades ago to mon-itor Earth�s activities in the solar system. Aship, manned by human descendants froman earlier alien exploration of a youngerEarth and by an Ultron (a member of thealien race), heads for Earth. Its mission is tosalvage and destroy the beacon before hu-man technology becomes capable of discov-ering its existence.

Edward Llewellyn has made Salvage andDestroy into a thought-provoking, amusing,gripping, and rousing tale. The story�sappeal is found in the author�s attitudetoward humanity. Llewellyn is happy toillustrate that mankind has made plenty ofmistakes, and probably prone to makemany more. But still, in this story, he cele-brates all things human: the wonder andsparkle of the imagination, the crest ofnever-ending human resourcefulness, hu-man emotions and appetites, and mankind�sneed to invent and destroy. Though he doesjudge mankind, Llewellyn�s judgment isn�tharsh.

Llewellyn�s aliens are also fascinating.Through Lucian the Ultron, the authorportrays a race of humanoid aliens withsuch superior mental powers that these�Ults� can mold their shapes into that ofany humanoid species. As long as theyavoid reaching sexual maturity, the Ults canretard the aging process. Fierce, spoiledchildren who rule the universe, the Ults area cross between the ancient Romans and theunemotional Vulcans: calmly rational, butdecadent abusers of power.

Lucian, from whose viewpoint the tale istold, considers himself an average Ult. Hehas his own dreams of promotion, butbecomes more than slightly perturbed whenthe beacon mission is made his responsibil-ity. He becomes even more disturbed whenhe finds himself constantly in human com-pany and his near-divine authority is con-tinually questioned by his shipmates.

Salvage and Destroy is a refreshingnovel, especially in the creation and descrip-tion of the Ultrons. It is a highly recom-mended read for those who value a goodscience-fiction tale from a talented writer.


Ace Books $2.95 0-441-56956-0As a tale of the computer world in our

possible future, Neuromancer reflects atime when computer crime is carried out byprogrammers and by on-line cowboyswhose tricks smack of wizardry. In this eraexist electro zombies � dead men who liveon through computers � as well as mon-sters and magic, all made possible by takingtoday�s computer software to its mosttwisted limits.

In the novel, Case, an interface rider, isrecruited to pull an invasion job. But first,he must be put together again, since hisbrain had been scrambled by his previousemployers. Once ready for the new job,Case tights his way through a nightmarishbattle between his new employer (a manCase believes is not capable of controllinghis own actions) and a mysterious figurewho seems able to find Case wherever hemay be, often calling him on pay phones ashe walks down the street. What Case muststeal and why are things he doesn�t under-stand � but then, neither does anyone else.When he does find the answers to his ques-tions, Case, as well as the reader, is in formany surprises.

Neuromancer is not a happy book; it doesnot have a happy ending. But it�s a power-ful statement about a world, and that makesthe novel worth reading.


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Beyond the DungeonMoving a campaign into the great outdoors: Part 2by Katharine Kerr

Now that we�ve discussed the generalprinciples of playing beyond the dungeon(Editor�s note: see part 1 of this article inissue #87), we can get down to the tech-niques of running specific types of settings.Since covering the subject fully would take asmall book, not merely a magazine article,what follows is only an overview. Eachsection offers some new ideas for DMs toadapt for their own games and tries toclarify more of that gray area in the rulebooks.

The greatest contrast of all to the dun-geon is the outdoor setting, whether it�s awilderness or a stretch of open countrywithin a settled area. This setting also tendsto be curiously underused in AD&D® gameplaying. Many scenarios do indeed have anoutdoor segment, usually as the party istraveling to a goal, but most of the realaction takes place indoors, either in a dun-geon or in a fort or other set of buildings.Usually, too, these outdoor settings arerushed over; the DM confines himself tochecking to see if the party is lost and roll-ing for random encounters, and lets thingsgo at that.

A real wilderness adventure offers a lot ofexcitement and new experiences to theplayers. Battling with a hostile environmentis one of the main challenges in heroicadventures. One reason, of course, thatmany DMs gloss over this kind of challengeis that so few rules are given for dealingwith them on a turn-by-turn basis. A littlecommon sense, however, and a lot of ex-trapolation from what rules there are will goa long way toward filling these gaps.

First of all, though, let�s consider how toset up a true wilderness adventure and seewhat it might have in store for the playercharacters. The main point of such a sce-nario is to pit the PCs against a hostileenvironment while they try to accomplish asimple goal. They may be trying to kill adangerous monster in its wilderness lair,find a lost person, or reach the site of atreasure � anything to give them a reasonfor being in the wild � but reaching thegoal is just the midpoint of the scenario.

The real problem is staying alive in thewilderness. The party�s true enemy is theterrain itself, which has weapons in harshconditions, natural obstacles, and the occa-sional nuisance combat with wild animals.What�s more, the PCs will be in constantdanger of running out of provisions andgetting lost. If they have any henchmenalong, they may also have to face moraleproblems.

2 8 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

For example, I once ran a scenario inwhich the party was hired to retrieve amagic item known to be buried in a vastswamp. Since this crystal was under a tallcairn, finding it presented little problem �but reaching the cairn was another matter.The party had to wade through muckywater, so thick with algae that it was impos-sible to tell semi-solid ground from quick-sand (of which there was plenty) or suddendropoffs into fast-flowing streams. Theirprogress through the muck also stirred uppoisonous gases and swarms of tiny insectsthat could get through chain mail to sting.In the water lived poisonous frogs, somecrocodiles, and a new kind of monster formy campaign, the giant carnivorous slug.

By the time they reached the cairn, theparty had lost a lot of hit points; on the wayback, one member drowned. The players,however, had a good time as they learned tothink their way around and through theseobstacles. They considered this scenario oneof the best they�d ever played and told methat it was a real test of their gaming skills.

Any kind of harsh terrain provides a goodsetting for these �trial-by-environment�scenarios. Mountains have cliffs, chasms,and rockslides to keep the party busy. Des-erts are another good choice; not only thelack of water, but the blazing heat and thepresence of mirages, test the PCs to theirlimits. Jungles are not only difficult terrainin themselves but also hide plenty of dan-gerous animals and poisonous plants. Forall kinds of terrain, the DM should think ofthe worst things that can happen � andthen make sure that they do.

Working out the mechanics for this kindof scenario puts the DM through a few trialsof his own. Most of the rules for dungeonplay have to be heavily modified to makethis new kind of game action work. We�vealready discussed two of the basic rules,movement and visibility, in part 1. When itcomes to the turn length, the DM has to beflexible. For long stretches of the adventure,a one-hour turn is usually best. When thegoing begins to get really heavy, the DMcan switch to a five-minute turn, reservingthe one-minute turn for crucial points of theadventure, when the PCs are attempting toovercome a specific obstacle, such as cross-ing a broken bridge or climbing a steepcliff.

Ability scores and skillsWe now come to a central problem: just

how do the PCs manage the various obsta-cles and natural traps in such an adventure?

If, for instance, the party is trying to crawlover a slippery bridge across a chasm, howdoes the DM determine their success orfailure? There�s no specific �crawling acrossslippery object� skill spelled out in therules. In fact, since the AD&D game�scharacter classes were set up with dun-geoneering in mind, the rules contain only avery specialized and limited set of skills.

Only thieves and assassins, for instance,have the skill of climbing walls, but this rulecan�t possibly mean that other characterclasses can�t climb anything at all � pro-vided that the thing in question is mucheasier going than a sheer wall. Likewise,druids and rangers have certain outdoorabilities in which only they may be profi-cient, but this shouldn�t preclude otherfighters and clerics from surviving in thewilderness with the right equipment andproper advice.

Many basic human activities simplyaren�t covered in the rules. Jumping, forinstance, is a skill that might come in handyfor a character faced with a deep cleft in theground that blocks his way. The same goesfor climbing up ropes, estimating distances,and simply hanging on to a rock, cliff face,or whatever the PC might be climbing.

The easiest way to fill these gaps is to fallback on the rolled ability scores of the PCand use them to determine the chance thatPC has of successfully performing the actionin question. The method is this: the DMfirst determines which basic ability is beingused in a given situation. For instance,jumping over a cleft in the ground requiresthe use of dexterity; pulling oneself up arope takes strength; estimating a distancecorrectly takes intelligence. Some actionsrequire the use of two abilities; haulingoneself over the edge of a ledge takes bothstrength and dexterity, for example. Inthose cases, the DM takes the average of thetwo abilities used. Either the single score orthe average of two or more scores is thenturned into a percentage by multiplying itby five. This percentage is the base chancethat the PC has of performing the givenaction successfully.

The base chance, however, has to beheavily modified before the character�splayer can roll to see if the PC succeeds orfails. Various factors will either raise orlower the chance. The DM needs to look atthe conditions in which the action is beingperformed, as well as the current state ofthe character, and decide if these conditionsdirectly affect the ability (and only thatability) in question.

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For example, consider a character with adexterity of 15 who wants to jump across afive-foot-wide cleft in the ground. Sincemost people can jump a distance equal to orless than their height provided they have arunning start, and since this PC is six feettall and has plenty of running room, theDM rules that he has his basic chance of75% (5 times 15) of making the jump.Suppose, in contrast, that the PC is heavilyencumbered and that the cleft is ten feetwide. The DM rules that he must subtract10% for his encumbrance, and another10% for each foot of distance greater thanhis height (4�, or 40%), giving the charac-ter only a 25% chance of making it across.

To use this system efficiently during play,the DM has to plan ahead. As he sets up anobstacle in the scenario, the DM shouldnote which abilities will be used in overcom-ing it. He should also figure out and notedown the various percentage penalties thatwill influence the chance of success. Then,when the PCs reach the obstacle, the DMonly has to figure in the personal bonuses orpenalties for each specific PC. (It also savesplaying time to prepare in advance a list ofeach PC�s ability scores multiplied by five.)For instance, suppose that a party climbinga mountain at one point has to scrambleonto a rocky ledge. The DM decides thatthe skills used are strength and dexterity,and that the ledge is icy for a 20% penaltyand overhangs sharply enough to subtract10% more.

When presenting these obstacles, the DMshould always allow the PCs the opportu-nity to figure out ways of giving themselvesa better chance of overcoming it. Thinkingthings through is what this kind of adven-ture is all about. In the case of our icyledge, for instance, if a magic-user in theparty wants to melt the ice with a fireball,the character should by all means be al-lowed to try. If the idea succeeds, the expe-rience will teach the whole party that magicis good for more than blasting enemies.

What personal factors will affect a specificPC�s chance of performing an action suc-cessfully? The most obvious one is encum-brance; any heavily encumbered characterwill have a smaller chance of successfullyusing strength and dexterity no matter whatsituation he faces. Weather also affects PCSin various ways. Extreme heat will lowerthe chance of using strength, extreme colddoes the same for dexterity, and both condi-tions will adversely affect constitution. Overa period of several days, hunger will lower aPC�s chance of using strength, but at thesame time, it may add a bonus to dexterityand intelligence. (When people (or animals)are truly hungry buy not yet starving, theyslip into a �hunter mentality� that tempo-rarily sharpens their senses.)

The effects of exhaustionThe most important factor influencing a

PC�s successful use of skills, however, isexhaustion. Becoming exhausted is one of

the major dangers of fighting hostile terrain,and its influence is profound. In dungeons,although the party must rest at least oneturn out of six, rest breaks are usually possi-ble when required, and thus the question ofexhaustion comes up only rarely. Outdoors,on the other hand, a rest break might meandanger, if indeed the party can even takeone. For instance, a party can�t stop in themiddle of scaling a sheer cliff just becauseit�s time for a break. Furthermore, badweather and being hungry will exhaust aparty even if the members are taking theproper time to rest.

On page 49, the DMG gives rules forexhaustion induced by making forcedmarches during long-distance travel, ruleswhich we can modify for other wildernessconditions. Boiled down to basics, the rulesstate that a character who doesn�t rest theproper amount of time after a forced march(defined as moving double the normalmovement allowance for an eight-hour day)will run the risk of becoming exhausted if hemoves any further. This risk is a 10%chance of temporarily losing one level ofexperience, a risk that�s cumulative perincrement of additional movement. Thus,the exhausted character who keeps movingcan lose more than one level, until finally hereaches (in effect) level -1 and dies from theeffects of exhaustion.

At root, then, walking twice as fast asnormal for about eight hours, or walking forsixteen hours instead of eight, will make a


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character run the risk of exhaustion. We cannow use this standard �exhaustion point�to judge other types of activity and deter-mine when they�ll cause exhaustion, muchas we used the standard �stroll rate� todetermine other movement rates in part 1 ofthis article. Again, DMs will have to usetheir own judgment in most situations, buthere are some general guidelines.

Climbing is twice as tiring as walking, asis wading through water, sand, or deepmud. Thus, characters who are climbingsteep mountains or pushing their waythrough swamps will reach the exhaustionpoint after a single day of this activity.

Any character encumbered with veryheavy gear � that is, to the point where acharacter with a move of 12� can only move6� � will become exhausted twice as fast asan unencumbered or lightly encumberedcharacter. Totally encumbered (down to 3�)characters will tire three times as fast.

Extremes of temperature and other physi-cal discomforts will also make characterstire quickly. Broiling heat, high humidity,freezing cold, swarms of biting insects,being soaking wet � all such things take atoll on stamina that brings characters to theexhaustion point twice as fast as normal.For example, characters marching at theirnormal movement rate for a normal daywill reach the exhaustion point by nightfallif they�re marching in extremely hot orhumid weather.

Engaging in strenuous activity without

consuming food and water will bring char-acters to the exhaustion point fast. Goingwithout water for even a single day makescharacters tire twice as fast as normal. Acharacter can go without food for one fullday before the lack doubles his chances ofexhaustion.

Feeling terror and despair also saps en-ergy. Any hirelings and henchmen who failmorale rolls will tire twice as fast as normal.

All of these factors are cumulative, ofcourse. Characters who are climbing steepmountains when the weather is freezingcold will reach the exhaustion point afterfour hours, for example, as will a partystruggling across the soft sand of a blazinghot desert. On the other hand, the DMshould use a little discretion when piling upthe penalties that lead to exhaustion, simplybecause PCs are assumed to be highly moti-vated, tough characters who have more willpower than the average person everdreamed of. Even the toughest adventurerwill break sooner or later, though, especiallywhen the strain continues past a single day.

The effects of exhaustion will be, in themain, the same as given in the DMG: anycharacter who fails an exhaustion check willlose one experience level. If, however, theDM is also using the character�s abilityscores as percentage chances to performactions, then the PC should also lose onepoint from each ability score for the purposeof these rolls only. Thus, if a 3rd-levelfighter with a strength of 16 fails an exhaus-

30 AUGUST 1984

tion check, then he will light as a 2nd-levellighter and use 75% (5 times 15) as his basechance of using strength successfully.

Since the official rule for exhaustion isbased only on the one-day travel run, thequestion arises as to how often the DMshould make exhaustion checks in othercircumstances. My thought on the matter isthat it depends on the severity of the strainupon the PCs. If the accumulated strain isno greater than that of a forced march, thenthe DM should check only once per day. Ifthe strain is much greater, then the checkshould be made at least twice per day, andeven every hour for extreme cases.

Let�s consider a long example. A partysets off to climb a high mountain, which isso steep and rocky that they�re forced to usegrapples and pitons and proceed veryslowly. For eight hours, resting as fre-quently as possible, they make their way upto a ledge that provides a safe camp, wherethey can rest until the next day. The DMrules that since they�ve taken the properprecautions, they run no risk of exhaustion.

The next morning, however, a freezingrain springs up. Since the party�s equip-ment, is now wet and the PCs are chilled tothe bone, stopping would be more danger-ous than climbing steadily. All morning theystruggle upward, trying to find another safeplace to camp. Toward noon, a rockslidecarries away one of their henchmen and theprovisions he was carrying. The DM makesa morale check for the remaining henchmanand finds him demoralized by the accident.The DM also decides that after hours ofgoing through these kinds of tribulations,the PCs run the risk of becoming ex-hausted. He announces to the players thattheir PCs feel utterly drained and tired.

The characters, however, decide to con-tinue their climb. The DM secretly notes �and rolls for � the 10% chance that eachPC has of becoming exhausted, but allcharacters make their exhaustion check.The problem then is to decide when to addanother 10% increment to the chance androll again. Since he�s demoralized, thehenchman will tire faster than the PCs. TheDM also decides that it stands to reasonthat the tough fighters in the party will holdup better than the young 3rd-level magic-user who just joined the group. Therefore,the DM decides to roll for the henchmanand the magic-user every hour, and thefighters every four hours.

As the climb progresses, the magic-userfails the next two exhaustion checks. Eachtime, the DM secretly notes that he has lostanother experience level and another pointoff his ability scores. Finally, just beforerolling a third time, the DM announces tothe magic-user�s player that his PC canbarely stand up and feels like weeping fromthe strain. If the party and his player forcethe PC on, the DM rolls again, with themagic-user now at level 0 and with a 50%chance of losing yet another level. If he doesfail this or a subsequent check and drop tolevel -1, then he dies of hypothermia andstrain there on the slopes.

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Avoid wasteful wanderingThere�s one final problem that often

arises in the wilderness scenarios. If themovement is fairly channeled � if, forinstance, the PCs are following a river ormaking for a known destination � then theDM can place encounters and obstacles onthe map in full confidence that the partywill eventually run across them. If, on theother hand, the PCs are randomly searchingor exploring, not only can they move in anydirection they choose, but they also run therisk of getting lost. It is thus possible for aparty to stumble around in the wildernessfor hours � hours of real time, that is, sothat the PCs may not even reach the mainpoint of the scenario before the playingsession has to end. What�s more, they missall the clues or interesting side events thatthe DM had planned for them.

Letting the dice help make the map is agood way to avoid such wasted effort andboring gaming. Rather than making up adetailed master map, the DM draws outonly its general parameters and main fea-tures, like the extent of a stretch of forest,the locations of major landmarks, and theposition of the main goal of the scenario. Allother terrain features, monster lairs, andobstacles go onto a list, the �Location En-counter Table.�

The DM can number the table in one oftwo ways, depending on the complexity ofthe scenario: either to correspond with arandom dice roll, or � for a scenario with a

plot � in their order of occurrence. Eitherway, the DM also assigns a probability thata feature or encounter will be found on anygiven turn, and of course rolls each turn tosee if one is.

When the dice indicate that the PCs havecome across a natural feature or obstacle,the players and the DM mark it on theirrespective maps. If the party is lost at thetime, the PCs will mark it at what has nowbecome the wrong location, of course,which makes for amusing play when theytry to find their way home again or visit thearea again in some later session.

Behind city wallsEvery campaign of any scope needs cities

and towns. Where else can the adventuringparty find supplies and pick up rumors oftreasure to be gained? Many DMs, how-ever, run their cities only as bases of opera-tions and shopping centers to fill these basicneeds and little more. The more combat-oriented players also show very little interestin exploring cities beyond finding the tav-erns, wenches, and weapons shops. This isa pity, because a well-run town offers manyadventures in itself without the PCs everhaving to leave its walls.

The key to adventure in a city is intrigue,not combat. This basic point is one thatmany DMs � and some authors of pub-lished scenarios � tend to overlook, thusfailing at making believable city modules.In any given world or kingdom, there will

only be one city � if any at all � that�s aslawless or violent as, for example, RobertAsprin�s Sanctuary. The vast majority oftowns exist to fill the needs of either com-merce or their overlord�s government. Inboth cases, these towns will be tightly run.Killing someone on the street, no matterwhat the reason, will get a character ar-rested as fast as the legal system of the towncan move.

Yet I�ve seen many cases where this obvi-ous truth was ignored. For example, in onegame I saw, the PC party slew a thief atnight and dumped the body in an alley, andthe DM never mentioned the incidentagain. Neither the thieves� guild nor thetownsfolk seemed to care that a corpse hadbeen found at dawn. Similarly, during adiscussion group at a recent convention,one DM complained that his players hadtheir nominally good-aligned characters killand rob rich NPCs in their homes. Hewanted to make it clear that he disapprovedof this behavior without making a merelyarbitrary ruling. When another DM sug-gested that he have the PCs arrested,worked over, and perhaps hanged by thelocal militia, his response was a blank �Oh,I never thought of that!�

His was an extreme case, perhaps, but itstruck me as symptomatic of a widespreadattitude among AD&D game players �namely, that since combat is the reallyimportant part of the game, the DM shouldbend the rules of reality to allow as much


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violence as possible in the scenario. Veryyoung DMs, in fact, seem to think that agame without mayhem is boring. Thismistaken attitude about combat is quitepossibly the reason that many DMs fail toexploit their cities properly. Once theyrealize that violence has to be kept to aminimum in cities, they see no reason toplay in them.

Their mistake lies in forgetting that thereal spice of game action is danger, notcombat per se. If used properly, the town�slegal system can provide that danger at thesame time that it�s squelching randomviolence. If the PCs run afoul of the law,they�re in danger of being hanged, maimed(medieval-style justice isn�t pretty, youknow), sold into slavery, or simply impris-oned under horrifying conditions for a long,long time. Such dangers can easily be morefrightening than a clean death in heroiccombat.

Exposing the PCs to the aforementioneddangers is a fairly simple proposition. First,and most simply, the PC party is made upof strangers, armed and dangerous-lookingstrangers at that, who are coming into aclosed and suspicious society. To be believ-able, the typical game-world city has to besmall. A population of no more than tenthousand for the largest city in a kingdom,and two or three thousand for the averagetown, is the usual limit. In a place that size,everyone knows everyone else; strangersstick out like sore thumbs. What�s more,

since most inhabitants will never have beenmore than ten miles from home in theirlives, they will be extremely intolerant ofstrange accents, customs, and morals.

As soon as the player characters hit town,the townsfolk will be watching them, half infear, half in irritation, waiting for them tomake one wrong move. There will also belocal bullies and tough guys to start troublejust for the fun of it. Even though the townmilitia or other legal officers may havehated these local roughnecks for years,when the chips are down they won�t hesitateto side with their fellow citizens against agroup of outsiders.

Furthermore, if anything goes wrong intown, such as a major crime or an outbreakof disease, the PCs will be the first onesblamed. Even if the PCs manage to con-vince the local officials that they�re notresponsible (or if they can bribe their wayout of trouble), they�ll be marked men inthe eyes of the authorities, who may laterdrive them out of town on general princi-ples. Besides, the townsfolk may choose totake matters into their own hands by har-assing the PCs or even, in extreme cases,organizing a lynch mob.

Until the PC party is known and ac-cepted in town, therefore, they�ll have towatch their every move, doing their best tocurry favor by being polite, acting inno-cently, and spreading their money aroundwith a liberal hand. Once they�re knownand at least tolerated by the townsfolk, theDM can lead them down further dangerouspaths by involving them in the intrigues ofthe town itself.

Every town, even one under the firmhand of an absolute ruler, has politics, evenif these politics are only a long-standingrivalry between two different merchantguilds. Since the PCs are new in town andthus neutral to these intrigues, it�s perfectlylogical for one side or the other to hire themto carry out a dangerous task like spying ontheir rivals, stealing documents, or assassi-nating someone. Getting caught on such amission means the PCs are on their ownagainst the legal system, because theiremployer will deny that he ever had anypart in such shameful doings, and he willprobably be believed.

It�s also possible for the PCs to be used asfall guys for some crime that one politicalfaction has been wanting to commit forsome time, but that they feared to do be-cause of the law. A murder weapon couldbe planted in the PCs goods, for instance,or some of the papers stolen from enemies,and then the militia tipped off by a �help-ful� citizen.

The clever DM can also further muddysuch waters by introducing all kinds ofminor complications. Quite inadvertently, aPC might make a powerful enemy in onefaction, or befriend someone and thus getdrawn into the infighting for his friend�ssake. Perhaps the son or daughter of apowerful man might take a liking to a PC ofthe appropriate sex who also has high cha-risma � much to his or her father�s annoy-

ance. The PCs might overhear gossip orinformation that some powerful personwants kept secret and thus be run out oftown by that person�s machinations. Byproperly developing this kind of humanfactor, the DM can work out a series ofevents that keep play moving briskly forhours without a single sword being drawn.

There�s no doubt, though, that preparinga city or town for this kind of gaming is agreat deal of work. The DM has to set upthe political tensions in the city, create theprincipal actors in this drama, and roll up alot of minor NPCs to keep the action mov-ing. Fortunately, there�s much publishedmaterial available to help the DM with thejob, ranging from collections of genericNPCs to full towns complete with politics.

Although purchased complete towns aregreat time-savers for cities that the PCs willonly visit briefly once or twice, it�s muchbetter for a DM to create the truly impor-tant towns in the campaign, even if heincludes liberal helpings of ideas and statsfrom published sources. To be a really dra-matic setting for adventures, the town hasto be consistent with the individual game-world, as well as tailored to fit its location inthe world. What�s more, once a DM hasdesigned the city, he really knows it well �which is a crucial factor in successfullyrunning it. After all, if designing an entirecity is difficult, running smooth play in it isequally so.

Playing cities demands that the DM havea large amount of information both availa-ble and well organized, or he will spendmore time riffling through pages and rollingdice than interacting with the players. Be-sides any plots or intrigues going on intown, the DM needs a description of itsbuildings and notes on its most importantinhabitants � those with whom the PCs arelikely to interact.

In my experience, the best way to orga-nize this kind of information is not flat onthe pages of a notebook, but on 3-by-5index cards. Each building in the cityshould be numbered, and a card madedescribing it. In most cases, the descriptionwill be very short, something along the linesof �a poor person�s house, shabby; onestory high.� For others, like the house of arich merchant who might hire the PCs, thedescription should contain enough detailsfor the DM to describe it clearly if the PCsvisit there.

Similarly, important NPCs should have acard of their own. Most, like shopkeepersand tavernmen, need only a few lines ofdescription rather than full stats. The townmilitia or other lawmen, thieves, drunksand rowdies, or anyone else who might givethe PCs trouble will need combat stats, ofcourse. Each NPC card can be filed behindthe card of the building in which he or sheis most likely to be found, and numbered tocorrespond with that building for easycross-reference in the DM�s notes.

Once the cards are filled out, they can allbe stood upright in a small box. The DMshould add a tag on the top of every tenth

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card, showing its number, for easy refer-ence. Then, as the PCs wander into a shopor tavern, the DM can simply flip to thecorrect card in a few seconds, rather thanhaving to hunt through endless pages in abook. One of the unwritten laws of gamingseems to be that PCs never explore a townin anything remotely resembling the orderin which the town is described in its key.Using file cards gives the harassed DM achance to keep up with them.

Since this system of file cards takes a fairamount of time to set up, I recommend itonly for a city where the PCs either live as abase of action, visit repeatedly, or becomeembroiled with intrigue and plot. Actually,if the PCs are going to enter a town onlyonce to buy supplies, there�s really no needto develop it much at all. A well-labeledmaster map and a few pages of notes shouldbe all that the DM needs.

Besides encountering NPCs in their shopsor residences, the PCs will of course haverandom encounters out on the streets. Forthe benefit of novice DMs, let me repeatwhat experienced DMs have all learned thehard way: plan ahead for these encounters,randomly rolled or not. If the encountertable has an entry for drunks who may bebelligerent, the DM needs to have someNPCs rolled with stats in readiness, forexample. Even if the random encounterswon�t lead to combat, it�s a good idea tohave some notes and descriptions at hand.These NPCs can all be put on file cards and

stuck in the back of the city box in casethey�re needed. If their numbers nevercome up on the random roll, then the DMcan always use them again in some othercity or on a later visit to the same one.

Forts and strongholdsMany of the most powerful � and thus

most interesting � NPCs in a campaignlive beyond the reach of civilized justice intheir own strongholds, which can providefascinating settings for adventures. Thesecan range from the simplicity of a free-standing tower for a single wizard to thecomplexity of an entire castle for a noble-man and his retainers. (The novice DMshould leave the full castle for later in hiscareer.)

If the NPCs occupying a large strongholdare ordinary and respected members of thepopulace, any adventuring done amongthem will be along the lines of city adven-turing � personal interaction and intrigueare the order of the day, with the addeddanger that the lord can dispense immediatejustice on any adventurer who displeaseshim. Any large stronghold will be swarmingwith intrigue. If the overlord is well liked,then his minions will be jockeying for hisfavor; if he�s feared, then his minions willbe trying to get what they want behind hisback. Adventurers coming in cold to such asituation will have to watch every step theymake.

If, on the other hand, the overlord of the

stronghold is either evil or merely a neutralwho�s put himself beyond the law, thenexploring the stronghold is going to involvecombat and the other trappings of a full-scale dungeon adventure. At first thought,in fact, buildings seem very similar to dun-geons. They have rooms, corridors, andlevels; they can be trapped with the usualdevices; once inside, the PC party can mapthem onto graph paper. Thus, it�s temptingto run strongholds much like dungeons �but the crucial difference lies in those simplewords, �once inside.�

The usual conventions of dungeons arethat the entrances are either unguarded oronly lightly guarded, allowing the party tomap and explore a considerable stretchbefore facing heavy opposition. What�smore, in a dungeon, communication be-tween monsters is difficult at best and im-possible at worst, allowing the party toclean out one lot before the next is evenaware of the party�s existence. Up on thesurface, this situation changes drastically �or it should, in the hands of a thinking DM.

Any person or group that occupies orresides in a building is going to put sentries,alarms, and traps between themselves andpossible enemies. Furthermore, the buildingwill be placed on a defensible site � that is,in some difficult terrain that allows a goodview of anyone approaching the building. APC party, therefore, is not going to gainaccess simply by strolling in the front door.When and if fighting breaks out in the


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building, the group defending it can mustertheir forces by the simple device of yellingtheir heads off. Even if combat breaks outin a distant corner of an enormous castle,the noise will spread quickly. The residentsin one area will come running to join thebattle, not just sit quietly and wait for thePCs to dispatch those in another.

Oddly enough, many DMs and scenariodesigners have yet to realize the implica-tions of these basic truths. There�s a goodexample of this in the Forest of Doom mod-ule published in issue #73 of DRAGON®Magazine, where a group of drow havemade a fortress inside an enormous tree.Outside the door, sure enough, are somesentries, who will indeed fight any intrudersfailing to give the passwords. Once thesesentries have been overcome, however,there�s not a word about any organizedresistance, even though such a battle wouldmake a hell of a noise. If the sentries aredefeated, the PC party can proceed to ex-plore the fortress room by room, facing theremaining resistance in small contingents.Even the masterminds among the drow willbe waiting for them in their room at the topof the tree. The only penalty the party paysfor fighting a noisy battle is that these smallpockets of resistance will be armed andready for trouble instead of surprised.

guard in the fortress would come rushing

In actuality, of course, given this situa-tion, from the moment that a sentry gavethe first alarm every able-bodied fighter and

down to repel the invaders. The lords of thefort would be on the scene, participating inthe fighting themselves as well as coordinat-ing the defense. After all, why should thedefenders allow an enemy party to work itsway leisurely though their fortress, destroy-ing all the clever traps they worked so hardto lay? The only reason is that the designerwanted them to do so in order to make thescenario play somewhat like a dungeon �not quite reason enough, in my mind.

The DM who wants to run adventures inan occupied stronghold has to face the factthat they are different than dungeons andfind other ways to make them playable.Here are two approaches that I�ve used witha great deal of success. Certainly, otherDMs can think of even more.

In the first way of handling a stronghold,the scenario is simplified by having theNPCs who live in the building be mostlyaway from home when the PC party ar-rives. Perhaps the pack of bandits is off on araid, leaving a few guards behind, or theevil wizard is gathering material compo-nents with his henchmen and only his ser-vants are in the tower. Once the PCs haveovercome this token opposition, they canbegin mapping and exploring the strong-hold as they would a dungeon � until therest of the NPCs come home to find hostileintruders in their lair.

and work out a rough plan of battle for

The DM should decide in advance onexactly which turn the NPCs will come back

34 AUGUST 1984

them. Any group clever enough and strongenough to have gained a stronghold willhave well-rehearsed plans for such a contin-gency. Likewise, the DM should give theNPC group plenty of chances to realize thatsomething�s amiss as they approach thebuildings. One of the cardinal points ofAD&D game philosophy, after all, is: �Al-ways give the monsters an even break.� Nogroup of powerful NPCs is going to waltzright into a trap unless the PC party hasworked very hard to lay one.

The other way of handling a hostilestronghold is to make taking it againstopposition the main point of the scenario.Let me stress that an attack on a fortifiedbuilding is bloody in the extreme if thedefenders are anything more than incompe-tent nitwits. To avoid the notorious �killerdungeon� syndrome, the DM has to givethe PCs a few breaks of their own this timearound.

The DM should have local NPCs warnthe party that the fight will be a hard one.There should be chances for the PC party toscout the territory, try a spying expedition,and use trickery and magic before the actualassault. If the building is particularly welldefended, the PCs should have the opportu-nity to hire local henchmen for the battle.The DM need not worry that the PCs willend up having more henchmen than theirlevels allow; if he plays the defenders prop-erly, the casualty rate will solve that prob-lem automatically.

To run the attack, the DM will need abattleboard that presents the exterior ingood detail. Ideally, the scale should be1" = 10� to make judging the combat move-ment easy, but for a large castle or fort, amap in that scale will cover half the floor ofan average room! At any rate, the DM alsohas to decide just what the PCs can see ofthe exterior at any given location, particu-larly if the defenders are making secretmoves out of sight. I�ve found that trying tomask part of the battleboard with sheets ofpaper or whatnot is too awkward to beworth the trouble � the sheets always getknocked aside or misplaced. It seems betterto display the whole map but record out-of-sight movement in the DM�s notes. Thisplotted movement can always be shown tothe players later if they cry foul.

Once the attackers break into the strong-hold (or if they�re caught there by returningNPCs), then combat will sweep through thebuilding or buildings. In advance, the DMshould prepare battleboards of each room orarea (such as any courtyards or wards).When combat reaches a previously un-mapped area, the DM can then lay theproper battleboard on the table. As combatmoves on, the DM should pick up the last-used battleboard and lay it out of sight. It�sup to the PCs to remember where they�regoing and to form a rough impression of thebuilding�s layout. During combat on unfa-miliar ground, the attackers should be inconstant danger of being cut off from theircomrades or lost and trapped in dead-endcorridors and rooms.

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The romance of ruinsAlthough they�re technically merely

another type of building, ruins are worthyof some detailed discussion. For one thing,an abandoned castle or crumbling towerprovides the feeling of mystery and magicso important in fantasy games. For another,such a location makes splendid lairs forexotic monsters. A griffon or a centaur ismore likely to be found in an abovegroundruin than down in a dungeon. The undead,too, are natural inhabitants of ruins. Power-ful undead, such as vampires, may evenhave turned a large ruin into a stronghold.

Ruins also offer good opportunities for�natural" traps that can keep the playersguessing. As any fireman can tell you,climbing around in a ruined building isdangerous. Wooden floors will have rottedinside the timbers, thus possibly crumblingunder the weight of any PC rash enough tostep on them. Iron staircases will similarlyhave rusted partly through. Fancy stone-work, such as statuary and the top coursesof battlements, will be loose and ready tofall when the party causes vibrations underit. If the ruin was destroyed by fire, thevery stones in the walls will be cracked andbroken from the heat and might very wellcrumble away at heavy pressure � suchthat provided by a climbing thief.

There are also a couple of magical tricksthat the DM can play with the ruins them-selves. One is the cursed ruin. The assump-tion is that when the ruin was originallydestroyed, its destroyers put a curse spell onone of the rooms. As soon as a PC entersthat room, the curse is activated. Similarly,the ruin may have a geas laid upon it.(Abandoned temples are particularly goodfor this.) After the party has fought its wayinto a secret shrine, an apparition of a long-dead priest appears and lays a geas on theparty � possibly revenge upon those whodestroyed the temple in the first place. Boththe curse and the geas are good devices tointegrate the separate adventure into thecampaign as a whole � a goal that shouldalways be in the DM�s mind.

By the same token, ruins provide the DMwith a chance to make the treasure gainedin an adventure an integral part of the gamerather than a mere reward for a hard fight.All too often, DMs fall into predictablehabits when they roll up the loot � so manycoins, jewels, and standard magic items, allof which can be spent or sold with littletrouble. If, however, this loot is hundreds ofyears old, then the PCs can have an inter-esting time trying to dispose of it.

Any coins, for starters, are not going tobe the current coin of the realm. If a mod-ern person tried to buy groceries with abesant or a doubloon, the shopkeeper wouldcall him crazy and kick him out of the store.Fantasy-world merchants should do thesame to adventurers proferring antiquecoins. This means that the PCs will have tofind a way of turning their loot into moderncash. They will have to search in cities foran antiquary or money-changer willing toexchange such coins. If they fail to find one,

they may have to sell their stash to a jewelerfor the metal � at a loss.

Antique magic items should cause thePCs even more trouble. Scrolls, inscrip-tions, and command words could well bewritten in a long-dead language, forcing thePCs to search for a sage who can translatethem. Similarly, standard magic itemsmight have been produced in differentshapes �back then.� A cube of force, forexample, might be a multi-faceted jewel setinto an armband. Such puzzles will stumpthe kind of player who memorizes theDMG, but even more to the point, they willconfront the PCs with problems to solvethat could lead to new adventures.

Not only will it be difficult to find a sagewho is learned in antique lore, but such asage will charge a good fee for appraisingfinds. There�s also no reason why the firstsage the PCs find has to know what the itemor the language is. The PCs may have tocarry the item with them for a long timebefore they learn its secrets. In the mean-time, word will get around that a party ofadventurers has something so rare that it�sstumping the local loremasters. What high-level thief could turn down a challenge likethat? There may also be some unknown (tothe party) NPC who has a good idea whatthe item may be and who will move heavenand earth to extract it from the unwillingparty.

Another interesting idea is the magicscroll written in an archaic form of theworld-be user�s �modern� language. Such ascroll will look mostly comprehensible, thustempting the unwary to read it right off.Unfortunately, as anyone who�s ever read alittle Shakespeare knows, languages changemightily over time. First of all, the oldtongue will be pronounced quite differently;secondly, certain individual words will havechanged their meaning. In the English ofthe early 1600�s, for example, the verb �tolet� meant �to prevent,� and �to prevent�meant �to come before someone.�

Thus, any archaic scroll will misfire ifread in the modern way. First, the scrollmight simply not work at all. Second, itseffect might fall upon someone other thanwhom the caster intends. A sleep scroll, forinstance, might make the reader himself fallasleep. Finally, the spell might have aslightly altered effect. A scroll of monstersummoning, for example, could bring ahorde of mice or squealing pigs at themagic-user�s call.

The DM can also place in ruins thingsthat seem perfectly ordinary but which havegreat value to collectors because they�reantiques. Faced with this kind of treasure,the PCs will have to think rather than referto standard tables. For example, I once rana scenario in a ruin where, after much hardfighting, the party found only a scattering ofcopper coins, a magic dagger, and a box ofporcelain figures, packed in straw. Thegrumbling was intense, but eventually thePCs took the figures along on the off chancethat they were magical. A trip to an anti-quary in a nearby city taught them that the


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figures had no dweomer � they weremerely incredibly valuable, a rare type ofknick-knack imported from a now-dead cityacross the sea. A local lord paid thousandsof gold pieces for the set.

If the PCs ignore this type of treasure,the DM can eventually tip them off byplanting gossip in their way. An NPC cantell them that so-and-so made a small for-tune from that old stuff after the party hadso obligingly killed off all the monsters.Next time, the PCs will think harder.

The point, however, to using this kind oftreasure is not merely to put frustratingdifficulties in the characters� path, but tohelp expand the campaign world beyondisolated scenarios. In the example of theporcelain figures above, the players learneda lot about the city when they were search-ing for an antiquary. They made thefriendly acquaintance of the city�s overlord� an acquaintance that stood them in goodstead several game-weeks later when theywere falsely accused of stealing in the city.They also learned an intriguing bit of his-tory: once there had been a mighty city-state across the sea, but for some unknownreason, its ships no longer came to port.This last hint was later expanded into awhole new section of the campaign.

Let�s start on familiar ground by lookingat some features of the dungeon set-up andseeing how these can be used to create otherscenarios. At root, a dungeon is an elabo-rate lair, a place where a variety of monstershave settled in to live. The purpose of thePC party is to kill as many monsters as theycan and to loot as much treasure as possi-ble. This basic situation can be used above-ground simply by making the lair a piece ofnatural terrain or a building. There are,however, several differences between thedungeon and the non-dungeon lair. Themost important is the ecology of the place.

ning a scenario aboveground can be muchmore complex than DMing a dungeon. Inlearning anything new, it�s always best tostart small. The beginner should run ascenario in a tower before tackling an entirecastle, create a village before a city, a patchof woodland before a primeval forest, andso forth.

It�s also better for the novice DM to startwith scenarios that he has created ratherthan relying on published modules. Theaverage module is too complex for a begin-ner, mostly because no one is going to paygood money for something so simple theycould have designed it themselves. What�smore, if the DM has drawn up the scenario,he knows it thoroughly.

Scenarios for the beginner Because a dungeon is divided up intoBy now, the novice DM (or even a fairly secret areas by stone walls and solid rock,

experienced one who has yet to try a non- players can accept the polite fiction thatdungeon adventure) will realize that run- monsters of widely differing types coexist

within it. The dungeon setting seems tocorrespond to some basic and deep symbolsof the human mind and has a dream logicall of its own, a logic that vanishes up in theopen air and the light of day. I can testifyfrom experience that in a dungeon, playerswill eagerly believe in the same event thatthey would scoff at if they encountered it ina natural setting.

Underground, for instance, it seemsperfectly logical that a group of orcs wouldignore rooms containing slime molds, giantspiders, evil wizards, and other such obsta-cles to a quiet life. If these same orcs havetaken over a castle, however, where all therooms are easily visible and accessible, it�sno longer possible to believe that they wouldignore potential dangers.

It�s necessary, therefore, to invent a logi-cal ecology for monsters in a non-dungeonsetting. Any intelligent monsters will get ridof unintelligent monsters as much as possi-ble, or else use them for some purpose. Theorcs in the castle, for instance, might allowslime molds to go on growing in front of anentrance that they themselves never use. Ifthere are different groups of intelligentbeings in the same place, they have to beeither cooperating with one another, follow-ing a policy of studied neutrality (whichmight be broken at any minute by somehostile act), or else engaged in combat overwho gets the lair.

Even unintelligent monsters will prey oneach other if they can see that possible prey

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is close at hand. In any given area, therewill only be one large carnivore (or a matedpair), because this kind of animal stakes outa territory, even in fantasy worlds. Theresimply isn�t enough food around a singlelair for more than one pair of large carni-vores. Packs of smaller carnivores, likewolves and giant rats, will also try to keeptheir territory free of competition.

When it comes to choosing a setting forsimple scenario based on the monster lair,caverns are a good first choice for a begin-ning DM, because they have so many fea-tures in common with dungeons, whilehaving differences that give play a new feel.For starters, caverns cannot be mappedonto graph paper and thus give the playersa good taste of non-dungeon mapping.Caverns can also be full of natural �traps�and obstacles to give the novice a chance tolearn how to judge such things. There canbe slimy floors, sudden dropoffs and holes,underground streams, and tunnels thatdead-end or grow so narrow that the PCshave to crawl through them.

Wild forests are another good choicebecause they too limit visibility and thusmake mapping easier. A forest also allows apretty good variety of random encounters;deep inside it can be a variety of lairs �dens of wild animals, webs of giant spiders,the hut of a mad wizard or the camp of agroup of bandits � all hidden from oneanother as well as from the PCs.

The specific territory in the DM�s game-

world will suggest many other settings for amonster lair. A stretch of marsh or a dead-end ravine so filled with brush that the PCshave to cut their way through it are bothalways fun. The DM needs to remember,however, that any lair has to contain areasonable means of feeding and wateringthe creatures that live in it. Woods andmarshes simply don�t have that �dungeon-ish� mood of absolute magic that makesanything believable.

Similarly, the DM should provide somebelievable motivation for the PCs to getthem to explore these dangerous lairs. Inthe case of wild animals and other unintelli-gent monsters, perhaps local farmers canbeg or hire the PC party to remove thismenace from their neighborhood. For intel-ligent monsters and evil NPCs, the DM canplant rumors of treasure to be gained andgood deeds to be done. If the targeted NPCis merely neutral, the DM should make theplayers check with local authorities to see iftheir target is fair game. Up on the surfaceof the world, the party can no longer plun-der and kill with impunity. As early aspossible, the new DM should get into thehabit of connecting the scenarios with thereality of the game-world.

From the scenario to the worldAll non-dungeon adventures take place in

a world which has both a past and an on-going pattern of daily life. The people inthis world have their own concerns, few of

which have anything to do with heroismand adventuring; they will interact with thePCs on the basis of these concerns, not inaccordance with what the PCs want out ofthem. A dungeon can be a self-containedand dreamlike place, but the campaignworld has it own reality.

As the novice DM draws up and runssome non-dungeon adventures, he or sheshould be thinking about this new worldthat�s coming into being. How do the PCstravel from one scenario to another? Whatdo they see along the way? Whom do theymeet? Who built all those ruins, anyway,and what destroyed them? By asking andanswering such questions, the new DM istaking solid steps toward building a fullcampaign.

The experienced DM can use non-dungeon scenarios to solidify and expandthe game-world he or she has created.Places that were just names on maps be-come real when the PC party has run greatrisks to explore them in detail. As the PCsmake friends � or enemies � in theiradventuring, population figures and socialclasses take on meaning and depth. Eventu-ally the aboveground campaign developsinto a saga, an ongoing narrative of mightydeeds, amusing episodes, and fond memo-ries of friends now gone. At that point, theincreased pleasure that both the DM andthe players get from their gaming will makethe work involved in getting beyond thedungeon seem very worthwhile indeed.

38 AUGUST 1984

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SF/gaming convention calendarCOLONIAL CITY GAMEFEST,Aug. 10-12

Sponsored by the Mt. Vernon GamersAssociation, this gaming convention will bestaged at the Mt. Vernon High School inMt. Vernon, Ohio. Tournaments, awards,an art show, and a miniatures contest will besome of the featured events. Contact: Col-onial City Gamefest, 1003½ East GambierSt., Mt. Vernon OH 43050.

GAME FEST V, Aug. 10-19San Diego�s fifth annual game festival is to

be held in the Old Town district, and willfeature over 50 gaming events, tournaments,and demonstrations. $1000 in prizes will alsobe awarded. Preregistration fees for all 10days are $17 until August 9, and $20 at thedoor. For more details, contact: Game FestV, c/o Game Towne, 3954 Harney St., SanDiego CA 92110, or call (619)291-1666.

ARCANACON II, Aug. 23-26To be staged at the University High

School in Parkville, Melbourne, Australia,this convention will include board gamesand role-playing games and tournaments.For further information, contact: Ar-canacon, C/- 105 Cardigan Street, Carlton3053, Australia.

L.A. CON II, Aug. 30 - Sept. 3This world science-fiction convention

be staged at the Anaheim ConventionCenter in Anaheim, Cal. In addition topanels, speakers, a sales room, and an ex-hibit area, activities will include a large artshow, sale, and reception for the artists. Forfurther information, contact: L.A. Con II,42nd World Science-Fiction Convention,P.O. Box 8442, Van Nuys CA 91409.

CHAOS CON II, Sept. 1-2Sponsored by the Courts of Chaos and the

Games Galore Gaming Guild, this conven-tion, will be held at the Copple RecreationCenter in Ft. Knox, Ky. One of the mainevents will be an AD&D® tournament; aqualifying test will be administered to thoseinterested in participating in the tourna-ment. For further details about the AD&Dtournament, or the convention in general,send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:Connie Stephens, c/o Courts of Chaos, P.O.Box 299, Ft. Knox KY 40121, or WaltHayes, c/o Games Galore Gaming Guild,3736 Frankfort Ave., Louisville KY 40207.

EARTHCON IV, Sept. 7-9This convention will be held at the

Holiday Inn in Cleveland, Ohio. Events willinclude workshops, panels on game designand scenario writing, tournaments, boardgames, role-playing games, a masquerade,�filksinging,� an art show, a Star Trekfestival, and more. Poul Anderson, SteveJackson, and Tom Moldvay will be amongthe guests of honor. For further information,

40 AUGUST 1984


contact: Earthcon IV, P.O. Box 5641,Cleveland OH 44101.

WARGAMERS� WEEKEND, Sept. 15-16To be staged at the DAV Hall in

Newburyport, Mass., this convention willfeature fantasy role-playing, war, andminiatures games. Advance registration feesare $3 per day, and $5 at the door; mostgames have a $2 gamemaster fee. For moreinformation, send a self-addressed, stampedenvelope to: The Toy Soldier, 1 HalesCourt, Newburyport MA 01950.


This special anniversary convention willinclude open fantasy role-playing gaming,mini-battles, a mini-painting contest, gameinstruction, a costume contest, an auction,and numerous tournaments. For details,send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to I.M. Lord, SWA 10th Council, 1639 EasternParkway, Schenectady NY 12309.

WINGAMES V, Oct. 5-7This convention centers around a large

AD&D® tournament, with prizes andtrophies for most events. Admission is free atthe door, though a small charge (50¢ to $3)exists per event entered. Contact: Universityof Manitoba Gaming Club, Box 80, Univer-sity Center, University of Manitoba, Win-nipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2.

LIN-CON VI, Oct. 12-14To be held at the Gateway Auditorium at

66th and O Streets in Lincoln, Neb., thisconvention will feature board games,miniatures events, and role-playing tour-naments. For additional details, contact:Merl Hayes, c/o Hobby Town, 134 North13th St., Lincoln NE 68508, or call(402)476-3829.

UPCON II, Oct. 12-13This convention will be held at North

Texas State University in Denton, Texas. Inaddition to the usual tournaments, the movieLord of the Rings will be shown in theNTSU Lyceum. Admission is $1. For moreinformation and a preregistration form, senda self-addressed, stamped envelope to: NorthTexas State University, University ProgramCouncil, UPCon II/Preregistration, NTStation P.O. Box 13705, Denton TX 76203.

CONSTELLATION III, Oct. 19-21This convention will be staged at the

Sheraton Inn located in Huntsville, Ala.Master of ceremonies will be Frank KellyFreas, and guests of honor will include Gor-don R. Dickson, Maurine Dorris, and TimBolger. Featured events are readings,panels, autograph sessions, a masquerade,hearts and gaming tournaments, an artshow, and an auction. Registration fees forthe convention are $13 until September 15,

and $16 at the door. For additional informa-tion about this event, send a self-addressed,stamped envelope to Con-Stellation III,P.O. Box 4857, Huntsville AL 35815.

CRUSADER CON IV, Oct. 19-21This event will be held at the Metropolitan

State College campus in Denver, Colo.Events will include Diplomacy®,Kingmaker�, AD&D®, Traveller®, SquadLeader�, Car Wars�, and Star Fleet Bat-tles� tournaments. Registration is $8 untilOctober 1, and $10 thereafter. For moredetails, contact: The Auraria Gamer�s Club,P.O. Box 13395, Denver CO 80201-3395.

FANTASY FAIRE, Oct. 26-28This annual convention will be held in

Alhambra, Cal., and will feature numerousfantasy role-playing games, �filksinging,�films, a cabaret, and a costume contest. Forfurther details, contact: Fantasy PublishingCo., 1855 West Main St., Alhambra CA91801, or call (818)337-7947.

ICON IX, Oct. 26-28This annual science-fiction convention

will be staged at the Abbey Inn in Iowa City,Iowa. Guests of Honor will be Dean Ing andWilson Tucker. Registration fees are $10until October 1, and $15 thereafter. Artshow and huckster inquiries are welcome.For further information about the conven-tion, contact: Icon IX, P.O. Box 525, IowaCity IA 52244-0525.

NECRONOMICON �84, Nov. 2-4This convention will be held at the Holi-

day Inn in Tampa, Fla. Guests of honor willbe Larry Niven and Andre Norton. Ac-tivities will include panels, autograph ses-sions, an art show, trivia contests, and aspecial tour to the Kennedy Space Center.Registration fees are $10 until October 1,and $15 thereafter. For further information,send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:Necronomicon �84, P.O. Box 2076, River-view FL 33569.

R-CON 1, Nov. 2-4This gaming convention will be held at the

Genesee Plaza Holiday Inn in Rochester,NY. Guests include David Gerrold and For-rest J. Ackerman. Featured will be role-playing and board games, panels, films, anart show, and a masquerade. Registrationfees are $10 until September 1, and $12 atthe door. Contact: R-Con 1, P.O. Box 1701,Rochester NY 14603.

UTHERCON 4, Nov. 9-11To be held at University of Texas in

Austin, Texas, this convention will feature awide range of role-playing games. Registra-tion fees are $3 until November 1, and $5thereafter. Contact: David F. Nalle, 3212Red River #109, Austin TX 78705, or call(512)477-1704.

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42 AUGUST 1984

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D R A G O N 4 3

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Step back to darkest Aferca, to a special place thathistorians don't even know about � the darkest Aferca in TomWham's mind! Where men are brave and don't kill animals.Where the animals are silly and don't want to be captured.Where you lead a party of hunters into the interior on your own . . .


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INVENTORY OF GAME PARTSYour Elefant Hunt game should contain the following

parts:1 Rules booklet (what you�re reading)135 Small square cardboard pieces (you must glue

these down and cut them out yourself), consisting of:24 Hunters (12 white, 12 native)48 Wild animals20 Player markers33 Supply markers (various denominations)5 Relic markers5 Ivory markers

1 Playing mapLots of six-sided dice, and a paper and pencil to

keep score (you must provide this stuff).

THE PLAYING PIECESThe playing pieces of Elefant Hunt are divided into

five main types: player markers, hunters, wild animals,supply markers, and Relic and Ivory markers.

Player markers

Each player (any number from 2-5 can play) is givena set of four player markers. The colored marker is usedto record the location of the player�s hunting party onthe playing map. The other markers are used, one at atime, to represent the player in his expedition. Thenumber on each marker indicates the player�s huntingability. At the start, each player has a hunting ability of1. As your expedition scores points, you may replaceyour marker with one of higher value.


The number on each hunter marker indicates thehunter�s value; the greater the number, the better thehunter. White hunters are printed in black ink, nativehunters in red. It�s nice to have native hunters in yourexpedition, because they consume less supplies thanwhite hunters.

46 AUGUST 1984

Wild animals

The number on each wild animal marker indicatesthe animal�s value, and is also the number result youmust get, when hunting, to capture the animal. Killeranimals, identified by a red dot, will attack your expedi-tion when they are discovered unless you capture themfirst.


The numbered yellow counters represent supplies(food, clothing, ammunition, medical kits, etc.). Supplycounters are kept in a �bank� beside the board. Playersdraw supply counters from the bank when they are eligi-ble to do so, and return supplies to the bank as they areused up. If the bank runs out of supply counters, youcan make more from bits of cardboard.

Relics and Ivory

When a player lands on the Elefant Graveyard, hetakes an Ivory marker. When he lands in the Lost City,he takes a Relic marker. Ivory and Relics are worth avariable number of points upon their return to port, asdetermined by a roll of three dice.

OBJECT OF THE GAMEEach player is a big game hunter. Play starts in a port

on the African coast, where each player must first hireother hunters and collect the supplies necessary for anexpedition into the dangerous interior. When they feelthat they are ready, the players set out with their menand equipment to hunt for wild game. A successful ex-pedition will bring back lots of animals � alive. When aplayer�s expedition returns to either port, he scores thepoint value of the captured animals. The first player toscore 100 points is the winner.

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PREPARING FOR PLAYCarefully remove the board and counter sheet from

the center of this copy of DRAGON® Magazine. Usinga pair of scissors, cut the counter sheet away from theboard, but do not cut out the pieces yet. Glue thecounter sheet to a piece of card stock, or fasten it to theback of a piece of self-adhesive vinyl floor tile, and thencut out the pieces. If you don�t glue the counters tosomething to make them thicker and heavier, you mayfind your game gone with the wind.

You will need a pencil and paper (for keeping score)and two clean, dry cups. The animals and hunters willbe placed in the cups and drawn randomly during play.Finally, scrounge up some six-sided dice and you areready to begin.

SETTING UPBack-fold the board so it will lie flat on the table. Sort

out the hunters and the wild animals and place theminto the cups. The Ivory and Relic markers and thesupply markers are placed near the board for use duringthe game. Each player takes a set of player markers andplaces the one with the value of 1 in either Port Stanleyor Port Livingston. (Stanley is better.) Any leftover setsof player markers are set aside and not used.

The players should elect one person to be the score-keeper. Then everyone rolls two dice, and the playerwho rolls the highest number goes first.

SEQUENCE OF PLAYElefant Hunt is played in turns, with each player

taking the appropriate actions during his own turn. Playproceeds clockwise around the table, one player at a

time, until one player wins. On each turn a player iseither �in port� or �on the trail.�

When in port, a player may do one of three things:(1) collect supplies (the amount for each port is indi-cated on the board); (2) hire a new hunter (draw fromthe hunter cup); or (3) leave the port by rolling one dieand moving that number of spaces out onto the trail.

When on the trail, a player rolls one die, moves theamount indicated (clockwise around the board), andfollows the instructions (if any) on the space in which helands.

PLAYER MARKERSEach player has one board marker (colored) and three

hunter markers. The board marker is used to mark yourexpedition�s location on the board. One of your huntermarkers is kept with your expedition. The others arekept in the bank with the Ivory, Relics, and suppliesuntil they are needed.

You start the game as a hunter with a value of 1. Asyou capture animals and become an experienced hunter,your skill value will go up. At the start of the game, youuse the piece with the 1 printed on it. Once you havecaptured and scored 33 points worth of animals, youmay use your 3-point marker. When you have capturedand scored 66 or more points worth of animals, youmay use your 5-point marker.

THE EXPEDITIONWhile you are in port, you must organize your expe-

dition into the interior. Your expedition consists of you(your current hunter marker), your hunters, your sup-plies, and, after you have been on the trail, the animals


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you have captured. Set aside an area on the table whereyou can organize the markers representing your currentexpedition. Any of your unused player markers are keptin the bank, away from your expedition.

Sample Expedition:Player marker Hunters

Supplies Captured animals

GATHERING SUPPLIESWhen you are in port, you may spend your turn

gathering supplies for your expedition. You will needsupplies to sustain your hunters while your expedition ison the trail. If you are in Port Stanley, you may take 4supplies from the bank and put them in your expedi-tion. If you are in Port Livingston, you may take 2 sup-plies from the bank and put them in your expedition. Ifyou choose to gather supplies, you may not move ortake any other action during your turn.

HIRING HUNTERSWhile you are in port, you may spend your turn look-

ing for a hunter to join your expedition. Without addi-tional hunters to help you, you�ll never win the game. Ifyou are in either port, simply draw one piece from thecup containing available hunters (the �hunter pool�).Place the new hunter with your expedition. You mayonly draw one hunter per turn. If you choose to hire ahunter, you may not take any other action on your turn.

If the hunter pool is empty, no one can hire a hunteruntil someone either fires or loses a hunter. No playermay have more than 10 hunters (in addition to himself)at one time.

Note: Although you may only hire one hunter perturn, and only when you are in port, you may fire oneor more hunters at any time; simply return thehunter(s) you don�t want to the pool. Firing huntersdoes not count as your action for a turn. If you want tofire hunters while on the trail, you must do so beforeyou roll the die for movement.

MOVEMENTOnce you feel your expedition has enough supplies

and hunters, you should hit the trail. You may not hirehunters or gather supplies on the turn that you leaveport.

To move out of port, roll one die. Move your boardmarker out onto the trail and then clockwise along the

48 AUGUST 1984

trail the number of spaces indicated by the die. Youmust move the full amount rolled unless you want toenter a port you have reached, or until you come to thefirst intersection on the trail.

As you travel along the trail, you will come to twoplaces where the trail continues in two directions. At thefirst intersection (Albert Falls) you must stop, no matterwhat you rolled, and wait till your next turn. On yournext turn, roll the die and then choose which path youwish to take. If you are low on supplies or don�t havemany hunters, you�ll probably want to take the shortertrail.

You don�t stop when you reach the second intersec-tion. The path you take is determined by what yourolled on the movement die. If you are moving on aneven-numbered roll, you must take the outside tracktoward the Elefant Graveyard. If you rolled an oddnumber, you must head for the Lost City.

Remember, all movement along the trail must be in aclockwise direction. Where trails come together, youmust follow the arrows. If you begin your turn on thespace adjacent to a port (one with a two-way arrow),you may either head on along the trail or enter the port.

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HAZARDS AND REWARDSAfter each move, you will land on one of several dif-

ferent types of spaces. Some are hazards, and some arehunting areas. The following sections explain what youmust do.

River crossings

If you end your move on a river crossing space, youmust roll one die. If the result is a 6, you must lose oneanimal, chosen randomly from those you have cap-tured. If you have no animals you must lose 1 supply. Alost animal is returned to the cup. Lost supplies arereturned to the bank.


If you end your move in a swamp, you must lose oneanimal, chosen randomly from those you have cap-tured. If you have no animals, you must lose 1 supply.


If you end your move in a quicksand space, roll onedie. If the result is an even number, nothing happens. If

the result is an odd number, you must lose one of yourhunters (chosen randomly). If you have no hunters, youlose 1 supply.


If you end your move in the �Lost!� space, you mustroll one die and move backward along the outside trailthe number of spaces indicated by the die.

The Elefant Graveyard

If you end your move in the Elefant Graveyard, youmust lose one elefant. If you have no elefant to lose,there is no penalty. Whether you lose an elefant or not,you may take one Ivory marker from the bank andplace it with your expedition. Ivory is worth pointswhen you

The Lost City

return to port.

If you end your move in the Lost City, you must loseone of your hunters (chosen randomly). If you have nohunters, there is no penalty. Whether you lose a hunteror not, you may take one Relic marker from the bank


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and place it with your expedition. Relics are worthpoints when you return to port.

Empty spacesIf you end your move in an empty space, your

hunters camp overnight and consume supplies. (AlbertFalls and the even-odd space are considered emptyspaces, even though they have words in them.) Eachwhite hunter, including yourself, uses 1 supply. Everytwo native hunters use 1 supply between them (roundfractions up). Used supplies are returned to the bank.(You may make change.)

If you do not have enough supplies to pay for all yourhunters, you lose each hunter that is not supplied. Youmay decide which hunters are lost (returned to thehunter pool). You may not fire hunters at this time tokeep from having to pay supplies for them. While onthe trail, you may only fire hunters before you roll thedie to move.

If you have any captured animals, you may use themfor food, using the animal�s point value as its supplyvalue. However, if your expedition eats an animal, youget no change from the bank if you don�t eat the wholething � and you can�t take it with you.

There is no penalty for not being able to supply your-self, but the only time you may go without supplies isafter all your hunters are lost.

Hunting spaces

If you end your turn on a hunting space, you havereached an area where game is plentiful. You must draw

50 AUGUST 1984

a number of markers from the animal cup equal to thenumber printed on the hunting space. Place these ani-mal counters face up near your expedition.

Next, place your hunters adjacent to the animals youwish to try to capture. Several hunters may team upagainst one animal to increase your chances of captur-ing that one, but each hunter can only fight one animalduring a turn. Each killer animal (marked with a reddot) that you do not capture is going to kill one of yourhunters.

Once you have your hunters arranged the way youwant against the animals, you are ready to resolve thehunt. First, you must return to the cup any non-killeranimals that have no hunters adjacent to them. (Theseare the ones that got away.)

Now check to see if your hunters (and yourself) suc-ceed in capturing any animals. Resolve each huntingsituation (animal vs. hunter or hunters) one at a time.Total the hunting value of the hunters teamed upagainst the animal and roll one die. If the die roll is a 1,the animal gets away. If the die roll is 2 or more, addthat result to the total hunting value of the huntersagainst that animal. If this total equals or exceeds thepoint value of the animal, it is captured. If the total isless than the animal�s value, the animal gets away.

After all hunting situations are resolved, each killeranimal that was not captured kills one of your hunters(your choice). If you have run out of hunters except foryourself, nothing happens. (You cannot be killed.)

Any animals that you captured are kept with yourexpedition. Any animals that get away are returned tothe cup.

SCORINGEach time you enter either port with captured ani-

mals, Ivory, or Relics, the scorekeeper adds these pointsto your total. All animals are worth their printed pointvalue. The value of each Relic and piece of Ivory is

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determined by totalling the roll of three dice. Once theyare scored, animals are returned to the cup, and Ivoryand Relics go back to the bank.

As soon as a player is in port and has scored 33 ormore points, he may use his 3-point hunter marker.When a player reaches port and has scored 66 points ormore, he may use his 5-point hunter marker. When aplayer is in port and has scored a total of 100 or morepoints, he wins the game!

OPTIONAL RULESThe following rules may be added at your discretion:

THE APE MAN: If you have captured the ape man,you may strike a bargain with him. If you release allyour captured animals, he will go to another expeditionof your choice and release all of that expedition�s cap-

tured animals. Released animals are returned to thecup. The ape man will then return to your expedition.

HURRY HOME: Once you have captured as manyanimals as you want on your current expedition, youmay speed your trip home by not hunting. If you landon a hunting space, you may choose to treat it asthough it were a blank space (consume supplies). Youmay then roll the die and move again. Note: You mayonly roll again if you land on a hunting space and donot hunt.

CREDITSGame design and art: Tom WhamEditing: Kim MohanProduction: Patrick Price, Roger RauppVenerable aid: Ron and Gladys Bierce, Tom Cham-

peny, James M. Ward, Kim Mohan, Roger Raupp, andThe Next Door Pub.

Inventory of game piecesWILD ANIMALS

No. of Point No. of Pointpcs. Name value pcs. Name value

1 M a d M o m 16 2 A n t e l o p e 71 A p e M a n 14 2 H y e n a 71 Eagle 12 2 W a r t H o g 7

1 2 E l e f a n t 10 1 V u l t u r e 71 C h e e t a h 10 2 B a b o o n 63 Hippo 9 2 Zebra 63 Lion 9 2 A a r d v a r k 52 Rhino 9 2 O s t r i c h 52 G o r i l l a 9 1 Python 53 Cro co di l e 8 1 Bush Baby 32 G i r a f f e 8

PLAYER MARKERSThe sets of player markers are for Bill, Erik, Jack, Osgood, and

Paula. Each set contains three expedition markers (1, 3, and 5 pointhunting values) and a board marker (unnumbered), for a total of 20pieces.


Ned Net 4 Aubrey 5Smudly 3 Percy 4Tom Trap 3 Amos 3Bill Brute 2 Ed Oop 3Binoc Bill 2 Firemon 3Colonel 2 Zartan 3Frenchy 2 Chief 2Sam Smyle 2 Rongwae 2Lliam 1 Yessir 2Louie 1 Fritz 1Otto 1 Sleepy 1Pistol Pete 1 Twoleft 1

SUPPLY MARKERS, RELICS & IVORYYou can make more of these if you lose some or just need some

more to keep the bank stocked. The 33 supply markers in the gameinclude two 10�s, two 8�s, four 6�s, six 4�s, eight 2�s, and eleven 1�s.There are five Ivory markers and five Relic markers.

Summary of board spacesRIVER CROSSING: Roll a die; on a 6, lose one random animal. Ifyou have no animals, lose 1 supply.

SWAMP: Lose one random animal. If you have no animals, lose 1supply.

QUICKSAND: Roll a die; on a 1, 3,If you have no hunters, lose 1 supply.

or 5, lose one random hunter

LOST!: Roll a die; immediately move backward along the trail thatnumber of spaces.

ELEFANT GRAVEYARD: Lose one elefant, if you have any tolose. Take one Ivory marker for your expedition.

THE LOST CITY: Lose one random hunter, if you have any tolose. Take one Relic marker for your expedition.

EMPTY SPACE: Consume supplies, 1 for each white hunter (in-cluding you) and 1 for each two native hunters in your expedition.

HUNTING SPACE: This is what you came for. Pick the indicatednumber of animals from the cup and hunt away.

ALBERT FALLS: Stop without passing through this space and waituntil your next turn, then choose which way you want to go.

EVEN/ODD: If your move started on or before this space, followthe proper path depending on what your movement roll was for theturn you�re about to take.

PORT LIVINGSTON and PORT STANLEY: You can stop off ateither place (exact roll not needed) to score captured animals, gathersupplies, and hire hunters.


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The way thingsare, these days,in darkest Aferca

Even though the Anglish have taken most of the coastand the Dushmen and the Frensh have staked theirclaims on the interior, Aferca is still dark and unknown� a land of mystery and danger. It is a place where thewild animals still reign supreme, and human orphanscan grow up to live among them. Most famous amongthe orphans, perhaps, is the infamous Ape Man, knownlocally as the ape man.

For some reason, the zoos of the world are sufferingan incredible shortage of large animals. The price forlive animals has reached an all-time high. As a result,buyers from all over the world have flocked to the portsof Aferca in search of live animals for sale. Hunters havecome to Aferca from every other land, to capture and sellwhat the buyers want. And the poor ape man is hardpressed to keep his animal friends free � in fact, the apeman�s own brother, Zartan, has sold out to the huntersand now seeks game for profit.

At first, only foreigners went in search of game, butthe incredible profits to be made soon drew the natives tothe trade. Native hunters, of course, excel at their trade,since they have done it all their lives (but for less greedyreasons).

Foremost among the native hunters is Aubrey M.,who gave up a prestigious teaching job at a university torun around in the jungle wearing a grass skirt. His fa-vorite sport is aggravating aardvarks. Leastmost amongthe native hunters is a man known only as Sleepy. Noone has ever heard him speak, but he is especially skilledat beating bush babies out of the bushes.

Frequenting the waterfront watering holes of PortLivingston and Port Stanley may also be found an unu-sual assortment of white hunters. Their services mayusually be had for varying amounts of gin and whiskey.A noted white hunter, Ned Net, arrived one day on aship that pulled into Stanley. He was snarled in a cargonet from which he has never been able to extricate him-self. To many this would be considered a burden, butNoble Ned has proven himself quite adept at ensnarlingelefants, and earns a good living despite this handicap.

A travelogue by Tom Wham

sleeping on the beach. When he awoke, there was thecity in all its glory, and he was the sole owner of all thetaverns.

Stanley S. LivingstonYears ago, a young man with a dream was washed

ashore on the wild coast of Aferca during a typhoon.Exhausted, he slept on the beach for days. That, to makea short story shorter, was how Port Stanley came to be.

Once the great explorer founded the city that bears hisfirst name, he set off into the wilderness. He forged newtrails and found many things. He discovered a greatmountain, capped with snow; tribes of natives, hitherto(and still) unknown; and wild beasts that defied descrip-tion (they took great offense at what he called them).Perhaps his most important achievement was finding thelost colony founded by Albert Switzer (the man responsi-ble for those chewy red things we all eat at the movies).

He returned from his trip along the Great GreenGreasy Limpoopoo River, and emerged from the junglenear the river�s mouth. Since it had been a long timebetween naps, he slept and dreamed there, too � andfounded a city in honor of his last name.

The infamous Albert FallsThis spectacular torrent of falling water is the high

point of any trip to the interior. Its hypnotic effect causesall who pass by to stop and stare. Waters of the not-so-great grey greaseless Zamboni River fall more than 300feet to the Limpoopoo Plains below. The huge cloud ofmist around the falls nourishes a variety of plants, andthe cliffs nearby are covered with a luxurious carpet ofartificial turf. The local people call the place Mosi voaHooha (that funny-looking green place). It is said thatthe famous explorer Stan Livingston once dared hisfriend Prince Albert (of can fame) to go over the falls ina barrel. He did, and was never seen again.

The Lost CityHidden in the bushes by the banks of the Greasy Lim-

Port Stanleypoopoo are the ruins of what might have been a once-mighty city. Its towers reach more than three feet intothe sky, and its walls are pretty hard to find unless you

Situated on a headland by a quiet bay, Port Stanley stub your toe on one of them. Few people can find thehas of late become a beehive of activity. Lining the Lost City easily, and fewer still are impressed by whatstreets are rows of animal pens, and across from the pens they do discover. There is, however, a strange air aboutthrive hundreds of dry goods merchants. Lining the the place, and most hunters hate to go near the city, letdocks are the everpresent waterfront taverns. Lining the alone explore it. An enterprising Eastern merchant oncesidewalks (and lying on them) are drunken sailors, dock- mounted a well-equipped expedition to the city but neverworkers, and hunters. Five to ten great steamships enter returned. Since then, other expeditions that dare to goor leave the port each day, as the animals are shipped off near the Lost City have brought back a steady stream ofand the supplies (and gin) arrive. artifacts that sometimes bring them even more money

The city was founded early in the century by Stanley than an elefant. As an old Afercan saying goes, �TheS. Livingston, who said he had a dream one day while price is up to the dice.�

52 AUGUST 1984

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The forum(From page 6)have participated in high-level adventures with19th to 25th level characters and I find them to begreatly enjoyable if played correctly.

For instance, I have recently participated in acampaign where all of the characters were at least20th level. We entered the nine hells to fight thevarious devils. We managed to kill a lot of lesserdevils and a few greater devils. Among that wekilled a couple of the arch-devils.

Now, most people would think this was outra-geous. Who�d even think of killing a demon or adevil so powerful? Well, this brings me to asimple question: If you have worked to a pointwhere your characters are 20th level, who arethey supposed to fight?

The obvious answer in my mind is the variousdemons and devils listed in all three of the mon-ster books. Still outrageous? If not for fightinghigh-level devils then what the devil (no punintended) are these powerful creatures for?

If you said to fight high-level characters youare correct. If you think killing demons and devilsof the unique sort is outrageous, then you�re theone being outrageous. Sure, all your middle-levelcharacters have killed manes demons and maybeeven some styx devils in their career but wouldn�tthat invoke the wrath of their masters?

Some say that killing Orcus or Baalzebulthrows the balance out of a campaign but I thinkthat if the balance of a campaign rests on a bunchof overly powerful, ugly monsters then yourcampaign is out of balance to begin with.

Think about the classic myths. Wasn�t thehydra supposedly super-powerful? Hercules

defeated it, didn�t he? Well, there�s your answer.The purpose of creating those powerful monstersis to challenge a powerful creature.

Think about 20th level characters travellingthrough modules like The Sinister Secret ofSaltmarsh, Secret of the Slavers Stockade, oreven Against the Giants. Then think aboutQueen of the Demonweb Pits. Isn�t there ademon in that? Don�t you think if she�s causingso much trouble you should kill her? I know I didwhen I took on that adventure and I�ll tell you itwas fun! I admit, 400th level characters or AT-ATwalkers tromping across Greyhawk destroyingthings like they destroy Rebel bases in TheEmpire Strikes Back is getting a little out ofhand, but high levels doesn�t necessarily make upa Monty Haul campaign.

I think that before someone complains abouthigh-level campaigns they should think aboutthis: If people don�t want high-level charactersthen why do they want so many new high-levelspells and monsters? Why does EGG continuecreating new demon and devil princes?

I guess the point of all this ranting and ravingis just to say that if you don�t think that high-levelmonsters are fun (especially demons and devils)then try taking your hard-earned 20th levelfighter through a lair of orcs and see how muchchallenge and fun you get out of it. You mighteven change your mind!

Adam ZarDeKalb, Ill.

* * * *

Regarding Mike Beeman�s reply to Edward R.Masters� contention that the elemental planesshould be non-spatial, namely that the �ultra-cosmic impenetrable walls� do in fact exist in the

AD&D cosmology, I would like to call our read-ers� attention to an article from issue #8 of thismagazine (also reprinted in Best of THEDRAGON Vol. I) entitled �Planes: The Conceptof Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationshipsin D&D.� This article stated that the diagram ofthe planes was a �two-dimensional diagram of afour-dimensional concept� (emphasis added).The concept of a large or infinite number ofinfinitely large three-dimensional planes can beeasily explained through this statement.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that all ofthe planes of existence are two-dimensional;Euclidean planes, as students of geometry willrecall. Now, assume that all of the various planes,from the Prime Material to the 666 layers of theAbyss to the Plane of Shadow, are all stacked fiveinches apart, and parallel. Now, add a fourthdimension, namely height. At this point, all ofthe planes are three-dimensional and infinite, yetall of them co-exist.

There are two arguments against this represen-tation. The first, that time is the fourth dimen-sion, can be eliminated easily by referring only tospatial, not temporal, dimensions in our discus-sion. The second, that under the scheme abovethe planar traveler would have to physically passthrough all intervening planes on the way to hisdestination, requires a little more thought.

As some readers of (semi-) heroic fantasy mayrecall, L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Prattproposed in The Mathematics of Magic, one oftheir Harold Shea stories, that there are sixdimensions � three in space, one in time, andtwo defining the relations of the planes to eachother. Now, in two dimensions, any object that isfinite with respect to those dimensions may bereached from any other object similarly defined,as long as the objects have some space betweenthem. This space is the Astral and EtherealPlanes, which exist parallel to one another withinthese two dimensions. Using astral or etherealtravel, it is possible to visit any plane of existencewithout traveling through the intervening planes.

If a six-dimensional multiverse is adopted, the�ultra-cosmic impenetrable walls� do not exist;they are merely distortions caused by renderingthe six dimensions on a two-dimensional surface.The DM is free to have any number of coexistentplanes for an infinity of adventures. The AD&Dcosmology is not illogical, merely difficult toexplain logically, and as any debater will tell you,there is a world � perhaps many worlds � ofdifference between the two.

Readers interested in interplanar and dimen-sional relationships may find several books inter-esting. Flatland, by Edwin Abbott, and its sequelSphereland, by Dionys Burger, are especiallyuseful. Also interesting, although focusing moreon the application than the theory, are the afore-mentioned Harold Shea stories, collected into twovolumes: The Compleat Enchanter, from DelRey Books, and Wall of Serpents, published byDAW Books.

Brian M. OgilvieKalamazoo, Mich.

* * * *

Recently I purchased the rules for the STARFRONTIERS® Knight Hawks game and I wasvery satisfied with its contents; rules for spaceshipcombat were long overdue. I did notice somepoints that were weak, however, and my gaminggroup and I set out to strengthen them.

For example, the rules failed to clearly definethe Star Law/Spacefleet connection. Star Law isclearly the police force, but is it responsible forthe Spacefleet also? If not, what is their jurisdic-tion? How do they interact with the Spacefleet?

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In my STAR FRONTIERS game campaign,Star Law is a separate department of the UPF. Itsprimary function is the protection of trade routesand the apprehension of pirates and other crimi-nals. Star Law is divided into intersystem depart-ments, each run by a chief and having acomplement of assault scouts, patrol scouts (atwo-man bomber-size ship, hull size two), andfighters. Larger departments such as Prenglarand Cassadine sometimes have one or two frig-ates in addition.

Functioning as they do, the departments workvery closely with the planetary militias. Thejurisdiction of each department of Star Lawextends throughout the systems in which they arebased. They may, however, chase criminalsoutside of their systems if in close pursuit. StarLaw Rangers are usually better trained than theaverage Spacefleet enlisted man.

In addition, the weapons and ships [of the

Knight Hawks rules] are not discussed in greatdetail. While this is not necessary for play, it doesadd a realistic touch. Perhaps a �technical man-ual� could be sold as a game accessory.

I�ve also added several new ships. The UPFhas the patrol scout, used for attacking largerships, and the gunboat (created by a friend ofmine). The gunboat is a hull size seven shiparmed with energy weapons, used for the defenseof larger, unarmed ships against fighters. TheSathar, in my campaign, have developed a minesweeper to make their campaign of destruction alittle easier.

The STAR FRONTIERS Knight Hawks gameis fine. These are simply some changes that bettersuit my personal needs, and they are offered forother referees to consider.

Chris WayneSouth Bend, Ind.

* * * *

56 AUGUST 1984

I�m shocked at the RPGA Ranking System.All points of it are well thought out except theplacement of fun as a bonus point area when funis the only reason I play. If the players are boringthe game is boring, no matter how well theyexecute their characters� actions of work together.

James BrewerLebanon, Pa.

* * * *

I have a great many objections to AlanZumwalt�s article in issue #86, �Dragons andtheir deities.� First of all, I do not considerTiamat and Bahamut to be gods. As far as I�mconcerned, they are merely frighteningly power-ful monsters, the most deadly of all dragons, butcertainly not gods. (I�ve always disagreed withmultiplying the experience points for killing themby ten when fighting them on their own planes.)Even the Monster Manual refers to Bahamut asKing of Good dragons, and not as any kind ofgod. If dragons do worship, they would certainlynot worship anyone as comparatively weak asBahamut or Tiamat � possibly Odin or Seth orany truly powerful god of the proper alignment.They would much rather worship dragon gods,but apparently there are none. There is a definiteneed for an �official� dragon pantheon, withdragon gods of all the alignments. (As it is now,pretending for a moment that Tiamat is a god-dess, we have chaotic evils worshiping her, whencommon sense dictates that they would worshiponly a chaotic evil god. Remember that in manycases there is more similarity between chaoticgoads and chaotic evils than between chaotic andlawful evils.)

However, let us pretend for a moment thatTiamat and Bahamut are gods, and thereforehave clerics. Alan would have us believe thattheir clerics sacrifice at least 10%-40% of eachyear�s garnering of treasure to them. I submitthat no evil dragon in the world is going to sacri-fice 40% of a year�s salary without a fight. AsTiamat and her five consorts are greatly outnum-bered by the thousands of evil dragons runningaround loose, and she is only outside her lair10% of the time, very little religious sacrifices areever going to be collected. (An ancient, huge,spell-using red dragon would tear up any of herconsorts.) In Bahamut�s case the problem is evengreater: Why would a lawful good entity demand10%-40% of a dragon�s yearly take in treasure?It seems much more reasonable to demand gooddeeds (which good dragons are supposed to bedoing anyway) as a sacrifice. Bahamut, of all thedragons, is the least materialistic, after all.

Finally, there is a problem with the concept ofdragon �parishes.� Dragons are so isolationistthat they would greatly resent a cleric patrollingtheir territory. Probably they would give the clericten seconds to leave the area, telling him whatTiamat can do with her demands for a sacrifice.Dragon worship is not the least bit organized; toa dragon, the concept of organized religion islaughable. He may raise a short prayer in thanksto Tiamat after slaughtering a group of elves, butisn�t likely to go beyond that.

In conclusion, I would like to say that Alan�sarticle was interesting; it had never occurred tome that dragons might have deities of their own(because, as I say, I don�t consider Tiamat andBahamut to be gods). I like the idea, and wouldlike to see a dragon pantheon. Alan was true todragon psychology in many cases, except wherenoted above. I especially liked his considerationof the problem of subdual, and his explanation ofdragon clerics� non-power over the undead.

Kevin LawlessKansas City, Mo.

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WALKED INTO RAMALI. THAThadn�t been my intention, youunderstand, nor that of my supe-riors. They had provided me with afirst-class Scout, especially equippedfor my purposes, not to mention allkinds of necessities that would be

useful in my mission. Multi-layered robes to keep theheat of the desert from my skin, soft padded boots tokeep my feet from blistering, and a Camelogue forconvenience in getting from point A to point B hadbeen provided.

Not expecting their equipment to fail and dump mein mid-desert, they neglected to provide a way to trans-port more than a few quarts of the water stored in theScout�s tanks. They also failed to provide any but themost superficial Manual on the Camelogue. Thismachine seemed to be damaged after the Scout�s drivefailed at the last minute, forcing me to use emergencyprocedures and land in the desert a day and a half outof Ramali.

The beast, which I found impossible to think of as abio-mechanism, grumbled, snorted and huffed along atmy heels, limping painfully, though I was sure thathis legs had not sustained any damage. When I hadinsulted him by presuming to mount, he had turnedhis long neck and looked at me with total disbelief. Hehad given an anguished groan and collapsed, whichwasn�t easy to do since he was kneeling. It was as if allthe starch had gone out of him. His neck went limberas a wet noodle, his legs did not finish crumpling untilhe lay flat, and his sides flattened out like emptyballoons.

The Camelogue, like the other beast-analogues, isspecifically constructed or grown for certain traits. Itneeds neither water nor food. A hundred-mile check, asquirt of light oil to its moving joints, and an energypill inserted into its access spout do all that is needful.Its large feet, like those of its Terran counterpart twoand a half galaxies removed from the present location,are designed to plod easily over deep sand. That�s whatthe directions said.

He drank half my water the first day. There wassimply no way that I could look into those deep, long-lashed eyes without melting into a puddle of slush. Hemade a big dent in my emergency rations, too, thoughI�d have thought that even a Camelogue would haveturned up its nose at that. But he pestered me for mostof the food and water our first day out.

C-137-D, standard-issue Camelogue (which I namedCheshu), was purest ham. I knew that he could havecarried my weight, that he needed no water or food. Heknew that I knew. But there was no way on Galmeshto make that knowledge serve my purposes. I wonderedstill again why the Service had such a bias againstsending in its reps with recognizable equipment. Wayout here at the tag end of a forgotten nebula, anti-Techsentiments could hardly have been dreamed of as yet.

However, that was academic. There I was, paddingmy way across scorching sand on feet that paddedboots couldn�t save from torture, followed by a useless

Key toRamaliby Ardath Mayhar

Illustrations by Mark Nelson


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hunk of mechanism that drooled down the back of myburnous from time to time, not to mention thatbelched foul air in my ear.

Only the fact that he was carrying our supplies andmy compact catalogue kept me from despairing. With-out my kit of samples and the catalogue of processes,items, and systems, it would be impossible to findsomething that the Galmezz might want in trade fortheir endless supplies of silicates.

Strange as it might seem, our home Milky Way is theonly galaxy found so far with abundant supplies of thestuff. As the basic element from which practically ev-erything is fabricated now, silicates are as necessary tothe Intergalactic Confederation as petroleum was topre-space Earth.

It was an important mission of its kind; nevertheless,it was low status. No Initial Negotiation Team wasassigned the task of making the deal. No Tryllabi hadesp- ed the place and its people. No K�r�ss psychic probehad been sent to monitor it. A fast fly-by had scannedthe world. It found silicon in unwonted abundance,intelligence (which showed up as a blue spark on thescanners) in one dominant species. No radiationweapons. And into this void they dumped me, �Spec I�Thorn Garvas, with, of course, my trusty steed Cheshu.

I let him catch up with me and reached up for theumpteenth time to make certain my mini-translatorwas still in place between his humps. Without that, Imight well find myself eaten � or what was infinitelyworse, worshipped � for the cause of the IntergalacticConfederation. I cursed my enlistment for the mil-lionth time and forged ahead, hearing the Cameloguecomplaining bitterly at my heels at being rushed.

Something loomed up out of the sun�s glare ahead.Walls? It seemed so. Not too high. Lumpy and ill-shaped, evidently made of mud. This meant water. Ihurried even faster, leaving Cheshu to follow at hisown speed.

The gate was open and had been, evidently, for gen-erations, as it was off its leather hinges and half-fallen against the inner wall. That spoke well for theinhabitants� unwarlike nature, I hoped. I poked myhead into the street and looked both ways.

It was odd, to say the least. Instead of the street driv-ing straight through town and out the other side, itwent crosswise, right and left. A solid front of adobe-like buildings faced the gate-hole. Down to the right, Icould see that a thoroughfare of some kind cut throughto whatever was beyond. I moved into the welcomeshadow of the wall and the overhanging balconies andstepped along quietly, my eyes peeled for one of theinhabitants.

Cheshu�s feet schlump-schlumped in the hard-packed dirt behind me. The surrounding quiet waseerie, like midnight rather than noon, and I wonderedif it might not be tactful to warn everyone of myarrival.

Stopping in the middle of the street I had justreached, I called out, �Hey! Is anyone here?�

I hadn�t realized that there had been an almost sub-liminal hum of some sort of activity until it went

60 AUGUST 1984

quiet. The shocking silence lasted for what must havebeen at least a minute. Then all hell broke loose.

It sounded as if a fox had found its way into a henroost: shrieks and squawks and flutters and flaps. Shut-ters above my head slapped open for an instant, thenslammed shut. Heads poked out of doorways andsnapped back with the quickness of turtles.

I had known that this was a primitive place withoutprior contact with any other species from off-planet.Whatever the local rulebook contained, instructions onhow to make the acquaintance of an alien creaturewasn�t in it. It would take a while, I could see, for thelocals to make up their minds about what to do.

It was hard to tell, from the jack-in-the-box glimpsesI caught of the inhabitants, what sort they might be.I�ve dealt with every sort of rational creature containedin the Five Galaxies, as well as some less rational ones.To a casual glance, these seemed pretty much standardHS-types: upright, head on top, four limbs � two ofwhich were manipulators and two for walking. Justlike me. But they were so swaddled in felt-like stuffthat their faces were invisible. I do like to size up facialexpressions, even when I haven�t the foggiest notionwhat they mean.

I stood patiently in the middle of a shady spot,enjoying the faint breeze that the arrangement of thestreets and buildings seemed to pull through the town.Cheshu never let up for an instant. A constant mutterfrom behind my right shoulder let me know exactlywhat he thought of me, the Service, Galmesh, andRamali. He didn�t expect to like the Galmezz, either.I could tell from his tone.

At last a door � to be precise, a heavy swatch offabric � opened up and a single shape came towardme. I could tell from its hesitant gait that it expectedthe worst at any moment. The local hero, I guessed.

I returned to Cheshu�s side and activated the transla-tor, which would do no good until the approachingGalmezz said something. I stepped forward andshowed my empty hands. I took off my burnous and lethim or her look at my face. I considered stripping toshow how inoffensive I was, but some cultures foundthat offensive. I decided to play this by ear.

After stopping and looking for a long time, theGalmezz reached up a four-fingered hand and pulled astring hanging down beside its head. It was just likecurtain-time at my old school. The thick veiling partedin the middle and gathered at each side of the tanned-leather face. That face was so dark and the eyes so paleit almost seemed as if I were looking into twin holes,out into the desert sky.

When the thin-lipped mouth opened, the translatorand I were treated to an oration � or a sermon; Iwasn�t quite sure which. The long arms gestured out-ward, up, down. The syllables rumbled forth in a con-tinuous flood. Even Cheshu seemed depressed by thetorrent of language that poured about our defenselessears.

The Camelogue plodded forward � one step, two,three � and stopped in front of the Galmezz. Withaplomb that filled me with total admiration, he burped

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loudly into the sun-burned face. He may notbe a camel, but no effortwas spared to make himseem like one. His breathwas uniformly horrid.

Unaccustomed to suchdisplay, the Galmezzpaused in mid-flight. Hishands moved aimlesslyfor an instant. Then theywere folded devoutlyacross the narrow chest.He dropped to his kneesin the dust. I movedtoward him to see if theCamelogue�s blast hadkilled him, but before Icould get to his side,Cheshu looked down hissneering nose at thekneeling being. Henodded forward andnosed the Galmezz ontohis face in the dirt.

The Galmezz moaned.I stared in consternationat both victim and victor.One mission shot to hellby supersophisticatedequipment, I thought,edging up beside Cheshuto touch the moaningcreature at his feet.

Cheshu, as if possessedby some diabolical afreetnative to this desertplace, bent his long neckand bit me on the arm. Itwas not a playful nip �blood oozed down mysleeve inside the layers ofrobe.

In the comparativesilence, the translator,untroubled by the rami-fications of the byplay,had been hummingquietly. Now it burstforth in purple rhetoric:�Lo, we the humble folkhave waited for a signfrom the Most HighGods. Our miserablelives we have poured intothe dust, waiting. Ourblood has watered thesands. Our hearts havebeaten in the rhythms ofthe god-words of theprophets of old.


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internal computer. Nobody would ever think toexplain things to the poor sod who had to use thebeast. No, I could put my life on the line every day andtwice on Sunday, but they�d never trust me with any oftheir secrets � or their in-jokes. I never was sure whichwas which.

Cheshu looked me in the eye. Then he nudged theGalmezz with his sloppy nose, urging him to his feet.Now I could see him, and I realized that the moanswere sheer ecstasy. But he was, at least, sensible again.

I spoke into the translator. �I am the servant of thegod Cheshu. We have come from the sky in order tomake your lives easier, to comfort your hearts, and toreward your long generations of faithfulness. Let us gointo a house where you may be shown the things thatour brothers in the sky will send to you.�

He bowed, almost sweeping his headgear in the sandof the street. �Such honor is undeserved, Great Ones.

You have come at last, Oh Mighty One. Give us anindication of thy will ��

I reached up and shut the thing off. I knew that kindof greeting from other worlds and other systems andother nebulae. I hate being a god! But I touched theman on the shoulder.

He looked up, saw who it was, and ducked back intohis crouch.

Ahh. Good. I was not the newly-arrived divinity.There could be only one other. I turned and gazed atCheshu, who drooled. One feathery lash winkeddownward.

I silently cursed the Techs who design and programthe analogues. Every time I�ve ever dealt with one, ithas had unexpected and unexplained directives in its

But come. I will take you to the Sa�ak.� He backeddevoutly toward the door from which he had come.

It was a tight fit for Cheshu, but I managed tosqueeze him in, humps and all. He loomed in thesemi-darkness, which was relieved only by a tallowlamp. I thought that he was sneering.

The Sa�ak was a woman so old that it seemed as ifshe needed a paperweight to keep her from drifting offher chair. But her eyes � pale like those of her emis-sary � were shrewd. Despite her frailty, the Sa�akappeared to be a wise and well experienced leader, noteasily duped by superstition or fear of the unknown. Icould see that she wouldn�t swallow any hokum. It waswritten all over her.

I unsnapped the translator from between Cheshu�shumps and set it on thelow table before herchair. Behind me,Cheshu burped gently,filling the room withstench and our guidewith even greater fervor.He went flat on his faceand stayed there.

I didn�t dare take theother chair. That mightwell seem presumptuous.I sat on the floor andlooked up into theSa�ak�s quizzical face.

�What is that?� sheasked me, jerking herchin toward theCamelogue.

�C-137-D, standard-issue Camelogue,� Ianswered. �Used forthe transportation ofpersonnel and equip-ment on desert worlds.Very useful, but alsounpredictable. Not oneof our best trade items.

I have catalogues full of wonderful things that wouldmake life easier for your people.�

�In return for what?� No kidding that one, for sure.�In all the known worlds, there are only two con-

taining considerable silicon. Though many are desert,they are mostly stone or lava, useless for our purposes.We have mined the first, whose sun is not even visiblefrom this planet, almost to depletion. We need newsources of the stuff. You have more than you need �from space it can be seen that most of your landmass iscovered with it, with just barely enough sea and arableland to make Galmesh habitable.�

�Let me understand clearly. You . . . want . . . sand?�Her tone was skeptical to the tenth power.

I sighed. �I know it must seem odd to you. But mykind and its allied species in the Confederation makeall kinds of useful things from it. Do your people makeglass?� I looked around the dim room. Sure enough, a

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glass cup sat on a side table. �Like this � it changesinto useful things. We have ways of changing it evenmore. Into almost anything we want.�

�And you are willing to trade useful things to us forall that stuff out there?� I could tell from the sweep ofher hand and the angle of her thin eyebrows that shethought we must be the prime fools of all time.

�True. Here. Look at the pictures.� I held out thecatalogue, which was a holocube that showed every-thing from aardvarks to zygotes in living tri-dee.

She put it to her eyes, after a bit of coaching. Shetouched the button time after time. Sometimes I sawher cheek twitch faintly, as if she were concealing agrin. Mostly she just looked, as impassive as her ownsand. It took a long time, and that was just the basiclist. My master list had over ten million items andsystems in it.

When she set the thing back onto the table there wasamusement in her eyes.

�I will admit that your kind has a number of veryinteresting things. All aimed, it seems, at making lifeeasy for rational beings?�

�Almost all,� I answered.�That seems terribly short-sighted, but it�s your own

affair. But I�m afraid that I cannot countenance theweakening of my own people with such luxuries. Theylive adequately, if they exert themselves to the properextent. Their worst enemy is boredom. Their religionsalleviate that, to some extent, but even those are wear-ing thin. This . . . Camelogue. You said it might betraded?�

I looked into those shrewd eyes. Hmmm.�It can, indeed!� I chanced a quick look at Cheshu,

and he was standing there with an insufferably smugexpression on his face. The old devil knew exactlywhat we were saying. As well he might, being a basictranslator himself.

�The presence of a resident deity, here in Ramali,would be a thing of great interest and benefit to mypeople. They would be inspired to travel here, which isalways good for preventing inbreeding. It also makes aprofit for the shopkeepers. This Camelogue . . . how isit operated?�

I got up and hauled Cheshu over into the best light.�He is entirely self-operated. Too much so, at times,but that would make for even more interesting livesthan a predictable god would, don�t you think?�

She nodded, eyes twinkling.�I have the instruction book here.� I took it out of

my pocket and laid it on the table. �And all the neces-sities � oil for his joints, energy pills that he musthave every hundred miles or so to keep him going �are stored in his humps. You open them so. . . .� Itouched the pressure points at the bases of those usefulextrusions and they popped open to reveal theircontents.

�If he should get rambunctious or if you simplydon�t need him for a while, you can turn him off bypushing his tail straight up. In that state, he doesn�tneed anything. Just be sure that you give him his oiland his pill before starting him again. And you do thatby pulling his tail right down and kicking him in thebelly . . . so!� I gave the beast a heartfelt kick in thegut. He didn�t feel it, of course, but it did me a worldof good.

She hissed, and the groveling Galmezz looked up.She shot a fast stream of instructions at him, and hebacked out of the room in a hurry.

�Though still a novice, Urrgho may one day be chiefpriest, I think. He has all the qualifications. Mean-while, I will need one to care for the . . . god�s physicalneeds. My grandson will do nicely, I think.�

The grandson was there almost before she got thewords out of her mouth. He was tall and slender, muchlike Urrgho. His eyes were filled with devilish wit, justlike his granny�s.

We went through the maintenance procedure again,without Urrgho�s presence. Then the Sa�ak signed thecontract that gave the Confederation rights to the moreremote sandbeds of Galmesh. I assured her, showingher the fine print, that it was ironbound: a god forthe Galmezz, no more silicon depletions for theConfederation.

By that time, I was weary all the way down to mypadded boots. But it was time to go. I didn�t want toconfuse the issue of the new Galmezzan godhead by mypresence.

I stepped up to Cheshu and looked into his eyes.�You be a good god, do you hear? Sneer a good bit.Nothing nasty like biting � after all, you�re represent-ing the Confederation now. The sole representative onGalmesh, even after the mining starts. They�re goingto use the remote-transmission method. Can�t hurtsand at all.�

I stopped. Silly, this chattering to something that Iknew was nothing but a bio-mechanism. But the lookin his sleepy eyes was a bit sad. I felt it myself.

I patted his neck, folded the contract into my innerpouch, and donned my burnous. Bowing to the Sa�akand her grandson, I said, �I�ll go now. Take care of theold . . . god.�

The Sa�ak cackled with laughter. �He will take careof us. That�s the work of a god, you know!� Shewinked wickedly, and her grandson grinned.

Laughing, I turned into the darkness of the street. Itwas a long walk back to the Scout, even with my waterbag refilled by the useful Urrgho. But the Servicewould home on my distress signal. After a while. Ihoped.


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ICE can stand the heatA long look at Iron Crown�s Rolemaster seriesReview by Arlen P. Walker

ROLEMASTER is the role-playing rulesfrom ICE (Iron Crown Enterprises), and itconsists of four �LAW� packages � ARMSLAW, CLAW LAW, SPELL LAW, andCHARACTER LAW. In addition, CAM-PAIGN LAW might be considered part ofthis series.

The series represents a large investment($48, including CAMPAIGN LAW), but isit worth it? The rules read like a set of wargame rules, complete with the numericprogression of chapter heads (3.0, then

If your characterdies and is broughtback to life, he getsexperience pointsequal to his own killvalue. This couldlead to a campaignin which characterswould literally bedying to gain levels.

3.1.1, etc.). The prose doesn�t flow verywell, but it is still a lot easier to understandthan some rules on the market.

ARMS LAW was released first. Itattempted to completely individualize weap-onry, giving each weapon its own damagechart. SPELL LAW followed, attempting todo much the same thing with magic, whileCLAW LAW, the third in the series,attempted to individualize animal andunarmed humanoid attacks. With therelease of CHARACTER LAW (coveringthe generation and advancement of charac-ters) the series came to a head, and ICEbegan offering the complete system (all fourof the LAW modules) under the ROLE-MASTER title.

The history of this system points to adesire for variety, a desire to break throughthe confinements of other systems andpresent a system filled with choices forplayers and characters alike. Has theROLEMASTER system succeeded at this?

6 4 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

CHARACTER LAWCharacter generation for the ROLE-

MASTER system is detailed in the CHAR-ACTER LAW module. Although it was thelast of the modules produced by IronCrown, it is the module most players willturn to first, as it tells you what you can beand how you can get to be it.

The character generation system pre-sented here suffers from the all too preva-lent assumption that one or two bad rollsrender a character unplayable. To generate

a character, you roll percentile dice tentimes, then assign them to the characteris-tics in any order you wish. Then you pick aprofession (character class) and raise thetwo primary scores for that profession up to90, if they are not already 90 or better.

It seems a bit contradictory, in a gamesystem which seems to strive for variety inalmost every other area, to limit the primecharacteristics for a given character class toa 10% range. This range seems too narrowto be able to encompass every member of agiven class. And this is not merely a methodof ensuring that a player character�s scoreswill show him to be an above average speci-men, as NPCs are generated in the samemanner.

Before starting play, characters areawarded the equivalent of two levels ofexperience. This is to simulate a character�spast up to the point he decided to leavehome, and it forces a player to think aboutwhere his character has been and where his

character is going.The ten characteristics are divided into

primary characteristics and developmentcharacteristics. The primary characteristicsare: Strength, Quickness, Presence, Intui-tion, and Empathy; the development statsare Constitution, Agility, Self Discipline,Memory, and Reasoning. One could argueabout the inclusion or exclusion of any ofthese stats in their respective categories, butthe advancement system based on thisarrangement works.

The advancement system is particularlyinteresting. Instead of granting an across-the-board improvement in all skills pertain-ing to a character�s profession, or allowingadvancement only in skills used successfully,the ROLEMASTER system lets you choosethe skills your character will advance in; butskills must be chosen as advancement to thenext level begins. This simulates the charac-ter�s concentration on those skills during theinterval between levels, which contributes tothe character�s internal consistency. A char-acter cannot suddenly become an expert inthe use of a recently acquired tool, but mustspend time developing it.

An interesting way of gaining experiencepresented in this system is the gaining of�idea points.� These points are calculatedas a percentage of the experience pointspicked up by the party and awarded to thecharacter whose idea or plan made it possi-ble. Although an excellent idea, there areproblems involved with its execution. Whena plan is discussed by the party, it is verydifficult to keep track of whose subtle con-sideration transformed a sure failure into asuccessful operation. And did the ideasucceed by luck or brilliant planning? Also,what if the character who thought of theplan was dumb? Why should a character getexperience points for an idea which, if hewere role-played properly, he would neverhave thought of in the first place?

This type of subjective awarding of expe-rience is almost certain to lead to argu-ments, but it�s the only way to rewardcharacters whose minds, rather than physi-cal or magical skills, are needed for a task.If you have trouble grasping why a plandeserves experience points, imagine a bat-tle. The general will plot the strategy for histroops, sending them into battle to take thehigh ground to reinforce a weak point in hisfront, but he will not actually get out thereand fight alongside his troops. Yet he learnsfrom the battle, from the mistakes in plan-ning and execution made by himself and hisopposition.

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Other ways of gaining experience includethe standards � killing, inflicting andreceiving damage, casting spells � as wellas some unusual ways � unusual or diffi-cult manuevers, having religious experi-ences (visions, etc.), travel, and dying.

Getting experience for dying is somethingI find difficult to swallow. If your characterdies and is brought back to life, he getsexperience points equal to his own killvalue. Yet, if the character is miraculouslysnatched back from the brink by an herb orhealing spell, he gets only half the numberof points. This could conceivably lead to acampaign in which characters would liter-ally be dying to gain levels.

Travel is also a rather unusual way togain experience, but it makes so much senseI�m surprised it hasn�t been done beforenow. We tend to think of a well-traveledcharacter in this world as experienced �why not in our fantasy world as well? Trav-eling through disparate cultures can cer-tainly heighten a character�s ability to thinkon his feet.

There are 19 different character classesavailable in this game. But this variety isaugmented by the freedom of choice (espe-cially for spell users) available here. You arenot limited in the choice of character classor race by a set of random dice rolls. Youroll the set of characteristics, arrange thescores in the order you find most beneficialfor the character class you want to play, andapply the race bonuses. Voilá! You have acharacter of the precise race and class youdesired.

SPELL LAWROLEMASTER�s magic system is

detailed in SPELL LAW. The first thingyou will notice about it is the tremendousnumber of spells, almost 2,000 in all,divided into three �realms� of 54 lists each.Each of these lists, in turn, is divided into50 levels, with no more than one spell perlevel, although there are many levels withno spells at all.

As might be guessed, this abundance ofavailable spells leads to a great deal of dif-ference between mages, but without a majordisparity of power between mages of thesame level.

The character class you choose will dic-tate which of the three realms (Essence,Channeling, or Mentalism) you may learnspells from, and your level dictates thenumber of spells you may choose, as well astheir complexity.

Then, depending upon your character�sclass, you may apply one of five types ofstudy to your character�s spell lists. Thestudy types (called �picks� in the rules)govern how high in the given lists yourcharacter can learn. Type �A� is the lowest,allowing only the first five levels to belearned, while �B� allows a character tolearn the first ten levels. A �C� pick can beadded to an �A� pick to extend a charac-ter�s capabilities to level 10, while a �D�pick can add to a �B� and allow a characterto learn spells up to level 20. The first �E�

pick will extend this limit to level 25, asecond to level 30, and the third to level 50.

But, while a pick will allow a character tolearn a spell, there is a difference betweenknowing and doing. Even if a characterknows a spell, he cannot cast it (except froman item) if it is of a higher level than he is.For example, a third level character cannotcast a spell higher than level 3, even if hehas used a type �B� pick and learned a listthrough level 10.

You are able to �purchase� picks initiallyduring the character development process.After your character has been set up, yougain new picks at the rate of one pick perexperience level gained.

These picks represent different types ofability within the spell lists. A �pure spelluser� (one who concentrates on spells fromonly one of the three realms � e.g.Essence) has the most wide-open advance-ment possibilities, able to learn (eventually,of course) spells to level 50 from any listwithin that realm. When spell-casters mix

realms, they are limited in the types of pickspossible. As a result, they become less ableto advance in some lists within their realmsthan pure spell users. The �semi-spellusers,� who combine fighting with spell use(much like the paladin or ranger from theAD&D® game) cannot learn past level 5 inany list.

But spell levels in this system don�t meanas much as they do in the D&D® game, forexample. Fireball is an 8th level spell here,and it is a much weaker version than in theD&D game, affecting only a 10� radius.There�s an advantage to this approach inthat it leaves room for some very interestinglow-level spells. Loosen Earth, for example,is a second level spell from the Earth Mas-tery list which loosens 100 cubic feet ofearth to the consistency of plowed ground,and Balance, a first level spell from theBody Reins list, adds 50 to any roll for aslow manuever.

The spell-casting system is somewhat

more complicated than in other games, butnot unplayably so. First of all, the time ittakes to cast the spell is determined by thedifference in the level between the casterand the spell. A spell which is closer to thecaster in level will take longer to cast thanone several levels below him, the assump-tion being he must concentrate harder andgo slower because it is more difficult for himto perform it.

The caster must then make a targeting orattack roll. There are modifications to thisroll for distance, level of mage, and otherlogical factors. If this roll succeeds, thetarget gets a resistance roll.

There are the usual modifications to theresistance roll for power of spell and level oftarget, as well as one for the quality of theattack roll (the better the attack roll, theharder it will be to make the resistance roll).A lot of rolling? Yes, but the effect seemsmore consistent, and calculating the modi-fiers doesn�t take that long once you�re usedto the system.

While a pick willallow a character tolearn a spell, there isa difference betweenknowing and doing.Even if a characterknows a spell, hecannot cast it if it isof a higher level thanhe is.

There are also some interesting variationson healing in this system. For example, aclass of healer exists whose members areallowed to magically heal wounds on theirown bodies. As a result, these healers havea list of transference spells available whichwill transfer a wound from someone else tothemselves, where they can attempt tomagically heal the wound. Much like theEmpath from one of the Star Trek episodes,they risk death if the wound they attempt toheal is too much for them to bear.


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ARMS LAWThis module was the first system pub-

lished by ICE, and it does for combat whatSPELL LAW does for magic. It consists ofa thick packet of charts, one for eachweapon covered, plus others containingcritical hit tables, fumble results, and acapsule version of dice modifiers.

The charts cross-index a percentile rollwith an armor type (twenty different armorclasses are covered), and the charts for eachweapon are different. The cover blurb says,�ARMS LAW. . . because a mace is not anarrow or a scimitar . . .� and they are right.

But are the tables correct? Perhaps. True,the damage progressions for each weaponare different, but the values and progres-sions seem to be arbitrary. Then again,whose aren�t? I don�t believe there IS a wayto accurately reflect in a game the amountof damage a weapon can do, without somewell-documented real-life experimentation,and I, for one, do not volunteer to carrysuch research out.

damage values run quite high, and it ispossible to kill practically anything with oneblow.

But critical hits do not necessarily meanhigh damage hits. They might not addanything. All the critical hit letter on thedamage chart means is you need to makeone more roll on the critical hit table todiscover what, if anything, happens.

The dice rolls in this system are open-ended, meaning there is no theoretical limit(upper or lower) to the roll. There�s nopoint in rolling beyond 250 on any of thesetables, and the practical limit of most of thecombat tables is 150.

If you roll above 95 on an open-endedroll, you roll again and add this roll to thelast. As long as you continue rolling above95, you continue adding and rerolling. Thismethod allows you to roll higher than 100on percentile dice. But if you roll below 05on percentile dice, you get the dubiousdelight of rolling below zero. If you rollbelow 05, then you roll again and subtract

The only thing to do with any damagetable that seems too unreasonable to use isto modify it yourself, but in this case, that isfar too much work. Revising a table consist-ing of 2,000+ entries and maintaining somesort of consistency with the unmodifiedcharts is not the sort of thing I�d like tomake a practice of doing. The tables do notseem so very far off, in any case, and seemto be consistent enough to avoid havoc, sothis is not a serious problem.

The benefit of this system is that one roll(or two, if a critical hit is involved, which isabout half the time) is sufficient to deter-mine if you hit and how much damage youdid. The charts play very fast. All that isnecessary is that you set out the characterfor the weapons everyone is using beforecombat begins and pass them around asnecessary during melee.

Combats can be short in this system,however, and that is probably one thing you should counsel your players about. The

6 6 A U G U S T 1 9 8 4

this roll from the last. If this second roll is95 or better (making your total -90 or less)you roll again. As long as you can roll 95 orbetter you continue rolling and subtracting.

Although there is no table with entriesabove 250 or below 00, this doesn�t meanthose are the practical limits of the rolls. Itis possible to have a -120 (or even worse)modifier to your roll, or a +100 (or better)modifier, so sometimes you might need oneof those large rolls!

A level bonus is applied to your attackrolls for weapons, and simulates your moreexperienced approach to the use of yourtools. As you increase in levels, so, too,does your probable damage. An experi-enced swordsman knows better where toaim his weapon to get the most from it.

Unfortunately, parrying is a problem inARMS LAW. Two-handed weapons cannotparry. Why a metal-hafted weapon cannotbe used to parry I can�t imagine, unless it�sa concession to speed of play.

CLAW LAWWhat ARMS LAW does for weapon

attacks, CLAW LAW attempts to do withanimal attacks. There are provisions (that isto say, charts) for beak/pincer, bite, claw/talon, grapple/grasp/envelope/swallow,horn/tusk, stinger, trample/stomp, fall/crush, and ram/butt/bash/knock down/slugattacks, as well as a general attack table for�tiny animals.�

In addition to the usual numbers, eachone of these tables has four lines drawnacross them, marking four maximumresults possible for certain subcategories ofattacks (most being small, medium, large,or huge creatures attacking).

CLAW LAW is unusable without ARMSLAW, as it depends upon the critical tablespublished there, so don�t buy just CLAWLAW alone if you�re aiming to use it foryour animal encounters. In recognition ofthis, ICE sells it in one of three packages:by itself, for those who already own ARMSLAW, in the set with the ROLEMASTERsystem, for those who wish the entire series;and packaged together with ARMS LAWfor those wishing only to add to or replacetheir current combat system.

Some general rules seem apparent in thedamages listed here. Claws, for example, doless damage than beaks, but bites (as inteeth) do more damage than beaks. Also,unlike the ARMS LAW charts, it seemsthat no �weapon� is more effective againstsome armor types and less effective againstothers than another weapon. If a chart givesa weapon a higher damage against onearmor class than another weapon, then itwill have a higher damage than the otherone against all armor classes. The onlyreadily apparent exception to this rule is theHorn/Tusk table when compared to the Bitetable. Bite has the higher damage ratinguntil we arrive at plate armor, when theHorn/Tusk table receives the higher rating.

By far the highest damage can be foundon the Fall/Crush table, a sure hint to avoidattempting any maneuvers in which failurewould mean a fall if there is at all a chanceof failing.

Further, the section entitled �HistoricalWeapons� seems to invalidate the entirereason for inventing the ARMS LAW sys-tem. Weapons which have not been coveredin ARMS LAW are given equivalents whichhave already been covered. For example, ifyou wish to have your character use aKatana, you use the same chart as if hewere using a broadsword. The cover blurbs(for ARMS LAW) say, �Because a mace isnot an arrow or a scimitar . . .� yet thissection says a broadsword is both a longsword and a sabre (as well as a Katana) anda dart is a dagger, because they use thesame tables. True, there are some armorclass modifications (sound familiar?), butthe damage progression is the same. Yousimply make one more adjustment to theattack roll, based on an armor class modifi-cation table.

But table is perhaps too strong a word todescribe the list of modifications, as fully

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two-thirds of the entries are uniform,across-the-board modifications, not requir-ing any different bonuses for differentarmor types. This section could quite easilyhave been omitted from this module, havinglittle if anything to do with animals.

For that matter, the animal descriptionshave little if anything to do with animals.Calling them descriptions, in fact, is proba-bly overstating the case dramatically. WhatICE has given us is a table of facts aboutthe number of attacks, size, etc., of thecreature. We are told nothing else about theanimal, including what it looks like, whereit can be found, and how it will behave iffound. This can be rectified in most casesthrough access to an encyclopedia, if youhave the time, but there are some beastieswhich will only be known through exposureeither to rules from other game systems orclassical mythology. I realize they wereprobabaly attempting to hold downexpenses in order to produce this game at afair price, but still this paucity of informa-tion strikes me as foolish economy.

Also included in this package are therules for martial arts combat. These are atleast closer to the theme of the rules thanthe Historical Weapons section, as they dealwith man�s natural weapons.

Fans of Black Belt Theater will probablybe disappointed in these tables, as none ofthe arts are granted the superhuman powersseen in the movies. Actually, little damage isdone (aside from the rolls possible on the

critical tables) against foes in plate armor.Kung Fu is presented as clearly superior

to any other form of unarmed combat, andthey attempt to balance this by stating thatit requires a spiritual and mental disciplineas well as a physical, and the character musttherefore have spent some time in a monas-tery. I wonder how many ex-monks aregoing to be wandering around in this game?

I couldn�t find guidelines for the progres-sion of martial artists as player characters. Iwould guess that the �FRP level� categoryon the combat capabilities table is probablyinvolved in it, but I haven�t the foggiestidea how.CAMPAIGN LAW

This book is not included in the ROLE-MASTER series, but is instead availableseparately for $10.00. It includes almostanything you need to think about beforestarting a campaign world, and it evenincludes a suggested outline of the proce-dure for developing a campaign.

DMs are advised to first develop thegods, and then decide on the world thesegods would create. That is certainly oneway, but I would disagree with any formula-tion of it as the best way. After postulatingthe gods and their effect on the world ineither order, however, I certainly applaudthe rest of the material, as there follows agreat amount of information about theinteraction of forces in nature and whateffects they have on the terrain and climateof an area.

Suggestions are also included for filling inthe details, such as what kinds of vegetationgrow where, and what animals prefer whatclimates, as well as a list of the importantformative elements of a culture, and whatkind of effect an abundance or lack of some-thing can be expected to have upon a cul-ture.

CAMPAIGN LAW also contains infor-mation concerning how to bring the eventsin a campaign world up to the date of theadventures. A discussion of the economicsof the cultures is set here, but I�m afraid thetables and charts presented to illustrate itare quite inconsistent.

For example, although a full suit of chainmail takes almost twice as long to make as achain hauberk and weighs significantlymore (indicating more metal used in itsconstruction), it still costs noticeably lessthan the hauberk. A wagon costs more thanthe horse to pull it. A Main-Gauche coststhree times the price of a dirk and fourtimes that of a dagger, and even more thana broadsword. A Claymore costs the sameas a bastard sword, yet 15 Claymores canbe produced in the time it takes to produceone bastard sword! And a Claymore islisted as a one-handed sword (5-10 lbs., noless), when, as is obvious from its weight,it�s really a two-handed sword.

After these charts is a recap of theCHARACTER LAW procedure for creat-ing characters, with notes on creatingNPCs. Since this material is given in


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A discussion of theeconomics of thecultures is set [inCAMPAIGN LAW],but the tables andcharts presented toillustrate it are quiteinconsistent.

CHARACTER LAW anyway, and sincethis section deals almost exclusively with theROLEMASTER generation sequence, it isdifficult to see why this section was evenincluded. If you don�t have CHARACTERLAW, you will not be able to generate andplay a character by the information pre-sented here; and if you do, you don�t needthis section.

Then there follows a set of common senseguidelines for the preparation and runningof a scenario. But simply because the

material presented here is commonsensicaldoes not mean that it is unnecessary. Agreat many referees could benefit from thissection. Too many games are run withoutthought or adequate preparation, whichresults in boredom.

These guidelines take up 24 pages of the56-page book. The remainder of the bookserves as an example of the rules presentedin the first part.

Iron Crown also presents information onthe world of Vog Mur. Vog Mur is not a

68 AUGUST 1984

complete world, but rather just a section ofone, composed of three islands off the coastof an uninhabited land called Emer.

The first steps in this outline are for themost part skipped; only a segment of theworld is presented. This section skimps on afew things I would call necessary. Why isthe golem there? What are the behaviorpatterns of the trolls?

But in fairness, aside from theseglitches, the outline is followed relativelywell and includes much detail.

In all, Vog Mur completely answers thequestion of what a campaign is. But thereare all too few answers to the whys whichspring to my mind. Once you accept thepremise given in the opening, the module iswell detailed. But information is lackingabout the behavior of some of the creatures.I think the system relies on the reader shar-ing the image of the monsters and human-oids involved, and that can be a mistake.Too many people have created too manyworlds for things to be taken for granted.

CONCLUSIONSIs the ROLEMASTER system worth the

$48, then? The answer is a resounding�maybe.� If you want a freer, more opengame than you are currently playing, I�dsay it is probably worth it. Even with theinconsistencies noted it still allows morefreedom of choice than almost any othergame. Although the physical size of thegame is rather imposing, the actualmechanics run rather smoothly and simply.

But if you�re a stickler for realism andwant to twiddle with the rules until theysatisfy your vision of reality, I�d hate torecommend this game. Some parts of it arerelatively easy to twist about, but others arenearly impossible.

Perhaps you are not interested in theentire set, but only in one or two of themodules. These modules are all availableseparately. SPELL LAW is available for$17.95; CHARACTER LAW for $10.00;CLAW LAW for $6.00; and the ARMSLAW/CLAW LAW boxed set for $16.00.With differing degrees of difficulty, thesemodules are all able to fit into other gamesystems.

Of the individual modules, I thinkSPELL LAW is the easiest to graft on toany given rules system, and also the easiestto work with. ARMS/CLAW LAW wouldhave difficulty fitting with systems which fixa character�s hit points at a rather low total,such as the RUNEQUEST® game. CHAR-ACTER LAW is almost useless unlessyou�re playing the ROLEMASTERsystem.

Whether you�re looking for a new systemto run or not, CAMPAIGN LAW is defin-itely worth the $10 price of admission. Theinformation and guidelines this book willgive you on fleshing out and filling in aconsistent campaign world are almostinvaluable. All I can say is that if this bookhad been available when I first began run-ning campaigns, it would have saved me atleast a year of development time.

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ARES Log . . . . . . . . . . . .70

BEFORE THE DARKYEARSJim Ward and Roger Moore . . 71The timeline of the GAMMA WORLD®game universe.

THE MARVEL® � PHILEJeff Grubb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74Details of the diverse denizens of theMarvel Universe for the MARVELSUPER HEROES� game.

THE BATTLE ATEBONY EYESWilliam Tracy . . . . . . . . . . . 79A STAR FRONTIERS® Knight Hawksgame scenario.

YACHTS ANDPRIVATEERS RETURNDouglas Niles . . . . . . . . . . . . 82Revised statistics for STAR FRONTIERS®Knight Hawks ships.

STARQUESTIONSPenny Petticord . . . . . . . . . 84Questions and answers on STARFRONTIERS gaming.

ON THE COVERThe end of the world comes on April 17,2322, as The Apocalypse destroys all majorworld captials, and is in turn attacked bythe nations of Earth. What events led upto this and what happened afterwards arediscussed in �Before The Dark Years,� onpage 71.

70 AUGUST 1984

Since the ARES� Section first appeared in DRAGON® Maga-zine #84, we�ve received letters and comments on the sectionfrom our readers, both pro and con, about the return ofscience-fiction gaming material to these pages. The majorityof responses has been very favorable; people as far away asSouth Africa has expressed happiness with this new section.

Most of the criticisms we did receive came from peoplewho had no interest in science-fiction gaming and believedthat DRAGON Magazine was supposed to be exclusivelyfantasy oriented. DRAGON Magazine has never been com-pletely fantasy oriented. For years it has carried articles onboardgaming, TOP SECRET® and TRAVELLER® games, and ahost of related subjects. The major thrust of the magazine isobviously on the AD&D® game, but a good share of attentionhas been given to other products as well.

The demand for science-fiction material increased consid-erably in recent months, particularly with the production ofthe STAR FRONTIERS® game. We could no longer ignore themail asking for STAR FRONTIERS, GAMMA WORLD®,TRAVELLER, and superhero role-playing game articles, andDRAGON Magazine was (and is) the best possible vehicle toget these articles out. Careful readers will note that themajority of each issue of DRAGON Magazine still providessolid fantasy gaming material that cannot be gotten else-where.

A few people thought the public demand for science-fictiongaming wasn�t great enough to justify having the ARES Sec-tion. Happily, they were wrong, and the mail proved it.

The editors


Editors: Roger Moore & Mary KirchoffDesign director: Kristine Bartyzel

Editorial assistance: Patrick Lucien Price, Georgia MooreGraphics and production: Roger Raupp, Marilyn Favaro

All materials published in the ARES section become the exclusiveproperty of the publisher upon publication, unless special arrangementsto the contrary are made prior to publication. Unsolicited manuscriptsare welcome, but the publisher assumes no responsibility for them andthey will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope of sufficient size and volume.

ARES is a trademark of TSR, Inc.'s science-fiction gaming section inDRAGON® Magazine. All rights on the contents of this section arereserved, and nothing may be reproduced from it without prior permis-sion in writing from the publisher. Copyright ©1984 TSR, Inc.

GAMMA WORLD, DRAGON, POLYHEDRON, UNIVERSE, STAR FRON-TIERS, TOP SECRET and DELTAVEE are trademarks of TSR, Inc. Travel-ler is a trademark of Game Designers� Workshop. Marvel Super Heroesis a trademark of the Marvel Comics Group.

Page 73: Dragon Magazine #88

One of the most popular topics fordebate among pure strain humans andmutant animals alike centers around thequestion: What was the world likebefore it blew up? Scholars and adven-turers of nearly every Cryptic Alliancehave searched the world for clues onthe history of the “Gamma World” (asinhabitants of Earth are prone to call itin the middle of the 25th century). Theresults are often confusing and contra-dictory, deepening the mysteries of thepast.

Careful research has brought to lightthe following information on the yearsbefore the old world ended and theGamma World began. It is possible thatadventurers might recover some or allof this material as they explore the ruinsof the Ancients or communicate withliving beings or intelligent computerswho might have survived the wars.

Obviously, this information is of greatuse in establishing a consistent GAMMAWORLD® game campaign. The GM,however,should feel free to alter, delete,or add to this timeline if he wishes, tocreate his own personalized gameworld. Contradictory information maybe given to player characters during acampaign; data from the Shadow Yearsand after is especially questionable in


1945 — First use of atomic weapons inwarfare.1957 — Sputnik I, the first artificialearth satellite, launched1961 — First manned spacecraft (VostokI) launched1969 — First manned lunar landingmade by Apollo 11 spacecraft1981 — American space shuttle servicebegins (earth orbit).1988-1990 � World War III, world-wide general conflict between East andWest, limited nuclear weapons exchangebefore ceasefire1999 � First self-aware “think tank”computer activated2002 — First manned spaceflights toMars launched (Ares I/II); primary baseestablished at Mariner Valley2003-2021 — Ecosystem collapse inAtlantic and Pacific oceans; world-widefood and water shortages, severe civildisturbances; collapse of Japanese andEuropean economies.2010 — American, Chinese, Indian, andSoviet international conferences lead toestablishment of the First World Council.2013 — Rise of the first commercialbusiness blocks to control countries.2019 — First commercial spaceportopens (First Texan Space Complex)

2020 — First Earth-orbital commercialspace factory assembled.2034 — American and Canadian gov-ernments unify and form United NorthAmerica.2046 — Orbital city Atlantis becomesfirst politically independent space col-ony; moves to Martian orbit2047 � Columbus, Magellan, andMarco Polo unmanned interstellarprobes launched from Earth orbit.2050 — Brazil establishes SAEU (unifiedSouth American government).2061 � Columbus reaches Alpha Cen-tauri and maps local planetary systems.2066 — Establishment of MountOlympus and Mount Arsia colonies onMars.2072 � Magellan reaches Tau Ceti;discovers terraformable planet (Gaea).2076 — All Martian colonies gain politi-cal independence through treaties;Federation of Mars established.2077 — SAEU collapses after civil war.2078 — Mutiny aboard InternationalStation One (first true space war), arrestand execution of mutineers.2087-2089 — First Venerean terraform-ing project attempted, but fails.2095 — Lunar population reaches10,000 at Tycho Center moonbase.2100 — Genesis project (re-terraform-ing of Earth’s environment) completed.2101 — Terraforming of larger aste-roids begins.2104 � The Three Suns, the firstmanned interstellar spacecraft,launched toward the Alpha Centaurisystem.

DR A G O N 71

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2104-2111 � Widespread civil disor-ders in Asia lead to formation of AsianCoalition, collapse of Soviet Union.2109 � Thorium fusion propulsionsystem perfected and goes into system-wide use.2120 � Three Suns arrives at AlphaCentauri, establishes first extra-solarhuman colonies at Gagarin, Armstrong,Greenwood, and Sorokin.2120 � Second Venerean terraformingproject attempted; project crew lost insatellite collision.2126 � Start of international confer-ences to develop a world government.2131 � Sorokin colony abandoned.2132 � The Humanity launched for TauCeti system.2138 � Artificial gravity controlachieved.2144 � Martian world populationreaches 10,000 (combined colonies).2145 � World Union established; allnational governments subordinated toWorld Union General Council in London.Uniform currency (the domar) estab-lished worldwide.2163 � Construction of Trans-PlutonianSpaceyards completed.2182 � Autonomists Society estab-lished, a terrorist organization promot-ing world-wide democratic anarchy.2200-2300 � General dates for the�Great Migration� of manned andunmanned interstellar spacecraft toworlds within a 10-parsec radius of Sol;28 colonization missions and 196 explor-atory missions dispatched.2236 � IMT (instantaneous mass trans-porter) tested and developed.2261 � Albuquerque accident kills 5million people in nuclear explosion.2266 � Breakup of WU General Coun-cil; United America, Asian Coalition,India, and other countries develop diver-gent policies.2277 � The Warden, the largest inter-stellar colony ship ever built, laid downat the Trans-Plutonian Spaceyards by theUnited Western Starship Cartelprogram.2282 � League of Free Men estab-lished, promoting the rise of pro-world-government factions; terrorismincreases world-wide.2288 � Warden completed; trials andloading begin for 45-year voyage to XiUrsae Majoris double-star system.2289 � Work on giant starship Mordenbegins at Trans-Plutonian Spaceyards.2290 � Warden leaves Solar System;1.55 million human colonists and crewaboard.2302 � Star Voyager II returns onrobot drive with crew infected by

72 AUGUST 1984

�Canopus Plague;� ship destroyed afterinfecting crew of Earth-orbitalspaceport.2302-2309 � Several major outbreaksof �Canopus plague� throughout SolarSystem; Iapetus colony sealed off anddestroyed.2309-2322 � �The Shadow Years,� so

called because of the world-widedestruction of records and archivesthrough terrorist action and govern-ment-supported sabotage.2309 � (Sept 16) Start of Social Wars;initial collapse of Earth civilizationbegins; rioting and terrorism spread.League of Free Men and Autonomists

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are major instigators of world-wideconflict.2314 � Social Wars expand into spacewith terrorist strikes against Earth-orbital colonies, Tycho Center, and otherspaceports throughout solar system.2321 � Ecological warfare causesdestruction of ocean plankton and col-lapse of all coastal economies; introduc-tion of nuclear and dimension-warpwarfare into conflict.2321 � Fragmentary transmissionsfrom the Warden received; ship appar-ently entered radiation cloud and crewwas lost.2322 � (April 12) �The Ultimatium,� thefirst appearance of The Apocalypse, aradical group ordering an immediatecease-fire in world-wide conflict.2322 � (April 17) Radiation strike madeagainst all major national capitals by TheApocalypse. Retaliatory attacks reduceEarth�s civilization to ruins in one week.System-wide trade, transportation, andeconomic collapse.2322 � (May 23) Major strikes success-fully disable space fleets around Jupiterand Earth. Two of Saturn�s moonsvaporized.

From here on in, only fragmentaryhistorical records can be found. Mostpieces of data were obtained fromfriendly cybernetic installations andthink tanks which were able to link upwith the remains of hidden libraries,orbital installations, or earth/space com-munications systems. All further infor-mation is considered questionable atbest and can only rarely be confirmed.

2322 � Social Wars produce majorworld-wide volcanic and earthquakeactivity; collapse of polar ice-caps;world-wide flooding; ozone layer col-lapse with heightened exposure to ultra-violet and solar radiation. Extremealterations and die-offs throughoutbiosystem of Earth.2322 � Processed-ice asteroid (guid-ance circuits sabotaged by terrorists)strikes Mars; eight-year duststorm andclimatic disruption result. All colonies onplanet isolated; Federation charter sus-pended for duration.2323-2340 � Rise of every knownCryptic Alliance takes place from theintact cities and power stations of Earth.2325-2330 � Satellite Wars change thetechnological levels of all the terra-formed asteroids and moons of all theplanets.2330-2340 � Last known interstellarmissions flee solar system from asteroi-dal and outer satellite colonies; Trans-

Plutonian Spaceyards abandoned; allouter colonies except Saturn WorldFusion shut down; Mercury miningcolonies abandoned and apparently dieout.2331 � Trans-Plutonian Spaceyardsassume control of their own programsand generate robotic �life.�2336-2340 � Occasional reports fromspace communications systems of trans-missions from the Warden; statusunknown.2380 � Saturn World Fusion ceases allEarth-directed transmissions; fateunknown.2381 � Severe worldwide earthquakes;explosive vulcanism around Pacificbasin.2 3 8 1 - 2 3 8 8 - �Years Without Summer;�blackouts and prolonged winters com-mon.2385 � Ultrawave transmissions fromTrans-Plutonian Spaceyards report openwarfare between cybernetic installationthere and the presumedly automatedstarship Morden. Further transmissionscannot be interpreted and may be incode.2 3 9 9 � Short period of lasercom con-tact with Deimos Base at Mars; PCI atDeimos noted to be insane; no informa-tion on Martian colonies.2 4 2 0 � Strange transmissions pickedup from Warden�s last known position.2 4 5 0 � Approximate start of theGAMMA WORLD �gametime.�

Further notes on timelines

The use of timelines is a logical methodfor creating campaign consistency inany game. The timeline is also the per-fect springboard for developing newideas in a game, whether it has a fantasyor science-fiction nature. How a thingcame to be, where it is now, and howtribes or towns developed can becomevery important to the play of any givengame; the timeline is the tool that bestdefines the general background thatplayer characters can work from.

For example, take some player charac-ters starting out in a small tribe in aGAMMA WORLD® game campaign. Thegame master presents every player witha small timeline for the tribe that he orshe starts in; the players may thenlaunch into scenarios from there.

In this example, suppose you (as theGM) have created a tribe that had itsbeginnings with the Green Beret battal-ions. One unit was dropped on animportant military installation duringthe Social Wars with orders to hold theground at all costs. The soldiers suc-ceeded against terrible odds; when the

battle was over, only 249 men andwomen were left out of a 2,000 personunit.

The years went by, and these men andwomen held their ground using theirexcellent foraging skills to survive. Aftera decade, they realized their missionwas obviously over but they had made ahome for themselves in the land aroundthe installation. Several generationspassed; at the beginning of the gametimeline (A.D. 2450), the real reason fortheir being there has been lost in thesands of time. Now the unit has growninto a powerful tribe, all members ofwhich have unusually good unarmedcombat and survival skills from theirancient military heritage.

Here is an example of what the play-ers might receive for a tribal timeline:

Legendary history of theGreen Buray Tribe

Since the earliest times, it has beentaboo to move from the homeland. Agreat spear in the sky brought the tribehere and will come back when the tribeis worthy. The greatest hero of triballegends is Jon Wan, who was neverdefeated in battle and brought backfrom the east many powerful weaponsof the Ancients.

In your great-grandfather�s times, thewhole tribe was almost destroyed byorlens; since then orlens have been thetribe�s most hated enemy. The greathero Ren Spearhead brought back ahuge herd of brutorz from the northduring this time.

Great snows came to the lands in yourgrandfather�s time, and half of the tribewent west to escape them; two survi-vors bring back news of a city ofAncients filled with horrible metal mon-sters. The cave of the Elder Ones wasfound and worship began; the cavedemanded sacrifices of things of theAncients.

Present times: Three young warriorswent into the cave and never returned.Lights have appeared on the westernhorizon at night. The young hero Rogsaw a great desert to the south wherethings of Ancients were buried underthe sand.

Using tribal timelines, your playerswon�t have to ask, �What will we donext?� They�ll be able to take their ownlead from the timeline, developingadventures from the information givento them. Where are the orlens now?What about the Southern Desert and theartifacts there? The campaign is off andrunning!


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The Marvel®-Phileby Jeff Grubb

Welcome to the first in a series of arti-cles detailing the diverse denizens of theMarvel Universe� for the MARVELSUPER HEROES� Role-Playing Game.The fine folks at TSR, Inc., are bringingforth the most up-to-date information onthe good guys and bad guys in adven-ture modules and accessories. TheMarvel Universe is SO huge, however,that we are opening a branch office inDRAGON® Magazine to provide addi-tional heroes and villains, as well asmore detailed backgrounds and historieson those heroes and villains mentionede l s e w h e r e . For the first article, we thought we�dhit several birds with one malletand take on the Marvel Universe�smightiest fighter and a few of his foes.Without further ado, we present theMighty Thor�, the malicious Loki�, andlittle Ulik�, too (with a tip of the wingedhelm to Bruce Nesmith, who firstpenned Thor�s stats for Avengers Assembled.)

THOR�Norse Thunder God

Fighting: UNEARTHLY (100)Agility: EXCELLENT (20)Strength: UNEARTHLY (100)Endurance: UNEARTHLY (100)Reason: TYPICAL (6)Intuition: EXCELLENT (20)Psyche: AMAZING (50)

Health: 320Karma: 76Resources: EXCELLENTPopularity: 100


DENSE FLESH: Asgardians in generalhave tougher skin than mere mortals,

MARVEL characters illustrated by Walt Simonson ©1984 MARVEL COMICS GROUP, Division of CADENCE Corp. All Rights Reserved.

74 AUGUST 1984

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giving them Good Body Armor. Thor issuperior to most Asgardians, such thathis skin provides Excellent Body Armor.

SPECIAL WEAPON: Mjolnir, Thor�smystic hammer, is a unique weaponconstructed of the magical materialcalled uru metal, a Class 1000 Material.When using his hammer, Thor�s fightingability is raised to the Shift X level of thechart. The hammer has been enchantedby Odin�s magics, allowing Thor thefollowing powers:

1) Returning: The hammer will alwaysreturn to the spot from which it wasthrown. Thor can throw the hammerten areas.2) Weather Control: By tapping thehammer on the ground once, Thor cansummon and control weather at anUnearthly level. He may create lightningbolts of Monstrous damage originatingfrom the clouds or his hammer.3) Dimensional Travel: By spinning thehammer along a predetermined path,Thor can break through dimensionalwalls to cross into other dimensions,including his native Asgard.4) Worthiness: The hammer wasenchanted by Odin with this magic toprevent it from being used by unjust ormalicious beings. Only the pure of heartand noble of spirit may wield the ham-mer. Other than Thor, the originalowner, a being must have at leastRemarkable Strength and expend 1000Karma (earned in doing good deedstotally) to wield the hammer. There maybe only one worthy wielder at a time.Any artificial device may pick up thehammer if it has Remarkable Strength.5) Flight: Thor �flies� by throwing hishammer and grasping the thong, lettinghimself be pulled along by the hammer.He may fly with Amazing Speed, cancarry as much as he could normally liftin this fashion.6) Shield: By spinning his hammerswiftly, Thor can deflect all missiles andenergy beams (including magical energy)of Remarkable strength or less. Thisshield will also protect those behindhim.

Talents: Though Thor prefers his ham-mer, he is trained with the sword andreceives a column shift to the rightwhen using one.

Thor�s Story: Thor is the son of Odin,All-Father of the gods of the dimensionof Asgard, and Jord, one of the guises ofthe elder Earth goddess Gaea. As aunion of Asgard and Midgard (Earth),Thor has powers far surpassing those ofnormal Asgardians.

Thor has visited Earth several times inhis long life. In the 9th century A.D., hisexploits caused him to be worshipped bythe Vikings, a practice he encourageduntil saddened by the atrocities commit-ted in his name by fanatics. During theMiddle Ages, Odin dispatched Thor toEarth in mortal guise, where he becamethe basis for the tales of Siegmund andSiegfried.

In the mid-20th century, Odin againsent Thor to Earth as a mortal, this timeto teach the headstrong youth somehumility. Stripped of his memory andpowers, Thor became a lame medicalstudent, Donald Blake. For several yearsBlake studied and practiced medicine inthe New York area; while on vacation inNorway, Blake discovered the cavewhere he, as Thor, was born. Within thecave was his uru hammer, disguised as awalking stick. Striking the stick againstthe ground, Blake became Thor.

Having learned the lesson of humility,Thor has since given up his mortal formand now uses the secret identity ofSigurd Jarlson � construction worker.He retains his godly abilities in thissecret identity.

For many years Thor has foughtagainst evil on Earth and in Asgard. Hewas a founding member, with the origi-nal Ant-man�, Iron Man�, and Wasp�,of the New York-based Avengers, andhas always proved a tough matchagainst foes in both worlds.

In the time since Thor reappeared onEarth, his hammer has lost two of itsoriginal enchantments. The first, anability to travel through time, wasremoved by Immortus, Lord of Limbo,to salvage the planet of the Space Phan-toms. The second, which transformedThor into Dr. Blake and back, wasremoved by Odin to be bestowed on analien champion, Beta Ray Bill, whobested Thor in honest combat.

LOKI�Norse God of Mischief

Fighting: REMARKABLE (30)Agility: EXCELLENT (20)Strength: AMAZING (50)Endurance: AMAZING (50)Reason: EXCELLENT (20)Intuition: EXCELLENT (20)Psyche: MONSTROUS (75)

Health: 150Karma: 115Resources: EXCELLENTPopularity: 25


DENSE FLESH: Loki, due to his giantish


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heritage, has Excellent Body armor.

MAGIC: Loki is a sorcerer of Monstrousability. His spells, however, last only aslong he concentrates on them � he mustmake magical talismans to holds spells ofa permanent nature. He can create mys-tic shields and fire bolts of mysticenergy for Monstrous effect, though thisweakens his other spells.

Loki uses his Personal energies to casthis thoughts into other minds (but can-not read minds), plant hypnotic sugges-tions, cast his image in other areas, andsee into other places. He may reach intoother dimensions with these powers.

Loki taps Universal Energies to trans-form himself and others into differentshapes and guises, enhance another�spower or ability by three ranks, or opena physical portal between the dimen-sions (usually Asgard and Earth).

Loki rarely uses dimensional energies,since the powers he could evoke areoften more dangerous than he is. Ingeneral, Loki uses his magic to get oth-ers to fight for him, rather than taking adirect hand in magical combat.

LOKI�S TALISMANS: Loki can enchantitems and increase the abilities of otherspermanently by means of talismans.Loki can make these talismans using theBuilding Things section of the CampaignBook, by utilizing his Psyche scoreinstead of Reason. A 50% chance existsthat the talisman requires somethingunique (such as a lock of Thor�s hair)that would require the God of Mischiefto engage in some thievery. Up to fiveseparate abilities can be enchanted inone talisman, but no ability or powercan be above Amazing. Loki has hiddena Talisman in his castle that will restore

76 AUGUST 1984

him to life in the (unlikely) event of hisdemise.

Loki�s Story: Loki is the son of Laufey,King of the Giants of Jotunheim in thedimension that houses Asgard. Laufeywas defeated by the forces of Odin, andthe god-sized child was adopted by theAll-Father and raised in Asgard. As theyoung Loki matured, his talent for prac-tical jokes earned him the title �God ofMischief.� One of his favorite targets(later a major foe) was his half-brotherThor, the Thunder-God. As Odin�s blood-son, Thor was closer in Odin�s heart,which gave Loki jealous fits and madehis pranks even more malicious.

With Thor�s return to Asgard afterlearning humility, Loki has continued toplague the Thunder God. Loki was inad-vertently responsible for the formationof the Avengers, as it was his illusionsthat caused the Hulk� to destroy a rail-road bridge and force the four heroestogether. Loki has tried to blackenThor�s reputation, has created orenchanced villains such as theAbsorbing Man� to battle Thor, hastried to steal Mjolnir, and has led theforces of the giants against Asgard inseveral attempts to cause Ragnarok andthe twilight of the gods.

Loki has always been defeated in theseattempts; at various times he has beenturned into a tree, banished fromAsgard, stripped of power and sent toEarth, turned to stone, and chained to amountain beneath a acid-dripping ser-pent. Despite the elaborate nature ofOdin�s punishments, Loki has alwaysmanaged to bounce back with yetanother plan to harass Thor and endan-ger Asgard.

ULIK�Leader of the Lost Trolls

Fighting: MONSTROUS (75)Agility: GOOD (10)Strength: UNEARTHLY (100)Endurance: UNEARTHLY (100)Reason: GOOD (10)Intuition: EXCELLENT (20)Psyche: EXCELLENT (20)

Health: 285Karma: 50Resources: INCREDIBLEPopularity: 20


DENSE FLESH: Ulik�s orange hide istough even for a rock troll, and provideshim with Monstrous Body Armor.

POUNDERS: These unique weaponsresemble Asgardian brass knuckles.They do not raise his fighting ability, butUlik does 150 points damage when hehits. In addition, Ulik can use the pound-ers on Earth, setting off earthquakes ofMonstrous damage to everything withinthree areas, and Remarkable damage toeverything within five areas.

MINIONS: Ulik is commander of hisown small band of warrior trolls. These,being normal trolls, have the followingstats:

F A S E R I PRe Gd Re In Fe Po Po

These trolls have a Health of 110 andGood Body Armor.

Ulik�s Story: Ulik is the largest andstrongest of the Rock Trolls of Gun-dershelm Caverns in Asgard. His earlyhistory is a mystery, for he first comesto the attention of Asgardian chroniclersin his battles with Thor. Although evenlymatched, the rock troll has lost againstThor repeatedly. By using a tunnelbetween the dimensions, Ulik hasinvaded Earth twice, only to be repelledby Thor each time. Due to his power-hungry actions, Ulik has been cast out ofthe Domain of Trolls by King Geirrodur.However, he has assembled his owngroup of followers from Gundershelmand other lost troll tribes.

Ulik would be the perfect pawn forone such as Loki � big, powerful, not-too-bright, and with a mighty hatred forthe Mighty Thor. If Loki could open thetunnel (closed by Thor) from Asgard toEarth, Ulik could once again invadeMidgard, while Loki would have thepleasure of bothering his hated half-brother again.

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For as long as the oldest spacer remem-bers, the enigma of the Ebony Eyes hasexisted. It was discovered accidentallyby a tramp freighter, captained by ahuman named Eboniyes. Over the yearsthe phenomenon became known as theEbony Eyes, both after the captain andthe presence of black holes.

Located exactly halfway between thesystems of Dramune and K�aken-Kar onthe Frontier Sector Map (p. 51, STARFRONTIERS Expanded Game Rules), theEbony Eyes are two unique black holesthat orbit one another, lying only160,000 kilometers (16 hexes) apart.Both singularities are almost equivalentin size and strength.

Anything coming within 50,000 km (5hexes) of one of the Ebony Eyes is lost,and will fall into the singularity withinminutes. Rescue and escape are impos-sible. It is possible for a ship to take upan orbit around one of the Ebony Eyesat a 60,000 km (6 hex) radius; the shipwould move at one hex per turn, andcould start a scenario already in orbitaround the Eye. An orbiting ship wouldhave a speed of zero. A ship may enterorbit around an Eye by coming withinsix hexes of it at a speed of one, movingalong the proper orbital path, then turn-ing off its engines. A safe �window�exists between the holes (30,000 kmwide, or 3 hexes) for ships to travelthrough without risk of having theirflight paths altered by the singularities�enormous gravitational pull.

The two black holes, designated EbonyEyes Alpha and Ebony Eyes Beta onofficial UPF astronavigational charts, arerelatively small compared to averageblack holes. But an interesting pheno-mona occurs around the Ebony Eyesthat is known at no other known blackhole location.

Because these two black holes are soclose together, the temporal and spatialfields around them have been twistedout of shape. This phenomenon causesillusionary duplicates of anything thatenters the area to appear. The duplicates(0-3 of them, determined by a d4-1 roll)will appear within a few kilometers ofthe original object (in the same hex asthe object), and will make every movethat the original object makes. Theduplicates will shoot illusionary weap-ons if the original does, and the beamsand missiles launched will be duplicatedas well (though duplicates will have noeffect on targets). Energy sensors, radar,and all other detection devices will notbe able to tell which object of an identi-cal set is real and which is not.

Background to the BattleEvery galactic year a special researchship is sent to the Ebony Eyes to checkon any changes in their energy patternsand to try new experiments. The shipstays for two standard days and is usu-ally accompanied by a small militaryescort, since some of the most importantscientists in the UPF are involved in theresearch.

This year a larger than usual militaryescort was sent with the research ship(the Ensten); an increase in Sathar hostil-ities in recent months brought thisabout. The military vessels wereinstructed to protect the Ensten at allcosts, and also planned to conductmaneuvering and weapons drills in theirspare time.

The trip to the Ebony Eyes wasuneventful and soon the scientistsaboard the Ensten were happily takingreadings. The crews of the UPFS vessels,however, were nervous because of unu-sual energy transmissions they pickedup as they entered the system. Theywere also unused to the �duplicating�effects of the local space-time distortion.

Only minutes after taking up positionsat the Ebony Eyes, the UPF crews wereshocked to discover what appeared tobe an enormous Sathar war fleet comingaround the side of Ebony Eyes Beta. The

The Battleat EbonyEyesA STAR FRONTIERS®Knight Hawks game scenarioby William Tracy


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Sathar had gone undetected as nothingcould be seen, visually or using long-range detectors, of what was on theother side of the Ebony Eyes (which aresurrounded by whirlpools of matter anddust extending out to 50,000 km). TheSathar were just as surprised, andbelieved that a major UPF fleet haddiscovered the base of operations theyhad established at the Ebony Eyes somemonths ago, from which they had suc-cessfully raided UPF space and eludeddiscovery.

The famed Battle of Ebony Eyesresulted. It was certainly one of themost unexpected military actions tohave taken place with the Sathar, and itproved to be one of the most confusingbattles as well.

Defenses: RH, ES, PS, SS, ICM(x12)

UPFS Honor (light cruiser)HP 70 ADF 3 MR 2 DCR 100Weapons: DC, LB, EB, PB, RB(x6), T(x4)Defenses: RH, ES, SS, ICM(x12)

UPFS Chivalry and Faith (destroyers)HP 50 ADF 3 MR 3 DCR 75Weapons: LC, RB(x4), LB, T(x2), EBDefenses: RH, MS(x2), ICM(x5)

UPFS Electron and Proton (frigates)HP 40 ADF 4 MR 3 DCR 70Weapons: LC, RB(x4), LB, T(x2), EBDefenses: RH, MS(x4), ICM(x4)

Sathar Ships

UPF Ships

SAVB Nova (fortified space station)HP 300 DCR 150Weapons: LB(x5), RB(x16)Defenses: RH, MS(x4), ICM(x12)

UPFS Ensten (research vessel) SAV Blood War (heavy cruiser)HP 40 ADF 4 MR 3 DCR 70 HP 80 ADF 2 MR 1 DCR 120Weapons: LB Weapons: LB(x2), PB, EB, DC, S(x2),Defenses: RH T(x4), RB(x8)

Defenses: RH, ES, PS, SS, ICM(x8)UPFS Admiral Clinton (battleship)

HP 120 ADF 2 MR 2 DCR 200Weapons: DC, LB(x3), PB, EB(x2), S(x4),T(x8), RB(x10)

SAV Famine (light cruiser)HP 70 ADF 3 MR 2 DCR 100Weapons: DC, LB, EB, PB, RB(x6), T(x4)Defenses: RH, ES, SS, ICM(x8)

SAV Disease and Apocalypse(frigates)

HP 40 ADF 4 MR 3 DCR 70Weapons: LC, RB(x4), LB, T(x2)Defenses: RH, MS(x2), ICM(x4)

The following 10 fighters are basedaboard the fortified station Nova:

Fighters A-JHP 8 ADF 5 MR 5 DCR 30Weapons: AR(x3)Defenses: RH

Scenario set upThe following is a list of the ships thatfought at Ebony Eyes, with the hexnumber that each begins the game inand their direction of facing (see below).It also lists their speed when the battlebegins. Use the appropriate counters forthe ships, upside down planet countersfor the black holes, an da miscellaneousship counter for the Ensten.

Direction of facing is indicated by analphabetical letter, A-F, that follows eachship�s hex number. The following dia-gram shows in which direction a shipwill face on the Knight Hawks gamemap:

Ebony Eyes Alpha: Hex 2019 (stationary)Ebony Eyes Beta: Hex 3519 (stationary)

UPFS Admiral Clinton: hex 3526 D (fullstop)

UPFS Honor: hex 3326 F (full stop)UPFS Chivalry: hex 2929 E (full stop)UPFS Faith: hex 4033 C (full stop)UPFS Electron: hex 3233 D (full stop)UPFS Proton: hex 4229 A (full stop)UPFS Ensten: hex 3426 E (full stop)

SAVB Nova (in orbit): hex 4119 (1 hex/turn)

SAV Blood War: hex 2816 D (2 hexes/turn)

SAV Famine: hex 3611 B (2 hexes/turn)SAV Disease: hex 4116 C (1 hex/turn)SAV Apocalypse: hex 4116 C (1 hex/turnSAV Fighters (aboard the Nova): hex


80 AUGUST 1984

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Ship facing diagram

Special rulesA referee will be needed for this sce-nario. At the start of the game, the ref-eree should roll dice and determine howmany copies of each ship exist (d4-1),and then inform the players of theresults for both their own fleet and thatof the enemy. The referee will have tokeep track during the game of whichships are discovered to be copies andwhich are found to be real. This caninvolve some elaborate bookkeeping.

Targeting computers and personnelwill not be able to tell the difference

between real ships and their illusionarycopies. If a real ship uses a weapon, anycopies of it will appear to shoot the sametype of weapon. Individual �to hit� rollsshould be made for all weapons, bothfrom copies and (of course) real ships. Ifone of the rolls is determined to hit atarget, determine randomly whether thetarget ship or a copy of it (if any) wasstruck.

If an illusionary weapon hit a realship, the ship�s crew can determinewhich ship fired the weapon and candisregard that ship when firing back.Thus if a ship and its two copies firedmissiles at another ship and only anillusionary missile hits, the target shipcan disregard the �fake� ship that firedthe illusionary missile when returningfire, and can thus permanently increaseits chances to find which of the copiedships is the real one.

If a real ship is hit by a real weapon, itwill take damage and so will its copies. Areal weapon hitting a fake ship and afake weapon hitting a fake ship willproduce no effects, but no one exceptfor the referee will be able to tell if theweapon hitting the fake ship was realor not.

Tactics and victory conditionsThe Sathar will try to knock out theEnsten�s engines, so that after defeatingthe UPF ships they can capture theEnsten�s scientists (they have recognizedwhat the ship is and how valuable itspassengers would be).

The Ensten alone may attempt toescape the battle; both UPF and Satharships will not voluntarily leave the mapuntil one side or the other is conquered.The Ensten may escape by exiting thegame board from the far left side,between hexes 0101 and 0139. If theSathar see they will not be able to stopthe Ensten from escaping, they willcenter their efforts towards destroyingit. The Sathar will follow the Enstenuntil they are destroyed.

To win, the UPF ships must destroy allthe Sathar ships, but not necessarily thespace fortress, and keep the Ensten safe.If the Ensten is destroyed, but theSathar ships (excluding the space for-tress) are destroyed, the game is consid-ered a draw. If the Ensten escapes butall the UPF ships are destroyed, it isconsidered a marginal victory for theSathar (their base is discovered and theymust flee).

D R A G O N 8 1

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Yachts andPrivateers Return

Revised statistics for STAR FRONTIERS®Knight Hawks ships

by Douglas Niles

Imagine yourself flashing like a meteorthrough the void of space with a Federa-tion cruiser on your tail, or picking yourway nimbly through the densely-packedasteroids in the White Light system,searching for a pirate base concealedsomewhere among the crowded rocks.These are just a couple of situations inwhich you might appreciate having thecontrols to a fast and manueverable shipat your fingertips.

The yachts and privateers introducedto the STAR FRONTIERS Knight Hawksgame in DRAGON® Magazine #86 (�Fastand Deadly�) represent new vesselsdesigned for jobs such as these. Becauseof some discrepancies with the gamerules contained in that article, someadditional explanations are in order.

As several readers noticed, the arma-ment allowed on the yachts and priva-teers more closely resembles thatallowed on military vessels than civilianones. In fact, these ships were designedas �paramilitary� vessels, and conse-quently are not restricted by the civilianships� limitations on armament.

Because of the advanced technologyneeded to outfit these ships, however,the cost of building them also increased.To simulate this, if players in your cam-paign wish to purchase or build a yachtor privateer ship, require them to paydouble the hull cost listed in the KnightHawks rules.

The ship statistics given below shouldbe considered official for the variousclasses of both yachts and privateers.The following abbreviations are used:HS = hull size; HP = hull points; ADF =acceleration/deceleration factor; MR =manuever rating; DCR = damage controlrating. See the Knight Hawks rules for afull explanation of these ratings.


The six classes of yachts are listedbelow. The specific ship statistics are for

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the first vessel of each class; these ves-sels have consequently given theirnames to the entire class of ships.

Note that the first models of the Yachtclass were armed like military ships.Later models have been streamlinedconsiderably for less warlike roles. Tosimulate this modification, players areallowed to add 1 ADF or MR point foreach weapon or defense system that isremoved. This is an exception to theKnight Hawks �Modifying Spaceships�rule.

Rim-Song Class: HS 3, HP 15, ADF 4, MR3, DCR 29; Weapons: laser battery;Defenses: reflective hull; no lifeboats.Imp Class: HS 4, HP 20, ADF 3, MR 4,DCR 32; Weapons: laser battery, assaultrocket battery; Defenses: reflective hull;no lifeboats.Nova Class: HS 5, HP 25, ADF 2, MR 2,DCR 35; Weapons: laser battery, rocketbattery, laser cannon; Defenses: reflec-tive hull; no lifeboats.Astro-Blaster III Class: HS 6, HP 30, ADF1, MR 3, DCR 38; Weapons: laser battery,electron beam battery; Defenses: reflec-tive hull, interceptor missiles (x4); nolifeboats.Nebula Class: HS 7, HP 35, ADF 3, MR 3,DCR 41; Weapons: laser battery, rocketbattery, laser cannon; Defenses: reflec-tive hull, masking screen; one lifeboat.Belvedere Class: HS 9, HP 45, ADF 3, MR3, DCR 47; Weapons: laser battery,rocket battery, laser cannon; Defenses:reflective hull, interceptor missiles (x4);one lifeboat.


Privateers were designed as powerful,fast ships. Unlike yachts, these vesselshave not evolved beyond their originalpurpose and are still used primarily forcombat operations.

Thruster Class: HS 2, HP 10, ADF 4, MR

5, DCR 26; Weapons: assault rocketbattery (4); Defenses: reflective hull; nolifeboats.Lightspeed Lady Class: HS 4, HP 20, ADF4, MR 4, DCR 32; Weapons: laser battery,assault rocket battery (3); Defenses:reflective hull, masking screen; nolifeboats.Moonbright Stinger Class: HS 9, HP 45,ADF 3, MR 2, DCR 45; Weapons: lasercannon, seeker missile launcher (2 mis-siles), electron beam battery; Defenses:reflective hull, interceptor missiles (x6);one lifeboat.Rollo�s Revenge Class: HS 10, HP 50, ADF3, MR 3, DCR 50; Weapons: laser battery,proton beam battery, electron beambattery, 6 torpedos; Defenses: reflectivehull, 6 interceptor missiles; one lifeboat.Condor Class: HS 13, HP 65, ADF 3, MR3, DCR 59; Weapons: disruptor beambattery, 2 laser batteries, proton beambattery, electron beam battery, 4 torpe-dos; Defenses: reflective hull, stasisscreen, interceptor missiles (x8); onelifeboat.

Yachts and privateersin your campaign

Despite their relatively high cost, theversatility and high performance aspectsof yachts and privateers are causingthem to appear more and more fre-quently throughout the frontier. Forexample, the space battles fought as partof �Laco�s War� have been fought almostexclusively by privateers, and both pri-vateers and yachts promise to figureprominently in the struggles to controltrade to mineral-rich Alcazzar as well(see the Mission to Alcazzar module formore information �Ed.) Other uses forthese nimbles ships include duties aspleasure vessels, exploration ships, con-voy escorts for corporate or militaryformations, high-speed freighters,scouts, mercenary transports, and evenpirate ships.

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StarQuestionsQuestions and answers on STAR FRONTIERS® gaming

by Penny Petticord

This time the column takes anotherlook at the STAR FRONTIERS science-fiction game. If you need someanswers to help your gaming cam-paign, write down your questionsand mail them to StarQuestions,Dragon Publishing, PO. Box 110,Lake Geneva, WI 53147.

Q: How high can a character�s abilityscores be raised?A: No ability score can be raisedabove 100, including racial abilitiessuch as Lie Detection and Elasticity.

Q: In ARES� Magazine #15 there was anarticle about putting von Neumannmachines (those capable of self-replica-tion) into the STAR FRONTIERS game.There are a few questions I have aboutthe article�s description of the machine:1. What hull size is the machine�sstarship?2. How long does it take the plant toproduce 1,000 hunters?3. How many structure points does theplant have?4. How many stamina points does ahunter have?5. Why are the IM and attack scores forthe hunter so low? The statistics given inthe article seem to be in conflict withthose given in the Expanded GameRules, p. 26, under �Robots.� Thehunter�s IM is listed as -3 and its attackscore is 40%, but the hunter has a third-level computer in it.A: The machine�s starship is hullsize 18, with six hatches and sixengines, ADF 2, MR 2. It takes oneday for the machine to produce 10hunters, so 1,000 hunters would take100 days. The whole plant has 1,000structure points, and the main com-puter has 200. A hunter has 600stamina points, making it slightlylarger than a heavy duty robot.

84 AUGUST 1984

As for the hunter�s statistics, itmust be remembered that thehunter was not designed for combat.The creators of the machine systemassumed that the operations wouldmeet no resistance except for localflora and fauna, so they equippedhunters with only a self-defenseprogram. A hunter cannot use weap-ons like robots designed for fighting;it can only use its arms. Such arobot�s normal chance to hit wouldbe 60%, but a -20% modifier is givendue to the arms� size and clumsiness.The initiative modifier is also low-ered due to size and slow move-ment.

Q: The White Light System Brief forClarion (Gollywog) in the �Warriors ofWhite Light� module states that theatmosphere is 16% carbon dioxide. If so,the air is unbreathable without protec-tion. Earth, for instance, has 0.033%carbon dioxide by volume; the danger-ous level is 0.5%, at which point humans

will fall unconscious and soon die.A: Alter the �Atmosphere� section toread, �60% nitrogen, 24% oxygen,16% other gases.� The carbon diox-ide level should be considered to beat about Earth�s level.

Q: On pgs. 55-56 of the Campaign Book,it states that the ship counters for OuterReach are white on orange, but none ofthe counters were printed that way.A: This was a mistake made in theproduction of the counters. Justmark the black on orange countersfor Outer Reach with a pen to distin-guish them from other counters.

Q: On p. 56 of the Campaign Book,under �Frontier Deployment Map � StarSystems,� it states that the planets insidethe yellow �sunbursts� on the FrontierDeployment Map are labelled by name.They aren�t.A: This was a minor glitch in thegame, not critical to play. Players canlabel the planets if they desire.

Illustration by Jim Holloway

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Index toadvertisers

Name of firm or product Page(s)Adventure Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10AMAZING® Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56Amulet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38Armory, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42, 43Avalon Hill Game Co., The . . . . . . . . . . . .17Bard Games. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38Castle Creations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54Companions, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32Compleat Strategist, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31Diamond Dice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15DRAGON® Magazine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96Dunken Co., The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35Entertainment Concepts, Inc. . . . . . . . . . .67Fantasy Games Unlimited. . . .14, 34, 75, 81Game Designers� Workshop. . . . . . . . . . . .29Game Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Gamelords Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24Gamers� Guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86-87Games on Call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83Games Workshop Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37Graaf Simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27Grenadier Models Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25Hobby Game Distributors, Inc . . . . . . . . . .53Iron Crown Enterprises, Inc . . .1, back coverMayfair Games Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36New American Library. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Nichols Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Nova Game Designs, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . .33Pacesetter Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85Quest Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80RJM Enterprises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10RAFM Co., Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7, 41Ral Partha Enterprises, Inc. . . . . Inside front

cover, 57R P G , I n c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18S h o g u n . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 9Sky Realms Publishing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55Sleuth Publications, Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68StaCom Simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30TSR, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39, 44, 77Victory Games, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5West End Games . . . . . . . .Inside back coverWindmill Hobbies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20, 21

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