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Friday, December 16, 2016

Dragon Plus Issue 11

You can read this issue right here.

New issue of Dragon Plus! I have absolutely no idea what will be in this thing. I can't even guess. More Storm King?

I love writing about Dragon Plus. It's an easy read. I always have the same feeling - I wish it was more like a Paizo issue of Dragon Magazine. But what are you going to do? It's free, at least.

Overall: I can save you some time. I really liked this issue so if you don't want it spoiled, I'd say you should check it out, especially if you want Storm King's Thunder stuff.

The cover is an origami D&D ampersand. It's weird that they put it on a white background.

Apparently the theme of this issue is "DIY" as in "do-it-yourself." Can't say I'm too excited about that, but let's see what we got.

That's a paper mâché Tiamat. It's pretty amazing.

Concepting the Creatures

There's an article about making Volo's and D&D concept art. I love D&D art, but this wasn't doing anything for me in the beginning. Then I saw the mind flayer heads. They're pretty cool, right?

And then. AND THEN. I am not a fan of the flail snail art in Volo's. It's not bad at all. I imagine it is very difficult to make a cool piece of flail snail art. Somebody please tell me how this didn't make into Volo's?!

Right? That is awesome! The scale, the shell, we see the flail snail from the side which I don't think we've ever seen before. I love this thing. They need to put this in a book. Maybe they did and I missed it.

I've never been a kobold fan, but look at this black dragon/kobold:

I really like that. I would definitely use that in a game.

A mind flayer tadpole:

I am staggered. Love it!

Look at these awesome concepts for where an elder brain lives:

There's a lot more but I don't want to ruin the whole thing for you. This stuff is awesome.

100 Items in a Giant's Bag

Hey! Nice. This greatly expands on the list of what's in a giant's bag in Storm King. I felt like the ones in the adventure were very flat. These are not flat at all! Some of my favorites:

Magic Beard: A magical false beard that can hide daggers or a set of thieves tools. That's just awesome.

Steamy Novel: A novel about a steamy affair between a frost giant and a fire giant. That's an adventure right there, right? You could do a lot of cool stuff with that kind of intermingling.

Jar: A jar of pickled goblin heads.

I don't know why, but this one makes me laugh:

Animals: Two live goats, only one of which is grateful for the rescue.

Magic Deck: A deck of playing cards, in which all of the face cards incorporate the image of the deck's current owner.

That is really cool and I think a lot of players would love this thing.

I don't want to say too many of them. There is a ton of great stuff on this list. If you're running Storm King, I think you should definitely take a look at it.

Schley: There's a big interview with Mike Schley, who is one of the main map guys for D&D. He talks about his origin and his approach to creating maps of cities. It looks like he has a book coming out called Schleyscapes which I will definitely get.

I love a lot of his maps, but the Dead in Thay dungeon map really blew my mind. Some of those lair assault maps were fantastic, too.

New Minis: There's a big miniature painting tutorial. They're coming out with a line of unpainted D&D minis like reaper bones. It's called Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures.

I like the idea of painting my own minis, but it takes up so much time.

You know what? You can probably make good money selling painted Nolzur's minis on ebay. If that's your thing, you should think about it. I will probably buy some and I bet a lot of other people will, too.

Lore You Should Know: We get a big thing about tabaxi. It seems like there's a lot of talk about this cat-person race. I get the feeling people really like them.

They had a number of cat-races to choose from. They went with the tabaxi because they are not overly burdened by lore from previous products.

Best of the Dungeon Master's Guild

They are focusing on the Priestess by Jason Thompson, which I reviewed a while back. This class is kind of like a cleric/mage who has an idol of their god that they carry with them and draw power from.

I really like it, especially the idea that the idol gets bigger as you gain levels. I'd love to have it walking around with me.

Old Dragon: They're doing a new thing where they present something from an old issue of Dragon. In this one, it's a cut-out map. They want to know what old articles we'd like to see.

I am assuming they can't use the Paizo stuff. There's a million old dragon magazine things I'd like to see highlighted/updated. The one that springs to mind is the Ioun Stone article in Dragon Magazine 174 (Bazaar of the Bizarre) by Matthew Hargenrader. The scope is so huge and he made so many new ioun stones. He's the ioun stone guy in real life.

The author made a FREE document containing about 600 ioun stones right here.

The other one that I think of is the Ed Greenwood Hell stuff, but that was already reprinted in the 4e era.

Right up there with those two is any of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv articles by James Jacobs. I really do feel that the Graz'zt one by James Jacobs is one of the greatest Dragon articles of all time. I'm pretty that's one of the post-paizo issues, the weird online magazines that bridged the gap between 3.5 and 4th edition.

D&D Shows: There's some plugs for D&D shows. They do Misscliks, which is cool. They mention Dice, Camera, Action.

You know.. right now, the Dice Camera Action episode reviews that I do get three times the traffic of any other stuff aside from the adventure guides. It's weird to me that Dragon Plus doesn't plug it that much. They did have a Holly article last issue, but it feels like there's so many cool things they could do.

Maps of the Month

If you're playing Storm King, I think you'll want these. They have tagged and untagged maps of Maelstrom, Lyn Armaal and more. They have the airship map! Untagged! How handy is that?

Final Verdict

The three things I like most in Dragon Plus is:
  • Stuff by Ed Greenwood
  • Shannon Appelcline writing about an old D&D thing
  • A walkthrough map by Jason Thompson
While I got none of these things, I still really liked this issue. I love D&D art and I love D&D maps so that makes this issue beyond worth it. Those Storm King items are really fantastic. I hope people look at them because there is a lot of fun to be had with the stuff.


Jason R said...

Dice, Camera, Action reviews get three times the traffic?? Thus is the popularity of these shows I suppose. I myself am a fan of your own content, be it campaign write-ups, exhaustive studies of a particular subject, or what have you. I'll do my part to keep the traffic stats up for these areas!

Sean said...

Jason R: Yeah, isn't that crazy? It makes me happy because I want DCA to do well. Thank you, I will always write the guides and summaries because that's why I made this blog to start with. It's fascinating to me that the session summaries are the least popular thing on the site even though that's why I made the blog in the first place! I would say that when I was running hoard in the store and writing about it, people really liked those. It really bums me out that I had to stop, but... I had to stop. I had reached my limit.

Jason R said...

The popularity of DCA and so on coincides directly to the momentum of 5e of course .We've sort of touched on this before; the fantasy RPG community is now more homogenized than I've ever seen it. The diversity of yesteryear is gone and so much of the community is now solely focused on the current couple of WotC mega releases. It's not necessarily a criticism as having fun is the name of the game. The idea of "shared experience" with the rest of the community is also a draw for some. So I recognize that I'm in the minority, but I will continue to revel in your home campaigns, use of obscure and varied sources, and the unique stringing together of material into a personal masterpiece.