Game Day: Dragon’s End, Ravenloft’s Mists

It was a bitter-sweet game day on Friday as Paizo Publishing and Wizards of the Coast announced Dragon and Dungeon magazines would cease publication after Wizards pulled the license to publish the books from Paizo. Since they didn’t give it to anyone else, this means that the magazines will cease publication in August with Dragon #359 and Dungeon #150.

The Day the Dragons Died

I was stunned to hear about the end of Dragon and Dungeon. While I only picked up the magazines haphazardly in my younger days, I’ve been a mostly-happy subscriber for the last seven years or so.

I found them a good, relatively-cheap way to get a steady stream of d20 gaming material on my bookshelf, and they’ve made an excellent reference over the years (though you need the DragonDex to figure out what’s where: http://www.aeolia.net/dragondex/ )

It’ll certainly leave a void in my mailbox each month — I do intend to transfer my subscriptions to “Pathfinder”, which is Paizo’s new Dungeon-like, quasi-book that will feature two ‘adventure paths” a year. If/when I GM full-time again, I expect it will be using sort of Adventure Path-style material.

I’m curious to see what Wizards online plans for Dragon and Dungeon will be, since it seems that its the brands they wanted back. Straight-up web articles would be terrible — Wizards’ web site has never been easy to navigate, and such content would simply be swallowed up by the site’s immense maw, rarely to be seen again.

A Pyramid-like setup — which included a monthly PDF putting all the web content into one easy-to-download form — would be better, but still leaves me with a digital-only format. I know that I’m in the minority here, but I like my gaming products in print, not electrons. While I might use and reference PDFs and web pages produced in a new online Dragon, it wouldn’t be as useful or as used as the collection of print books I have on my bookshelf.

The best of a bad scenario for me would be for Wizards to publish quarterly “best of” softcovers collecting the various online Dragon articles into print. That way at least I can get the materials onto my bookshelf in some form that isn’t in a 3-ring binder.

Deeper into the Mists

This week’s game saw us once again in Ravenloft. My character, Pierce Haligarth, was on the cusp of achieving arcane understanding as his mind scrambled to find some effective defense against the undead … and a way to prevent getting his entrails ripped out.

To that end, he took a level of wizard, making use of a spellbook donated by one of the villagers he helped save from the undead horde.  As such, he didn’t get to pick his spells, so I relied on a d20 spellbook generator I found on the web. It yielded a surprisingly good collection of spells, including burning hands, charm person, shield and the all important (in Ravenloft at least) protection from evil.  Pierce also acquired a dirty, mud-splattered orange tabby cat as a familiar. As a sort of running joke inspired by one of my real-life cats, Pierce’s familiar doesn’t actually like or want to be near him, and constantly trails a few feet behind. This gave rise to a running joke of “where the hell did that cat come from?” whenever Pierce failed a Spot or Search check.