As most of the Dragon readers know, this well known D&D magazine is aimed for the hobby in general, and as such it's often high fantasy and high magic, making it less useful for a low magic gothic setting like Ravenloft.
In this column, I will review recent Dragon magazine issues, in order to pinpoint what can be salvaged for a Ravenloft DM, as presented or with modifications. These opinions are IMHO, and I do not pretend to present the only possibilities, but I sincerely hope to provide interesting ideas. Also, if I write that an article is useless, that doesn't mean that the article is bad, it's (most) probably just not applicable to the Ravenloft setting.
This column will grow with time, with future issues, and I will also try to get in the past with more ancient issues. If you want your comments on a Dragon article to be posted here as well, send them to me at Joel@FraternityOfShadows.com
Dragon issue # 328 – February 2005 (Paragons, Dwarves at War)
(Issue with nearly no Ravenloft hooks, except for the Will-O’-Wisp)
In the “First Watch” section (for news and previews), there is a note on the return of Ravenloft and MotRD:
(It is now what, more then three years after the fact?):
Paragons of the Kindred
An article of what Champions of non-human deities (Gnome, Halfling, Dwarf, Elf) could look like. High fantasy and not really for RL, as these deities are not usually worshipped in the Plane of Dread.
Dwarves at War
An article discussing dwarven strategies at war.
The Force Missile Mage
The Ecology of the Will-O’-Wisp
Interesting article, if we forgetthe cheesy biological explanations (gas nodes that feed on naturalgas, allowing it to be lighted and propelling it…). We often forget how malevolentthese can be …
Treasures of the elven empire
Elven magical items.
New bard spells. SymphonicNightmare is a funny one: Disruptive music fills the target’s sleep,preventing him from resting. It could be a cool power for ghosts, no?
Dragon issue # 327 - January 2005 (tombs)
(Interestingissue, mainly for the Tomb Raiders article)
Tomb Raiders – Real-world tombs in D&D
The article starts with a greatreview of tomb exploring lore in Egypt, or China, with rumored trapsor believed curses. Great material for MotRD. The article continues by providingmany details on Egyptian tombs, or Emperor Wang-Li’s one. Good stufffor DMing in the Amber Wastes or Asiatic flavored domains. It ends with tips on building agood burial site: traps, walking dead, protections, historic context,etc.
The spoils of war – dividing tresures in D&D
What? Players expect treasures?
With friends like these – Exalted heroes and antiheroes in D&D
Tips on playing believable exaltedheroes, without alienating the other players in your team. Follows areinteresting archetypes for various classes. Good ideas for antiheroes.
Ecology of the Grimlock
These blind creatures are oftenfound with mind flayers, often as their private armies.
New race of devil-like inhabitantof the Demiplane of Nightmares. High fantasy. Stay with the NightmareCourt, they have more pizzazz.
Bazaar of the bizarre
Fun items, good material, but highfantasy. They take our world technology items or service and turn themto magic items. Ex: Figurine of Delivery = parcel service, Horn ofRecording = compact disks, etc. One item could have potential toenhance a Ravenloft experience: the memory crystals (cameras). Goodinvestigating item?
Anovel approach: Frankenstein
This often interesting serie ofarticles focuses on a well known novel, and discuss its potential toD&D. Offered are ways to use the Craft Construct feat (AdvancedBinding – won’t go berserk; Extra arms, Rudimentary Intelligence) andhow it works. Of course, the parametrics for making golems in RL aredifferent but it’s a good basic start.
Bards from history – of which a “gypsy dancer” obviously inspired by RL’svistani
Dragon issue # 326 – December 2004 (Real worlds labyrinth)
(Issue with very few Ravenloft possibilities)
Dungeon Delver’s Guide
Equipment and advices for dungeon crawl
Down the Drain (Sewers ina fantasy campaign)
High fantasy ideas. No interest for Ravenloft, except perhaps forRichemulot?
Get Lost (real worldlabyrinth and surviving mazes in D&D)
Discussion on historical labyrinth (Egypt, Greece). Yawn …
Ecology of the Rakshasa
To update your next Web of Illusion game?
Cantrips and orisons ofthe academy of apprentices
Nature-inspired magical items (acorn of acuity, arboreal armor,briar staff, rod of the wild, sylvan cloak being the most interestingitems for RL), for druids, Sithicus elves or fey perhaps?
Wizard development:necromancer’s primer
Discussion on usage of low level necromantic spells
Dragon issue # 325 - November 2004 (arcane ancestry2, hometown heroes, theurgy, war magic)
(Issue with few Ravenloftpossibilities)
Discussion on the novel Dune, by Frank Herbert
Who are the people in yourcharacter’s neighborhood? Interesting discussion on how to keep avillage alive and interesting.
Notes on using spells in largescale wars. Play Azalin at his deadliest against the forces ofFalkovnia. Otherwise useless in RL.
Ecology of the Duergar
Myths of the Shadow
New spells for roguish andassassins activities: Marked Man, Dead End (cover all tracks andscent), etc.
Artifacts of the Pharaohs
Fun evil items for your next tombsearches and desert scouting.
New races: lupins
New race of man wolf. Notwerewolves or wolfwere, but man wolf humanoids. Lawfully aligned. Theyhate gnolls and lycanthropes. Potentially tragic RL NPC here?
Dragon issue # 324 - October 2004 (Shadow over D&D, LivingNightmares)
(Wow, at last: an issue with goodRavenloft possibilities)
American Gods novel discussion
By Neil Gaiman (Sandman, etc.). NotRavenlofty per se, but interesting to read anyway and has some ideasfor MotRD.
The Shadows over D&D
A short discussion on H.P.Lovecraft’s work in D&D. Fans will not learn anything new here.
Living Nighmares – Dream creatures of Dal Quor (Eberron)
High fantasy monsters, not reallyhorrific. Some abilities of these creatures could be used to updatethe Nightmare Court to 3e.
Very interesting additions to anundead hunter: Blood thickener, Book of prayers, Mummy mites, Portablepyre, Reinforced sheath, etc. Good complement to VRA.
Chilled to the bone
Cold monsters. Uninteresting for RLexcept one: Black ice golem ? Much more interesting then the snowgolem :)
Get more bang for your bones – animate dead tricks
How to combine various fantasy orfiendish monsters in your next animate dead creations. Unfortunately, most of these creatures do not live on the RL plane.
Ecology of Night Hags
It begins well, with a quote fromVRG to Witches. Powerful and deadly monster for high leveladventures. Interesting knowledge skill guidelines. Great article.
Hidden book (illusion spells)
One of the spell can be fun:Sensory Deprivation (creates an illusion of absolute nothingness)
Another take on monster hunter PrC.Needs adaptation: with the Nemesis feat, you can detect your chosenenemy 60’ around you, even through walls.
Dragon issue #323 - September 2004 (Samurai vsKnight)
(Average issue with some Ravenloftideas)
Samurai vs knight – who would win?
Interesting discussion, butsomewhat useless. In short, nobody knows how it would go since there’sno typical knight or a typical samurai. The discussion on weapon andarmor advantages and disadvantages is interesting.
Seven deadly domains spells for sinners
Remember the seven deadly sins? Howabout a cleric domain for avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth,wrath? Interesting roleplaying guidelines for playing sinners.
See no evil – alternatives to the detect evil spell
Fun new spells for your priest:detect attitude (toward you), detect guilt, detect heresy, detectviolence
A prestige class enabling a personto enter trance, get sprit guidance, etc. Intersting ideas for NPCs orvistanis.
WotC buying guide
Dragon issue # 322 - August 2004 (darkness)
(Issue with interesting ideas forRavenloft)
Description of the City of Balefire(pop 4 300), located on the Plane of Shadows. Interesting alien citylay out.
Who’s afraid of the dark?
Good ideas here. It is offeringguidelines for DM on many situations in darkness situations. Greatbasic read for Ravenloft starters, before adding atmosphere.
Ecology of the Dark Ones
Dark Creepers and Dark stalkers.Long article. Interesting new alchemical items (oil of nausea, shadowhaze dust, shadow veil)
Collaborative Campaign Building
Getting help from the players inbuilding it.
Shadow-themed 3.5 templates forShadows, Shade, Umbral (undead shadow creature).
Sneaky, stealthy & stylish
New magic items for assassins,rogues and bards – not too powerful in general. Good ideas.
Lord of Darkness
A new God of Darkness – Erebus,mainly worshiped on the plane of Shadows. A description on the ShadowApostles – Erebus’s spell casters that worship him. Darknesspseudo-elementals.
Patterns of shadow and light
New spells – on the fantasy side.IMHO, if given to players, the light spells would lessen the fun in RL.
Nether hounds of Kiaransalee
Kiaransalee, drow goddess of theundead and vengeance, has created Nether hound ghasts. Ideas forpowerful minions of a darklord or RL necromancer ?
Deathstalker of Bhaal
Murderers of a dead God. In FR,Bhaal was destroyed but a bunch of grim cultist still revere this deadGod.
DMtool box: Reading between the lines – Finding out what’s fun forplayers
Dungeoncraft: Characterization part 3 – The sum is greater than itspart
Dragon issue # 321 - July2004 (dragon - planar adventure)
(Another issue with limited Ravenloftpossibilities. Cool firearm article and great part 2 of Dungeoncraft)
The infused are mortals thecreatures of the good upper planes think are worthy of being betteragent of goodness. High fantasy stuff, but a Carnival adventure linkwith Isolde the ghaele as infusing someone could be interesting.
The way of the gun – gunpowder weapons for D&D
Interesting illustrated article. Isee well Drakov’s savants designing Bombard. The misfire optionalrule is fun.
The Limitless light - Plane of Radiance, followed by creatures ofBrilliance
What? A plane of infinite searingluminescence? It’s surely a lie as it is the farthest possible placeto here…
DMtool box: Defining Irony in D&D
Dungeoncraft: Characterization part 2 – One DM, one millioncharacters
Dragon issue # 320 - June2004 (30 years of D&D)
(Interesting issue, but with noRavenloft possibilities. Good Dungeoncraft article )
30years of D&D retrospective
Nice nostalgic article when you’reold like mammoths and me. Ravenloft and MotRD are briefly mentioned inthe article. Now I want a D&D beach towel and a D&D Clue boardgame ;)
Dragon PC – play the most powerful creature in D&D
Dragon – the perilous burden (raising hatchlings)
Dragon kingdoms (dragons as rulers)
DMtool box: Dungeon design and the art of simplicity (many ideas fordungeon crawls)
Dungeoncraft: Characterization part 1 – bring your characters to life
Dragon issue # 319 – May 2004 (Dark Sun)
(Issue with very few Ravenloftpossibilities)
Dark Sun Player’s Handbook
Contains races, classes andequipment. For the Kalidnay nostalgia struck.
Nearly pointless psionic class?
Iscry – spying and divination
High fantasy items
Warriors of the animal fists
Monk-like powers with animalspirits. For Oriental domains flavor ?
A plague of famine that turnspeople into hungry ghouls? Someone must find a way to stop thisplague!
DMtool box: Keep up the pace – preventing a stall
Dungeoncraft: designing wilderness adventures
Dragon issue #318 – April 2004 (Ninjas, Pirates,Dinosaurs)
(Issue with very few Ravenloftpossibilities)
Interesting villains forOriental domains adventures, mostly useless elsewhere. They have aninteresting Ghost Strike ability.
Long article. 3.5 update tothe rules of this FR sub-setting. Same comment as for Ninjas.
Marks on the Spots
Article on pirates – PCclass as pirates, Magic items (ossified pegleg is interesting for RL)
Map and description of aCaribbean fortified city, with famous historical figures (could beused for MotRD ?). The map somehow struck me as very cool. Note thevery cheesy box on ‘Setting the Pirate Mood’ …
Has a description of larval flayer. Possible adventure hooks with it…
The Play’s the thing: a non-iconic party, part 2 (tips on running aneffective party without wizards or sorcerer)
Dragon issue # 317– March 2004 (Exotic heroes)
(Issue with some interesting Ravenloft possibilities)
Xenophilia - 4 new exotic races
High fantasy stuff for most of the four races proposed (a race older then elves ? Not in RL, this world is too young; a race of sentient golem built by gnomes ? Naaah… ). I don't see most of it in RL. However, the Gruwaar is an ungly fey drawn to power and fascinated by it. It could be an outsider-like alternative to demons manipulating political power.
While the concept is interesting, I have to admit I fail to grasp the objective of that new class fascinated by a city like a living organism, changing and evolving under the pressure of one or many of its parts. They are better for combat and look like 'urban rangers' to me, it seems more fit. One new spell is quite cool: Susurrus of the city (a sort of commune for cities, where you ask the city's collective spirit a question. This spell can represent many adventure hooks in any world, RL included).
True names and fetishes
Interesting concept for higher level spellcasters - to influx their own personal power into the spells they cast. Anybody found the true name of Hazlan or Azalin ? What's bad is that he knows you know!
Using power components
Interesting use of rare components. Interesting (but classic) adventure hooks with that concept. However, a new list should be made for RL, as most of the creatures in the list are not found on the Dread planes - idea for an article, anyone ?
Body of Knowledge - 3 new PRCs
The first new PRC, the osteomancer, with the power to shape his own bones, and in higher levels, to affect the bones of his opponents. Another weird PRC, full of nonsensical statements, IMHO ('due to their phenomenal understanding of bone and the role it plays in the immune system, osteomancer are immune to disease, including supernatural and magical diseases' *lol*, sorry. Fries with that ?). Ok, perhaps to color a unique NPC …. The flux adept PRC can shape is own body because he is in tune with his cells, glands, organs … Weird and useless in RL. The cerebrex is a superbrainy PRC. Quite original IMHO, but for NPC only as it isn't very powerful. Could be an interesting addition to color a brainy darklord (like D'Honaire or Sodo ?)
Magic's high notes - 9 magical instruments
Ordinary, high fantasy stuff, except for one item I found quite cool: the Organ of Souls. I can picture Strahd having one: its music cause fear and desecrate, but more interesting is that it can be used to summon someone specific up to ten miles - you play on it 3 hours for 5 consecutive days (the chosen victim hears the music no-one else hears, wherever he is in the ten miles radius) and, after 5 days, he (or she *grin*) is compelled to get to the organ's place…). Or alternatively a new twist for Claveria's darklord ?
Central America monsters
High fantasy monsters, but perhaps used to color a trip in the new central American domains from the Book of Sacrifices (Mictlan) or the USS (Nueva Aragona, Yatehca).
The play's the Thing: Running a non-iconic party, part 1 (tips on running an effective party without fighters or rogues)
Dungeoncraft: designing wilderness adventures
Dragon issue # 316 – Feb 2004 (Spies)
(Bland issue with few Ravenloft possibilities... I'm under the impression that the various articles always say the same ‘spy blabla’ as intro and for content. And it's quite bland anyway ... Perhaps as help in designing the generic "Kargat spy" idea ?)
Four spying articles: License to Kill; Covert PCs, Cloak and dagger, Spies like us
As I said in intro, quite bland, unless you really like kits and are unable to find a distinct personality to your spy. The article on gadgets for spies has some ideas for rogues or a thief guild (a rare thing in Ravenloft).
Smoke and mirrors – Divination in D&D
Interesting article on divination spells ruling. I never saw this spell category as very complicated before (I wish they could do the same for illusion spells!), but the explanation and expansion is well made.
DM tool box: Playing it smart (character intelligence vs player intelligence)
Dragonissue # 315 – January 2004(Campaign classics)
The preceding issue offered teasers that it would feature Strahd and a ‘re-visit’ of Strahd’s lair with a ‘brand new’ map of Castle Ravenloft. Well, …
Ravenloft – the return of Strahd
It's not something to write your undead grandmother about... The article is just a conversion of Strahd from I-6 and from DoDread (i.e. a CR 12 Strahd and a CR 18 version). On Strahd, that's it: stats. Period. No hint whatsoever on his curse or tragic past. There is one page on combat tactics for Strahd (the usual recommendations). It was made using ordinary D&D rules and completely ignores the WW book conversions (except in one very small mention that RL is now d20 licensed to WW). So … stick with the Gaz I version! On the maps: the Castle Ravenloft maps in it are quite close to the original, AFAICS. Absolutely nothing in the article, as a summary of the adventure, or room descriptions, except a short summary for each floor. So if you do not have I-6, and want the map, the issue might be for you. Also, the article drawing isn't about Strahd, it's about something else ... (but there is a funny drawing of Soth emerging from a grave marked 'Ravenloft' )
¨ Dark Sun – defilers of Athas
For those Kalidnay incurable, there is a template for T’lizes, a sort of defiler lich who is able to stop its desiccation with oils to appear as human.
Ghostwalk – the bloody swords
Few things on undead: Rejuvenative Corpse spell (an undead eating a corpse affected by the spell gains fast healing), and a template for undead (Fleshvigor, with powers such as cannibalistic healing)
Masque of the Red Death
The issue has two pages on MotRD, which were more interesting then the RL four pages : about a qabal in France named La lumière (a group trying to enlighten the world with understanding and knowledge, while the RedD does the opposite). One ability, Light of Reason (use intellectual powers to over come foes: in short, add your intelligence bonus to your attack roll, once per day), is well made for these 'intellectuals' IMHO.
Dragon issue # 314 - December 2003 (Elemental magic)
(Issue with very few Ravenloft possibilities, as the elemental planes are practically unreachable from Ravenloft)
Dragon issue # 313 – November 2003 (lycanthropes and other monsters)
Animal ancestry – characters that answers the call of the wild
While we wait for the 3e conversion of the VRG to the lycanthrope, this article is useful for stats and roleplaying ideas for werebear, wereboar, wererat, weretiger and werewolf. Interesting feats and personality traits for each type.
Brain power – secrets of the illithids
Not that useful for RL, in fact a psi-spell powers expansion (feats, etc.)
Born of Death – half-undead and their kin
Half-undead templates: fetch, gheden (a normally mindless undead, who retained some parts of its soul), ghul (child of an expectant mother turned to ghoul or ghast), katane (half-vampire).
Deathtouched (have a half-undead as ancestor)
General comment: interesting ideas here for tailoring unique NPCs, but they should be unique exceptions.
Ghost elves –elves of the ethereal
Not very useful, as the ethereal isn’t very close to RL. Perhaps interesting when designing a new breed of arak ?
Elder serpents of Set
Interesting ideas to enrich an evil cult set in the Amber Wastes.
Strange bedfellows – half monster templates (half-doppelganger, half-janni, half-minotaur, half-nymph, half-ogre, half-satyr, half-rakshasa)
Quite high fantasy templates here. If we forget the possible (but very rare) half-doppelganger or half-rakshasa kid, the other are not useful.
DM tool box: What do you mean you’re going West ? Adventures askew
Dragon issue # 312 - October 2003 (evil classes)
PrC: anti-paladin, despot and corrupter. High powered abilities, but interesting notes for role playing an evil NPC.
Among the dead - necromancer PrC archetype and abilities
In general - high powered. Interesting adaptable ideas to tailor a necromancer and gives him unique personality and abilities.
Death walker (work to get immortality through undeath, becomes more and more undead with higher level)
Flesh crafter (a cross between undead creation and construct skills. Cool 'stitched flesh' familiar)
Soul Reaper (create undead with its soul binded to its body and dominated)
Assassin - specialty PrC for
General - not that useful in RL, but interesting to find tailored abilities for assassins or Baal' Verzi-like thugs
Oppressor (assassin people to make an example, ex: mob)
Poisoner (with craft DC for poison making)
Replacement killer (to eliminate and replace people in position of power)
Of thieves will - evil enchanters
Mind controllers. D'Honnaire ?
Prayer of the frostmaiden
Why do I think of the Ice Queen ? ;) Frost spells - interesting inspiration for Jezra (or Meredoth) (as spell or supernatural abilities): cold fire (change the normal flames of a fire to cold fire - Jezra's aura ? Quite a surprise for adventurers camping in the mountain …), heat leech, etc.
The Ebon Maw
A high fantasy fiendish monster, hungry to devour the world. Provides rich information on a cult to this demon: beliefs, organization, and cool hunger-related spells ('Insatiable hunger'). For RL, the demon is way over the top (860 hp!). However, this article provides very cool adventure hooks for a campaign in famine plagued G'Henna, where cultists could be trying to summon this hungry demon in Ravenloft! Of course, somebody has to stop them … I don't think it is necessary, but if you want a grand combat finale, perhaps a lower powered avatar of the demon could be designed.
Dragon issue # 311- September 2003 (Eberron, Secret magic)
(Issue heavily focused on new PrCs for clerics and druids, spell templates, and bloodline feats for sorcerers according to their high fantasy ancestor)
Musical masters – PrC for bards
Not useful in RL, except the cool Mourner – this type of bard believes in the sanctity of the grave and hate undead.
DM tool box: Hirelings and Followers – NPCs you can use
Dragon issue # 310 – August 2003 (mighty heroes)
(Issue with very very few Ravenloft possibilities: heavily focused on new PrCs for fighter, ranger, monk, paladin and rogue. The RL setting has enough PrC to start adding others less RL focused PrCs)
DM tool box: Show them the way - Guide to accompany NPCs
Dragon issue # 309 - July 2003 (War, githyanki incursion)
(A very cool issue on githyanki, my favorite fantasy race. My players fear them in other campaigns. But, drats, they are not RLish …)
Beast of the Battlefield
Magical constructs for war. Interesting idea for a Cavitius vs Tovag, for ideas on Vecna's warped war machines.
Dragon issue # 308 - June 2003 (dragon magic)
(Issue focused on dragons, a rare creature in Ravenloft…)
Armed to the tentacle – the illithid arsenal
Cool evil and alien magic items and symbiont armors for illithids. A must to equip your Bluetspur expedition!
Arcane weather – magical storms
Plenty of eerie storms effects, to use in RL when your PCs have made an enemy of a darklord … (chaotic storms, murderous heat, plague winds, etc.)
Dragon issue # 307 - May 2003 (Game expansion, Westeros)
Risen dead (4 new undead templates - Bodak, ghoul, ghast, Scion of Kyuss)
Bodak, Kyuss - not suitable in RL, high fantasy
Ghoul, ghast: easy to use, but not very imaginative.
DM tool box: Monsters PCs – Can I play a troll ?
Dragon issue # 306 - April 2003 (Sinner or Saint, evil outsiders)
Betraying your evil nature
An article made primarily for evil outsiders, but a good read to those seeking to flesh out an evil NPC background. Interesting discussion on the seven deadly sins (and their reverse: humility, love, temperance, etc.) and temptation DCs.
Funny article on how to deal with action movie stunts in a D&D game.
Urban traps – 25 devious devices
DM tool box: How to make players do what you want
Dragonissue # 305 - March 2003 (Urbanadventures)
(Issue with very few Ravenloft possibilities)
Faith and honor (piety for non clerics)
Dragon issue # 304 – February 2003 (mercenaries)
Spells to surprise your players – Attract eyes (for vampires ?), Blood Drinker (to make your PCs believe they face a vampire), Breath of Contagion (for mummies), Graft Flesh, Semblance of life (for an undead to appear living), Spit poison
Guardians of the wild – Fey born fair and foul
Very fantasy oriented. Interesting template for unseelie fey.
Wizard’s workshop: Role playing NPCs
Dragon issue # 303 – January 2003 (Gladiators)
(Issue with very few Ravenloft possibilities)
Glory and triumph: campaign components - gladiators
I don’t recall any domain where there could be gladiators, but if so, this is a cool article on the subject (history, fighting styles, arenas, type of fight, feats, skills, fame points system, how to spice a fight, campaign use, followed, by a gladiator prestige class article, etc.).
Saying the right thing – optional rules for social skills
The Iron path – martial arts styles for fantasy cultures
For enriching asian domains. Focused on fantasy races, so more or less adaptable IMHO.
The Undergroves – natural dangers of the underdark
High fantasy, including a level draining undead slime ?Also traps and hazards.
A high fantasy group of necromancer, of interest in RL only as ideas for an evil cult, or something similar. Interesting ‘taint spell’ feat.
DM tool box: Building better plot hooks
DM tool box: Table tune up (for roleplaying NPCs)
Dragon issue # 302- December 2002 (Magic)
The tainted - A once noble hero who have fallen under the sway of a fiendish parasite.
Interesting ideas here to introduce fiends in a campaign, with a "fiend point" system (the more points you get, the more corrupted you are). Like an involuntary path of darkness for fiend possessed PCs (or NPCs).
Unstable arcana - 60 magical side effects for potions
A DM roll for the quality of a potion: on a roll of 1, the potion has a side effect (usually minor and lasting an hour). Interesting concept, could be adapted to Ravenloft with dark effects.
Five new golems
Web golem - designed for Lolth worshippers (with spider-like face). Frightening monster, IMHO.
Alchemical golem - filled with toxic waste. Another possibility for the Nosos domain?
Mud golem ? Naaah. The grave elemental is much nicer…
Rope and puzzle golem - not RLish
Dragon issue # 301- November 2002 (swashbuckler)
(Issue with few Ravenloft possibilities)
Swashbuckler – Flashing blades and rapier wit in any D&D games
Honor and prestige code of conducts. Long article on how to design a flamboyant fencer. Perhaps for a flashing NPC in Dementelieu or similar renaissance domain (and the personality drawings are very funny and cartoonish, IMHO)
Alchemy begins in the forest
Interesting substances derived from plants. A possible expansion on Forlorn’s druid plant mastery.
DM tool box: turning good games into great games
Dragon issue # 300 - October 2002 (the Vileissue)
By the hands of hags
Very interesting evil magical items, crafted by hags (bone rattle, anyone ?). High magic, but heck, when it's for evil :)
Sealed section (vile content inside) - Secrets of the skinscribes.
Evil spells. Subtle and odd has a mammoth wearing a tutu. Perhaps a RL evil necromancer could use one of these spells, but generally they lack finesse and are often just gross. High level spells anyway.
Sealed section (vile content inside) - Minions of darkness.
For high fantasy cultists. No use in RL.
Flesheaters (evil flesh eating halflings)
As funny as it could be. Yeah, sure.
The Risen Dead (4 new undead templates - mummy, ghost brute, wight and wraith)
Mummy, wight, wraith - well made, easy to use. The ghost brute is an interesting concept - a ghostly companion of a slain being ex: mount of a betrayed paladin, pet of a child tragically killed, a murdered druid's animal companion. A template for creatures with charisma less then 8.
Ecology of the mummy
Interesting read for any Amber Wastes campaign. Useful ideas.
Dragon issue # 299 – September 2002 (Fight with honor - knights)
Knights – honor and chivalry in any D&D game
Article on feudalism in D&D (noble titles, code of honor, tournament, jousting, etc., i.e. classic medieval knights and chivalry). Unless mistaken, I don’t see any domain where it would be very useful, except to create an eventual order of paladin.
Oath Order – the monks of the Oath of Nerull
Stats and rules for an evil monk Order – the Reaper’s child. Why not an evil monk Order, fighting with the Guardians ?
Blessings of war: paladin’s spells
Not very interesting for RL, except perhaps ‘sense heretics’ (a detect divine spellcaster)
Dragon issue # 298 - August 2002 (drow elves)
(Interesting drow issue … but with very few Ravenloft possibilities, as there are no known Ravenloft places with drows … yet!)
Dragon issue # 297- July 2002 (epic levels)
(Issue with very few Ravenloftpossibilities)
Sentinels of the Shoal
Rival the gods: Epic prestige class
The flame of Destiny
(An order of Guardians, watching the thresholdbetween epic and non-epic. Believe it or not, in order to get to epic,you have to face them…) Epic spells, feats, and prestigeclass. Yawn …I really had to read these articles to review them.
Relics of Myth
Epic artifacts inspired by the realworld. Could inspire MotRD DMs.
Children of the cosmos.
Eight new planetouched races.
Master of the secret sound
An odd new prestige class by MonteCook using sounds as spell-like abilities. Interesting.
Dragon issue # 296– June 2002 (dragons)
(Issue with few Ravenloftpossibilities)
Dragon hunting PrCs. Anybody wantsto be a Knight of the Scale? Hey, you get detect dragon as anability!
Wing Fan and spells
Notes for dragon hunter: dragonsenses, dragon feats and a few unique munchkin dragon.
Worshippers of the Forbidden
Monster Cultists – while highfantasy, one of the PrC is about Illithidkins. The other ones(beholder, snakes) are near useless in RL. One is funny: Waker of theBeast, where the beast is none other then the tarrasque. Thisapocalyptic cult is interesting – remember the hint in the black box?;)
How to design a guild or a secretsociety. Good suggestions.
The play’s the thing: killer communication problems
Wizard workshop: killing campaign stoppers
How to identify when the game needsa boost.
Dragon issue # 295 – May 2002 (castles)
(Interesting issue, for adventures incastles)
Fit for a king
Article on castle in historythrough the world, and castle denizens.
New rooms and castle lay-out
Ideas for interesting new rooms andfeatures to put in a castle, followed by a few castle and strongholdexamples.
Mortar and stone
Magic walls ideas and moats ideas.
Building a better rogue trap
Funny ideas for new traps.
Ideas to design towns. Good ideas,but nothing revolutionary here.
The way of the fist
Three PrCs for monk, and feats.
Master siege engineer
Perhaps Drakov could have one ofthese guys.
Monstrous musing from the fiend-sage
Greyhawk. Monsters and demons
The play’s the thing: logging in character
Ideas for a players journal style
Dragon issue # 288- October 2001 (Fear)
Unhallowed ground - on cemeteries, according to race
Interesting ghost adventure hooks
Life drinker - PrC for vampires
Interesting system for vampires to convert their kill in temporary supernatural abilities (the "lifewell" points). However, has few possibilities for RL as presented, as it is based on the premise that a vampire exist to drain levels (and not the hunger). Also, some of the abilities are very high powered! Need to be scaled down for RL.
Vampire Slayer's toolbox
Seven highly magical items crafted to be used against vampires. High fantasy stuff, but could inspire more RL items.
Dragon issue # 276 - October 2000 (Mystery and suspense)
Black cats and broken windows
How to incorporate superstitions in game
Ecology of the sheet phantom
"A sheet phantom is the undead manifestation of an evil person who died in bed, embodied in the bed sheet that covered the corpse"
Hunter of the Dead PrC
Very powerful and so inappropriate for the Ravenloft setting - detect undead at 1st level; positive energy burst at 7th level (d6 damage per level in a 100 feet radius to all undead), …
Dragon issue # 274- August 2000 (3rd edition issue)
Steal from the rich, and Wolfheads
A guide to a Robin Hood-like campaign. Adventure for heroic outlaws. Interesting for PCs in rebellion against Strahd or Drakov.
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