At first glance it is an impressive first issue, it is clear that enthusiasm is there in abundance. After the usual introductory bits, there's a fine full-page picture of a dragon-rider and then 'The Story of Jin,' being a website competition winning entry to name the magazine's mascot/logo, a neat little tale. This is followed by a full-page announcement that Mongoose Publishing has consented to the use of any of their work as settings for adventure, complete with a selection of logos which could have benefitted from correct sizing!
Next, the first adventure which is called 'Temple of the Necromancer' by Christopher M. Sniezak. In a magazine that sets itself up as multi-system, it might have been an idea to say that this is a Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 scenario, as well as stating the appropriate character levels (8-10th). It starts off with a compelling summary which begins with the rumours the characters hear in town, or at least it would be compelling if I wasn't being distracted by spelling and grammatical errors splattered throughout! Ignoring those, it's actually quite a well-written adventure with an atmospheric swamp for the characters to stumble around, complete with appropriate and interesting encounters (although a map would help the DM, even more so for the building the clues in the swamp should lead them to visit).
This is followed by a brief piece on virtual gaming tables, mostly comprehensible to those who already know what one is (an interactive online environment to allow synchronous play for people who can meet at a time but not in the same place), and an article 'Jack of All Trades' which looks at the advantages and disadvantages of D&D character multiclassing, building a character which over time moves through all the classes and picks up a modicum of skills from each one. It's an interesting idea and the discussion goes through the 11 core classes and details how to mix them to best advantage.
Passing over an indifferent comic strip, there's a column of games rule advice from one Fatbeard. Interesting questions and considered answers, once you have picked your way through a messy four-column layout. Next comes an excellent article on Character Background. Now, most of the people I game with seem to be frustrated authors and write reams about their characters, but if you are not blessed with players who feed you so many plot hooks show them this! It's a collection of tables to roll upon which will give some structure to your character's background, you can then flesh it out. Then there are a couple of breathless pages in which Dennis Gregg paints a vivid picture of his first visit to a Gen Con convention (the US one).
We then have another adventure, 'The Mad Wizard Mog' by A. Ponder, which is (once you start reading, they forgot to say) also for Dungeons & Dragons, a nice low-level caper for levels 1-3. Good, provided you are happy with contrived events. This is followed by a crudely-drawn but mildly amusing comic strip concerning a beholder and a goblin... and then another adventure, 'The Otanshu Legacy' which claims to be a dungeon adventure for levels 8-10, presumably D&D again. The introduction asks "What if a puppet had a mind? What if, instead of someone pulling the strings, the puppet acted on its own?" but then rather spoils things with an entire page in upper case, not comfortable to read. Persevere, it's good enough to make the effort. It's a weird and psychadelic adventure, good for those who want to highlight that this is not just a cod-mediaeval world with a bit of magic tacked on, but a rich and strange fantasy otherworld. Lot of combat, though... and if combat makes you hungry, the final article is for you: it's a recipe. Yes, a recipe for a snack you might like to serve next role-playing night.
Overall, a good first attempt with some good writing struggling at times to get past poor editing and amateur layout. Persevere, and maybe find a good proofreader.
Return to WereDragon Magazine # 1 page.
Reviewed: 16 July 2009