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RPG Superstar 2015

Dragon Issue #282

Dragon 282 Cover

Add PDF: $4.95

Printed Issue: Unavailable

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Bonus! Instant wilderness tiles inside!

Muskrats? Snack monsters? What’s this all about? That’s right -- it’s the April issue! For the past four or five years, we’ve printed “regular” D&D articles side-by-side with the sillier stuff, which we’ve used sparingly. While many readers have applauded that choice, this year’s April issue is for all those who’ve pleaded with us for even more wackiness. The silly songs of “Bard on the Run” make a comeback and the great Phil Foglio returns as our cover artist. But if you prefer the serious stuff, don’t worry: We’ve got you covered.
Learn how to use cut-scene DMing to your advantage, find out how to paint flesh tones on your miniatures, and see how to make puzzles that bedevil your players! Inside you’ll also find new fiction from Elaine Cunningham, the ecology of the purple worm, a prestige class for half-orcs, “Countdown to the Forgotten Realms,” and instant dungeon tiles for wilderness Dungeons & Dragons adventures! And as always, you’ll find new advice, tools, and tactics to improve your game. So find your funny bone, and check out this issue to get the most from your game!

THE OUTGOING GOBLIN’S GUIDE TO GAMING ETIQUETTE
by Jeff Vogel

Etiquette is the art and science of living together happily. It is the set of rules that maintains the peacefulness of civilization. It is the salve that soothes society when it becomes chafed.
Have you ever been in the middle of a long, happy session of D&D, when suddenly you said the wrong thing, and your whole party suddenly ganged up on you and killed you? Wow! Me, too.
Fortunately, I’ve learned from all the times this has happened to me. This guide is a way of giving something back to the community from which I have taken so much. Follow the advice within this article, and you will shine as a beacon of politeness to all your fellow patrons of the geekly arts.

LOGIC MISSILES
by Mike Selinker

Following up issue 271’s article on word puzzles, our puzzle expert now turns his attention to deductive reasoning puzzles. Here, Mike shows you step-by-step how to infuse your campaign with mazes, logical bafflers, math puzzles, physical puzzles, and chess puzzles.

Paradoxically (and what word could better begin an article on logic?), it is logic that holds the world of fantasy together. It is precisely the imposition of logical constraints on the illogical that prevents a world of magic and dragons from devolving into incomprehensibility. The player characters use deduction and intuition to find dungeons, thwart traps, avoid ambushes, and liberate treasures. Puzzles that test your players’ skills in deduction mirror those PCs’ actions. As you create these puzzles, keep one thing in mind: The process of deduction should be fun. You can squelch that fun by making puzzles too hard or too detailed. Try to get the most enjoyment as efficiently as you can. After all, no one likes to wander forever in a maze of dead ends, or grind down evaluating useless factoids in a logic problem. Don’t hide your cleverness in a haze of unnecessary information.

BARD ON THE RUN
by Michael Dean

“Steel Dressed Man” Sung to the tune of “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top

“Fry Fry Fry” Sung to the tune of “Bye, Bye, Bye” by *NSync

“Oops . . . I Fumbled Again” Sung to the tune of “Oops . . . I Did It Again” by Britney Spears

“It’s My Dungeon” Sung to the tune of “It’s My Party” by Leslie Gore

MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE SLIME-PITS OF KARVAN
by ROBIN D. LAWS

Just when you thought you had your DM all figured out, she goes and introduces a new trick into the mix. Not that it’s an annoying trick, mind you. It gives everybody a chance to have their characters go off and do something they really want to do. Every so often, your PC gets to enjoy his special moment in the sun, and that’s great. But it does ask you and your fellow players to think a little differently about the game and their roles in it. Naturally, while you don’t want to hog all of the fun or completely dominate play, you know that every system can be worked to someone’s advantage. That someone, you have always reasoned, might as well be you. So let’s look at this new trick of your DM’s and see where you fit into it.

D&D PERSONAL ADS
by Tony Moseley

A gaming group is never a permanent thing. People move away, lose touch with their friends, and get replaced by alien clones. These things happen. If you ever find yourself without a gaming group, and you might -- if you have not already -- do not despair. Instead, make yourself a D&D personal ad using the guidelines in this article. Losing a gaming group is not limited to players, of course. Dungeon Masters can also lose a gaming group (although it’s less tragic for DMs because they get to keep all the campaign material). Whether you are a DM or player, though, a D&D personal ad is a great way to locate fellow gamers.
D&D personal ads are a lot like the more common personal ads found in newspapers. D&D personal ads, however, are written on index cards, not printed in newspapers. They are also thumbtacked to bulletin boards inside stores, not thrown onto porches. Aside from that, and the fact that D&D personal ads target gamers, not people looking for dates, they are very similar.
If you have already seen a few of these D&D personal ads, you probably think the idea sucks. After all, most of those ads consisted of only a name, a list of games, the number of years spent gaming (maybe), and a phone number, and that’s not much to go on. For one thing, it puts too much weight on handwriting analysis. (“Hmm, his printing is small and precise, so he’s probably a rules-lawyer.”) But those inadequate ads were created without the benefit of this advice, so it’s no wonder they sucked. By following the design principles described in the Ten Guidelines in this article, however, any gamer can design an effective D&D personal ad.

HEROES OF THE UNDERDORK: THE MUSKRAT
by Phil Masters

Muskrats were common in the 2nd edition D&D game, but they managed to keep their existence hidden. Unfortunately for them, we found their lair, thanks to a trail of used coffee grounds leading into a secret complex hidden beneath Greyhawk University’s Delta Upsilon Delta house. So now they can be presented in the new edition’s terms . . . whether they like it or not.
Muskrats are described in books as ratlike, semiaquatic rodents, with compact, heavy bodies about 12 inches long, dark brown fur, scaly tails, and webbed hind feet. (Their pelts are important to the fur industry, and they are technically edible, but it’s not really polite to talk about such things here.) However, none of that has anything much to do with their role in fantasy games.

SNACK MONSTERS: WHEN MUNCHIES MUNCH BACK
by Mike Mayer

Gamers, more so than most Medium-size vermin, like to eat. Heck, most gamers can’t not eat when sitting down at a table. So what’s wrong with that? Well nothing, so long as the food remains in its proper place. But more often than not, some careless dolt spoils the mood of the adventure by dropping a potato chip among the otherwise lovingly arranged miniature figures representing the climactic battle between good or evil. Or some cretin dribbles cookie crumbs onto the Fortress of Styrofoam Doom at the exact moment the Pit Fiend Air National Guard soars into view.
A Dungeon Master can eliminate these problems by banning snacks from the gaming area, but this is short-sighted. Why not roll with the punches and use the situation to one’s advantage? If your players insist on annoying you by dropping snacks onto the table, annoy them right back by turning these snacks into monsters. Suddenly, the Oreo cookie that knocked over the cleric isn’t so funny now that it’s trying to suck him into its creamy white center. Who’ll be the laughing when that fallen pretzel begins to knot itself around the ranger? And how tasty is that Snickers candy bar, now that it’s taking a bite out of the bard?
In this article are some common snack food items "fleshed out" with monstrous abilities. So take heed, players. Next time you insist on bringing snacks to the gaming table, pause a moment to consider what you’re getting yourselves into. Don’t set drinks where you might knock them over. Use a napkin. Wear a bib if you must. And above all, chew with your mouth closed.

POSSESSIONS
by Elaine Cunningham

Noor stood in the barge that had brought her here, and she was not alone. A young woman, garbed in red and black travel clothes and wearing a fortune in Ghalagar jewels, stood less than arm’s length away, staring at her with horror-glazed eyes. For a long moment Noor gazed at a face very like her own: delicate features, dark eyes enormous in a pretty face gone far too pale. Noor reached out to the girl, half expecting her to mirror the gesture. But the girl shrunk back, flinging out one hand as if to ward off a blow. She uttered a choked little cry as Noor’s fingers grazed her small hand, and the deathwizard ring upon it.
Pain, unexpected and searing, flashed through Noor. She snatched her hand away. What matter of creature was this? Her flesh was hard as stone and burning hot!

CLASS ACTS: BLESSED OF GRUUMSH
by Monte Cook

In a world of great magic and heroic deeds, even those more bestial humanoids have champions that wield great power. Witness the blessed of Gruumsh, the one-eyed god of the orcs.
A blessed of Gruumsh is an orc or half-orc that enjoys the favor of his dark-tempered god. Each exemplifies all that is orc. He is always true to the ways of his race and lives by the words of his god. Masters of combat and intimidation, each is feared -- and rightfully so.

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