Dragon's Best Issue of All Time!!!

Dragon Magazine General Discussion


Ladies and Gentlemen…Tim Hitchcock and I are working on a secret project and need your help (Imagine us in Uncle Sam get-up’s pointing at you!).

Which is the greatest Dragon issue of them ALL!!!

If you have a personal favorite issue of Dragon pimp it here, and let us know why it is your favorite (particularly memorable articles, fun editorial content, just loved the cover to death, etc.).

Time to root through the basement, pick over the bookshelf, hunt under the bed, or wherever else those old Dragons are lurking and give them a looksee. Nothing like a trip down gamer memory lane to honor our soon to be slain Dragon, so start perusing those old issues and post away.

Liberty's Edge

because of the article HAUNTING THE MASIONS!!!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Well like I put on the D&D boards. 100, 320, and 324 all have a special place in my heart.

I'd add the one I can't find right now, with the core faith of Wee Jas.

Matthew Morris wrote:

Well like I put on the D&D boards. 100, 320, and 324 all have a special place in my heart.

I'd add the one I can't find right now, with the core faith of Wee Jas.

100 was cool with the adventure set in modern London. 87(?) Had "Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut". And issue 114 had the end-all-be-all Witch class feature. 116 introduced me to Doctor Who with an article by Margaret Weiss. 161 had a great romance/courtly love theme. Then there's 127 with it's all-out-war theme and stats for a group of famous knight's of legend. 156 was probably the funniest of the April gag issues only recently rivalled by Matt Sernett's triumphant "Ninjas, Pirates and Dinosaurs" (318), But I think 123 edges those last couple out with it's school of magic feature - just incredible. And then the brilliant 153 with its great article discussing the role ofthe Gods in a game world - magnificent. 289's Oriental Adventures update was welcome as well. 315 - the first Campaign Classics was well handled for us gamers kickin' it ol' skool. Do people still "kick it ol' skool?" 339 was a close second for the return of some classic monsters - Nagpa baby! And who doesn't want to contract mummy rot from the the covergirl of issue 336? The one with James Jacob's brilliant article on hauntings, which I used in about a half-dozen queries that will never get off the ground now alas.

It would be hard to pick just one out of this pile of fun, usefulness, and brilliant cover art that graces my office floor in huge stacks to this day.


Well I simply don't know that many issues. The most useful to me yet (of the latest "edition" of Dragon starting with issue #323) is #328!

But the best issue... A tough question. Perhaps I have to read them again!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The recent DRAGONs (and by that, I mean the last five or six years) have contained a tremendous amount of really wonderful material, but the most influential issues hit me a couple of years after I started reading the magazine. (My first issue was #48.) So I think back most fondly to them.

Somewhere around # 109, there was an extraordinary article about building do-it-yourself character classes by cherry-picking the abilities you wanted the character to have at given levels, and then assigning experience-point costs for each level, based on the abilities chosen. (Remember, this was back in 1st Edition, when different classes popped levels at different experience totals.)

(So, if you wanted a magic-user who had d8 hit dice for the first five levels and could wear light armor, you could design that, and calculate the new experience point totals.)

This really opened my eyes to what WotC now calls "development," the nuts-and-bolts of how gaming systems work.

Roger Moor's article, reprinted in one of the "Best of DRAGON" anthologies, which charted the abilities of character classes based on experience points, rather than levels, was also eye-opening.

And as for paladins of varying alignments, the article in #108 did it first and, in many ways, best.

Oh, and which issue included "Fedifensor"?

I think it was #189. I dig it out now and then for my African Adventures. Form memory this issue had deveral cool new cultures.

#253 & 259 for James Wyatt's & Mark A. Hart's additions to the World Builder's Guidebook. Fantastic...and followed by Ray Winniger's Countrycraft in #293. (In fact I am writing many documents that borrow heavily from these that allows a GM to create a realm and then 'run' it like a character. Realm being anything from a hamlet to an Empire).

Oh, and I loved one of the early 3E ones, maybe the first #274? One with all the very useful Heraldry stuff.

Another 'old' article I always wanted to see updated that would make one of the coolest PrC's ever is the Halfling Guardian. I have no idea which # it was in.

Just about any of the 3rd ed ones have been fantastic (loved the creatures from the Wormfissure of the top of my head)...sad to see the mag go, but oh well. Other stuff will come and go.

Nick and Tim

I don't know if this is much help, but ...

I earnestly believe that the run of issues 334-338 were truly the high point of the Paizo run. Things were really clicking on all cylinders.

From evocative covers to some great features, as well as including some of the best of the Core Beliefs and the Demonicon series, great fiction from Elaine Cunningham and James Lowder, a feature from Ed Greenwood, James Jacobs' innovative haunted mansions piece, Wolfgang Bauer's Monsters of Arabia, Amber Scott's Ecology of the Lizardfolk (and the vivifying baccalo and the eggsucker staff), Schools of Magic, some great Wormford articles and of course, some solid articles in my favorite department, Class Acts, everything really was working in that span.

But picking just 1 as the very best? Man, I don't envy you guys at all.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man, there are so many, I don't remember all the issue numbers.
288 - The first one I remember getting after picking up the 3.0 core books. Bhaalspawn, "How to Kill a Vampire", the recreated historical cities, and of course, "Tag Team Terrors."
298 - Chock full of drow nastiness. Loved this one.
305 - An "urban" issue that came out just at the right time when I needed it.
315 - As GGG said, "kickin' it old skool" with Campaign Classics - what wasn't to like in this issue?

Those are the ones I keep going back to. :D

Liberty's Edge

#72 with the cavalier class. Best. Dragon. Evar.
As I said elsewhere, I was the first munchkin with that ish.
I killed 5 trolls at 1st level, and became 5th level in one combat.

Good choices all GGG, particularly issue 127. That one is a special favorite of mine. Great cover art (survivors of an orc army giving the little "bring it on" gesture to the defenders of a besieged castle). Even better, for me, was the column on Tucker's Kobolds, the deadly little buggers from a game run at Fort Bragg back in the 80s. That was a real eye-opener for me on how to make cannon fodder monsters more dangerous.

Dragon #63 is my favorite of all time. It’s the issue that set the benchmark for how I have judged all Dragons. The Dragons of the 3E (especially Paizo) years did a great job of meeting the standards of this kind of issue. What’s so great about #63?

It was a cohesive issue, populated by a lot of wilderness-based articles. The barbarian class was introduced in this issue (by Gary Gygax), followed by the bandit NPC class, and then a big article on evil humanoid society and gods (kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins, and gnolls, by Roger Moore). The cover showed a great bandit encounter in the forest. These articles (especially the humanoids) added a greater depth to my games. I believe a lot of the material found its way into the 1st Ed Unearthed Arcana.

The issue also contained an excellent advice piece, “Plan Before You Play,” by Ed Greenwood. I had never really considered world-building/region-building before and now I had another way of adding spice to the campaigns. Dragon #63 also introduced devas (by Gary Gygax) to the game, and it contained the adventure “Chagmat.” I still recall the cool picture (black and white) of Akron Oheeyo, the old adventurer who was ready to give the PCs some info and maybe some help.

Rounding out the issue: Greyhawk world events, convention news, a review of computer gaming, Top Secret game support, alternate rules for Charisma, and a how-to article on photographing miniatures. Also, where would Dragon be without a good dose of comedy? Phil & Dixie and Wormy are right there.

This issue packed a lot of quintessential elements of the D&D game between its covers: iconic fantasy character types (barbarians, bandits), iconic monsters (evil humanoids), the campaign world at large, and even an adventure. Some of the best recent examples of this kind of super issue: #309 (War/Githyanki Incursion), #322 (Shadow), #334 (Medieval Mediterranean flavor), and #346 (Good v. Darkness/Eurasian flavor). I could really name a lot more from the last two years. If I was introduced to the game during the Paizo years, I think #346 would be the benchmark to judge the other Dragons.

Issue #68--Weather in the World of Greyhawk and Ice Age AD&D campaigns. It also introduced using ability scores to resolve chances of success at certain actions (beyond what the PH said), and had improved rules for two-weapon fighting.

I can't think of another issue that I used more than this one.

Liberty's Edge

I liked that one a lot as well.

328 because of the article on Dwarven Military Tactics.

Lantern Lodge

Great initiative!!

I've to say Dragon #247, The rakasta article by Bruce Heard was simply fabulous!!

What if Paizo received some letters from dragon readers telling them what the magazine meant to them all these years, could some selected letters(or parts of them) be published in the last issue?


Dark Archive

Many issues have been great to me. But, one in particular has influenced many of my characters and my entire homebrew setting. All because of a single item in issue 291. The bracers of wands. I don't know what others think of them, but I find them awesome. I had a dwarven clr/pal/wiz (wierd, but very effective with the build I had) who made his adamantine gauntlets into them. When the wands had no charges left the gauntlets could shot them out like a crossbow bolt.

If/when I think of other issues I'll post them, but this one is the first to pop into my mind, other than the hottie halfling on the cover of 285.

Robert Hixon wrote:
Good choices all GGG, particularly issue 127. That one is a special favorite of mine. Great cover art (survivors of an orc army giving the little "bring it on" gesture to the defenders of a besieged castle). Even better, for me, was the column on Tucker's Kobolds, the deadly little buggers from a game run at Fort Bragg back in the 80s. That was a real eye-opener for me on how to make cannon fodder monsters more dangerous.

Ah yes I recall that one. It's funny as I recall that was an editorial (or perhaps a letter) but it's one of the few I can remember with any real clairty at this distance of time with the exception of the one that appeared in the Romance themed issue where the then editor discussed Ursula(? - NPC) and Black Bart (a PC) and how their adventuring party's one evil-aligned character nearly destroyed their love (and the rest of the party) with a handful of fusion grenades taken from the fallen spaceship in the Barrier Peaks.


Those were the days,

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

these two come to mind (though i'm certainly forgetting some):

83 for the dancing hut
297 for the epic material (especially the stuff written by james jacobs)


#75 and #76 with the Nine Hells by Ed Greenwood. Also the first issues of Dragon I ever purchased.

Liberty's Edge

Those were pretty cool.

Wasn't the Fedifensor adventure in one of those? If not, I know it was around that time.


Midian wrote:
#75 and #76 with the Nine Hells by Ed Greenwood. Also the first issues of Dragon I ever purchased.

The Hells became my favorite D&D subject because of these issues. My favs of all time.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think my all time favorite issue was Dragon 313, there were just sooooo many gems in that issue from BORN OF DEATH, STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, GHOST ELVES, well now thqt I think about it I've probably used every article in that magazine, a true classic.

I also really loved 310, 311, and 312. The variant classes were excellent, and I have used them quite a bit over the past few years so I'd have to put them into my top 10.

Dragon 318 gets a nod from me aswell. I loved the OA 3.5 update. The isse also had pirates, and dinosaurs; it was kinda a Savage Tides precursor.

Dragon 315 the first campaign classics issue was Awesome. It might be the only issue I have used more than 315!.

Dragon 319 the Dark Sun issue was sweet. It also boasted the second half of the Greyhawk Regional feats, and the Cannibal Plague.

Dragon #298 the Drow issue was really well done. Great PrC, Vault of the Drow overview, and Flesh for Lolth...SWEET.

Finally, Dragon 290 and 291. Paul Kidd Fiction, and the Death Knights of Greyhawk what more could you ask for?

here's my top 3-

100, because the cover was so new and different from all the other ones, and really stood out as one of the best ever done. i stared at that pic for hours, wondering how they did it.

#67 was a great one because of the astral planar adventures, the githyanki fortress adventure (i ran this one about 8 times for different parties during the mid 80's) and the sword fedifensor, which became one of the "Swords of the Nine Kings" (hey, gimme a break, i was 14) these swords were meant to slay different lords of the underworld, including one of the lords of hell, which i also later on used the rules for the 9 hells.

but by far the one that got the most use later on was 252, with the information on "True Ghouls" by the great WB. this one beat out some of the greats because it came out with dungeon issue 70, and the "Kingdom of the Ghouls", possibly the best written adventure ever. this one added so much to my campaign world, i think i've run this adventure about a dozen times for different parties and almost every time, the outcome is different. without the ecology article it wouldn't have been the same. i can't seem to say enough great things about this one.

Some great issues being recalled here folks, of the recent issues I personally loved #318 with its Ninjas, Pirates and Dinosaurs - got a heap of milage from it in our Greyhawk [Sea Princes] campaign. Also have issue 342 pretty much always at hand for the Initiate Feats [great article].

Older issues... #3 had the berserker, the idiot and the jester classes - something for every party :)

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Great stuff folks!!! Keep 'em coming...

The Exchange Kobold Press

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Strategic Review 5, Gygax Sturmgeschutz and Sorcery appears. (I read the reprint years later in a Best of). I love that article, in the genre-mixing style of WWII vs S&S.

Issue 37, the first appearance of the gem dragons. Also, several pages of interior color art. I loved Sardior and added the gem dragons to my campaign immediately.

Issue 39, "Good Hits and Bad Misses" a critical hits article that we still got questions about years later, in 2E days. The very same issue includes the first appearance of the Anti-Paladin. So very cool. Love this issue.

Issue 72, Ecology of the piercer, first Ecology article.

Issue 75/76, the Nine Hells. Still in my standard DM kit. Issue 76 also includes Leonard Lakofka's "FOr NPCs Only: the Death Master", which essentially invented the necromancer standalone NPC class.

Issue 89, the first appearance of the Creature Catalog.

Issue 188, first appearance of the Wizards Three, I think.

Issue 346, includes the Ecology of the Rust Monster. What's not to love?

I'm sure there's more.

#309, the githyanki Incursion issue, featuring James Wyatt's brilliant article on that topic, with enough meaty goodness to power an entire campaign from 1st to Epic level.

Other solid articles in that issue include Ecology of the Hobgoblin, New Martial Art Styles, and A Brief History of War.

The last couple of years have been outstanding, and the first few issues after 3.0e was released were particularly good.

For me, though, the best issue ever was #143. Not only did it have the best ever cover (F18 vs Dragon), but it's also packed with articles on adventure, world and campaign generation that were absolutely invaluable to then then-13 Delericho in learning his craft.

The first issue I ever bought has a special place in my heart, although I can't remember the number - the gorynych picture alone made me an instant fan (but the common dragonet, three gem dragons and the princess ark put it over the top.) The issue including the original appearance of the ferrous dragons (including my favorite, the nickle dragon) was a high point - I'm so glad I'll see them again in a few days! The Incursion issue was great, and the Modron cover has to be on any list of favorites.

But Issue my favorite issue ever, for two reasons, is #141:

(1) "Hey, Wanna be a Kobold?" - How about a goblin, orc, or even (of all things) a Xvart? Between this article, orcs of thar, and "Dragonlance: Time of the Dragon," I was starting to think of (what were then called) humanoid pc's as a standard option. I really liked the tribal magic user, too.

(2) The Black Troll - An NPC black troll (Talazal) with a hat of disguise became a major recurring enemy in my own campaign. Good times!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like the weather tables and climate stuff in 137 for worldbuilding.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / Books & Magazines / Dragon Magazine / General Discussion / Dragon's Best Issue of All Time!!! All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion