Wednesday, March 12, 2014

& Magazine

So a few months ago Ronald Redmond got in touch with me by email and suggested that I check out the old-school magazine that he helps out with, "& Magazine". It took me a while to get around to reading it, partly because I was thinking "& Magazine? What the hell does that mean!? #terriblename".

Well, sometimes I'm terribly slow on the uptake -- and you can probably see from the cover image here what it indicates. Dungeon and Dragon were previously used, so obviously the only thing left was the ampersand in the middle of our favorite game's name. Once that dawned on me I thought it was actually super clever. (Although hard to do an internet search for. Side note: There's at least a few actual "Ampersand" magazines also on the market affiliated with universities.)

Anyway, so here's my take: It's really cool! It's really been carefully given all the flavor, thematics, layout, fonts, and map styles of old TSR publications, which hits me very well. Of the two issues I reviewed, each are given a global theme much like old Dragon issues (#3: Nautical Adventures, and #7: Inner Planes and Elementals), feature articles on that theme, not one but two "Ecology Of..." articles, a one-page adventure and a longer mini-adventure, new spells and magic items, etc. Issue #7 also has a variant of playing D&D in the world of Id Software's Doom game, which while not a huge favorite of mine, felt very much in the spirit of classic D&D conversions to Boot Hill, Gamma World, etc.

Both issues also had an article by Len Lakofka (author of classic modules L1/L2, had the regular "Leomund's Tiny Hut" column in Dragon,etc. -- someone I'm partly indebted to for his "The 5% Principle" article which I think gives support for my table-less Target 20 adjudication in OD&D). His entry in &-Magazine issue #3 was on the "Rods of Dwarvish Might", and in #7 "The Archer PC Class", which is actually an updating and sizable expansion to an article he originally published in Dragon in 1981.

In summary -- Reading &-Magazine definitely gave me the same overall sensation that reading Dragon did back in the day. It feels fun and exciting, and I'm really interested to find what's on the next page. In particular, the articles by Lakofka are cool in that they give a deep connection, and continued discussion of key game elements, as though the original offering was just a few months ago.

Will I use most or everything inside? No, but neither did I with old Dragon issues, obviously. Minor downside: The material is all targeted towards AD&D, whereas I now prefer the simpler OD&D system -- the AD&D material seems comparatively long, complicated, and table-intensive  (and thus page-count-intensive) by my standards. That said, it's generally easier to cut stuff out than to write it from scratch, so I appreciate all the effort on display here. Downloads are currently free and I've enjoyed browsing them on my e-reader during bus commutes. Check it out!


  1. For one moment when I read the title of this post on my bloglist I thought YOU were starting up a magazine. As in "Delta's D&D Hotspot AND Magazine."

    Who's on first?