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Dragon #356

posted Saturday, May 26th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
News, Reviews & Culture

Dragon #356 is here! The June 2007 issue is available and as usual for the magazine this time of year it’s choc-full of dragon themed material. It’s a shame that the magazine’s going out of print.

This month’s feature is Top 10 Most Wanted Dragons in D&D, and I’m pleased to find that three out of my four suggestions have made it in. Thauglor the Black from the novel Cormyr was notable absent. (It’s all a popularity contest!) Utreshimon, who you’ll know as the blue dragon in the moathouse, makes it to #9 on the list. Ashardalon is surprisingly only #6, despite being such an utterly legendary challenge. The #1 most infamous dragon in the game is Dragotha, the first ever dracolich and the creature who Age of Worms players should spend the majority of the adventure path in fear of.

Again introducing new and interesting dragon types, Ferrous Dragons presents a rare group of lawfully-aligned true dragons. Iron, chromium, cobalt, tungsten and nickel dragons are now added to the game’s standard five good-aligned metallic dragons, the five evil-aligned chromatic dragons, the more obscure neutral gem dragons, and the rarer shadow dragon, steel dragon and fang dragon. Well worth a look.

Core Beliefs: Hextor makes me wish the magazine was planning on running long enough to cover all the major Greyhawk deities. Hextor’s always an interesting deity, mainly because his servants make realistic villains. They’re neither mad like Vecna’s clerics, nor are they purely evil for evil’s sake. Being lawful, I imagine Hextor’s most devout worshippers to always keep their word, which makes it quite feasible to accept their surrender without expecting to be betrayed.

I’ve never liked Dragon’s short fiction segments, so I don’t have anything to pass on Paul S. Kemp’s work in this issue.

Likewise, I’m not a huge fan of the Ecology articles. I’ve always been a little suspicious of of them. It’s always presenting creatures from a monster splatbook I don’t own, and telling my players all about them in case I do. I never felt comfortable attempting to write my own Ecology, since many D&D creatures have long-standing histories that Ecology authors tended to be blankly ignorant of. Still, I like the beefed-up CR21 gargantuan sea snake presented in this month’s Ecology of the Linnorm enough to put it somewhere anonymous in the seas of my game world.

Even if you’re not following the last Dungeon adventure path, this month’s Savage Tidings presents ten moderately expensive magic items you can bug your Dungeon Master to let you buy.

I’m more a Greyhawk fan than Forgotten Realms, but if you’re into all that Faerun flavour you could do worse than this issue’s Volo’s Guide, presenting three named dragons. Eberron fans find that his month’s Dragonmarks by Tim Hitchcock details Darguun’s Gathering Stone, so now you will have some idea just what that one dot on the Darguun map is for.

Class Acts is a little bland this issue, starting with the unfortunately necessary “Bard Guide” by Amber E. Scott. (Does anyone really play bards?) Jon Hodgson’s “Occult Mutations” offers some interesting new Traits, although I’m not so sure about the one that gives you black eyes that grant darkvision in exchange for a mere -2 Spot/Search penalty (and with a “roleplaying idea” that “characters with this trait might squint a lot or pretend to be blind or extremely near-sighted”). In case you’re playing a game based on real-world history we have “Aztec Mythos III” and the old Scottish/German themed “Mercenary Companies”.

A decent issue, all things considered, although with a distinct lack of ioun stones and dwarven sorcerers.

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