An interesting read, and I had never heard of a magazine called The Phoenix. Just goes to show how much OD&D stuff was created back "in the day" and has been mostly lost due to the passage of time. I remeber that Strategic Review had some articles about fanzines back then and it's too bad that this kind of material never made it to the mainstream because there was some good material in many of them.
Thanks for the link!
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
I found that at Web-Grognards, which is a pretty awesome site. It hooked me up with a PDF (from boardgamegeeks.com) that lets me at last fill in the pages missing from the rulesbook in an AH Anzio game I bought years ago.
OT: One thing I miss about the old days is the quality of customer service from firms such as AH and GDW.
Back on topic: I think the article mentions a 1st- or 2nd- level MU using a "kill" spell to pot a "12th-level copper dragon." Maybe the spell was on a scroll? That's an exceptionally strong (vs. 7-9 HD) copper dragon ... and not the sort of thing one expects low-level characters to encounter except in the wilderness. That was a memorable session for the players, I'll bet!
Last Edit: May 17, 2008 15:05:17 GMT -6 by dwayanu
........It is unforunate that your first article on Dungeons & Dragons should have contained so many glaring inaccuracies. I do not think this is Mr Bolton's fault as I suspect he has not read the rules of the game (strange as it may seem to regular gamers, in Dungeons & Dragons the players are not required to know more rules than the referee sees fit to tell them); rather his referee is at fault, may his face be red for evermore. Admittedly, varying interpretations of rules are qiite permissible, and one man's potion is another man's poison, but there is a definite dividing line between a personal interpretation and a sheer misunderstanding. So let me try to clear things up a bit
The word "level" has three distinctly different meanings in the game: one refers to "levels" of the dungeon which are physically one below the next, become progressively richer in treasure (and more dangerous) as one delves deeper; then one refers to a character's "level" of experience - as each new character learns the tricks of his trade he achieves higher levels of experience and becomes progressively stronger (but it takes a long time to go up levels); thirdly, there are different "levels" of spells, progressively more powerful and harder to use. These spell levels are an independent classification; a 2nd level magic user does not have the ability to use 2nd level spells, he may use but two first level spells per day. Only when he reaches the third level of experience does he gain a 2nd level spell. The level of the dungeon the fellow is on has no effect on this at all, so the magicians in Mr Bolton's story would not have gained an extra spell when they were whisked down to the second dungeon level. This also means that humble first level magic-users do not kill copper dragons; the spell "power word: kill" is a ninth level spell and quite unusable by all but the most powerful wizards. And how a copper dragon manages to fit into a small triangular room, I don't know.
Another point about the levels of experience attained by characters is that increasing levels make one more resistant to magic. This applies to beasties as well as to men, and since the spell "sleep" only affects creatures of the fourth level or less, that eighth level orc would not have dozed off quite so conveniently if the referee had been awake .
The secret of successful refereeing is to maintain balance, so that the weak characters do not make mincemeat of copper dragons, but on the other hand, large parties do not get completely obliterated unless they are very stupid or extremely unlucky. If Mr Bolton finds 2 more competent referee he may find he lives a bit longer.
I have to admit that hearing that the magic well screamed "Jew!" at the magic user who only threw one coin in (I guess because of his apparent stinginess) made me cringe. Other than that, a great read.