White Dwarf helped to shape the ‘zine scene in many different ways. Usually, it provided something for upstart teenagers to push against. Often challenging the orthodoxies of the war gaming luminaries such as Lew Pulsipher: DragonLords is notable for its mockery of the authoritarian views on ‘how to do D&D right’ in the early editions of White Dwarf.
Others were happy to ape its style and content to create their own unique variations on the themes that circulated in those early years. The Beholder is an example of this approach, seeing itself as a resource for AD&D Dungeon Masters. Edited (and mostly written by) Michael G. Stoner (Mike) and Guy Duke who tried to pitch their zine ‘to everyone, from the rank amateur to top-class pro.’
It’s hard to date stamp these issues, but it seems that they appeared monthly from about April 1979, featuring reviews, new spells, tips on how to make encounters more interesting and scenarios with a ‘significant’ map presented in the centrefold.
They also included lots of monsters, Fiend Factory style, which they had ambitions of spinning out into publications in its own right; a ‘mini-Monster Manual’ is suggested in the editorial. They are neatly produced, efficiently written and still retain a sense of purpose as a quirky addition to the more professional DM resources that were emerging at the time.
Were you a subscriber or a contributor to The Beholder? Did they spin out and create other publications? Have you confronted any of these beasts?
Thanks to Doc ‘Con’ Cowie for the loan of these ‘zines from his collection