White Dwarf Book Club – Issue 48

December 1983, we all huddled in the school library to watch the Thriller video, Chris Foy had taped it off Channel 4 the night before. It was so good, we watched it twice.

Yes were in the pop charts with Owner of a Lonely Heart, as was Roland Rat. On the TV we were scoffing at A Day After Tomorrow, it looked like a walk in the park compared to A Guide to Armageddon, the QED documentary that had rattled our heads the previous year.

Strong on content this one: assassins, The Lone and Level Sands, Demons, Goblin Cults and a daft Giant game. Looking forward to seeing your views…

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

12 thoughts on “White Dwarf Book Club – Issue 48”

  1. This was my first Dwarf. I knew about AD&D, and I’d heard of RuneQuest, but… sound of young Roger’s mind exploding.

    And indeed Traveller Starter Edition was my introduction to that game, probably on the same visit to Dalling Road.

    Autoduel Champions seemed neat, but I didn’t lay hands on a copy until many years later. (Though helicopters were the first step on the road to anything-but-cars-wars…)

    Pulsipher on magic and FRP battles: I seem to remember arguing about this, but not which side I was on.

    Giants in Warhammer: meh.

    A new look at Assassins: I remember the contract, but I didn’t play assassin-heavy games. (I did have a half-orc cleric/assassin who was quite fun.)

    Ah, yes, of course every RPGer will also be a programmer. (I’m still faintly surprised when I meet gamers who aren’t.)

    Computers in Traveller: pretty sure I used this.

    The Lone and Level Sands: a dual-statted scenario? What witchcraft is this? Though I don’t believe I ever ran it; not sure why.

    Thrud was OK, but this Travellers in isolation meant very little to me.

  2. By now I was buying WD every month (maybe subscribing) though this particular one is a bit short of memorable stuff. I liked The Lone and Level Sands – for an early 80s dungeon, it stands up pretty well, with backstory, choices and a layout that makes sense. I could imagine cracking this out with my group using 5th edition, RQ or with a bit of work 13th Age.

    I liked the Games Day write-up – I think I might have actually gone to this. Note photo of Simon Burley running Golden Heroes. If only Simon still offered up the odd game at conventions…..

    …and an auction of a first issue of White Dwarf sold for seven quid.

  3. Looking at Open Box, The Arkham Evil was our first Cthulhu scenario we did after The Haunting. It is the first one the players realised that they should have been keeping notes after missing a vital clue about barking dogs. I wonder if the Elder Scrolls took the title of their Assassin’s Guild from the Dark Brotherhood article?

  4. I think this was the Xmas I got my D&D red box, so I certainly wasn’t reading WD yet. Instead, I was one of those young whipper-snappers brought up on Fighting Fantasy gamebooks that was diluting and dumbing-down the hobby, according to certain people in the letters column at around this time! I did get hold of issue 48 some years later, however.

    The piece about the role of magic in mass combat seems relatively unformed and inconclusive, though it was probably considered high-brow back in the day.

    Rick Priestly’s article on giants in Warhammer seems quite familiar. I think the rules were incorporated into the second or third edition.

    Assassins – haven’t read this one yet, but it looks good, and I’m running 1st edition AD&D so might be able to use it…

    Finally, the “Lone and Level Sands” – this looks pretty good, though again I’ve not had the time to read through it yet.

  5. This must have been around the time I started buying WD, possibly attracted by the Lone and Level Sands adventure, I don’t remember using it or running it though. I’m a bit suspicious “Liz Fletcher” was another writing name for Dave Morris since he wrote the adventure and ‘Dealing with Demons’ in earlier issues. The Crom Cruach article I remember I liked a lot and I used the series of Ian Bailey’s Celtic-themed goblins and Kernu cult in one of my games, there weren’t many non-Gloranthan RQ articles which used the ideas of RQ/Glorantha (cultures & cults) very well.

  6. December ’83. My pre-O’level panic was beginning to ramp up but proper revision hadn’t started so I didn’t have to hide my Michael Moorcock paperbacks inside my history text book so as to pretend to my parents I was taking my exams seriously. Yet.

    The mid-40’s I think for me is peak-dwarf. The demonist stuff got to me and I liked it. I played an elf Demonist for a while in my mate’s campaign. Elf demonist, Michael Moorcock fan….. yes my character did have a black sword, but he never found a magic one! We did think about doing the Lone and Level Sands as a game, but as with all WD scenarios too many of us had read it so it never saw the table.

    Loved the cover. Always wondered where the wolves’ hind legs went though. Were they appearing out of a magical gate? Also I thought the cloak was a bit weird. Why did it have a gaping hole in the back? Still, 3/4 of the way through my art O-level I thought the design was good. However Zlargh – Slave Lord of the Black Sun was more my style. I did draw some pieces based on Trevor Hammond’s black ink style and they ended up in my portfolio that got sent off for moderation. My nerdy little secret! (By the way, I got an A for the O’ level so I guess somewhere out there some examiners were quite content to see page after page of stylized muscular barbarians wielding kitchen cleavers!

  7. Loving it so far. The issues in the 30s to 50s my favourites, classic WD.
    Great cover, would have probably been a Games Workshop purchase, as 13 year old embarrassment would have gone into overdrive handing this over to a newsagent with a scantily clad woman on the cover.
    The RIck Priestly giants article is everything that was great about early Warhammer, lots of tables to roll on and lots of colour in the description of the results, and it didn’t take itself seriously, elves as social workers commenting on giants’ alcoholism. Plus Gary Chalk illustrating, which always reminds me of Bloodbath At Orc’s Drift.
    Lew Pulsipher’s piece, as quite often I find it a question that didn’t really need asking. Once again the book reviews have got one or two things I might search out, and the Dunwich scenario in Open Box seems like it might be worth searching out.
    Dave Morris doing a lot of heavy lifting in this issue, especially if as has been mentioned he’s also Liz Fletcher!
    I’m working through Lone And Level Sands, but i’m not feeling it so far.
    On a side note, in the shops ads The Games Room Norwich appears in one of the bubble ads. I was in there the other day, (on holiday in Norwich) and it’s still there and run by the same fella, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. That’s good going, especially through those lean times in the video game years, hats off to The Game Room. I came out with that new version of Illuminati, with cards that are good to look at, at last.
    More later. Cheers.

  8. I’d love to know more about that Hypermarket sci fi skirmish game run at Games Day by Jon Sutherland and Gary Chalk, it looks epic in scale. Did anyone play it/see it?
    Nice to see a pic of the inventor of Talisman. 2nd edition was a popular part of the late night session of a stag do the other week, after a day drinking cider in zummerzet. Even after many decades the race memory that the prophetess was not to be allowed in play surfaced from a number of players.
    I retired to bed tired and emotional after a couple of hours, and the game rolled on for a few more, one person reaching the middle before being turfed out never to return, the eventual winner realising he was simply the last one alive (no respawns). They don’t make em like that anymore.
    The computer stuff for Traveller, even though it’s technically obsolete, unless you’re playing in a 70s tech sci fi world, still has lots of good ideas for RPG situations that could be caused by glitchy software. How prolific was MLR?!
    A good solid issue, I like the slightly formal ‘voice’ of WD at this time. It all got a bit matey later perhaps.

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