The GROGNARD Files

Table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.

This week’s bookclub subject was rolled on a d100 by Paul Baldowski, which is fitting given the cover and the subject of Paul’s latest game design project is The Dee Sanction.

The cover by Nicholas Bibby is one of the best ever to feature on the magazine. An image that launched a thousand scenarios in our young minds. The more you look, the more you discover: a lurking homunculus, a shrivelled grell in a glass sphere, a monster in a bell jar, a naked apprentice or flesh golem lurking in the shadows and the severed head of Michael Holland from year 5 at St James’ Farnworth (circa 1981), or at least it looked like him.

Inside there are some gold-bottomed classic features: Monsters Have Feelings Too, An Introduction to Traveller, the legendary Khazad Dum! and a tantalising glimpse into the forthcoming (never to appear) Games Workshop Questworld supplement by GROGMEETish2020 guest Dave Morris.

I hope that you all have fond memories of this one. I look forward to your thoughts in the comments.

6 thoughts on “White Dwarf Book Club Issue 38

  1. Paul Mullis says:

    In common with many folk, I think this was my favourite White Dwarf cover ever. I loved this period of the Dwarf – the slightly hippy vibe, before GW went all punk rock Lots of crunch to get your teeth into. Of course I never really used or played any of it, but I knew it existed. I loved it.

  2. Chris Revie says:

    The twenties and thirties were for me the golden age of WD; part of never forgave the move to the modern look from 39 onwards. And what an issue to save goodbye to the beautiful art nouveau title font: a fiend factory special on monsters from the fae and the Uruk-hai battle manual, which had a profound effect on me as a DM. I remember the dungeon I created after reading, which only had small orc war and in it. The eight pc second or third level party was nearly wiped out, and almost all the orcs escaped. The players loved it. Never again would they utter the phrase “Oh, it’s only a bunch of orcs, send in the ranger.”

  3. Rog says:

    Yes, amazing cover. Like Paul says, that hippy hangover, where it seemed like things were more freeform, people sought their own inspiration, not as codified as they would be later by the TSR and GW Notts stylings. It’s the equivalent of the Jimmy Cauty Lord Of The Rings poster in the student bedroom.
    I wonder what the runes on the sword say, bound to be something.
    A friend of mine had this issue and i bet it was bought from Games Workshop Notts, handing that over the local newsagents counter (if they were even distributed then?) would have been beyond this kid’s bottle; ‘Devil worshipper eh?’
    The Moria scenario is enjoyably thin, the John Blanche pictures excellent, and that orange ink lovely. It was a good idea, i’m sure it helped me think ‘bigger’ about scenarios, rather than just creating PC death traps full of gold bait.
    My favourite bit is the tower on the island, just outside the sheer walls of the mountain, where the cold water gushes out, a boat on the opposite shingle shore, lizardmen and nixies about in the lake and a crew of ne’er do wells in the tower, it’s an adventure in itself, that one bit.
    Uruk Hai manual likewise, made me think. In fact typing this i think it is perhaps this issue that ‘inspired’ me to do my D&d investigate the over-run dwarf hold scenario back then. Regression therapy courtesy of a Reply!
    It had a very tactically sound entrance, portcullises came down trapping the PCs in a cross shaped killing zone, with orc archers etc, i think there was a high body count, and fake levers covered in Grey Ooze. I can still see the furious face of a friend’s much younger brother as another PC gleefully helped his character remove the Ooze from his arm with an axe blow.
    Good times.

  4. Carl Harvey says:

    Good issue, had it but I think I bought it as a back issue in Not Just Stamps.
    Can anyone tell me if the cover artist, one Nicholas Bibby is the same Nick Bibby that painted THAT dragon (you’ll know the one I mean) and is now a pretty successful sculptor according to t”internet.

    1. Carl Harvey says:

      My bad, five seconds of research shows that he designed the bloomin thing!!
      http://www.solegends.com/citdragon/nb1spined/index.htm
      Nice write up about it in the Realms of Chaos 80s blog which is worth a read.

  5. Paul Le Long says:

    Bit thin this issue. The Khazad Dum piece is clever and the Monsters Have Feelings article is very interesting – Tucker’s Kobolds basically

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