The GROGNARD Files

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

This is the last White Dwarf Book Club for 2020, it will go into hibernation until next Summer.

The selection of issue 90 was made by Daily Dwarf (by rolling at random on a d100), it’s got a striking portrait of the character himself. This was another one of those issues that was an ‘on-boarding’ relaunch as the printing method changed. It had a perfect spine, more pages and even more adverts, to mark the 10th Anniversary of the magazines.

The Games Workshop publishing studio was working at full pelt at this point following the management takeover by Citadel. As well as UK prints of US Roleplaying classics such as Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu, and Paranoia, they were extending the range of board games. In this issue they are promoting the Rogue Trooper game, based on the 2000ad strip.

It’s a perfect end to the second season of the Book Club.

7 thoughts on “White Dwarf Book Club issue 90

  1. Russell L Seldon says:

    I remember trying to get my hands on this issue back in the day.

  2. I had stopped buying White Dwarf in the 80s (issues not years) so I only added it to collection while rebuying missing issues up to 100 a few years ago.

    There is not a lot to like about the cover, from the static image (OK so the commission as to do the dwarf), colour and terrible lettering. And generally there is something off about the design inside compared to previous issues. A real mishmash of styles that doesn’t hang together.

    A few things that jumped out
    * more than one advert for Anywhen RPG which has completely passed me by despite my collecting frenzy. Did anyone play this?
    * Marcus L Rowland getting two opportunities (one on Letters, one in the Call of Cthulhu article) to complain about sub-editing
    * review of Iain Bank’s first Culture novel by Dave Langford, Dave pre-emptively defending it against hard sci-fi knockers
    * some linked articles about women characters in RPGS and female players, which seems leaden now but, fair play, needed to be said
    * a dissection of the (fantastic) Stormbringer rpg cover which doesn’t work because the images are too small

    All in all an interestingly underwhelming 10th anniversary special – there were a few better issues to come before RPGs disappeared completely

    1. I meant to comment on the Culture novel too. I love that book, and it makes me feel ancient that it was released this long ago!

  3. I remember this issue well! As a long time Rogue Trooper fan, We Gotta Traitor to Find was solid gold 🙂

    In addition, the editorial makes interesting reading, and shows how quickly the hobby evolved. It’s sad that ten years after THIS issue, White Dwarf was a shadow of itself in roleplaying terms. In fact, looking at the issue from July of 1997, it describes itself as “Games Workshop’s monthly gaming supplement and Citadel miniatures’ catalogue.”

    I remember listening to your White Dwarf episodes and getting quite maudlin at the thought of how White Dwarf fell from great heights to become nothing more than a miniatures’ catalogue.

    The “Mummerset” dialect in the Green and Pleasant section is a thing of genius. I’m pretty sure there are TV producers that still use this… Not so great is the Paranoia article on creating “Fear and Ignorance”. I’m not sure if this is intended as a joke or not, but it reads more as how to make some vague atmospheric changes rather than actually on how to foster an atmosphere of fear and ignorance in YOUR GAME.

    As a long time WFRP player, I’m pretty sure that careers article must get some kind of award as one of THE most reprinted articles. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it in several later WFRP supplements (which were all, largely, reprints of WD articles).

    All in all, a great issue, which really makes me pine for something like this nowadays!

  4. A slightly underwhelming issue for a tenth anniversary celebration. But, there is some fun to be had.

    Already mentioned in the comments, the CoC language and Mummerset article is wonderful. Many an NPC of mine has pointed out that it’s a ”thirsty sort of day’.

    The Paranoia advice was a bit… pointless.

    Everything about the adventure ‘Killing in Silk’ screams WFRP, but I wonder if they just felt a need to make it AD&D, considering the flak they seemed to be taking on the recent lack of content.

    Two articles for Judge Dress? I guess it was still riding high in the charts. But at least they both give original spins on the game. I was quite taken with the idea of rookie Judges ordering the PCs around.

    And then there’s ‘The Difference’. Whilst I applaud them giving space to female writers writing about females, I just found it rather cringey. To begin by saying that only females can realistically play a female role, and then point out that everyone is different is just wrong headed. And the Paladin section is just something else…

    Oh, just to say to Alison Brooks that Joan of Arc was burnt for being a heretic, not a witch.

    All in all, an okay issue, but clearly WD’s heyday was behind it.

    I look forward to the next book club.

  5. Chris Revie says:

    My interest in rpgs was beginning to hibernate in 1987, so I don’t remember too much about this issue. Indeed I stopped buying WD a few months later.

    I’ve now retrieved this from the library archives here at Tallone Tower and reread it. There’s a lot going on in here! AD&D, RQIII, CoC, WHFR and two Judge Dredd articles, not to mention Graham Staplehurst article on standing stones and their related mythology. But it all seems a bit……crash, bang, over produced and lacking coherence in the way it looked. Good to see a couple of articles on the then new-fangled concept of women in rpgs though.

    Did anyone actually cut out the extra cards for Rogue Trooper out of the back cover?

    1. Guilty. Stuck ‘em onto cardboard with pritt-stick and everything.

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