||                                                            ||
||   DRAGONQUEST Newsletter                     October 1995  ||
||                                                            ||
||   Volume 2 / Number 8                                      ||

The DQ Newsletter is for discussions of the DragonQuest role
playing game.  The key addresses you need to know are:

    Philip Proefrock (Editor, Article Submissions, Etc.)

    David Nadler (Distribution Coordinator)

    Drake Stanton (FTP Site Coordinator)

All articles are copyrighted property of their respective authors.
Reproducing or republishing an article, in whole or in part, in any other
forum requires permission of the author or the moderator.  The DragonQuest
Newsletter also maintains an ftp archive site:
which includes back issues of the newsletter and other articles of
interest to DragonQuest players and GMs.

C O N T E N T S  [v2n8]

 Administrivia - Dave Nadler

 Editorials - John Kahane, Joe Saul, Philip Proefrock

 Letters  -- Philip Proefrock

 Column: The BEASTIARY -- Giant Spider

 A DragonQuest Campaign in New Zealand -- Keith and Jacqui Smith
 Starting Skills and Mages -- Anthony T. Stanford

 News: Cerebus Archive Moves

 Column: DQ ARCHIVE -- College of Spider Magics


It has become increasingly apparent that e-mail and I just don't
get along at work.  I apologize, on behalf of my companies network
staff, for the bounces and delays many of you have received while
trying to send messages to me.  In fact, the delay for this months
publication is due because Philip couldn't get the netletter across
to me for more than two weeks.  And to top it all off, I'm moving
offices this week, which will mean that I'll be moving to a different
e-mail server.

I'm going to look into alternate methods of distributing the software,
including sending it from a personal account I have at home with a
commercial vendor.  For the time being, please be patient, please keep
sending messages and, to play it safe, send a copy of your message to
Philip at the address shown in the header.

Dave Nadler -

[This month's editoral space is given over to continuing the discussion
about 'Intellect,' as presented in an article by John Kahane which
appeared in an earlier issue (May 95).  I think that this kind of
discussion is good for the vitality of the Newsletter, as well as for the
development of new DragonQuest material. --  ED.]

  The following is a reply to Joe Saul and his comments:
  Frankly, I expected to take a great deal of flack about this article,
since it's going to be making a lot of the anti-D&Ders a bit nervous about
a couple of things.  But I am, if nothing else, flexible on this matter.

 JS> First, the characteristic seems like it would be even more of
 JS> an invitation to weenie abuses than Perception is...

     I can see exactly where you're coming from with this particular bit,
and to be honest with you, I agree with you about it.  The fact that DQ
did not use a D&D-like mechanic for allowing players to roll their
characters' way out of puzzles and situations appealed to me a lot, and I
guess part of what has come up here is my own fault.  I'll be posting up a
copy of the mechanics rules for the Intellect statistic, but I'll clarify
a couple of things for you right here.  I don't use Intelligence,
Intellect, or whatever you want to call it as a Characteristic in the true
sense of the DQ system.  I incorporated it originally to give the player
characters a statistic that lets them determine whether they can recall
something *in character*.  I don't abuse this stat very often, since I
prefer to run a roleplaying, as opposed to *roll*playing, game; that was
all I envisioned the statistic doing at that time, and I didn't even use
it all that often.  When I conceived of the Secondary Skill system, it
seemed only natural to use this already additional, relatively useless,
statistic for the purposes of determining the number of secondary skills
that a character can start with.  The stat has *nothing* to do with "I
want to make an Intellect roll" at all, and never did IN MY CAMPAIGN.  I
never fell into that D&D type of mentality about this to begin with, and
I've always run a roleplaying game, as opposed to a dice-oriented one, to
begin with.

 JS> Second, if you're going to have a new characteristic which is
 JS> so critical to the character's personality -- and believe me,
 JS> the ability to reason *is* -- you should at the very least let
 JS> the player decide how many points to put into it.

  I've never considered this to be an important statistic within the
context of my campaign, and don't use it for the purpose that you mention
(at least not consciously).  I will admit that your point about allowing
the player to decide how many points to put into the statistic is a valid
one.  I have a couple of optional methods of dealing with this allotment
of points into Intellect, and these will be detailed in the additional
piece that I'll send for one of the next issues of the DQ Newsletter.
  Please remember that I only posted the article on Secondary Skills, not
the article about the additional Characteristic itself and how it's
derived.  (I'm not the first one who's guilty of not having articles
appear detailing additional campaign material for certain new things, but
this is par for the course, and I certainly did and do intend for the
Intellect material to be published here as well.)  Player choice is always
something that I've encouraged in the DQ system and all of the campaigns
that I run.  The Intellect stat is no different in that regard.

 JS> As written, this option would seem likely to do a lot more
 JS> harm to a campaign than good.  If Mr. Kahane uses it in his
 JS> own campaign, I assume he has safeguards in place -- but we
 JS> haven't seen them in the rules he submitted.  I wouldn't
 JS> touch it with a giant glaive.

  Oh, you could touch it with a giant glaive; it's not that bad. :)  I
have to admit that the way your letter sounds, it comes off as showing a
bias against the D&D stuff, which I certainly agree with.  I *do* have
safeguards in my system pertaining to this stat, but the rules I posted
were not about the Intellect stat...they were meant to deal with the
Secondary Skills themselves.
  Any GM who finds these Secondary Skills worthy of addition to his or her
DQ campaign is free to make changes to these rules, to alter the manner in
which Secondary Skills are determined, whatever he or she wishes.
 -- John Kahane  (jkahane@sava.pinetree.org)

Okay.  Maybe you do *use* the stat in a safe fashion, but here's your
description of it:

  [3.10]  Intellect is a measure of a character's powers of reason,
  and the ability to retain information and/or knowledge.

  Written that way, it's an invitation to exactly the kind of abuse I
describe.  It's cool to say "I use safeguards in my campaign," and based
on your response I believe you do so, but when you're writing material to
be used by others it is valuable to *write the safeguards in*.  Do not
assume that people who read your stuff will interpret it the same way you
and your friends do.  (There are similar problems in the _Amber_ rule
book, to name a published case where I have direct knowledge.)
  If nothing else, my years as a technical writer taught me that people
will misinterpret you in startling ways if given the opportunity.  Write
clearly, and write exactly what you mean.
  Which, I guess, is the moral of the story.
 -- Joe Saul  (jmsaul@umich.edu)

  As an editorial followup to this discussion, I would like to take this
opportunity to remind everyone that the DragonQuest Newsletter is a
collection of fans of the game, most of whom have had no contact with
other campaigns until very recently.  Therefore, many of the articles that
are appearing in the Newsletter are going to be first-drafts, perhaps
polished, but still largely untested; and because this is not a
professional publication, the level of development is not going to equal
what you will find in a commercial product.
  Joe's comments do raise a good point, though, and I think it would be
helpful for anyone who is submitting material to the Newsletter to include
some description as to how the materials they are presenting are
incorporated into their campaigns.  At the same time, we should all
remember that this is a Newsletter for the exchange of ideas, not a
publication of finished work.  I see this sort of discussion as the best
thing that can happen for DragonQuest: by working out the weaknesses that
other players and GMs find in our materials, we can refine them to a point
where they *are* polished.
  I hope that this discussion will help to bring more submissions as well
as to encourage more discussion about the things that do appear in the
  My appologies to John for 'jumping the gun' and publishing the materials
that he sent about the Intellect value, but it seemed integrally connected
to the Secondary Skills, and I didn't feel that I could leave that part
 --Philip Proefrock, DQN Editor  (psproefr@miamiu.muohio.edu)


  Although his article on Detect Aura was generally good, there are a few
things that Dean Martelle assumes about the Detect Aura talent (spell)
which I disagree with.

  Detect Aura is a talent which allows the adept to learn more about the
*nature* of an object.  It is long term features which contribute to an
aura.  Thus, a hobgoblin leaning against the other side of a door will
have virtually no effect on the door's aura, and only a very skilled Adept
who knows just what he is looking for will be able to find it.  For this
reason, too, I would not allow the Detect Aura to serve as a lie detector.
Whether or not a statement a character makes is true isn't going to have a
big impact on the makeup of that character's being.  Besides, that's what
the Truespeak spell (specialized Geas) is for.

  I also believe that a player must actively attempt to use the Detect
Aura ability; as I interpret this Talent in my campaign, it is *not*
always on.  (It's called 'Detect Aura,' and not 'Aurasight.')  Similarly,
it cannot be used to "see in the dark."  I don't see Detect Aura as a
separate sense, but as a magical enhancement of a character's existing
senses.  For this reason, too, a character cannot use Detect Aura in the

  The suggestions about requiring a period of time before one can make
another attempt to Detect Aura on the same subject are especially good; I
think that there are other instances in the DQ rules where similar
restrictions need to be applied.

 -- Philip Proefrock  (psproefr@miamiu.muohio.edu)

 -------------------_The_ _B_E_A_S_T_I_A_R_Y_---------------------
Giant Spider
 -- Andrew South  (llew@werple.mira.net.au)
  The Giant Spider is a creature which results from a Special Knowledge
spell of the College of Spider Magics (see the Archive for more info about
this college).  [The GM may wish to interpolate some statistics in order
to use the Giant Spider as a creature, rather than a transformed adept.]
The spell which brings about this transformation is as follows:
    SpS-11. Become Spider
    Range: Adept only
    Duration: 1 minute + 1 minute/Rank
    Experience Multiple: 500
    Base Chance: 5%
    Resist: None
    Effects: This spell transforms the adept into a gigantic spider of
hideous aspect. The creature will have the following statistics:

  Description: This abominable creature is usually venomous-looking in the
extreme, and is of terrifying size. The most disturbing thing about it is
probably the fact that the adept's intelligence can be plainly seen
glittering in its multiple eyes.

PS   15+Rank      [23-29]  FT   20+Rank       [30-35]
MD   1D5+15       [15-20]  PC   Adept's Own   [15-22]
AG   1D5+18       [18-23]  AP   Agility - 10  [5-10]
MA   Adept's Own  [17-22]  PB   1D5-1         [2-6]
WP   Adept's Own  [16-23]  BV   None          [ ?? ]
EN   15+Rank      [23-30]  SZ   15 + Rank     [ ?? ]

  Armour:  The spider's tough skin will absorb 5 DP.
  Weapons:  The spider may attack in either Melee or Close Combat with a
vicious bite (Base Chance of 50% and [D+4] damage). The bite will have
Rank equal to one-half the adept's Rank with this spell. If it inflicts
effective damage, it injects a lethal venom that will inflict 5 points of
damage each Round (+1 for every 4 Ranks, rounded down). Its effects last
for a period of 1D10 Rounds. In Close Combat, the spider may also entangle
a single opponent in webbing from its spinnerettes, which will have the
effect of a Web spell (SpS-5) on that target only.
  Magic:  While in spider form, the adept retains the ability to use any
magic he is normally able to perform.


  The December DQN will be a Special Issue devoted to goods tables, price
lists, and the like.  For this we need everyone to send in *ANY* materials
they have that relate to this subject.  If this works out, the December
Issue will be a "Christmas Catalog" of additional goods and items and
their prices for the DragonQuest world, along with related articles.
  Articless about the Merchant skill and other related topics may also be
relevant for this issue.  Please get all submissions for this issue to me
by the end of November, so that I can get it all compiled and ready for
December distribution.  This is also a chance for those of you who don't
have an article to submit to still contribute your two Silver Pennies

 -- Keith and Jacqui Smith  (keith@ihug.co.nz)

[This description came in attached to a survey reply from last month's
issue.  I thought it would be a useful thing to share with the entire
Newsletter group right away, and so it is included.  Don't you wish *you*
lived in Auckland? --  ED.]

  Perhaps some explanation is appropriate.  We are GMs and players in what
I seriously suspect to be the biggest DQ campaign in progress anywhere in
the world.  It is called simply the Adventurer's Guild and is based in
Auckland, New Zealand.  This campaign has been running for (we think)
about fourteen years.  It involves about sixty to seventy people who
between them control around two hundred player characters (personally we
have three each).
  The organisation works like this: Every three months we have a Guild
meeting of everybody involved.  Part of this meeting involves GMs who are
proposing adventures for the next three-month session annoucing those
adventures in the persona of the party employer.  Another part involves
players in character giving out awards for the "Bravest Adventurer", the
"Stupidest Adventurer", the "Best Death", and so on.  Then there's "The
Seagate Times", our quarterly in-character newsletter.  Adventures are
played in groups of five to seven on a weekly basis (usually 6:30pm to
10:30pm).  The GM's meet once a month to co-ordinate the campaign and iron
out bugs in the rules.  You wouldn't believe the problems that arise in a
multi-GM campaign with what we term mid to high-level characters.
  Part of the success of this campaign is the structure, part is the
emphasis on role-playing as opposed to roll-playing, but part also is due
to the way the DQ system itself assists good play.
  And it certainly is good to discover that we aren't the only people on
the planet who play DQ.
  Yours in light and flame...
     Phaeton Solarmage and Flamis Firemage

 -- Keith and Jacqui Smith  (keith@ihug.co.nz)

 -- Anthony T. Stanford  (legion@netins.net)

  Quite frankly, I am very hazy on what the written rules are governing
this, but here is how we worked it:
  In the 1st edition, all skills cost 1000 EXP for rank 0, except the
first one, which cost 100 EXP (see [8.6]).  We treated Magic colleges as
skills in this regard.
  With the 2nd edition, the cost to achieve Rank 0 varied by skill.  We
left the Colleges at 1000 EXP, subject to the one skill at 100 EXP rule.
Basically, we felt your early life involved some background training in
ONE field.  If you were a mage, that was your early training.  We also
adjusted [8.6] to be 10% of the normal cost to obtain Rank 0, and
restricted it to a skill choosen during character generation, but those
are side issues.
  Warriors could, and usually did, pick up colleges much later in their
careers.  It takes six month's study to change your college if you are
already a mage (see [34.5]), so we used that as the training time for a
non-mage to become one, as well as the 1000 EXP and a qualified teacher.
Other members of the party would be free to train or adventure throughout
those six months.
  This is one reason warriors in our game weren't always mages (although
the College of the Mind talent Resist Pain (T-2) was VERY popular for it's
stun immunity).  They lost the initial skill choice at 10%, and sidelining
your character for half a year at later date was never very attractive.
Moreover, the ability to pick up a college later (even at great cost)
prevented beginning characters from adopting a college just to keep their
options open later.
  Another reason warriors are not mages is already in the rules: [34.6]
and [34.7] indicate that your MA must be greater than the number of
general knowledge spells and rituals in a college before you can join it.
This rule [34.7] has got to be the most incompletely implemented rule in
most DQ campaigns, aside from Infection (which is supposed to happen after
every combat).  Those characteristic points have to come from somewhere
else.  There are two counterspells, BOTH General Knowledge, in each
college that are listed in [31.3], but not under the colleges, and two
General Knowledge rituals in [32.1] and [32.2], so there are four more
General Knowledge spells and rituals in each college than are listed in
the college description.  Those extra four points make adopting a college
a lot more expensive.  Here is a table of MA minimums for each College:

Ensorcelments & Enchantments   17
Sorceries of the Mind          12
Illusions                      10
Naming Magics                  0 (an exception per [34.7])

Air Magics                     14
Water Magics                   19
Fire Magics                    13
Earth Magics                   16
Celestial Magics               14 (only Dark mages can cast
                                 G-8: so they need 15)

Black Magics                   16
Necromantic Conjurations       19
Greater Summoning              10

Lesser Summoning (Arcane Wis.) 20
Summoning (3rd Edition)        18
Shaping Magics                 20
Rune Magics                    20

Sorceries of the Mind is 12, less than average, which is seven points a
warrior would not be able to put elsewhere.  That is the difference
between a 15 (average) and 22 (exceptional).

 -- Anthony T. Stanford  (legion@netins.net)

CEREBUS ARCHIVE MOVES (Copied from rec.games.frp.misc)

The Cerebus site is a gopher/ftp/www accessible repository of gaming
materials, including some DragonQuest materials.  According to this
notice, its URL address has moved.  Those of you who have used this site
(or who are looking for other DQ materials out on the 'Net) will want to
make a note of this.  (Note: This is *not* the DQN Archive, which is still
at ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/dr/drache.) --  ED.

Cerebus the Gopher (aka Negative Space) is in the process of moving.  The
official grand opening is Friday, the 13th of October.

The new site name is "http://nspace.cts.com/". The old "cerebus.acusd.edu"
address will remain in place for about a week, after which all requests
will be automatically routed to nspace.

 ---------------------_D_Q_ _A_R_C_H_I_V_E_-----------------------
[Archive ftp site is at: ftp.netcom.com in the pub/dr/drache directory.
Archivist and ftp Guru: Drake Stanton (drache@netcom.com)]

The College of Spider Magics  -- Review by Philip Proefrock
ARCHIVE NAME:  ### ###
  This is one of several new colleges of Magic sent to us by Andy South.
He doesn't identify which branch it belongs to, but it's pretty obvious
(to me, at least) that this belongs with the Entities.  Andy's description
indicates that "this one was inspired by two books by Mike Jeffries, 'Hall
of Whispers' and 'Glitterspike Hall', both highly recommended.  The
College is meant to be pretty icky, and makes for some fun NPCs in the
right situations."  It also seems highly approriate for the Halloween
issue.  The Giant Spider in this month's Beastiary is also taken from the
write up of this college.
  This college is very much outside the pattern of the original colleges
of magic, as well as most other colleges which have been added to the
Archive to date.  It may not exactly fit into the conventional pattern of
DQ-as-we-know-it (and if SPI was still around, I'm sure the purists would
howl with outrage, "You can't have a college of magic that's just about
spiders!")  But I was really intrigued by what I saw here, and the ideas
it gave me.  The implication set up by this college is that there can be
possibly even hundreds of Colleges of Magic with their own sub-specialties
and focuses for doing magic.  (For another example of this kind, has
anyone else ever read 'Mooncrow' by Jack Massa?)  It may not be for
everyone's campaign (and I expect that it will show up more for NPCs than
for player characters), but it's worth a look.

>From the introduction:
The magic of this College is primarily concerned with controlling events
by using spiders as tools and allies. Most humanoid creatures find spiders
to be repugnant and shun them whenever possible, so adherents of this form
of magic tend to be loners and outcasts from their own species. Many such
adepts acquire traits from the creatures that serve them, becoming
devious, subtle, patient, and utterly ruthless. Spider mages are powerful
in their own lair, but they also have spells that allow them to see what
transpires in the world without. Their form of magic lends itself to
things such as assassination, manipulation, blackmail, extortion, and
spying. A Spider Mage can potentially wield tremendous control over events
in nearby towns and cities by using magic to subtly manipulate political

An article in the last issue ("Non-Combat Blow") was credited to "Legion"
(which was the only information we had).  The author's real name is
Anthony T. Stanford.

NOTICE:  We have received about 20 replies to the survey which was
attached to the last Newsletter.  (That's really a pretty good response
rate, as such things go.)  For those of you who haven't replied, yet,
please send your reply before the end of November (so that the information
can be compiled and reported in that issue).  -- ED.

  Visit the DragonQuest HomePage on the World Wide Web!  This site has
lots of stuff for DragonQuest, including:
    *Back issues of the DragonQuest Newsletter
    *New Colleges of Magic
    *New Skills
    *A collection of DragonQuest Art

The DragonQuest HomePage---

###   End of DragonQuest Newsletter v2/n8 -- October 1995