||   DRAGONQUEST Newsletter                        November 1995  ||
||   Volume 2 / Number 9                                          ||
||           PART 1 OF 2 - Second Part Coming Next Week           ||

The DQ Newsletter is for discussions of the DragonQuest roleplaying game. 
 The key addresses you needto 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 
otherforum requires permission of the author or the moderator.  The 
DragonQuestNewsletter also maintains an ftp archive site:
[ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/dr/drache] which includes back issues of the 
newsletter and other articles ofinterest to DragonQuest players and GMs.


C O N T E N T S[v2/n9&n10]

Administrivia - Dave Nadler
Editorial -- Philip Proefrock
Letters  -- Anthony T. Stanford
          -- Andrew South
          -- Brent Jackson
          -- John Kahane
Mages and Iron Projectiles -- Anthony T. Stanford
Rtuals of Binding Elements -- Brent Jackson  [coming next week]
Composite/Compound Bows -- Anthony T. Stanford    [coming next week]

Column: DQ ARCHIVE                 [coming next week]

Advertisements                     [coming next week]


Another first for the DQN - this issue, because of the size of the issue and 
because of transmission problems from "the source" we've decided to break 
the newsletter into two releases. This is the first, and you should receive 
the second some time next week.  You'll notice some of the articles in the 
Contents section show [coming next week] which means that that particular 
article will be in nexts weeks release.  What fun, eh? - - Dave Nadler



There were several letters this month, so I will keep my own comments brief 
so that there is space for them.  Hopefully this is a continuing trend, and 
we will see more discussion about articles and about DQ topics, generally as 
the Newsletter continues to grow.  The results of the DQN survey will be in 
the next issue.  If you haven'tresponded yet, by the time you are reading 
this, you will have only acouple days left before you need to get that 
information to me.  Also, I would like to have submissions from as many of 
our readers as we can get for the upcoming SPECIAL ISSUE.
Even if you only have prices for a couple of things that weren't covered in 
the rules (do you
*really* expect us to believe that your characters only buy what's on that 
list, and nothing else)
please send them in for the Catalog of Goods Special Issue.  If you 
absolutely have nothing in that vein, maybe you could send in a description 
of a special treasure a character came across at somepoint (or do your 
characters only find boxes of Silver Pennies, too?).



Subject:Reviving DQ

I used to play DQ quite extensively until about ten years ago.  I was even a 
playtester at SPI for it.  {I never was actually on the DQplaytesting team: 
I was on Ragnarok, Tito, and few others...  I wound upon the DQ playtesters' 
listing because it was all I ever talked about, and Mr. Klug liked my ideas. 
 I never even knew my name was on the credits' page until a rather hot rules 
debate broke out in my game a few months after the 2nd edition was 
published, and one of the onlookers asked, "How can you possibly argue with 
him?  He helped write the rules." Sure enough,there was my name on the title 
page.  It wasn't strictly true that I helped write the rules, but it ended 
that particular debate rather nicely.}  It only just now occurred to me to 
look for information on it in the net. One of my first questions was going 
to be if any of the other people more closely involved in that project had 
turned up.  Then I read in the most recent issue that Mr. Klug (I'd swear he 
went by "Jerry" back then, not "Chris") surfaced.  I guess that answers one 
question.  I've a word of advice: I've read through some of the back issues 
of this newsletter and skimmed through the rest.  The question of reviving 
DQ seems to arise fairly frequently.  Unless there is a major management 
shuffle at TSR, it is a completely dead issue.  I know of a group oflawyers 
in MD who play SPI's strategic games avidly.  They put together a sizable 
purse and attempted to purchase the rights to some of the more obscure old 
SPI titles that TSR said would never again see the light of day.  TSR's 
answer was (and remains) an unconditional and emphatic "NO".  The subject of 
money never even came up, although they tried naming a few sums to prove 
they were serious.  These were professional negotiators, highly motivated, 
backed with a lot of capital, looking to purchase dead titles that did not 
compete with any TSR products, and that did not have catchy names.  I 
suspect they are still trying from time to time.  If they ever succeed, 
perhaps then DQ can be discussed. It is certainly pointless until then.

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

[On the other hand, I was at a game store a couple weeks ago, and I saw some 
reprinted SPI titles (board/war games; sorry, I didn't note any of the 
titles, though) with the logos of both SPI and "Decision Games."  These were 
1990s releases (I think the one I looked at was a 1994 copyright), so it may 
be that TSR is finally selling off some of the old SPI titles.  I don't 
think that this means that they have completely changed their policies, but 
it is interesting, nonetheless.  Does anyone else have any information about 
Decision Games? --  ED.]


Subject:  Magic/Spider Magics

Hi Phil :-)  I just read your review of the College of Spider Magics and 
thought I'd comment on the issue you raised there in relation to there being 
"hundreds of Colleges of Magic with their own sub-specialties and focuses 
for doing magic". This is pretty much how I prefer to approach magic in my 
own campaign, and it's not uncommon for me to devise a new college for 
almost exclusive use by either a player character or a major NPC. I run a 
fairly mana-poor game, with adepts being few and far between, so I like to 
give them a strong individual stamp when they are encountered. I realise 
that this approach is not for everyone, though, and it does raise a number 
of issues.  Firstly, branches of magic. How do all these colleges fit into 
the existing structure? I must admit I tend to play pretty fast and loose 
here, not worrying overmuch as to exactly what a new college is. When you 
consider it, though, what do the opposing branches of magic actually 
contribute to the game?

True, they do provide a sense of structure and categorisation, but then 
should you be able to easily box something as fluid and intangible as magic? 
I prefer that the answer here be no. I have a rules lawyer in my own game, 
and I delight in his growls of annoyance each time he strikes something he's 
never heard of before, and can't immediately slot into a nice category.  One 
option might be to just run your world with no opposing colleges.  For my 
own part I divided the world into two halves, the East and West,separated 
from one another for centuries by the rampages of a dragon.

A different approach to magic has evolved in each of these two parts of the 
world (rationalising the bonus/penalty to magic resistance), but I really 
only consider a College as being either Eastern or Western. Eastern colleges 
tend to be those identified as Entities in the rules, Western colleges the 
Thaumaturgies. It just means I can't have Westerners using Entities-type 
magic unless I decide that they've gone and studied in the East for a while. 
 Namers are another issue, though. How can an adept of the College of Naming 
Incantations possibly learn and gain rank in the hundreds of counterspells 
that would be necessary to counter all these individual flavours of magic? 
I'm still grappling with this one myself. At present I'm considering 
replacing the General and Special Knowledge Counterspells learned by Namers 
with two spells: "Counter General Knowledge Magic" and "Counter Special 
Knowledge Magic". These would be ranked in the normal way, although at a 
higher experience multiple than normal counterspells.  Namers would also 
need to gain rank in the True Names for the individual flavours of magic, 
although (as described in the DQ rules) this would be a function of time 
rather than experience. The spells would function at the lower of the 
adept's rank with the spell, or their rank with the True Name for the type 
of magic in question. This approach would also get around the problem with 
Namers needing a gazillion spells and effectively having no Magical Aptitude 
limit on what they can know.  Anyway, I'd be interested in any comments any 
of your readers might have on their own approaches to this matter.

Andrew South (llew@werple.mira.net.au)

Subjects: Detect Aura/Auckland Adventurers' Guild/Starting Skills & 
Mages/Spider Magics

===Detect Aura===
In our campaign we play auras in much the same way as Phil Proefrock.  We 
introduced a new level of aura "magical" which is less than formerly living. 
 Never living objects have no aura (and, incidently, no Generic True Name). 
 Hence, a DA of a sword could return "never living" (no question allowed), 
"magical" (question as usual) or "formerly living" (if it were wooden - it 
may or may not be magical).  In terms of what we allow for questions, we 
tend to focus on the word"intrinsic".  Hence, questions concerning age, 
characteristics, skills, magical abilities, and magic in effect are all 
valid questions.  Most GMs also allow questions about magic that has been in 
effect (arguing that the residual magic that is used in a Divination should 
be available to a DA).  We also automatically give Generic True Name to 
Namers when they DA, prior to their question.  Other mages can ask for it. 
 We definitely do not allow its use as a lie detector (ruling that whether 
someone is lying is not *intrinsic* to their aura).  Like Phil Proefrock we 
play Aura detection as a talent that must be activated, and as a visual 
ability requiring line of sight and ability to see the target.  For example, 
a fully clad knight can not be DAed although his armour and weapons could 
be.  To get around the re-attempting indefinitely problem, we only allow 
are-attempt after a significant change to the Aura.  A significant change is 
defined as a change of state (eg living to formerly living) or the sum of 
many changes over a three month period (or possibly a change of season). 
 This is done to conincide with our three month per adventure cycle, thus we 
do not have to record DA answers between adventures.  If a DA has been 
successful, then the same Aura may be read again without making a roll. 
 Hence, common questions on companions are "effect of the last magic to 
impact" or "duration of last curse or backfire effect".  We have also used 
an Aura component with Illusions which allow changing the answers to a 
number of questions equal to rank.  Thus somebody could have an Illusion of 
"no college" but the question "what is their second highest ranked spell" 
could return "Hellfire".

===Auckland's Adventurers' Guild===
This was informally founded in 1982, when adventures being run by 
"GaryJackson", "Jeff Leddra" and "Mike Young" were all shifted to the same 
plane -- The Frontiers of Alusia.  The campaign has been running ever since, 
due in no small part to Bryan Holden who organised and ran Gods' meetings 
and Adventurer's Guild meetings for over 10 years (he has recently stood 
down).  After quickly growing to about 30 players, we have had between 40 
and 70 players active at any one time ever since.  GMs also play characters, 
and most GMs only GM once every two or three sessions (each session being 3 
months game and real time).  Our game date is 1994 AP (after Panjari).  We 
have had spin off campaigns start in Christchurch and London.  I personally 
started in 1981 in a transformed AD&D campaign (under GaryJackson) which 
converted to DQ and then to DQ II when it joined the others, and also in Feb 
1982 under Jeff Leddra.

===Starting Skills and Mages===
In our campaign, very early on we decided that non-magic users were hard 
done by.  We introduced the non-magic user alternative, which allowed 6500 
experience points to be spent in certain ways, in lieu of taking a college. 
 Because it takes 6 months to change colleges, we ruled that it takes 1 year 
to learn a college.  However, this can be done piecemeal as four 3 month 
blocks.  In terms of the MA restrictions on colleges, we do enforce these. 
 However, we do not count Ritual Preparation as a Ritual (since it cannot be 
ranked), but rather as a way of performing magic (like 1 minutes casting 
only slower).  This means that our minimum requirements are one lower than 
those of Anthony T. Stanford, except for Namers.  Namers require 1 MA to 
learn the Ritual Purification.  Obviously, most mages desire a few points of 
MA above the minimums, so that they can start learning specials without 
having to rank generals over rank 6, and, more importantly, so that they do 
not forget spells when afflicted with Creeping Senility or Migraines (if 
spells are forgotten we start with lowest ranked ones, and work up, so some 
Colleges do not mind forgetting their useless spells eg E&E rituals). 
 {Historical aside : we once had a dwarf with 3 MA learn Naming Incantations 
 - he was a specialist, only having 1 spell between ranks 1 and 5 at any one 
time !}

===Spider College===
I guess I'm a purist, because when I saw it I (metaphorically) "howled with 
outrage - you can't have
a college just about spiders".  It would not fit with our campaign, and I 
found it lacked enough depth to be a PC College.

 -- Brent Jackson (brent@hypercom.co.nz)

Subject:  Writing for the DQ Newsletter/(Intellect Stat

JS> It's cool to say "I use safeguards in my campaign," and based
JS> on your response I believe you do so, but when you're writing
JS> material to be used by others it is valuable to *write the
JS> safeguards in*.

True.  But I'm not submitting an official manuscript for submission to anew 
DQ gaming product.  This newsletter is merely a forum, one where people can 
judge all the material that comes their
way and decide how to use it, whether to use it, and the manner in which 
they'll use it.  ...while I
see your point here, I'm not a technical writer and I didn't write any of 
the material for my campaign with an eye on seeing it published anywhere at 
all.  Heck, there was no way of knowing
that something like the DQ Newsletter was even going to be around.  People 
will judge this article
based on its merits, but frankly I do see your point.  Just bear in mind 
that not all of us are technical writers.
 -- John Kahane (John.Kahane@p5.f198.n163.z1.fidonet.org)

[I think that John's point is fairly clear.  I just want to reinforce what 
he is saying to the extent that I want to encourage submissions as much 
aspossible, and no one should withhold something just because they are 
concerned about the technical polish of that article.  While ideally there 
should be a level of refinement to everything that we present in this 
Newsletter, all readers should realize that this is an open forum, and I 
expect that any good GM will adapt any of the articles or items in the 
Newsletter as necessary in order to apply them to an existing campaign.  At 
the same time, constructive criticism, suggestions for refinement, etc. 
should be a part of the discussion that takes place in the Newsletter.  -- 


MAGES AND IRON PROJECTILES-- Anthony T. Stanford (legion@netins.net)
There was some discussion of this in one of the UseNet exchanges, I believe. 
 There are rules governing when projectiles stick in the target's body and 
how to remove them, under [20.4].  People probably know this already, but I 
saw no mention of it (although I did not look all that closely).  The ruling 
mentioned in the discussions that some endurance damage must be done was a 
good ruling (FT damage is supposed to be a shallow wound, and weapons tend 
to fall out of shallow wounds on their own), although the actual case states 
"Whenever a figure suffers effective damage...".  "Effective damage," is 
defined in [9] as anything actually affecting FT or EN.Also note that cloth 
armor helped deal with barbed projectiles in the 1st edition.  There is a 
reason for that, incredible as it may seem.  The cloth armor presented in 
the 1st edition was NOT padded armor: it was the heavy silk shirts worn by 
Mongols.  It was supposed to be a rare item, and WOULD add to the protection 
of other armor forms.  Silk is very hard to cut, as the Mongols knew, and it 
offered some protection against edges and points of weapons.  It also would 
catch in the barbs of barbed arrows and be dragged into the target's body 
along with the barbs, making it easier to draw the arrow back out.  Cloth 
armor got changed to the padding more familiar to D&D players along with the 
purge of the oriental weapons in the 1st edition, which it was felt were 
being massively overused.
 -- Anthony T. Stanford  (legion@netins.net)

### End of DragonQuest Newsletter v2/n9 -- November1995 ###
###                     Part 1 of 2                     ###