|| DRAGONQUEST Newsletter 2003 
|| Volume 8 / Number 3 

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

Rodger Thorm (Editor, Article Submissions, Etc.) 

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. 

C O N T E N T S [v8/n03] 

Editorial -- New Content 

Dragon Magazine Articles, Intro -- Rodger Thorm 

The warrior alternative -- Craig Barrett 

Learn magic by the month -- Craig Barrett 

EDITORIAL: The Dragon Articles 
This volume of the DragonQuest Newsletter is going to contain the 
text versions of all of the remaining Dragon magazine articles for 

After this series, the DQN is going to adjust to a new focus. We 
will roll out the new changes in 2004 with the first issue of 
Volume IX. 

Rodger Thorm 
DQN Editor 

-- Rodger Thorm 

In the early- to mid-1980s, when DragonQuest was still present and 
viable, there was enough interest in it that Dragon magazine ran 
several articles on the game. These articles addressed different 
aspects of DQ and suggested some additional rules that were though to 
be missing from the original rulebook. Some of these included rules 
for swimming (two different articles), hunting, and learning magic. 
The authors were not part of the SPI team (although they may have been 
playtesters), and their articles all seem somewhat at odds with SPI's 
style. Nonetheless, some good material is present, even if it needs 
further modification to be used in a DQ campaign. 

An anonymous contributor recently made .PDF files of all nine Dragon 
magazine articles available. These files are now posted as individual 
articles in the Files section of the DQN-list group 
as well as in a single .ZIP file containing all nine .PDFs which is in 
the Files section of the DQ-rules group 


The nine articles are: 
Travel & threads for DragonQuest 
The versatile Magician 
The thrill of the hunt 
Enhancing the enchanter 
The warrior alternative 
Learn magic by the month 
Going up and getting wet 
Getting in over your head 
For a fuller background 

These articles are also being converted into plain text files by a few 
other dedicated members of the DQ community. These articles will be 
included as a regular part of the DragonQuest Newsletter for the next 
nine issues (starting with this one) to make the files accessible to 
as many people as possible. As soon as we have the entire set of text 
files ready, those will be made available as well. 

Thanks to the following individuals for their help in collecting and 
preparing these articles for the Newsletter: the anonymous contributor 
for supplying the .PDF articles; John Rauchert, John Kahane, and 
Steven Wiles for text conversion and proofreading. 

-- Craig Barrett 
(Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine, June 1984, pp.24-25) 

The warrior alternative 
   Generating non-magical characters for the DQ game 

by Craig Barrett 

Of all role-playing game topics, my favorite is fantasy. I enjoy 
working with simulations of magic, provided that the magic is treated 
as something special and is used in moderation. This statement seems 
contradictory in light of the fact that the fantasy RPG I have worked 
with most frequently is the DRAGONQUEST adventure game. Contradictory, 
because the DQ game system not only encourages every player to make 
his character a practitioner of magic but actually penalizes a player 
who doesn't. 

Those who've played the DQ game know what I mean. Reading the 
Character Generation rules leads the player face to face with 
Rule 8.7: "The player may want to . . . choose a college of magic for 
his character (see 34). . . ." But what if the player doesn't want to 
choose a College for his character? Tough. No alternative is offered; 
no compensation for not making a character an Adept is provided. The 
rules trot blithely on, and the player is left wondering why such an 
empty opportunity exists. 

It's not that the DRAGONQUEST game doesn't allow for non-magical 
characters, because non-Adepts abound. For example, non-magical 
characters are described in the game rules (see 31.0 and 31.4), in 
game supplements (from "Camp of Alla-Akabar" to "Blade of Allectus"), 
and even in Gerry Klug's article "DragonNotes" (ARES-- Magazine, 
issue #11), which deals with the issue of randomizing NPCs. So, 
nothing in the rules prohibits a player's character from being a 
non-Adept, but nothing encourages  it, either. The offer of a magical 
College for one's character is a gift; forgo the gift, and nothing is 
offered in its place. 

This situation doesn't seem fair, because the courage required to 
engage in a DQ campaign without the recourse of personal magic 
deserves some reward. 

Hence, the "warrior alternative" offered in this article. This option 
provides immediate martial privileges for players who are willing to 
sacrifice intermediate-range magical advantages for them. Players who 
wish to start with some Ranked skills besides languages may find this 
option intriguing. 

If a player examines the game rules (up to Rule 8.7) for resources 
available to his character, he realizes that his character must pay 
something in order to be initiated into a magical College. The most 
valuable clue to this something is found outside the regular DQ game 
materials, in Chaosium's Thieves' World. When Eric Goldberg, one of 
the original DQ game designers, adapted the game to fit the universe 
of Robert Asprin's fine Thieves' World anthology series, Goldberg 
directly contravened Rule 34.5, which prohibits Adepts from learning 
the magic of a College other than his own. The revised procedure goes 
like this: In exchange for a six-month term of study and 5,000 
Experience Points (EPs), the initial magic of a College of the same 
alignment as a character (see 34.1) can be learned; for a twelve-month 
term of study and 7,500 EPs, the initial magic of a College of a 
different alignment can be learned. 

In this setup, it's easier to learn the magic of a different but 
similarly aligned College than it was for the Adept to learn the 
magic of his original College, because, at this point, the character 
is building on a familiar foundation. A non-aligned College is more 
difficult since the character is hampered by the training gained 
from his first College. By splitting the difference between the two 
costs -- say, a nine-month term of study and 6,500 EPs -- we arrive 
at the initiation cost for a character's first magical College. 

Let's suppose that, while a character's classmates are busy with their 
spells and potions, he decides to go a different route. The character 
knows that he can always be initiated into a magical College later 
(for nine months of study and 6,500 EPs); however, he currently wants 
an education that offers more tangible survival benefits. Instead of 
entering a school for magic, he enters a different kind of school. 

Unless the Gamemaster has created a highly detailed DRAGONQUEST world, 
a player does not have to worry about identifying this other school 
that his character attended, any more than he would if all characters 
attended a magic-teaching school. Instead, this player should follow 
the standard Character Generation rules until he reaches Rule 8.5; 
at this point, he stops. The player now has nine months and 6,500 EPs 
to spend on his character for the development of skills other than 

These EPs can't be spent indiscriminately. Because players don't want 
to mess  up the play balance, some restrictions are in order (see 87.7). 

First, every character who chooses the warrior alternative expends 
2,500 EPs on characteristic points: either for one Fatigue Point, 
which raises the character's total no higher than 23 and has no effect 
on Endurance (see 5.3), or for 3 Perception Points, which are added to 
his initial 8 PC points. 

Second, a character selects one skill from Chapter VII that he majored 
in and expends sufficient EPs to raise that skill to Rank 2. Then, he 
selects a skill he minored in and expends enough EPs so that the skill 
is at Rank 1. Players should be able to defend skill choices if the 
Gamemaster challenges the relationship of these selections to the 
character being role-played. A school for Assassins, for example, 
might provide a supplementary course in Spying or Courtesy (the 
character has to get close to his target if he's to kill him), but not 
one in Alchemy or Navigation. A school for Thieves could also train 
Merchants (this way, a character could double as a fence for stolen 
goods), but not Military Scientists (though soldiers are also foragers 
and, therefore, might minor as Thieves). 

Since the warrior alternative is the point of discussion here, choices 
for a major skill should be limited to Assassin, Beast Master, 
Military Scientist, Navigator, Ranger, Spy, and Thief. Neither the 
major nor the minor skill should be a language. 

Once the character has selected his major and minor skills, he selects 
three weapons consistent with these skills and expends sufficient EPs 
to earn Rank 2 with one of them and Rank 1 with each of the other two. 
Thus, an Assassin must select either the sap or the garotte as a tool 
of his trade, and he probably wouldn't choose a broadsword or shield, 
while a Military Scientist (particularly one from a family of the 
Greater Nobility) probably would. These weapon choices shouldn't be 
unduly restricted, but should remain reasonable. 

When weapons have been selected, all of the character's 6,500 EPs may 
have been used. Of any EPs remaining, only up to 500 can be held in 
reserve to be added to the EP bank once the procedures in Rule 8.7 are 
completed. Any EPs in excess of this amount are permanently lost. 
Remaining EPs can now be spent for more Fatigue or Perception points, 
for Stealth to Rank 1, for Horsemanship to Rank 1, for Hunting to Rank 
1 (see Paul Crabaugh's article in DRAGON Magazine, issue #78, p. 84), 
or for any affordable combination of these. When remaining EPs have 
been spent, the player proceeds with Rules 8.5, 8.6, and 8.7. EPs 
acquired under Rule 8.5 can be spent in any manner desired during this 
process. (I recommend immediately using the bargain price of 100 EPs 
for one skill -- Rule 8.6 -- for a language skill. Under Rule 49.6, 
this means a character begins play with Rank 8 in that language. He 
already has 7 to 10 Rankings in other skills, so why pass up this 
chance if 8.5 has given him the EPs to spend?) 

If the character is human (this variant is mainly designed for humans), 
he is credited with being able to read, write, and speak Common at 
Rank 8 (see Rule 49.0, paragraph 3, and Rule 49.6). 

When the character generation process is completed, a player adds to 
the EP bank those EPs he's been holding in reserve from his character's 
"education fund" of 6,500 EPs. Finally, the player assigns his 
character a name (see 8.8), and his work is done. 

Gamemasters should deal with the newly created non-Adept in a liberal 
fashion and should be patient as the non-Adept works out the duties of 
having sudden Rank. An Assassin of Rank 2, for example, must pay 700 
Silver Pennies per year as "hush money" and such (see 51.9). Since the 
character won't be able to afford that sum of money right away, the 
Gamemaster should give the new Assassin plenty of time to gather the 
needed funds during his first year of operation. The Gamemaster must 
treat all skills with similar generosity. 

One final note: These Ranks should be seen as fair just compensation 
for an audacious character who is willing to brave the dangers of a 
DRAGONQUEST world without the benefit of personal magical powers. By 
the character's abstinence, he's contributing to the value of the 
magic being used by others; therefore, he should be given a little 
bit of an edge in other areas. 

-- Craig Barrett 
(Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine, September 1984, pp. 42-43) 

Learn magic by the month 
   DRAGONQUEST rules for studying spells 

by Craig Barrett 

Most player characters (PCs) begin a DRAGONQUEST game campaign already 
adept in a magical college. That's the way the rules work, and since 
the rules also restrict PCs to membership in a single college at a 
time, there seems little point in knowing how a PC can enter a college 
after the campaign has begun. 

However, things don't always run as smoothly as they first start out, 
even in roleplaying games. Some players will elect to start their PCs 
as non-adepts (see "The warrior alternative," DRAGON Magazine #86). 
Others will see their PCs stripped of magical power, either voluntarily 
or involuntarily, during the course of the campaign (see rules 34.5, 
44.0, 46.0, etc.). Some GMs will draw from Eric Goldberg's article in 
Chaosium's THIEVES' WORLD game, which suggests allowing adepts to 
belong to more than one college at a time. 

In all of these cases, a PC will enter a college after the campaign is 
already under way, and that brings up a major problem: In order to 
learn magic, a PC will have to spend six to twelve months of game time 
out of action, studying. This means an extended period of real time 
during which you, the player, have a choice of fascinating activities. 
You can twiddle your thumbs, count raindrops on a pane of glass, or 
watch your fellow players happily pursuing their own PCs' careers -- 
you can do anything except play, which is what you came to do. 

The purpose of this article is to provide a viable solution to that 
problem. Although a PC's education in magic may have to proceed in 
uninterrupted monthly increments (rule 34.5), nothing says those 
increments have to be consecutive. If a given study month can be 
separated from the study months before and after it, both you and 
your PC can be set free to enjoy yourselves. While your PC's 
colleagues are improving their skills or practicing their abilities, 
your PC can be studying his magic. When they're off adventuring, your 
character can adventure right along with them -- and you can be in on 
the action, too. 

But in order to make this procedure work, you have to have some 
knowledge of where a PC can go to study magic and how much magic he 
can learn during a given month of study. 

Monastic schools 
I favor the suggestions provided in the DRAGONQUEST rules to determine 
the placement of monasteries, though each GM is free to organize the 
magical societies of   his world as he sees fit. The best way to deal 
with monasteries is to establish them per branch (rule 34.0) rather 
than per college. Having only three kinds of monasteries rather than 
twelve means that your world isn't going to be hamstrung by an 
overabundance of religious institutions. Of course, some care will 
have to be taken in deciding which masters and novices are inhabiting 
a monastery at any given time -- but this has more to do with inter- 
college conflicts than with inter-branch differences. After all, fire 
mages and water mages may be incompatible in terms of the magic they 
practice, but they ought to be able to study side by side without too 
many problems. However, the same may not be true of pacifistic earth 
mages and druidic earth mages. (The answer to this is to keep 
pacifistic earth mages out of monasteries altogether. As 
individualists, they keep to themselves.) 

Tuition fees are the same for all monasteries: 200 silver pennies per 
month actually spent in the monastery, plus 100 SPs per month that 
your basic magical education extends, from the first day of the first 
month to the last day of the last month. Payment is due at the start 
of each increment of monthly study, and should include arrears if 
you've been away from the monastery (in which case part of a month 
counts as a full month). 

This is little enough to pay for the priceless magical education your 
PC is getting, and the real profit to the monastery comes in less 
tangible areas: the chance to spread the knowledge that the monastery 
exists to preserve; the services of willing novices, for assistants 
are always needed as each master works to further his own personal 
studies; the addition of new names to the list of those already loyal 
to the monastery. In the uncertainties of a DRAGONQUEST game world, 
loyal friends are priceless, and even after your "graduation," your 
master or your monastery's abbot may call upon you periodically for 
some service. 

During the time of his education, your PC will be required to give 
strict devotion to his studies. Each monthly increment should be 
uninterrupted, and an interrupted month is a lost month, with both SPs 
and EPs forfeited. (GMs should be reluctant to allow uncontrollable 
outside factors to interfere with the studies of a dedicated novice. 
Anyone who is honestly trying to abide by the rules should be allowed 
to do so. Also, short missions for your PC's master or abbot are 
considered part of the   discipline, and shouldn't count against 
study time.) 

The period of time your PC can spend away from the monastery between 
increments, whether on a mission or not, is limited to a maximum of 
90 days, since successful study requires a measure of continuity. For 
each day by which a PC fails to meet this deadline, one week of 
additional study or 150 additional experience points (GM's choice) 
are added to his next increment's requirements. Obviously, a 
severely or habitually delinquent student will soon reach the point 
where he might as well abandon his present studies and start over. 

During his time away from the monastery, however, your PC will be 
gathering fresh experience points. Whether he can begin his studies 
with insufficient EPs to complete them, as rule 87.1 allows, is up 
to your PC's master. But if your PC uses a magical ability during 
an adventure, the resulting EPs can be applied toward ranking that 
ability. No magical ability of the college currently being studied 
can be ranked higher than 3 until all basic study for that college 
is completed. 

When your PC enters a thaumaturgical, elemental, or entital monastery, 
part of the first month's general study involves letting his teachers 
determine which particular college he's best suited for. (You know 
ahead of time, but he doesn't.) How much of the college's magic your 
PC can learn during any given one-month increment will depend not 
only on which college he's studying, but also on whether or not it's 
his first college. (Note: Time and experience-point costs given below 
are taken directly or by extrapolation from Eric Goldberg's article 
in Chaosium's THIEVES' WORLD game.) 

If your PC is learning the general knowledge of his first magical 
college, it will cost him nine months and 6,500 experience points -- 
1,300 EPs for the first month of study, and 650 EPs for each 
succeeding month of study, "payable" at the start of each month. The 
entire course must be completed within a given three-year period, 
beginning on the first day of the first month. 

In the first month, your PC learns rituals 32.1 and 32.2, as well as 
the fundamentals of the college. In the second month, he learns the 
two counterspells of the college and further fundamentals. Each 
succeeding month he'll learn a group of the college's talents, spells, 
and rituals, with the specific  abilities learned being determined by 
the GM as follows: 

Divide the college's talents, spells, and rituals as evenly as 
possible into seven equal groups, so that all talents will be acquired 
before all spells, and all spells before all rituals; and so that 
talents, spells, and rituals are acquired in the order given in the 
rule book. Some flexibility should be allowed. For example, an 
enchanter may request to learn one ritual in each of the last four 
months of study, along with one of the last four spells, rather than 
having all four rituals grouped in the last two months of study. Any 
groups of abilities smaller than the others should be among the early 
months of study; any groups larger than the others should be among the 
later months. In some colleges, perhaps no abilities will be learned 
in the third or fourth month of study because of the small number of 
basic abilities in the college. There's no help for that. 

If your PC is already an adept and is learning the general knowledge 
of an aligned college (see 34.0 and 34.1), it costs him six months 
and 5,000 EPs -- 1,500 EPs for the first month and 700 EPs for each 
succeeding month of study. The entire course must be completed 
within a given two-year period. Your PC already knows rituals 32.1 and 
32.2, so he learns the college's two counterspells in the first month 
of study. The curriculum of succeeding months   should be determined 
as for his first college, 

If your PC is learning the general knowledge of a non-aligned college 
(which can above, using a five-month base. happen only twice, once for 
each nonaligned branch), it costs him 12 months and 7,500 EPs -- 
900 EPs for the first month and 600 EPs for each succeeding month of 
study. The entire course must be completed within a given four-year 
period. Your PC already knows rituals 32.1 and 32.2, so he learns the 
college's two counterspells in the first month of study. The 
curriculum of succeeding months should be determined as for his first 
college, above, using an eleven month base. 

If your PC fails to meet the deadline for completing the entire course 
of study for a college, he is immediately reduced by one rank in any 
ability of that college that he's succeeded in raising above rank 0, 
and he can never advance past rank 2 with any magical ability of that 
college. For this reason, the GM should give the dedicated student 
every possible chance to complete his studies -- acting as the abbot 
of the monastery, he may even give a PC some form of magical 
dispensation if the deadline has passed because of circumstances 
beyond his control. But extensions of the deadline should always be 
linked to a quest assigned by the abbot, to be performed immediately 
upon completion of the PC's studies. The only other solution to a 
missed deadline is   to start studying all over again, sacrificing all 
time, EPs, and SPs already spent. 

There may be many reasons why a PC (and that character's player) would 
prefer longer periods of study in place of the one month increments. 
With a sufficient stockpile of SPs and EPs, a character may feel that 
the long winter months of a Scandinavian- like environment would be an 
excellent time to study magic; no one's doing much of anything 
anyway...  Or perhaps your GM has things arranged so that players lend 
him a helping hand periodically. If you're busy doing something 
besides running your PC but still involved in the game, that's a 
wonderful time for your PC to be usefully occupied (if everyone agrees 
to allow this sort of "double duty"). But if your PC is unable to 
complete his magical education in a single continuous time span, 
whether for lack of time or EPs or SPs, the system of monthly 
increments is a useful one to adopt. Just don't forget the 90-day 
maximum break between increments; this pertains to all cases. 

One final point: Rules 34.6 and 34.7 apply at the beginning of magical 
study. Your PC may be allowed to accumulate the experience points he 
needs during the hiatus between increments, but not the magical 
aptitude required. However, the ritual of spell preparation (32.1) 
should never be counted against the magical aptitude, since it cannot 
be ranked. 

### End of DragonQuest Newsletter v8/n03 -- 2003