April 19, 2007

The End of an Era

It is with incredible sadness that I make this post. The startling announcement that Wizards of the Coast deicided to terminate Paizo’s license to produce Dragon and Dungeon magazines took me and a host of others by surprise. It seems WotC feels the in-print magazines will compete with their coming online venture.

I grew up with both magazines. I picked up Dragon #42 (pictured, center above) on a whim at a California gaming store and was soon hooked. My start with Dungeon began with #5. I guess that makes me a pretty old gaming geek!

I love the magazines. They've had their ups (the "old" Dragon!) & downs (the mid-90s Dragon) but the magazine provided the best, hands down, regular source of gaming material, particularly in the pre-Internet age. I'm highly computerized and no Luddite—I once worked in hardware repair for years and now check my e-mail habitually—but nothing beats having a real, printed, paper magazine sitting in my hands. I've got boxes full of the old ones and even after getting my hands on the ultra-hard-to-get (at least for less than a prince's ransom) Dragon 250-issue CD Set I still prefer digging into my old cardboard boxes and getting out the real thing.

My first published adventure appeared in Dungeon #67. It was a great experience and taught me a hell of a lot about the RPG business, so the mag is dear to my heart. Dragon too found a home for my letters, including a running debate about the "TSR rules thugs"—I term I coined in those ancient pages that still gets laughs of recognition from the old-timers in online forums. The mags and their editors were kind to me.

Dragon and Dungeon were gaming institutions, and rightly so. The art and articles and cartoons that graced those mags over the years is drool-worthy and earned my respect (and money) long ago.

The most recent publisher (position-wise) of the magazines, Erik Mona, turned around the semi-failing Dungeon and stagnant Dragon and brought vibrancy back to both. Dungeon in particular has really shined this last few years. I wish the Paizo boys the very best with Pathfinder and their other projects, and I hope we truly haven't seen the last of these two great, venerable titles.

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