Sunday 03 June, 2012

RPG Magazine Review – Crawl No. 1


It has been a weird and wonderful two weeks.  Between managing the Kickstarter for my Sword and Sorcery Supplement Tales From the Fallen Empire, and trying to compile my notes into a book format it has been exhausting.  I wanted to post about something this week so I figured I would do a mini review.

Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman games has been really drawing up a large cult of gamers who are really enjoying the game.  Even those who were naysayers about using the funky dice or complaining that we have too many clones on the market are coming around.  If you have not picked this book up, please put it on your buy list.  For $39.95 it is one of the best deals out there.  A full RPG with great Old School art and prose for a admission price you just can’t find these days.  I will do a full review in the coming weeks, but I will save that for a later time when I have more grey matter to burn.

So onto Crawl.  First I want to say that Reverend Dak (the guy who is putting this all together) is a pretty cool guy.  He is a regular poster over on the DCC boards and has been positive about the game and all third party projects going on.  I pre-ordered this little beauty when I first heard the news.  I am a sucker for print magazines about gaming first of all, so when I saw that the admission price was $3.50 I said why the hell not.   Some weeks went buy and honestly I forgot about ever ordering it.  Since I have become a Kickstarter and indigogo backer I tend to spend money, forget about it and then become surprised when it appears at my doorstep.  Early last week I looked in my mail box and there was a over sized envelope.  Upon ripping it open I found the coolest little gem.

The picture does not do this little black book justice.  The cover is a thick black card stock with the image laser etched (or that what I am assuming it is) into the cover.  On the back cover the information is done in the same way.  Not to be a picker of nits, but while I really like what they have done in a stylistic sort of way… it just makes it too hard to read.  You have to tilt the cover in the light in order to see what the information says.   The gold sticker is a nice touch as well.  If I am not mistaken the publisher was trying to get the look close to the special foil edition of the RPG.

The magazine runs about 20 pages long which IMHO is great.  With everything else in life taking forever these days, it is nice to have something I can read at one sitting or when I am having lunch.  The first couple of pages are your standard credits stuff and an introduction to the magazine.  Nothing fancy, but to the point.  The first article is on Pulp Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery.  Give give a nice short look on how to make your DCC games a bit more human-centric.  Some great tables on occupations, thieving abilities, how to handle clerical magic on worlds where clerics might not exist, and other info that would help a GM ease into a Conan or Lankhmar style campaign.

The magazine introduces us to a new Patron for DCC Wizards to make pacts with, some great advise on Save or Die style death rules, and a way to better handle skills in DCC.

The best is saved for last.  OSR Conversions!  If you like the way DCC handles spells the publisher gives the reader methods on how to add the flair of random spell effects to any OSR or Original Edition games.  This is solid gold to me as I run a lot of B/X D&D and with the info in the article I can just drop these rules in.

So the is my very short and fast (most likely need to edit it later) review of Crawl #1.  Is the Magazine for everyone?  Well if you love old school gaming it does not cost much to check out an issue.  The layout is so-so and some of the article could have a bit more umph to them.  Will I buy issue #2?  Hell yes!  I think this magazine has merit and where on earth can you get a copy of a solid gaming magazine in print for $3.50?  Crawl in my opinion is the Maximum Rock and Roll of gaming mags.  Pick it up and check it out.





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