Friday, April 20, 2007

Dungeon and Dragon

No not Dungeons and Dragons, Dungeon and Dragon.

In 1975, TSR, Inc. began publishing The Strategic Review. At the time, roleplaying games were still seen as a sub-genre of the wargaming industry, and the magazine was designed not only to support Dungeons & Dragons and TSR's other games, but also to cover wargaming in general. In short order, however, the popularity and growth of Dungeons & Dragons made it clear that the game had not only separated itself from its wargaming origins, but had launched an entirely new industry unto itself. The following year, after only seven issues, TSR cancelled The Strategic Review and replaced it with The Dragon which later became Dragon Magazine and then Dragon.

I took that paragraph from the Wikipedia on Dragon (the magazine). Well that's all over. Yesterday it was announced that Wizards of the Coast is not going to renew Paizo's license to publish Dragon (or Dungeon) magazine. WotC is going to move it all online. In general I'm not a Luddite (or neo-luddite, or post-neo-anarcho-primitive) I'll read something off of the computer without any problem, but there's something about a book or a magazine, that still makes them pretty good vectors for information. They're durable, portable, tactilly satisfying, pretty, nice-smelling, arousing... okay I better stop, but the point is that electronic distribution is not the same.

Even more than Dragon I'm going to miss Dungeon (first published in 1986). My relationship with that magazine is complicated. My own little company, currently in a coma, DireKobold was initially set up as a direct competitor to Dungeon, later when I realized that wasn't going to work, I made a valient attempt to get them to use my software with their adventures, there's still a little flicker of hope there so I won't go into enormous detail, suffice it to say, that I could not imagine anything cooler in the world than picking up a Dungeon magazine and finding a paragraph instructing people on how to order an enhanced PDF version of the adventure (wired up with my software). And it wasn't just that they'd be using my software the magazine itself was that amazing, just about all by itself.

In any case I'm going to miss them. Count me among those that are not ready just yet to damn WotC's online versions, but they're going to have to do something pretty cool to capture that magic that was those two venerable magazines...

The end of the third era...


Anonymous Ed said...

That is a shame. I agree with the paper periodicals sentiment...except for the weird, disturbing part.

4:49 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

I just left my comments at Gamegrene so I feel weird repeating myself but the separation seems strange. Paizo doesn't want to do online? The royalty money is too much / too little? WotC has a better offer? What? There is more story here.

In other, probably taboo, subjects (but not as taboo as the weird parts ed mentions) DireKobold.Com is what led me here. If there is ever a flicker of hope of opportunity on that horizon, please color me florescent hot-pink interested.

Until such time, I'm ready to continue ... without admitting to the disturbing parts.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

I think fourth edition is the part of the story that's missing. Also they have announced a new "Digital Initiative" which they're hiring like crazy for. I think the combination of the two yields the simplest answer to all of this. I still think it was kind of a dumb thing to do.

Also if you want a peek at what might have been (or might still be) with DireKobold, drop me an e-mail sometime: Ross at

1:52 PM  

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