The Death of a Dragon…

 I was reading one of my new favorite comics (thanks, Leaha!), and came across a mention of this:

April 19, 2007 (BELLEVUE, Wash.) – Paizo Publishing and Wizards of the Coast today announced the conclusion of Paizo’s license to produce DRAGON and DUNGEON magazines effective September 2007.

Source: NEWS: Paizo Publishing to Cease Publication of DRAGON and DUNGEON

It is odd how the death of a magazine that I haven’t read in years has caused me to pause

In the grand scheme of things, the end of Dragon magazine (and its sister publication, Dungeon) are not earth shattering news.  I haven’t read Dragon in four or five years.  I haven’t played pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons in at least that long.

But before that, Dungeons and Dragons and the magazine in question was a major part of my life.  I started playing D&D when I was 15, and through that game formed the best friendships of my life.  My creativity blossomed: I had a reason to write, a ready-made framework for my fantasies to call home.  I even had one article published in Dragon magazine, in issue #103.  I actually just discovered that my “place in history” is assured in the DragonDex, an index of Dragon magazine articles.  That’s me in the author list, entry number 5, listed for The Centaur Papers.

Every weekend for over a decade, my friend Chris and I plus several others would gather.   Amidst bottles of pop, reams of paper, and stacks of books, entire worlds came to life.  The rules were generally incidental to the plot, and often socializing was in turn more important that the plot.  There were times when hours went by without dice rolls.   Dragon magazine was how I connected with others playing the same game, sharing the same passion. 

We continued to play after that first decade, not always as regularly, but we never let the dice cool for too long.  There were a few “hiatus” periods, but Chris or I would get the “itch” again and a new set of adventures would be launched.  It was picking up a new copy of Dragon that, for me at least, was often the spark for getting back into the game. 

We didn’t really stop playing until I moved away from Edmonton.  We did play “remotely” for a while, but it was hard to keep things going.  We more or less finished playing in 2002, which means twenty three years after I first rolled three d6 six times to create my first character.   I let my subscription to Dragon lapse a final time that year.

Dragon was a part of all of my D&D years.  Inspiration came from hundreds of issues, sometimes negative, sometimes positive, but always giving me something to think about.  Ed Greenwood, Kim Mohan, Roger Moore, Phil Foglio, Larry Elmore, and dozens of other writers, editors, and artists awakened my mind in so many different ways.  And in a few short months, it will be gone. 

You will be missed, Dragon….

[tags]dungeons and dragons, d&d, dragon, pen and paper, role playing[/tags]

4 thoughts on “The Death of a Dragon…”

  1. Like you I have a great deal of personal nostalgia ( and BTW: I was watching some D&D spoof on YouTube that in some ways was painfully accurate, and started to get a bit of an “itch”. Amazing what hearing game speak can do. )

    But I also miss the idea of Dragon, at least in it’s earlier incarnations, which was to help people imagine their own creations. Sure, there was always lots of stuff to steal, but usually there wasn’t anything that could be used without a lot of work. The magazine was written with the understanding that it’s readers were not mere consumers, but imaginative and creative individuals in their own right.

    As a marketing tool, Dragon was probably a failure. It didn’t just support certain products and encourage, nay force them to by more. But it did encourage people to use their own imaginations, and that’s something I don’t seem to see enough of these days.

  2. Exactly, Chris. Things like the “Ecology” articles- they didn’t sell game supplements or source books, but they gave me ideas about why / how certain monsters “worked”. Materials on how to be a better DM, or how to craft a dungeon, or create balanced magic items. A story or a piece of artwork might launch a whole epic adventure idea.

    I don’t know what WotC plans to do to “replace” Dragon, although their follow up posts imply they have something planned. I’m cynical, though: I could imagine a “rah rah, buy our new version 3.721567 source books for $39 each and get cool spikes on your elven warriors!” sort of advertising “brochureware” news site. That would be sad.

    Ah well: I still have things like Order of the Stick (the comic I mentioned above that Leaha turned me on to). That brings back good memories 🙂

  3. So, since we are itchy I guess we should scratch? 😆 Problem is with us all living in seperate cities we would need to convene for a few days somewhere … a mountain top D&D “retreat” 😉

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