|First issue||The Strategic Review|
|September 2007 (print), December 2013 (digital)|
359 (print), 430 (digital)
|Company||TSR / WotC / Paizo|
Dragon was one of the two official magazines for source material for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and associated products; Dungeon was the other.
TSR, Inc. originally launched the monthly printed magazine in 1976 to succeed the company's earlier publication, The Strategic Review. The final printed issue was #359 in September 2007.Shortly after the last print issue shipped in mid-August 2007, Wizards of the Coast (part of Hasbro, Inc.), the publication's current copyright holder, relaunched Dragon as an online magazine, continuing on the numbering of the print edition. The last published issue was No. 430 in December 2013. A digital publication called Dragon+, which replaces the Dragon magazine, launched in 2015. It is created by Dialect in collaboration with Wizards of the Coast, and restarted the numbering system for issues at No. 1.
In 1975, TSR, Inc. began publishing The Strategic Review. At the time, roleplaying games were still seen as a subgenre 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.
TSR canceled The Strategic Review after only seven issues the following year, and replaced it with two magazines, Little Wars , which covered miniature wargaming, and The Dragon, which covered role playing games. After twelve issues, Little Wars ceased independent publication and issue 13 was published as part of Dragon issue 22.
The magazine debuted as The Dragon in June 1976.TSR co-founder Gary Gygax commented years later: "When I decided that The Strategic Review was not the right vehicle, hired Tim Kask as a magazine editor for Tactical Studies Rules, and named the new publication he was to produce The Dragon, I thought we would eventually have a great periodical to serve gaming enthusiasts worldwide... At no time did I ever contemplate so great a success or so long a lifespan."
Dragon was the launching point for a number of rules, spells, monsters, magic items, and other ideas that were incorporated into later official products of the Dungeons & Dragons game. A prime example is the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, which first became known through a series of Dragon articles in the 1980s by its creator Ed Greenwood. It subsequently went on to become one of the primary campaign "worlds" for official Dungeons and Dragons products, starting in 1987. The magazine appeared on the cover as simply Dragon from July 1980,later changing its name to Dragon Magazine starting November 1987.
Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR and its intellectual properties, including Dragon Magazine, in 1997.Production was then transferred from Wisconsin to Washington state. In 1999, Wizards of the Coast was itself purchased by Hasbro, Inc. Dragon Magazine suffered a five-month gap between #236 and #237 but remained published by TSR as a subsidiary of WotC starting September 1997, and until January 2000 when WotC became the listed de facto publisher. They removed the word "magazine" from the cover title starting with the June, 2000 issue, changing the publication's name back to simply Dragon.
In 1999 a compilation of the first 250 issues was released in PDF format with a special viewer including an article and keyword search on a CD-ROM package. Also included were the 7 issues of The Strategic Review. This compilation is known as the software title Dragon Magazine Archive . Because of issues raised with the 2001 ruling in Greenberg v. National Geographic regarding the reprint rights of various comic scripts (such as Wormy, What's New with Phil & Dixie, Snarf Quest, and Knights of the Dinner Tablewhich had been covered in TSR's own statement in the first issue that "All material published herein becomes the exclusive property of the publisher unless special arrangements to the contrary are made." ) that had been printed in Dragon over the years and Paizo Publishing's policy that creators of comics retain their copyright, the Dragon Magazine Archive is out of print and very hard to find.
In 2002, Paizo Publishing acquired the rights to publish both Dragon and Dungeon under license from Wizards of the Coast. Dragon was published by Paizo starting September 2002.It tied Dragon more closely to Dungeon by including articles supporting and promoting its major multi-issue adventures such as the Age of Worms and Savage Tide . Class Acts, monthly one or two-page articles offering ideas for developing specific character classes, were also introduced by Paizo.
On April 18, 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced that it would not be renewing Paizo's licenses for Dragon and Dungeon. Scott Rouse, Senior Brand Manager of Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast stated, "Today the internet is where people go to get this kind of information. By moving to an online model we are using a delivery system that broadens our reach to fans around the world."Paizo published the last print editions of Dragon and Dungeon magazines for September 2007.
In August 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced plans for the 4th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game. Part of this announcement was that D&D Insider subscriber content would include the new, online versions of both Dungeon and Dragon magazines along with tools for building campaigns, managing character sheets and other features.In its online form, Dragon continues to publish articles aimed at Dungeons & Dragons players, with rules data from these articles feeding the D&D Character Builder and other online tools.
In the September 2013 issue of Dragon (#427) an article by Wizards of the Coast game designer and editor Chris Perkins announced that both Dragon and its sibling publication Dungeon would be going on hiatus starting January 2014 pending the release of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.The final online version released was Issue #430 in December 2013.
A new and fully digital bi-monthly publication called Dragon+, was launched on April 30, 2015,succeeding the existing versions of Dragon and Dungeon magazines. Created by Dialect in collaboration with Wizards of the Coast, the online edition ceased continuity with the printed and digital versions of both magazines, and restarted its numbering system for issues at No. 1. It is accessible in three versions - either as a free mobile IOS app (available in iTunes), as a mobile Android app, or via the web.
The magazine brands itself as an app with content "showcasing what’s new in Dungeons & Dragons – from backstory and world information to discussions about what’s coming next from the creators and developers of your favorite D&D products".Articles included cover content such as: game strategies and insights; details of the current D&D storyline; interviews; ongoing comic series; lore; Forgotten Realms world information; community updates and fan submissions; and videos. Additional content in the magazine is also accessible through links to the magazine's content in Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Many of the gaming world's most famous writers, game designers and artists have published work in the magazine. Through most of its run the magazine frequently published fantasy fiction, either short stories or novel excerpts. After the 1990s, the appearance of fiction stories became relatively rare. One late example was issue #305's featured excerpt from George R.R. Martin's later Hugo-nominated novel A Feast for Crows . It also featured book reviews of fantasy and science fiction novels, and occasionally of films of particular interest (such as the TV movie of Mazes and Monsters ).
From the magazine's beginning until issue 274, from August 2000, Dragon published articles for various versions of Dungeons & Dragons and, at various times, other gaming systems. With issue 274, Dragon published exclusively 3rd Edition D&D content, or content for other games published by Wizards Of The Coast's d20 System games. With the release of the 3.5 Edition update in July 2003, issue 309 on onward published only Edition 3.5 content and carried a "100% Official Dungeons & Dragons" masthead. The magazine switched to exclusively 4th Edition D&D content from issue 364 on the release of 4th Edition in June 2008.
Most of the magazine's articles provided supplementary material for D&D including new prestige classes, races, monsters and many other subjects that could be used to enhance a Dungeons & Dragons game. A popular long-running column Sage Advice offered official answers to Dungeons & Dragons questions submitted by players. Other articles provided tips and suggestions for both players and Dungeon Masters (DMs). It sometimes discussed meta-gaming issues, such as getting along with fellow players. At the end of its print run, the magazine also featured four comics; Nodwick , Dork Tower , Zogonia and a specialized version of the webcomic The Order of the Stick . Previous popular gamer-oriented comic strips include Knights of the Dinner Table , Finieous Fingers , What's New with Phil & Dixie , Wormy , Yamara and SnarfQuest .
A regular feature of Dragon for many years was its "Ecology of ..." articles as sometimes discussed by the fictional sage Elminster, in which a particular D&D monster received an in-depth review, explaining how it found food, reproduced, and so forth. Under Paizo's tenure such ecology articles became heavier in "crunch" (game mechanics) as opposed to "fluff" (narrative and description) than previously.The Dragon submissions guidelines explicitly stated that Ecology articles "should have a hunter’s guidebook approach, although it should not be written 'in voice'" and further call out the exact format of Ecology articles, leaving less room for artistic license by the author.
In the early 1980s, almost every issue of Dragon would contain a role playing adventure, a simple board game, or some kind of special game supplement (such as a cardboard cut-out castle). For instance, Tom Wham's Snit's Revenge , The Awful Green Things from Outer Space and File 13 all started as supplements within The Dragon. These bonus features become infrequent after the 1986 launch of Dungeon magazine, which published several new Dungeons & Dragons adventures in each issue.
During the 1980s, after TSR had purchased Simulations Publications Inc., the magazine had a subsection called Ares Magazine , based on SPI's magazine of that name, specializing in science fiction and superhero role playing games, with pages marked by a gray border. The content included write-ups for various characters of the Marvel Universe for TSR's Marvel Super-Heroes .
As noted above The Dragon was preceded by seven issues of The Strategic Review. In the magazine's early years it also published five "Best of" issues, reprinting highly regarded articles from The Strategic Review and The Dragon. From 1996 to 2001, Dragon Magazine published the "Dragon Annual", a thirteenth issue of all new content.
Digital (online/PDF) versions:
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
A collection of Dragon was released as the Dragon Magazine Archive in 1999. It was released as a CD-ROM for Windows 95/98 or Windows NT with files in Adobe's PDF format.The Dragon Magazine Archive was directed by Rob Voce, and published by TSR/Wizards of the Coast. It was reviewed by the online version of Pyramid on November 25, 1999. The reviewer felt that the archive was "worth the price", but noted that it was not Macintosh compatible: "This product fails pretty badly in the Mac world. Because the actual archive is in Adobe's PDF format, the files can be read by anyone with a Macintosh and Adobe Acrobat. Unfortunately, the search utilities that make the archive accessible are not available to Mac users."
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997. It was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.
Ravenloft is a fictional place, a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. It is an alternate time-space existence known as a pocket dimension or demiplane, called the Demiplane of Dread, which consists of a collection of land pieces called "domains", brought together by a mysterious force known only as the Dark Powers. Each domain is tailored to and mystically ruled by a being called a Darklord who is forever trapped and surrounded by magical mists surrounding the domain. Strahd Von Zarovich, a vampire in the original AD&DRavenloft I6 module 1983, became the first Darklord, both ruler and prisoner of his own personal domain of Barovia. How Count Von Zarovich became the darklord of Barovia was detailed in the novel, I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire. As originally established in the Ravenloft: Realm of Terror boxed set known as "the Black Box" released in 1990, The Ravenloft campaign setting was located in the Ethereal Plane. As a physical manifestation of that plane, lands, monsters and even people were created out of the mysterious mists, and the realm acted as a prison where one could enter or be transported, but means of escape were few. Other Ravenloft Domains and Darklords were eventually added in various AD&D 2nd edition products establishing a core continent attached around Barovia which could be traveled to by others if their respective lords allowed entering or leaving their borders; while some Domains remained isolated in the mists and were referred to as Islands.
Dungeon was one of the two official magazines targeting consumers of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and associated products; Dragon was the other.
Wizards of the Coast LLC is an American publisher of games, primarily based on fantasy and science fiction themes, and formerly an operator of retail stores for games. Originally a basement-run role-playing game publisher, the company originated and popularized the collectible card game genre with Magic: The Gathering in the mid-1990s, acquired the popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game by purchasing the failing company TSR, and further increased its success by publishing the licensed Pokémon Trading Card Game. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Renton, Washington in the United States.
Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is a 1980 adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game written by Gary Gygax. While Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is typically a fantasy game, the adventure includes elements of science fiction, and thus belongs to the science fantasy genre. It takes place on a downed spaceship; the ship's crew has died of an unspecified disease, but functioning robots and strange creatures still inhabit the ship. The player characters fight monsters and robots, and gather the futuristic weapons and colored access cards that are necessary for advancing the story.
Ravenloft is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. The American game publishing company TSR, Inc. released it as a standalone adventure booklet in 1983 for use with the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game. It was written by Tracy and Laura Hickman, and includes art by Clyde Caldwell with maps by David Sutherland III. The plot of Ravenloft focuses on the villain Strahd von Zarovich, a vampire who pines for his lost love. Various story elements, including Strahd's motivation and the locations of magical weapons, are randomly determined by drawing cards. The player characters attempt to defeat Strahd and, if successful, the adventure ends.
Polyhedron was a magazine targeting consumers of role-playing games, and originally the official publication of the RPGA.
Several different editions of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game have been produced since 1974. The current publisher of D&D, Wizards of the Coast, produces new materials only for the most current edition of the game. Many D&D fans, however, continue to play older versions of the game and some third-party companies continue to publish materials compatible with these older editions.
Book of Vile Darkness is an optional supplemental sourcebook for the 3rd edition of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The book was written by Monte Cook and published by Wizards of the Coast in October 2002. Described as a "detailed look at the nature of evil," it was the first Dungeons & Dragons book labelled for mature audiences. The second was the "good" companion volume Book of Exalted Deeds. Another Book of Vile Darkness was published for the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2011.
David A. Trampier was an artist and writer whose artwork for TSR, Inc. illustrated some of the earliest editions of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Many of his illustrations, such as the cover of the original Players Handbook, became iconic. Trampier was also the creator of the Wormy comic strip that ran in Dragon magazine for several years.
Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure by Robert J. Kuntz and Gary Gygax is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, published by TSR, Inc. in 1984. It originally bore the code "WG5" and was intended for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition rules. Because it is one of the WG modules, it is a module intended for the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. It was later updated in 2004 to the Third Edition Revised rules in Dungeon magazine, issue #112, as Maure Castle. There were subsequently two additional installments in issues #124 and #139.
The Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game has spawned many related products, including magazines, films and video games.
The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was written by Gary Gygax and published by TSR in 1982 for the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) rules. The 64-page adventure bears the code "S4" and is set in the Greyhawk campaign setting. It is divided into two parts, a 32-page adventure, and a 32-page booklet of monsters and magic items. The plot involves the player characters investigating rumors of lost treasure. After traversing a wilderness and two levels of dungeons, the players face Drelnza, the vampiric daughter of long-deceased archmage Iggwilv.
The Isle of Dread is an adventure for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The adventure, module code X1, was originally published in 1981. Written by David "Zeb" Cook and Tom Moldvay, it is among the most widely circulated of all Dungeons & Dragons adventures due to its inclusion as part of the D&D Expert Set. In the adventure, the player characters search for a lost treasure, journey to the prehistoric Isle of Dread, and there meet new nonhuman races.
James Jacobs is an American designer and author of role-playing games and texts in the fantasy, horror and the occult genres.
Robert J. Kuntz is a game designer and author of role-playing game publications. He is best known for his contributions to various Dungeons & Dragons-related materials.
Pathfinder is a line of roleplaying game supplements published by Paizo Publishing since 2007. Originally designed for use with the revised 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons, they transitioned to the first edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game in 2009, then to the second edition of Pathfinder in 2019.
Dwellers of the Forbidden City is an adventure module, or pre-packaged adventure booklet, ready for use by Dungeon Masters in the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. The adventure was first used as a module for tournament play at the 1980 Origins Game Fair, and was later published by TSR in 1981 for use with the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. The module was written by game designer David "Zeb" Cook, who partly ascribes his hiring by TSR to his work on this module. In the adventure, the characters are hired to find an object taken to a lost oriental-style city, which has been taken over by a cult of snake-worshipers, the yuan-ti, and their servants, the mongrelmen and tasloi. The module was ranked as the 13th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine for the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game in 2004.
Wolfgang Baur is an American game designer, best known for his work with Dragon magazine. He designs role-playing games and is known for his work at Wizards of the Coast. Baur is also the founder of Open Design LLC, later known as Kobold Press.
Jon Pickens is an American game designer and editor who has worked on numerous products for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game from TSR and later Wizards of the Coast.
In other words, the December issues (#221 of Dungeon and #430 of Dragon) will be the last issues you see for a while.