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Role Playing (Games)

Paizo to Discontinue Dragon and Dungeon Magazines 82

Posted by Zonk
from the but-my-ecology-and-sniffle-my-adventure-path dept.
An anonymous reader slipped us a link to a page on the Wizards.com site marking the end of an era. As of September of this year Dungeon and Dragon Magazines will cease publication. Dragon has been in continuous circulation since 1976, while Dungeon will be marking its 150th issue at the end of its run in August. Paizo Publishing, the current printing house for the magazines, is offering several options for what to do with your ongoing subscription. From the announcement on the Wizards site: "'Today the internet is where people go to get this kind of information,' said Scott Rouse, Senior Brand Manager of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast. 'By moving to an online model we are using a delivery system that broadens our reach to fans around the world. Paizo has been a great partner to us over the last several years. We wish them well on their future endeavors.'" I've looked forward to my issue of Dragon every month for over a decade. It will be sad to see it go.
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Paizo to Discontinue Dragon and Dungeon Magazines

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  • How sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeWalsh (32530) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:29PM (#18802817)
    My first issue of Dragon Magazine was #68. While I have long since stopped reading the mag, I enjoyed it immensely at the time (back when Gary Gygax was still regularly writing for it). While it has changed unrecognizably in the intervening years, it's still sad to hear that this last vestige of this once great magazine is to cease to be. What would Woimy say?

    • I concur, as I started reading about the same time (#68), but haven't subscribed to Dragon since shortly after the launch of Dungeon magazine (which would be something like 17 years ago, right?) ... guess I didn't help matters much.

      Way back then, I did subscribe and read long after my interest in RPGs waned. My assumption is that the focus and the content of the magazine shifted over time. Anyone want to say whether it was for the better or worse?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JoeWalsh (32530)
        [...]shortly after the launch of Dungeon magazine (which would be something like 17 years ago, right?)

        Geez, has it really been that long? Let's see. We both started reading Dragon in, what, 1983 or something like that? That would be 24 years ago. Yikes!

        Heck, even my time of writing for Imperium Games' Marc Miller's Traveller was 10 years ago now.

        And I haven't been to a GenCon in about that long.

        Man, I feel old.
        • by Gr8Apes (679165)
          And what's even more scary is that I just found a stack of Dragon magazines in a box from the roughly 1981-1985 or so time period, along with the first 5 Chainmail books. It's amazing what happens when parents move. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Stachybotris (936861)
      My first issue was #180, back in April of '92 (or was it '91?). I stopped reading shortly after Paizo took over publishing and decided to move DM-specific to Dungeon and keep Dragon as a player-centric magazine. I really enjoyed it when all the game content was in one magazine and the canned adventures were in the other. Also, Paizo had far too many ads in the magazines (as opposed to when WotC or TSR were publishing) for my taste. If they'd have kept the content where it was, I'd have gladly paid an ad
      • I think the online model offers a lot of additional potential than dead-tree formats for gaming: when Steve Jackson Games took Pyramid online, giving subscribers access to a a searchable archive of articles from previous issues (including the print issues), discussion forums (which have somewhat faded, though, since SJGames opened public forums), etc., it was a big improvement.

        • by c600g (30798)
          Of course, one you *stop* subscribing to Pyramid magazine, then your access to that content goes *poof!* as well. If you can't download it in a nice format, then the online model loses a lot of appeal to me.
          • Of course, one you *stop* subscribing to Pyramid magazine, then your access to that content goes *poof!* as well. If you can't download it in a nice format, then the online model loses a lot of appeal to me.

            Its HTML. It can probably be downloaded as complete webpages with the necessary images with the Save As... feature of most browsers, you can make hardcopies of it, and if you have any of the many (some are free or included with popular software packages) print-to-(PDF or other similar document format) ut

  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:30PM (#18802833) Journal
    Some of them don't have internet access (or at least not regural access).

    Yep, dropping dead-tree distribution definetly expands their user base over having both available.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But one distribution is much, much cheaper and reaches almost all of their audience.
      • But one distribution is much, much cheaper and reaches almost all of their audience.

        Not that WotC has a great history of passing that savings on to their consumer. They typically sell their online content for the same price as their physical content (a policy that extends all the way from Magic:tG to D&D). I think it has to do with their staunch support of brick and mortar stores. They're afraid of damaging the sales of those stores and hence loosing a physical venue where people can play/learn abo
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Surely they want to make a revenue, so this probably cost them more to publish than the revenue they make from it nowadays.
      And then it doesn't matter for them if they lose a fraction of their user base, as harsh as it may sound.
  • It's seems supremely ironic to me that the Internet is killing the best "Geek" magazines.
    • It's seems supremely ironic to me that the Internet is killing the best "Geek" magazines.

      It seems ironic to me that you can be sitting here, an ostensible geek, utilizing slashdot, and making this statement.

      Anyone who has been following the climb of the internet's popularity knows that it is destined to destroy most types of media. The only difference between them being momentum and thus the length of time it will take the 'net to wipe them out.

      The reason is obvious. Moving physical things around is costly and slow compared to the cost of transmitting data. If the ISPs in the USA had not been permitted to fuck us around this long (and of course it is continuing daily) then it would be much easier to get a useful connection and more of us would have the bandwidth to move huge files around. And then physical media would REALLY be in trouble.

      In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only reason it hasn't happened already is due to DRM. DRM is the reason why I don't buy digital media, I go out and buy the physical media, because even though it has DRM, at least it's not likely to be revoked remotely. Of course, that protection doesn't apply to either HD DVD format... But then, I don't have an HDTV, I probably won't for quite some time, so I don't give a shit. And an upscaled DVD really does look quite good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        To quote Rupert Giles: Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell... musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is... it has no texture, no context. It's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then the getting of knowledge should be tangible. It should be, um, smelly.

        Furthermore, books don't give me a headache; but reading from a monitor for a long time does. I also like the feel of the
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is.

          If all the books smell the same, it's not going to help you.

          If each issue of Dragon magazine was scented like a different creature from the monster manual, you might have a point here.

          Furthermore, books don't give me a headache; but reading from a monitor for a long time does.

          I trust you have heard of E-Ink? It will only ger cheaper.

          You may also have good results using a high res display with subpixel font smoothing. I have an IBM Thinkpad A21p

          • by Bent Mind (853241)
            I collect books. In the past, I'd buy a soft-back book to preview it. Then I'd buy the hard-back copy for my collection if I found it worth owning. The soft-backs get loaned out to friends and family. Only my Wife and I touch the hard-backs. Over the last few years I've thought about replacing the soft-backs with e-books. However, the majority of my purchases are still soft-back. E-books will never replace my hard-backs.

            On the other hand, the computer lets you do things you simply can't do with dead tree
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              What software package do you use to read e-books? I've worked with text, HTML, and PDF.

              I usually convert to HTML and read that. It displays everywhere and it's device-independent. PDF is the worst, because the reader is the largest. Text really isn't bad at all though, as long as you have a reader that will let you set font. Notepad qualifies :)

              I have yet to find a browser that will let you annotate.

              As much as I hate to admit I've ever used it, Microsoft Reader has annotations. There are various annotati

      • In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only reason it hasn't happened already is due to DRM. DRM is the reason why I don't buy digital media, I go out and buy the physical media, because even though it has DRM, at least it's not likely to be revoked remotely. Of course, that protection doesn't apply to either HD DVD format... But then, I don't have an HDTV, I probably won't for quite some time, so I don't give a shit. And an upscaled DVD really does look quite good.

        So that's why physical media continue

    • Since when did D&D become primarily a "Geek" thing? When I used to play, only 25% of our group were geeks.
      • Since when did D&D become primarily a "Geek" thing? When I used to play, only 25% of our group were geeks.

        That's like saying, "When I used to play for the Knicks, only 25% of our team were professional athletes."

  • I never subscribed to Dungeon or Dragon... although I was always intrigued by it because I'd read on the internet about how this or that Adventure, item, Prestige Class, or feat was originally published in "Dragon" and was wondering what I was missing out on.

    What brands you as a bigger geek? Having a stack of "Dragon" or "Dungeon" magazines on your bookshelf, or having several folders of bookmarks in Firefox devoted to roleplaying (you have to sort them by which pages are strictly for news, which are fo
    • by khasim (1285)
      And I started off MANY years ago with the Strategic Review.

      Websites can vanish. But magazines give you the evolution of the concepts. There's also something about being able to hold the magazine that a monitor doesn't give you.
    • I have a box full of old Dragon mags including the "Baba Yaga's Hut" adventure. They are next to my old, 1st edition AD&D books. I never got into fantasy novels though. "Boobs & Swords" books always struck me as cheesy.

      I also have a bunch of Advanced Squad Leader boxes but I think that is a different class of nerd.
    • You know that sitting right next to those Dragon magazines is going to be every Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novel ever written.

      Well, no... I only have a few of the novels, but they are sort of meh... I once knew a girl who thought D&D the game was stupid but loved the novels... shudder...

      I do have the Demons boxed set and one of the related supplements that were published by Mayfair Games during TSRs dark age. (OH, and bunches of other D&D modules. Most of the bound books... A lot of

    • Personally... I think finding someone with a stack of "Dragon" would be a bigger geek. You know that sitting right next to those Dragon magazines is going to be every Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novel ever written.

      I bought my first Dragon in 1980 or so. I don't remember the issue #. It was the one with the Anti-paladin class, and the "Good Hits & Bad Misses" critical hits/fumbles chart. I do have a large stack of the magazines, though I only subscribed to it for a year back in 2004 or so.

      The quality of the magazine was fairly good throughout, in my opinion. Of course I didn't bother to buy some, because they didn't have anything in them that appealed to me.

      I had a collection of all the Dragon Magazines in PD

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spindizzy (34680)
        Ah, Fineous Fingers. I too have the collection mouldering away somewhere, bought in the early '80s. The things I remember most are everyone torturing peasants for directions/info and of course Grond the anti-paladin. But I digress.
        And yes, Dragonlance was an abortion of 4th rate Tolkien rip-off only exceeded by anything by Raymond Feist.

        Have I alienated enough fantasy readers yet? ;)
    • by Jbcarpen (883850)

      What brands you as a bigger geek? Having a stack of "Dragon" or "Dungeon" magazines on your bookshelf, or having several folders of bookmarks in Firefox devoted to roleplaying (you have to sort them by which pages are strictly for news, which are for content, ordering books and miniatures, and finally blogs and forums)
      What if you have both?
      • This is exactly what happened to BYTE. It was the largest and most respected magazine in its field for at least an entire generation and then the new owners switched to an online model.

        It went from a huge subscription to barely on anyone's radar overnight. And content - it sucks.

        Sad. The end of an era. Just when role-playing games and the like are beginning to make a strong comeback. Talk about short-sighted.
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          This is exactly what happened to BYTE. It was the largest and most respected magazine in its field for at least an entire generation and then the new owners switched to an online model.

          If I remember correctly (Jerry Pournelle wrote an article about it, but I can't find it now), the dead-tree incarnation of Byte ended some time before it was resurrected online. Perhaps they always intended it to go online eventually, anyway.

          However, the explanation I heard is (IIRC) that although Byte was well-respected and had a decent readership of people who should (theoretically) be leading Computer Science and IT types, it was hard to sell to advertisers, because the demographic was unclear. And, a

  • I will be sad to see them go. I was very happy with the article I wrote for them, and am proud that they published my stuff.
    • by vrmlguy (120854)
      Proud? Heck, at it's peak the Dragon had more subscribers than any of the SF magazines; having jut one story published there was sufficient to join the SFWA. Of course, they only bought one story a month, compared to those others.
  • I miss Wormy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tuffy (10202)
    Dragon was never quite the same once Tramp [wikipedia.org] vanished.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:43PM (#18803011) Homepage
    Like thousands of dweebs suddenly cried out and then vanished.
  • not that big a deal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Lemur (993283)
    I have a few copies of Dragon laying around some place, and I have to say in 15 years of D&D I never really found them usefull. Seems like everyone would be better surved with forums, a web-page and the normal book releases.
    • by TrentC (11023) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @03:27PM (#18803649) Homepage
      Seems like everyone would be better surved with forums, a web-page and the normal book releases.

      Forums? Not the same at all. I don't want to have to wade through mindless rules flamewars and irrelevant conversations to find useful stuff.

      Existing books? Sure, those have value, if they can get enough material on a topic to create one. But maybe I just want an article with five new, themed spells, suitable for an NPC, new religion, or a dusty tome of "forgotten" spells. Or maybe I want the excellent Dungeoncraft series to continue, or "100 things you'd find in a marketplace".

      Websites? We shall see what WotC comes up with, but websites can be impermanent -- the content is only available as long as the site's owners chose to host it. What would have happened had TSR had such a site when they were looking to go out of business? My guess is, the site would be shut down and that information lost; even if not, little of the content would likely still be available on WotC's site today.

      Dungeon improved greatly over the past couple of years, culminating in the Adventure Paths -- a series of linked adventures, one per month, designed to take a party from 1st- to 20th-level. The first one, the Shackled City, was so-so in my opinion. The second one, the Age of Worms, was a lot better; I think they were starting to get the feel for writing them. We are over halfway through the third one, the Savage Tide; it will conclude in the final issue of Dungeon. The Dungeoncraft articles are pretty interesting, too; Monte Cook and Wolfgang Baur have both provided wonderful articles about adventure design and campaign-building.

      In my opinion Dragon is still of varying usefulness with the addition of monthly columns devoted to WotC's major campaign settings (Eberron and Forgotten Realms) and my favorite series of articles EVER, Core Faiths. Each article explored a deity in the core D&D pantheon and really fleshed it out -- outlook on life, role of the clergy, aphorisms, new spells or magic items unique to the faith, sample NPCs suitable for summoning via Summon Planar Ally, and more. (The Core Faiths for Vecna was a great Halloween treat last year.)

      What eventually convinced me to subscribe was the utility of having those articles on hand whenever and wherever I game. No scouring a series of websites, or hoping that WotC's site hasn't "retired" the article. The fact that subscriptions to Dungeon and Dragon were increasing over the past couple of years tells me that I'm not alone in finding this content valuable.

      Paizo will apparently be publishing a new periodical, Pathfinder [paizo.com]. It looks to be a hybrid of Dungeon (adventures, including new Adventure Paths) and Dragon (new monsters, spells, NPCs, and locales), and all of their material will be released under the OGL. You will be able to get it in either PDF or dead-tree editions, so people who want that electronic content will have it while old fogeys like me can add to the growing pile of gaming supplements. I'm strongly considering converting my remaining subscriptions and grabbing the first couple of issues.
      • I should have mentioned before that I used to manage a game store, and I think part of my blase' about Dragon and Dungeon comes from that. I was barraged with obscure rules, story and content questions. It was our policy to always fall back on the "Offical" word of TSR, by applying a simple formula. What is the latest errata from TSR, what does the most recent printing of the most recent relevant book say, and do you smell funny. So we discounted the "Unofficial", i.e. not books, sources. That was also
      • by Snowgen (586732)

        Websites? We shall see what WotC comes up with, but websites can be impermanent -- the content is only available as long as the site's owners chose to host it. What would have happened had TSR had such a site when they were looking to go out of business? My guess is, the site would be shut down and that information lost; even if not, little of the content would likely still be available on WotC's site today.

        Steve Jackson Games has been publishing Pyramid [sjgames.com] (or the obligatory Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org]) electronically for 9 years now with pretty good results. Of course, you can always print out those important articles and they'll be as permanent as any magazine.

        Forums? Not the same at all. I don't want to have to wade through mindless rules flamewars and irrelevant conversations to find useful stuff.

        And yet you read comments on /. (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      I know several games authors who got their start by publishing a module in Dungeon. It would be sad if the new online delivery solution undermined this valuable foot in the door to the publishing industry.

  • Not to wax anecdotal, but I'm a huge consumer of news and information on the internet and I still maintain a subscription to Dragon. Sure, you could put it online, but there's just something about getting that issue in the mail every month that's so much more fulfilling. You can put your collection of Dragon magazines right there on the shelf next to your gaming books. I echo the sentiments of other subscribers in saying I'll be sad to see the print version go, as will many of my friends and family. :(
  • by werdnam (1008591) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @03:25PM (#18803617)
    I think it's important to note that publication is ceasing because WotC chose not to renew the license to Paizo. Paizo, as you may or may not recall, took over publishing rights for Dungeon and Dragon in 2002. Seems WotC has changed the mind about the value of such content.

    This reminds me of the somewhat recent choice by WotC not to renew the license to CodeMonkey for the PC-Gen (character generation software) data sets. Clearly WotC is set to make a big push into online and electronic supplements to their D&D line.

    Oh, and I see that Paizo will still be publishing adventures through a publication called Pathfinder. Looks interesting. At least gamers will still have some way to get their paper adventure fix.

    • WotC's (aka Hasbro) judgement seems flawed. What are they going to gather by axing the magazine? A declining marketshare. Their "Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach" was a lacklustre effort: You wouldn't know that from the corpratized Wikipedia entry, but the reviews are scathing. World of Warcraft and Chri$topher Tolkein are the ones making all the money of the genre these days. Unless WotC can convince us to buy a whole new set of rulebooks, it's hard to see where the new business will come from. It's
      • WotC and D&D may have been big in their time, but they're all but a footnote in history.


        D&D has always been the leader of the Tabletop RPG market (even before there was a need to distinguish it with "Tabletop"), and that market itself has always been a pretty small, niche market.

        D&D is hardly less dominant now that it has been in the past within that niche.
  • I just got into buying them again a couple of years ago, with a long break since the late 1970s/early 1980s issues I have. Even though the modern spirit was dramatically different from the old days, the mags still were a lot more fun and imaginative than most things on the newsstand today.

    Between this loss and Retro Gamer going down (I know, it's stitched in to some other magazine... not the same), I'm running out of reasons to check out the magazine rack.

    Ironic. I was just looking at some online scans

  • With the cost of printing and limited subscriptions I am amazed it was still published. Usually D&D types are computer savvy and would use online resouces. I bet nerds around the world will be rolling a D72 and add their +4 protest modifier to decide if they should petition.
  • Back in the early 80's I was an RPG fanatic - Tunnels & Trolls, Dungeons & Dragons, et al. My step-mother brought home a diskless PC with dual 5-1/4" floppies. I figured out how to use the audio coupler to play Colossal Cave Adventure on their mainframe, but it wasn't until Dragon published a Basic program to automatically create characters that I discovered the path to geekdom. I began automating everything from dice rolls to random monster tables. Years have become decades since the last time I re
  • by laughing_badger (628416) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @03:48PM (#18803959) Homepage
    Quite a while ago, they released issues 1-250 of Dragon in PDF format on (many) CDs. Anyone know if they are planning to do the same again now the collection is 'complete'? I'd certainly pay to have the entire collection of Dungeon and Dragon magazines available.
    • Supposedly they're unable to release the collection due to copyrights held by various content creators. Again, supposedly this is how Kenzer got the rights to publish Hackmaster. Usually this set sells for insane amounts on ebay as well, I can only recommend that you find it on emule and be extremely patient.
      • I already have the original issues 1-250 on CD.

        I've spoken to customer services at WotC and they say that any decision to release the entire collection of Dragon and Dungeon as PDF would rest with Paizo. So I've emailed the Paizo customer service address to put my request in.

    • by ricotest (807136) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @05:45PM (#18805637)
      Search The Pirate Bay for 'Dungeon Magazine' (134 issues) and 'Dragon Magazine' (335 issues, 5 best ofs, 6 annuals and 7 strategic reviews). Speed isn't too hot right now, but if you're patient you'll soon have a full set of both publications.
  • For those who want a replacement for the great Dragon magazines of old, subscribing to Pyramid [sjgames.com] is a good idea. It fills a very similar niche to those old great Dragons: lots of very interesting articles about many games, not just ones by the magazine's publishers themselves, as well as good reviews, industry analysis, a forum, etc.
  • by Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) * on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:33PM (#18808213)
    This really blows. And I have no interest in WotCs electronic offerings. They have proved utterly inept at this before and show no signs of getting better. Besides which, pen-and-paper gaming is, for a lot of us, a welcome respite from too many hours in front of the damn computer. Dragon and Dungeon magazines were enjoyable to read, the artwork was good, and they had that underestimated advantage of being able to flip through a back issue and maybe see something you'd forgotten or missed the first read through. Not to mention they were great for those times when someone was taking way to long on their turn. Also, these magazines were an entry point for a lot of talent, bot for designers, writers, and artists.
  • Ah, for the good old days when my mag would come in the mail and it would have tons of advertisements for dice that would cite their statistical accuracy. Back in the days of Greyhawk when the Forgotten Realms couldn't have been forgotten yet because it wasn't around. Oh, well. I've gotten old and my kids talk about leveling up, but there's no paper or pencils or dice (or face to face human contact) involved. I'm not sure that "progress" has actually made things better, come to think of it.
  • d'oh (Score:4, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991) * <nomadicworld@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @07:16AM (#18810285) Homepage
    Damn it, now I can't leave issues laying around my apartment to impress the girls I bring home.

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