If there was a magazine I got just out of habit, it was Dragon magazine during the 3e era, and I feel that became more and more true throughout the Paizo era. While Dungeon under Paizo was doing better and better things, Dragon just had too many articles that didn’t interest me at all. To make things worse, I didn’t like Paizo’s take on demons much, so their highly-hyped “Demonicon of Iggwilv” articles were generally just dead weight.
There were occasion exceptions amongst the articles, but mostly I found them tedious and boring.
Then came 4e, and Wizards taking back the magazines and turning them into online versions. I’m not going to speak much about their online status; it has pros and cons. The biggest pro (and it’s a massive one) is that they become available to everyone at the same time. No more waiting 2-3 months for my issue to arrive, hooray!
I haven’t looked at 4e Dungeon much, mostly because I haven’t been browsing from home. Adventures need more time to digest, and I’m not entirely happy with the format they’ve been using in the early adventures (and haven’t seen the more recent ones).
However, 4e Dragon has been a revelation. All of a sudden, there are a bunch of articles that I find interesting and I want to read. What’s caused the change?
Well, 4e being new, for a start. In the old days of Dragon magazine – and I’m talking about the 1e era – it was pretty much the only source of new materials for the AD&D game. Hardcover books? If you were lucky, you saw one a year. For this brief period, it is the same with 4e Dragon.
So, all the mechanics and monsters Dragon posts are new to us, and, given we’re spoilt and used to the multitude of options in 3e, significantly expand on what we have.
That’s the most significant point.
The other aspect, which has helped greatly, is the integration of mechanics and article. When I read Wish upon a Star, not only am I getting pretty good story-building material and advice, but I’m getting mechanics that directly relate to the rest of the article – and that are easily integrated into an ongoing campaign. That 4e explicitly allows retraining of characters is a great point as well – I adopted the 3.5e version immediately it appeared in PH2.
Will this love of the new material wear off as we get more 4e books? It may well. I’m not sure that the publishing schedule will be so packed as for that to happen, but there may come a time where “another warlock power” won’t be exciting at all.
For now, I’m just enjoying my renewed love of Dragon Magazine.