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Monday, 7 August 2017

Imagine Magazine

Despite doing some painting today, I haven't really made any headway with what is on the table. What I have been doing is thinking about the past instead. Nothing too dark I assure you. I've spoken to a few people about the Tunnels and Trolls since I blogged about it the other do. This has kind of taken me back to better days

If there was a golden age of roleplaying, for me at least, it was the mid 1980s. It was still fairly free and easy and even the big games companies seemed to be in it for the love of the hobby. White Dwarf lead the way in the UK and it was Games Workshop's call to arms even then. TSR wanted in on the act and in the UK they launched Imagine Magazine (and I'm talking about this Imagine Magazine).

I found it around issue no 12 or 13 and it was a revelation. The range of games covered was about the same, but it did feature D+D a lot which was fine for me at the time. Reviews were a bigger part of what was in the magazine than WD. Like it's counterpart, it looked wider than it's niches to books and computer games. A few editions in they started doing a campaign background called Pelinore. This was the big inspiration for many of game games at the time and even now. Even to this day when I do floorplans, I do them like the ones for Pelinore. Many issues had a theme which greatly illuminated the games that I was playing at the time. It was like its rival but it was more about how to play rather than scenario after scenario.

It's not that it didn't have a scenarios. The centre of the magazine was a great eight page scenario every time. A few of these have become campaigns or the germ of a campaign. One of my favourites, Round The Bend, which I ran a few times, was a group of half orcs shrunk to an inch tall by an angry wizard just so they could clean out the pipework under his sink and find a missing magic item.

Sadly it all came to an end. Big business got in the way. TSR in america decided they didn't want anything competing with their magazines which were not to my taste. After thirty issues it was gone. To me it sent the benchmark for magazines that were to come after it. It also marked the start of the end for the free and easy days or roleplaying, much like the internet today. It wasn't much later that White Dwarf became in the in-house publicity manual it is today. Things changed around this time and not for the better. This was not a facet of the gaming industry it was more that the times were a changing.

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