Crusader Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…


The Crusader’s May 2008 (Volume 4 Number 9) arrived at my house over the weekend and I’ve been slowly digging in.

First of all, I want to say that I really love this gaming magazine. It is devoted to the concept of old-school Dungeons & Dragons in its latest incarnation, Castles & Crusades.It has fantastic, old-school, color cover art (this is where the color should be) and a well-put-together, black-and-white interior (this is where color is NOT needed….let’s keep the costs down people). Its just long enough (32 pages), contains some new info, some throw-back stuff, and an adventure (this month) to boot! Very nice all around.

While I’m at it, here’s the run down:

Revenge of the Skobbits – goofy color comic on the inside cover that’s sure to appeal to any who revered Wormy or its ilk.

How it All Happened – more from the late Gary Gygax on his youth and the beginnings of D&D. I really miss Gary being around and well, I have no words poetic enough to describe just how much he meant to me. I’m not sure how many more of these columns Gary got to write before passing on, but I know his death will really hit home when I see the first Crusader without his input.

Alea Iacta Est – Stephen Chenault’s thoughts on how 4E is a good thing for all concerns…He comes across as a bit of a blow-hard in this, but that’s never bothered me…..I mean, Gary came across as a bit of a blow-hard in much of his writing. If that really bothered me, I’d have never finished the original AD&D DungeonMaster’s Guide. And I’m a bit of a blowhard too….Anyway, and to be fair to Stephen, I think he expresses a lot of really great ideas in this editorial.

Hammer & Anvil – Casey Canfield’s campaign setting continues to take shape. I’ll be interested to see where he goes with this.

A Starsiege ad ov note….Can’t wait to see this in print….

An Intro to Card Modeling – Some practical advice from Tom Tullis

The Aihrdian Chronicles – I haven’t finished this yet, but from what I’ve seen, Stephen Chenault seems to be doing some fine fiction as well as fine game design.

Castellan’ sGuide to Arms and Armor Ad – WTF, is this 3.5?

The Angry Gamer – Stupid Names piss him off….and me.

Moat Gate – Don MacVittie updates us on the Moat Gate product of Yggsburgh….

The Dweomercraefter’s Den – Gary and Jeffery Calanian on Zagyg Castle…interesting history.

Musings from the Den – Stephen Chenault tells us about what to expect…

And finally, Slippery Slope – A Joe Damiani adventure. To be honest, I have only skimmed this. I have high hopes and really would like to see this sort of thing be a regular in The Crusader…..I’m assuming it rocks….if it doesn’t you’ll hear about it soon.

Auld Wyrmish – Mike Stewart’s…um errata from…like the last issue….wasn’t this handled online? I think this was a wash for me.

And finally, Tom Wham’s goofy, morbid cartoon and a back cover that advertises advertising…..eek

Anyway, I did really enjoy the magazine. I give it a solid 8.


Vin Diesel on D&D

Vin Diesel from I’ve heard for a long time that the actor Vin Diesel was a D&D player, but really hadn’t looked too much into it until this evening. Here’s an interview I found.

That got me thinking a bit about Celebrity Gamers and this list of suspected and confirmed Celeb Gamers at on Matt Forbeck’s Blog. It turns out a lot of celebrities and famous people are gamers. Besides Vin Diesel; Wil Wheaton, Robin Williams, Kevin Smith, Sean Ashton, The Barenaked Ladies, Curt Schilling, Daryl Hannah, Dave Chappelle, Elijah Wood, Jack Black, Weezer, Marcy Playground, Stephen Colbert…and who knows who’s still in the closet.

Can’t you picture George W. and Dick getting together to put down a couple of goblins?

GWB (DM): DC, will you roll for initiative damn it?

DC: What’s your hurry Dubble-ya?

GWB: You know I’ve got that web conference with Putin in an hour. He’s gonna want to play Star Fleet Battles again. I want to wrap this up before then so I can have a clear head for that. Last time he handed me my ass…His Klingon Birds-of-Prey totally mangled my Federation Dreadnought. Now roll.

DC: Alright, alright. I got a 9 + dex bonus + the ring…15

GWB: Ok, you beat the terroists….I mean the kobolds. What are you going to do?

DC: How many are there?

GWB: There’s like 8 or 10 of them. One of them has a backpack and looks like he going to run toward you…

DC: Damn, I bet there’s alchemists’ fire in that backpack….a suicide-bomber kobold! I shoot him with my crossbow!

GWB: Ok, roll to hit.

DC: 27. Total of 27. Does that hit?

GWB: You betya. Roll damage.

DC: 8, is that enough?

GWB: Yep. You totally skewer that dirty little, suicide-bombing, salad-tossing, communist kobold bastard! And he goes down like the chump that he his.

DC: I yell, God Bless America…

GWB: Dude, your character’s not from America….he’s from Greyhawk City, remember…

DC: Oh, right….can’t we change that, I didn’t expect to be fighting suicide-bomber kobolds….

GWB: Ok, ok…I see your point. Let me note that down……Cheniakus the Mountain Dwarf is an American….

DC: From Colorado. That would make sense for a Mountain Dwarf, right.

GWB: Good thinking….Colorado. Ok, what about the other 8 kobolds?

DC: I get out my +3 Axe of Uber-cleaving and charge…

GWB: Shit, this is going to be fun…

You can see how that might go….

Make a Will Save...I had thought that I was all creative in coming up with the Bush D&D thing, but apparently, it is old news. When looking for a suitable GWB/DC image online, I found this image….apparently from their regular weekly game.

In any case, it is good to see the hobby holding, however tenuously, in this age of Massively Massive Online Games of Eternal Doom, Destruction, and alternative economies of scale.