|The cover of Dragon #17.|
|First Published||1976 (to 2007)|
Dragon is one of the two official magazines for source material for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game and associated products. It was first published in 1976 and will cease print publication in September 2007, with issue 359.
In 1975, TSR, Inc. began publishing The Strategic Review. At the time, roleplaying games were still seen as a sub-genre 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. The following year, after only seven issues, TSR cancelled The Strategic Review and replaced it with two magazines, Little Wars, which covered miniature wargaming, and The Dragon, which covered role playing games. After 13 issues, Little Wars ceased publication and its content was folded into The Dragon (starting with issue 24). The Dragon later changed its name to Dragon Magazine and finally 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 in CD-ROM format. Also included were the seven issues of The Strategic Review. This compilation is known as the software title Dragon Magazine Archive. Because of a conflict regarding the reprint rights for the Knights of the Dinner Table comic strips printed in Dragon for many years, Dragon Magazine Archive is out of print and very scarce.
On April 18, 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced that Paizo would cease publication of Dragon in September of that year. 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." The last issue was shipped on August 7, 2007 to subscribers.
Although Dragon provides coverage of fantasy and roleplaying games in general, it has always been primarily a house organ for TSR's (or more recently Wizards of the Coast's) roleplaying games with a particular focus on D&D; its coverage of non-TSR games has always been rather slight.
Most of the magazine's articles provide supplementary material for D&D including new prestige classes, races, monsters and many other subjects that can be used to enhance a Dungeons & Dragons game. Other articles will provide tips and suggestions for players and DMs. It also sometimes discusses meta-gaming issues, such as getting along with fellow players. The magazine also currently features four comics; Nodwick, Dork Tower, Zogonia, and The Order of the Stick. Previous popular gamer-oriented comic strips include Knights of the Dinner Table, Fineous Fingers, What's New?, Wormy, Yamara, and SnarfQuest.
A regular feature of Dragon has been its "Ecology of ..." articles, in which a D&D monster gets a pseudo-scientific treatment, explaining how they find food, reproduce, and so forth. Under Paizo's tenure such ecology articles have become heavier in "crunch" (mechanics) as opposed to fluff (narrative and description), more suitable for an extended entry in a creature sourcebook than was traditionally written in the 1980s.
Many of the gaming world's most famous writers, game designers and artists have published work in the magazine. The magazine frequently publishes fantasy fiction, either short stories or novel excerpts; issue #305 featured an excerpt from George R.R. Martin's later Hugo-nominated novel A Feast for Crows.
In the early 80's, many issues of Dragon would contain a role playing module, a simple board game, or some kind of special game supplement (such as a cardboard cut-out castle). For example, Tom Wham's The Awful Green Things From Outer Space and File 13. These kinds of bonus features have become more infrequent since the launch of Dungeon magazine in 1986.
Dragon has featured much Greyhawk content over the years. Gary Gygax's "From the Sorcerer's Scroll" column showcased material that would eventually find its way into the 1983 boxed set. Further columns by Gygax would supplent that material. After Gygax left TSR in 1986, Greyhawk material became scarce in Dragon. Once Wizards of the Coast aquired TSR in 1997, Greyhawk coverage increased, and even more so with the release of 3rd Edition in 2000 (most likely due to WotC's designation of Greyhawk as the "Core Setting").
In 2001, the Living Greyhawk Journal, previously a stand-alone periodical, was folded into Dragon, where it appeared in nearly every issue from #290 to #306 (2003), after which it was moved to Dungeon. After Erik Mona took over as editor-in-chief in 2004, two of the most popular Greyhawk features began appearing in the magazine, "The Demonomicon of Iggwilv" by (mainly) James Jacobs, and "Core Beliefs" by (mainly) Sean K. Reynolds.
Ownership and business
Dungeon is a sister magazine which publishes pre-written adventures to be used in a D&D game.
In 2002, Paizo Publishing acquired the rights to publish Dragon under license from Wizards of the Coast.
In April 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced they would not be renewing Paizo's rights, and that Paizo's publishing of both Dragon and Dungeon magazines will end in September 2007.
Wizards of the Coast announced that they would continue to distribute content for their games digitally.
- 1986: Origins Award for Best Professional Roleplaying Magazine of 1985
- 1990: Origins Award for Best Professional Adventure Gaming Magazine of 1989
- 1994: Origins Award for Best Professional Gaming Magazine of 1993
- 1995: Origins Awards for Best Professional Gaming Magazine of 1994, Origins Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame
- 2004: Origins Award for Best Game Related Periodical 2003
- Tholos - cross-referenced database of Dragon articles.
- DragonDex - a complete, exhaustive, and up-to-date index to the contents of Dragon magazine.