Fairly good issue.
- A bit of a tirade by Gygax against people who don’t like the fact that TSR is protecting its copyrights. Special shout-out to companies doing it right by either licensing or creating their own new ip like Games Design Workshop with En Garde and Traveller. Also has a bit of a historical run-down and background to the initial publishing of D&D. Mentions ongoing work to develop it with the publishing of Basic, the Monster Manual and two forthcoming volumes, which may be ready around summer 78!
- Variant article by Kuntz with rules for brawling – basically a bunch of tables and dice rolls with the goal of knocking out the opponent and not actually causing any hp damage.
- Article by Thomas Filmore that encourages you to role play your character by thinking up a background and quirks and most importantly doing this for each new character you play, ensuring you don’t carry over stuff from previous characters.
- First appearance of “From the Sorcerer’s Scroll” by Kuntz. Most excitingly mentions the Monster Manual is at the printers. Also that work on AD&D is progressing, with some small snippets like the fact that Fighters will use a 10 sided die for hit dice. Also Monsters & Treasure Assortment Set 3 is being worked on. Odd mention of Brian Blume working on an outdoor map – not sure what became of that. Update on expansion of D&D overseas.
- Oh boy, here comes one of those articles with extremely convoluted rules – about fighting with quarterstaffs by James Ward. Would make fighting as exciting as doing your tax return.
- A short unfavourable review of the Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit film.
- A new complete boardgame – Snit’s Revenge, the sequel to Snit Smashing.
- And at last, an ad for the Monster Manual!!!
Next up? Yes, the Monster Manual!
Of interest to me, the Hobbit film was broadcast on Nov 27. Which means the earliest the complete contents of this issue was finished would have been the following day. Which means when they say this is the December issue, it really means it would have come out in December! (Unlike modern magazine publishing where they push everything forward a month – eg a December issue coming out in November.)