RPG Dragon Magazine

RPG Dragon Magazine

Following the look at Warlock magazine, we’ll go back to August 1994 and take a look at volume 2 of RPG Dragon (RPGドラゴン). Released as a bimonthly supplementary magazine to the monthly Dragon Magazine (ドラゴンマガジン), it sold for 800 yen at the time. I ordered it from Suruga-ya along with another magazine with a supplement about Magicalogia. Based on the insert advertising RPG Dragon, the main magazine sold for 600 Yen.

What caught my eye, was the list of games it focused on: Sword World, Battletech and Mechwarrior, Shadowrun, Monster Maker, Dragon Half, and Paradise Fleet, among others.

RPG Dragon No. 2 Cover

The page direction follows the traditional style of right to left, while modern game magazines are usually left to right. There’s a lot of content, and the order of it tends to be mixed, so rather than showcase in page order, I’ll list it by category.

RPG Dragon No. 2 Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Sword World

Following the table of contents is a full color two page ad for Sword World SFC2 for the Super Famicon. I hadn’t realized that there were a number of video adaptations of it, but it makes sense. The description of the game really emphasizes the rolling of dice and how it follows the exact rules of the table top game. There is also an accompanying novelization of the game.

Ad for Sword World video game
Ad for Sword World video game

Chaos LandThere are a number of Sword World articles of varying length, but most focus on the new Chaos Land. Chaos Land is a continent to the West of the central continent of Arecrast. One article gives background on why adventurers would cross the sea, and there is a sample scenario included.

Guide to Chaos Land
Guide to Chaos Land

BattleTech

I was surprised by the amount of BattleTech content in this issue, but then remembered that it was also localized by Group SNE. The articles begin with an introduction to three famous mechwarriors of the galaxy and their affiliations: Ian McKinnon, Natasha Kerensky, and Grayson Carlyle. The title is actually “Mercenaries of the Galaxy”, but the bio for Ian McKinnon states he “…was not technically a mercenary.

Ian McKinnon
Ian McKinnon

 

Natasha Kerensky and Grayson Carlyle. Related books are shown at the bottom right.
Natasha Kerensky and Grayson Carlyle. Related books are shown at the bottom right.

Replay

It then continues with a rather lengthy MechWarrior replay titled “Deadly Drive”. The top left showcases a BattleTech novel.

Searching for glory on the battlefield of death and smoke...
Searching for glory on the battlefield of death and smoke…

Battle Over: 3025

Coming back to BattleTech again on page 106, it covers a battle using fan submitted custom mechs. Given the background of the Lyran Commonwealth testing new mech designs, it is formatted much like a TRPG replay, but for a game of BattleTech.

Summary of entries to the contest
Summary of entries to the contest

The magazine ran a contest for mech submissions, with 528 total receive, and 99.9% were from male readers. From those, they chose four to test.

Introducing the scenario
Introducing the scenario

What’s pretty cool is they created custom illustrations for the submitted mechs, and printed the submitter’s name and prefecture.

Map showing movements and custom mech from Aichi prefecture.
Map showing movements and custom mech from Aichi prefecture.

Mech building guide and weapons table.
Mech building guide and weapons table.

Finally at the end there is a submission form and instructions for submitting your own custom mechs for consideration.

Submission rules and form
Submission rules and form

Shadowrun Tokyo

Following the FASA tendencies of this issue, there are two articles about Shadowrun. The first is an introduction to Shadowrun Tokyo, with various districts described. The second article is a beginner scenario for two players.

Shadowrun Tokyo: Ueno and Akihabara
Shadowrun Tokyo: Ueno and Akihabara

Paradise Fleet

Paradise Fleet scenario
Paradise Fleet scenario

A comedic space adventure, there is a scenario to accompany the publication of Paradise Fleet.

Dragon Half

There’s a replay for the Dragon Half TRPG, which is based on the manga of the same name. The TRPG was designed by the same system designer of Sword World Miyuki Kiyomatsu.

Dragon Half: Aim! Idol
Dragon Half

The Goods

Scattered throughout the book are various ads and new product news. Below are a few of them:

A guide to Arabian Nights inspired fantasy.
A guide to Arabian Nights inspired fantasy.

 

A Game Master personality test to choose which Monster Maker book to start with.
A Game Master personality test to choose which Monster Maker book to start with.
Survey Postcard
Survey Postcard

While first flipping through the magazine, I had skimmed the title of “RPG Dragon Presents” and thought it was a product presentation. Giving it a read, it’s actually a contest to receive gifts from the magazine. Readers can submit a questionnaire with a 50 yen stamp and specify their desired gift from a list of 18. The following page has a color spotlight on seven of those.

Highlights of seven available presents. The bottom right is GURPs.
Highlights of seven available presents. The bottom right is GURPs.

Circles and Words

It was fun browsing the convention and circle (group) listings, which are divided by region. The general format is describing the games, schedule, and contact address for the group.

Circle information listed by region.
Circle information listed by region.

Circle B, G, M is one such group from Aichi prefecture that was recruiting. They had ten members since April last year. If you’re interested, please send a letter. We’d be grateful if you include an 80 Yen stamp. We meet regularly twice a month. Membership fee is 100 Yen.

 

 

There’s an excerpt of a TRPG vocabulary dictionary that also asks for submissions.

The entry for NPC and Ancient Dragon
The entry for NPC and Ancient Dragon

Afterwards

Editor's Postscript
Editor’s Postscript

On the credits page nestled next to the preview for the next issue is a small Editor’s Postscript box. I believe the six lines each correspond to an editor and their content fairly random. One mentions football season starting, while another describes the 8-bit computers they are pining for. Only one of them was related to the issue: “How did you like Paradise Fleet? We’ll be publishing more of it.”

 

The interior of the back cover is a full page ad for working at Group SNE. They were looking for designers, illustrators, translators, English ability, programming languages, among other special abilities.

Recruitment ad for Group SNE
Recruitment ad for Group SNE

The back cover is an ad for Record of Lodoss War PC games by Humming Bird Soft.

Back cover
Back cover with an ad for Record of Lodoss War video game.

3 thoughts on “RPG Dragon Magazine”

  1. Great article as always! Those Japanese TRPG magazines are incredible! This issue has a lot of nostalgic feelings even tho I’m not really familiar with the specific material, but I like it a lot! I have discovered a lot of interesting artists while browsing for magazines like this one on sites like Mandarake. So it is brilliant that with your review I can kind of read its content, which I have ever been curious about.

    1. Thank you! I always appreciate your kind words, and am glad that you enjoy the magazines. Yeah, this magazine definitely felt nostalgic for me, too. I watched a fair amount of 80’s and 90’s anime, and this was right in line with that. Speaking of artists, you’ve mentioned being a fan of Hitoshi Yoneda. Any other artists that have caught your eye?

  2. Yes! I mean, Hitoshi Yoneda caused a great impression on me because he mainly uses watercolour which is my preferred media and I have never seen a fantasy illustrator that uses almost exclusively watercolour in his works, so I bought his two artbooks! With that being said, I have been eyeing the works of the late Yasushi Nirasawa because apart from fantasy I really like gothic horror and monster stuff, and his character designs are quite grotesque and appealing! Kojima Ayami is one that a friend of mine told me about, because she is a Castlevania Symphony of the Night fan. So she informed me about the “Santa Lilio Sangre” artbook, but on Mandarake I saw that Kojima Ayami made illustrations for something called “The Hommage to Cthulhu” and the cover illustrations are gorgeous! There is also someone called Suemi Jun I really like but know little about, and Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame. To name a few…

    PS: I hope you don’t feel like the floodgate has been opened! I really enjoy talking about this stuff… ☺

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