Thursday, September 19, 2013

The End of the 4e Mags

Well maybe you haven't heard it yet, but in the latest Dragon mag, Perkins drops the bomb that the mags will be on hiatus starting in January 2014. We all knew the day was coming when "official" 4e support would end, but I still can't help but be a little sad to see it.

I thought today I would look back on the 4e Dragon/Dungeon mags. The mags had some great content over the years. Here are a few of my fave moments:

-Character Themes (Dragon #399 and multiple other issues). Richard "Birthright" Baker wrote the initial articles presenting Themes as character options, and they were an immediate success. Just when it seemed like there was no "design space" left, Themes found nooks and crannies to occupy.

-Baelard's Legacy (Dungeon #188). Joshua Kerbou only has one article that appears in the mags, and it is apparently his only article appearing anywhere. How lucky we are then to have this, the finest official 4e adventure. This is the adventure that shows how great 4e adventures could have been. The layout is non-linear, there is more exploration than combat, and the storyline is fantastic. If you haven't yet, you owe it to yourself to check out the forgotten Library of Highforest.

-Demonomicon: Yeenoghu (Dragon #364).  Robert Schwalb's ode to the demon gnoll. This was in the first 4e issue of Dragon and remains pretty much untouchable at the end of the run. This is just marvelously gory, and it pushes the boundaries of 4e's "PG-13" fluff. Here is a sample:

"The cultists scour the lands for fresh victims, dragging them back to hidden altars where they are strapped down and mutilated with sharp knives. The blood is collected and distributed among Yeenoghu’s high priests, which they then mix with hallucinogenic herbs and consume with relish."

-The Last Breaths of Ashenport (Dungeon #156). Ari Marmell's Lovecraft-inspired tale of a seaside cult is one of the most praised of all 4e adventures. I had a lot of fun with this one from the DMs side; playing cultists and fish-like creatures from the depths of the ocean is always fun. Which brings me to my next pick-

  -Pearl of the Sea Mother (Dungeon #204). I am a sucker for kuo-toa, and this high-Paragon tier adventure delivers. John "Ross" Rossomangno's fitting tribute to one of the game's iconic creatures.

 -Vor Kragal (Dragon #364). Another article from the first issue of 4e Dragon makes the list. This is an example of the mags at their best. Nicolas Logue's article has a great mix of fluff, adventuring locations, magic items, and new monsters. It is honestly an adventure in itself, and is somewhat akin to the underrated Hammerfast, Shadowfell, and Vor Rukoth supplements. Its funny, but the best 4e "adventures" are ones that aren't really adventures.

I have to say that I am thankful to have so many great issues of 4e magazine content. Hell, some of it I still haven't read, and much of it I am sure I have forgotten.

Although I am no Dragon magazine, I still intend to publish new 4e content in my zine. I have received several strong submissions already and I am trying to get the second issue together. I have asked before for folks to send me rejected submissions from Dragon/Dungeon. If you have any interest in getting some of your 4e stuff out there (albeit for free and for a small audience), check out my zine for contact info or leave me a post.

Anybody else want to share a fave 4e Dragon/Dungeon article? Leave a post!


  1. In the interest of expanding and improving 4e in the wake of the edition change, I'm experimenting with the design of new and preexisting races, classes, and character themes.

    All of them are available for free on my blog. (

    1. Looks like a lot of cool stuff on your blog there. I added you to the "Read or Die!" blog roll!

    2. I appreciate it! Do you have a website button? I could return the favor. :)


  2. "which they then mix with hallucinogenic herbs and consume with relish"
    -Does this mean they consume it with a passion/excitement or do they actually add relish with the blood and hallucinogenic herbs for that added kick of flavor?