Posted by : David Guyll August 22, 2009

As many have heard, for some reason its out an entire month early. Dont know why, dont care why. All that matters is that I got one before the clerical error(?) got resolved. Dragon Magazine Annual is a compilation of 14 articles considered to be the, "best of the best," published out of Dragon from June 2008 to March of 2009. It runs 159 pages and thirty-fucking-dollars. Yeesh. Thats quite a hefty price tag for a book that barely meets the weight class of Adventurer's Vault 2. Actually I just checked, and they're both identical in size. Huh. I mean, yeah, it was also $30, but at least it had all new content.

In case you're wondering, the articles re-printed in DMA are:

  • Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Yeenoghu
  • Creature Incarnations: Kobolds
  • Mithrendain, Citadel of the Feywild
  • Wish Upon a Star
  • The Bloodghost Syndicate
  • Intelligent Items: Smart Swords
  • Fight!
  • We Who Are About To Die...
  • The Longest Night
  • Playing Dhampyr
  • Masters of the Planes
  • Playing Shadar-Kai
  • Art of the Kill
If you have a subscription to Dragon as-is, you will only want this if you really, really like the articles listed. If you only like a couple of them, you should/could probably pass on this. For example, if you enjoyed Wish Upon a Star that this gives you the powers in hardback form, but then you'd also have an updated Character Builder that already has the powers built-in.
So, I guess its a pretty hard sell. I myself liked Creature Incarnations, Wish Upon a Star, Playing Dhampyr/Shadar-Kai, and some of the stuff from some of the rest of the articles, but frankly after I bought it and started reading it on the walk to work I thought, "What the fuck am I doing? I've already read all this shit," and promptly went back and brought Small Favor instead. Why did I buy it? I think at the time I was focusing on, "Shit yeah, Dragon in paper format," completely ignoring the fact that I'd already read and re-read it all months ago.

I...really cant think of an ideal target audience for it. Hardcore D&D collectors, I suppose. I mean, some of its good for players, some of its good for DMs, but all of its stuff that you probably already read. Heck, some of the articles are still up for free. I guess if you dont have/want a subscription to DDI at all and like to play and DM in about a 50:50 ratio, it might be handy to a point, thought $30 is on the steep side considering you can get it all for a one-time $7 fee for a month of DDI (and access to all back issues and a complete Character Builder...for that month, anyway).

I think that Wizards should focus mostly on player or DM content, not both. I cant say that I would parse out the monster stuff since Dragon has catered to both sides of the screen in the past, but I suppose I would try to help out the players mostly. Check out what Paizo did for their Dragon compilation in the past (which I think was pretty damned cool). Lower the damned price tag, while you're at it (or make it bigger). Its not like you're paying for anything new.

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