Warlock Magazine: Vol. 14

Let’s take a look at an issue of ウォーロック, the Japanese edition of Warlock magazine, for which Hitoshi Yasuda of Group SNE served as editor-in-chief. The parent magazine was a British publication dedicated to the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. It lasted for 13 issues. The Japanese edition lasted longer, expanding its scope beyond gamebooks and becoming the leading RPG magazine in Japan for a few years.

Volume 14 (February 1988) promoted Tunnels & Trolls, newly published in Japanese by Shakaishisosha. For this purpose the Group SNE team decided to exploit the popular Record of Lodoss War replays then being serialized in Comptiq magazine. As Yasuda explained it, Lodoss was a setting that could be used with any number of fantasy RPGs. At the time the Comptiq replays were explicitly using the Dungeons & Dragons rules, but that would change with the September 1988 issue of Comptiq.

Previously, the only people mentioned by name in the credits of the Lodoss replays were Group SNE founder Yasuda and the artist Yutaka Izubuchi. However, in the Warlock replay we get to meet the entire staff at Group SNE. It turns out the Dungeon Master was Ryo Mizuno, Deedlit was played by Hiroshi Yamamoto, Parn by Nao Kitakawa, and Slayn by Taro Yoshioka. I believe Ghim was played by Yasuda but Warlock magazine doesn’t confirm that detail.

The Warlock replay starts with everyone getting premade 1st level T&T versions of their characters. Etoh the cleric is missing, no doubt because there is no cleric class in T&T. Although the setting is the same, this is to be an adventure unrelated to their previous campaign on Lodoss Island. Kitakawa, playing Parn and having read some Appendix N literature it would seem, describes himself as an Eternal Champion.

The starting location is a tavern in the town of Novice on the western border of Allania. A priestess is looking for adventurers, and deeming the party suitable she takes them to a temple where she reveals a fairy she found while looking for medicinal herbs near the enchanted Forest of No Return. Fairies are seldom seen these days in Lodoss and this one has lost her memory. The priestess asks the party to return the fairy to her home, giving them directions to the location where she was found and where the priestess saw a hole in the ground.

The party uses a rope to lower themselves down the hole into a dungeon. The first encounter is with goblins. At this point there is a digression on how combat works in T&T. The goblins are defeated, but a group of trolls are not so easy and the party is forced to flee. Things look grim until they open a gate which reveals a magical fairy light which turns the trolls to stone. The amnesiac fairy suddenly remembers that she is Luck, the queen of the fairies. Also it turns out the party can’t go back home because hundreds of years have now passed in the outside world due to a quirk in how time works in Fairy Land. The Forest of Return, it would seem, lives up to its name. Yoshioka (Slayn) notes the similarity to the fairy tale Urashima Taro and the story of Rip Van Winkle.

The GM suggests that maybe they should create fairy characters for the players. Since the replay ends there I don’t know if those characters ever got created and used in an adventure. I haven’t seen the write-up at least.

By the way, vol. 14 also has product reviews, a map of the city of Novice, and a stand-alone adventure game called “King of Four People” with over 20 illustrations. The magazine was packed with good content!

A4 magazine, 68 pp.

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