Knockspell is a gaming magazine published by Black Blade Publishing. Knockspell focuses on the older editions of D&D, specifically OD&D (cloned by Swords and Wizardry), Basic D&D (cloned by Labyrinth Lord) and, AD&D (cloned by OSRIC). The magazine is more professionally organized than most of the other old school magazines and has the feel of classic Dragon Magazine. The art is very well done and they have twice featured my favorite old school artist, Peter Mullen, on their cover. The magazine has been around since Spring of 2009 and is on its 4th issue. I am going to hit a few highlights of the early issues and then review future issues in detail as the come out.
This issue opens with a bang, an editorial from Tim Kask, the first employee of TSR and editor of the original Dragon Magazine. This is followed up by a staple of Knockspell Magazine, “From Kuroth’s Quill” by grodog. Grodog is the number one guy I am hoping will be at GenCon this year so I can meet him. In this issue he talkes about trick doors and variable stairs. The “From Kuroth’s Quill” articles are always a good place for dungeon construction and adventure ideas. The issue also contains “Islands on an Emerald Sea” by Gabor Lux. As I talk about old school D&D products more, you will find that Gabor Lux is one of the most prolific guys out there. There are also some rules variants by Akrasia. Akrasia is one of the best sources for OD&D rules variants out there, I use several of his adjustments in my home game. This issue also contains Michael Curtis’s “Dungeon Alphabet” article, the article so good that Goodman Games turned it into a beautifully illustrated book that is available at Barnes and Noble.
This issue features “From Kuroth’s Quill” again, this time grodog features variations on the standard door. I find these kinds of articles to be the most helpful since they fire up my evil DM imagination. There are several variations on the classic, and controversial, thief class. Gabor Lux is back with “Islands on an Emerald Sea 2.” There are interviews with the writers of the various retro-clones, and a great set of “Dungeon Oddities” by Michael Curtis. The Stone Womb from this article is awesome.
This issue’s “From Kuroth’s Quill” features planar gates, and fun ways to use them in your game. Akrasia has another set of cool rules variants, this time covering an alternate magic system and a way to give your game a more pulp feel. Tim Kask has another editorial, “Blame it on the Players” about how he thinks the game changed to be the way it is today. Gabor Lux presents “The City of Vultures,” a great place to set a pulpy, cultist bashing game.
I will be back in a few with a detailed review of Knockspell #4 as it is the current issue.