Dragon is the official Dungeons & Dragons magazine. Published from from 1976 to 2002 by TSR / Wizards of the Coast, the magazine was outsourced to Paizo Publishing (a company founded by WotC alums, now known for publishing Pathfinder) through September 2007 (issue 359). At this point Wizards took the license back from Paizo, and restarted it as an online-only version, in which format it continues to be published. In all incarnations, Dragon has been "100% official content", and much material that was first published in it has found its way into D&D gaming supplements; in this way, it has served as a proving ground for aspiring game designers. Three other publications were merged with it at various times—Little Wars (TSR's wargaming publication), Ares (for science fiction games that TSR acquired from SPI), and Living Greyhawk Journal (for WotC's organized play events).From 1986 to its end Dragon was accompanied by Dungeon magazine, which provided premade adventures (mostly for Dungeons & Dragons). Like its sister publication, Dungeon is now online-only.The magazine spun off several comic strips, including Knights of the Dinner Table, What's New? with Phil and Dixie, Dork Tower, and Nodwick. Additionally, The Order of the Stick ran a series of bonus strips in it.A CD collection of issues 1-250 and its predecessor The Strategic Review was released in 1999. It is very much out of print.Not to be confused with a Japanese magazine called Dragon, which covers Japanese RPGs and includes manga, and was the original source of the manga for Slayers, Full Metal Panic!, Chrono Crusade, Record of Lodoss War, and other series.If you are looking for a trope about the Big Bad's second-in-command, see The Dragon. If you're looking for large reptiles of some sort, see Our Dragons Are Different.
This magazine provides examples of:
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: A regular feature by this name spotlighted new, unusual, and often humorously twisted magical items. An example is the "Ring of Spell Turning". If you use it, you hear from the ring, "Turning. T-U-R-N-I-N-G. Turning."
- Caption Contest: In the later years, illustrated by Tony Moseley.
- Cool Gate: In issue #100, the adventure "The City Beyond The Gate" has the players travel through one to (then present-day) 1985 London to recover a powerful artifact from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Crossover: "The Wizards Three", a series of humorous short stories by Ed Greenwood in which Mordenkainen of Greyhawk, Elminster of the Forgotten Realms, and Dalamar of Dragonlance met for friendly dinner parties in Ed's dining room while Ed hides in a suit of armor.
- The "Giants In The Earth" series of articles (running intermittently from issues 26 to 64) included 1st edition stats for many heroes from literature and legend (such as Sparrowhawk/Ged, John Henry, Reepicheep, Professor Challenger, and Umslopogaas). Issue #48½ included Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Popeye, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Dudley Do-Right.
- Deadly Dust Storm: #51 story "A Part of the Game". The story begins with a sandstorm that lasts an entire day and most of the night, forcing a caravan to stop to avoid becoming lost. With the dawn the entire face of the desert has changed, causing them to become lost anyway.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: Some of the most perennially popular articles were "The Nine Hells" (parts I and II) and "The Nine Hells Revisited", penned by Ed Greenwood in the early '80s and which delved into the hierarchy of D&D's version of Hell for the first time, introducing a number of recurring villains.
- Towards the end of the magazine's print run, the "Demonomicon of Iggwilv" series of articles, each of which spotlighted an individual demon lord in great detail.
- Dragon Hoard: One cover was a picture of a dragon's hoard, which contained gold, jewels, and many, many less conventional objects, like a kitchen sink.
- Honest Advisor: As Shannon Appelcline put it in the first volume of Designers And Dragons, at least at the start Dragon was intended to be more than just a "house organ". If TSR wanted to place ads in Dragon they had to buy space like any other company; conversely, if Dragon wanted to review a TSR product, they shelled out the dough to buy a copy. Issue #55 includes not one, but two decidedly mixed reviews of the 1e Fiend Folio (the long-awaited sequel to the classic Monster Manual) that complained about many of the monsters being derivative or lacking detailed background information.
- In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Issue #48 Top Secret adventure "Dr. Yes: The Floating Island Mission". The enemy facility has small robots called "Bernies" that can act as vacuum cleaners (and trash compactors, because they compress the trash they pick up), They also mop and wax the floor as they pass over it. When one encounters a trail of debris (dirt, water, blood, etc.) it will follow it to its source, cleaning as it goes.
- Mockumentary: The "Ecology of..." articles presented in-depth looks at various D&D monsters. For most of the TSR era, they were presented as short stories with footnotes, while Paizo made them actual articles.
- Notzilla: The magazine once had a editor's note about their refusal to print Dungeons & Dragons stats for Godzilla, the editor at the time simply stated that, licensing issues aside, they could change his name to "Herman" and most PC's would be lizard food.
- Running Gag: The oft-promised but never-quite-delivered "Sex and D&D" edition of comic strip What's New? with Phil and Dixie. It was finally delivered in the 1994 strip collection... but was, in fact, all about monster mating habits.
- Shout Out: Issue #48 Top Secret adventure "Dr. Yes: The Floating Island Mission"
- Many of the Non Player Characters have names that are based on those of Real Life and fictional characters. They include Bruce Nee (Bruce Lee), Chuck Morris (Chuck Norris), James Pong (James Bond), Doctor Yes (Doctor No), Mohammed Chang (The Dragon Chang in Moonraker) and "Sweetbeam" Leotard (Sugar Ray Leonard).
- One of the Non Player Characters has no name. He has a cruel mouth, makes subtle puns, and females will be attracted to him. He uses cigarettes with three gold bands and owns a Bentley automobile. He's a high-ranking British agent and the British Secret Service will pay an $11,000 reward if the PCs rescue him. In short he's the literary James Bond.
- Troper Works
- Uncancelled: Being published by Paizo saved it from even earlier cancellation.