In December of 2013, both Dungeon and Dragon magazines ceased publication, ending Dragon’s thirty-seven year run. In an editorial announcing the cessation of publishing, Wizards of the Coast story design manager and editor, Chris Perkins stated that as WotC was focusing on developing Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, the two supporting magazines would be going on hiatus. Now that 5th Edition has been released, Dragon magazine has suddenly returned as a app. Is a revitalized Dungeon far behind?
Released on Thursday for iOS (with Android support to come “soon”), Dragon+ features an aggregator for Wizards of the Coast’s Tumbler and facebook content as well as downloadable issues. Currently available in the app is the Elemental Evil Awakens! issue, which can also be accessed on iOS devices through the Newstand app. Dragon+ users can subscribe to future issues, which also appear to be free.
Inside the actual issue are fifteen articles, a few ads, and other content, taking up 25 screens. While most of the articles in the debut issue read like ads for the current D&D storyline, there are some interesting things inside. A retrospective of earlier versions of the classic Temple of Elemental Evil adventure and a list of elemental trinkets are pulled from player contributions. “Video Highlights” links to the Dungeon Masters Support Group and the Acquisitions Inc. video series on YouTube. A strategy guide about taking down a Black Dragon ties into the Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil storylines (and feels a bit like the old “Ecology of…” Dragon articles). Pieces about other D&D offerings on your computer: a look at the Neverwinter MMO and a look at Sword Coast Legends.
Worried about spoilers? You should be. “Travel Talk” is an in-setting travelogue featuring some of the locations within the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign, complete with spoilers for players. Mike Schley’s Dungeon Masters’ map from Princes of the Apocalypse appears here, with all the locations in the game clearly marked (including the “Reaver Ambush”, “Shallow Graves”, and “Delegation Ambush” sites clearly marked). Why this version instead of the player version appears in the article is unknown, but for you DMs out there, it is something you might want to warn your players about.
Likewise, the “Elemental Evil: Unearth the Deception” article pretty much gives away the whole game. Have you seen a movie trailer that revealed nearly everything, including the big twist in the ending? That’s this article.
So, what’s Dungeon+ then? Several puff pieces of adwork, crowdsourced content, and some interesting original content, all for free. That original content is good and worth the price, although it’s really giving players a peek behind the DM screen. Because of the massive spoilers I have to recommend against reading the issue unless you’re the one running the game.