Home / Delve into the Depths in the Kobold Blog / The Quest for One Thousand Dragons (Part 1 of 2)

The Quest for One Thousand Dragons (Part 1 of 2)

The Quest for One Thousand Dragons (Part 1 of 2)

Leonardo da Vinci, Detail from a Study of a Dragon CostumeOk, full disclosure: I’m not really talking about 1,000 dragons. It’s probably closer to 304 or something like that, but you must admit, The Quest for About 304 (give or take) Dragons doesn’t have quite the same flair!

Before we delve into my epic quest, a little background…

I started playing D&D (good old 1st Edition AD&D that is) as a kid in the late 70s. We also played many other RPGs back then… Marvel Superheroes, Champions, Elfquest, FASA’s Star Trek, Star Frontiers, the list goes on. But it always came back to AD&D for us. We played as often as we could and read everything we could get our hands on when we were not actively playing. It was truly a magical time.

I kind of faded out of gaming around the time 2nd Edition came out: mainly because most of my gaming friends turned into grown ups and moved away when I wasn’t looking but also because 2nd Edition just didn’t quite do it for me. (I did actually play 2nd Edition a little though and there were aspects that I did like.) It was 3rd Edition D&D really pulled me back into the world of gaming though, and the Pathfinder RPG has pretty much locked me in.

Where was I? Oh right, the quest…

Ancient History

So back in the late 70s and very early 80s, my friends and I used to go to a little shop near our hometown called The Magic Shop. As you might expect, they sold all kinds of cool magic stuff—card tricks, magic sets, that sort of thing. They also sold all kinds of great D&D stuff. Modules, the rule books themselves, metal miniatures from Grenadier and Ral Partha… and Dragon magazine. We went to the Magic Shop at least every couple of weeks and picked up, among countless other things, the new issue of Dragon whenever it came in. And what a magazine! It was a treasure trove of new ideas, answers to questions, new official content. In many ways, it was like a lifeline that seemed to connect us to the creators of the game. I still can remember discovering my very first issue—#45.

I kept every issue I got from then on, haphazardly organized on the small bookshelf in my bedroom. I read and re-read them constantly. I photocopied particularly good articles, so I could keep them organized in 3-ring binders. If the covers came off, I taped them back on. Quite simply, I really loved that little magazine. We all did.

Unfortunately, time waits for no one. By 1989 or so, I was older and had stopped playing D&D for the most part. Eventually, I even got rid of all my Dragons, more than likely during a move. The last Dragon I had was probably around #140. It pains me to even think of this now, but… I’m pretty sure I probably just threw them all away.

Fast forward maybe a decade later. A co-worker of mine found out that I used to play D&D and told me how excited he was about the new 3rd Edition that had recently come out. Intrigued, I stopped at a bookstore on the way home that very evening and, to my delight, discovered that Dragon magazine, my old friend, was still around. It looked better than ever and even had all kinds of new 3rd Edition info. So I bought the issue (#275) and was hooked all over again. I began playing 3rd Edition soon after that, and I started buying each new issue of Dragon when it hit the bookstore (I did miss an occasional issue over the next few years, unfortunately, since I only subscribed periodically). I found that the same thrill was still there each time I picked up the new issue. Much like the younger me had once done, I stored each new issue on the bookshelf in my home office (although I was much neater and more organized this time around). Life was good.

Then, it happened.

I read and re-read the announcement. Dragon as a print magazine was going to end. I was crushed. I just couldn’t believe it. I was angry and sad. Helpless.

It’s important to understand that I no longer feel this way. I do miss Dragon, of course, and probably always will. However, a great many wonderful things did end up happening as a result. For those of us that love the Pathfinder RPG, we have a wonderful game and campaign setting.

And for those of us that do miss Dragon magazine, I think we can all agree that Kobold Quarterly magazine has done an amazing job of stepping into that void. Now, I get that thrill each time a new issue of Kobold Quarterly arrives in my mailbox!

Part One: The Quest Begins

Of course, I didn’t have the benefit of these insights then. I just knew how upset I was. After a few days of moping, I decided there was something I could do. I could at least be sure to buy the handful of 3rd Edition issues of Dragon I was missing. It was a fun, painless, and slightly melancholy little quest I set out upon. Between Paizo’s web site and eBay, it was fairly easy to acquire my missing 3rd Edition issues. When the final issue of Dragon was finally released (#359) it made me feel a little better somehow to see that continuous run from issue #274 right up to the final issue sitting on my bookshelf.

But then a curious thing happened. While I was searching eBay for those missing 3rd Edition issues, I had also noticed that older issues were showing up in my searches. For whatever reason, it had just never occurred to me that those older issues would also be out there like that. But they were. Calling to me. I started to remember how much I loved Dragon when I was a kid. I’m not sure why exactly, but at some point, I realized that my little quest was not over after all. It was not enough that I had all the 3rd Edition issues of Dragon. I decided that I also wanted (no, NEEDED) all those issues I had foolishly discarded when I was younger. And so, I officially set myself on the Quest for 1,000 Dragons, so to speak.

(To be continued…)

16 thoughts on “The Quest for One Thousand Dragons (Part 1 of 2)”

  1. Good writing. You remind me of the old days. My experience back in the day was similar. And like Iomedae, Kobold Quarterly is The Inheritor.

  2. Well penned, Marc! I too am on the hunt for the missing Dragons in my collection and look forward to seeing if your quest was completed.

  3. I just had to get rid of all my print copies of Dragon Magazine in a big move from Illinois to Texas. I find some solace in the fact that I have the Dragon Magazine disk compilation (issues 1-250), but have had to part with all my issues from 251 on. I had them all and used them all. Good Luck in your quest. Keep us all updated on your progress.

  4. I love this! I have been slowly filling out my Dragon and Dungeon collections for much the same reason. If you ever want to swap to get missing issues, let me know… brent dot jans at gmail dot com.

  5. I got lucky. A friend was selling his complete set from 1-200ish plus Strategic Reviews and Dungeon magazines. Have been tempted to add 201+ to the bunch but the wallet has sneered at the idea.

  6. The very first issue I bought was #117. I never missed an issue after that (even as a subscriber, if for some reason my copy didn’t show up, I’d call Paizo’s customer support and a few days later there it was). Like you, I photocopied articles to put in binders and reread them over and over. I actually sank into a funk for several weeks when the print run ended.

    I don’t know exactly which ones I lack completing my collection, but it’s less than 3 dozen now. I have many, many in the double digits, and still look for some now and again. Of course I have the CD-Rom collection, but it just ain’t the same.

  7. My first were in a box left outside next to the playground at my middle school. A good ten or twenty of them. They were already falling apart so it was a little hard to tell. I already loved to read back then and that little treasure trove blew my mind!

  8. I couldn’t believe that WOTC stopped the print issues. Yes, I realize everything is going digital now, but the print copies got the non-players interested in the game of D&D and others. To walk into a book store and see a Dragon or Dungeon issue sitting on the shelf was like seeing an old friend. I used to think they made a very bad choice now I know they did. A digital version of the book could have been offered as an alternitive.
    I have many older print issues still but now have all of them on PDF. It dos make searching for something easier but there still is nothing like the feel and smell of a Dragon!

  9. Now, someone needs to turn this concept of “The Quest For 1000 Dragons” into a campaign. The term “Dragon” could be a metaphor for all accomplishments that are epic. Sort of like an in-game bucket list?

    This could be a lifelong campaign for PCs. It could also be an eternal-quest by an NPC organization which occasionally involved the PCs in a certain task.

    There are also similarities between such a quest and the Pathfinder Society.

    Sorry, this just set my mind in motion. :)

  10. Thanks everyone! Really glad you all liked reading this!

    I actually wrote it a little while ago … mostly for fun, just to kind of get it out of my head and onto paper. I submitted it to KQ.com mostly as a lark …

    Stay tuned for part two – the “hunt” itself :)

  11. I too have many fond memories of reading and re-reading my Dragon Magazines. Thanks to a thriving secondhand market, the compilation CD, and my subscription since issue #119, I have the complete run. Because I started gaming in college,and didn’t start buying the magazine until a few years later, I was in a better position to store and move my collection. Many issues are still in a storage bin, but this may give me the impetus to bring them out again. Thanks for a great article and some inspiration!

  12. Really glad you liked it Debbie! Hope you like part 2 when it comes out.

    Get those old issue out of the storage bin – they deserve to be read!!! :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Kobold Courier and Earn Loot!

Stay informed with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox weekly. Join now and receive a PDF copy of Caverns of the Spore Lord

Join The Kobold Courier


Be like Swolbold. Stay up to date with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox twice a month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top