From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
The roots of fantasy role-playing are planted in the soil of northern European culture, but that doesn't mean your campaign can't branch out to explore other climates and other social systems. That fact illustrates the secondary purpose behind our publication of MECHICA, this month's special feature. (The primary purpose is for you to have fun!) DMs and players alike should find it interesting, to say the least, to deal with a situation and a society that aren't typical of the circumstances in which most FRP adventures take place.
MECHICA is not the only "un-typical" element in this issue; just in case any of you faithful readers were starting to think we were getting predictable, the articles you'll find inside should shoot that theory full of holes. On that topic, check out "A Second Volley," contributing editor Ed Greenwood's further examination of primitive firearms that might be adapted into an AD&D milieu - if both the DM and the players are very careful how they're used.
Ed's other offering is "The Smith," a new NPC born from the opinion that humans ought to be able to work with metal as well as dwarves can - if they specialize in the craft and work long and hard at their anvils.
As a counterpoint to that opinion, our other contributing editor, Roger Moore, figured that humans shouldn't have a monopoly on interstellar exploration, and he came up with "Dwarves in Space," some thoughts on how to combine aspects of the AD&D and TRAVELLER game systems - including suggestions for translating dwarves into TRAVELLER terminology. Roger came back down to earth, in a manner of speaking, to offer some general guidelines for incorporating characters from our Giants in the Earth series into a campaign.
From the Sorceror's Scroll is made up of three short sections. First, E. Gary Gygax reveals to all you Good Readers the social-status and birth tables that will be a part of the AD&D expansion volume; then Frank Mentzer takes a more philosophical look at the subject of social structure within a campaign; and, last but not least, Frank provides an explanation, as we promised last month, of how the AD&D rules for falling damage are supposed to work. It may come as a surprise, but it sure is realistic.
Also in the realism department this month is "The hull truth about speed," a short essay by Bruce Evry that attempts to prove why (contrary to the DMG), large ships should move faster than small ones. And you can't get much more "real" than Ken Rolston's long look at how to succeed - or at least have a good time trying - the next time you enter a fantasy role-playing tournament. - KM