From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Just about any night on the evening news, you can hear about the trials and tribulations of one city or another. Well, if you think Chicago has troubles, or Cleveland has problems, wait till your travels take you to "Barnacus: City in peril." That's the title, and the topic, of this issue's AD&D adventure, which earned its creator, Francois Nantel, first place in category A-8 of our Module Design Contest. Getting through the gate is a snap, but after that things get a lot tougher.
If you want to think of this issue as a Christmas present, then you couldn't ask for better gift-wrapping than this month's cover painting. "Crystal Visions" is the latest in a long line of Clyde Caldwell creations to adorn our cover. Even though Clyde now works for TSR, Inc., and doesn't have a lot of time on his hands, he has promised to work on another cover piece real soon.
The features inside this issue range from the practical to the philosophical, with stops at several places in between. David Godwin wrote "How many coins in a coffer?" in an effort to keep a lid (so to speak) on the eternal acquisition of treasure that seems to be a fact of so many characters' lives: Remember, you've gotta keep all those gorgeous gold pieces somewhere - and you can't fit your life savings into the pouch on your belt. The number-crunchers among you will also enjoy Leomund's Tiny Hut, wherein Len Lakofka delivers unto us some revised and reorganized tables for combat, saving throws, and experience-point values. Unofficial, but very interesting.
The philosophical extreme is represented by Mike Beeman's article, "Five keys to DMing success." Perhaps it should have been titled "Five C's," for a reason that will become clear when you read it - and in our opinion, it should be required reading for anyone running a campaign.
The next installment of our "ecology" series isn't quite deserving of that label, which is why we call it "The psychology of the doppelganger." Fraser Sherman (at least we think it was Fraser Sherman) offers up this tale, which sheds a lot of light on those shady shape-changers.
Katharine Kerr, a frequent contributor who has emerged as our resident historical expert, asks the question "Who lives in that castle?" and then proceeds to answer it with an overview of the many types of people that every castle-owner needs to keep his manor, ahem, well-manored.
And, leaping ahead several centuries in time and technology, John Warren favors us with his "Dungeons Master's Familiar," a computer program designed to take the drudgery of DMing out of the hands of humans and put it into the circuitry of a computer where it belongs. - KM