From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Simply stated, we've never done an adventure like "The Dancing Hut" before. It is, for purposes of classification, a module for high-level AD&D characters. But calling it a high-level module, and leaving it at that, is sort of like calling Ronald Reagan an ex-movie star. That's true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. "The Dancing Hut" is the product of the imagination of Roger Moore, loosely based on an adventure he ran for some unsuspecting participants at last fall's Autumn Revel convention. Roger's advice goes like this: "Tell anyone who takes a character in there not to be too attached to it."
Those of you who liked our last cover painting from Denis Beauvais (issue #78) have already been appropriately awed by his latest work. This one is entitled "Checkmate," and if it isn't the most striking cover painting we've ever published, it's somewhere in the top three.
As a belated followup to an article on gems we published almost a year ago, Mike Lowrey put his research skills to a tough test and came up with "The many facets of gems," a chronicle of the valuable stones listed in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. To show you what some of the more uncommon types look like, Roger Raupp did some research of his own and conjured up the paintings that are displayed on the first two pages of the article.
Our ecology article this month puts the spotlight on that little blood-sucker that nobody likes, the stirge. If you've ever tried to moderate a combat sequence involving a couple dozen of these things, or if you've ever had a character do an impersonation of a pincushion while trying to fight them off, you'll appreciate the "facts" Ed Greenwood has come up with.
In the back end of the book, Mr. Moore makes another appearance with "How to finish fights faster," a suggested revision of the weaponless combat system in the AD&D rules. It will always take longer to play a fight than to actually fight a fight, but we think these rules will cut the time-consuming aspect of unarmed combat down to a minimum.
Secret agents in the crowd (you don't have to raise your hands) will appreciate our second installment of previewed material from the upcoming TOP SECRET Companion, this time concerning Areas of Knowledge and what an AOK enables an agent to do.
Our fiction feature this month is something different: The first public appearance of a story involving the new DRAGONLANCE saga. "The test of the twins" gives you a glimpse into the background and character of two of the central figures in the overall story. We'll introduce you to more of the principal characters in the issues to come. - KM