From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Don't let the guy on the cover give you too much heat - he just does this sort of thing on weekends to pick up a little extra money. The real wizards are the writers and artists who filled up the inside of this magazine, from EGG to Tramp and everyone in between. The cover painting is the creation of Susan Collins, whose work also appeared on the outside of issue #51.
The center 12 pages of this month's issue is taken up by Quest for the Midas Orb, an adventure created by Jennie Good which was, ahem, good enough to win third place in the AD&D section of International Dungeon Design Contest II.
In the leadoff position, following two pages of "Out on a Limb" letters, is the third and last installment of cantrips, brought to you From the Sorceror's Scroll by E. Gary Gygax. These morsels of magic for illusionists are, like the magic-user cantrips that preceded them, slated for inclusion in an upcoming official volume of new AD&D rules. And, as the Sorceror himself is wont to say, you Gentle Readers saw it here first.
We've looked at combat from one extreme to the other, in the form of a couple of "related" articles by Phil Meyers and Rory Bowman. The former describes a suggested new system for conducting weaponless combat in an AD&D adventure. Notice we said "new," not necessarily "simpler." If there's a way to beat somebody up and keep it simple, we'd like to know about it. The second piece is something a lot of you have asked for, and we hope it fills the bill: statistics and descriptions for about three dozen "weird" weapons, an unofficial expansion of the list in the AD&D Players Handbook.
Gnomes are the next object of scrutiny in Contributing Editor Roger Moore's series of articles on the humanoid races and their deities. "The Gnomish Point of View" draws some clear distinctions between gnomes and their "cousins" the dwarves, and "The Gods of the Gnomes" drives the point home even more firmly.
The next time your group wants to play "Cowboys and Indians," send in the "Little People of the Iroquois," portrayed in Condrad Froehlich's article. These legendary elf-like creatures should fit especially well in a campaign one using an American Indian mythos. If you feel the same way, fine. If you don't then you can Sioux us.
For the second issue in a row, we're able to give guidance to TOP SECRET agents direct from E. Gary Gygax. New rules for areas of Special Knowledge, plus a completely detailed new bureau for infiltrators, are featured in the column that starts on page 60.
The latest edition of "Giants in the Earth" brings forth three more characters from the pages of fantasy literature, including everybody's favorite chauvinist, Tarl Cabot. A quartet of new critters are featured in "Dragon's Bestiary" but that's nothing compared to the eighty monsters portrayed in living (in most cases) color on pages 52 and 53. That's our way of giving you a sneak preview of TSR's new AD&D Monster Cards, which should be on the shelf of your favorite store by the time this magazine gets there.
The "Dragon's Augury" review section this month showcases two games that, at first glance, seem to have nothing in common - Call of Cthulhu and Hitler's War. But on second thought, wouldn't Der Fuhrer have made a terrific Lovecraft monster? Following the game reviews is a two-page section Off the Shelf, wherein Chris Henderson takes a critical look at some of the newest fantasy and sf book releases.
Last but never least, our comic section is a whopping five pages long this time around - designed to make your month of May as merry as can be. - KM