Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Legendaria

The very first issue of Dragon I vividly remember buying was issue #62 (June 1982), in large part because of its spectacular cover painting by Larry Elmore. I read that issue cover to cover so many times that I must have committed a good portion of its contents to memory. I also clearly recall its many advertisements, one of which still fascinates me.

From what I have been able to gather, Legendaria was a short-lived gaming magazine published by an outfit called WITS Publishing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, edited and written by Chandler Driggs. I can confirm that there were at least five issues of the magazine. The illustration above, which is quite striking, was done by Helen Goldman, about whom I can find no information. 

For a long time, I thought that Legendaria was a fantasy comic book, owing to my misunderstanding the subtitle, "the illustrated log of the Varna Adventurers' Guild." As you'll see from the following scan of its inaugural editorial, it was nothing of the kind.

Based on this, Legendaria would seem to have been a rather well done amateur publication presenting material derived from the editor's home campaign of Varna. If you poke around online, you can find images of the covers of the five published issues but not much else. Did any readers own copies of this magazine? I'd love to know more about it, if only to satisfy the curiosity that ad from issue #62 engendered almost forty years ago.

14 comments:

  1. Dragon #62 was also my very first issue.

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  2. Irving Street, where WITS was located, is a tiny street here in one of the oldest parts of Philadelphia. It is just around the corner from the former home of Joseph Boneparte, Napoleon's brother, where he lived after he lost his crown as King of Spain and came here, fleeing Europe with a suitcase of Spanish jewels.

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    1. That was before his Point Breeze days in NJ, right? Had a college from that area who was very proud of having him as a neighbor, albeit at a considerable chronological remove.

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    2. That's right. Joseph left his Philly townhouse when he bought the Point Breeze estate.

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  3. FWIW, there was a 90's era PBM/PBEM game called Adventurer's Guild whose setting was called Varna. I assume the two were related, although the game's long gone AFAIK and the creator Hugh Bayer doesn't appear in the contributor list of the fanzine unless I'm missing it. Does have a lingering wiki page:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventurers_Guild

    Yes, I was a bit of play-by-mail geek at one point. :)

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  4. Hmmm. Further research tells me "Chandler Driggs" is a published author, and has used the (apparently made up word) "Transitine" on a number of projects including his one(?) novel "Ribbon 359 (Tales of the Transitine)" and a story in Legendaria #2. He has an author bio here that makes it clear this is tha same person from way back when:

    https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/chandler133

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  5. Yes, Legendaria was a magazine Helen & I published way back when, based on my Varna D&D campaign which ran through 2015 (no connection to the Adventure_Guild PBM). We published 5 issues, supported by local artists & Helen (she is still publishing & selling her stunning hand-crafted jewelry as Helen Driggs). I'm impressed you made the Transitine connection to Ribbon 359, The Transitine is the dimension where my Varna D&D campaign takes place.

    Ribbon 359 is a book for adults; to celebrate it's 10th anniversary I'm publishing the second book in the Transitine series, called Skaters, within a few weeks. It is more mainstream, for school age readers to adult.

    I still have copies of all five issues of Legendaria, by issue 5 we had really hit our stride & the magazine was everything I wanted it to be. Of course, that's when the money ran out!

    Thanks for your interest & commentary!

    - Chandler

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    1. Wow! Thank you for stopping by. I'm so pleased you did so.

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    2. By chance when you say you still have copies, do you mean copies for sale, or are you referring to your personal collection?

      Barring that, any chance of scanning and making PDFs of those classic issues and maybe selling them on DriveThruRPG?

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    3. Fascinating. Good to know what "the Transitine" is. Legendaria itself seems quite impressive for a small magazine of its era, very professional art and layout.

      I wonder what, if any, the connection between the PBM and the Varna campaign was. Old player who went on to use the name, maybe? Bayer is a significantly more difficult name to data search for than Driggs, unfortunately.

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  6. Thanks to Thaddeus Moore for bringing your blog to my attention! Great fun browsing the posts.

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  7. I have a very limited number of copies of Legendaria for sale, all five issues. Write me at chan at chandlerdriggs dot com for details. I'll think about putting up PDF versions, good idea!

    I have never heard of the PBM, nor does the name Bayer ring a bell, but hundreds of players have slogged their way through the Varna campaign over the years, so who knows?

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  8. That email doesn’t seem to work but id love to buy some copies...

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    1. That email works (if you replace the 'at' and 'dot' of course) & others have contacted me on it, so try it again or let me know how I can reach you! thanks -
      chan at chandlerdriggs dot com

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