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Dragon Magazine Annual, Vol. 1 (4e)


Every week, Dragon™ magazine presents new online rules content for your 4th Edition DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® game on D&D Insider™. Whether you want to enhance your character or explore new races and campaign horizons, Dragon has something for you!

The Dragon Magazine Annual collects the best material published by Dragon magazine since the launch of 4th Edition. Within these pages, you’ll find more than a dozen updated articles presenting new feats, powers, monsters, paragon paths, and game advice. This supplement also features official rules for the D&D® game, including rules for gladiatorial combat, intelligent magic items, and more.

Product History

Dragon Magazine Annual, Volume 1 (2009) is the first collection of cherry-picked articles taken from the all-digital Dragon Magazine. It echoes the much-beloved Dragon collections of previous editions that many players grew up with, and features an array of free and subscriber-only 4e articles for both DMs and players. The result is a fascinating, well-written, useful collection of articles that – quite deliberately – lacks a unifying theme.

Best of the Year. The book has six articles intended for DMs, two articles meant for both DMs and players, and six articles primarily intended for players. The articles are as follows:

  • “Creature Incarnations: Kobolds” (DM)
  • “Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Yeenoghu” (DM)
  • “Fight!” (DM)
  • “Intelligent Items: Smart Swords” (DM)
  • “The Ashen Covenant” (DM)
  • “The Longest Night” (DM)
  • “Mithrendain, Citadel of the Feywild” (DM/Player)
  • “The Bloodghost Syndicate” (DM/Player)
  • “Art of the Kill” (Player)
  • “Masters of the Planes” (Player)
  • “Playing Dhampyr” (Player)
  • “Playing Shadar-Kai” (Player)
  • “We Who Are About To Die...: D&D Gladiators” (Player)
  • “Wish Upon A Star” (Player)

Balance of Flavor and Mechanics. The tradeoff for having a range of articles, even excellent ones, is that there's a lack of particular theme or focus. This was one of the delights about the old Dragon Annuals, of course. I remember fondly trying to figure out the two articles on tessaracts, then contemplating how to talk my DM into letting me play a twinked-out anti-paladin. ("That line about NPCs only? Ignore that!")

In this book, we're given a range of articles detailing organizations, monsters, themes (the gladiator), locations, magic items, and class and race expansions. They're good articles, too, selected to make games palpably better and more fun.

Sample of Dragon's Quality. Dragon articles can occasionally be hit-or-miss, though fortunately the hits are generally more prevalent than misses. One of the best things about this collection is that it gives non-subscribers to DDI a feel for what they are missing. (I'm sure that was one of the intents, of course.) I question slightly the decision to include free articles in this collection alongside the subscriber-only articles, though; I think it's praiseworthy that the focus was on publishing the most interesting articles, not just the most interesting articles behind the pay-wall, but by including free downloads in this collection, its creators somewhat reduce the value of the book for subscribers.

About the Creators. Editor Chris Youngs describes his alignment as “Chaotic Harried.” He started at Dragon Magazine with issue #254. He worked as Editor-in-Chief from issue #312 to issue #315, and from issue #360 to issue #388.

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (2)
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Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
June 10th, 2013
This volume, the first and only Dragon Magazine Annual from the 4e era, contains a selection of 14 articles from the first year of Dragon Magazine’s PDF-only, 4e run. About half of the articles are really DM material, such as the articles on Yeenoghu [...]
Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
April 10th, 2013
Originally posted at: Whereas Dungeon Magazine focuses on pre-p [...]
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This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.