Rather than focus on one topic, this month's editorial will be something of a goulash.
First: this month's cover.
I suppose it's possible that someone could look at the cover on this issue and think, "oh, that's nice," and move on without a blink. Possible, but hard to imagine. That's because this month's cover painting is by a giant in the RPG industry: none other than Larry Elmore himself.
I'd like to be able to say that Larry's return to Dungeon magazine was my doing, but I can't. For that, we can thank our hard-working, long-suffering art director, Mr. Jon Schindehette. Jon puts up with mountains of grief from me, and then he turns around and delivers a Larry Elmore cover to help celebrate the release of the new Dungeons & Dragons Red Box edition.
My association with Larry goes back to the very early 1980s, when he was hired by TSR. Larry became an instant star thanks to his tremendous talent. For almost two decades, Elmore art was synonymous with D&D and AD&D.
Of the hundreds of covers that Larry painted, the one that probably was seen by more eyes than any other—possibly by more eyes than any other D&D painting, period—was the cover of the 1984 "red box" edition of Basic D&D, the box that introduced countless tens of thousands of newcomers to the world of roleplaying games. That same, great piece of fantasy art is back again as the cover of the new Red Box, and we got a companion piece to go with this month's feature adventure, "Dungeon of the Ghost Tower" by Rob Schwalb. As always, it's stunning. Thanks, Larry. It's an honor to work with you again.
Second: Unearthed Arcana.
If you haven't read the latest Dragon editorial, you'll want to bop over there when you're done here. I won't repeat myself, other than to say lots of people here are very excited about the possibilities opened up by a simple thing like Unearthed Arcana. The bulk of what you read in Dragon and Dungeon will still be official, sanctioned material, but every now and then, we're going to stretch the envelope a bit—or a lot.
Many discussions have taken place here over the last year about what makes a roleplaying experience excellent as opposed to merely good. Those conversations are still going on, and will continue for—oh, a long time, I hope, because I enjoy them—but some exciting conclusions and initiatives have grown out of them. You'll see evidence of that in the Essentials line when it goes on sale. You'll see more of it here in Dungeon, as we begin experimenting with new (and maybe a few old) formats for adventures. That's really a topic for the future, though. I think I'll tuck that in my hip pocket for October's or November's editorial.
Until then, be sure to send us feedback and let us know how we're doing at firstname.lastname@example.org.