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Dragon is the official Dungeons and Dragons magazine. Published from from 1976 to 2002 by TSR / Wizards of the Coast, the magazine was outsourced to Paizo Publishing (a company founded by WotC alums, now known for publishing Pathfinder) through September 2007 (issue 359). At this point Wizards took the license back from Paizo, and restarted it as an online-only version, in which format it continues to be published. In all incarnations, Dragon has been "100% official content", and much material that was first published in it has found its way into D&D gaming supplements; in this way, it has served as a proving ground for aspiring game designers. Three other publications were merged with it at various times--Little Wars (TSR's wargaming publication), Ares (for science fiction games that TSR acquired from SPI), and Living Greyhawk Journal (for WotC's organized play events).
From 1986 to its end Dragon was accompanied by Dungeon magazine, which provided premade adventures (mostly for Dungeons & Dragons). Like its sister publication, Dungeon is now online-only.
The magazine spun off several comic strips, including Knights of the Dinner Table, What's New with Phil and Dixie, Dork Tower, and Nodwick. Additionally, Order of the Stick ran a series of bonus strips in it.
A CD collection of issues 1-250 and its predecessor The Strategic Review was released in 1999. It is very much out of print.
Not to be confused with a Japanese magazine called Dragon, which covers Japanese RPGs and includes manga, and was the original source of the manga for Slayers, Full Metal Panic, Chrono Crusade, Record of Lodoss War, and other series.
This magazine provides examples of:
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: A regular feature by this name spotlighted new, unusual, and often humorously twisted magical items.
- Caption Contest: In the later years, illustrated by Tony Moseley.
- Crossover: "The Wizards Three", a series of humorous short stories by Ed Greenwood in which Mordenkainen of Greyhawk, Elminster of the Forgotten Realms, and Dalamar of Dragonlance met for friendly dinner parties in Ed's dining room.
- The conceit was that Elminster helped Ed conceal himself in a suit of armor to watch them talk, in exchange for a neutral meeting space. As far as I know, Mordenkainen and Dalamar never knew Ed was present.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: Some of the most perennially popular articles were "The Nine Hells" (parts I and II) and "The Nine Hells Revisited", penned by Ed Greenwood in the early '80s and which delved into the hierarchy of D&D's version of Hell for the first time, introducing a number of recurring villains.
- Towards the end of the magazine's print run, the "Demonomicon of Iggwilv" series of articles, each of which spotlighted an individual demon lord in great detail.
- Mockumentary: The "Ecology of..." articles presented in-depth looks at various D&D monsters. For most of the TSR era, they were presented as short stories with footnotes, while Paizo made them actual articles.
- Running Gag: The oft-promised but never-quite-delivered "Sex and D&D" edition of comic strip What's New with Phil and Dixie. It was finally delivered in the 1994 strip collection... but was, in fact, all about monster mating habits.
- Troper Works: Troper Looney Toons has two articles in Dragon (in issues 78 and 100). Forgive him their quality, he was young.
- Troper I Enjoy Paste has one, in 346. He's still quite proud of it.
- Un Cancelled: Being published by Paizo saved it from even earlier cancellation.