From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Some people don't like to read a trilogy of novels until all of them have been printed. If you're that kind of a person, then you now have all you need to embark on the search for The Twofold Talisman. The second and final installment of this AD&D game tournament adventure, entitled "The Ebon Stone," is this issue's special inclusion.
This month's cover painting comes to you through the imagination and coordination of Susan Collins. She calls it "The Innocent Power," and it's a remarkable change from her last cover painting, which appeared exactly a year ago.
At the start of our feature section is "The cleric collection." We decided it was time to spend some space on those poor people who have to lug around holy symbols and always have someone (or some thing) looking over their shoulders. Roger Moore and yours truly put together two of the pieces, and Fraser Sherman contributed a thought-provoking treatise that we call "Clerics must be deity-bound."
It's possible for more than one writer to successfully execute the same idea. As proof of that phenomenon, we offer "Three cheers for Beowulf." The legendary hero is described in essentially the same terms by three different authors, all of whom worked independently of each other and turned in their manuscripts within a short time span.
And as further proof, turn to the review section to see how our two newest contributing editors evaluated the new game Warhammer. In the context of the topic of his column (combat in fantasy games), Ken Rolston gave it a pretty favorable analysis. Katherine Kerr, viewing it as a new entry in the role-playing game market, had some less laudatory things to say.
Ed Greenwood, the veteran among our contributing editors, adds to his output of ecology articles with this issue's examination of the ixitxachitl - a critter that makes the piranha look like a nice guy. Mike Gray, our expert on the play-by-mail scene, suggests that all too often, the "P" in PBM stands for "problems" - and then proceeds to tell what's being done to change that fact.
The two pieces of fiction in this issue - "Valkyrie Settlement" and "A Stone's Throw Away" - are about as different form each other as different can be, but they both portray characters who find themselves victimized by circumstances - and, like good characters tend to do, they end up making the best of things.
The leadoff article in this month's ARES section marks the first appearance in this magazine of a feature on the STAR TREK role-playing game, a logical deduction by designer Dale Kemper of what the moon would be like in that gaming environment. We're sure that even Mr. Spock would find it ...fascinating. - KM