In the early 1980s when we were playing AD&D (first edition) beyond the core books there was no better guide than Dragon magazine. Published by TSR, it featured columns by Gary Gygax, Ed Greenwood and other luminaries of Dungeons & Dragons. I encountered my first issue, which was already #58 in early 1982 at a local hobby store. I hunted them down for a few months as I could until I got a subscription for my birthday and then the excitement that arrived monthly began.
Dragon magazine touched on all parts of the hobby, from DM advice to new proposed classes, monster backstories, advice for painting miniatures and lots more. There were even comic strips in the back, which was a favorite of mine as an aspiring cartoonist. Sometimes there were even mini-modules, which we would run over and over. Some of these have become legendary, such as the classic “The Assassin’s Run”.
The magazine was so popular that they began publishing “Best of Dragon” as a higher end softbound publications that would feature the new classes in particular. Note that these classes we printed weren’t “official” for player characters, they would be labelled “NPC classes”, but inevitably players would bug their DMs to use them for PCs in the game. Some of these classes eventually made it into the hardcover Unearthed Arcana book.
Dragon magazine went through various highs and lows until it ceased publishing print versions in 2007. Some of the articles are available online (although many if not most of these are pirated, as the content is IP now owned by Wizards of the Coast, division of Hasbro).