In November 2018, Kickstarter announced their upcoming [at the time] February initiative, Zine Quest. Since then, life has been about maintaining my schedule while preparing and running two RPG zines for the initiative, POWERED by the DREAMR and Love’s Labour’s Liberated for 5e (with John McGuire and Leland Beauchamp). While PbtD has funded, LLL continues until this Saturday. As a wrap up to my first two Kickstarters, I decided to reach out to some of my fellow Zine Questers to ask what RPG zines on Kickstarter that they’re interested in reading/playing? What follows are their responses.
NOTE One: I asked each contributor separately, so they didn’t know that they’d be together in the article. Thus, when they praise each other’s games, it’s genuine.
NOTE Two: I specifically asked each commenter to avoid “anything lame like false praise of my KS project. While I’d take a shout out, I want your honest recommendation(s).” I say this because some of these knuckleheads recommended my project and, while I’m flattered, I don’t want it to seem like it’s nepotism (it’s more like inept-ism… or maybe they genuinely like them).
D.I.R.G.Ezine by Sean Hillman, Amanda Makepeace, Andrea Fornero, Rachel Quinlan, Nadia Heller, Dawn Gilreath, Paige Leitman, Erica Frank, and Christos Floratos
Ends: Sun, March 3 2019 10:04 AM EST.
“An RPG-zine based on encouraging diverse ideas and diverse creators. The focus will be on world building, design, and art.”
Sean Hillman recommends:
“Okay, Love’s Labour’s Liberated, for reals. I think the approach is exactly the kind of mechanics that support rich RP campaigns.
synthesis. Just the premise seems incredible and a zine full of mini-rpgs is perfect for my own indie tastes.
And finally, Girl Underground. I mean, what?! The premise of this zine seems fantastic, something my little girl could play. I am also curious about how it will meet expectations after doing so darn well.” [NOTE: Girl Underground has over 1,100 backers and over $12,000 as of this writing with 4 days to go.]
Harrowings From The Rime! by Drew Cochran
Ends: Sun, March 3 2019 2:19 PM EST.
“An RPG Zine to steal your soul!”
Drew Cochran recommends:
“Hey! I am the creator of The Epic of Dreams RPG, and the ringleader for the Harrowings From the Rime OSR Zine. There are so many legit projects happening in this movement, it’s a lot to take in. Three zines I’m really hyped about are What Happened at Wyvern Rock?, POWERED by the DREAMR, and Other Magic.
What Happened at Wyvern Rock has a great premise. The aliens and 50’s era superstitions mixed with the medieval setting has so many possibilities. The best part about this zine to me, so far, is simply the execution and art style. The specific way they’re tackling this fusion wets my hunger like nothing else. And it’s going to be 64 PAGES! They’re mad, and I love it. Can’t wait.
POWERED By The DREAMR is being made by my friend, Egg! I have been able to participate in a handful of PbtA games, and I love the overall design. DREAMR is great because it fuels poetic collaboration in roleplaying, which is one of the major themes in my own game, The Epic of Dreams. Anything that is able to elicit those inspired moments in roleplay automatically gets my support. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the class abilities turn out! Dream sorcery for DAYS!
Other Magic hits me in those same places. I have come to abhor the understanding of what magic is inside of mainstream gaming- buttons of power, on demand and without cost. Much of The Epic of Dreams tackles bringing the spirit of mysticism back into tabletop gaming, and Other Magic’s approach makes me truly excited! I can’t wait to see what traditions and sources they use for their rituals, and how they translate those into the OSR!”
RPG Zine Challenge: The Compleat Beastman by Jacob DC Ross / Thunderegg Productions
Ends: Wed, March 6 2019 3:26 PM EST.
“A OSR-themed RPG zine with stats for centaurs, minotaurs and all of the beastmen you’ll ever want. Includes minis for play!”
Jacob DC Ross recommends:
“I actually really am looking forward to your zines, especially POWERED by the DREAMR. I adore hacks of Powered by the Apocalypse.
For POWERED by the DREAMR, it looks like the perfect system to portray a delve into the most mysterious parts of the psyche. I really can’t wait to see what stories I can tell with it.
The other zine I really want to play is Girl Underground: I have a unique fondness for Alice in Wonderland. Girl Underground looks to be the ideal intersection of Lewis Carroll and roleplaying.”
Cade’s Big Book o’ Booze by Justin Ryan Isaac
Ends: Fri, March 8 2019 3:28 PM EST.
“An alcohol related zine for use with 5th edition fantasy”
Justin Ryan Isaac recommends:
“This was a rough one considering I’ve backed or am backing 18 Zine Quest participants… That being said, these are the two I’m most excited to run/read/play.
Dino Wranglers. I love that Dino Wranglers is an easily accessible and inclusive in design, but still looks really rad and epic. I want a game I can teach to the kids at my library.
Draugr & Draculas. Josh is putting the bite back in vampires and giving stats to both Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory. To top it off the book is going to discuss making deals with the Devil and includes undead vikings!”
synthesis. by Riley Rethal
Ends: Wed, March 13 2019 2:34 PM EST.
“a #zinequest full of mini-rpgs about metatextuality, perspective, and creating new meanings.”
Riley Rethal recommends:
“I’m very excited for my friend Erika Shepherd’s zine, Exodus, a game about trans angels on a road trip that uses the Belonging Outside Belonging system. The campaign will have just ended by the time this article goes up, but you can still get the pdf at fadingroots.itch.io/exodus!
As for campaigns that are still going, I just backed Dino Wranglers, another token economy game written specifically with kids and neurodiversity in mind, which is perfect for me because I work as the ttrpg specialist at a summer camp where a lot of the campers are neurodivergent.”
- Exodus ended by the time this article went live.
- Dino Wranglers ends Thu, March 28 2019 11:08 AM EST.
The Isle of The Amazons – RPG Zine for #ZineQuest by Eric Bloat / Bloat Games
Ends: Thu, March 21 2019 8:00 PM EST.
“2 issue Setting for Untold Adventure and other White Box based OSR RPGs.”
Eric Bloat recommends:
“Casket Land: This occult/weird west zine is a full game packed into the pages of a zine. The game is engine is Powered by the Apocalypse, which I’m not a huge fan of, but the writing, layout and killer high-contrast black and white art were enough to get me to back it. Just check out the example pages on the it’s campaign page and you’ll see that this zine is just dripping with flavor and style.
Cade’s Big Book o’ Booze is an alcohol related zine for use with any 5th edition fantasy, which I’ll convert it’s content to OSR for games, but I’m really looking forward to this one. There’s going to be rules for the condition: intoxicated, new weapons and equipment, magic spells and magic items, maybe just maybe I’ll get to make that Jackie Chan Drunken Master Monk I’ve always wanted to play!
A Pound of Flesh is a zine module for the Sci-Fi Horror OSR RPG Mothership, which itself was also a zine. Mothership was a modern marvel of modern layout and game design and so I was really excited to see what all A Pound of Flesh would bring to the table. Plus, it’s being written by Chance Phillips, a rising star in the ranks of the OSR, who’s done some really great stuff for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
Love’s Labour’s Liberated – Cavaliers, Enchanters and Magic Items for 5e fills a void that is quite overlooked in roleplaying games, romance. A significant portion of fantasy fiction is dedicated to this genre but it’s definitely overlooked in the gaming materials.
Dead Halt is the perfect project for the Kickstarter Zine Quest initiative. You take a young, talented and energetic creative, a unique, wacky way-out-there concept, and mix with a retro-sci-fi setting/scenario and have the perfect kind of material to create an rpg related zine. I was onboard from very early in the campaign and I’m telling you the stuff this group is coming just continues to impress me more and more. Plus, I just love the word: ClunkPunk. ‘Nough Said.”
Love’s Labour’s Liberated for 5e by John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and Egg Embry
Ends: Sun, March 3 2019 1:33 AM EST
“Cavaliers, Enchanters, Magic Items, the ideals of Chivalry, the power of Enchantment, and the magic of love deserve a place in your 5th Edition fantasy campaign.”
POWERED by the DREAMR, a PbtA RPG #ZineQuest by Egg Embry
NOTE: POWERED by the DREAMR (a Powered by the Apocalypse zine) by Egg Embry is available through the Love’s Labour’s Liberated for 5e Kickstarter campaign.
“Dreamrs, we are such stuff as dreams are *Powered* on, and our little life is rounded *by the Apocalypse*. Complete PbtA RPG in a zine.”
Egg Embry recommends:
Eric Bloat is expanding his OSR horizons again. This time, you get to play Amazons. The art is perfect, the concept is the right amount of bringing classical stories forward, it’s OSR, something Eric (literally) wrote several books on, and it’s waiting for you – The Isle of The Amazons – RPG Zine for #ZineQuest.
Drew Cochran’s Harrowings From The Rime! is an arctic setting that will make every OSR a colder place to play in. I’m eager to play in the frozen lands where the enemies and elements compete to see which is deadlier!
Sean Hillman is bringing new voices into gaming through D.I.R.G.Ezine. This one is exciting because I game with Sean (he lives in metro Atlanta) and it includes work from Dawn Gilreath, another gamer in our group, and the Tessera Guild’s own award winning artist, Amanda Makepeace. It’s going to shine!
Justin Ryan Isaac is one of the newest, smartest creators starting in OSR. He’s doing a 5e zine about booze and, as his first project, it’s more than finding its audience! Cade’s Big Book o’ Booze is humorous and useful (cause Drink & Dragons is real) so this zine will be what he’s known for until his “big” work arrives.
Riley Rethal and I have talked a bit since I found synthesis. We discussed her ambitions to do a long-form RPG using a favorite property, and the cliff note ideas she shares are the perfect tone for the project. The excitement around that work, the zine, and RPG in general, is infectious and I know it will make synthesis a win! For the zine, the concept, multiple succinct RPGs, speaks to me as it gives you a variety of options to play and, I feel, it will open up new avenues of design through sheer originality.
Jacob DC Ross is adding beastmen and miniatures to your OSR game, and, if you’re a publisher, stock art to your library. I love books/zines of monsters, so that’s a win. Adding the minis makes it even better. But, as an individual with two zines coming out, RPG Zine Challenge: The Compleat Beastman is an excellent return on my investment as a publisher. Looking at the sample art, I’m excited about this!
From OSR to 5e to eclectic to diverse, these are some of the zines I’m eager to dive into!”