Kickstarter’s Zine Quest and Some Great Zines!

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 WranglersI 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:

“My friends.

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!”

Review – Shakespeare Tavern’s Romeo and Juliet

I don’t know if I was any different than anyone else in class the first time we were “forced” to read Romeo and Juliet. The language was strange. The story felt too familiar – like I’d seen it a hundred times if I’d seen it once. And the idea that they needed to come up with some elaborate plan of faking death in order for the two lovers (who’d known each other about an hour before Romeo proposed to Juliet). It was just… too much.

But I didn’t hate it. I’m not sure I can fully remember how I felt about it. Just one of those things that you have to do in school. You read it, take a test or two on the material, and move on to the next classic. Occasionally they will lead you to someone becoming a favourite author (thank you Jack London for “To Build a Fire”). Sometimes you realize how much of a non-fan you are (Mr. Dickens, I’m looking at you).

 

 

Weirdly, it was the 1996 version of the play starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes where I think I started to understand the story. Whether it was the modern setting, the delivery of the lines… maybe just hearing the words rather than reading them. Or maybe I was just in a different mindset 4 years after I’d initially read the tale. Maybe I had more knowledge about the idea for the reason I thought I’d seen the story over and over… it was because everyone was using it as a basis to tell a certain kind of story.

And with watching, the nuances of the actors’ performances lend themselves to seeing how even if I didn’t catch every word, I knew what the characters were trying to convey. Those little pieces that are completely missing from a read through.

I probably haven’t seen that version of Romeo and Juliet in over a decade, at least. But the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta puts on the play for the month of February. Courtney and I had been threatening to go and see a play there (lived here how many years and never went, what’s wrong with us). So we finally made it this past weekend.

Have you ever had one of your favourite songs come on and for some reason, it has a slightly different context than it ever had before? Maybe you hear a group of lyrics for the first time or just are in a different moment in your life… and suddenly the song is different for you. That was this performance this weekend. It was the same play and yet little moments caught me by surprise.

  • The dialogue of Juliet’s Nurse. Multiple times she stole the scene she was in just with the energy she had at the beginning of the play. Later when she has news about Romeo, Juliet calls her old, so she has fun at her expense. Previously I’d thought of the character as someone who toys with the two main characters, but in this, I truly felt the affection she had for Juliet to the point that she put aside her own grief for Tybalt’s death because Romeo was now Juliet’s husband.
  • Mercutio is my favourite character in the play. The movie version is ever in my mind with every line of his dialogue, but in this performance, the role was further defined as someone who loves life, someone who loves Romeo, and someone who would defend his friends until the end. “A plague on both your houses.” resonates with me. The futility of the war between the families.
  • I was struck by seeing the split of the Acts of the play. Romeo is the star of the first part with Juliet not appearing for a few scenes. It was enough where at the intermission my brain was thinking “wow, I thought Juliet was in more of this play.” Of course, the second half is Juliet’s time to shine. The split makes for an interesting compare/contrast that I hadn’t expected to see going into the play.
  • Lastly, Paris and his death in the crypt. I’m not entirely sure I even knew that scene happened prior to Saturday night. So when he appeared, in grief, it adds a bit of weird context to the story. Here was a man who appeared to be fond of this girl he sought to marry. So much so that he asks that Romeo lay him beside her… perhaps he’s not the villain or idiot I’d often taken him for?

Overall it was a great night with the words of the Bard ringing in our ears. I look forward to visiting another of his timeless tales there in the future.

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By the way, did you know that I was participating in a Kickstarter for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons focused on Love, Knights, and Enchanters? It is called Love’s Labour’s Liberated. The Kickstarter runs through the end of the month. If you are a fan of roleplaying games, give it a look!

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John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE – POWERED by the DREAMR (PbtA) and Love’s Labour’s Liberated (5e) at Kickstarter’s Zine Quest

Love’s Labour’s Liberated introduces the theme of February, love, into your 5e campaign. Part of Kickstarter’s RPG Zine Quest, this publication focuses on a romanticized view of Cavaliers, Enchanters, Magic Items, and more for the world’s most popular roleplaying game. Each component is designed to be a hook that draws the player into the game utilizing character motivations. This zine will enhance the roleplaying flavor of the classes while offering chances for characters to buy-in to the setting and its challenges.

Focusing on a new version of the fighter archetype, the Cavalier of Love, a 5e-realized Enchanter, and Magic Items with lovely story hooks, these rules expansions ramp up the quiet moments between combat. Each chapter will lead with a stanza of poetry by Leland Beauchamp. These pieces can standalone or be combined as an adventure hook. Through this zine, you’ll experience the creator’s love of roleplaying and 5e, and be able to share it with your table.

Developed by longtime friends, novelist, John McGuire of The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, and the graphic novel, The Gilded Age, poet and gamer, Leland Beauchamp, and RPG journalist, Egg Embry of EN World, Knights of the Dinner Table, Open Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild, this book is the culmination of years of their experiences with ROLE-playing over ROLL-playing. Available to backers as a $5 PDF or $12 print zine including the PDF, the campaign offers bonuses like the option to declare your love in the zine, create love-based magic items, or even handwritten poems. The romanticized virtues of chivalry, the mystical nature of enchantment, magic love potions, and the passion of poetry all await you in Love’s Labour’s Liberated:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/737521052/loves-labours-liberated-a-5e-rpg-zine

Love’s Labour’s Liberated for 5e by John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and Egg Embry. An RPG zine focusing on romance and love in fantasy is available during Kickstarter’s Zine Quest.

Read John McGuire’s thoughts on  here – http://tesseraguild.com/kickstart-the-game-loves-labours-liberated/

#LoveAtTheGamingTable #D&D #5e #ZineQuest #Kickstarter

 

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POWERED by the DREAMR is a full Powered by the Apocalypse tabletop roleplaying game in a zine, and it’s live on Kickstarter. In POWERED by the DREAMR, you are a Dreamr who possesses limitless powers within other’s dreams. Until you wake, you travel between the subconscious of sleepers, living out their dreams, searching out their secrets, or battling nightmares. Set in a dream state you and your friends collaborate on, this game maximizes the narrative rules to give each dream a surreal quality. As you navigate an ever-evolving universe of dream logic, your Moves will lead to success, reveal hidden truths, result in laughter, or unleash your character’s nightmares.

Using a variant of the Powered by the Apocalypse phenomenon (originally seen in Apocalypse World as well as Monsterhearts 2, Dungeon World, and more), this game keeps dreams vibrant and varied via random questions that alter the fantasy or reveal a characters personal demons. You decide the dream objectives you must complete before the sleeper wakes. Will you combat a supernatural killer? Steal secrets? Defend the sleeper from dream thieves? Inspire a life altering dream epiphany? Live out your fantasy life? Or something wholly original?

As part of Kickstarter’s February initiative, Zine Quest, this project is the solo debut tabletop roleplaying game by RPG journalist, Egg Embry (Knights of the Dinner Table, EN World, Open Gaming Network, Tessera Guild). Available to backers as a PDF for just $5 or $12 for the print zine and PDF. Making an RPG via Kickstarter is his dream manifest and you can share in that fantasy by checking out the POWERED by the DREAMR Kickstarter at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eggembry/powered-by-the-dreamr-a-pbta-rpg-zinequest

POWERED by the DREAMR by Egg Embry uses a variant of the Powered by the Apocalypse system. A full RPG in a zine that lets you live out other’s dreams or combat nightmares, it’s available through Kickstarter’s Zine Quest.

#WhatsYourDream #PoweredByTheDreamr #PbtA #ZineQuest #Kickstarter

 

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Kickstarter’s Zine Quest is live in February. This initiative recalls the nostalgia of the early days of RPGs and their zine culture. Focusing on tabletop roleplaying zines, single-color publications printed 5.5” x 8.5” (folded sheets of 8.5” x 11”). These DIY projects focus on everything RPG-related from adventures, maps, monsters to articles, RPG comics, and interviews. So far, the response has been overwhelming with over twenty projects launched and many more to come. They touch on gaming engines like 5e, Powered by the Apocalypse, The Fantasy Trip, original systems, and more. Zine Quest projects are coming from first time creators to established publishers like Steve Jackson Games, and Adventure-A-Week Games. These high-energy, passion projects await you on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/zine-quest?ref=section-homepage-promo-zine-quest