Zinequest Guest Post 4

Hi friends! I put up an open offer to mutuals on twitter to talk about whats exciting them this Zinequest. The first one is here, the second here, and the third here. Today I have the pleasure of sharing some great picks from Clayton. Enjoy!

My Late ZineQuest Three 

By Clayton Notestine

Are we surprised? My most-anticipated zinequests are about designers.

No? Good. Let’s get out our rulers, our color-meters, and clinking thieves tools. We’re not looking for gilded manuscripts or pristine idols this year. We’re looking for $5 omens and mud-covered goblins clutching a gem or two. 

Zinequest is where new designers are born and old designers get weird.

It’s like a scholastic book fair for RPGs. So how do we choose? I narrowed down the list with two questions: who’s working on the project and how new are the ideas?

Here are three Kickstarters I want you to check out:

Lay on Hands: A Solo Dexterity-based RPG by Alfred Valley

Wander the wasteland like some AD&D-style cleric meets Mad Max meets Fallout meets The Dark Tower meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. 

Lay On Hands wants to be the first of its kind. A journaling dexterity-based OSR game with coin-spinning and drawing mini-games. Sounds like the makings of a new game engine to me. And because it’s solo, the only thing that’ll stop me from playing it is me. The bastard.

Design: Very tactile. Valley plans to produce the zine’s visuals with a process called relief printing. A method where ink is applied to pages by pressing down on it with an ink block. This means the zine will be very unique. Pockmarked with tiny flecks, over-bleeds, and imperfections that will carry over into the Mixam copies.

In the Light of a Faded World by Derek Kinsman

What will the world look like when we’re not in it? How will it sound? And what will happen in the echoes of humanity as nature returns?

Derek Kinsman is the graphic designer behind Best Left Buried’s adventure Spy in the House of Eth and Tuesday Knight Game’s Dissident Whispers. With his design prowess, Amanda Lee Franck’s illustrations, and Zedeck Siew’s writing we’re about to see the world in a light not so faded as the title suggests.

Design: Black and white with healthy margins. In the Light of a Faded World is guaranteed to be a haunting but quiet accomplishment for collections.

What We Give to Alien Gods by Lone Archivist 

Explore ancient ruins, decipher alien languages, and question existence in this sci-fi module for Mothership.

Mothership is on the verge of its next evolution. And when it evolves, it won’t be a half-letter zine with staples anymore. Mothership will still push boundaries—I doubt the team could do anything less—but we’re close to closing the loop on this incredible era for RPG zines.

What We Give to Alien Gods is going to be the last of Mothership’s products before it goes hardback. And who better to squeeze that stone for innovation than its best 3rd party designer, Lone Archivist? I’m excited to see the new tools and mods they print (and how they might influence more zines to come).

Design: Mothership’s maximalist layout, artwork, flowlines, and hud-displays aren’t going away. Instead, we can expect to see even richer art, more intricate spreads, and a whole slew of new ideas. What We Give to Alien Gods is going to be another installment in ZineQuest’s greatest question, “just how much can three staples be responsible for, anyway?”

ZineQuest Lightning Round

An Altogether Different River by Aaron Lim, Scurry! by Dungeons on a Dime, Not a Place of Honor by David Lombardo (with illustrations by Emanoel Milo of CBR+PNK!), The Million Islands of Doom by Red (with writing by Batts), The Door Locks Behind You by Christian Della Donna, Repugnant! by Terrible Games (literally maybe the grossest RPG of all time), Vis-a-Visage by Max Lander, and Crescent Moon by Ema Acosta. 

Zinequest Guest Post 3

Hi friends! I put up an open offer to mutuals on twitter to talk about whats exciting them this Zinequest. The first one is here. The second is here. Derek (he’s great and you should follow him too) was kind enough to join in. Enjoy!

I Hate Listicles But I’ll Make One For Zine Quest: A Top Ten List of Zines Still Funding

By Derek Kinsman

Some notes: I’ve currently backed 25 projects (6 have funded successfully YAY), I’ll probably add a few more to the list as there’s still nearly half a month to see what else is coming up. A quarter of the 25 were of the “wildly successful funding” variety. A quarter of the same 25 are from creators who I am friends with, whose work I am aware of and admire, and who I am also collaborating with—this set exists within the “met their funding goal, and a few are also wildly successful”. The remainder of zines, and anymore that I back after this have been created by people who I am not familiar with, and whose wonderful creations I have not experienced.

This list is going to focus on some cool projects that need more attention. I’ve also not included anything that will finish within 44 hours of me writing this (as I’m not sure when it will be posted).

Creature Feature – I backed this game pretty quickly. I grew up watching Hammer Horror, and the Universal Classic Monsters films as a kid. Double features at the drive-ins, and old-timey monster movie marathon Saturdays were a big part of my childhood. This is a collection of three small games that celebrate horror, monsters, and their creation.

Endless Banquets – I am a big fan of Troika! It is fun, and the default “setting” of Troika is weird and whimsical, and people who make content for it often keep to the idea of weird and whimsical. Which means we get lots of weird and whimsical gaming content to play with. And Endless Banquets does not disappoint. I’m not sure I know how to describe this further, but it’s exciting. And Eric K. Hill organized the Dissident Whispers project, so he will always and forever get my support.

Scurry – Another game I’ve backed. This is a game about tiny creatures adventuring through the underbrush of Scotland. This is from the wonderful creator Dungeons on a Dime, and I’m pretty sure this game could be used as a prequel to my ZQ3 zine. The art looks great, and the pitch looks to be offering all the things I’m currently thinking about when designing and running games. Quick, fun, different.

The Vitacernis – Another game about playing as tiny creatures. Albeit anthropomorphic ones this time. Mausritter is a wonderfully fun game for fans of Mouse Guard, Redwall, Mice & Mystics, Secrets of NIMH, or The Rescuers. Games Omnivorous made an excellent boxset version. This is a small zine with a huge set of locations, an equally large bestiary, and a super fun sounding adventure.

The High Summer – a fantasy western where the combat rules have been streamlined to maximize the fun hollywood-esque high action of western combats. If you’re a fan of spaghetti westerns, or even the Kurosawa films that inspired many of your favourite western films this one is worth looking at.

Coiled.Spæce – another quick back for me. The mockups look glorious. Conceptually it reminded me of the rpg Paranoia, and the video games Portal, and FTL. All of those things just tick the right boxes for me.

Cryptid (Mis)Communication – this is a game you play outdoors. It is a game played outdoors where you cannot see the other participants. Because you play as a cryptid, and you can’t be too visible as that would give the mystery away. So you yell the game across parking lots, fields, and through the woods. This is the kind of silliness I’m here for.

A Catalogue Chimerical – this zine hasn’t launched yet. It is a book of strange magical items. The setting is Michael T Lombardi’s Pentola setting that was used for his zine quest project last year. Although, these are system agnostic, and will fit into any setting easily.

Aether Operations – another upcoming zine. This one is a zine that folds out into a big poster (possibly like a Pocketmod style zine, or possibly just a big fold out poster). I don’t know a ton about it, but it’s a collab between Floating Chair and World Champ Game Co. and they are both very fine and wonderfully creative people.

Vampire Cruise – an adventure vacation featuring mummies, vampires, and mutinies from the creator of You Got a Job on the Garbage Barge, Amanda Lee Franck. Disclosure: while I’m not involved in her project, she is doing all the illustrations for mine.

Zinequest Guest Post 2!

Hi friends! I put up an open offer to mutuals on twitter to talk about whats exciting them this Zinequest. The first one is here.  Joe (who you should also definitely follow) was kind enough to respond as well. Enjoy!

ZQ3 Is Destroying My Life and It Hurts So Good

By Joe DeSimone

Preamble:

I’m currently backing 45 zines as of sitting down to write this piece (the morning of 2/14). I’m going to be receiving a bunch more than that. I will also be talking about some that I’m not backing. Why would a zine that I’m not backing wind up on my list of most exciting zines of the year? Firstly, fuck you. Next question. Secondly, because at this point I have a group of friends who make a big Goddamn spreadsheet each ZQ and we split up the projects so we can cover the widest possible spread. So, there are some things I’ll be getting that I’m not backing. Some of those are deeply awesome. There. You can have an answer, as a treat.

The Things (well, 10 of them) In No Particular Order:

1) NERVES by John “Batts” Battle

I’ve been stanning Batts since he had two weird adventures to his name and his shit has only gotten better since. When I saw he was going to be adding to the growing collection of books about games rather than making yet another awesome game, well, that got me immediately excited. If you know me at all, you know that is My Shit. I trust Batts implicitly to select good people who will in turn write good pieces about games. That earns a spot.

2) The Vast in the Dark – Exploring Ruins in an Infinite World by Charles Ferguson-Avery

“The Vast in the Dark is an exploration setting for the world’s most popular role-playing game and takes place in a crumbling alien wasteland filled with brutalist mega-structure ruins.” Okay one: yes. Two: brutalist mega-structures are amazing and something I try to put into every campaign I run. Three: Charlie is one of the best, least-recognized artists currently working in the space as far as I’m concerned. It’s $10 for a physical copy. That’s less than I pay for a pack of cigarettes. Only issue I have is “role-playing” is a far inferior way to write it than “roleplaying.” Otherwise, this is awesome. It ends tomorrow so back it today.

3) The Very Good Dogs of Chernobyl RPG Zine by 9th Level

Couple years ago, I stumbled upon four zines detailing one game called Mazes. It had one of the coolest dice mechanics for an FRPG I’d seen in a hot minute. It wasn’t made by one of the cool kids on the block so I basically never see it discussed, but it should be. Anyway, the people who made that are back with this game about dogs and Chernobyl and like… I don’t even know what to say. I find it inconceivable that this could be anything less than amazing. It’s called The Very

Good Dogs of Chernobyl. Come the fuck on. Anyway, it isn’t live yet so sign up to get notified when it launches.

4) Darkest Demons, Devils, and Dungeons [a ZineQuest thing!] by Doug Tabb

Okay so you might not know who Jack Chick was (spoiler: he fucking sucked), but Chick Tracks are a fascinating historical curiosity. They’re little pamphlets usually handed out for free on the street by batshit insane missionaries about how popular culture is going to send you to Hell. Real fundamentalist Christian trash. So, the idea of using that format and inverting it to make an RPG supplement (which Chick thought were evil: “It told the story of two girls who got into D&D. One of their characters died in game, and the other girl was made to treat her friend as if she were actually dead, to obtain the “real power” of D&D”) about demons and devils and shit… well it’s awesome. I have no idea who Doug Tabb is or if he has the chops to pull this off, but I am absolutely willing to put money down to find out. Also, the art is all vintage etchings of what demons were believed to look like in 1863 by French artists Louis Le Breton and M. Jarrault.

5) Hope is Not a Plan (ZineQuest 3) by Steve Wright

The Wretched & Alone SRD, based on The Wretched by Chris Bissette, has been behind some of the more interesting solo journaling games I’ve seen recently. That said, I’m not really into solo journaling games. I’m not trying to introspect right now more than in strictly necessary to keep myself sane. Mindfulness is well and good until it reliably instills mortality salience and then you’re just trying not to die. So, not fun. But here’s a game that doesn’t sound fun at all, so it gels perfectly! I don’t mean that snidely or as an insult. I’m super down for a game where the theming matches up with the play experience, even if it isn’t a strictly speaking enjoyable time for me. Anyway, Hope is Not a Plan is a game about attempting to develop and deliver something really big on time and under budget. It’s something I’ve dealt with many times before, an unrelenting nightmare of the working world, and I’m honestly extremely here for a game that takes a mundane, stressful experience and distances it from the real-world consequences of failure. It’s basically a therapeutic exercise in a zine. So yeah, backed.

6) Dying Hard on Hardlight Station: a Mothership Adventure by David Kenny

The subtitle starts “Die Hard meets Alien” so yeah. I don’t know. Yes?

7) External Containment Bureau, a Zine Quest RPG! by Eli Kurtz

“If you enjoy media like Control, Fringe, The Magnus Archives, Men in Black, SCP Foundation, or X-Files… you’ll love External Containment Bureau!” Well considering you just named my one of my favorite videogames of the past several years, a show I’ve watched a bunch, my favorite narrative horror podcast, one of my all-time favorite movies, my favorite website to read late at night, and the show that deeply scarred me as a kid… Fuck yeah, I’m in. Couple that with a team of people I respect immensely, three of whom have produced games in my Top 25 All-Time Bangers, and I’m utterly sold. This book could come out looking like absolute garbage and I wouldn’t care. I know what’s inside of it will be amazing. That said, I really don’t think it’ll look anything but gorgeous since they’ve got Julianne Griepp attached for both the cover and a bunch of interior art at this point. So yeah. Easy buy for me.

8) 3DIE6: A Dungeon Creepy-Crawler Roleplaying Game by Kris McClanahan

Sometimes I back things because they just look cool. I’ll open a KS page and my brain just goes full Marge Simpson saying, “I just think they’re neat.” That’s the reaction I had to 3DIE6, which I can only describe as “What if the movie Antz but it didn’t have Woody Allen involved and also the art was simultaneously cute and cool.” I don’t know. That doesn’t seem like a great description. But it got me excited enough to keep scanning through the page. The art is great. The colors are rad. The layout is clean but not ascetic. It has the feeling of that cool shit you see somebody post on a blog that gets tweeted out and RT’d a bunch and then nobody does anything with it, except it’s a whole-ass product and I might even play it. Plus, it’s got bugs.

9) Warmer in the Winter: ZineQuest Holiday RPG by Will Lentz

Okay so here’s something you might not know about me: I love Christmas. I fucking love Christmas. I don’t know why. I love everything about it. The cold, the songs, the bad movies, the BAD movies, the occasional good movie, the TV specials, the food… just everything. It’s my favorite holiday. Basically, any game explicitly Christmas- or winter holiday-related is something I’m gonna buy. I don’t know if that’s actually an endorsement of this game or just me admitting somebody found my very specific button and smashed that shit hard. I’m thinking it might be both in this case, though.

10) BEstitchARY for MÖRK BORG by Michał Gotkowski

So back in the day there was this program called Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. In at least one version of that program, there was a minigame where you mashed together cross-sections of animals to make these horrifying chimeric monstrosities. I mean, in actuality they weren’t that scary and it was mostly about you making sure you got all the pieces of the animal correct. But I was young. I’ve held onto that memory for a long time for absolutely no good reason. Or so I thought. Now there’s a zine that’s basically that concept and I am extremely into it. It’s got weird art and garish colors and you’re supposed to cut it apart (which I hate) but it’s only PDF so you can print it out a bunch (which I love). So yeah. I like this one a lot.

Postscript:

I have weird taste and I buy a lot of stuff I’ll never use. These days when I get a new game in the mail, I literally take it out of the package and immediately put it into a drawer. It doesn’t even go on a shelf. Sometimes I don’t fully unwrap it. So, don’t take my word for any of these. Take an afternoon and just dig through all the ZQ3 projects you can. Hell, I don’t even use the tag to search them. I just search with the categories “Live” and “Tabletop Games” and then sort by newest and scroll and scroll and scroll. You’ll find shit I didn’t talk about. You’ll find shit nobody is talking about. And sometimes that’s the stuff that really calls out to you. Good luck.

Guest Post!

Hi friends! I put up an open offer to mutuals on twitter to talk about whats exciting them this Zinequest. Amanda (who you should definitely follow) was kind enough to respond. Enjoy!

Some Zines I am Excited About, Briefly, And In No Order

By Amanda Lee Franck

Isometric Blanks by Geoff (Fish in the Pot) (Only 2 days to go!)

These little outline landscapes have just enough information to get you past the scary blank page part of idea having. The miniature format reminds me of drawing in the margins of notes in class, tiny maps and room plans and no pressure at all. I love that it’s really lo-fi and colorful. I want to get one and draw a dungeon in it and then send it to someone else to draw a dungeon in it.

Lowlife by Sam Sorenson (Only 2 days to go!)

I really like thinking about caves and putting caves in games. I like that this zine is explicitly a toolset rather than an adventure or a whole game. That is such a good fit for zinequest, a little book to have on hand for when your players go down a hole.

City of Flesh by Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan

The setting is a city in the womb of a titan (and not, like, metaphorically). I love that this game makes explicit the things that body horror usually just alludes to: what if you had a child and it ate you? Is caring for something self-destruction? What if you lived every day with the comfort & claustrophobia of not being born yet?  It has a story game tarot card based system, it’s unapologetically gory, it’s very exciting.

Nerves by John Battle (Only 2 days to go!)

Nerves is gonna be a real magazine about theory and games and it will be so nice to read big ideas in a place where they can spread out and be complicated (and not on twitter). Also it looks like an academic journal but there’s still ghosts and comics inside.

Bloodheist by Leo Hunt

This is some serious business dystopian vampire stuff, which sounds really grim, but like watch the video and imagine you are crawling through sodden catacombs to steal stuff from Dracula. That’s the spirit of stupid hopeless rebellion against the oligarchy that I want from a game.

Patchwork World 6th Edition RPG by Aaron King (only 2 days to go!)

Aaron King writes evocative & exhaustive lists & moves and they all work so well with this snowed-in midwestern magical vibe, like a shadow box full of wooden birds & glitter.  

BEstitchARY for Mork Borg by Michał Gotkowski (only 2 days to go!)

A zine of garishly colored combo-animals. This is an excellent idea. There is a 15’ long mosquito shark.

Zinequest 2021

Zinequest is once again upon us, and so I’m resurrecting the blog. For ease of reference I’ll be tracking all Zinequest projects and updating this page daily. Please use backer and funding numbers as guides rather than current figures as I won’t be updating throughout the day. For comparison all values are in USD and all end dates are listed in US formatting. Please note there will likely be slight changes to currency conversions over time. PDF will include digital stretch goals where available. There may be less expensive tiers for hardship levels as well. Print will be for Print+PDF when applicable, and in cases where multiple zines are offered I only include the price for every zine. Completed projects section added to the bottom. Information will be updated as I get it. If you’re a creator and you don’t see your project please comment below or message me at pandatheist on twitter and I’ll update as soon as I can. Suggestions welcome. I hope you all find this useful!


Total Number of Zines: 385

Number of Zines Funded: 365

Percentage of Zines Funded: 94.81%

Zines with more than:

100 Backers200 Backers500 Backers1,000 Backers
264143479

Top 10 Zines by Backer Count

RankNameBackers
1Bucket of Bolts3,919
2The Vast in the Dark2,345
3The Lighthouse At The Edge Of The Universe – Solo RPG1,636
4Desert Moon of Karth1,479
5The Drain1,402
6Dying Hard on Hardlight Station: A Mothership Adventure1,365
7Apothecaria1,334
8The Burning of Carbex1,040
9Through Ultan’s Door1,010
10What We Give To Alien Gods983

Total Spent on Zines: $1,576,114

Zines with more than:

$1,000$2,000$5,000$10,000
3012177536

Top 10 Zines by Funding:

RankNameFunds
1Bucket of Bolts$101,401
2Through Ultan’s Door$50,928
3A Fantastic Longing For Adventure$33,195
4Apothecaria$26,734
5The Vast in the Dark$22,383
6Desert Moon of Karth$21,921
7Realms of Peril$21,755
8Dying Hard on Hardlight Station: A Mothership Adventure$21,231
9What We Give To Alien Gods$21,084
10The Burning of Carbex$18,454

New Zines

NamePDFPrintFundsGoalBackersEnd Date
A Catalogue Chimerical$12$24$3191$77251593/11
A Divorce of Druids$12$20$2050$7961273/10
Aetherjammer: OSR Space Adventure$7$14$755$697553/12
After World$5$15$443$350463/12
Agents of BAMF$7N/A$783$701253/5
All Magical Creatures Great & Small$5$15$1501$500733/10
Blackvale: A Fantastical Pittsburgh Campaign Setting$6$13$1661$1000493/10
bystanders$6$10$654$500373/12
Colloquial Monsters$5$14$201$700133/11
D6xD6 Dungeons! Zine Edition$10$15$1743$1100933/13
DM Yourselves$6$12$10774$14155873/10
Evershift: An Ascension Adventure$10$15$2060$12001263/27
Follow/Following…$18$36$2119$1000543/13
FULL COMPENDIUM: IDEAS! Hooks & Plots!$37N/A$403$24383/11
Grogzilla #2 – Son of Grogzilla!$9$12$1367$849723/10
Hometown Holiday- TV Romance RPG$5$10$736$1000273/27
Mari Zellout’s Gay Survival Guide$5$10$1871$500693/12
Pro Patria Mori$5$15$2599$4501873/11
Procrastination Day$5$10$605$604313/12
The Era Zone 2021$8$17$728$707323/21
The Goblin Manor of Anstruther-Mogg$7$14$1787$2791043/13
The Heroes of Radness: Camp Tenderpeak$5$10$397$2250253/18
The Last Will and Testament of Gideon Blythe$5N/A$13719$18006243/11
The Tome of Debasement- DCC RPG compatible zine$5$8$2240$5001373/12
Virtuemancy: A Zine-Powered TTRPG of Saving The World$10$20$410$850133/20
Yee-Paw! High Raccoon$9$15$472$750313/26

Zines

NamePDFPrintFundsGoalBackersEnd Date
6 ZINES to create YOUR own (RPG) CAMPAIGN$19N/A$637$60273/5
A State of Being: Bonds, Backgrounds, and Rumors$5$8$709$500793/4
Aether Operations RPG$8$13$2832$15001713/8
At Your Peril: A Practical Guide to Curses in TTRPGs$8$15$1528$1056773/8
BLOOD FEUD – An RPG about Honor, Power and Toxic MasculinityN/A$22$9178$24064313/4
Bones to Dust, Dreams to Rust$10$15$2380$8001213/6
Captain’s Log$5N/A$803$1381513/18
CONSTANT DOWNPOUR, a Sci-Fi RPG ZINE$5$13$1018$1000613/6
Contemplation – A zine of personal discovery$10$22$1179$140483/9
Courier – a solo RPG zine$6$12$4855$6292833/4
Crawler$28$50$3681$25001023/9
Critters$5$13$858$363363/4
Descendants of Darkness$13$22$2198$2112793/7
Dirty Bowbe’s Roadhouse Presents: Catpocalyspe Meow$8$13$968$500573/7
Dr. Zero Presents: Wee Bit Twisted, Too!$4$7$281$300243/17
Dreaded Diseases & Amusing Afflictions$4$15$1205$5001443/4
E.V.O.L.V.E$5$12$584$1126543/5
Fat Self Care: Volume 1$10$15$3010$10001483/4
Fever Dreams$6$13$1468$6981013/4
FONT – a story game of hope and loss$5$10$1549$10001423/9
Fractured Unity$5$12$1205$3001173/4
Fresh from the Forge$5$14$3163$4162443/16
Gorilla Warfare: Talking Apes for 5E!$4$8$460$237343/6
Gratitude: A horror game$5$10$850$500673/6
Grogzilla #2 – Song of Grogzilla!$9$12$1355$849713/10
Habits of the Common House Ghost$7$15$1302$444673/15
Hardboiled: A Private Eye Roleplaying Game$7$12$1047$800453/6
High Speed Low Drag$7$14$1476$1036993/11
I’m Sure You’re All Wondering Why I’ve Gathered You Here…$5$10$9377$5005733/12
Introduction to Practical Demonology: A Weird Schoolbook$5$13$1225$352873/8
Kitchen Knightmares$10$20$2020$30501073/15
Lifted – Vault 01$8$15$3187$10001683/3
Little Katy’s Tea Party$10$25$5720$18252653/8
Macabre – Volume I$5$13$1812$12001343/8
Melkim’s “The Art of Drinking”$4N/A$245$240423/18
Microvania: A Map-Making Hack of Microscope$4$10$2078$9501893/10
Monolith: Path of Transcendence$5$15$2949$1000783/11
MORKAL KOMBORG: A Tournament of Death for MORK BORG RPG$5$10$2663$10002323/3
Mutants in the Now: A Modern-Mutant-Animal Zine RPG!$9$16$3495$20211683/5
Necrojerks$4$14$986$250563/6
Our God is Dead$8$16$2156$9001453/9
Outlaws ‘N’ Owlbears$3$5$328$300313/9
Project Cassandra$8$15$1677$5631153/6
Pythagorean Pharmacology$4$16$275$947203/14
Reliquary: A Science Fantasy World-Building Tabletop RPG$8$15$3171$12001673/8
Shipwrecked$7$13$513$608323/8
Silk Hollow: A Travel Guide (a bug city rpg ‘zine)$7$10$777$500743/9
Skies of Hyperborea – A zine of airships and exploration$8$17$1735$3001193/4
Sticks & Stones$12$22$1505$1126443/9
Subtle Fluid$6$12$1105$333673/14
The Academy Chrysalis$7$14$2452$6351613/9
The Band of Misfit Boys: A D&D5e Zine$3$6$949$300403/8
The Burning of Carbex$11$17$18454$107510403/4
The Inn in the Forest – DCC RPG Zine & VTT Pack$8$15$5471$8002403/4
The Lord of Wolves – A Trophy Gold Incursion$4N/A$475$2001053/9
The Monastere de Saint Gastronomie$7$14$2076$13581074/4
The Well – An Immersive, Narrative RPG$4$6$295$236523/19
The Wizard’s Grimoire$15$20$14699$8506903/8
Three Legs Bad – A Tripods inspired Sci Fi RPG$4$8$11$30023/18
Viam, until we meet$13$25$333$1203183/3
What Once Went Wrong$6$12$1511$5001383/9
Wisp$8$16$3955$4721364/10
Zineography – A bibliography of Zine Quests$19$29$1779$123563/4
Zines That Tell You What To DoN/A$17$465$500323/14

Completed Projects

NameFundsGoalBackers
12 Years$3802$120237
3 Zines by Horse Shark Games and Psychoda Press$4242$1800228
3DIE6: A Dungeon Creepy-Crawler Roleplaying Game$15858$560589
A Complicated Profession$7326$2084479
A Diabolists Guide to Role Playing Games$848$175110
A Fantastic Longing For Adventure$33195$1000513
A FEAST OF BLOOD$349$2415
A LITTLE MOBA$500$48328
a loud noise in a quiet place$2320$1396155
A Small Collection of Flowers & Entanglements$627$27689
A Tangled Web Vol. 1$1249$450134
Academia T.I.T.Á.N.$2205$1813189
Accesible Gaming Quarterly, Year 2$51131$4000166
Aces of Cerberus$602$10065
Action Potential: a Forged in the Dark tabletop RPG$1381$48877
Adam Bell’s #zinequest Mini Zine Bounty Board$609$10054
Aelemental Zine-O-phobia – Part 1: Wood$985$96056
Against the Dark Conspiracy$2084$1415170
All Must Bow$8754$1200572
Alley-Oop!$4133$1500127
Amnesiac Space Whales and Renegade Nebulae$488$275130
An Altogether Different River$4439$1433301
Anarchy!$1492$1200118
Apothecaria$26734$14021334
Arcana Palace: Competitive Tarot Reading$327$50041
Arcane Academia$3188$2500134
Arklite$1569$50086
Around Alone: A Solo Sailing RPG$1460$250101
Back Again From the Broken Land$11491$800751
Bad Decisions$2175$350129
Beakwood Bay$1945$850120
Before Fire: The Comedy Cave Dweller RPG$2067$149993
BEstitchARY for Mork Borg$3051$606387
Beta Red – A Cyberpunk-Genre RPG$3150$1500181
Bimblebottom’s Book of Bits and Bobs$1342$50080
BLACKOUT in Crater Valley: a VHS era Slasher RPG$8992$2360404
Bloodheist$2715$277185
Bloodstained Hands$2827$1034208
Boots Full of Mud$4814$500238
Bounty Hunter$12766$3473581
Brewkessel: School of Spellcraft and Sorcery$1861$700114
Bronx Beasts: Year of the Beast$4257$200097
Brutal Quest: A Miniature Narrative Game$7406$1117616
Bucket of Bolts$101401$34733919
Cahoots$1335$1000116
Cast Away$2786$300164
Cephalopod: Ocean Home$1819$464157
Children Of The Dust: A Survival RPG$1929$1212126
Choose-Your-Own-Skills$265$10060
Chronicles of the Spacejammer: Enoch’s Wake$4156$3000216
City of Flesh$8266$1813496
Codex Corporis$1447$700113
Coiled.Spaece$1085$69864
Contorta RPG$2639$800137
Cosmic Hooligans$831$50065
Creature Feature$2137$2000101
Creature Feature Quarterly Vol. 5$547$30072
Crescent Moon$5131$730311
Crush! Two micro Zine Quest RPGs in one!$884$50055
Cryptid (Mis)Communication$897$85071
Curse: The City of One Thousand Martyrs$1505$500156
D.U.M.P Quest 2$1420$140073
d36$13533$5663450
Daemonologie: A Field Guide for the Devil’s Dice$2912$1953130
Dark Scrolls, an OSR/5E RPG Zine$685$49540
Darkest Demons, Devils, and Dungeons$1605$1000126
Dear Great Cthulhu, PLEASE Stop Giving Me Superpowers$2807$593201
Definitely Wizards: A Game About Not Being a Wizard$4599$200458
Denial & Yearning: A Trashy Lesbian Romance Novel Game$1144$78675
Descending the Stairs$2844$600152
Desert Moon of Karth$21921$5001479
Destination: Uncharted$1254$50065
Dethroners$4811$500304
Docks of Caswarren$2682$84476
Dodeca RPG$3077$2094159
DoK presents: Chuck Dies in the End!$347$70022
Drok’s Trove of Wonders$1462$25086
Dungeon Plumbers Vol #1$2093$170098
DUNGEONEERING$6317$1500517
Dying Hard on Hardlight Station: A Mothership Adventure$21231$15881365
Echoes of Chaos: A Time Travel RPG$1751$511129
Edinburgh Indie Gamers$1711$69116
Dungeons and Dominatrixes$106$19810
Dungeons? Score!!!$1084$68373
Elvismancer$1034$50077
Endless Banquets$2603$2055155
Errant$10367$1500503
EVERY GOD WILL FALL for MORK BORG$729$600162
Explore Dungeons Zine #2$2313$900143
Exquisite Polycule: True Love Edition$2393$2000123
External Containment Bureau$15520$1000912
Exterreri$851$70158
Farmyard Fatalities$668$50077
Flik Silverpen’s Guide to Dragon Town$4657$600299
Flott’s Miscellany Volume Two$4704$1000329
Fortunes: The Tarot Card Storytelling Zine$3346$200260
Games that Goblins Play$963$50052
Gamma Zine, Issue #3$1747$250274
Gili’s Guide to Fantastic Plants$2341$150202
Glimmer’s Rim$5897$800300
Glimpses of a Dying World$4094$139554
Glirky Gleboldt’s Guide to Glorious Grub$1634$600100
Glitchspiel$1154$393120
Gobsmack$2770$1000165
Gordinaak$10812$3000584
Grasping Nettles$4915$1500339
GRIDSHOCK 20XX: Post-Apocalyptic Superhero Setting$5100$3900149
GrimBlade: A Grim Fantasy RPG$880$80071
Gruesome Ghoulies$576$50073
Halflings and the Hive$3009$500175
Harrowed Grounds, Volume 1$916$50083
Harrowing#3: Muspelhell$5206$1300212
Harsch Tables, Volume 1$617$35060
Have You Heard About The Beast? & We Sail Beyond$2793$566181
Hibernation Games: 5 Journaling RPGs for Solo Play$15320$3800732
Hinterland: Peoples and Perils$1821$393135
Hope is Not a Plan$3154$750225
Horrors of the Sepulchre$2237$1573186
I Remember When All This Was Trees$492$20065
In the Light of a Faded World$4257$3146426
In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe$12384$2000716
Infinite March$914$80099
Into the Black$375$75046
Isometric Blanks$1861$100203
It Came From the Message Board$2777$1200182
Journeylands #1$2973$154427
Keep It Together$103459590
Kill Today, Die Tomorrow$3190$1430214
Knights of the House of Mars$3653$1300225
Kriegsmesser$3655$2415$227
LACUNA: READ ONCE AND DESTROY$12336$100529
Lands of Legends$6466$604211
Last Orders! 16 Beers and Ciders for Fantasy RPGS$3858$2917169
LAY ON HANDS, a solo dexterity-based RPG$3800$488257
Lethal Fauna Bric-a-Brac$854$45064
Lichcraft An RPG about Trans Necromancers$14183$698725
Love’s Labour’s Liabilities$1134$40086
Low Stakes$8652$500752
Lowlife$9246$800630
Mage to Order$1734$800150
Major Arcana$2164$348191
Marching Order – A Solo or Co-op Dark Dungeon Delving Zine$7505$600361
MarrowScar$710$40042
Maximum HP RPG zine #005 – KOBOLDS$4882$300216
Meanderings #5$1318$50060
MechaZine: a zine about giant fighty robots$624$59938
MechTek$1704$350121
Meguey’s Miscellany of Mending$4451$800201
Menagerie of the Void$5432$3072282
Merchants of the Multiverse$2978$500241
Mimic Madness – an RPG Zine With Lots of Teeth$1450$15098
Mork Materia$2533$600156
Most Wanted$224$120816
Mysteries of the Mysts$1792$138975
Natalia’s Guide to Necromancy$2897$500158
Neon Gutters$1264$500118
Nerves$10225$8500446
Network 23 RPG$2839$967155
Ninja City: A DCC RPG Zine$2060$600216
Noctis Labyrinth$3515$2500134
Not A Place Of Honor$4001$1000399
Occultural$1598$976126
Old Roads$7571$1500392
Old School & Cool Volume 2$4306$1000258
One Hour TTRPG Prep$1157$350164
Operation Thingamajig – A comedy RPG$1386$80094
Ostro$793$31698
Other Magic #3: The Ancient World$3837$1000487
Our Veil of Discontent$2192$750195
Paradoxes & Possibilities: A Time Travel RPG$4408$1000157
Paranormal Inc.$10090$4766655
Patchwork World 6th Edition RPG$3422$1000157
Peculiar Children$1824$280124
Peril at Frost Manor$985$78107
Pistol Packing Bondage Nuns from Dimension Sex$2995$388333
Planar Compass Issue 2$14819$400602
Precious Little Animal$8000$1589599
Pressure Drop the larp$1687$1000127
Project 8Ball$1406$500116
Project Terminus$2138$500157
Psalm IV:I, A Third-Party Mork Borg Zine$4052$200336
Pungeon Quest$3949$500299
Puzzle Dungeon: The Seers Sanctum$1559$800152
Quodlibet$621$40075
Raccoon Sky Pirates$7679$2000675
Rakham Vale$3577$2600281
Rascals$3316$1163233
Realms of Peril$21755$3500714
REBEL SCUM$15355$1138581
REPUGNANT! $4604$1000206
Rocket To Russia$5836$3000181
Roll Them Bones: A Dice Mini-Game Postcard Zine$355$3057
RPG Elements$708$96109
Savage Sisters$3310$900148
SCIENCE KNIGHT$341$30043
Scoundrels: Make Your Games “Criminal”$2050$900137
Scrap Rats RPG$2562$1222196
Scurry!$4604$3349232
Season of the Moth$3389$200214
See You, Space Cowboy$2577$600193
SIEGE: Pocket Warfare$1077$250$223
SKULLBOX: Dungeon, Mayhem, Magyk$11462$5000409
Space Weirdos$2162$100333
Splat #2: Adventures in Cyberspace$2000$1000133
Stealing the Throne$5922$1408583
Steve Jackson Games’ Illuminated Manuscript & Ogre 1976$15334$1000602
Stories from the Slough$3519$500306
STREETS – Stray animal advenures!$2746$399145
Superstition$3391$791254
Surviving Idyll: Quest 1 – Shelter$1084$60432
Swordpoint: A Swashbuckling Zine$2240$100441
Tabletop RPG Battlemaps$957$16992
Tactical Deck – A Solo RPG Zine$1391$701113
Tales from the Dungeon #3$881$75058
Tales of the Glass Gnomes$1512$714120
Tension$4512$2200231
Terror of the Stratosfiend #3$6044$2000271
Tezca Sentai: a Mexican Rangers Zine RPG$1928$725153
The 13th Fleet$3235$789253
The 2020 Bestiary$2616$1000200
The Barrier & the Sound$3592$400333
The Beast of Bridgedunon$869$26060
The Book of Hanz for the Fate RPG$7890$1500526
The Box of Shadows: A MORK BORG scenario set in Grift$3635$100303
The Child Thieves$1711$800133
The City of the Red Pox$3582$838210
The Collector$2620$139270
The Company: Conflict Resolution Guidelines$5472$500250
The Depths of This Forest$3663$1221204
The Door Locks Behind You, a Puzzling Dungeon Adventure Game$13795$2600714
The Dragonwilds$16461$3000530
The Drain$15510$20001402
The Gardener is Dead$2151$976142
The Grind Turn 3: Hell or Highwater$4037$70089
The Haunted Hamlet$14913$1973807
The High Summer: A Fantasy Western RPG Zine$571$75040
The House of the Hollow$5609$500786
The Island of the Excellent: A Hexcrawl Zine$1602$592134
The Journal of Fantastic Linguistics$3383$2000346
The Knights of the Road$1622$300256
The Lair of the Manticore$2016$900193
The Last Valley: an OSR setting$817$50077
The Legend of Gallow’s End$2130$697100
The Lighthouse At The Edge Of The Universe – Solo RPG$17275$2091636
The Lights of Winthrop Manor$6500$2000252
The Many Crypts of Lady Ingrade$4616$500406
The Merovingian Hack$797$50136
The Million Islands of Doom$3422$2417222
The NPC Portrait Gallery$2394$200182
The Pamphlet of Pantheons$2196$353307
The Power Words Engine$8845$800606
The Sonders$1202$800150
The Soul Sword Forge$2144$600159
The Sun’s Ransom$2549$603253
The Tattoopunk Antebible$965$42874
The Thawing Kingdom$4365$241332
The Tower and The Garden$3953$1984301
The Trans Rage Trilogy$2528$250114
The Vast in the Dark$22383$5002345
The Very Good Dogs of Chernobyl$6494$900291
The Vitacernis$1410$1000149
The Void of Thrantar$2308$1200103
The Witch, The Wolf & the Wedding$2708$500187
This is Spacebase A solo adventure$594$1426
This Night on the Rooftops$3901$866248
Through Ultan’s Door$50928$25001010
Thru-Hiker: A Journaling Game of Long-Distance Hiking$2250$750176
Thursday RPG$6042$1000358
Tiengi$823$66927
Token$6326$1000416
Tomb of Immolation$7235$1000451
Tooth & Claw$4824$418413
TORQ: rallyraid roleplaying$8223$750360
Trash Planet Epsilon 5$5133$1000326
Traveler’s Trunk: Magical Emporium$1057$60070
Twill’s Twist Points: Turn the D&D World to your Advantage$2176$1000158
Two Summers$5039$1213430
Vampire Cruise$4575$600319
vis-a-visage$1528$59377
Wait, That’s a Game?!$742$249945
Wandering Stars$1339$500105
Wandering Steel$939$39691
Warmer in the Winter$3030$1000183
Wax & Wane$774$41050
Weirdwood$2022$600152
What We Give To Alien Gods$21084$750983
Where Mystery Dwells$2315$700226
Where the Wheat Grows Tall$10677$2777577
Wide-eyed Terror Zine$2274$500236
Wild Blue Yonder$2366$500206
Wise Women$9799$704569
Wizard Funk 3$1044$50071
Wrath of the Wilds – Druids go to War$470$69836
You Repugnant Hunters$1200$328223
Zine-o-Maps$3295$500242

The Rapture of Bastion

Rapture, from Bioshock

Phosphene beneath the depths! If Bastion is the electric light of progress above, Phosphene is the light of pressure below. It is New York to Bastion’s London. Beauty in the halls of power hiding cracks and leaks at the edges. People scrabbling for their next meal under the shadow of new invention. Opportunity and danger tempting those with no options left…

Woman underwater

This will be a series to hack the phenomenal Electric Bastionland into a wondrous if concerning underwater city.

Setting

Electric Bastionland is built around 4 types of sentient beings

  • People
  • Mockeries
  • Aliens
  • Machines

And 4 zones

  • Bastion
  • The Underground
  • Deep Country
  • Living Stars

Phosphene will use the same structure.

4 sentient beings

  • People
  • Machines
  • Tidedancers
  • The Summoned Few

4 zones

  • Phosphene
  • Islands Above
  • Cracked Domes
  • Endless Seas

System

Electric Bastionland is a wondrous clock tuned to perfection. I have no interest in changing any rule beyond what I need. And what I need is plasmids. Genetic modifications taken from the creatures of the deep, some of which wander the halls of Phosphene profiting off the trade or being exploited in equal measure. What this means is I need to design a spell system.

EB has no spells. They have oddities, which are items that act like spells. That still works I think, but it won’t do double duty for what we want and I have no interest in porting in spell lists from D&D. I think looking to a superhero game might be the better way to do things. Maybe spell points. Maybe Whitehack style abilities for HP, though that would be dangerous without inflating numbers. Next post I’ll compare our options and narrow down the field.

Helen Gould

For the readers out there, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Helen Gould, and I’m a freelance writer/editor/sensitivity reader. I do a lot of work with indie TTRPGs – it’s a lot more of my workload than I thought it would be when I first went freelance! – and I’m on a Pathfinder AP podcast called Rusty Quill Gaming (I play an orc paladin who glows bright pink).

How did you get into roleplaying games?

I was at a convention back in 2013, and came across a table where people were playing drop-in games of Werewolf and such – it looked interesting and the people were friendly, so I had a go and I’ve been hooked ever since! A huge influence has been getting to know people within the gaming community in London though, which was helped by an event called Videobrains (no longer running now, I’m afraid) where people gave talks about different aspects of gaming. I spoke there several times, and met a lot of my current friend group there. And where there are video gamers, there are often TTRPG gamers too!

What led you from just being a fan to doing editing work in the industry?

That’s a really good question with a pretty convoluted answer! It was a combination of several things, but in short it was from a) being a copywriter and editor in my day job, b) making friends in the industry through the talks I was giving and the events I was attending, and c) a number of people trusting me with their work. I think my first big piece of work for gaming was back in 2015/16 for Cthulhu Dark by Graham Walmsley, which has a setting and an adventure by me. At the time, I genuinely thought it would end there. Grant Howitt (from Rowan, Rook and Decard) then asked me to do a sensitivity reading on his book Spire, which I did – but because of my day job, I also sort of automatically proofread it at the same time and sent him my notes on that as well, just in case. Looking back I feel like that was quite audacious of me, but he must not have minded because he later asked me to officially edit and proofread other pieces for RRD’s books. Anyway, from there it sort of spiralled, and when I finally went freelance last year I was able to reach out to people and let it be known I was available as well as actively look for work opportunities. And though it’s not what I’d call steady as of yet – right now I’m on a full-time contract plus all the freelancing stuff – I always have something on the go. I can’t emphasise enough how important getting to know people in the industry was, online and offline. The way I did that was by going to conventions and events and making friends there – but it never crossed my mind back then that those friends might become my clients. So I’ve been lucky, as well as good at my job.

There is a lot I want to talk about there, but let’s start with this. What is different about your editing process for roleplaying books than for other types of writing? And I suppose conversely, what’s transferable?

Oooh, interesting. Firstly, what’s different. As a freelancer, I have two streams of work: corporate and indie/creative. The corporate work certainly brings in more money, but it means focusing on rewording jargon into actual English, checking grammar and typos, amending bullet point formatting and other kinds of detailed and painstaking work that I can do in my sleep at this point (though I want to stress that not everyone can, which is why people like me can make a living from doing it!). The RPGs I edit obviously still require checking for grammar and typos, but they also require a much more careful reading because the content will be brand new to the audience. For example, when editing an internal comms newsletter, you can assume that everybody will already know the common acronyms, the general focus of the organisation, and just already have a basic overview of what’s going on because they are already part of the organisation. Even if they’re new, they will have researched the company for their interview and then been given an induction; they already know the setting they’re in and the important characters around them. With an RPG book, there is none of that presumed knowledge: everything has to be explained very carefully, so that anyone who picks it up will understand. When I’m editing an RPG, I read it not just for sense and sensitivity, but for absolute clarity on rules, mechanics, descriptions, characters, everything. It’s a much closer, more detailed look at the whole thing. It helps that I vastly prefer rules-light systems, so I can often see ways to simplify the wording for mechanics and rules. I also automatically do some sensitivity reading when I’m editing as well – if I see anything that looks harmful, I always point it out. I think that’s a really important part of editing in the gaming space. Obviously you see it in corporations too, but it’s far more unlikely that I would be the only one to catch things.

As for what’s transferable: all of the basics! The checking for spelling and grammar errors, the rewording of sentences to make them shorter and clearer, the comments I leave saying “did you mean x instead of y?” or “this section says TBC – has it been confirmed now?” That is all the same. Oh, there’s one more difference: I have a much more personal connection to the RPG books, because usually I get credited for my writing or editing. For corporate work, the responsibility is shared out among at least half a dozen people (usually more, in my experience) so nothing really links back only to me. If I see something that I think is a mistake, but other people tell me I’m wrong, I’ll let it slide. I am much less likely to do that with an RPG book, because it will reflect directly on me if it reads badly, and I have a great deal of professional pride.

Thats the second time you’ve mentioned your work with sensitivity reading. What makes someone a good sensitivity reader, and what are common things you need to watch out for?

Firstly, I want to mention that nobody can be an all-round sensitivity reader. There are lots of marginalised communities that intersect – for example, I am a black bisexual woman, so I offer sensitivity reading for race (particularly anti-blackness), homophobia, and gender, as well as combinations of those – but it is really unlikely that somebody has the lived experience of every community. I have a good broad knowledge, which is helpful because I can spot 101 stuff, but I would never put myself forward to read something that deals in detail with issues like disability or transmisogyny. Secondly, to be a good sensitivity reader, you must walk a line between respecting your client’s work and being comfortable in challenging it in detail. For example, I never write anything as simple as “you are being racist”. I will say something like “So far this black woman has only shown anger and violence, and has been physically described with metaphors for animals; this is heading towards being a problematic portrayal, as it supports the stereotype of the angry black woman” and then add a link. When I send a report back to a client, I always offer to answer any questions they have as well. I’ve been really lucky in my clients, in that I’ve never had a bad reaction. I’ve had disagreements where they’ve wanted to keep it the way it is, but that’s rare, and usually amongst a lot of suggestions that they have taken. I think another thing that makes you a good sensitivity reader is to know where your knowledge is lacking. A few times, I have made a comment like “To my knowledge, this is offensive to X culture because of Y”, but will then recommend that somebody from X culture be consulted.

Common things to watch out for depends on what I’m reading and why, and that changes depending on the client. Even if we got more specific, I couldn’t tell you if there are particular phrases or words (other than the obvious) – I just read it in a sort of heightened state of awareness, the same way I would watch a film if I were going to write a review or a talk about it. I enter a critical state of mind, and if something feels off to me, I examine it to see if I can figure out why. Having said that, one thing I do often find myself doing regardless is going back and looking at gender balance. Because there are often lists of NPCs, I keep an eye on how many of them are men, women, NB, etc – and if it’s skewed, I always point it out.

It sounds like an understanding of context and attention to detail both play a pretty big role. Those seem like the same skills that would be useful doing proofreading like you mentioned, but also understanding the shape of things for developmental editing.

Absolutely! When I think about it, I have often been doing developmental editing alongside the line editing unless the client has specified for me not to, because I can’t leave it alone if something doesn’t make sense to me – I’ll always drop in a comment like “Doesn’t X move already do this?” or “This character is very similar to that other character”. In fact, for a long time I didn’t even know developmental editing was something separate! As a writer myself, I know that sometimes the plot or character can run away with you and you forget to check for holes in your logic, or you make a big change somewhere and forget to consider how it changes all the other things too – so it’s just something I keep an eye out for automatically. And of course, in my opinion sensitivity reading is just another part of developmental editing.

That makes a lot of sense. I’d like to circle back a bit to a couple things you mentioned earlier. you talked about the importance of being credited in books, as well as detailing earlier how central it was to getting work in the RPG industry that you knew people already working in the field. How do you think about the importance of discoverability when getting more freelance work?

How do you mean?

If I’m looking for a job in, I don’t know, engineering or computer science, I might throw my resume on Indeed or Linkedin and hope someone finds out about me. Knowing people matters as far as getting work in other fields, but it seems like in the RPG industry there’s a larger benefit to getting your name out there.

Ahhhhh I see. Yes, it’s really important – more so than other fields I think, because the indie RPG community is comparatively small, or at least it feels small! As I said, I was lucky in many ways: I was in London, I could afford to go out, I have the self-confidence and practise to be a good speaker, and I’m a pretty affable person. So it was relatively easy for me to meet people. But on top of that, there are so many different social circles that overlap in a lot of different ways in London; when I first arrived here it felt so big, but now if I go to certain places or events I’m almost guaranteed to see someone I know. I think social media and Kickstarter campaigns have a lot to do with it as well. If a game is released and it goes really well, gets people talking and excited, then having your name on it will give you a huge boost. It makes such a difference to have your name out there, because eventually people come looking for you instead of you having to chase opportunities.

I think there’s a definite sense that everybody knows everybody else – or at least, knows somebody else. I think six degrees of separation is really true in this community; in fact, it’s probably more like three degrees. A retweet or endorsement from the right person can catapult you into the limelight really easily.

To that end, how has working in RPG’s changed your convention experience?

Well, firstly I can’t remember the last con I went to just as an attendee. I’m usually on a panel or giving a one-woman talk or doing something with Rusty Quill. I had been thinking of going to Dragonmeet in December just to have a look around and see what I could see, but I ended up moderating a panel there as well! Don’t get me wrong – I love being involved like that, and I enjoy being able to lead and actively participate in conversations instead of listening. But it is definitely a change from when I first arrived. The other thing is that I know so many more people! And that’s always a good thing.

Although, having said that…let me moderate it. The downside of knowing many more people from the side of working in the industry is also that I know about people’s reputations as well; I don’t necessarily want to make this into a discussion about missing stairs in the community, but they are there. And if I wasn’t as involved as I am, I wouldn’t know to avoid them.

I definitely don’t want to get sucked down that rabbit hole, as we could do a whole separate interview on the topic. Before we move on to something else I am curious though. As you pointed out, if you weren’t in the know, you wouldn’t be able to make an informed choice on how to deal with them. How do you think our community handles that type of, I don’t know, insider problem, when getting into the industry and finding success so heavily revolves around getting to know professionals?

Badly. Very badly. You have to rely on a whisper network or on callout posts on social media – but not everybody has access to that, and people who are abusive will always just move on to a different circle. It leaves all of us vulnerable. I think it is getting better, but there are still major issues of safety. And sometimes, there’s a really gendered issue where men might not know any of the rumours, but everybody else does. But it’s the men who tend to have more influence, and if you tried to tell them they might not believe you, and then where will you be?

Depressing, but fair. Here’s hoping things will continue to improve. 

You mentioned earlier in the interview about how, when editing RPG material, you had to think about presumed knowledge. How do you think about the order of information in relation to that audience? Is it mostly a matter of balancing teaching vs reference material, or given that you prefer rules light games, are there other considerations?

Ah, so – I prefer rules light games to play, but my clients usually really like their rules! The structure of things is usually absolutely fine; to speak very very broadly, most people tend to go Introduction, Rules, Setting, Character Creation, then Miscellaneous Bits and Bobs. I usually just make sure that anything that needs a “see page X” note has one. I almost always go into editing assuming that the audience knows absolutely nothing about the author’s previous work or even how to play a TTRPG. I try to simplify things from there. The only exception I make is for games that have something to do with Cthulhu, as that’s a genre that spans a lot of mediums. I don’t think of any of it as teaching or reference material; I just try to make sure everything sounds like a human is explaining it.

That makes sense. Do you think theres a space for core books assuming experience with TTRPG’s, or is that what supplements are for?

Honestly? No. I take the same attitude that I would towards any writing that’s trying to explain things: your audience needs to understand everything. Assuming knowledge and a shared vocabulary will alienate them and make them put the book down. You don’t want them to do that. I think that even supplements should say “Read X core book first”.

Thats good advice. What other advice would you give to someone just starting out as an editor in the industry?

Three things: 1. If you don’t understand something, it’s likely that the reader won’t either. Always raise that as an issue. 2. Take opportunities whenever you can, even if you think you don’t tick all the boxes. Don’t ask, don’t get. 3. Don’t work for free!

And what would you tell publishers or writers looking to hire an editor?

Cast your nets wider than the usual suspects, and integrate sensitivity reading into everything you produce. If your book has a setting and characters, you need someone to check that you’re not adding to the marginalisation that’s already in the industry and the world as a whole.

Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with me. Before we get going, are there any projects you’re working on now, editing or otherwise you want people to keep an eye out for?

Yes! I’m working on writing a setting for Dragonbond by Draco Studios – it’s one of my biggest pieces of work to date, and I’m feeling good about it so far.

And where can people find you on social media?

I am on Twitter @Alecto101, and I have a Patreon full of fiction and poetry at https://www.patreon.com/afrofantasia

Last but certainly not least, if someone is interested in hiring an editor, how should they get in contact with you?

My DMs are always open on Twitter, or they can visit my business site at https://hgwriting.co.uk/

Brent Jans

For the readers out there, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Brent Jans and I am a TTRPG blogger and reviewer, and for about the last eight or nine years I have also worked as a freelance editor for TTRPGs.

How did you originally get into roleplaying games?

I actually wrote a fictionalized account of that for an anthology, but the short version is I saw an advert for something called Dungeons & Dragons being run by my local library when I was ten years old. That would be 1980, and I never looked back. Growing up in Northern Canada, role-playing games were probably the best thing that could have happened to a bookish introvert like myself.

How did you go from just being a fan to doing editing in the industry?

I had worked as a freelance editor for other things, fiction, technical writing, copy writing. Two things sort of coalesced for me. I was complaining for the billionth time about the lack of editing in something I had bought off the (very new at the time) DriveThruRPG site. I also noticed that, while there were plenty of folks offering to write, do layout, or draw art, there was a complete lack of anyone offering editing on any of the forums I frequented. So I hung out my shingle as an editor for hire and got a few cautious nibbles to start, but pretty soon was get moderately steady work.

Just as important to me, though, after folks saw the response I was getting I started seeing more freelance TTRPG editors popping up in the pro forums. I’ve never worried about competition when it comes to editing, there is always plenty of work to go around. But for the longest time it was, and sort of still is, desperately needed amongst all the self-publishers in our hobby.

Why do you think editors were last through the gate in the spaces you were frequenting?

I think that self-publishing was still this very new thing at the time, and folks were trying to figure things out. So on one hand you have new writers trying to self-publish, who don’t have a firm grasp yet of their process. But on the other hand most editors in the industry at the time worked for gaming companies, and weren’t likely to freelance outside of approaching other companies. Small press authors wouldn’t even have occurred to them as being a viable market in which to find work. I mean, it took me about a year or so after DriveThruRPG got started to even consider it.

Plus, and I have encountered this in the fiction world as well, you will always encounter writers who believe everything they write is perfect as they type it, and can’t bear the thought of someone touching their “baby”. So even if editing is offered to them they wouldn’t think it was needed. One of the earliest questions I was asked, just a few days after setting myself out as a TTRPG editor, was “Why do I need you when I have spellcheck?”

What did you tell them at the time?

At the time I gave them a very early version of what I still tell writers when I’m asked similar questions. Spellcheck is great, and I certainly appreciate it when writers use it before handing over their work because it saves me loads of time dealing with obvious stuff. But what an editor can do, but spellcheck can’t, is find things like: subject/verb agreement; whether you wrote that connecting paragraph between two parts of your adventure, or whether you just thought you did because you are so familiar with it through playtesting; when you write, “The players will here bells in the next room”, spellcheck will like that just fine, but I am sure you meant, a) characters not players, unless the GM is expected to rig up bells wherever they are playing, and b) hear, not here. I could go on, but those examples usually cover the bases.

And what a good TTRPG editor will also bring is experience with gaming. Depending on what type of editing you are looking for, that can be experience with how to make adventure text both clearer for the potential game master as well as more evocative for the players, to just having an understanding of the various style guides that companies like Wizards of the Coast and Chaosium use.

Can you talk a little bit about the different types of editing you do, and how you approach the roles differently?

Sure! So I have three different types of editing I do, depending on the needs of the client and where they are in the writing or design process. The first is substantive edits, where I’m looking at the structure of the piece and editing for things like style and tone. I do substantive editing on texts in their early form, sometimes working off the first draft or while the writer is still completing the first draft, though that last is rare. These edits are meant to ensure that the form and substance of the text are saying what the writer wants them to say, in the way they want them said. So part of that process is to talk with the writer and get an idea of what they’re trying to achieve and work from there.

The second type is copyediting. This is less invasive than substantive editing, and is usually done after playtesting has occurred or the writer has made changes based on earlier editing feedback. I’m still looking at structure and tone, but I am also looking at the details of the text, based on what system it’s for (if it’s for an existing property) or the notes the writer has given me (if it’s for a new game or system). I find this to be the most fluid level, because if things are good it quickly turns into proofreading, but I can still suggest substantive edits if I think they’re needed. Most of the copyediting I do is for work which is either in, or about to go into, layout, in which case I have to keep the layout in mind when I make changes.

And then the last level, and the one most folks think of when they think of editing, is proofreading. At this point I am looking for all the usual suspects: punctuation, grammar, spelling, kerning errors, and whether the piece conforms to the system style guide. If it’s a new game, then instead of that last I make sure the style is consistent throughout; are all Class names capitalized, did that city name get spelled the same everywhere, that sort of thing. This stage is often the hardest for some folks to do well, because you aren’t so much reading the text as you are making sure the word symbols all line up the way they should. But this is usually the last editing step, and ideally it’s done by a few people because this is the step where it is easiest to miss something.

And of course, there is a lot of blending back and forth between them. I was given a piece to proofread that had been edited and playtested and edited again. While I was proofing it I realized it was missing the description for an entire room, in fact, the room where the final encounter was supposed to happen. So like I say, it’s important to get several eyes on a piece whenever possible.

Can you talk a bit more about what your substantive editing process looks like? Are there common issues you usually need to discuss?

For substantive editing, I start by reading the piece through three or four times. I’ll usually read it a couple of times as soon as I receive it, then let it sit for a day or so. I do this to see what stands out. Did it tell me enough about what’s going on, what do I remember about the tone of the piece? I’ll make some notes and then I’ll compare those to whatever the writer has given me about their intentions for the piece. I want to see where there are breaks or disconnects. Maybe the writer is going for a serious tone, but what’s on the page is very colloquial or light. Maybe it’s a horror adventure that isn’t very horrifying. This gives me some direction for my edits, and I can start working my way through the text.

As for common issues, most of them depend on what you are writing: adventures, sourcebooks, or rulebooks. But the common issue I’ve found, shared across all types of TTRPG writing, is to remember your audience. If you’re writing an adventure it’s a common mistake to think the players are the audience, and a lot of beginning writers will pack their adventure full of information for the players. But your audience for an adventure is the Game Master, not the players. After all, they are the ones who are going to read it the most, and at the end of the day an adventure is a tool for telling an interesting story with your group. So it has to be tailored to the GM: information is clear and concise, the setting is evocative without being overbearing, and there are tools in place for the GM to make the adventure fit their group. On the flip side, if you are writing a rules supplement for players, you want to make sure the writing is exciting and inspiring, that it draws them toward using the material presented. At the same time, the rules need to be clear, consistent, and concise. So that’s a question I write quite often in my edits, “Who is this for?”. Sometimes it leads to the writer cutting enough information that they can publish another book, which is a nice problem to have.

Moving on to copyediting, can you talk a bit about layout considerations? How might that change your work?

Sometimes when I am copyediting, the layout hasn’t been locked down yet. There may still be art to come, or maps, charts, and sidebars haven’t been finalized yet. In that case I carry on a normal, marking up changes and letting the writer or designer figure out what to do about them. But sometimes the layout is locked, which basically means all the graphical elements are in place and the text has been fitted to them the way the publisher wants the print version to look. In that case I have to be more specific in my suggestions if I find areas that need re-writing or correction. For instance, I can’t just cut a sentence to make a paragraph work, because that may throw off spacing and make the layout look bad. So at this point my editing is more about rewording than cutting, to maintain the layout. Also, since we may have an upper page limit, it’s very rare for me to suggest additional text be added at this point; there usually just isn’t room. But I will always bring it up if I think the piece is missing something, because that could always go in another book, or be released as an online bonus or something.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out doing editing in the industry?

Make sure it’s something you love doing, and love doing well. No one is going to knock on your door and give you a pretty ribbon for that time you realized you were using the Canadian spell-checker instead of the American, and so you made sure to go back through all ten thousand words of the text at the last minute to make sure you got everything right. You have to want to give the client the best work you can. First, because that’s how you feel good about your work. But second, and more practically, that’s how you will get new clients and retain old ones. They can tell if you aren’t being careful with their work; they might hire you once but they won’t come back. There are just too many good freelance editors out here for anyone to have to settle.

My second piece of advice: read. Not just TTRPG material and editing texts and style guides. Novels, cookbooks, travel guides, short story collections, comics, take in as much written media as you can. Not only should an editor’s brain be crammed full with “useless” information, but a breadth of reading gives you a rough idea of how various publications are put together. That can be handy if someone comes to you to edit their TTRPG-themed cookbook, as an example.

On the flipside, what should a publisher or writer looking to hire an editor keep in mind?

It’s easy enough to test for editing skills, there are a number of standard editing tests online to download and send a potential editor. Most mid to major publishers in the industry have editing tests they’ll give you if you approach them looking for work. Those ones are great because they give you useful information about how a company wants to be edited as they test you, which is useful information to have if you end up working on third party pieces for another publisher or writer. And no editor should have a problem taking a test, as long as you keep it reasonable. If the editor has a body of work they can point to, and can show you parts of it, that’s often as useful as a test. If the editor does provide a list of previous work, see if you can reach out to those clients. Not just to find out about their skill level, but important things like: were they easy to work with, did they communicate well, was their work turned in on time? All good things to know before hiring an editor.

Also, and this cannot be overstated: pay your editor on time, and pay what was agreed. Many freelance editors ask for payment on turnover, and you should always do that unless prior arrangements have been made. Freelancers are relying on that money to pay bills, keep a roof above, and stock the pantry with ramen. They did the work, so pay them!

Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with me. Before we get going, are there any projects you’re working on now, editing or otherwise you want people to keep an eye out for?

Absolutely! I’ve been lucky enough to be an editor on every volume of the Uncaged Anthology, which is a four volume set of adventures featuring mythological monsters, written with an inclusive lens. All four volumes are up on DM’s Guild now, and I can’t recommend them enough. 

And though I haven’t worked on any of it, I encourage folks to track down Peach Pants Press and pick up The Watch, among other things. Fantastic work being done by Anna Kreider over there, so I highly recommend you check it out.

And where can people find you on social media?

You can find me on Twitter as @DorklordCanada, or at my blog at RenaissanceGamer.ca (which also features my Editor for Hire page). I also write editorials and product reviews over at therathole.ca, and sometimes get into arguments about gaming on the internet. And if you see anything with my name on it on Facebook, it’s a lie; I deleted my account there ages ago and am feeling pretty good about it.

Last but not least, if someone is looking to hire an editor, how should they get in contact with you?

My Twitter DMs are always open, but probably the best way is to email me at brent.jans (at) gmail (dot) com.

Live Free or Zinequest

Hello everyone! Apologies for not getting the master list updated last night. Had a couple more things to do than planned and fell asleep in front of my computer. Zinequest did not care! At last post we were at 145 zines. Tonight the list will be up to at least 220, maybe higher. It’s been one hell of a ride, and we still have a little over a week to go. So here again I have some interesting projects that caught my eye in the interim. I can’t possibly cover every cool thing coming out, so I’ll try to focus on the things that made me glance at my bank balance. I do encourage you to check out the master list and see if something else matches your taste! The sheer creative output on display is incredible. I’m sure if you don’t see something here to catch your eye you just need to look a little farther. Without further ado!


A Visitor’s Guide to the Rainy City by Andrew D Devenney

PDF: $6

Print: $12

A VISITOR’S GUIDE TO THE RAINY CITY is a system-agnostic RPG zine offering a complete setting playset and toolkit for GMs and players alike to mine for your own games and campaign settings or drop into a campaign as is. Spice up your roleplaying with the weirdness, whimsy, and wickedness of the Rainy City – a doomed fantasy metropolis at the end of the world – where the wizards jealously guard their rotting magical tomes, the gargoyles are always watching, the thieves are on the prowl, and the rains never stop.”

DELVE: A Solo Game of Digging Too Deep by Anna Blackwell

PDF: $4

Print: $10

DELVE: A Solo Game Of Digging Too Deep is a solo map drawing game that puts you in control of a dwarven hold as you discover the horrors that lurk below. This 24 page A5 zine has everything you need to generate natural formations, forgotten ruins, enemies, wyrd magics, and ancient monstrosities. It has a simple turn-based combat system, rules for building your hold, and tips on how to implement your hold into your RPG world.”

Disk Horse #1: Off to the Races by FM Geist

PDF: $5

Print: $12

Disk Horse is a spectacular spectacular combining elements of procedural generation, (including of resolution mechanics) with a Powered by the Apocalypse core probably unrecognizable to Meguey and Vincent Baker. The core conceit is replicating a historical game where the originator of the idea that the worlds most popular roleplaying game disconnects you from reality–and precursor to later adherents who argued it teaches you magic or makes you a thrall to satanic forces–paid a DM to run a game for him; in case you are wondering the play report doesn’t sound like the world’s most popular roleplaying game. This is a game built on the following premise: a gaming table where an investigator is trying to bait their (paid, unprepared, with the wrong book) DM into proving the game ’causes’ a social ill and bystander players is a dynamic situation that can play out a lot of ways. I started making tables and moves, the game sort of wrote itself and is finished (~10k words) and in the process of being laid out but i intend to expand non-core aspects through this Kickstarter.”

Gourmet Street: Fantasy Street Food Adventuring Zine by John Gregory

PDF: $5

Print: $10

Gourmet Street is a setting that can be plopped directly into any world or adventure and serves up an extra side of gonzo fantasy. Populated with street vendors serving every possible food you can conceive as well as a fascinating accoutrement of  culinary artifacts, edible monsters, and bizarre dishes.

However, under the greasy facade of delectable dishes, a war is brewing.  Food-factions wage secret war in the smokey shadows and slippery alleys, vying for power and struggling to make their own culinary manifestos the main dish of Gourmet Street.”

Kozmik Objects & Entities by Nate Treme

PDF: $5

Print: $12

Kozmik Objects & Entities is a zine (that means a small book) featuring places and beings that adventurers can encounter in Deep Space! A garden asteroid, an abandoned space station, a black hole trading port, a sentient nebula, feuding space cults, and more! This system-neutral zine is meant to be used with the space-faring tabletop RPG of your choice. Games like ITLOAGSTroikaOffworldersMothership, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, and Space Goblins.

Night Reign RPG by Oli Jeffery

PDF: $7

Print: $11

Night Reign is a tabletop roleplaying game of stealth, guile, violence and devilry. You are a member of the Red Right Hand, a disgraced intelligence agency fighting a guerrilla war against covetous noble houses in the streets and atop the rooftops of Laenfendport, an Edwardian fantasy metropolis.

Based on Trophy Gold – which is also Kickstarting right now! – , Night Reign adapts that game’s push your luck mechanics, fragile characters and costly sorcery to tales of revolution and vengeance from the shadows, with innovative card based mechanics that to push the theme and feel of stealth gameplay home. As part of Kickstarter’s ZineQuest 2 campaign, you’ll get a complete RPG in zine form, with a capsule setting of faux-Edwardian urban dark fantasy that will appeal to fans of DishonoredThief, and Blades in the Dark. “

Our Queen Crumbles: A Weird-Fantasy RPG by Jason Brown

PDF: $5

Print: $10

Our Queen Crumbles is a collaborative storytelling game for 2-4 players about revenge, inevitable death, and saying goodbye to those you love. It is set in the weird-fantasy land of Halloway, where the dead whisper to those who listen and the fundamental forces of nature can be bent to your will. The game is meant to be played in a single sitting, and is focused on developing interesting and dynamic characters over the course of a few hours—no matter your roleplaying experience.”

Two RPG Zines: Marsh Goons & Tempered Legacy by David Schirduan

PDF: $10

Print: $20

Marsh Goons by Joe Banner. A Tabletop RPG mud-crawl using the elegant “Tunnel Goons” rules. It’s like a hex-crawl but every freaking mile is a dirty, grimy, sweaty trial. The zine is a complete package: rules, adventure, new magic system, items, NPCs, monsters, locations, quest hooks, and more.

 Tempered Legacy by David Schirduan and Dave Cox. Magical weapons, armor, and items with a twist: You unlock the powers of previous owners by fulfilling their old regrets. The zine includes contributions from several prominent designers, additional rules, and advice on incorporating Tempered Items into your games.”

Under the Floorboards by Chris Bissette

PDF: $8

Print: $16

Under The Floorboards is a tabletop roleplaying game for 2-5 players about tiny people living in a giant, hostile world, inspired by The Borrowers. The focus of the game is very story-driven, with an emphasis on collaborative storytelling and worldbuilding over stats and crunch.

Build your family and the house in which they live, then embark on an expedition into the land of giants in order to collect the things you need to survive – without being seen.”

Winter Harvest

PDF: $7

Print: $15

“Winter Harvest is a small tabletop role-playing game set in a small world. Players will take on the role of woodland animals who are protecting each other and their shared home over the four seasons by drawing on the power of community and memories passed on through oral history. In the final Winter session, players share a Midwinter feast that occurs both in-game and in real life! The table will tell the story of their year together, turning successes and failures into part of the world’s lore for future generations to call upon. “


And thats it! 10 cool looking zines that caught my eye. I think the premises are largely strong enough that I don’t need to sing their praises further, or add comments of my own. Hope you all have been having as much fun with this as I have. Happy zine hunting!

ZINEQUEST(Part 2)

Holy shit, has it been a week since my last post already? Madness. My personal list has changed and grown, but I’m not in the mood to rehash things I’ve already talked about quite yet. At the current rate, I’m guessing I’ll have one or two more posts highlighting cool projects I’ve seen, and after it’s all done and over with I’ll do some math, add some charts, and talk about what my final list ended up looking like. In the meantime, here are some cool projects that caught my eye since part 1.

Let me also preface: There is waaaaaaay too much cool stuff to talk about it all. At current post there are 145 Zinequest projects. So if I don’t mention a project here its not because it isn’t great or worth your time. If you prefer to see a list of everything that’s out there, I’ve put one together here.

On with the show!

Barrow Keep: Den of Spies by R. Rook Studios

PDF: $7

Print: $11

Barrow Keep is a low-prep, old-school setting driven by playbooks and adaptable, easy-to-run scenarios. You play the young residents of the Keep, coming of age while dealing with mysteries, treacheries, and intrigues.”

I’ve played this one! It’s really good. Barrow Keep uses playbooks Beyond the Wall style to create fascinating social connections and obligations, building an NPC map for the GM along the way. Highly recommended.

Cold Iron by Joshua Mann

PDF: $5

Print: $10

“Cold Iron is a complete tabletop role-playing game, including rules, a setting, a handful of classes, and two short sample adventures, all contained in a single, 44 to 48-page zine. The rules are simple enough to grasp even if you aren’t familiar with other TTRPGs. They are designed to encourage a variety of problem-solving approaches — from diplomacy, to physical acumen, to outright violence — under a unified rule set that requires very few “special case” rules, while still allowing specific player actions to have granular effect.”

Faerie tale beginnings with a focus on mediation and diplomacy as well as the usual combat. This hits close to my interests, my aesthetic, and my personal projects. VERY intrigued.

Deep Nightly Fathoms by Trinity Knot Studio

PDF: $13

Print: $20

Deep Nightly Fathoms is a role-playing game about exploring dark, dangerous dreamscapes inspired by the beautiful engravings of XIX century artist Gustave Doré.

In this game player characters will dive into the Kingdom of Night in search of that which they’ve lost: a missing love, an heirloom, a truth. The Dream Master will portray dark landscapes and the denizens that dwell in its depths.”

Beautiful art courtesy of an old master, dream delvings, and a cool creator. 3 for 3 in my book!

DIRT RPG by Lars White

PDF: $8

Print: $12

Dirt is a tabletop roleplaying game about survival and discovery in a post-apocalyptic world of what may have once been considered a classic fantasy setting.  Dirt is a stand-alone zine containing all the information you need to play. However, you can also pick and choose elements from the zine to use in other games.”

Similar premise as Dark Sun with a cool aesthetic, stylized art, and none of the baggage? Yes please!

i’m sorry did you say street magic by Caro Asercion

PDF: $10

Print: $20

i’m sorry did you say street magic is a citybuilding storygame, where players collaboratively explore a city that they create together. Each turn, a player adds to the city either a Neighborhood, a Landmark, or a Resident, nesting cards inside of each other to showcase and spotlight the relationship between the city’s inhabitants, and the places where they live. These cards are then complicated by Events that take place in the city: festivals, elections, ceremonies, natural disasters, mysteries, or discoveries that change the flow and focus of play. As you play cards, you unearth the city’s true names — quirks and qualities that make this place wholly, intrinsically unique.”

Seems like a take on Microscope focusing on building a magic city. I LOVE worldbuilding games, and this hits the mark. Plus the art is stunning.

Oligarchy by Eli Kurtz

PDF: $10

Print: $20

“Oligarchy is a game of political folly, Rooted in Trophy. You play as rotten bastards: corrupt politicians, decadent aristocrats, and other greedy elites. You are each determined to maximize your own wealth and comfort while your actions tear society apart around you. Eventually, society will tolerate your abuses no more. But the iron confidence that is your privileged birthright makes you certain you will avoid that doom. You’ll do anything to make sure you get yours (and get away with it).

Using a fantasy horror framework to build a game about oligarchs spiraling to ruin is inspired. Not something I would have ever thought of, but obvious once I heard the premise. Always a sign of a great new idea!

One of Us: Sideshow Salvation in a Dystopian Dustbowl by Tim Deschene

PDF: $5

Print: $10

“Influenced by shows like Carnivale and literature in the vein of Something Wicked This Way ComesOne of Us will put the players into the roles of traveling circus performers in the service of The Madame — a shadowy and cryptic patron who directs the PCs to find and return artifacts of the old world. One of Us will feature new character classes, profession tables, and quick performance rules for when the characters are trying to win over a crowd.  A short adventure set in the world after the Big Mistake will get your new campaign rolling. “

I have a longstanding love for 1800’s/early 1900’s Americana horror. Harrow County is one of my favorite comic series. Mr. Shivers is one of my favorite horror novels. This looks to be a great entry into the genre!

PRIMEVAL by Lone Archivist

PDF: $5

Print: $15

The year is 30XX. You are part of a special task force gathered by the megacorp TAKAHASHI ADVANCED GENETICS, often referred to as ‘The Company’. One of their chief scientists and researchers has failed to respond to her last two check-ins. Since then, no one at The Company has been able to raise her nor any of the personnel housed at the research facility.

It’s the first 3rd party Mothership adventure. Layout previews look good. Honestly thats enough for me. I’ve been on a sci fi horror streak lately and this looks to scratch that itch perfectly.

Snake People: A Post-Apocalyptic Story Game by Ruth Tillman

PDF: $5

Print: $10

“In Snake People, players craft a story of mortality and hope. Choose your species, then follow the game’s prompts and questions to tell your character’s story, imagine a world they inhabit, and consider their legacies.”

Regardless of the rest, this is here because Ruth Tillman’s work on Cthulhu Confidential was brilliant. But also it looks like a clever game of hope in the face of disaster and I kinda need that right now. Also? Evlyn Moreau art!

Snow and Salt: Monsters from the Taiga & Mangrove by Danielle Osterman

PDF: $7

Print: $14

“The full title of each zine is A Treatise Upon the Unique and Interesting Observations Made Whilst Traversing the [Biome]. We’ve gone for the feel of an 18th/19th century zoological journal, not to valourise European colonial history but to poke fun at it: every entry is from an unreliable narrator.”

In world unreliable bestiaries are always a great thing. This one is for terrain that doesn’t get mentioned nearly as often in fantasy rpgs. And this one has a great set of authors on it.

Sunken by Mike Martens

PDF: $8

Print: $13

Drown Your Heroes.

The stories we tell are often not of gallant survivors but of the hard-pressed, star-crossed crestfallen. They are the poetry of the broken and the inhuman breakers: haunting things, deep and dark and bellowing things, unfathomable things that consume all that edges to their precipice.

Sunken is a tabletop roleplaying game about these things.”

Well thats one way to open up a kickstarter! Evocative pitch for a genre I already like. This definitely fills the space for The Terror RPG I’d been thinking about.

The New Tales of Oz by Mids Meinberg

PDF: $5

Print: $12

The New Tales of Oz is an RPG set in the peculiar land of Oz. You take on the role of a new generation of familiar archetypes, exploring the many bizarre things in Oz. The New Tales of Oz will be published as a 32-page, saddle-stitched zine and a digital PDF, brought to life by the illustrations from the first-edition printings of the Oz series of books.”

Oz is weird, its whimsical, and its in the public domain. I’m actually shocked there aren’t more rpgs that use this as a setting. This is also another great use of old art.

Them’s Monsters! by Joshua LH Burnett

PDF: $5

Print: $10

Q: What are those?

A: Them’s monsters!

This is delightful. What else can you expect from twitter’s greatest flumph?

They Cried Monster by Charles Ferguson-Avery

PDF: $5

Print: $10

“Based on stories like Hellboy, The Witcher, or MushishiThey Cried Monster tasks a group of world-weary Hunters to track monsters, solve mysteries, and face the ethical dilemma of protecting humanity or the monsters they have been hired to slay. Hunters must balance social standing with the settlements and locals, as well as being quick to action facing down the dangerous creatures that lurk in the wilderness.”

Morals & Monsterhunters by the artist behind World War Occult. Yes please!

You Got a Job on the Garbage Barge by Amanda Lee Franck

PDF: $5

Print: $12

“The Garbage Barge has been slogging up and down the coast for years, putting into port and accepting unwanted things in exchange for gas to keep the tugboats running. It is a towering, leaking wreck, and it’s your home. You are a wizard or a pirate radio operator or a raccoon or a barge worker, or maybe you raise goats in the listing high rise that’s been dumped on the stern. Things grow in the trash. Chemicals are leaching out of rusted barrels, growing legs, and setting off to seek their fortune. Beetles tell you their life stories, raccoons steal your pens. Something in a diving suit disappears into oil-slick bilge water in search of baroque pearls. A forest of rebar sings in the salt wind. Out past the gas lake, there’s a town on fire. It’s been like that as long as anyone can remember. They say that no matter how far into the trash you go, it keeps going.”

“Work your carcass till it breaks! Yard after yard of the rusty chain!”… oh sorry what was that? I’ve been listening to the song from the video for lifetimes now. So good. A lot of projects look wonderful. This one feels like it was designed for me. This was an instaback.


So there you have it! 15 interesting projects that hit my radar. I encourage you to check out the full list if you want to see what else has been going on, because the creative output from our community has been staggering. It’s a wonderful time to be into RPG’s. Happy Zinequest everyone!