The Zine Quest Work Has Just Begun

If you have been following along, then you will be glad to know that we have been busy covering Zine Quest. In this article, we talk to some of the creators who are launching zines through Kickstarter’s Zine Quest initiative. Let’s talk to these creative people to discover what prompted them to create their zine.

By way of quick introductions, let’s go ahead and list all the folks, their zine, and when it dropped up front and then we will get to the heart of the questions. In no particular order:

  • Epistolary Richard (Richard Williams): The Playmakers (Feb 5th) The Playmakers is a unique look at public roleplaying today. It's a collection of new interviews with key people within tabletop roleplaying who create great spaces for others to play.
  • Drew Meger: What Happened at Wyvern Rock? (Feb 1st) It's a zine about bringing the world of High Strangeness to High Fantasy settings. We're talking UFOs, alien abduction, cryptids, and other weirdness that can't be easily cataloged in a monster manual.
  • Chris O’Neill: Kobolds Ate My Baby! 20th Anniversary AND Mazes RPG (Feb 5th, 12th)
    • For KAMB - 100% real authentically fake reproduction of the 1999 cult classic beer & pretzels RPG - in the original ZINE format!!!
    • For MAZES – Its time to get back to the dungeon - Adventure like it's 1979, Game like it's 2019! #ZineQuest
  • Thom Wilson: Gamma Zine (Feb 1st) "Do you still play Gamma World or another post-apocalyptic, science fiction RPG? Do you wish there was more material for the games you play? Well, here's an answer to your wish!”
  • Drew Cochran: Harrowings From The Rime (Feb 1st) "An RPG Zine to steal your soul!" The theme and focus is ARCTIC FANTASY HORROR
  • Sam Hotchkiss: Skill Points (Feb 5th) A zine about learning through playing RPGs
  • Bill Edmunds: Black Dragon (Feb 26th) Black Dragon is a 24-32 page 5.5" x 8.5" article-driven 'zine for pre-3e D&D games and their derivatives, inspired by the old 'zines you used to pick up at gaming conventions in the early-mid 1980s.
  • James Plunkett: Ascension, the Codex of Immortals (Feb 20th) The Zine will focus on epic / immortal games for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition: portraits of the gods, their foes, and the epic conflicts between them.
  • Ed Jowett: The Era Zone (Feb 1st) The Era Zone offers brand new support material for each of our existing tabletop RPGs, as well as setting-neutral "Sci-Fi Bestiary" entries from our "Encounters on the Edge of Space" collection.
  • John McGuire: Love’s Labour’s Liberated (Feb 1st) In the spirit of Valentine's, the zine will focus on the more roleplaying side of things, with a focus on Chivalry, Enchanters, and Love.
EN World (ENW): Will you have an ensemble of creators or just one voice in the zine?

  • John McGuire: There are three of us creating the content within the zine: novelist, John McGuire, poet, Leland Beauchamp, and RPG journalist, Egg Embry.
  • Ed Jowett: There are several creators, all experienced GMs and creators who work with Shades of Vengeance. Ed Jowett, Heike Priwitzer and Fred Harvey are the main writers and, as always, Alexander Korchnev and Keith Draws have used their artistic talents to make it look fantastic!
  • James Plunkett: At the moment it is just me. I hope the Kickstarter will help get this project off the ground and I can add more voices in the future. I really enjoy collaborating and working to a common goal with a group of interesting and talented people.
  • Bill Edmunds: Just me!
  • Drew Cochran: We have several creators!
ENW: Do you currently publish a fanzine? Have you wanted to publish one in the past, or is this a new interest?

  • Thom Wilson: I have previously produced seven issues of a quarterly B/X fanzine, Back to BasiX. The 8th issue is due out in March.
  • Chris O’Neill: We do not make a fanzine – but have made lots of zines, as our original publication method for role-playing games was all 90s DIY. For us, the timing was too good – as our first published zine game was KAMB and she turns 20 this year. Mazes just feels right in a zine.
  • Drew Meger: I don't - this is my first zine proposal. I have done a few pamphlets in the past, but they were mainly aimed at confusing tourists in the mode of John Hodgman's Areas of My Expertise.
  • Epistolary Richard (Richard Williams): No I don't currently publish. This is new.
  • Sam Hotchkiss: This is my first time publishing a zine, and my first Kickstarter!
ENW: Do you think Kickstarter’s initiative will lead to an RPG zine renaissance? Do you plan to do more zines?

  • John McGuire: I think that it will show that there are all sorts of ways to get new content, new perspectives on games and gaming than any of the current routes. As to whether we would do more, I think that all depends on how well this one goes.
  • Ed Jowett: I plan to make as many zines as I can. I don't think that the need to support games goes away once people have a Core Rulebook, a feeling I have expressed many times in the past! This is a tremendous opportunity to show our true commitment to supporting both Kickstarter and our games!
  • James Plunkett: It is hard to tell. I am new to both Kickstarter and publishing, so I am just not familiar with the impact this initiative could have in the industry. I certainly hope it inspires more people to get out there and share their ideas. I do plan on doing more zines, but I want to see how this one goes first!
  • Bill Edmunds: I sincerely hope it leads to a renaissance in zines; I am sure a handful of creators taking part in this initiative will use funds raised above their goal to continue publishing. I would love to do more zines in a similar vein to Black Dragon!
  • Drew Cochran: We really hope so! This format of content is really great for a lot of reasons, and we are most definitely planning to do more issues.
ENW: As a fan, what is your interest in old school fanzine? How does it speak to you as a creator?

  • Thom Wilson: I like the look and feel of old zines - the simplistic format of old systems and straight-forward content that can be put to use right away. Also, an inexpensive supplement that's hyper-focused on one particular genre or system is useful for GMs and players.
  • Chris O’Neill: The zine format really cuts to the baseline of a DIY creator movement like Kickstarter. Zines really open the gates to creators – you don’t have to be super polished – you just need from bravery and access to a printer. When we made our first game and printed it out and folded and stapled it – I was ecstatic. Holding that zine was the moment we were a company. I think that feeling for a lot of creators now is launching their first Kickstarter.
  • Drew Meger: One of the things that drew me to this project is that the zine was also fundamental to the spread of UFOlogy back in the day. Just as war gamers would discuss new ideas, share findings, and argue over details in the pages of locally produced zines, UFO researchers would do the same. I would not be surprised to see crossover between the two fan bases (in fact, I'm counting on it for a successful launch!). We know that Gygax was interested in working in science fiction elements into his fantasy campaigns (think Expedition to the Barrier Peaks or the inclusion of the Derro as a monster race) and I suspect that if an old school gamer subscribed to multiple zines then some might have had a few flying saucers on the covers.
  • Epistolary Richard (Richard Williams): Physical zines essentially got killed off by online blogs. Instead of having to finance the production and then sell it yourself at conventions to get your thoughts out there, zine editors could just write a new post for this blog and get their words out there for free. But, just as many things went online, making it easier and more accessible, removing the physicality, made it less special. The effort that zine editors had to go to showed their commitment and their passion for their material in a way that even a consciously updated blog can't.
  • Sam Hotchkiss: As a student of RPG history, I've always had an appreciation for the zines of the '70s and how they paved the way for the growth of our industry. Zines have a much lower barrier to entry than publishers do, and in that way they preceded rise of the Internet and independent publishing. Lifting up other designers is something I'm very passionate about, and in that spirit I've worked with some new designers and marginalized creators for this zine.
Egg and Sean want to thank each of these creators for taking the time to talk to us! All Kickstarter’s Zine Quest projects can be seen here. Both of the authors of the article have zines of their own on Kickstarter: Sean and Egg. The Zine Quest initiative has sparked a great deal of creativity and we encourage folks to peruse the zines and check them out for themselves!

If you like what we do here at EN World (the Forums, Columns, News, ENnies, etc) and would like to help support us to bring you MORE please consider supporting our Patreon. Even a single dollar helps! This article was contributed by Sean Hillman and Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program.

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Sean Hillman

Sean Hillman

Excellent interview and informative. This is a Golden Era for gaming, and I'm excited for it. The proliferation of 'zines will do nothing but help the hobby. Good on you, guys1


These campaigns are really bringing back memories of 'zines at the local game stores, poorly photocopied and unevenly stapled, but full of so much great RPG goodness. I have gladly backed a few.

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