I unfortunately missed the golden age of zines. I knew they existed, but by the time I found ones I might actually want to subscribe to, the internet had taken over and made them obsolete.
Or so I thought. Currently Kickstarter is running a zine challenge, and there are loads of them available for backing. Here are two that caught my eye, mostly because they involve games.
The Fan Favorite: A Masks RPG Zine
An old-school fan-made, DIY collaborative RPG Zine for Masks: A New Generation, by Magpie Games.
So let me be up front about this one. I have contributed a story to this one, so I have a stake in whether or not it funds. As of writing this they are already funded, so it’s happening either way.
Masks is probably the most fun I have ever had playing an RPG, and fun in a way that didn’t require a great deal of work to make amazing. Rather than focus on class, abilities, and lots of granular stats, Masks starts your character by choosing an archetype. So instead of thinking ‘what can I do?’ your focus in the game is ‘how do I get what I want?’ which really is what you want a character in a story to be asking, if your goal is to create a compelling story.
And a compelling story we had. Two seasons worth. (We tend to refer to our play sessions as episodes, and campaigns as seasons. We even choose actors to play NPCs.) I chronicled our second campaign here, as Titan Academy. We played them almost back to back, we were so enchanted with the game. It’s easy to run, easy to play, and a complete blast.
So when they started asking for contributors, well, I had to try and get involved. So I have a short story included in the zine, which I hope to expand and add to my creations. The zine will also include things to make your game even more awesome, and I can’t wait to see what I can glean from its pages.
Girl Underground — Zine Quest
A tabletop RPG about a curious girl in a wondrous world, for telling stories like Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz.
Girl Underground is based on the same rule system as Masks, Powered by the Apocalypse (or pbta). This one is focusing on curious girl stories, which I think is an amazing theme. I love these stories, and I’m excited to try playing them with the people in my play group, who have fantastic imaginations and lots of literary memories.
I think I will see if they are willing to go dark, like Pan’s Labyrinth, or magical, like The Secret Garden. However we end up playing it, the concept of taking turns playing the girl, much the way Bluebeard’s Bride has players taking control of the main character appeals to me.
When I first read “curious girl” I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure there were enough stories in this category to consider it a genre. And then the more I thought about it, the more of them popped into my head. Here’s what I have so far.
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Wizard of Oz
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- The Secret Garden
- Peter Pan
I’m sure there are more that I’m missing. But you get the idea. I would love to play an RPG in any of those worlds.
So, hunt through the zines for a blast from the past, and pick a few to back. The challenge is extending all through February.