Well, it’s time for the very last Zine Quest update I’ll be doing. The month of February is over, and this caps the final week where eligible zines were released. It’s been an insane month. I’ve never backed so many Kickstarters in all my life, I’ve never been in a Kickstarter before, and I think this tops my largest dollar contributions ever, too. Wild stuff.
As with last week’s installment, I’m going to format soon-to-expire campaigns with ***BOLD FACE and asterisks to indicate their imminent closure. Be sure to triple-check your pledges on those. Everything else has more than 7 days remaining, but given that the month is over at this point, a lot of the campaigns will be coming to a close sooner rather than later. Since I won’t be doing another round-up post, I would suggest peeking in on all of these campaigns and making your decisions so you don’t miss any and get left out in the cold.
Alright then: Let’s get to looking at OSR-type-things!
NEW THIS WEEK
- The Tomb of Black Sand – Jacob Hurst and the team behind the Hot Springs Island books are back with a lich-filled dungeon. Let me break it down for you: maps by Karl Stjernberg, editing by Fiona Maeve Geist, and a cover by DANIEL R. HORNE. Why are you still here? Back this. I did, at the $15 level, in the very first seconds it was available.
- Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Returns – One of the most beloved zines of the entire history of the OSR is Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, which brings the bitchin’ metal aesthetic of DCC RPG into sharp focus. It’s always been a star-studded affair, and it is this time too. This campaign enables three issues of the zine, and includes work from Luka Rejec, Craig Brasco, Wayne Snyder, Edgar Johnson, Adam Muskiewicz, Doug Kovacs, Diogo Nogueira, and others. It’s gonna be nuts. I backed this at the first $15 limited number tier.
- Draugr & Draculas – Josh Burnett, who has done work on QAGS for Hex Games and has published his own DCC zine Crepuscular in the past, is bringing us an OSR horror supplement about vampires, undead vikings, and Elizabeth Bathory. I’m not kidding about any of that. It does exactly what it sais on the tin. I am a fan of Josh’s work on Crepuscular, so I suspect this will have a similar level of utility and the occasional wry humor. I backed this one at the digital level.
- Lost Classes & Cannibal Corpses – Two zines from the folks at the Gamers & Grognards blog under the new imprint “Appendix N Entertainment.” Both zines are intended for OD&D, but naturally will convert to your preferred OSR flavor with a few seconds on Google. The first zine is a collection of two classes from David Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign that didnt make the cut for inclusion in OD&D: the Merchant and the Sage. The second zine is a dungeon module called Solar Sanctuary of the Cannibal Corpse. Several well-known artists are involved on this project. I backed at the $8 PDF pair level.
- Black Dragon OSR Zine – A “general interest” sort of zine that kind of feels like a fan-made Dragon Magazine (which I think is the point). It covers everything from helpful generators to a retrospective on 1970s-1980s Ral Partha minis, from articles on the whys and whats of dwarven magic to a new OSR class called The Marksman. Seems to be promising a classified ads section, just like the zines and magazines of old? I haven’t backed this one yet.
- Wizard Burial Ground – This one is kind of a stretch, but the language in the campaign spoke to me on a deep level, and since it’s my blog, I get to go wild and crazy like this. Wizard Burial Ground is self-described as “prog rock inspired dungeonpunk” and aims to just let go of common sanity and go whole hog on the weird and magical. It’s trying to be the zine version of a van mural where a wizard rides a panther into combat with a topless harpy wielding a scepter while Yes plays in the background. That’s my speed. It seems system-agnostic and suitable for all fantasy RPGs. I backed this at the digital tier.
- Beneath the Canals – This is the Kickstarter I am a part of. I wrote an entire article about it! This project is really about pushing information density to its (fun) limits and making as much gameable info available to DMs as possible within very strict constraints. We unlocked every single stretch goal we had and Michael had to go find some new ones and most of those are already cleared again. We’ve unlocked half the Twitter RPG design community at this point, plus big name folk like Fiona Maeve Geist, Zedeck Siew, and Donn Stroud. A print run is now within reach, which is insane and we never expected. Please back this so we can do even wilder stuff; at this point we’re at nine covers and 27+ pages of content from a ton of creators and all of that is packed with art and gameable lore in a format we’re confident will be SUPER good at the table. System-agnostic but very much designed with old-school games as the default assumption. Go back it for as little as a dollar – even I put $7 towards my own damn thing.
- Master of the Rogue Spire – Lemme hit you with this pitch: three booklets like the old Gygax white box, a complete RPG and setting built in, sweet black and white artwork that blends 1970s fantasy art and 1980s JRPG style, designed to play a lot like high-stakes old-school gaming, in an incredibly slick package – and a suite of digital VTT assets and tokens. This has to be one of the most put-together (but also, most expensive!) products of the month. Frankly, it barely counts as a zine and I think they know they’re pushing the line here because it’s absolutely a much bigger deal than that. But they’re funded already, so you can get in on this and unlock the few remaining stretch goals and have yourself what looks to be a pretty cool game! I have not yet backed this.
- The Isle of the Amazons – A setting zine for OSR games designed by BAMFsies Award winner Eric Bloat, as well as author Michele Lee. Most of the art is by Dan Smith, but some of the art is by James V. West, who I adore, and cartography is by Dyson Logos, who I adore. The project is based around – you guessed it – a dangerous island full of Amazons. The package includes seven new Amazon-based player classes for OSR games, a full description of the Amazon capital city and culture, and so on. The project is exclusive to Kickstarter and will supposedly never be released again. I have not backed this yet.
- Terror of the Stratosfiend – A sort of DOOM-like module for Dungeon Crawl Classics, this is a supplement designed to pit players armed with horrible living shotguns, satellite bombardment spellcasting, and laser chainsaws against portals spewing gigantic demonic aliens all over the surface of the world. It looks to have lovely art by 2-headed giant (that is a person, a pseudonym) and it appears to be going to Goodman Games for final approval shortly, with production otherwise already well underway. Glynn Seal, of the Midderlands, is doing the mapping LAYOUT (corrected 17 Feb 2019 @ 1602CST) for this project. I have backed this project at the $12 level.
- *** Mothership: A Pound of Flesh – This campaign is for the new Mothership module by Sean McCoy, Chance Phillips, and Donn Stroud (alphabetically listed, sorry Donn). Mothership is one of the best things to come out of RPGs in the last few years. I have reviews coming, but in the meantime, don’t worry about it and just buy this so you can see what visual design should be like. I am backer #8 on this at the $21 level so you know exactly how I feel about it.
- *** The Compleat Beastman – This author likes beastmen. A lot. This author is super stoked on centaurs, minotaurs, you name it. The first issue – purely about centaurs and their immediate cousins like the donkeytaur – is ready to go, according to the campaign text, and is looking for art funding. But why stop there? The author also gives us several stretch goals for additional issues. There is a long, very imaginative list of other beastmen that the zine may incorporate as it gets funded, which I encourage you to browse if only for the sheer inspiration of it. Constrictormen! Meroctopodes! Tapirtaurs! I have not backed this one yet.
- *** Harrowings from the Rime – This is attempting to be OSR-compatible (though they say they’re also including their own rules-lite system The Epic of Dreams) and focuses on arctic fantasy horror. It aims to include a bestiary of the arctic wastes, fiction, a boss monster/villain character, a treasure table of some kind, a hexmap survival scenario for OSR games, an ice labyrinth adventure borrowed from an unreleased space fantasy setting for OSR games, and a mummy’s keep adventure based on random tables for OSR games. They mention the OSR a lot in this campaign, alongside the words storytelling and drama and also their own rules-lite system, so it’s hard to figure out what’s-what, exactly. I have not backed this yet.
- *** The Old World Zine – A mostly system-agnostic zine built around playing in the sort of “grim and perilous” worlds of WHFRP 1e, Zweihander, and also playing in those worlds using PbtA. A little borderline for this list, but there’s a significant crossover of WHFRP/Zweihander nerds with OSR nerds, so here we are.
- Strange New World Gazetteer – Billing itself as “weird colonial roleplaying”, this is an OSR framework for a bizarro version of 1600s-1700s America where witches are real, strange monsters lurk in the endless dark woods, and gouts of hellfire burst up through seams in the earth itself. The creators state this is strictly OSR and compatible with S&W, BECMI, B/X, and AD&D – but, unsurprisingly for this sort of era and content, their home system is LotFP. Tons of content look to be included: new world witchcraft, monster hunters, weird Appalachia, new races, you name it. I backed this one at the $5 mark initially, but upgraded to the $10 mark later.
- Desert Dwellers – Does what it says on the tin: a small, inexpensive desert monster bestiary for OSR games. Comes with S&W statblocks. For every $100 above its very modest funding goal, this Kickstarter will add a new monster. There is only one reward tier. I backed this.
- Ghostlike Crime – This is a strange one. It’s for DCC, but takes place in a modern dystopia full of cryptids and weird paranormal technology. Not your average DCC! I’m not sure how I missed this before, but I did. My bad. It’s here now!
- For Glory #1: The Hexanomicon – A zine to generate a hexcrawl for DCC. This is a big one. I was immediately taken in by the stickers (you use stickers on a blank hex map to generate the finished hex map) and I love the depth of the generators. This creates zones, hex contents, even monsters! It’s got a breadth of generation tables to keep things interesting. I backed this at the $18 level because I want those stickers.
- Temple of the Blood Moth – An OSR dungeoncrawl zine. This has it all: mutants, blood-fueled machinery, evil cults, dead gods, new monsters, and of course a 31-room dungeon spread across four areas. Simple, classic content. Weird, dark art. I backed this immediately at the $8 print level.
- *** The Bridge of the Damned – A Torchbearer zine that I, again, shamefully missed previously. It isn’t tied to Zine Quest and it doesnt show up under searches for OSR Zine or RPG Zine, so, good job Kickstarter. I did stumble upon it anyway. This provides a setting toolkit/complete module in zine format for Torchbearer, and is run by Luke Crane and a popular Torchbearer blogger/content creator with a number of credits under his belt.
Zine Quest has been a completely wild ride. At times I wanted the deluge to stop, but I was still excited every time a new zine dropped. I’ve jokingly implied it’s killing me and other OSR people online have called it death by a thousand cuts. I know I felt that – I backed 19 Zine Quest Kickstarters this month. Backing 19 of these $5 at a time really adds up – but backing some at much higher levels REALLY adds up! But, when all is said and done, I really and sincerely hope Kickstarter does this again next year. I love the explosion of creativity, and I am happy and proud to support so many amazing nerds making amazing nerd things.
Hopefully everybody has a successful Zine Quest journey, from creators happily closing campaigns and working on fulfillment to those of us who backed books by such a broad variety of creators finally getting our hands on our just rewards! Best of luck to everyone who participated. Be sure to watch my blog over the coming months for my reviews of anything I receive from Zine Quest.
I need everyone to do me a personal favor, because I am tapped out after Zine Quest and UVG: please do not release anything important or start any Kickstarters until, like May or June. Okay? I seriously wanna keep backing people and getting cool stuff several months later but I straight up cannot. Help a possum out.
This means you, Chris Kutalik and Sean McCoy.