I am a huge fan of mechs and their amazing pilots. I love to watch their heroics on the news; I visit when pilots come to my town; I own multiple letterman jackets emblazoned with mech pilots’ insignias. I’m burdened with the dream of piloting and eclipsed by the fear that I will never be more than a spectator. I love that which is unfathomably above me, as they exchange Laser Beams Like So Many Stars.
A figure stands in an ancient ruin, bare feet on crumbling stone to make it easier to leap and climb. Her gown is far too fine, representing her dual heritage as the daughter of two kingdoms, bitter rivals only joined through her. Her sword, much too dark, hungers for legacy, fame, immortality via story and myth.
At the princess’ coming of age ceremony, an uninvited guest gifted her with a sword, then vanished, laughing, into smoke. She cannot put it down until she finds the place it came from.
The single page roleplaying game certainly has a place in the industry. Some of them have become very popular, and some have even won awards. All of them take on the challenge of game design with an eye towards keeping rules lite and tight, trying to do more with less and deliver a focused experience. From a publishing perspective, though, there are problems. If you want a physical version, you’re printing the PDF or whatever out at home. Publishers aren’t going to do a print-run for a game on a single piece of paper, right? Well, maybe they just needed strength in numbers, because the Tiny Tome project is going to bring us 50 single-page roleplaying games in a neat book curated and published by Long Tail Games!
Practicing a new (and literally newer than most) language via a roleplaying game. The exchange between the distance between two people and the people themselves. A doomed mech pilot trying to help the survivors of their people reach safety. Delving in the darkness, maybe never to return. Saving the Jewish people by masquerading as Queens. We’ve done it once, twice, thrice, and four times before, let’s check out one last batch of Zine Month games and make it five, then have a serious talk about itchfunding!
Artificial intelligences trapped in a video game. A baker’s dozen of bounty hunters. High adventure on the high seas. A quantum camping trip. The story of a skyship through the ages. We’re more than halfway through Zine Month 2022 and… nowhere near halfway through covering every project, gosh, who could? But we’ve got another five of them that are worth your time and quite possibly your money, so let’s count it off with Round Up # one, two, ah one, two, three, Four!
Sending messages to someone you’ll never see again across growing interstellar distances. A giant whirlpool crawling with pirates. A bar crawl on the borderlands. Trying to make sure your people don’t fall off the map. A rescue mission into an environmentally hostile forest chock full of horrible mutants and dragon cultists. A veritable library of zines. Zine Month ’22 continues onward at a typically breakneck pace, although maybe that’s just the time dilation we’re all going through… nevermind! You’ve had two rounds of ZiMo content already, so how about a third?
Diving into a sea of dreams to pluck secrets from memories. Goblins going grocery shopping and making a mess of it. Horrible abominations made by scientists who say ‘who’s playing?’ when accused of playing god. A mirror-themed adventure that would have Link and Samus feeling right at home. Death metal Viking cats. Zine Month continues. and so does our coverage! Given the contents of this particular round up and a bit more time to ruminate on things, I’ve got some Thoughts about Zine Month itself and its relationship to Kickstarter… but we can talk about those later! You’re here for the zines, so let’s see what we’ve got!
A John Carpenter-flavored horror adventure that moves from the Antarctic to a 90s mall. Climbing a holy mountain to beg for mercy from the gods. Dark age peasants stumbling upon sci-fi tunnels, and the change that discovery brings. Dark metal fantasy with most of the metal used to build giant robots. A slumber party pillow fight where letting yourself be vulnerable is more important than winning. It’s Zine Month 2022, so let’s start seeing what tabletop roleplaying zines are making their crowdfunding run!
“You are a bug. There is little time to comprehend what this means to you. Life is brutally short and brief, full of amazing colors and creatures that will dazzle, trap, and kill you in an instant. The ground shakes, your world turns upside down, and everything begins to spin. But there is one place of solace for you in the constant flux of chaos, the peaceful Cuticorium. No insect remembers where it came from, but the longer you stay around this place, the more you begin to think for yourself instead of just trying to survive from moment to moment.” This is the RPG about a small insectoid world with big secrets and dramatic connections, Cuticorium by Ulysses Duckler!
I’m a fan of games with some heft to them. Rules and procedures are the elements of role-playing games which enable them to generate bigger, more interesting stories than the players could have come up with themselves. Unfortunately, rules-heavy and procedure-heavy games are stuck with a long history of taking up the mechanics of their wargame-based forebears without a great reason to do so. Rules and procedures can be so much more than physics engines and combat mechanics, after all. What if your game built out rules and procedures that were distinctly literary in origin? Imagine that the game not only traces out the course of your story, but also gives you procedures for establishing your own symbolism within the story. It’s quite possible that the game you’re imagining looks a lot like Nicolas ‘Gulix’ Ronvel’s Facing the Titan.