Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Paper RPG Zines--What Do You Want Out Of One? A FLAILSNAILS 'Zine?

I've had this urge now, growing for months, to put out a good old fashioned paper 'Zine, related to, most likely, Blood Island and/or Flailsnails stuff.  The difference between this 'zine idea and some others out there or in print already is that I will not offer it in any electronic format.  There is something about a paper 'zine, strictly in paper, that gives it a certain rarity and specialness which I find appealing.  If you missed it, you didn't get to read it.  (Not that I think any content that I put in there is exceptional in any way.)  I like the retro feel of it all too.  I was even thinking about using an old typewriter font for it, to help capture that feeling.

Anyhow, one of the classic traits of a 'zine over a traditional magazine, whether electronic or paper, or any publication with many authors, editors, contributors, artists, etc, is the sense of it being a very personal artistic/creative expression.   How this differs from places like G+ threads and message board posts or chats is that it is in a permanent form, and therefore it seems to me that more well-thought-out articles on  things of more importance to the author ought to go in it.

How it differs from a blog is something subtler to me.  Granted, a blog is here today, potentially gone tomorrow, with a few keystrokes.  But still, it acts as a permanent repository of your thoughts on matter,s just by virtue of its accessibility and search-ability, as well as its permanence at a certain URL location.  It's more permanent than posts on boards, G+ threads, newsgroups and the like, because they just stream on by and if you miss it you can't generally go back and find what was discussed on June 11, 2010 with those things.  But because it can act as a space for an expression at any time, in any place, and because whatever is going on in your head can be laid out in it, half-formed thoughts or ideas, or just random fun stuff, a blog somehow doesn't seem as serious as something you are taking the time and energy and money to write up, print out, mail out, and make a permanent part of the world we live in, like a 'zine.

I guess I'm saying that though it may seem that all these different mediums of expression can be used to say the same things, I think the things that are the truest expressions of myself and my thoughts on matters which matter most to me ought to be in the most permanent medium I can use.  To me at least, fire notwithstanding, that has always been print.  (Can you tell I'm a book lover who resents what easily accessible online info has done to the world?  But that's a topic for another post, maybe even a 'zine article. :)  )   Since I don't have a printing press, and don't want to go the whole LULU route because I want to do the printing and mailing work myself, that means a 'zine.

I don't fool myself into thinking I'll have a huge audience or make any money at it.  As long as I can cover some basic expenses and have fun doing it, I think I'll be happy. 

Other random thoughts on the matter---I've been thinking about doing a 'zine in paper format only, in the format of a pamphlet or newspaper, for the FLAILSNAILS universe.  For this one I'd solicit contributors, and all articles and submissions would be written in the voice of the Flailsnails player character, not the player.  There would be classifieds, lost and founds, news, advertisements for the FS 'verse, bounties offered, gossip, rewards posted, missions and quests listed by DM's, interviews, etc.  Anything you'd expect to see in a newspaper in the old west, circa 1860's.  Plus I'd keep a running roster of DM's and their games, game times, summary descriptions of settings, a list of players and their characters, their levels,  what system they were created under, email or G+ contact info for all of the above, a death roll for those who have fallen, obituaries, etc.  All I'd ask is that the contributors don't cross-post anything they submit to the FS 'zine, so that it keeps it's sense of being a real newspaper people look to read.

Again though, only in paper, because even though it's not personal, as I've talked about above, and has many contributors, I sort of like the idea of a paper only publication covering news and info for an online only gaming environment.  Not expecting to make any money off the thing.  I'd give any contributor a free copy.  So basically I'd likely lost my shirt with every publication.  But I think it would be fun to put one out every couple of months.  :)
Anyhow, if I get any of these things going, it would likely be around the first of the year or so.  I need to accumulate the bits and pieces of equipment, office supplies, and software I need to make this happen first.

(Random thoughts--short stories serialized over several issues of the Blood Island 'zine?  Since I have zero drawing ability, I may publish other people's artwork if they want me to in the BI 'zine. Certainly so in the FS 'zine.  It's be nice to finally get all my BI classes and setting info for players in one booklet form for any interested in it.)

Anyhow, any thoughts you all may have on the matter are appreciated.  I'm still bouncing all this around in my head.  It's all way in the early stages.  Hopefully something good, and something fun, not just for me but for you guys too, can come of it.  :)


  1. You know, I have no idea if I'd be interested in the zine or not when it materialize. But, I can tell you it felt glorious when I got a physical copy of Jim Raggi's Green Devil Face with my contributions in it! My contributor's copy of FO! was not as sweet, oddly enough.

    I think paper makes it real.

    Go for it!


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