Zine Quest 2
If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me retweet dozens of “#ZineQuest2” games since the beginning of February. If you are still following me (thanks) you might even be interested in some of these games. So I thought I’d do a bit of a round-up to highlight my favorites so far.
WordPress seems to have eaten all of my Kickstarter embeds, so I hope you like text.
I’ve been dipping my toes into indie TTRPGs since September of last year. Since then, I’ve come to adore the work going on there. This is where it’s at. The creativity and variety of work makes me wish I had stumbled upon this community much earlier.
Unbeknownst to me, until now, February is when Zine Quest happens and a torrent of indie-based TTRPG content is unleashed in zine form. Hosted by Kickstarter, Zine Quest is on it’s second iteration thus far.
In this post, I’m going to list all of the projects that have caught my attention between February 1st and February 15th, 2020. I’ll also use this opportunity to name drop and gush about a few of my favorite creators.
Odds are this blog post will have a pretty short shelf life. Given the nature of crowdfunding, even if you’ve caught this in a timely manner, at least half of these projects will have already finished their campaigns — but the other half will be creeping towards completion and could still use your support!
If you’re reading this in the distant future, there’s a good chance you can track these creators down and pick up their work outside of the Kickstarter. Most have PDF versions of their games on itch.io, or DriveThruRPG, and print versions can be found as well.
Also, while some of these zines are the work of a single individual, several projects have a team behind them. Writers, artists, layout, add in guest content for stretch goals and the list of contributors can get pretty extensive. I’ll do my best to recognize the primary creators and provide links to their social media, but I encourage you to check out the full campaign pages to get a rundown of everyone involved.
Buckle up, we’re going on a Zine Quest.
If you are a creator and I have any incorrect information listed, or you would like me to remove your project for any reason, please let me know.
Best Left Buried: The Zinequest Quartet
Zach Cox, aka: Jelly Muppet, of Soul Muppet Publishing, has been a large part of my introduction to indie and OSR games. I’ve somehow accumulated a noticeable pile of Best Left Buried content in a very short period of time.
Exhausted by overly dense rule sets, Best Left Buried offers a cure. The setting, character archetypes and monsters are not quite what you’d expect in a fantasy-horror RPG either. This makes everything a little less predictable and a lot more fun.
I’m always ready for a new Soul Muppet book, and now we’re getting four more with Best Left Buried: The Zinequest Quartet.
The Waking of Willowby Hall
Technically, before Best Left Buried, Questing Beast was my first real introduction to indie RPGs and the OSR. See, I have a friend who is really into Labyrinth, and she’s like “hey, check out this Labyrinth RPG“, which Ben Milton happens to be working on. This leads to that, and then I’m like “okay, so what’s OSR?” Suddenly a portal opens, pulling me through. Within a few weeks I have a new life in which “Disc Horse” and “Anti-Sisyphus” are part of my vocabulary.
I backed The Waking of Willowby Hall in order to create a waystone in the event I ever need to find a way home again.
Dish Pit Witches
Dish Pit Witches is an RPG that has you playing as queer witches who work as dishwashers at a restaurant. I’ve been perusing Blake Stone’s work for a few months now and was so happy to see this as part of Zine Quest. The themes in Blake’s games promise a unique experience and offer a level of introspection rarely considered.
Ok, Cobwebs, Designed by World Champ Co. Technically not part of Zine Quest? But it’s happening at the same time, so I’m throwing it in here. I’m not totally sure how to describe this game, which is probably why I like it. It’s a mystery RPG where you try to solve the disappearance of a missing person. It leans heavy into player driven story telling (there is no Game Master) where players collectively build towards a theory and develop the overall outcome together. I am very intrigued.
Adventurer’s Guide to the Yol’Najj Forest
Firstly, I backed this one for the art, Zeshio hooked me like a damn fish with that cover. After checking out the project, everything else was looking rad too. Yol’Najj Forest gives you a meaty, system-agnostic, fantasy adventure for whatever you and your friends like to run.
P R I M E V A L _
Let’s talk about Sean McCoy and Mothership for a second. Mothership is a stellar sci-fi horror RPG. When I found Mothership I was completely enthralled and inspired with what was going on in that book.
It was also my first introduction to the work of Fiona Maeve Geist who, in addition to her editing contributions, wrote up the fantastic nightmare tables in the follow-up Mothership tool kit, A Pound of Flesh. Just one of several books available for this system.
And now there are community creators designing even more content for this amazing game. Case in point, PRIMEVAL_ by Lone Archivist. As of this writing, the project has already smashed its funding goal. A serious standout for me, I can’t wait to explore that jungle moon.
Disk Horse #1: Off to the Races
Expect tables, vast pages of bizarre and wonderful tables, with a focus on role playing, rather than being tethered to a system. Anything with Fiona’s name on it is great. Get this zine.
Labeled as a system-agnostic dungeon crawler, Negundo is probably the most apt use of the zine format I’ve seen during this round of Zine Quest. The creator, Delacannon, will be printing out totally unique versions of each copy, hand stapled. Offering procedurally generated dungeon layouts, no single zine will be alike.
Oligarchy is being created by Eli Kurtz, Aaron Burkett and Dee Pennyway. The game has a unique premise. Rather than a group of heroes, you’re playing as society’s corrupt elite. I’m curious to see how the Trophy rule system is adapted here (which is also currently on Kickstarter).
YOU GOT A JOB ON THE GARBAGE BARGE
The title drew me in, but the theme song sealed the deal. YOU GOT A JOB ON THE GARBAGE BARGE, by Amanda Lee Franck, is an adventure that can be played with your rules-light system of choice. The locale makes so much sense, there’s going to be all kinds of loot to sift through! And it looks like you can be a raccoon? Sign me up.
Alright, that’s it for now. Zine Quest runs all month, so we have a few weeks to go. Check these games out and show these creators some love! If any new must-have campaigns go live, I’ll try and post a follow-up. There’s probably dozens I haven’t even seen yet.
What are some of your favorite Zine Quest games this year? Have you submitted one of your own? Leave a comment below, or come chat on Twitter.