Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quick Update on the Metal Gods Zine

This morning, I've been hard at work on the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Zine, which is fun, but quite frankly I need a quick break from staring at the columns and tables and stuff. Plus, since I last mentioned the zine (which was, I believe, when I announced it), we here at the Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism have made a few decisions about how the thing will be produced, the future of the zine and the nature of us actually publishing anything.

But first, a quick update. It turns out that tables can be very tricky to assemble in a format that looks cool. So, I'm spending a lot of time on getting two particular table spreads correct (each of these spreads takes up two pages, so I'm being very careful with the layout here). It's probably slowing me down too much, but this is a part of the zine I really want to get right since it's sort of the cornerstone of the whole thing.

Which brings us to the fact that each issue will have a central theme that ties into an adventure tool kit that will occupy about half (probably more) of the issue. For the first issue, for example, the excellent +Edgar Johnson has written a funnel adventure toolkit reminiscent of the Warriors where the player characters are a passel of urchins simply trying to get from point A to the relative safety of point B and making trouble along the way. We playtested this thing this past summer and it was a total blast, which is a large part of why I'm taking my time with sorting out these tables; I kind of feel I owe it to Edgar to make them as killer-looking as they are, indeed, killer.

We will be printing the zine (rather than just doing the pdf thing; we really want a tangible thing that we can hold as, it appears, much of the zine community does, as well), which will be purchasable here, and will be distributing a pdf through the usual channels on a "pay-what-you-like" basis. The PWYW pdf will benefit charity, with the majority of the proceeds (at least one-half) supporting a different charity each issue. The first issue will be published in support of StandUp For Kids, a secular, non-partisan charity devoted to helping homeless and street kids. While I'm sure someone will give us flak for supporting this particular charity with this particular issue of the zine, I want to take the time now to say that this decision is conscious, deliberate and without any sense of irony. We recognize teenage homelessness as a real problem here in the US and don't believe that depicting a condition, even in a game, is glorifying it, but rather raising the level of attention that it gets (well, from people who pay attention to this zine). In future issues, we will continue to support charities that are secular, non-partisan and that have a demonstrable ability to turn your donations (because really, that's what paying what you want will mean: that you make a donation to the charity) into real aid or change.

Many folks have asked if they can help with the zine, whether by writing articles or providing art or whatever it is that you do. Right now, issue 1 is chock-full of content, but the Kickassistan Ministry of Tourism will be looking for articles, art and other stuff for upcoming issues. Below is a list of the next several issues of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad zine (the ones that I can remember) and their rough themes. These issues will be produced quarterly (barring problems).

  • Issue #2 - Secrets of the Serpent Moon - From his secret base on the moon, a holographic serpent man prepares for the return of his species to the face of Ore!
  • Issue #3 - (I honestly can't remember this one. A little help +Wayne Snyder & +Edgar Johnson?)
  • Issue #4 - The Fury of the Thunderlands - +Wayne Snyder's nod to the Lost World and Pellucidar, the Thunderlands is an adventure into Ore's savage past... and shocking future!
Folks interested in contributing to these issues should be aware that we can't pay anything other than a contributor's copy of the zine. We'll have submission info up soon, but if you have an idea, feel free to track me down to pitch it to me.