This year’s Zine Quest has been a controversial one. Founded in 2018, the annual festival of small-format tabletop role-playing games traditionally takes place each February, helping independent game designers start the year off with a little cash on hand. This year the hosts of Kickstarter chose to hold the event in August rather than strike a chord with Gen Con. The designers were not happy, with many jumping ships completely in favor of Zine Month. As a result, Zen Quest 4 is comparatively subdued. But while there aren’t as many projects to fill out with affiliate tags, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some bangers in the mix.
One of the best things about Zine Quest, which is its reenactment of Anything and Anywhere, has seen relatively unknown artists come out of the gates with a killer idea that completely combines the small-book format and two-week funding period. Fits with. We have selected from the existing entries some exceptional RPGs, adventures and supplements that keep the torch high.
Image: James Lennox-Gordon
One of the largely hidden gems of the indie RPG scene is Jason Tosi’s 24XX system, a modular rule that the designer has massaged over dozens of styles and story structures. 1400 Lo-Fi Hi-Fantasy Follows suit by packaging five micro-games, which are all designed for a low-fidelity, high-fantasy setting—as it says on the tin.
These five short games from designer James Lennox-Gordon are available digitally for one minute, but this is the first time players have seen them bundled together in a physical arena. Quest is as classic D&D adventure as you get, while Plane leans into a more interstellar fantasy. Stealth and Mage aim to replicate the experiences of their respective classes in a contained game, and delve into both dark and dangerous dungeons below. All five can be easily linked to each other in any combination (along with the other 24XX titles), and instructions and help will be included in the zine.
what if RuPaul’s Drag Race Happened in the Amazon jungle? Take dragula (Boulet Brothers Show, not a Rob Zombie joint) But fill it with the inhabitants of a zoo. this is the essential basis of wild ball, a collaborative storytelling RPG where everyone plays as animals dressed up as other animals. Designers Nate Mesnard and Adriel Wilson aren’t shy about the title’s inspirations and describe the play experience as embracing idiosyncratic performances that ultimately allow our true selves to take center stage.
Players alternate between the animals, the judge and Mother Nature, who award prizes for top performances in multiple categories. Since it uses the polymorph system, each player will take a die from a standard array as their only tool to roll throughout the game. Each die comes with its own role and rules that determine success and failure, but everything is geared toward improvisational play and casual narrative. wild ball As well as providing set dressing with a simple but clever metaphor, it celebrates loud, public gender performances – whether it matches or distracts from the daily lives of these animals.
Image: Jeff Williams
It’s not every day you see a competitive RPG. It’s rare when someone comes up with such an amazingly silly name and premise. flying ostrich and floating castle, This RPG can be played alone or as a PvP game where the players are knights who tame flying ostriches and organize equestrian matches among the clouds. Its rules are taken from the Melsonian Arts Council. Troika!But that book isn’t needed to hit the table.
Players can explore an overarching narrative about Cloud Castles and their enigmatic builders, giants, or they can simply hop on a procedurally generated hexagon-tile map to hunt for mountaintop treasures and take down enemy ostrich knights. . Character creation and combat are kept simple so that flying ostrich and floating castle Remains a mild experience, but there are plenty of additional systems – including a castle exploration game-in-a-game – if players want to fully embrace an evening of ridiculous role-playing.
A benevolent hunter descends on a dust-laden planet, let alone wielding a dependable weapon at his side. They have a name, a species, and the alleged crimes of their target with which to track them. Nearby townspeople will know more, but they do not trust the interlocutors – armed interlocutors even less. Bounty hunters bring trouble, noise and death, no matter what the Nomad Code says. The Bounty Hunter will need to work or get paid in the City of Good Grace to find his target. Capturing the galaxy’s scum and baddies isn’t the hard part, making sure they don’t fall into the mud along the way.
infamous is a single tabletop RPG where the player engages in interstellar bounty hunters known as Nomads. Sessions play as above – track down targets using minimal information on one of six planets before ultimately deciding the robber’s fate. Two six-sided dice comprise all of the game’s checks and skill rolls, and the length of the session depends largely on the player. infamous Gives ample opportunity to engage in world-building through journal entries. Players choose one of six different nomads, each with their own combat strength, as the central figure of a story that is equal parts star wars, Cowboy BebopAnd blade Runner,
The past few years have produced a bumper crop of indie RPGs for lovers of confined quarters and the pitch-dark vacuum of space. one breath left, the first game from designer Ian Howard, fits perfectly into that paradigm with its tales of a single existence aboard abandoned and abandoned space ships filled with mystery and danger. As indentured explorers, players must comb the ship for useful tools, give clues to what really happened, and eventually reveal the ship. All the while his oxygen supply is dwindling, putting a limited watch on his expedition into the dark and dangerous unknown.
A deck of room cards will randomly generate a given wreck layout, and every action costs oxygen levels. Players face dangers along the way and ultimately decide whether moving forward is worth the risk of running out of breathable air or worse. Between sessions, their pay can be used to fulfill wishes and eventually get out of this dangerous line of work. one breath leftThe book emulates technical manuals from the 1950s and ’60s, giving the whole game a feel of chunky and perhaps unreliable technology that can fail at the worst of times.
Adventure modules are a mainstay of Xine Quest, especially for popular systems like Mothership. this ship is a tomb A procedurally generated, possibly monstrous colony sets itself apart by exploiting the vessel that players will build as they explore. The group climbs to Advent Dawn to find out what happened to the massive craft’s mission to distant stars. Its experimental drive allowed it to slip into the spaces between dimensions to cut down on travel time, but it seemed that something sinister and utterly alien came with it the other way around.
The book’s 72 pages will detail 20 locations, dozens of unique monsters and dangers, and plenty of twists on both as Advent Dawn morphs around the group. to imagine event horizonBusy with lurking horrors in quiet parts of space combined with a classic dungeon crawl where players will struggle to keep their wits at ease and their eyes sharp. It’s a perfect fit for the horror mechanics of the Mothership and the sense of dread already.
I long for this endlessly hot summer and the season of fall leaves, crisp cider, and the chilly air that ushered in horror. This transitional period is a time of stories that remind us of the essential decay and bitter taste of life’s joys, and strangely under autumn Seems to capture that exact tone. Graham Jentz’s “Game of Rustic Terror” draws heavily on the animated series for a group of shared storytellers over the garden wall and embraces the contradictions of cozy ghost stories.
Players will alternate between the role of the traveller, who describes the characters as they travel through the frontier landscapes of Never Was; The Arcadian, which symbolizes the land itself and its many strange inhabitants; and The Terror, which is both the evil menace lurking in the shadows and its influence and calling card. Each role can interact with the other two in prescribed ways, confirming, contradicting, or elevating the story as the story progresses. This push and pull creates a conversation and hopefully, gives rise to a story with spine-tingling and heartwarming moments.