Curating ‘Zines plus Mothership

Last night I started reading the Mothership Players Survival Guide. I think the game could be a good candidate for solo rules. Dangerous games often are better solo games than they are traditional group games.

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The reason danger works better in solo games is because of player drop out. By that I mean, in a group game, if you die, you have to drop out while either you make a new character, and the GM can work out how to work you back into the game or in some games there is a choice between do your companions try and raise dead your character or let you make another one.

In a solo game, you are the be all and end all of the game. If you die, you can end the game, or if you love that character you can try some ‘What if…?’ scenarios or even go back in time and run some lower power adventures that took place in the characters past. These are not an option normally in a group game.

The game mechanics in Mothership are rather similar to Black Spear from Sad Fishe Games, or so they appear from the first ten pages that I have read so far.


I run a couple of ‘zines. From an indie developer point of view these make a lot of sense. It guarantees me a couple of regular book releases. The production values in a fanzine are generally lower, making them cheaper to produce that a high quality book and they give you regular contact with your audience.

They are also a lot of work.

You are looking at creating up to a hundred pages of unique content every month, month in, month out. The RolemasterBlog Fanzine is monthly and is typically 25-40 pages. Lowborn, the Zweihander fanzine is about 50 pages but is quarterly. I also have a TTRPG game designers magazine in the pipeline.

TTRPG Writer

This magazine is a ‘by and for’ game designers. Unusually, for me, it is going to be kindle only. That massively reduces my production overheads and with the rising popularity of Kindle Unlimited [KU] it means the magazine will be free to write (if you exclude my time) and free to read.

The magic ingredient is that Amazon shares some of the income from KU with the writers of the content read by KU subscribers. Issue one is nearing completion. So this is going to be a fun experiment.

Curating or Writing?

The Lowborn Fanzine is almost entirely written by other writers. I create the editorial and do the layout and if I needed extra content, I would write something to order. Most of the content is user submitted.

The Rolemaster Fanzine on the other hand goes through phases of plenty of reader submitted material and fallow periods where I end up writing most of the content.

TTRPG Writer, being a first issue, is entirely written by me, and I will expect that to remain true for some time. I have a library of articles that I want to use for it, enough content to keep the magazine going for six issues.

The big difference between Lowborn and the Rolemaster fanzine is the size of the userbase. Rolemaster is niche, very niche. The ICE discord server has less than 100 members. The Zweihander discord has nearer 1000. If I was only interested in profits, the Rolemaster ‘zine makes no sense. There is always a hope that with the new version, working title Rolemaster Unified, that the popularity of the game will pick up. We will wait and see.

Lowborn, with an audience of thousands, has a much greater capacity for user submitted content. Here my role becomes that of curator rather than writer. I can even pay other people to do the editing.

June, is a month when all three publications come out. It will be a busy first week. I will of course post here when each is ready to go live.

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