Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zine, you say?

It might not be clear, but CRAWL!fanzine isn't going to be a blog. There are plenty of those to go around (and they're awesome.) Yes, this site is a blog, but it's not the zine. This is just the website for the zine. The actual zine will be a physical book--printed, folded and bound, DIY style. Then shipped to your mailbox (hopefully not destroyed by the USPS) for you to thumb through at the bus-stop, airport or wherever-hopefully used at your game table.

Let's go back in time a little bit. Around 36 years ago when this little hobby of ours got started. The first books were printed at a small local press. Then their pages and boxes were brought down into a basement, where it was folded, stapled and packaged. There were a few hundred of them the first time around. These little game books were the original Dungeons & Dragons game by Gary Gygax. Within a few years a bunch of independent and mostly underground publishers started putting out their own games, or supplements to existing games on their own. Some of these publishers became big, such as Games Designers Workshop and Judges Guild, others faded away as quickly as they sprung up. All these early products were limited in production and simply not as slick some of the things you find from major publishing houses at the time. The reason being, mainly, they were DIY (Do It Yourself.)

DIY was, and still is, part of our culture, and heart & soul of independent publishing. Role-playing games get their roots from the DIY mentality. And zines were a natural fit. One of the most widely distributed zines, Factsheet Five, was founded by a gamer, Mike Gunderloy. He got his start making SFzines and RPGzines in the late 70s. He later created Factsheet Five as a zine about zines, that today still collects and reviews zines from around the world. The zine scene also exploded around the time photocopy machines and computers started getting popular.

Personally I've been contemplating making a zine for several years. I just didn't know about what. Bikes? Beer? Anarchy? Games? Well, since most of my reading and writing deals with games, I thought it would be the best fit. The last couple years saw me getting into the OSR (Old School Renaissance, or Revival, or Revolution, Revolt...) The OSR was a direct response to what was happening to our beloved hobby--over commercialized, expensive and generic feeling games. What got me interested were all the independent zines that were being published every month, such as Fight On!, Knockspell, Footprints, Oubliette, Encounter, etc. And all the material that came in the form of blogs, some in the form of PDF and Print on Demand. All of them dedicated to OSR/Old Edition D&D. Then came Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I immediately fell in love with the aesthetics, the tone, and the game itself. It was exactly what I liked best about D&D. As it became the core of my game the more I wanted to make things for it. I wanted to create for it. Then recently two particular publications got my attention and really motivated me, Loviatar and Zogorion. From that moment I knew, knew, what I wanted to do for DCC RPG. I was going to dedicate an old fashioned, hand printed zine to it.

So here we are. Back to the roots of a hobby I love. An independently published product of love.

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