Thursday, 26 May 2016

Zine Subscriptions Are Coming

Issue 3 of A Random Encounter is coming along slowly but surely. It's taking longer than the previous issues. Last week I finished one work project and started another the very next day; I've gone from a mentally challenging project to a mentally taxing project. I'm planning then re-planning, spinning ideas around and then seeing what comes back. I'm advertising, sharing and getting out of my comfort zone.

Which hasn't left a lot of time for transcribing, I'm afraid, but it is moving forward, and as it does I'll start the layout process, breaking up the pages and so on. Each issue gets easier and harder to do – easier because I know how it's supposed to look and I'm used to doing certain tasks or looking for certain features; harder because my standards are getting higher with each issue, I want each issue to be even better than the last.

I'll be setting up subscriptions sometime soon though, as this is something that people have been asking about since Issue 1. My plan is to offer subscriptions through to Issue 6, which, all being well, is going to come out in early December. Issues 3 and 4 are in production, with interviews recorded and artists in the loop. I've just reached out to creators to interview for Issues 5 and 6, and gotten positive responses from both.

My plan for subscriptions is that they'll be print and pdf bundles effectively:
  • On release day, subscribers will get the pdf sent out to them before it's live on Payhip or DriveThruRPG and print copies in the post before anyone else.
  • There will be two subscriber plans for 2016, essentially offering Issues 1-6 (for anyone who has not got the first two issues) and Issues 3-6 (for anyone who has), all with UK, EU and World shipping options built in.
Subscribers will be helping to lay the financial foundations for the rest of this year's production: I want them to get the best deal that I can offer. Shipping from the UK is not cheap and eats a huge portion of the print cost, but I still think it is better than me offering the zine as POD (for now at least).

Throwing this topic over to you, dear reader, for comments. What else do I need to think about in terms of offering a subscription for A Random Encounter? If you do a zine and have offered a subscription before, what have you found to be the interesting/challenging/valuable points about doing so? What are the non-obvious advantages/disadvantages of doing it? Was it worthwhile for you to offer a subscription? Any thoughts/comments will be gratefully received!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A few thoughts on playing

I mentioned in the last post that I had joined the pre-medieval Japan 5e game that noisms is running on a Sunday morning. This is the first campaign that I have played in for a long time – in fact, I'm really struggling to think about how look it must be since I have played in a regular game. A couple of years maybe...

I'm not going to AP about it all, you can go read noisms' wonderful, atmospheric descriptions. My character, Pasekur, a heroic former-NPC ranger who had been helping the party, was pretty lucky – lots of 20s, lots of useful skill checks – until he wasn't. First of all losing his axe on a fumble, then falling victim to a natural 20 from an opponent who clubbed him on the head with a rock, instantly killing him.

Taking over Toitoi, Pasekur's sister, was a little tricky. I'd not rolled up a character in 5e before. Not that this is hard, but it's just different. Over 90% of the games I played or ran in 2015 were either Into The Odd or hacked from it, and I think the others all came with pre-gen characters. While it was simple enough to play 5e, rolling up a character in a system I wasn't au fait with anymore was weird.

All that said, I like my druid – a class I've never played before – and am enjoying playing her. The setting oozes atmosphere. I've no idea how much prep that noisms has done, but the game feels seamless. There are no “loading times” - hang on a minute, erm, yeah, so, hmm – when we ask about something there is a response.

Like when I started playing RPGs in 2011, the more you play the more you want to play. June is a busy month, but I'm hoping to run something in that time... I'm sure I'll post about it here when I do.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Playing Soon: a rambly little update

The last couple of weeks have been frantic and strange. There's some illness in the family unit at the moment (which is thankfully on the way to being treated); work has been frantic as there's been a lot of it on recently but also frantic-state inducing because there is a little less than in previous years; I'm spending spare time when I find it slowly but surely working on Issue 3 of A Random Encounter, and trying to figure out if I have capacity to run a modest little Kickstarter in the summer*...

It's been a busy week! Yesterday, in my work persona, I launched a book that I co-wrote with a friend, and that's been a whirlwind - both to get it from idea to published in under four months, and also to attend to all of the launch day prep and work. And I'm on the cusp of announcing an independent workshop, which is the first time that I'll ever have done something like this and is hugely scary and exciting at the same time (the unknown and the great challenge).

But! All of that is being pushed to one side, because slowly and surely I am playing more games, and this is good.
  • A few weeks back I ran a game at OSR Day Manchester, and played another one.
  • I've played in the two most recent sessions of noisms' Old Japan 5e game, which has been a lot of fun (even if my ranger got killed by a bird-man wielding a rock).
  • A friend that I play Netrunner with has expressed some interest in playing an RPG soon, and I'm thinking Deep Carbon Observatory using The Black Hack...
  • In interviewing Chris McDowall for A Random Encounter, he expressed an interest in playing Apocalypse World - he's wanted to play it for ages but not had the chance... We're looking at dates now for a short Hangouts campaign.
Anyway, this is just what's going on with me. I have a 100-copy print run of Oddpool waiting to be assembled, and which I might offer as an incentive for people to help me shift some more issues of the zine. I'm definitely going to set up subscriptions for the rest of this year too, as I think I have interviewees in place for Issues 5 and 6 (just got to get confirmations, but it's all really exciting!).

Last thing then I'm going to sign off: I saw this awesome little CYOA zine being shared on G+ and just had to get it. The idea of solo or CYOA stuff has gone around my head from time to time over the last few years (due to the difficulty I have every now and then of making time for games) so this has me excited that this could be a viable little outlet for awesome ideas.

*I might not run the Kickstarter, but I might do a few little microgames and offer them as a print-only bundle... Watch this space.