Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If You Were to Publish an OSR Magazine, What Types of Articles Would it Include?

With the recent release of the first issue of Gygax Magazine I got to thinking. There are very few "In Print" options (PDF doesn't really expand that much) for RPG mags. We recently had the ending of Kobold Quarterly (not OSR but a very well put together RPG mag) and well over a year since the last issues of Knockspell and Fight On!

Which is a shame. Gygax is not by any means a bad magazine but the first issue was a tad  lacking and it is not focused on Old School Gaming (old school reminiscing? sure). I'm sure it will get better in time.

Still it leaves us, the old School gamers, without a true magazine to call our own at the moment. Which led me to think about the type of articles my "Old School Magazine" would have.

It would ideally consist of a variation of the following regular features:

A section on new spells.

A dungeon adventure and an outdoor setting / encounter / adventure.

A section with a new monster, monsters, races, etc.

Game theory, balancing, ideas, tangents - this part would be very open to interpretation and would probably have more than one article an issue.

A gamer's blog highlight section - highlighting some of the best plog posts and ideas in the OSR and pointing out overlooked blogs that really deserve more attention.

Artist highlight - there are some amazing artists that could use some exposure - this could be such a vehicle.

Anyway, that would be my idea of an OSR Styled Gaming Mag. I'll think about it in my dreams tonight ;)

So, any ideas what you'd want in your ideal OSR Styled Gaming Mag?


  1. Fight On! is pretty ideal content-wise

    1. is or was? last issue was fall of 2011

    2. Calithena keeps posting that he's working on it at the forums, so I expect it'll show up some day

    3. My answer as well. What matters IMO is play-relevant material. This can include discussions of running or playing a game, but the focus should be on the real deal - materials people have made for and used in their own campaigns. Even if we don't end up using them, they give the best ideas about the practical side of gaming.

  2. I don't think I'd want any imposed set of articles in an OSR mag.

    Dungeon maps keys and the odd encounter in them is what I find most useful for dropping things into my games.

    But I also like anything that gives me new ideas. People's house rules or modifications made to races to fit a home campaign.

    Spells I am generally least trusting of because they can become very powerful. While, non-magical equipment has generally been done to death or is a way to provide magical effects to PCs but with "science". Artifacts and unique takes on magic items I'll often read because they can get me thinking..

  3. Decahedron has some of the elements you mention all in 10 pages.


    1. Except the OSR part. New fangled RPG of the moment is not really OSR

  4. You said it all:
    A dungeon adventure and an outdoor setting / encounter / adventure.

    + a nice editorial on the state of the hobby and some kind of "Sage Advice"/Q&A Letter column

  5. Nod (from John Stater) is probably the closest thing there is. Part of a hex crawl, usually an adventure, a class, some monsters, some gods.

    Okay, probably closer to a Gazetteer for his world of Nod, but still pretty nice.

  6. Ummm....really? No print mags? The zines don't count? What about these?

    AFS Zine
    Alarums & Excursions (35+ years of issues; order by snail mail)
    Dungeon Crawl
    The Manor
    Wizards Mutants Laser Pistols

  7. I would definately include a "rogue's gallery" of PCs or NPCs that are submitted by the readers themselves; not exclusively from the pros. Maybe a listing of 3-5 mugshots and backgrounds each month.
    Also, a "themed" sketch page that highlights a reader's submitted "theme" given out the previous month...such as five-minute maps, dungeon entrances, new monsters, etc.
    By directly involving the reader, I feel that they would be more willing in continuing to purchase the magazine.

    1. Title: "The Luminaries and Rogues who Flailsnail"

  8. Zines don't count for this question, as great as some of them are (Crawl! and The Manor for example). They simply aren't magazines.

    That being said, AFS had escaped my attention prior to this - I may check it out.

  9. I think I would want to get a business report of the industry itself that and/or a meta gaming article about what exactly is going on in the gaming industry itself. Maybe something of re imaging monsters, old TSR modules, gods, magic items... I think those would be cool.

  10. CLASSES new class, quasi-class,
    RULES new optional rule, or new take on old rule (skill, magical system and so on)

    Spell: you said it

    More than a print Magazine (And I would go for print on demand) it would be nice to have "Best of.." collecting the best thing produced on the web, peer reviewed, edited, art added and put as a PDF/print on demand product

  11. It should include articles for non-D&D-types of old school games: T&T, BRP, Gamma World, etc.

  12. I like Eric's proposed contents a lot. That's exactly the kind of magazine for which I'd consider taking out a subscription. I'd also add a section of random tables - I love these. I still use Jeff Rients' deck 'o stuff (an early FIght On!) for char gen in every campaign I run.

    I know the community is split on the issue of focus (D&D only, or other systems). At this point in my life, I have no interest in reading articles on T&T (as great as it is) or other comparable systems. I'd want old-school style D&D or system-neutral stuff. But that's just me.

  13. Personally, I don't find adventures (whether dungeons or wilderness) of much use to me at all. I'd be much more interested in the monsters, variant rules, and the like.

  14. Cartoons. Short fiction. Soundtrack suggestions. Tutorials "How to map dungeons on graph paper" and so on, and so on.
    More pictures.

  15. They seem to have the look and feel of my era of dragon. While as a kid i loved dragon eventually I needed space and cash, photocopied my favorite stuff and sold em all. Still many games in ads i have never seem or heard of anyone following. Art was a big part of dragon. White dwarf did lots with its space in terms of interesting short dungeons. Really id be lucky to use 30% of the mag and dropping ares section was a big turn off for me.

    My dream mag would have a short module or several one or two 1-2 page adventures or lairs. Some monsters, spells, items easily dropped in games. Ed Greenwood's items were always interesting. New planes or mini campaign worlds. Equipment for sf games was good too. Organizations. Gods. NPCs. Interesting campaign summaries. Tables of stuff. Things i didn't read - most of the fiction, ongoing series of d&d known worlds stories, most character classes flawed and im over too many classes. Short game reviews were relevant but i can find non game reviews elsewhere. The main thing a mag can do better than a blog is to look published with a interesting layout and illustrations. Some Dragon theme issues were good. Like Ares section doing the moon in various games. Underwater issue or wilderness or cities for themes. I did like the Dover clip art in dragon too.

  16. I'm beginning to think the 2,000 Coppers G+ Community Site and Blog may be able to achieve some of this, but alas, it wouldn't be print ;)

  17. The Secret Santicore. Like that, just more than once a year.


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