3–9 February 2020: Zine Quest 2; Most Popular RPGs

Wow! This week is almost all crowdfunding!

In the regular news, we have statistics charting the current and historical popularity of the top-selling RPGs; a look at the (confusing) history of the World of Darkness setting; the relationship between PbtA games and LGBT gamers; artpunk; Judge Dredd & community content.

But this week, Zine Quest 2, Kickstarter’s monthlong promotion of RPG zines, has begun in earnest, and RPG creators have stepped up! There are player sanctuaries, spooky houses, corporate horror, climate change, & enough RPG accessories to shake a 25mm mini at.

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Industry News

Roll20 releases its Q4 report on activity on the platform, showing the games that have grown in popularity over the past months.

EN World looks at the ICv2 RPG rankings to show the most popular RPGs of the last 15 years.

I love the way the rise and fall and rise of D&D is visible here. — Amy

Dicebreaker looks at a history of the World of Darkness setting.

Cannibal Halfling Gaming looks at how Powered by the Apocalypse games nurture queer players.

Upcoming & New Releases

EN World rounds up the Paizo releases coming in February.

Free League will release the artpunk RPG, MÖRK BORG, on February 25th.

Evil Hat releases Fate Condensed, a refined, streamlined edition of the Fate Core rules.

Free League launches a community content program, the Free League Workshop.

Bundles & Deals

Bundle of Holding is offering bundles of What’s OLD is NEW and Judge Dredd RPG books.

Humble Bundle reprises its bundle of Adventures in Middle-earth RPGs.

Crowdfunding News

Zine Quest 2

Following on from its success last year, Kickstarter have relaunched their successful Zine Quest promotion this week. This promotion encourages writers and designers to produce small, focused projects in Zine format (typically monochrome or spot colour, staple-bound pamphlets).

As with last year, the promotion has resulted in a large number of RPG projects, in particular of an OSR or indie flavour. Our coverage only scratches the surface, but you can check out the Zine Quest page.

Speaking personally, I’m glad Kickstarter runs this promotion as I think this is what Kickstarter should be about: small passion projects by creatives not bloated commercial ventures. — James

Noteworthy New Projects

Vampire: The Masquerade – CHAPTERS: A co-op board game based on Vampire: The Masquerade, by Flyos Games (Until Daylight, Kiwetin) — February 29th

This has raised more than 960,000CAD ($720,000) from almost 4,500 currently. Yet another Vampire: the Masquerade/World of Darkness license, this is a classic Kickstarter box-full-of-plastic campaign, and similarly successful.

Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game: RPG based on the cyberpunk Netflix series & novel, by Hunters Entertainment (Icarus: How Great Civilizations Fall, Outbreak: Undead 2E – The Survival Horror Simulation RPG) — March 4th

This campaign has so far raised almost $190,000 from almost 1,500 backers. It launched in the midst of the controversy surrounding original Altered Carbon author Richard Morgan being banned from Twitter after verbally abusing people in his bellicose defence of his transphobic views, and in the run-up to the launch of season 2 of the Netflix show. Morgan is not involved in the RPG itself. Hunters do not appear to have made any statement regarding this recent controversy.

We both made the mistake of following the accusations of transphobia to Morgan’s blog, and, yeah, those accusations are warranted. This project is at some remove from the author, and it’s not fair to blame the game’s developers for the views of the person whose work they’re adapting. But, yeah, this RPG feels tainted to me, especially considering Hunters’ silence on the issue, and I’m probably going to need a week or two to wash that blog out of my head. — Amy

The Ultimate Guide to Alchemy, Crafting & Enchanting for 5E: A supplement adding new magic crafting systems to 5e, by Nord Games (Ultimate Bestiary: The Dreaded Accursed for 5th Edition!, Treacherous Traps for 5th Edition!) — February 28th

So far, this has raised $65,000 from nearly 1,300 backers. The campaign page is nothing spectacular, but Nord Games have produced several successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past few years so the main thing driving this seems to be their reputation.

The Artefact, a solo RPG zine: A solo RPG zine about a legendary artefact changing hands, by Jack Harrison ~ Mousehole Press — February 16th

We are delighted to see this campaign doing so well — currently the most-backed project to come out of this year’s ZineQuest, having raised over £14,000 ($18,000) from over 1,100 backers at present. In fact, this is the second edition of this game, promising new art and better production values.

Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition tabletop roleplaying game: A Chronicles of Darkness RPG about monster hunters, by Onyx Path — March 5th

Onyx Path runs Kickstarter campaigns with great frequency, and most tend to do well. This campaign has currently raised nearly $54,000 from almost 1,100 backers.

Closing Soon

Full-Color Custom Miniatures with Hero Forge 2.0 has currently raised almost $2.5m from 31,000 backers, the majority of whom have backed the tiers to simply get them one or two custom miniatures. Ends February 14th.

Animal Adventures: Secrets of Gullet Cove has raised over £310,000 ($400,000) from 5,000 backers. This is only a fraction of the number of backers which Painting & Polygons’ previous campaigns have raised, but it has raised about the same amount of revenue for a significantly more ambitious campaign. Ends February 11th.

5e & Pathfinder

safe & sound: A zine featuring sanctuaries for adventuring parties to spend their downtime in, by Livelygold (Rainbow Crit: D20 Enamel Pins) — February 16th


Delayed Blast Gamemaster #3: The third issue of a zine featuring ideas for fantasy games, by Philip Reed (Outdoor Encounter Cards, A Dozen Sinister Rumors) — February 12th

The Waking of Willowby Hall: An OSR one-shot adventure, by Ben Milton — February 16th

Willow: A modular backwater town setting, by Shane Walshe (Woodfall – A mini hexcrawl setting) — February 16th

Hunters in Death (Zine Quest): An OSR hexcrawl set in a dark forest, by Gothridge Manor — February 16th

Adventurer’s Guide to the Yol’Najj Forest: A magical forest adventure setting, by Zeshio — February 16th

Terror of the Stratosfiend #2 : A DCC RPG #ZineQuest Zine: A weird sci-fi fantasy adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Sean Christopher Charles Richer (Terror of the Stratosfiend : A DCC RPG Zine) — February 16th

The Phylactery – An Old School Heroic Fantasy Adventure Zine: A zine containing resources for OSR fantasy games, by Levi Combs (An Occurrence at Howling Crater, Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride) — February 17th

General Fantasy

Age of Ambition: Fantasy Roleplaying in Changing Times: A fantasy RPG focused on a setting that emphasises social and technological change, by Tab Creations LLC (Shadows Over Sol: Science Fiction Horror Roleplaying, Against the Dark Yogi: Mythic India Roleplaying) — February 20th

Urban Fantasy/Horror

THE COMPANY RPG: Corporate survival horror set against a backdrop of industrial disaster, by Logan Dean – February 17th


Beak, Feather, & Bone: A competitive map-labelling RPG and collaborative worldbuilding tool, by Tyler Crumrine — February 16th

Palanquin RPG – Zinequest: A roleplaying game in zine format about the heir and her escape from a palace coup, by Jason Pitre (After the War Roleplaying Game, Sig: The Manual of the Primes) — February 16th

This one reminds me a little of For the Queen, and I’m intrigued by the concept. I may have been swayed because the name calls to mind a certain Decemberists song that I’m terribly fond of. — Amy

Green Dawn Mall – a Zine Quest game: A zine RPG about teenagers searching an endless, warped Mall in search of a lost friend, by Côme Martin — February 16th

Lost Roads — Zine Quest: An RPG about human migration following climate disaster, by Ary Ramsey — February 19th

Oof. — Amy

Venture & Dungeon: Two fantasy RPGs using the Belonging Outside Belonging system pioneered by Dream Apart / Dream Askew, by Riley Rethal (Doikayt: A Jewish TTRPG Anthology, Dusk to Midnight) — March 2nd


Jon Hodgson Map Tiles 2: A second wave of map-tiles for tactical RPGs, by Jon Hodgson — February 11th

We backed the first wave, and the tiles are pretty nice. We’ve backed this one too. — Amy

Dungeons & Dilemmas: A zine containing a toolkit for dungeons & encounters, by Jesse Burneko — February 17th

Arcane Scrollworks 4: A collection of fourth level spell scroll props, by SkeletonKey Games (Arcane Scrollworks 1-3, Dossier Decks: Merchants, Mages, and Goblins) — February 18th

Slowquest Character Cards: A deck of cards designed for creating PCs and NPCs for fantasy RPGs, by Bodie H — February 23rd

Decuma: The R&D for your RPG: A tarot-inspired card game for players & GMs to collaborate with, by Golden Lasso Games — March 3rd

There was another Tarot-like game aid kickstarted a few weeks ago, but I think this one looks significantly more imaginatively put together. — James

This update was made possible by Keenan Collett, Eric, and the rest of our Patreon supporters.

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