Sunday, August 18, 2019

I'm Making a 'Zine: Dirge of Urazya

Prototype of the interior pages. The "real thing" will
be printed on thicker paper
I've been making print-on-demand game books for years now, but my summer project has been to make something more limited, handmade, and tactile. I made my first 'zines back in the 90s, but post high-school I got out of the habit. (I've contributed to a lot of 'zines over the past few years, but hadn't really made my own.) I remembered the process being fun, so it felt like the right time to get back into in. My rekindled interest was due in no small part to Julia Gfrorer's how-to guide and Jim Rugg's video about his 'zine-making process.

My 'zine is called Dirge of Urazya. Here's the text from the introduction that explains what it's all about:

Dirge of Urazya is a system-neutral roleplaying ‘zine designed
to help your group collaboratively create a setting for their
adventures. This ‘zine gives you the basic information about the
land of Urazya—a setting that mixes ideas drawn from the Gothic,
Western, post-apocalyptic, and science fantasy genres—but also
presents a series of twenty prompts you can use to build your
version of the setting as part of the first session of play. Read each
section aloud with your group, then work together to answer the
prompts posed at the end of each segment of setting description.

Additional worldbuilding prompts to generate factions, locations,
items, and nonplayer characters are found after the initial setting
sections, but these prompts can be addressed as needed and do
not need to be part of your first session. Also provided are a
number of example adventure seeds and archetypes, origins, and
backstory ideas to riff on when creating characters.

Another prototype interior page shot
What this 'zine does is bridge the gap between the process of creating a setting from scratch and using a completely pre-fab setting for your rpg adventures. It gives you a premise, then guides you toward making your own unique, bespoke iteration of that premise. If you like the vibe of Vampire Hunter D or Castlevania, you will probably like where this is going. We're talking vampire lords, mutants, orbital lasers, and black magic here.

The covers!
Dirge of Urazya was written and illustrated by me--a first in my publication history! It will have twenty-four interior pages with more illustrations than I've ever managed in one of my books, plus a hand-finished cardstock cover. I've really enjoyed the process of putting it together. The interior pages arrived on Saturday, and the hand-painted covers (which you can see to the left) are all done and ready for final assembly.

I plan on also including a free pdf for everyone who buys a copy, which will feature some supplemental stuff that will help you get the most out of the 'zine. The 'zine will also be available as a pdf for non-US folks, but I think the physical copies are really going to be something special. No two will be exactly the same because of the hand-stenciled covers and assembly process, and I'm really excited by the content inside. I anticipate having this finished and ready to sell in September. If you want to be added to the notification list when it's out, email me at totgad AT gmail DOT com.