Sunday, February 14, 2021

My Friends' Kickstarters - Gridshock, Project 8ball, Errant

So, you may have heard the rumor that there's this Zine Quest going on right now over at Kickstarter. This time around, there are a few projects out by people I'm friends with, people I regularly chat online with, and I wanted to give them a bit of a boost.

First up is GRIDSHOCK 20XX, by Paul Vermeren. I've known Paul since the Google Plus days, and we've played in a few online games together. He's been working on GRIDSHOCK for as long as I've known him, writing, revising, playtesting, brainstorming. 

GRIDSHOCK is a game where the apocalypse happened in the 1980s. Since then, super-villains have taken over the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The players take on the role of a rebellion of super-heroes, trying to overthrow the various evil warlords and autocrats. 

The aesthetic Paul's going for leans hard into 80s synths and neon and Cold War despair. It's a world where the 1980s never ended, where it remains the 1980s forever. The adventures probably play out something like Earth X or Old Man Logan, but in a setting that looks closer to Akira or Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Paul is selling his rules advice and campaign setting as a series of 4 zines. $19 for pdf, $39 for print and pdf.

Next up is Project 8Ball by Leighton Connor. Leighton is part of my regular online gaming group. I was introduced to him by Josh from Bernie the Flumph, who has collaborated with Leighton on a number of projects in the past.

Players in Project 8Ball take on the role of secret agents investigating impossible phenomena like ancient aliens, cryptids, time travelers, etc. That part is pretty similar to The X-Files or Men in Black, but Leighton also explained an added twist in his premise to me. 

The player characters are all recent recruits to the secret agency. They're told that they've been members for a long time, that they're sleeper agents who are being re-activated, and that the lives and identities they think they know are all just deep cover forgeries to help them blend into the populace. That adds wrinkle akin to Total Recall or Psycho Shop or The Filth, and suggests that the agency might not be entirely trustworthy. (A shocking revelation in any spy story, I know.)

Leighton is offering a single zine as pdf for $5, or print and pdf for $10.

Finally, Ava Islam has written a low-fantasy game and setting she's calling Errant. I met Ava relatively recently through playing in an online game led by Nick from Papers & Pencils. I know she's been workshopping both her rules and her writing hard, and she's gathered up an impressive crew of collaborators in a relatively short time. I have no doubt that her energy and drive show through in the final product.

I know less about this one than the other two, but Ava seems to be leaning in hard to the "you're no hero" aesthetic that remains a staple of OSR games. Also, her crapsack quasi-medieval world has an evil Goose King.

Ava is selling Errant as two zines, $10 for pdf, $20 for print and pdf.
BONUS! I'm not as close with either Donn Stroud or James Pozenel as I am with the other people I've mentioned, but we are friendly acquaintances, and both of them have commissioned me to do some writing for them in the past. 

They've written a series of 3 zines for DCC and MCC that play into both of their strengths and build on both of their existing work. They have a series of purchasing options, ranging from $5 for one zine in pdf to $18 for all three zines in print and pdf.

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