Like independent press, music, or video games, the idea that there are defining characteristics that constitute "indie roleplaying games" is not simple. A typical argument is that independence implies that the organisation is not subject to funding from outside sources such as investment capital. Nevertheless, one must also recognise the potential of benefactor funding (as was once more common in the arts), which did not impede on independence.
The thirteenth and fourteenth issue (a double issue!) of RPG Review has been released with the following content:
|Administrivia, Editorial, Letters||many contributors||p2-3|
|A Crafty Interview||with Patrick Kapera and Alex Flagg||p4-7|
|Hot Gossip: Industry News||by Wu Mingshi||p8|
|D20 History and Product Review||by Lev Lafayette||p9-18|
The twelth issue of RPG Review has been released with the following content:
|Administrivia, Editorial, Letters||many contributors||p2-5|
|Hot Gossip: Industry News||by Wu Mingshi||p6|
|Wild Fields Review||by Adriano Kuc||p7-8|
|Historical Roleplaying Games; Theory and Practice||by Lev Lafayette||p9-12|
|Britannia-Pendragon||by Lev Lafayette||p13-19|
The second anthology of roleplaying blogs by Open Game Table is much like the first in terms of presentation. The murky green cover with the barely distinguishable Victoria-era technician is replaced with an improved tone with advanced cyborg warriors. The internal artwork has improved somewhat as well, as has the general layout with much better use of white-space, although notably with more advertisements taking up the gaps. As per the previous edition a two-column justified serif font is used throughout and articles are specified by domain rather than absolute URLs.
Open Game Table has the accurate subtitle of "The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs, Volume 1". Editor Jonathan Jacobs has scoured the 'net in a quest of a number of articles that provide a snapshot of what is happening 'on the street', as it were, within our hobby. It is, of course, a highly selective and subjective process, however it is evident that some effort has been made to seek a diversity of sources. The book is softcover, well bound, with two column serif font throughout.
The eleventh issue of RPG Review has been released with the following content:
|Administrivia, Editorial, Leters||many contributors||p2-4|
|Hot Gossip: Industry News||by Wu Mingshi||p5|
|Interview with Jonathan Tweet||with Johnathan Tweet||p6-10|
|A Multitude of Worlds||by Lev Lafayette||p11-15|
|The Allure of Middle Earth||by Michael Cole||p16-17|
To think that tens of millions of individuals over the world in the past thirty-five or so years have participated in improvised story telling in the fictional settings created by the roleplaying game hobby is, quite frankly, quite staggering and certainly one that will receive some small mention in cultural history of our time in the future. But how do these various published worlds stack up? There has been, by now, more than sufficient time to generate quite a variety of styles and thematic considerations which can be reviewed with the objective to tell whether there is any particular elements which provide lasting aid in the establishment of such settings. The overall orientation is, as always, constantly seeking improvement and further improvement for the RPG industry.
As an attempt to derive a typology, a simple classification is used which illustrates the key features of a multitude of settings. This is not, of course, an exhaustive study as the sheer quantity of game worlds is beyond the scope of this article. First, is the what can be described as (i) heroic fantasy, (ii) mythic fantasy, (iii) historical fantasy, (iv) modern fantasy, (v) science fantasy, and (vii) science fiction. The emphasis on the word "fantasy" will become apparent. The terms do not necessarily represent just a spatial-temporal location, as this is just the most obvious component of setting, but also setting devices in place which contribute to character generation and which can drive the narrative.
Jonathan Tweet is a significant figure in the game design industry. With the first publication as co-author with Mark Rein*Hagen for the award-winning Ars Magica in 1987, Tweet is also the designer of the surreal Over The Edge (1992) and Everway (1995), two rules-simple narrative-heavy games, the designer of Talislanta Guidebook (3rd edition) also in 1992, and most notably the core rule books for third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. With more than twenty-five other supplements and scenarios there can be no doubt that an indelible mark has been left by Tweet on the industry.
The tenth issue of RPG Review has been released with the following content:
|Administrivia and Editorial||many contributors||p2-4|
|Hot Gossip: Industry News||by Wu Mingshi||p5-6|
|Several Cyberpunk Reviews||by Lev Lafayette and Steven Lindsey||p6-28|
|The Future is Near: RPGs and Tomorrow||by Lev Lafayette||p29-35|
|The World in 2090||by Karl Brown||p36-40|
The famous Yugoslav academic of science fiction literature, Darko Suvin, once referred to science fiction as the mythology of modernity framed within a scientific cognitive framework. It is the mythological aspect that is explored here, the idea that 'near future' roleplaying games reflect the hopes, dreams, fears and speculations of the authors, whether consciously or not. The scientific cognitive requirement in this context is less important than what Suvin would desire in defining a science fiction game, requiring a solidly materialist outlook.