Kickstarter to Watch: Behind the Masc Zine

The cultural norm for tabletop games is a powerful man… on paper. In real life, we’re advertised young outcasts in the 70s and 80s rising to found a niche dynasty of exclusionary dice rolling. But that’s not the reality many of us live in.

Behind the Masc“, currently on Kickstarter, offers an alternative to that by reframing the TTRPG conversation:

“Behind the Masc” is a game zine using historical and cultural archetypes to re-envision masculinity through the eyes of non-cisgender masculine creators. The creators include experienced game designers and illustrators as well as newer people to the game industry. The project hopes to draw attention to indie creators in tabletop games who are still marginalized people, but can fall into the ether when it comes to representation and people campaigning for their work to be seen.

Currently with 15 days to go, the zine is within sight of its goal, and includes some cool gaming extras. Throw in your dollars and enjoy the content coming your way!

Refresh Your RPG Inspiration

Looking for a little inspiration for your next campaign? Search no further! Follow these accounts on Instagram and Twitter to refresh your roleplaying.

The character art from Connor Meegan is great, but here are a few more accounts to follow:

  • Fantastic_Maps is a cartographer who offers free tutorials via Instagram.
  • If you’re hankering to just view classic RPG artworks, look no further than VintageRPG.
  • A great deal of care and time goes into game design, including the physical elements for play. PeaceLoveGames photographs game pieces while talking about gameplay.
  • There are plenty of bots creating RPG hooks, but Your Next Character (@rpgcharacter) takes a more inclusive approach, generating characters from with a variety of representations and gender identities.

I wish we could highlight every single artist creating queer game art, but we’re in a lucky place where there are too many! Who are your favorites?

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Table Top Games: The IVM Fellowship

Building inclusive community for tabletop games has taken a long time. There have also been many barriers. A major one for many people is the money required to start and continue making content and distribute it. That’s why a group of creators came together and crafted the Inside Voices Media Fellowship.

This program is comprehensive. Not only will you be receiving funds to help realize your project, but the folks that founded the program will also be assisting by mentoring you as you work on realizing your initial goals.

The IVM Fellowship is intended for first-time media producers in whatever medium they find most interesting, be it written work, a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or any other creative media.  We will be offering mentorship and support along the way as they get their work up and running with the goal of them joining the Inside Voices Family. The process will be anonymous, and we are not asking for any samples of work in order to avoid any bias towards previous experience. We’re open to board gamers, RPG players, miniature wargamers, painters, and more! If it’s tabletop related, we’re interested.

Applications are due July 30th. You can apply on the Inside Voices website.

Setting the Mood: A Whole New World of Erotic RPGs

Erotic elements in Role Playing games aren’t new, but they’re being brought to a new level of physicality by RiverHouse Games with Let These Mermaids Touch Your Dick Maybe (LTMTYDM). Part party game and part narrative RPG, LTMTYDM is an excellent choice for an evening in with friends. Imagine it:

You are all mermaids, swimming in the ocean, having spotted some primo hottie…

Let These Mermaids Touch Your Dick Maybe is about setting a mood more than anything. It’s a roleplaying heavy game with props, soothing music, and your friends pretending to be mermaids after the finest of D. Set up for the game can be an adventure unto itself as players collect props required for encounters. It’s a short game that will only take a couple of minutes to learn.

LTMTYDM opens with a note about safety and comfort. Just like any other interaction, roleplaying should be fun, consensual, and have a “stop” function. This game can be quick, so there’s plenty of time to play a few rounds, and it’s a fun one to just watch if you’re not inclined to participate directly.

This is a pay what you can game, so throw in your hard earned money and see what you fish out!

Current Opportunities

It’s time for another round up of opportunities in RPGs!

New Agenda Publishing announced a talent search for their upcoming RPG, Orun. Submissions are open until July 3rd!

Publisher Chaosium is open to submissions for their current role playing games. Don’t forget they also will host modules written within their guidelines for Call of Cthulhu on DriveThru RPG.

There are also a variety of jobs available on UpWork for RPG writing of various sorts. When applying for jobs on that or other freelancing platform, get together a solid cover letter. Also pay attention to the ratings, number of previous jobs offered, and length of time the offerer has spent on the platform. These are all good indicators of solid employers.

Our contests are still going until June 30th! Check out all the ways to enter!

Essential #Pride Fantasy Designs

Happy Pride! Celebrate with some beautifully queer fantasy designs and merch from some wonderful artists!

Mel Eisvogel released their “bibarian” tshirt design the other day, and currently have a variety of class/orientation Dungeons & Dragons themed merch (including Ace identities!) in their Threadless shop. See some of the designs below:

The beautifully ornate designs by Foxlight Studios featured below are also available to purchase on Redbubble.

Perhaps one of our favorite team ups, artist-designer Paola’s Pixels and candle artisan Cantrip Candles have released a “roll with pride” d20 pin, just in time for Pride month!

What LGBTQIA+ artists are you keeping an eye on this month?

Skip the Game Master!

Feeling the need to get away from Dungeons & Dragons for a few sessions? Want to give your hard-working Dungeon Master a break? Looking for a new game to try out in your fantasy world? These four GM-less fantasy games are a perfect starting point for exploring the world beyond D&D, and give players an equal hand in working together to create a world and tell the story they want to tell.

Kingdom by Ben Robbins

Kingdom is a game about communities and the decisions they face; it is about confronting crossroads and making critical decisions, and about utilizing whatever kind of influence you have — be it the power to make decisions, the power to predict outcomes, or the power to understand your community.

For 2-5 players, Kingdom allows players to step into the roles of influential people within a larger community, and play through their wishes and fears. While your kingdom doesn’t have to be fantasy, it’s a fantastic system for playing the misguided kings and idealistic warriors the histories of our fantasy worlds are populated with.

The Deep Forest by Mark Diaz Truman and Avery Alder

A re-imagining of Alder’s excellent map-building game The Quiet Year, The Deep Forest is billed as “post-colonial weird fantasy.” Players draw cards and maps to tell the story of a year in the life of a post-war community of monsters after they have driven off invading humans. Players know that the community might not survive the winter, but the community does its best in a brief ellipses of peace to heal, to discover, and to live, in the wake of colonial influence.

Like The Quiet Year, The Deep Forest is a gentle game with room to breathe, which questions in its very concept the categories of heroes and monster as we use them in fantasy.

With Fire Thy Affections Hold A Wing by Taylor LaBresh

A two player game about the growing bond between a dragon and its rider at the end of the world, With Fire Thy Affections Hold a Wing is a give and take in which players build scenes together to explore the relationship between dragonrider and dragon as their world hurtles towards catastrophe.

With Fire is a particularly resonant game if you can play it in person: the mechanics ask its two players to physically bind their hands together as they strengthen their bonds, a tactile representation of the way relationships feel as the grow, change, and eventually end.

The Chronicles of… by Jonathan Semple

Reminiscent of Vincent Baker’s The Sundered Land games, The Chronicles Of… was a finalist in the 200 Word RPG Challenge in 2017. While there is no GM in this game, one player names themself the Archivist — a “traveller, tale-keeper, and stranger to these lands” — and the other players become inhabitants of this land. By asking questions, the Archivist prompts stories about the land, slowly building a new place through the stories its people tell.

Any number of players can participate in The Chronicles of… and the rules are just under 200 words, so there’s no reason to worry about forgetting any of the nitty gritty details.


Christine Prevas is a writer, graduate student, perpetual GM, and host of the delightfully queer actual play podcast The Unexplored Places.