RolePaper (Issue 1)
RolePaper is "an imaginative magazine for fun-loving roleplayers" as they state on cover of the premiere issue. I stumbled onto their web site when I was searching for world building resources. I had a look around, and decided to subscribe for no better reason that I like to support fledgling companies trying to do their bit for the hobby. I was happy to discover my copy thumping down my door after a week or so. The cover price is $2.95 US, but will cost more depending on where you live. In Australia it is $18 US for a subscription (four issues). It works out to about $7.50 AUS an issue, which is a little steep but is more due to the weak Australian dollar.
The magazine is presented in comic book format that I though was quite unusual, but it is very attractively presented. The cover is good (full colour) and the interior is better -- sharp, intelligent black and white layout with a fair bit of artwork. The interior art is a little minimalist, but I quite like it. This issue has five features, and nine regular departments that I assume they will continue with the second issue.
Power Backlash is the first feature, and looks at ways of making spell casting more interesting by having unusual side effects. Enchanted Boxes is provides some generic items, some which could be considered treasure, others useful pieces of equipment. How To Draw Faces looks at the difficult task of drawing a character sketch, that is quite useful for a talentless people such as myself. Bringing Worlds shows how to use multiple worlds in a single campaign even if they are incompatible. Engaging Encounters looks at how make encounters much more than simple . . . encounters (and was my favourite article).
The Dragonkeeper is the first regular offering, and looks at prisons (do they think players hang out there?). Desperado provides a new villain each week. Super Crowd looks at a super powered hero/villain. Graveyard Shift provides a Gothic touch. Citywatch travels from city to city. Workbench provides a new machine each issue. Star Chart is a Citywatch for planets. Apprentice's Lessons provides information for spellcasters. Villain Spotlight is much like Desperado (though a Desperado could be good).
So what is the magazine like? It isn't bad. Their idea seems to be to provide generic roleplaying information, which is quite difficult when you think about it. They get away with it quite well, by providing a nice range of information, some that you'll find useful, and some that you won't. It also avoids those legal hassles.
I'd like them to extend some of their ideas that seem a little short. Some of the articles are really good, and I'd like to see them extend them. Of course not everyone is going to agree, so I feel they have struck a happy balance between quality and quantity.
Summary: RolePaper is well worth taking a look at. You should convince your local roleplaying store to pick up a few copies so you can have a look see for yourself. Though if you live in the US, I just buy a copy for $3.
© 1998 - 2000 David Schibeci