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Weeeeee're Ba-ack!

Yes, somehow we've made it back for a second issue. God knows how, but we did. And an important landmark it is, because in many ways, the second issue of a magazine is far more important than the first. The second issue proves that the first one wasn't just a fluke, that the task of making it hasn't proven too great, that the mag is going to stick around and maintain its quality, at least in the forseeable future.

Now, the first issue was hard, naturally, because everything was new. We had to figure out what we wanted to put in the magazine, then we had to actually write it, THEN we had to learn about webpage design so we could publish it. The difference was that we were on holidays then, and we had an open-ended time scale. Now that all the editors are working again, and we've committed ourselves somewhat to publishing every two months or so, things are very different indeed.

So it is by no means an understatement to say that this issue was very difficult to get out. Some hard truths had to be learnt, and a lot of blood and sweat put in. Indeed, without the help of Brett Matthews, the new member on our editorial team, we would have never made it at all. As it is, we were almost two weeks past our proposed publication date.

But enough about our problems; you don't need to hear about that. The magazine is here, it's ready, and it's pretty darn good, we feel. There have been a few small changes, however. Firstly, it's not quite as big as the last issue, but we feel the quality of the articles well and truly makes up for this. Secondly, we realised that our "Splenetics" column was an unneccesary distinction, given the often introspective and personal nature of our articles; hence Splenetics is gone. Lastly, to stop you having to check and recheck our site to see if we've finally got around to publishing, we've added a function so you can be updated by email at the publication date.

Or, if you prefer (thanks to some cleverness from Ray) you can now bookmark the page so you can go straight to the new issue without changing addresses. You might need to refresh the page, however.

The other thing we've added is a spiffy new graphic, as I'm sure you would have spotted. It certain livens up our pages a lot, and many thanks must go to Daniel Beeston for designing it. Even more exciting is the FABULOUS contest we're running this issue: Win a copy of West End Games' hot new RPG "Men in Black". This is a really top game, and I'll be reeealll sorry to give it away.(Nooo! It's Miiiiine!) So please, register your email details with us, and maybe you'll be the lucky one to tear it from my clutching grasp.

Now, onto the actual issue itself. This issue, our theme is "The Essence of Role-Playing". That is, what is role-playing, what are role-playing games, and why do we love them so? Though we might spend great swathes of our life dallying in this hobby, it can be difficult to actually put into words what it is, and why we play. Sometimes it seems that our hobby defies definition, or at least explanation. So our talented writing staff have had a bash at it. Andrew Rilstone, ex-columnist for arcane magazine and our first guest celebrity writer, has written a rather brilliant piece on this subject. We're very chuffed that Andrew (legend that he is) has allowed us to publish this article; it is practically a gamers' bible. Not to be outdone, Gary and Brett have also given us their thoughts on the matter, while I merely concerned myself with a cathartic release in our Once Upon a Time section.

As for my thoughts on what makes a role-playing game, well, I did some thinking and came up with a definition. It's not great, but here it is: Role-playing is social, fully interactive, fully immersive, imaginary story-making. It doesn't make too much sense, but I like it. It gives a concise definition and sums up the main features of role-playing; it could be a good way to start explaining your hobby to someone.

Another particularly good treatment on the nature of role-playing is this essay by Guy McLimore. It's quite long, but it gives a very intelligent and understandable introduction to the hobby, and could be a prove a useful resource, especially if you've found your group under fire by the ignorant.

Lastly, our next issue will aim to tackle the theme of computers in role-playing, in whatever aspect. We'll be looking at MUDs, CRPGs and on-line gaming. So if you think you might have something to contribute in those areas, don't hesitate to send it to us.

Well, that's it from me then. Sorry to keep you from the great stuff that awaits you. Sit back, click your mouse and enjoy the ride. Till next time,

Steve Darlington


Have a question for the editor? Mail him here.

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