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Gaming Links

This issue in our links column, we're taking a look at some of the other gaming magazines out there on the net. Some big, some small, some professional, some pretty scruffy looking, some long-lived and some long dead. But all of them have one thing in common: they're dedicated to providing articles and material for role-players. And chances are, there will be something in them somewhere that will prove useful to someone. So don't just peruse our pages, get out there and read some other zines as well!

  • We'll start with the professionals. As we mentioned recently, Pyramid, the long-standing print mag from the Steve Jackson Games stable has now gone virtual. That's right, you can now only get it on-line. However, this hasn't meant a drop in quality - in fact, quite the opposite. The internet has allowed Pyramid to become bigger and flashier, and for less cost. Plus the editors have made full use of their new arena, with inclusions like message boards, on-line chat sessions, play-testing opportunities, a huge archives of articles, back-issues and links, and much more, all packed in and presented into a wonderfully zappy and professional look. There are two negatives however. Firstly, as it is made by SJ Games, it does tend to be a little on the self-promoting side, albeit they're much less annoying about it than Dragon. Secondly, it costs money. Without subscription, you can only peruse a small section of what's on offer. But as I said, it is cheap, and if you're used to spending 10 bucks a month on a gaming mag at the newsagent, then Pyramid is by far a cheaper, better and more convenient alternative. Check it out.

  • And although it is still very much in print, TSR's Dragon Magazine also has an adequate web presence.

  • While we're on the topic of print magazines, we must mention RolePaper Magazine. This is currently a print magazine that can only be procured through mail order, but with publishers all over the world, they do a very efficient job of getting the magazine out. Indeed, the whole mag smacks of consumate professionalism. The downside of this is that the mag seems a little bland. Also, the content is neccesarily a little thinly spread to maximise general appeal. Still, if you're not looking for a deep read, this mag does what it does very well. And the word is that it may have a web version as well in the near future, so access might not prove to be an impediment at all. Noteworthy.

  • Back to the virtual world then, but still with the consumate professionals, we find the Web RPG Oracle. WebRPG is somewhat similar (but smaller) to RPGNet - a conglomeration of links, gaming news forums, and articles. Unlike RPGNet, though, their chief focus is on-line gaming, and this is probably the best site on the net for those interested in this. Somewhat of an after-thought to all this is the accompanying zine, the Oracle. This started strongly, producing some quality stuff, including an article from Tracy Hickman of Dragonlance fame. However, while their fortnightly schedule was great for readers, this pace, combined with their shoddy attitude towards contributors, quickly took its toll, and the magazine is now in a rather long hiatus. However, ther first nine issues are there to pick through, and while it was patchy overall, there were a few gems in there.

  • Moving then to the less professional sites, the picks of the bunch (besides us, ahem) would have to include The RPG Times. This is an outstanding online mag, producing some good quality articles, heaps of gaming tips, scenario ideas, a ton of great fiction, intelligent reviews and some very sharp columns. Best of all, this happens once a month, like clockwork. Sure, sometimes this pace results in a less useful issue, but there's always something of interest here. Indeed, no other site I've found produces so much good quality stuff with such regularity. Much kudos to all the writers and editors for keeping this up for more than three years now. I have only two quibbles: 1) their emphasis on fiction and resources means that good meaty articles are less abundant, and 2) their decision to constantly use white text on a black background makes it very hard to read. This one annoyance blights the entire site, unfortunately, but if you can handle the eye-strain, this is one to keep coming back to.

  • Another example of grahical presentation impeding the qaulity of the content is the new Visions. This amateur quarterly zine isn't actually about role-playing per se, but it's not really about anything else in particular either. A very mixed bag of stuff about genres, TV shows, movies, websites, computer games, and all hosts of gaming paraphernalia. However, amongst all that, it includes the odd good quality role-playing article, review or link, so it deserves a mention. Improving, so worth a look.

  • A somewhat better home-brewed magazine is Apocrypha, or rather was. Apocrypha has been dead for a few years now, but what remains shows an impressive and stylish production, with the substance to back it up. Worth sifting through the ashes. Similarly deceased and well done is Dimensions Magazine, although it seems to twitch now and then, so it may just be on a very long hiatus. I am likewise unsure about the existence status of @fantasy. This is more a links site and goes too heavy on AD&D, but it has some useful articles as well. The Dwarven Tavern CyberZine, meanwhile, has been reborn with a great new look. Unfortunately, it is still struggling to fill this format with great content, but if they're past history is anything to go by, this should be a site to watch.

  • There are many more zines out there, especially if you're looking for non-generic ones. Name your game, and there'll most likely be a zine devoted to it. Head on over to RPGNet's Zine Index and have a look.

  • This isn't a zine, but it's too funny to wait till next issue. Although it is specifically taking the piss out of Ultima Online, anyone who's ever played a MUD will get a huge laugh out of The Adventures of BON3DOOD and pLaTeDeWd, a comic strip about a pair of completely insane, equipment addicted player killers who wander around Brittania, ruining it for everyone. Had me in stiches; definitely not to be missed.

Found a hot new site on the net? Discovered the missing link? Let us know here.

We're also looking for someone to help us compose and maintain this page. If you are interested in giving up your free time to paw through piles of net garbage for that odd glimmer of genius, for no other reward then a sense of a job well done, talk to us here.

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