Getting Started - The Mini Adventure

As noted in my post on pitching the idea of the magazine, I had floated the idea of including a 200 reference mini adventure in each issue. This was a point that was debated, some unsure that it could be done:
I think it's a great idea! My main concern is size and time constraints. A 200 ref adventure does take a fair amount of time to design, playtest, and write. Also, would the illustrations all be new, or just drawn from previously published FF? [from here]
As the others have said, this might be a bit ambitious, even if it is a worthy aim. I've started loads of FF-style gamebooks, but never finished any of them (yet), even though I think there are some good ideas in there (one of my problems is that they are all so vast in scale they'd need about 800 refs each to do them justice, and that's a hell of a lot of work!). [from here]
I agreed that it was ambitious, but that it could be done. For that reason, I wrote and illustrated the mini adventure that featured in the first issue (Resurrection of the Dead) to demonstrate that it could be done (and not for any ego-boosting reasons!). Whatever the merits of my own adventure, the gamble paid off and we have had an adventure in each issue since.

Here's to more adventures in the future!

You Have to Start Somewhere

My "Editor's hat" is telling me this should really be an entry in the new "The Magic Quest" column, but I figure since I'm only going to cover a small moment in my journey as a Fighting Fantasy fan that I'm okay and won't have to growl at myself for giving it all away on this blog.

City of Thieves was my first encounter with the Fighting Fantasy series, having been allowed to pluck it from the local bookshop (now a shoe store) shelf in January 1987 for my birthday. Presumably I must have been eyeing up the books before then, otherwise I'm unsure as to why I would have picked the book. 1987 would also be the year I started buying the Target Doctor Who novelisations, but that is a whole different story... Those were great days, with this huge display shelf full of books seemingly aimed at me filled to the brim with Doctor Who, Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf etc.

So, book in hand, I entered the world of Titan and like so many others was quickly enamoured of the artwork of Iain McCaig. The nubile body of the Serpent Queen had an interesting (!) effect on my young male mind, as did the fetching Vampiress elsewhere in the book, and I spent forever at school scribbling away on pieces of paper fruitlessly trying to replicate McCaig's mastery of skulls (evidence of my failure to master them myself is easily seen in my art for Resurrection of the Dead in issue #1). I assume it is because art so immediately grabs one's attention that I tried my hand at that first, as I don't recall any attempts to pen my own adventures at this stage.

The adventure itself was played repeatedly, over and over again. If I recall correctly it was the Hag's hair that eluded me for the longest time till I finally found that entrance to the sewer. Of course, then I needed a Potion of Mind Control... Suffice it to say, the book didn't survive the year. Having been so well loved and read, and its poor spine so utterly creased (which happens when you need to lay the book flat to write on the Adventure Sheet), the book fell apart into chunks. I employed sticky tape to prolong the life of the book, but, after limping along on such life support for a few more months, I finally conceded that the book was indeed beyond salvation. Luckily, I was given a new copy of the same book exactly a year after the first, for the following birthday. It was time to slay Zanbar Bone all over again...

Getting Started - That Cover

A very short post today, but...

I did a little digging and here it is, the cover I originally pitched to the Titan Rebuilding team!
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Getting Started - The Pitch

So, how did this monstrosity get started?

After editing and posting (available for a month only and never again) compilations edits of the various Fighting Fantasy mini adventures in April 2009 (the pic above is the cover of the first of the five editions released), it was just a small step from that to the idea of a fan magazine. So, at the end of that same April, I posted this proposal to the Titan Rebuilding Yahoo! group:

"Fighting Fantasy" Fan Magazine Proposal
* Presented as a downloadable .pdf file (rapidshare?)
* A4 size page layout
* 56 pages?
* Biannual? / Quarterly?
* Editorial team: Overall / News / Pit / Archive / Interview / Art / Mini-FF?
* Colour Cover Art (Front & Back)
* B&W interior art
* "Omens and Auguries" - FF & other role-playing gamebook news (+ Titannica news?)
* "Out of the Pit" - 4 monsters from the world of FF (mix of monsters from post-OOTP FF gamebooks/mini-ffs & fan ones?)
* "The Arcane Archive" - reviews of FF & other role-playing gamebooks (colour cover scans)
* Mini-Adventure (200 refs with 6 minor b&w illustrations and 15 full page b&w illustrations)
* Interview with FF writer/artist (with colour photo of person interviewed)
* Articles about Titan
* Other regular features? (letters page, multi-player mini-ffs, Titan-based fiction?)
* Myself as overall editor + possibly interviewer. Also able to contribute some b&w art
* Per Jorner perhaps as Archive reviewer?
* Team from Titannica taking turns with articles about Titan
In a later post I then summarised the feedback I'd received:
Issues per year.
Most think 1~2 sounds right, which is a number I'm happy with and think can be managed (I have another fanzine that comes out about that often so I have some idea of the workload involved, especially since it is 56 pages per issue). If the responsibility for the bulk of the content is spread about then it shouldn't be too difficult to put an issue together. Only 1~2 a year also means that producing a mini-ff is more likely, but also we can cut/delay a mini-ff and simply do an issue without if need be.
Here I was thinking of original art. While my mini-ff compilations are a fun exercise, for the fanzine it would be prudent to keep the contents (bar that it is based on the FF system and world) original. I'm happy to supply some of the art and thought that if it (like the text) was split between different people it would make producing it easier.
(with rough page allocations)
*Cover (1 page)
*Guff (1)
*Contents/Editorial (1)
*"Omens and Auguries" (2)
*"Out of the Pit" (2~3)
*"The Arcane Archive" (2~4)
*Interview (8)
*Fiction (2~3)
*Article (3~4)
*Mini-FF (20)
*Back Cover (1)
This gives roughly 53 pages. (Mini-ff estimate based on average space taken in "Warlock"). 
Division of Labour
Art: 4 artists per issue (1 for colour cover art, 1 for general interior b&w art, 1 for mini-ff* and 1 for OOTP)
Text: 7 writers to cover OOTP, O&A, TAA, Interview, Article, Mini-FF*, Fiction
*This would presumably have the biggest workload of an issue.
Flying Pigs
All of this is currently just pie in the sky thinking, an idea I thought might be nice to try. Till people actually sit down and work out what they think they abel to do/can commit to time/effort-wise it can't really progress further. As noted, I'm happy to assemble each issue and do the overall editing, but wouldn't be able to produce the entire contents myself. I'm also willing to tackle the interviews, some art and the occasional mini-ff.

I then followed it up another post later on which had a teasing image showcasing a possible design for the cover (the image below is the revised version I posted instead of the original, as in the original the magazine was called 400 and mini adventure titled Night of the Necromancer - a title then pinched with permission by Jonathan Green):

The magazine was on its way!
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