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  • Essays
  • On Zines, Quests and Bondage Nuns

On Zines, Quests and Bondage Nuns

AL Updated
On Zines, Quests and Bondage Nuns

I bought my first fanzine in 1993.

I was on one of my regular pilgrimages to the city to check out the independent record stores for cool imports with skulls and shit on the cover when I spied it. It was at a little hole in the wall outlet called ‘Rock N Roll Wearhouse’. A regular pitstop on my travels, it specialised in apparel like band shirts (with skulls on them), a modest selection of underground punk and metal cd’s (with skulls on them) and, fixed to the wall by the glass-top counter (beneath which sat both rings and bongs artfully molded in the shape of…skulls) – a dog-eared magazine rack.

On this fateful day, amongst the usual glossies spruiking the new tallywhackers album, was a slim selection of way more sinister looking artefacts resplendent in xeroxed monochrome and spine stapled menace. Spiky fonts leapt invitingly from the murk of their pre-dpi covers, and within their folds was a rabbit hole I plunged into with a gusto bordering on obsession.

Westrodor Press — Goth zines, circa 1990s

Leafing through them was like a shot of adrenaline to the very core of my hobbyist’s heart. It set the template for my lifelong aesthetic and I found myself swiftly enmeshed in the tape-trading/zine/demo scene that was the enthusiast-fuelled analogue internet of its day.

Also- the skulls were HAND DRAWN.  This was crucial.

I could draw skulls.

The DIY mindset firmly imprinted, of course the next step was to create my own. High on glue fumes I found a sense of purpose and community, and I’ve been at it in one form or another ever since.

The factor that colours my recollections most when contemplating those formative dabblings is the sense of solidarity and collaboration these things engendered. You had to give to it, but it gave back, and in spades. Now thirty years later I’m overjoyed to be feeling that sense of community again, and this time with a trio of talented artists and collaborators in tow – each of whom can draw the ever-loving shit out of a skull.  

In an increasingly atomised world, the burgeoning resurgence of RPG Zines (a boat that initially passed my island by) has rekindled in me that sense of connection, and with it the urge to decorate some dying trees with a call from the void. Rather than interviews and articles on obscure bands from far-flung shores however, now that scream takes the form of a satirical, heretical RPG/’Catharsis as response to lunacy’ of Carbine Cradling Latex Angels from beyond the stars.

Oh… and you can help it get made.

Cover Art by Marty BlytheCover Art by Marty Blythe

PISTOL PACKING BONDAGE NUNS FROM DIMENSION SEX is a satirical, action packed and fully stacked RPG for the terrifying modern era.

Forget the Old School Renaissance- this is the HOME-SCHOOLED RENAISSANCE.

Much like the sinister gateways to the occult flung perilously open by your childhood red boxes, PPBNFDS is almost certainly a bad influence and contains very little nutritional value. Designed for one-shot sessions or shorter 3-4 game campaigns, the focus is on kinetic energy, fast and fluid combat, lurid imagination and player ingenuity.

In accepting their divine and hallowed call to arms, players will embody the latex clad avenging angels of legend, summoned from the seven dimensions to do battle upon the withering husk of a dying earth circa 2021. In heeding the call they will be confronted with the machinations and deviations of the godless hordes:  Scientists, teachers, evolutionists, socialists, 5G Rays, vote-counters, mask advocates, and people who vaccinate their kids. Blasphemers all.

And so with sceptre, rod and scripture (and magnum, chainsaw and bazooka) our Sisters of the Glorified order of Clitora ride upon wheels of steel and wings of death to smite, purge and purify.

Justly. Gleefully. Sexily.

Digital mockup of printed zine

Launching on February 4th of 2021, our campaign to help fund this thing is part of the third inaugural ZineQuest festival put on by crowdfunding behemoth Kickstarter as both a canny marketing strategy and a nod to their roots as democratization agent of the creative commons. Available in both digital and physical formats, we’re giggling maniacally as we piece this thing together, kicking against the pricks and joyously screaming ‘me too!’ at the fringes of a crowded marketplace.

Zine Quest

In the grim near -present of 2021, the superpowers of the globe have fallen to civil war and chaos as the swishifying effects of a secular world take hold. The desperate huddled masses have lost their connection to the perfect and holy scriptures whose tenets bind the people together in their divine thrall.

False prophets, socialist youtubers and atheist comedians have swayed the faithful from the unity of the flock and in the absence of the twin guiding principles of guilt and fear, humanity has descended into base madness as their sexual prowess withers.

As wave after wave of roiling chaos threatens to tear the entire planet asunder – a rift is torn in the very fabric of the universe through which they emerge. Avenging angels of piety and promise on a mission to restore the cosmic order and all-beef diets.

Art by Richard BrownhillArt by Richard Brownhill

Designed for maximum imaginative immersion, story-telling and kinetic action – PPBNFDS is a rules light system based on a simple combination of d20 and d100 roll-under mechanics. Your latex clad avenging avatars will smite the secular hordes based upon a petite yet shapely selection of stats:

Faith- where other, lesser games might have an intelligence or wisdom statistic, in PPBNFDS, as in the glorious afterlife – your worth is measured by your FAITH! Who are you to question the divine plan of your celestial benefactor anyway? Intelligence leads to questions and questions are the devil’s causeway. Your FAITH stat represents your ability to resist the swishifying mental influence of the modern world with its wicked progressive notions and blasphemous insistence on ‘evidence’.

Firepower– If the lord didn’t want us to execute summary justice, he wouldn’t have invented high-powered assault weapons. In your duty to glorify his name you will harness these ballistic fonts of redemption and distribute their leaden sermons to unbelievers wherever they might lurk. Your FIREPOWER stat represents your affinity and ability with these divine agents of hot ballistic justice as well as your pugilistic prowess with fist, foot and tooth.

Poise– It’s one thing to kick ass for the lord, it’s quite another to look awesome while doing it. As an acolyte of the one true faith your screeds of justice must be punctuated with pinwheel pirouette kicks in six-inch stilettos. Your POISE stat represents the lithe feline grace with which your sermons of pain are delivered. Agility, grace, flexibility- all must be harnessed in service of the lord.

Purity – A being of exquisite aesthetic insight, our lord sculpted your form in her image, (although obviously with larger breasts) and in doing so, ensured a spark of the divine resided within you. This kernel of celestial power must be nurtured so that your mortal frame might prevail to do his bidding. Your PURITY stat represents your resilience, constitution and resistance to pestilential secular afflictions such as vaccination, 5G rays and estrogen-soaked vegan food.

Piety – As a conduit for the one and only, the alpha and the omega, his humble servants can occasionally crest the veil between our base mortal plane and harness the grace of his divine intervention. Call his name in ecstasy and he shall shower you in boons. Your PIETY stat represents your connection with the ineffable one and can be called upon when inspiration, intervention or divine guidance is required.

Sex Appeal – Your perfect mortal vessel is a temple unto him and as such its curvaceous buxom frame must be duly exalted. Your essence, your vitality, your comely latex clad presence. Your SEX APPEAL stat governs both your powers of persuasion as well as your essential life force. If your SEX APPEAL should ever fall to zero, you have succumbed to the powers of sexless secularity and you must roll another character.

In addition to your base stats above, each of our comely theologians will have access to a selection of SKILLS and MIRACLES that can be harnessed to better perform acts of red hot smiting and which can be furthered bolstered via the divine act of ASCENSION.

Art by Marty BlytheArt by Marty Blythe

Along with a complete ruleset, bestiary, holy relics and more emergent action tables than you can swing a censer at, the PPBNFDS zine comes complete with the terrifying introductory adventure SCOURGE OF THE VACCINATORS. Can you and your party of Rubenesque Redeemers save the sleepy town of Proctopolis from the dread secular curse of preventative inoculation?

With multiple locations, encounters, relics, creatures and a ball-curdling final showdown, Scourge of the Vaccinators will test even the most buxom avenger as it twists, turns and taunts- baptising players and GM’s alike in a sweetly scented font of cathartic action.

Module Cover WIP by Ryan KearnsModule Cover WIP by Ryan Kearns

At this point you’re either convinced I’m an irredeemable juvenile or you’re already polishing your riding crop, and I have a plea for every both of you as we pass the collection plate.

The Tithing

We have a two week window to gather the funds to print this thing, so should you have a predilection for the absurd, satirical end of the artisanal, small-print run spectrum, then can we tempt you over to our page to ride amidst our Amazonian avatars of redemption, all whilst the world burns?

While you’re there you just might fall down a similar spiral to the one that enticed me so many years ago. ZineQuest 3 looks set to play host to over 300 individual projects that promise to push the boundaries and tickle the fringes of the evolving RPG space in a way that would never see print otherwise. So get amongst it. It might just turn your head.

Please commence your expiation here.

Andi Lennon

Art by Richard BrownhillArt by Richard Brownhill

There Will Be Games
Andi Lennon (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Andi Lennon is Sydney based writer, musician and soap dodger. He graduated from Wizbang University with full honours and no teeth. When he isn't feeling conflicted about Morrissey he likes to play indie games with a dubious 80's aesthetic.

You can read more of his work by visiting Mongol Cult

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Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #318819 04 Feb 2021 15:50
Thank you for indulging me. Regular transmissions will resume next week.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #318820 04 Feb 2021 16:09
In the meantime, here's a bunch of cool other zines currently funding which I've backed and you should totally check out.

Hypnagogic Jerks
www.kickstarter.com/projects/hypersigilg...pg-zine-about-dreams

All Must Bow
www.kickstarter.com/projects/bleakhorizo...l-must-bow-zinequest

Elvismancer www.kickstarter.com/projects/kingyak/elvismancer

Lichcraft
www.kickstarter.com/projects/laurieoconn...t-trans-necromancers

Through Ultan's Door 3
www.kickstarter.com/projects/through-ult.../through-ultans-door

Tomb of Immolation
www.kickstarter.com/projects/yogdugames/tomb-of-immolation

The Many Crypts of Lady Ingrade
www.kickstarter.com/projects/gothridgema...y-ingrade-zine-quest

Blackout in Crater Valley
www.kickstarter.com/projects/zogsgames/b...-vhs-era-slasher-rpg

There's way more but this is starting to feel spammy. GET DIGGING!
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #318825 04 Feb 2021 17:39
God damn you I only have two of those on my list...my top picks so far:

Torq- combination of rallycross and post apocalyptic adventuring with good looking graphic design

Rebel Scum- an off-brand SW game that specifically celebrates punching fascists

Haunted Hamlet- this guy’s Willow from ZQ2 is a favorite, a great looking OSE hexcrawl

The Drain- a sci-if occult funnel for Mothership

Gordinaak- billed as “ Mech Bustin' Gang Warfare on a dying planet” for Mothership- ‘nuff said.

Blood Heist- self contained mini RPG about stealing shit from vampires

In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe- solid-looking OSE adventure
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #318826 04 Feb 2021 17:54
Hahaha It's gonna be a ramen infused month at my chateau of squalor. I'm in on Blood Heist too and taking a hard look at The Drain. Don't worry ONLY ANOTHER 23 DAYS TO GO. Maybe put a block on your debit card or something?
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #318827 04 Feb 2021 18:00
Can’t. Have to at least get that Troika Spelljammer thing.
DarthJoJo's Avatar
DarthJoJo replied the topic: #319182 12 Feb 2021 15:14
I’m getting in on the zines, too, with Warmer in Winter, the Hallmark Christmas movie RPG built on the Apocalypse World engine. It looks funny, I don’t know anything in the space like it and the designer was one of the pillars of the Thrones LCG community, so I’m happy to throw some money his way.
Andi Lennon's Avatar
Andi Lennon replied the topic: #319771 26 Feb 2021 06:33
There's so m variety and creativity on display this year it's mental. The old adage that RPGs are engines that generate more RPGs has never seemed so apt.