I only have one real problem with this zine, the cover didn't really communicate to me the nature of the awesome stuff inside.
[Response to this comment from my pal @yochaigal1 I disagree. The cover is badass. 12:56 PM · Feb 10, 2021. Yochai is right. I am wrong. The cover is bad ass.]
There are two issues of this zine. I have the second but I just started reading it, so I'm restricting my comments to the first. [Edit: since this posting there has been a third zine and then a hard back compilation.]
Vaults of Vaarn
VoV is a zine, but I hesitate to use the word. While the aesthetics are 100% zine (in a good way), this booklet contains a full fantasy adventure game in a weird, post-post-apocalyptic world inspired by books like Dune, The New Sun, and Hyperion, as well as the art of Moebius. So it's a zine, but it's also a full game.
The works named above were the ones Leo cited as points of inspiration. I would add that it feels very much like the weird futuristic fantasy of Vance's Dying Earth. It also finds itself echoing some things established by early post-apocalyptic games like Gamma World.
The book is 52-pages, staple-bound, with a full color cardstock cover and black and white interior. A perfect amount of cool line-art (also by Leo) helps break up the text-dense pages and makes sure everything hangs together. The cover has a sweet 80s synth vibe to it, which may or may not be at odds with the interior content. (I think it is. But it's cool, nonetheless.)
- 1 page of credits
- 1 page of world lore in 9 points (outstanding!!)
- 1 page overview of chargen
- 2 pages of basic rules
- 1 page on advancement
- 13 pages covering 5 character types: mycomorphs, cacogens, synths, true-kin, and newbeasts – a huge amount of the space is devoted to awesome "spark tables" that help you create a flavorful character. There are so many possibilities!!
- 2 pages of equipment
- 4 pages of spark tables covering mystic gifts, exotica, and cybernetics
- The remaining pages are for the GM. They are heavy on inspiration in the form of spark tables and light on text. Perfect! They cover:
- NPCs, Names, and more Exotica
- Books, Drugs
- Oases, Ruins, Arcology Domes
- Nomads, Bandits, Trade Caravans
- Petty Gods
- Desert Encounters and You Found a Corpse
- Beasts - with about 30 examples
- Transport types - 7 examples