Saturday, April 14, 2012

April A to Z - M is for magazines part 2 - an interview with Dan Prentice, editor of Trollszines 1-3


I love the Tunnels and Trolls fanbase the RPG's creator, Ken St Andre is very close to his fans, regularly turning up to chat on the message boards of Trollhalla where all kinds of weird and wonderful things go on.  Its fanbase is also very dedicated in creating new content and there are a number of Tunnels and Trolls blogs dedicated to the game.

Tunnels and Trolls also has a fan magazine, Trollszine, currently on its fourth issue, available for FREE! from RPGNow (you can get issue 1 hereissue 2 hereissue 3 here and issue 4 here).

The fanzines are chock full of great stuff -solos, advice on how to write solos, new rules, GM adventures and much more.  

Today, I am lucky enough to have an interview with Trollszine's editor for issue's 1-3, Dan Prentice.

What was the first gamebook/solo you read (that wasn't your own)? Ken St Andre’s Naked Doom

What is your favourite gamebook/solo? Walker Vaning’s Sorcerer’sSolitaire is a real favourite. There are so many great ones though.

What gamebooks/solos/interactive fiction would you recommend to a newcomer to the genre? Sword for Hire is a great first solo to play T&T with. Fun, well written, and playable with a newly created character. The Lone Wolf Books are also excellent to introduce someone to the genre itself.

Summarise what a gamebook/solo is to a newcomer in 100 characters or fewer. A story and a game where you make choices for the principal character which affect if they live or die and how they prosper. Alternatively, like a computer RPG , but playable with just pen , paper and dice.

Why are gamebooks/solos great compared to games or books? The best ones transport you in the way in great book does, but give you choices and agency. They bear repeated re-reading as you explore different possibilities.

How did you get involved with Trollszine? A thread started on the Trollbridge about creating an online magazine in the wake of the Shipman scandal. I had loads of ideas for articles, and Mike Hill, the proposed editor, encouraged me to take on the job of editor with his support. Kevin Bracey had said he was prepared to do the formatting of the material and he did a brilliant job on all three issues we worked on together. Ken St Andre offered articles and support, and it took off from there.

What is your favourite thing about Trollszine? The fact that it is still going even though the original editors  (myself and Kevin Bracey) have stepped down due to other commitments. I love that fans of the worlds greatest RPG are prepared to do so much work for free to share their ideas and adventures.

What can people submit to Trollszine? Best ask Dan Hembree (the current editor)! Anything that would be of interest to the T&T reader I would say – adventures, solo or otherwise, monsters, spells, house rules, fiction – all of these have found a happy home in Trollszine.

How else can people help out Trollszine? Art and copy editing are both very much needed by the hard pressed editor in my experience.

When it comes to writing a gamebook/solo, what's the most important thing that you do? Not a skill of mine. When editing a solo I do a paragraph list and check that every paragraphs choices lead to a logical outcome , as well as checking for any typos or rules errors.

What have you got coming up in terms of your gamebook/solo/competition/Trollszine projects?  I have just done the copy editing for a brilliant solo by W. Scott Grant which I believe will see the light of day in Trollszine 5. I have also submitted my own article for a post apocalypse world for T&T which I hope will be published.

Do you have any other sites/blogs/twitter feeds besides  http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2238 ? Unfortunately not, but both the Trollhalla Outer Sanctum and the Lone Delver are regular reads for me.

What do you think the future of gamebooks/solos is? Ebooks with tracking of paragraph choices seems the logical next step. I think solos and gamebooks will be a niche product – they don’t have the in your face accessibility of video games – but I think they will be around for a long while yet.

To check out all of the great Tunnels and Trolls products, including Trollszine, go to  http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2238 .

2 comments:

  1. I like the covers of all those magazines! I'm not really that big on fantasy, but I liked your post. Enjoy the weekend!

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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  2. You were asked, "What do you think the future of gamebooks/solos is?"

    And you replied, "Ebooks with tracking of paragraph choices seems the logical next step."

    In that connection check out this URL:

    http://www.amazon.com/Deathtrap-Dungeon/dp/B005B1EA04

    It's Fighting Fantasy's "Deathtrap Dungeon" for Kindle!!!

    (N.B., While "Deathtrap Dungeon" is my favorite Fighting Fantasy gamebook, it is by NO means the only one available for Kindle -- look and see!)

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