Fanzine Scrap Book: Tasarion

As promised in the last GROGPOD this is the first in a series of blog posts featuring samples from RPG zines from back in the day.

Long, long before he directed a cast of thousands of Lannister extras to their death, Graham Kinniburgh was a very young Tolkien enthusiast. He has provided some sample pages from his ‘zine for the GROGSQUAD to enjoy:

A short note on Tasarion – a Tolkien Fanzine

GROGPOD listeners will had a gateway author (or perhaps a game) that will have introduced them to world of geekdom. For a small group of friends in Greenock in the West of Scotland at the very dawn of the eighties, that author was the undisputed Lord of Fantasy Fiction himself – JRR Tolkien.

And having fallen on love with the world and works of Middle-Earth, it was perhaps only natural that we would seek out other like-minded souls in the wider world. Of course the internet wasn’t around back then, but an organisation calling itself ‘The Tolkien Society’ did advertise its existence in the back pages of some of the (many) Tolkien related paperbacks that we bought. Letters via snail-mail duly exchanged, and parental cheques dispatched and cashed, we were soon ‘officially’ ‘The Hobbiton Smial’ – ‘smials’ being the name for the various local clusters of Tolkien Society members dotted round the country. What’s more, we were soon in receipt of ‘Amon Hen’ – the Society newsletter, and ‘Mallorn’ its intimidatingly erudite ‘scholarly’ publication.

‘Amon Hen’ contained news of society meetings (aka ‘moots’) and events, articles, short fiction, poetry, artwork and other Tolkienish tid-bits and through its pages we learned that some of the other ‘smials’ were producing their own newsletters too. I’m not sure if we used the word ‘fanzine’ at the time, but that’s what they were and it was only natural, despite the fact that we were only 12 (!!) that we would want to have a stab it too.

Thus was born ‘Tasarion’ our humble little offering to go alongside those other more grown-up publications The production details are practically lost to memory but I do recall struggles with such archaic tech as be-ribboned manual typewriters, pritt-stikk, tipp-ex and ancient photocopiers (issue 2, now seemingly lost to history, was cranked out on something called a Gestetner – which I remember being as hideous to use as its name sounds tripping off the tongue). However, our surviving issues are in surprisingly good condition so we must have done something right and am pleased to notice that the quality of the issues did improve so that they did look a lot more like ‘Amon Hen’ etc by the end.

As for the content, well please bear in mind our age. While we may squirm a little (ok a lot) reading them back now, we do so also rather pleased and proud that we made the effort to give vent to our fledgling imaginations and creativity.

Tasarion lasted for a grand total of 6 issues. Like a young band just hitting its stride with some decent material beginning to sell, we ran into ‘creative differences’; as we hit our moody teens we decided to re-imagine ourselves – no longer the Society’s young ‘halflings’, we wanted to be the bad guys of Middle-Earth and, as inevitable as acne, we re-branded ourselves as ‘The Dark Crown’ (it is for you to decide, dear listener, whether the sight of certain young goth ladies dressed as leather- clad ‘Brides of Sauron’ at the Society’s Oxonmoot in ’82 had anything to do with that decision !).

In short, things other than fanzine production occupied our time – sadly I cannot report that it was the sex, drugs and black-magic infused rock & roll that we craved – but probably even MORE of an obscure little game we’d been playing called Dungeons & Dragons

Graham Kinniburgh

Tasarion 5
Chin stroking is compulsory …
Sample 3 (Tasarion 1)
Meet the editors, “good, but a little rowdy”.
Tasarion Sample 6 (Tasarion 1 Quiz)
Test your wits against the quiz. There’s a poll of favourite authors. Hitchcock makes an appearance. He was one of my favourites too, as I assumed he wrote the Three Investigators.
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They cannot win forever …

 

Sample 1 (Tasarion 1)
It’s not ALL about Tolkien – how about this enthusiastic endorsement of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Tasarion 6

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Check your answers. The best ‘zine ever, named after a tree.

Episode 14 (Part 2) RPG Fanzines (with Ian Marsh)

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INTRO: News about a new PBM ‘zine that we’ve inspired – Bones of the Lost God – if you like Phil’s monsters, he’s put some of his art on Red Bubble.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN (with Ian Marsh): Ian Marsh returns to talk about his editorial-ship at White Dwarf and his involvement in Games Workshop. He also talks about Dr Who and his TimeLord game, before bringing us up to date with his latest endeavours. 

DAGON (with @dailydwarf): @dailydwarf gives his usual insightful analysis of literary criticism covered in Dagon ‘zine.

ATTIC ATTACK: Blythy joins me in the attic to talk about ‘zines and comments provided by listeners. I mention Monster Man, a new podcast that is being developed by James Holloway, check out progress at his site.

OUTRO: We’re making a ‘zine – sign up at Patreon – before the end of September 2017 to get a copy.

Thank you to all our Patreons for your continued support; without you, we would not have been going for so long.

If you would like a PDF of the last GROGZINE you can get it at Drive Thru RPG and The Complete Daily Dwarf too. All proceeds will go to YSDC to support the community there.

GROGZINE Annual 2018 – Update

The GROGNARD Files 2018 Annual ‘zine is taking shape ready for its launch at GROGMEET on 11th November. Here’s a taste of what it includes

Monsters! Monsters! Monsters! Contributions from Ken St Andre and Liz Danforth

Deva – setting Pendragon in Chester from Kehaar

A wonderfully out-of-joint Call of Cthulhu scenario by Roger Coe

Better Living through Chemistry – a Judge Dredd RPG scenario from @dailydwarf

A short story from Justin Hill

What happened to Nic Novice? A collaboration with Paul Cockburn and Wayne Peters

The GROGNARD character class from Phil ‘the Dice Mechanic’

Frozen. A further chapter from The Armchair Adventurer’s memoir

A special Open Box with submissions from GROGMEET GMs and GROGSQUAD listeners

The podcast is free, but the overheads and additional projects, such as the ‘zine, are funded through the generous support of Patreons. All Patreons will be sent a hard copy, wherever they are in the world, after the launch. The printing will be limited to the total number of Patreons at the cut-off of 30th September plus 35 for contributors, GROGMEET attendees and review copies. 

If you pledge at $3.50 level and above, you’ll also get a hard copies of The Complete Daily Dwarf  Volume 2 which includes essays about Fiends, Dagon, Langford, and RuneRites. 

PDFs will be available for Patreons joining after the cut off point.

Join the GROGSQUAD and become an honorary Armchair Adventurer to access the ‘zine

GROGZINE 2017 – on PDF 


The ‘zine produced last year is now available for download on drive thru RPG on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.

Please download and donate as all proceeds will go towards the YSDC church roof fund. 

Yog Sothoth dot com provide a vital fan-function and we want to play our small part in keeping it going: so please help us raise some money to sustain the forums, podcasts, stationery coverage, odd-things recorded on obsolete formats and innovative YSDC activity for years to come.

The GROGNARD files ‘zine and The Complete Daily Dwarf – available on drive thru RPG 

DragonLords Scrap Book

In the latest GROGPOD we discuss ‘zines in general and DragonLords in particular. Our guest contributor Ian Marsh edited the zine with his friends Mike Lewis and Marc Gascoigne and was remarkable for its irreverent coverage of the hobby. Its self-deprecating tag line “Yet Another Fantasy & Sci-Fi Roleplaying Magazine” reflected its satirical tone that earned it the reputation of the Private Eye of RPGs. There were 22 issues published with short print runs so it’s difficult to get your hands on copies. A dedicated collector like Ed in his Shed would turn his nose up at prices of £50 to £150 asked for on sites like eBay. The final issue is difficult to find as it had a short print run. Ian says that it was particularly eccentric and wild as he knew it was the last one.

You’ll find PDFs and copies of the covers if you search long enough, but I thought it would be good to feature some illustrative content, provided by Ian, to support some of the discussion we had on the GROGPOD.

Warning high nipple content. This was Dragon Lords after all!

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Ducks and nipples were a recurrent subject of Dragon Lord’s artwork.

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“Dragon Lords of all they survey … ” touring the world, as far as their grants will take them … (by the way, the caption should read Ian, Mike, Marc!)

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Parodies of contemporary adverts were always great fun. Some were very controversial, such as the ‘Cit a bout’ miniatures featuring figures from the Israel/Palestine conflict which prompted complaints from Citadel

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The Scroll of Ol-Sen and the Curlers of Livingstone – a collection of magical items in The Rubbish Bin – a response to White Dwarf’s Treasure Chest.

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“Nagging at the gods …” it’s fine, there’s no way anyone will be offended and write in about this article. Unleash the ‘tongue parry’.

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Ian Gibbs, who would later contribute Vop to Imagine, wades into the Nipple campaign

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Artists like Peter Martin developed their skills in Dragon Lords, he later contributed to White Dwarf during the Ian Marsh years.
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My favourite covers were those done by April Lee as they always featured moments of drama.

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Nipples and …

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…ducks!
 

Episode 9 (Part 1) Imagine Magazine (Paul Cockburn)

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0 INTRO

We have been hard at work producing the GROGNARD files fanzine for Patreon backers. There are still a few hard copies available for new $3.50 backers. They are limited. Once they’re gone they’re gone. PDFs are available for download for $1 backers from 21st November.

6:33 SHOW AND TELL

Blythy joins me in the attic to look at some of the issues of IMAGINE in our collection.

I will be running the Luther Arkwright adventure THE FIRE OPAL OF SET at Convergence in Stockport on 18th March 2017.

43:50 OPEN BOX – PAUL COCKBURN

We are pleased to join Paul Cockburn, editor of Imagine, and he talks about his gaming experiences and how Imagine got off the ground.

He’s back in the next part looking at specific features of the magazine.

01:09 THE WHITE DWARF

@dailydwarf reflects on CRITICAL MASS and Dave Langford’s contribution to White Dwarf and the SF literary hinterland.

01:20 POSTBAG

DM Mike from Save or Die podcast, asks a sensory Pelinore question …