NOTE on 2014-01-25: This project has been canceled. See this post.

For the past two years, this blog has served as my small foothold in the OSR gaming community. I like to think I've done an admirable job of sharing with the community—the zine list and downloads page hopefully attest to that.

So now I've been thinking about starting a zine again—a compilation of stuff from the OSR/RPG blogosphere that I think is cool. I'm not going to be doing a lot of writing—no, I'm a better arranger, compiler, and editor (although I will need help with copyediting, most likely). Notice that I said "again." I founded and edited an online poetry zine for almost ten years. I retired the zine when the quality of submissions sank so low that I couldn't meet my self-imposed deadlines and kept sifting and sifting through the slush pile and second-guessing rejections until I got headaches. I was a one-man operation because I am a bit of a control freak. In 2009, I released only a single issue of the zine, and waited almost a year to make the end-of-the-road announcement I resisted for almost just as long: I finally had to admit that my desire to edit a poetry zine had wilted. But it wilted right at the same time my interest in old school D&D rekindled.

And now, almost three years later, I am feeling that itch again.

Yes, I have a few other projects on the burner, things I need to finish before jumping into a new endeavor. The Community Project: The Trouble With Troglodytes, needs to be collated, edited, and formatted for PDF (once it's complete, that is). A Hamsterish Hoard of Monsters is almost done; I'm still tinkering with final copyediting. I need to finish The Book of Lairs III and The Book of Lairs IV, two projects based on threads at Dragonsfoot—projects that have been sitting on my hard drive for almost two years in one state or another and that I need to just sit down and muscle through. I've got to do another round of copyediting to The Monastery of the Order of Crimson Monks to correct minor niggling errors. But these projects don't satisfy that itch.


I'm announcing a new zine called RENT ASUNDER! to be published in PDF and given away for free on this blog. The zine will adhere to an old school DIY aesthetic. It won't look as slick as Encounter or Oubliette or Fight On! Heck, I hope it looks half as good as The Manor and LOVIATOR and CRAWLzine and Wizards Mutants Laser Pistols.

A POD version might come later, but I'm more comfortable with PDF—and with 4 kids and a full-time teaching job, I don't have time to print, fold, staple and mail.

I've already got some great stuff lined up for the first issue, and I'm hoping to pump it out at the end of August as kind of a "back to school special."

I'll write a description/manifesto later, but for right now, here is what I'm thinking:

Each issue will have a specific theme. Here are the themes planned for first few issues:
  1. Big Ass Scary Spiders
  2. Hell Yeah Skeletons
I'm planning on 2-3 issues a year, published sporadically when I have collected enough material. If I'm able to get at least 2 issues out the first year, then I will pledge to give it a go for at least another year. I'm not making a long term commitment—maybe this will fizzle and die after the first issue. But I hope not.

Here's what I'm hoping will be included in each issues:
  • A feature article/rant that serves as an introductory centerpiece to the theme of each issue.
  • Tables. I'd love to have a table for each standard die, and at least 1 d30 table.
  • Some kinda dice-drop chart for you visual learners
  • Maps and/or Geomorphs
  • Monsters, Magic Items, Spells
  • A community-created or single-user generated adventure module (sandbox, drop-in, location-specific, whatever)
  • Artwork. I'm not an artist, so I'm relying upon the community here.
All monsters/items/spells statted using 0e/BX/1E stat blocks or a retro-clone's stat block style (Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinith Lord, or OSRIC; doesn't matter which). I'm not going to go through and standardize the stats. Besides, a decent DM/GM can adapt on the fly, dude.

Any OGL content submitted for publication not created by the submitter must have the Section 15 Copyright Notice included, if applicable (See

Each issue will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) License. (See This license only covers each compilation as a whole.

The zine will be modeled on a mashup of Footprints and the Candlekeep Compendium and Dyson's Dodecahedron and Lapsus Calumni and Secret Santicore 2011 and the maps from Monster Johnson. Kinda. Maybe. If I can pull it off. ( I'm too lazy to create links to the zines; you can find them on the zine list).

I'm going to try to compile everything in Google Docs as I assemble an issue. If need be, I'll export it to Word to do the heavy lifting. My hope is that, by using Google Docs, I can have some other people help me with copyediting without having to email a file back and forth a bazillion times. Once it's ready for release, I'll export it to PDF, drop it in my Dropbox, and post a link on the new RENT ASUNDER! page for download.

Now, here's where you come in. I'm only going to compile & edit this thing. The content will be created by YOU. I've already got stuff lined up for the first issue; I need content for issues 2 & 3. I want/desire/hope all content will be generated by solicitations and submissions from the OSR community. People post stuff on blogs, I read it, I ask to use it in the zine OR people can send stuff in.

If you have something that fits one of the announced themes (and I know you do because I read your blogs),  hit me up by submitting your work to mwschmeer atty-at gee-male DOT com.

What are you waiting for? Come on, you know you want to!


Andrew said…
I have some magic items and sub systems that may be of interest for B/X, here.

You also might want to look at the Crawl d6 mini-game, as I have had a lot of fun with it and others might also.
Matthew Schmeer said…
@Andrew: Cool! I'll mine your blog for stuff. The Web Walker was pretty cool, and it might fit the theme of the first issue, too.
taichara said…
If you still need/want to poke me about the critter compendium, no worries; I'm not dead, just hibernating. As hamsters sometimes do *grin*
Matthew Schmeer said…
@tiachara: Thanks! I'm working on a final edit over the next two weeks. Then I'll send it to you for a final look-over.
Andrew said…
My web walker was inspired by Simon Forester's spider class for a B/X style game, so you may be best served going straight to him for spiders.

I was going to point you to Telecanter for his spidery goodness post, only to see you got there yesterday. So good work on that one!
Matthew Schmeer said…
@Andrew: And I've already talked to Simon, too!
Chris Creel said…
I'll certainly put "a contribution to Rent Asunder" on my "to do" list. Skeletons huh, might be time for a pocket dungeon design?
Mr. Pavone said…
I got one word for you. Spiderskeletons. I called it first.
Matthew Schmeer said…
@Marc: Okay, but now you got to follow through.
Mr. Pavone said…
do I have to stat them any particular way or can I just give a description?
Matthew Schmeer said…
@Marc: 0e, 1e, B/X, or BEMCI style stat blocks if you wanna go old school. Or OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, or Swords & Wizardry if you wanna go retro-clone. Illustrations optional.
Mr. Pavone said…
ok, give me a due date, or sometime you'd like submissions by, and I'll get on it.
Erik Jensen said…
Skeletons, eh? *thinking*
Matthew Schmeer said…
@Marc: Middle of July for Spiders. Sometime after that for Skeletons.

@Erik: Hell Yeah Skeletons!