The Bird of Passage

The parchment cracks and sheds as you unroll and flatten it on the sitting-room table. Every edition has an air of antiquity about it. THE BIRD OF PASSAGE, volume unknown, issue unknown. Print run of two, or perhaps two hundred thousand. This one arrived today, rolled tightly and slipped into your daypack at some point during your morning errands. Who delivered it? Don’t ask stupid questions.

Some of the contents make you wince, or smile, or gasp in disbelief. Some excerpts take you back to your childhood. Others dig up ancestral memories predating your great grandparents. Still others conjure sights and thoughts from unknown distances and times yet to occur. Every word sticks like a barb, ripping parts of you away as you move to the next.

You tightly roll the parchment and return it to your daypack as soon as you finish reading, careful to not introduce any further damage. This one has three, maybe four reads left. Departing into the night, you meander through the streets until you find the tavern with the right look. At the bar, a silver-haired woman scribbles intently in her journal. You slide the rolled parchment into her cloak pocket as you pass. You find a seat further down the bar and order a drink. It’ll do.

Etching of densely-packed woods displayed in an arch, a portal to elsewhere.

THE BIRD OF PASSAGE is an experiment in tabletop roleplaying, collaborative storytelling, adventures, and other things.

It is a quarterly zine edited and published by me, theoretically.

It is system-agnostic: this is not a “D&D zine,” though it’s definitely inspired by many hours spent in those worlds.

It is progressive and intersectional: we politely decline traditional and well-worn tropes, especially as they pertain to gender, race, ability, and class.

It defies expectation and avoids the easy out.

It is a great place to publish your fantasy, speculative, or historical fiction–and get paid to do so!


HERE’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:

(Contents and Submission Guidelines)

  • Quick Adventure Hooks (~500 words)
    • Includes a narrative introduction as well as plot and gameplay elements.
    • Presents a dilemma without hand-feeding a solution.
    • Contains potential for “continuing the story” in a postscript.
    • Example: In The Vast Forest
  • Items of Note (~250 words)
    • Describes a unique or historically-relevant, not necessarily magical item.
    • Includes some manner of complication or narrative element.
    • Example: Bad Luck Charm
  • Puzzles (~??? words)
    • Describes a complicated trap, secret, or mechanism as well as its solution!
    • Provides context for both the player and the character to help them solve the thing.
  • Random Tables (~250 words)
    • Who doesn’t love a table?
    • Plots a fun and/or bizarre concept in a randomization table.
  • Hearsay and Conjecture (~250 words)
    • “A friend of a friend told me…”
    • Entices and inspires with a very brief hook, which may or may not lead anywhere.
  • Locales (~500 words)
    • Describes an interesting place, conveying what makes it interesting.
    • Introduces 2-3 non-player character ideas, denizens of the locale, including practical (stats, gameplay-oriented) description.
    • Introduces 2-3 landmarks within the locale, including narrative (non-mechanical, flavor-oriented) description.
  • Today’s Apocalypse (~250 words)
    • Portends imminent doom.
    • Presents a narrative description of a world-ending villain, natural or unnatural disaster, or circumstance that must be either dealt with or worked around.
    • Example: The Groundswell
  • Flash Reviews (~100 words)
    • Critiques a fictional or non-fictional work with a focus on brevity.
    • Captures a terse, witty snapshot of a single thing.
  • Something Else?
    • Do you make maps?
    • Do you create fantasy illustrations?
    • Do you want to contribute in some way that I haven’t thought of?
    • Cool!

Fill out the Google Form to get started. Pitch your idea today and Jason will reach out to get your writing in the zine!