In a similar manner to my articles in which I break down the articles from Arcadia that I used to write for Tribality, I now present you a series of breakdowns for the Unbound collection. Leon Barillaro has been kind enough to provide me with a copy of the issue for me to check out and review.

In many ways, Unbound is very similar to Arcadia and the Uncaged collections. Leon even mentions it in a Letter from the Editor at the very beginning! However, this collection has another purpose. With the disaster caused by the D&D OGL, many people started to check out other games, and the people in charge of Unbound wanted to make other games known. As Leon says “This zine is […] a collection of articles supporting the systems and genres we enjoy, many of which have nothing to do with heroic medieval fantasy

The PDF itself is not indexed, nor provides alt text for the images. Additionally, the text cannot be selected, as if every page was a whole image. However, the layout is gorgeous to look at, the images selected are amazing, colorful, and thematic. Additionally, each individual article not only includes the author, but also who did the illustrations, the editors, and even playtesters for the adventures. I really liked seeing all the people involved being well displayed in each article, and having a whole Contributors section for each of them (except for the Playtesters). The contributors, I must also stand out, for being extremely diverse, both as BIMPOC, and part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Skip the Pantheon, Build a Tarot Deck

~ Article ~

Author: Dana Floberg
Artists: Cecelia Nesti
Editors: Ashton Duncan and Steffie Devaan

When worldbuilding there are many things we usually start with: a map, politics, the kingdoms or planets, a pantheon… What if there was another better way to start and give you plenty of ideas on the aspects from your world? That’s right! That is a tarot deck! Through this article Dana takes some time to explain the origin of tarot, what it was created to represent, and how much it says about our world. After that, there is a guide on how to create your own tarot deck for your world, and make it impactful in the setting.

I can’t say I know much about tarot. I have my own set that I got at last Big Bad Con just because I bought a game that requires one, and there was a tarot deck that looked incredible next to it. Upon reading this article I got an urge to think of things from my world that would appear in its own personal deck. I definitely recommend this article to get those inspirational gears turning in your head, and creating a tarot deck your players can pull from in all your games!

Fourteen Blades

~ Resource for Thirsty Sword Lesbians ~

Author: Mathew Campbell
Artists: Margarita Bourkova
Editors: Brock Bergum and Leon Barillaro

In this article, you will find a collection of 14 different Blades for the TTRPG Thirsty Sword Lesbians. If there is supposed to be a connection between them and the tarot cards I really can’t find it (they are supposed to be tarot inspired… maybe it has something to do with the minor arcana cards?). However, the content to be found in this article is incredibly imaginative. It shows that Mathew is either a sword nerd or did a bunch of research on different swords, because half of the types of swords detailed here I have never heard of. The Blind Daab Sŏng, dual blades of justice and truth, and Mora’s Shashka, the sword for good witches possessed by a spirit, are surely my favorites.

Let’s Talk About Boiz!!11!1!

~ Adventure for Mork Borg (Cy_Borg) ~

Author: Isla Lader
Artists: David Markiswsky
Editors: Kai Linder and Steffie Devaan

When an AI destined to collect information from thousands of individual’s fashion, and predict the future of it goes rogue and uses bodies constructed with flesh as its way of being corporeal in the world, you have to do something about it. I wouldn’t call this an adventure per se, but a series of imaginative bits of information about this SINdy AI to create your own series of stories around it. SINdy has a connection with the tarot cards in the sense that she (or her followers) can grant powers to the PCs that are defined through a draw from a major arcana deck. I had not seen Cy_Borg adventures before, but I do own a copy of the game. Now I really want to run a short campaign featuring SINdy, or at least having her be a side character!

Divined Chaos

~ A New Game ~

Author: Karren Loomer
Artists: David Markiswsky
Editors: Dana Floberg and Leon Barillaro

I was surprised to encounter a new game in this issue. I mean, the last one did have a hack of Honey Heist, but this one is not based on anything. It is a very simple game using tarot cards and having all players interpret the cards they draw. You may use the actual meanings of the tarot cards, or the art in them to create your story, meaning that if you have a tarot deck surrounding a certain theme (for example, Lovecraftian), it is very probable your story will follow a direction of that sort. I like that this makes the game extremely easy for beginners, and that there are barely any rules to it. It’s 4 steps you need to follow, distributing the cards in a similar way to how you do it for the Fiasco game. Simple, yet a very cool idea for a boring afternoon, or if you are a tarot cards lover.

Final thoughts

I do find a use for all of these articles in particular. Setting up a world with the first article, creating my own set of tarot cards is something I became really interested in trying out. While I have never played Thirsty Sword Lesbians, I plan to do so someday, and still I find it very easy to adapt the swords from the second article to any other game of my choosing, as swords with lore are always cool. The Cy_Borg article awakened a need to finally play the game instead of only check out its art, which is always great to have, and I really want to roleplay SINdy. Lastly, for Divine Chaos, while I don’t think it is the kind of game I like to play, I believe it is simple enough to be able to be played with any non-TTRPG player. All in all, a very useful issue, with an extremely cool theme!


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