Gary’s Appendix Writers Guidelines

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Please note: This is a living, working document to be refined as needed. Feel free to comment on this document and I will address thoughts and concerns. 

What is the goal of the project? 

  • To create at least 3 zines per year. 
  • To produce a page count of 48 pages for each issue. 
  • To keep the mechanics square with Old School Essentials. 
  • To have a variety of articles. 
  • To have a bestiary in each zine 
  • To keep close to a clean presentation style. 

What are the types of articles we are looking for? 

  • Length 500 to 2,000 words. Most articles average around 1,200 words.  
  • Essays on a variety of real-world subjects (gemstones, how weather works, etc.) 
  • Essays on fantasy world subjects (aether space, spell components, eating habits of dungeon-bound creature, etc.) 
  • GM advice for specific situations (random encounters, weather, etc.) 
  • Weird Technology 
  • Humor 
  • Examples of the articles we are looking for are at the bottom of the page.  

What are the writing expectations? 

  • The submitted document is free as possible from spelling and grammar mistakes. Google Docs, Microsoft Word and Pages all have spelling and grammar checks and the presented document should be at least that level of “clean.” 
  • Work hard to eliminate passive voice in your writing. Some usage is acceptable the expectation is for the article to be direct in its presentation. Word processors can flag passive voice. 
  • Work hard to eliminate “hedge” words like “some,” “can,” “might,” etc. Words like these lessen the authoritative tone of your work. For example “Here are some ways that might make your underground adventures a little more exciting:” to “Here are three ways to add excitement to your underground adventures:”  

What is the legal agreement between writer and author? 

The pay: 

  • The rate 10 cents per word which will be rounded upwards in the author’s favor. 
  • The rate is based on the number of accepted words. 
  • The publisher pays upon acceptance of the article. 
  • The publisher may ask for additional writing to fill in gaps in layout up to 5% of the word count. The publisher will pay for additional words beyond that.  

When the author accepts payment: 

  • The publisher has the right to edit or change the article 
  • The publisher has the right to publish the article in Gary’s Appendix. 
  • The publisher has the right to republish the article. 
  • The publisher has the right to publish the article in any future publication(s). 
  • Publication includes selling PDFs on various online sites. 


These are all taken from the 1e Dungeon Master’s Guide. The page numbers reference that work. This is not a comprehensive list, it provides ideas of the kinds of articles that we are looking for.   

Please note…each topic can be a single article, a short series or a long series. If a topic was covered in a previous issue, an author may revisit that topic if approaches the subject from a different angle or focus.  

  • Diseases – The DMG provides a broad and complicated look at diseases and parasites. This would make a good multi-part series. Diseases – how they affect the character – cures/remedies – infection, etc.   This would need to be treated in a way using simple mechanics AND be good for the post-apoc game that is forthcoming. (P. 13-14)
  • Spying – or dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Often players want (or need) information to assist in their plans. Depending on the game, it is usually a bad idea to keep players from uncover facts. Hiring professional spies or bribing individuals, or hanging out of gossip are ways to get additional info. There is risk, however, in getting caught or perhaps even getting bad info. Provide some rules to make this happen and with the mind that even FAILURE makes something interesting happen. (For example…if gossip is part of your article, a failure means the character gains some tawdry bit of information).    P. 18-19
  • Poison/Venom – a fun subject. This could be two parts with one being real-world poisons/venoms and their effect, and the second could be an article regarding fantasy ones and the economy surrounding that. P. 20 
  • Gems – a description of gems, maybe a little science/geology. And, like the REPUTED MAGICAL PROPERTIES OF GEMS in the DMG provide something similar /except/ provide a concrete effect such as “ingesting provides a +4 saving throw vs poisons and venoms for the next 4 hours” . They should be logic between the effect and the gem. Feel free to make up nonsense. “Amber is formed by the tears of the dryads during their Sojourn of Sorrow which they undertook 3 aeons ago as.”  The nonsense descriptions should be left open.   p. 25-26 
  • Values of other rare commodities – a lot of fun can be done with this especially if expanded out and applied in a way that makes it easy for a GM to use.  
    This can vary from items a person is carrying to valuables in a person’s home. There could be various articles on very particular things (like books). Or 1d6 most valuable items in a person’s home (which could be porcelain dishes). Ben Lawrence makes good use of odd items in Ultan’s Door being worth a LOT of money but being difficult to carry out.  P. 27 
  • Sages – Make a compelling case for characters to seek the employ a sage, the costs of doing so and what real benefit can be gained. Perhaps it is as simple as Dungeon Worlds move where the result of success equals the players getting to ask a limited number of questions (1-3) related to that subject that the GM must answer truthfully. I believe that information is important for players to get and if they need a particular expert, that expert exists but might be costly, or at a distant or hard to reach location.  It is also possible to expand out or create another category of “subject matter expert” that doesn’t have the deep research as sage and can provide results that are more limited.) P. 31-33
  • Day-to-Day Acquisition of Cleric Spells – this portion of the DMG tries to emphasize that clerics ARE different than magic users and handles this by the method by which they acquire back spells. There are additional ways to do this as well…and this can be spread over many articles and writers approaching this from different angles. The idea is that there should be a COST to being a cleric because they are part of an organized order AND receive their powers from a particular being. Article(s) can emphasize that and point out differences and perhaps limitations (Maybe a war deity only allows healing of people who were wounded in battle, etc) (maybe to gain spells back the character has to sacrifice something…like money). P. 38-39  
  • Of Burning Oil – There was a bit of an online discussion a while back regarding oil. While it is used in-game like Molotov cocktails, that is completely unrealistic. Oil has a very low flash point. An article(s) about oil (where it comes from), how it works in lanterns and such. Then progress to how it is historically used in the game and its importance to the game and finish with some fun thoughts or conjectures.  [not in the DMG] 
  • Of Burning Torches – Like oil….to a fairly solid treatment of “how it works in real life” but then look at several ways to handle them in game.  [Not in the DMG] 
  • Of Illumination – I guess this is the next logical topic. What Is the math behind illumination, different light sources (real and magical) and how that can be applied to the game. [Not in the DMG] 
  • Climate – A review of different kinds of environments (separate article for each one) with practical uses of weather, ways to use the environment in combat, as well as the effect such weather has on people and how the mitigate the negative effects. P. 87 
  • Ecology – An exploration of an environment…how it works (its “circle of life”) and how monsters can contribute to that environment OR be detrimental.  P. 87
  • Social Class – p. 88 
  • Governmental Forms – give a solid description of different forms of governments, the real-world countries that exhibited that form of government and then the pros and cons of that form of government (which can lean on real-world examples. P 89 
  • Royal and Noble Titles – both European and non-European cultures. Solid descriptions of each, how to use them in a campaign, and maybe pull on some real-life examples that will be useful for GMs to be inspired or do more research. (In the story of Robin Hood….X was….) p. 89. 
  • Town and City Social Structure – This would make a perfect set of topics but tied to the culture/society it comes from. This goes beyond just the established government in the region. Maybe some short random tables (such as who is officially in charge but who really is in charge) This does not have to tie directly into class but present the dynamic.   P. 89 
  • Social Classes – treallyhe definition, real world examples and what their lives are like. P. 89 
  • Economics – wide topic! P. 90 
  • Duties, fees, etc.   A short economic history and then provide some simple rules for extracting money from the player characters.  P. 90 
  • Placement of monetary Treasure – This is a great topic for OSE. How does one go about this? Sure there is random encounter treasure tables but for a written campaign that doesn’t make sense to rely on that. Should one factor X gp for the level of the adventure and then divvy it up among easy to find and hidden???  I would like to know the answer!  P. 91 
  • Placement of Magic Items – How much? Where? Why?  What does magic items inform players about the world? Are they commodities or rare wonders? P. 92 
  • Territory Development –  What to do when characters get a stronghold, etc..  P. 93-94
  • Peasants, Serfs, and Slaves –  The peasants are revolting!  This can go many directions.  P. 94 A
  • A more sensible way of handling languages – I would love to see this. Characters get X number of languages and often the languages they get are never useful. 
  • Monsters and Organization – This can be condensed/expanded, clarified, codified, modified and spit-shined.   p. 104-105 
  • Use of non-human troops. While this is tied to troops, this can cover the or the hiring of mercenaries by the adventuring party which may provide some interesting complications. P. 105-106 
  • Creation of holy (unholy) water.  This is fun! P. 114-115.
  • Manufacture of potions – YES!  Cost for an alchemist for e ach potion. Price someone will pay for a reagent. This can drive some FUN gaming moments….  p. 116-117 
  •  Appendix J – Medicinal plants. Short history usage – real world result – in game result.    p. 220-221 
  • How do torches work? 
  • How does burning oil work?  Or does it really?