All you need to know about carnel

Frequent Questions

  1. carnel is a strange name for a zine...
  2. What is carnel about?
  3. How much does carnel cost?
  4. Where can I get carnel from?
  5. What about back-issues?
  6. But I'm from Canada/US/South America!
  7. Do you accept trades?
  8. Who writes carnel?
  9. How can I get articles printed in carnel?
  10. Does carnel take advertising?
  11. Can I put flyers for my project in carnel?
  12. How many people read carnel?
  13. There is photograph on the cover of carnel 10, are you the one on the left/right?
  14. What other zines have influenced you?
  15. What is Tetsubo?
  16. What's a fanzine?

Frequent Answers

carnel is a strange name for a zine...

Yes it is, it is pronounced "car-nal" and the zine was originally going to be called carnal but when I was letra setting the title for issue one I mis-spelt it and then decided that carnel looked a lot better.

What is carnel about?

I describe the contents of carnel as being: RPG, chat, junk. The zine is primarily a zine about roleplaying in the UK but there is a strong secondary strain of chatzine running through it. In the great traditions of chatzines this means the zine could possible run articles on anything under the sun that is of interest to the editor (firstly) and the readers.

The important thing is that the writing should be interesting and good, sticking to a strict topic is very much secondary.

Also consider the blurb that used to be on the front page:

carnel is best described as the personal zine of its editor Robert Rees. It's "mission statement", if it has one, is to publish any articles that Robert wants to release or that Robert thinks should be in the public domain. As such it has a certain "chatzine" element to it, including a large letters column. To unkinder minds - it has a lot of "woffle" in it.

As a secondary goal, carnel attempts to provide a contemporary fan's view of the world of roleplaying, particularly from the British perspective. In the absence of any other zine dedicated to this carnel currently seems unique. This is not what we want though. carnel seeks to promote other zines and would like to see at least one other strong regular RPG zine in the UK.

How much does carnel cost?

For the definitive details on how to purchase carnel see the purchasing page.

Who writes carnel?

Most of it is written by Robert Rees. However in a single issue the number of other contributors varies. Some of the past contributors include Paul Mason, Dave Morris, Paul Baldowski, John Spashett, Robert Alexander, Tim Eccles. Michael Andersen and Lucya Szachnowski. Thanks to all the other writers who have produced stuff for me and are not mentioned here

My friend Edward Collins lends me lots of cool photographs for zine covers and the like.

How can I get articles printed in carnel?

It is really very easy to get published in carnel but there are two answers to the question.

Firstly, if you have never written anything before or been published in a zine before then it is probably best to write a letter about ideas you have or about one of the articles that have already been published in carnel. A lot of people start out this way, myself included, and it has the virtue of getting some practice in while also being a lot easier and short than attempting to write a whole article at the first attempt.

If you are an old hand though you probably know the score already. I have accepted all articles offered to carnel so the easiest thing to do is email me your article. In general I prefer articles to be a little more than "hardware" pieces (i.e. new rules, items, classes and so on). If you are introducing new material for a game I generally like to also see why you think these new aspects are needed, what the add to the game and how they might be used. I also like a slightly more formal tone to articles than is common on something like RPG Net for example. A review that simply says "bought it today, reading it now, looking good" is better handled as a letter rather than a separate article.

When editing your article I may frequently simply come back with a list of questions and points and ask you to take them into consideration in another draft of the article. Once both of us are happy with the draft I will usually edit the style, grammer and spelling. After that is done the article will go into the earliest carnel that has space for it.

Articles are published in carnel on the understanding that the authors retain the copyright on the article but that the final text of the article may be reprinted indefinitely in any format.

This means you can have your article reprinted elsewhere and that if you change it carnel can only print the original version without your permission.

It also means that if instead of reprinting the original issue I put together a collection or produce a special issue that reprints your article I do not need your permission.

Finally the above does not apply to letters any letter sent to me regarding carnel may be printed in an edited format and the resulting letters column's copyright belongs to me. That said I am never going stop you from reusing the text and ideas in your letter.

Does carnel take advertising?
The short answer is no. I do not want to take advertising and currently I do not really need to. There are excellent prozines who do take advertising (like Warpstone and Flagship) and advertisers would be well advised to place their adverts there where they will be very welcome.
Can I put flyers for my project in carnel?
Yes of course you can. I cannot guarantee any sort of response but I will include flyers in any zines I send out at no charge. I have already done this for the supplement "A Private War" and the games con "Usurper". Flyers should be A5 and A6 and 30-50 flyers are usually enough to cover mail orders for the better part of a year.
How many people read carnel?

This is a bit of tricky one as the answer is extremely variable. The subs list usually varies between five and ten people but a lot more people have copies due to trades or having written articles or because I like them and so on and so on. As a rule of thumb my first print run of any issue of carnel is thirty issues and this covers all subs, trades, freebies and usually has three or four copies for people who send in SSAEs.

Some issues are more popular than others though and go on to second and third printings. To try and track this I have now started keeping a record of the print runs on the individual issue pages. As a result of this I can, for example, tell you that issue 19 (which has been quite popular) has had 35 issues printed.

Do you accept trades?

I love all zines and of course I would be willing to do a trade, that's partly why I'm doing my own fanzine. A trade is like for like, a subscription for a subscription; an issue for an issue.

There is photograph on the cover of carnel 10, are you the one on the left/right?

Neither, I'm not in that photo. I am taking it though in case it bothers you that much.

What is Tetsubo?

Tetsubo was originally intended to be published after Lustria as a supplement for WFRP. However Games Workshop rejected it as it was not in the direction they wanted to take their business. It was shelved for many years until I managed to contact Dave Morris and ask him for permission to start printing the supplement. At first pieces from the supplement were printed in carnel but it not a totally separate supplement.

The supplement is a well-written book that presents the mysteries of Yamamoto for either visiting Old Worlder "barbarians" or for natives. It includes rules for Shojo, Kitsune, Ninja Wizards and Shinto Priests amongst a vast amount of cultural and background information

See the Tetsubo page for a lot more information on Tetsubo.

What zines have influenced carnel?

The obvious ones are the earliest fanzines so definitely Imazine, Glarg and (surprisingly) Intellect Devourer.

Then there was Black Freighter of which I only read one issue but that was radically different to all the zines that I had read previously due to the fact that it had an incredible layout but only really used the standard word processing programs and A5 photocopying. Visually it has had no effect on carnel's layout what so ever but it was so striking, as if the ideas were exploding across the page, that the sensation of reading it for the first time has really stayed with me. Hopefully when someone reads carnel for the first time they have a vague sensation of what the hell was that but that is about it.

Before I started carnel I wrote a few RPG pieces which were very basic. Black Mole by Gareth Jones was good enough to print them and Black Mole's free-wheeling style showed me that you could put out a diamond in the rough and still have an enjoyable read. I also wrote a few letters to Imazine, something that really could be described as a rite of passage for any RPG zine writer. I do not know if any of them were published but the important thing was that the editor, Paul Mason responded to every letter I sent and treated me like an adult. Something he has been kind enough to continue to do so to this day.

Paul's considerate replies were in stark contrast to his ascerbic letter column editor style where the readers were cruelly mocked to the delight of all but the victims. I aspire to be as good an editor as Paul is.

When carnel first started there were also a few issues of Delusions of Grandeur around at the same time. I traded letters and arguments with its editor Nathan Cubitt who I admit did impress me as someone who seemed very sophisticated. DoG and Nathan helped me get my ideas together on carnel on a rival basis rather than as an "early" influence.

What's a fanzine?

A "fanzine" is, literally, a "fans magazine". It is a publication, usually amateur, usually cheaply produced, made by a fan about the subject of which they are a fan. Fanzines really came to prominence in the Seventies with the coming of Punk and what the Americans call the Xerox. Fans were no longer willing to wait for the established press to discover their favourite band and set out to produce magazines dedicated to their chosen heroes.

My first fanzines were Imazine and Intellect Devourer (both about roleplaying) and more formatively Glarg! which was nominally about roleplaying but was actually a humourous mess which was intelligent, scathing and funny. Glarg was a real mess, written on the editor's mother's electric typewriter and "pasted" on the photocopier. Reading it now it might seem like unsophisticated Sixth Form teen surrealism (which is what it is strangely enough). However if you are only in the third year these things seem strange, alien, funny, intelligent and mystifying.

These zines set me down this road. I still love zines and for one reason. No matter how bad a zine gets they are always more entertaining and informative than anything that a journalist, paid to hack away all day, can produce.