The Frontier Explorer will be a quarterly magazine, with a new issue out every three months. The magazine will be primarily distributed electronically in PDF format but we plan on making a printed version available also. The goal is to keep each issue relatively small, less than 50 pages. This is to keep both our editorial work down for each issue as well as to limit the cost of the print version if you want it in that format.
In addition, we plan on doing at least one "special" issue each year, either a full up module, a special themed issue or some other item that doesn't fit into the standard format. If the support from the community allows, both in terms of editorial help and submissions, we will increase the frequency of releases.
The Frontier Explorer will be available both from our website (PDF version only) or from the DriveThruRPG website (http://rpg.drivethroughstuff.com) which will have both the PDF and print versions.
Each issue will have a variety of content although not every type of content will appear in every issue. The only "regular" features will be the Letter from the Editors on the Table of Contents page, the Frontier News page and the back cover comic. Beyond that anything is possible. There will be ship deck plans, adventure locations, optional rules, and general gaming articles like you found here in issue 1. Additional types of articles will include general astronomy articles, character archetypes, NPC characters, and anything else you or we can think of.
One of the things we're excited about is the "Special Issues". Often these will be collections of articles and/or fiction focused on a specific topic. An example could be " Ships of the Rim" which would contain a number of articles with complete deck plans and specifications for several new ship designs, possibly unique to the races of the Rim, that could be added to your campaign. We have a couple of ideas for these issues already, plus the one above I just pulled out of the air as I was writing this. If you have suggestions or ideas, please let us know.
Another type of "special issue" that we will be producing is full modules. The Mooks Without Number article (p ??) is actually the first of a series of related adventures and encounters set on Lossend. Other adventures in the series that continue the story will come in later issues. Once they are all done, we'll take the set, compile it into a single volume, clean up any details if needed, and make it available as a complete adventure module. If you have ideas for module and would like to produce it in this format, let us know and we'll work out the details with you on getting it into the magazine and into print.
We want to hear from you. Let us know what you liked and what didn't work in this issue and in issues to come. You can reach us via the contact form on the website or by posting in the discussion forums on the site as well. Finally you can also just send an e-mail to [email protected]. Future issues will have some sort of "letters to the editor" section if there is enough response and comments to warrant it so feel free to sound off.
You've probably already found the magazine's website in order to download issue 1. If not, you can find it at http://frontierexplorer.org. In addition to providing download links for the various issues, the site allows you to submit new content and provides several additional resources.
There are forums for discussing the articles and providing feedback. These are public discussion forums but they do require you to be registered with the site in order to post. The forums are organized by issue type (magazine, module, special issue) and by issue. Plus there is a forum for general discussions as well.
In addition to the PDF version of the magazine available for download, we have each issue of the magazine in HTML format for referencing on-line and linking to from other sites. Each article will be on its own page and these will be organized into on-line books for you to browse. In addition, where appropriate, these articles will be cross linked, wiki style.
High Resolution Downloads
The website also contains a special hi-res download section. Many of the maps, diagrams, and images that end up in the magazine can’t be reproduced at their full resolution or size and have to be scaled down to fit on the page. Many of these maps are designed to be printed and used with counters or miniatures. And sometimes you just want the full resolution picture. The hi-res download section of the web site will provide the full sized version of each item so that you can get it in all its glory.
Unless you want to post in the forums, you don't actually need to register at the magazine website to enjoy the magazine. The issues are free to anyone. However besides providing the ability to post in the forums, registration has a few additional benefits. By registering, you gain a "subscription" to the magazine. This means you will receive an e-mail whenever a new issue of the magazine or special issue is available. Now, I don't like getting lots of random e-mails any more than you do and this subscription channel that you are automatically signed up for will only be used to announce new issues. Plus you will be able to opt out from your user profile page if you really don't want to be informed about new issues.
If you do want a few more e-mails about other news and special events, there is also an optional news list that you can subscribe to as well when registering (or afterwards if you change your mind later). This list might see a bit more traffic but the volume will still be very low. The last thing we want is for you to consider us a spam source.
Finally, and maybe the biggest perk of registering, is advanced access to the upcoming issue. The e-mail to subscribers will actually go out a week before the issue "hits the newsstand". The issue, possibly sans the final covers or with something to denote it is an early edition, will be available for download to registered users only. The reason for this is twofold. The first is to reward our loyal readers with the edition a little early. The second is a little more prosaic. We know some of you are amateur (and maybe professional) editors at heart and it never fails that despite our best efforts, mistakes creep in. By releasing a little early to dedicated readers, some of those errors will be found and communicated back to us. This will allow us to fix them before the official public release of the magazine and submission of files to the printer for the print version.
The Frontier Explorer is a community magazine. That means it will only truly flourish through community contributions. While the editors will also be writing a lot of content and have a lot of ideas for things they want to publish, we both want and need input from our readership to really make the magazine the best it can be. We don't have all, or even necessarily the best, ideas. We welcome and encourage submissions from our readers. These can be articles related to gaming, descriptions of encounters, locations, creatures, or equipment, fiction, art pieces, or anything else you can think of.
If you have something to submit, head over to the website. At the top of the left hand column on every page is a big gold "Submit New Content" button. Click on it and you will be taken to the submission form. If you want to talk to us about any issues or concerns related to your submission before sending it in, feel free to use the contact form on the site or send an e-mail to [email protected].
We only have a few absolute requirements for publication. The first is that you have permission to submit the work for publication. This usually means that it is your own creative endeavor and not something you've just found. Or that you have obtained permission from the original author to make the submission. In either case, you assume full responsibility for the content of the submission.
Second, the material must not have been published elsewhere in a copyrighted format such that we can't use it. If it is your work and you've published it before and want to publish it again here, we can do that as long as there are no copyright issues with the previous publication. Beyond that, everything is fair game and we look forward to helping you get your material out to the community.
While those are the only requirements, we do have some guidelines (see below). And while you don't have to follow the guidelines, doing so will both improve the probability of getting the material published as well as speed up the publication process. Our time is limited. The more you can do to help get your article or art ready for publication, the easier it will be for us to include it, and the more likely it will be published sooner rather than later.
Attribution and Copyright
One of the goals of the magazine is to provide a venue for authors and artists to showcase their work. We want to give you credit for the work you've done. Part of the submission process is to provide us with the information we need to properly credit your efforts. We will publish your work under whatever byline you wish, either your real name or a pen name if you prefer.
Although Frontier Explorer is publishing the material, you retain the copyright to the material itself. We don't require you to give that up. The magazine will hold the copyright on the actual printed form and layout of the particular publication but you retain all rights to the actual words and/or images and can reprint it elsewhere if you desire.
If the material is not your own but you have permission from the copyright holder to make the submission, please include that permission with your submission. We don't want to have any issues along these lines and if there is any doubt it will delay the publication of the material until we get it figured out.
Full details on what is and isn't acceptable content can be found on the magazine's website in the submission guidelines document (linked from the submissions page). However the basic rule is keep it clean and remember that this is a family friendly magazine. Many long time players (including the editors) play with their kids. If it is something we wouldn't want them seeing or reading, it probably won't make it into print.
Submissions should be in an editable format, ideally a Word or Open Office document but even a simple text file would work. If you are using a word processor to prepare the document, just use the default fonts (unless the special font is part of the article's content) and use heading levels 2, 3, 4, etc. for the headings of the various sections of the article. We'll take care of getting it into the final layout but just following those rules will save us a lot of work. Full details for article formats and submission guidelines can be found on the website in our submission guideline document.
Art for The Frontier Explorer should be science fiction themed leaning more toward hard science than fantasy. While the primary audience for the magazine is adult, we have a goal of producing a family friendly magazine. Or at least one that we are not worried about our kids finding. To that end graphic depictions of sex, violence, or gore will be probably be rejected.
What crosses the line will be based on the subjective judgment of the editors – a famous quote from a Supreme Court case concerning obscenity comes to mind, "I know obscenity when I see it." This is not to say that all sexy characters and depictions of violence will be banned, but that individual submissions may be rejected if they feel unsuitable to the editors. If there is a question as to whether a particular piece of art is suitable please contact us via the website's contact form or e-mail us at [email protected]. We will be more than happy to work with you.
As for style, we are open to just about anything. The Frontier Explorer will primarily be distributed in full color electronic PDF format. Although we will have a print version, it will be full color as well. As such we can print just about any type of artwork in the pages of the magazine. Our only caution is that in our experience with other publications, some computer rendered graphics tend to be dark and may not reproduce as well as desired or may be hard to read for those viewing the magazine on e-ink readers such as the Kindle and Nook. Keep that in mind as you are creating your art and you should be fine.
We hope you enjoyed this inaugural issue and are as excited about the new Frontier Explorer magazine as we are. We have a lot of great things planned and look forward to exploring the various frontiers we discover with you.