I know you’re thinking to yourself, “I haven’t heard enough about this Worlds Without Master. I wonder if there’s anything more Eppy can tell me about it.” Well, you’re in luck, my friend; because there are exactly seven things more I can tell you. So, in the grand tradition of every site on the Internet, I present to you . . .
. . . 7 Reasons You Should Be Paying Attention to Worlds Without Master
An artist’s rendition of every hobbit that will ever grace the pages of Worlds Without Master, sans rings.
Reason #1: No Elves.
Or dwarves, or orcs, or hobbits, or fractal swords. This is not Tolkien. It’s not even D&D. This is sword & sorcery. It’s stories of wonder, violence and adventure that veer from the course. It’s weird fantasy unhinged from traditions that have congealed in the roleplaying hobby over the past 40 years.
Tolkien, D&D, their halflings, and all that come with them have a special place in my heart, too. But they have plenty of venues to share their stories. Worlds Without Master is a venue for tales from an often weirder, at times darker, occasionally more petty, always extraindustrial, sometimes non-Euclidean corner of the fantasy genre. If you want stories from a tradition that has been echoed by D&D and its descendants, but are yet delightfully unfamiliar; you should be reading Worlds Without Master.
(And if your personal D&D group is playing to it the sword and sorcerous hilt, then you already know the pleasures that await you.)
Reason #2: This Doesn’t Have to be Your Patriarch’s Sword & Sorcery.
This genre’s got some serious baggage. There are diamonds in that rough, but the rough is rough. While delving into used book store finds, I will find myself face-to-face with an unknown author. When I do, I turn each page with trepidation, reading through my fingers, behind which I hide, ever fearful of uncovering some hoary misogyny or foetid bigotry. I am, more often than you would expect, pleasantly relieved to find only the horrors of the imagination. But not as often as I would like.
I love sword & sorcery, which means I have a vested interested in seeing it as broadly accessible as possible. Partly because the larger the audience, the more folks with which to geek out. But more importantly, because the genre is made richer by the variety of voices found within it. It’s true! You can actually observe this phenomenon by seeking out and sampling works from the growing number of authors who have already brought new voices to the genre.
A primary goal of this publishing adventure is to seek out new perspectives on the genre. But this is no task for a lone wanderer. The path ahead is murky and perilous. I need allies, wayfarers willing to carve their own paths. If you possess a voice that is not often heard in the genre, I encourage you to submit to Worlds Without Master. I want to hear that voice.
Reason #3: Worlds for You to Run Amok In.
You do not take up sword and spell to tag along with someone else’s adventure. You do it to change the course of your destiny. To mold the universe to your wants and desires. Yeah sure, the stories in Worlds Without Master are fine ways to explore the infinite worlds of someone else’s imagination, but what about your worlds and your imagination? Are they not masterless?
Since its adolescence, dwellers in the genre have been dipping their toes in one another’s fiction, sharing gods and other impossibilities. It is as much a staple of sword & sorcery as towers, skulls and jewels. Worlds Without Master carries that tradition forward. In the back of every issue of the ezine there is a list of the Realms. These are the works found within the issue that are, to some degree or another, available for others, including yourself, to explore and create their own content for. There are the Curated Realms that give the original creator of the work final say on what other works based on theirs can be accepted by the ezine. And there are the Free & Chaotic Realms which require no such approval from the original creator. Those wishing to open their worlds to other authors, artists, designers, etc., can further protect the most important features of their work by creating rules to govern what is mutable and immutable.
If you have a world to share or have found a Realm in the ezine that has inspired you, you should be submitting to Worlds Without Master.
Get it? Because you can die from exposure. Also, a chillingly accurate depiction of why Eppy must pay for art.
Reason #4: Fuck Exposure.
Seriously. Through the might of the Patron Horde, Worlds Without Master is able to pay a fair price to its authors, artists, editors, proofreaders, and everyone else. Well, everyone but Eppy at the moment. So, if you enjoy supporting everyone but Eppy, you should join the Patron Horde.
Reason #5: No Risk.
Patreon is not a subscription model. When you join the Patron Horde, you are not charged. You will not pay for a whole year’s worth of issues up front. You don’t even pay for a single issue until that issue is released. In fact, Patreon doesn’t charge you for the issue until the beginning of the month after it has been released! So, if by chance you have forgotten to budget for that issue, you have a a grace period during which time you can withdraw your pledge and avoid being charged—saving the day for you and your treasury. And I would totally understand it if you did. Trust me, I’ve been there. Man, have I been there.
Because I think of the Patron Horde as a bunch of grim, determined folk with a startling variety of fancy hats.
Reason #6: It Grows as the Patron Horde Grows.
Each member of the Patron Horde increases the bounty of content. Each member of the Patron Horde helps all the other members stretch their $2.99 that much further. Every 135 new members can comfortably bring us another story or game complete with illustrations. Eventually, when the Patron Horde grows so large that each issue is an embarrassment of riches, we start paying the contributors even more and we start seeking more spectacular content—longer stories, color illustrations, etc. If there’s a limit to what the Patron Horde can do, I fully intent to find it.
Reason #7: You Love Lists.
Of course you do, you’re on the Internet. Hell, of the myriad of options destiny has laid before you, you chose to spend this very moment reading a list. That’s exactly how much you love them. And Worlds Without Master has the lists for you, my friend.
Each issue contains a miscellany—a collection of 36 thematic items arranged in a table so that if you were so inclined, you could roll a couple six-siders and randomly select one. For example, let’s say you had the first issue in front of you open to the miscellany “Three Dozen Wondrous Sights” and rolled, say, a 3 on one die and a 6 on the other. You would behold “Three massive, walking ziggurats, each with six cursed priests trapped inside.”
Each miscellany belongs to the Free & Chaotic Realms, allowing you to take your walking ziggurats wherever you please, and then submit the record of your adventures to Worlds Without Master.