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Kobold Quarterly Folds, A New Adventure Begins

Kobold Quarterly Folds, A New Adventure Begins

Goldscale ponders his destinyIt’s a fact that in every fantasy roleplaying game, whether it’s Pathfinder RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, or Castles & Crusades, a kobold’s life is short. They’re wily and quick, but they have few hit points. Sooner or later they go down — fighting.

That day has come for Kobold Quarterly magazine. After five years of publication, Shelly and I are closing the doors on the little fanzine that could.

There’s a FAQ at the end of this post with more information, including details for subscribers (who will have the choice of a full refund or a larger amount in Kobold Store credit) and for writers (editors will contact you about Winter submissions).

That’s the nitty gritty. But as Kobold-in-Chief, I don’t want to talk about that right now. I want to talk about what Kobold Quarterly means to me.

I always hoped that Kobold Quarterly would someday be my full-time gig, but it was not to be. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who contributed to the magazine, starting with our stalwart subscribers, advertisers, authors, and artists. Thanks also to those who bought only an issue or two; for us, every sale was crucial to our continuing. The magazine may be going away, but the Open Design goal of creating new ways for people to publish their RPG ideas will continue.

This is a very sad day for me personally, and I know this comes as a disappointment to many of you. The line on small press magazines these days is, “every issue is a little miracle.” We finally ran out of miracles, but it’s been an absolutely stellar five and a half years with Kobold Quarterly’s contributors, subscribers, and readers.

Thanks for making it more than a “product.” Thank you for making it original, surprising, thrilling, inspiring and quirky. Thank you for making it playable and debatable and fun. All adventures end, and this one has been a blast.

And now, as adventurers do, we will gather in the tavern to hoist mugs of ale and talk about the monsters we slew and the treasures we won. And then we will begin planning and scheming for the next adventure.

Kobolds might be easy to knock down individually, you see, but they always come in big numbers. The kobold crew will keep serving you with free articles, the free Courier newsletter, Kobold Press adventures and sourcebooks, and other projects.

We remain Small but Fierce.

Kobold Quarterly FAQ

Hey, what happened to Kobold Quarterly?

After an amazing five-year run culminating with Kobold Quarterly 23, Kobold Press ended the magazine on a high note. The kobolds are now focused on designing and publishing high-quality RPG adventures, sourcebooks, campaign materials and other types of roleplaying game supplements in print and electronic formats.

What happens to my Kobold Quarterly subscription?  

If you have any issues remaining on your KQ subscription, you will get a full refund for your remaining issues.  You have three options:

  1. Receive a 150% refund in Kobold Store credit. If you opt in, you’ll get a credit to use on any future purchase equal to 1.5 times your remaining issue credit.
  2. Receive a 100% refund for your remaining issues via PayPal.
  3. Receive a 100% refund for your remaining issues via paper check, if you paid with a check or money order and do not have a PayPal account.

All subscribers will get an email from Shelly letting them know how many issues they have remaining, and she will deliver the option you prefer for a refund or store credit.

If you don’t choose one of these 3 options by Saturday, December 15, you will get the PayPal refund by default. We will strive mightily to process all refunds by December 31, 2012.

What happens to the Adopt-a-Soldier KQ subscriptions?

Any new Adopt-a-Soldier funds coming this quarter will be refunded in full to the donor. Service members who are currently subscribed to KQ through the Adopt-a-Soldier program will get an email giving them the option to either take the store credit as described above, or receive a refund.

Why are you doing this now?

While we are profoundly grateful to every subscriber, every advertiser, and everyone who ever bought a single issue of Kobold Quarterly, the magazine has always led a hand-to-mouth existence. It’s been glorious fun, but at some point in the last year or two it became a burden and even a bit of a grind to devote every night and weekend to KQ, four months a year, while working a full-time job and being a husband and a father to two kids.

The reality is that magazines are born, they grow, and eventually they decline and disappear. Others will carry on, but after five and a half years of publication, it’s time for the kobolds to move on to other things.

I submitted an article to KQ. What’s going to happen to it?

If you have submitted an article to the KQ editors, they will respond to you directly about your article. Even though the magazine is coming to an end, Kobold Press is still going strong – so some articles will be picked up for other Kobold Press series, such as the New Paths line, Midgard Adventures, and other new releases.

Why can’t you just do a Kickstarter to pay for KQ?

A Kickstarter might raise enough money to support a print run, but it’s unlikely to raise enough money to maintain a staff. (And honestly, paying a salary is not what Kickstarter is for.)

I’ll spare you the details, but editing, publishing and distributing Kobold Quarterly with a staff of volunteers and freelancers has simply exhausted the existing Kobold staff.  With the birth of our second child in addition to the hours Kobold needs, my wife Shelly (Kobold Minion #1) has burned out; and we can’t fill her roles in accounting, customer service, shipping, and ad sales with volunteers. We’re grateful she has agreed to close out existing subscriptions and handle the transition.

Why can’t you just go PDF?

We thought about that, but after a lot of soul-searching, financial calculations, and looking at the fantastic resources and talent we’ve built up over the years, we decided to dedicate our time and energy toward putting out insanely great adventures, sourcebooks and other types of RPG supplements.

What should I read now? I’m massively bummed.

You’ll be happy to know that the Kobold Quarterly blog will continue, and it is still totally free, with a new article every weekday. That is about 20 articles a month, submitted by gamers and industry pros alike. Check it out, and maybe sharpen up a pitch to send to Miranda.

You should also subscribe to the free Kobold Courier e-newsletter if you haven’t already. (The signup form is at the bottom of our home page.) It has original Kobold content, links to industry news and products that we think you’ll like,  as well as roundups of the latest blog articles.

Also, there are lots of great print or PDF magazines still out there: Wayfinder, Pathways, Crusader, Fight On! and others. We encourage you to check them out and support them with donations and subscriptions!

So, these new projects you keep mentioning. Can you tell us more?

Sure! To name just a few:

  •  The Valhalla Calling project is a game writing contest that will award someone a contract to publish their adventure with Kobold Press.
  •  The New Paths PDFs will continue to expand new character classes for Pathfinder, and we plan to continue the series.
  •  The Player’s Guides will bring additional rules heft into the Midgard campaign.
  •  The crew also has two top-secret projects in the works for 2013.

The end of a print magazine is sometimes the beginning of something new and great, and everyone involved in creating KQ can be proud of its run, its contribution to gaming, and its service to the audience. Now it’s time to serve that audience in a new way. I hope you’ll join us as we light out for the territories ahead.

Thank you,

Wolfgang Baur, Shelly Baur, Miranda Horner, Christina Stiles, Chris Bodan, Cathy Rundell, Crystal Frasier, Wade Rockett, Pierce Watters, Jeff Grubb, and all the designers, artists, and editors who brought you Kobold Quarterly, the small-but-fierce magazine of the roleplaying games hobby.

 Artwork: Chris McFann

119 thoughts on “Kobold Quarterly Folds, A New Adventure Begins”

  1. I am bummed to see this news and proud to have had a small part in making it happen.
    Also glad that it is only partly bad as Open Design is still around.

    Wolfgang, it was a pleasure working for you and I am glad I got to know many people though you. The things you’ll do will be a joy to see and read.


  2. Wolf, thank you for allowing me to be a part of Kobold Quarterly, if only for a short time. I cherish every issue I have, and look forward with great anticipation for what comes next from Kobold Press. I love you all!

  3. Really sorry to hear this! I always looked forward to reading a new issue of the magazine when it came out. I know that you’ll carry on putting out cool RPG sourcebooks and adventures though.

    Best Wishes


  4. Damian the Tiefling

    This makes me feels so sad. I don’t know what I’m going to do now for creative traps and monsters, and the amazing writing that comes with them.

  5. I believe the phrase “sucktastic” would be appropriate. Man, I am so sad to see this go. I’d begun to see it as good or even better than Dragon was.

    Consider my flagon hoisted in sadness!

  6. Aurgh! I just used to my subscription with a couple of magazines having arrived. Such is life. Well – thanks for the great content, and may your new projects turn out extremely well!

  7. Jonathan McAnulty

    I would like to sincerely thank you for a great run and a great magazine. I was honored to be able to contribute in some small way and I was hoping for many more years for our Kobold. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.

  8. I really liked your magazine. Most of my gaming collection is physical. I am dreading the day that I will not be able to crack a book or turn the page of a magazine and not smell RPG goodness. Details below. Sorry to see you go

  9. Sweet Jiro, was this ever a fun ride! Thank you for so many pages of gaming excitement over the years…and count me in for the continuing adventures of Kobold Press.

  10. “Massively bummed” doesn’t come close! Although I came to KQ fairly late on I really enjoyed the magazine. Will keep reading the blog though!

  11. Morgan Boehringer

    Vale KQ! Very sad to see you go. A surprise indeed, but completely understandable. May your future efforts be as spectacular and as well received as this Wolfgang. And thank you for being there to usher in my small contribution – getting published in KQ was a boyhood dream made real.

    A question if I may – what will become of this blog/site? Will it become Kobold Press with access to forums?

    I think I’ll get all the back issue PDFs of KQ for Christmas to salve my broken heart.

  12. Sad news, indeed, but when you explain it, it all makes perfect sense. Thank you for letting me be a part of KQ for five years (I still can’t believe it’s been that long), it definitely makes it into the top tier of places I’ve been lucky enough to see my work published.

    So from me, Bolt, Quiver, and the unnamed cast of 10’x10′ Toon, I wish all the kobolds the best of luck … and hope that we get to work together on more projects in the future!

  13. This is very sad news, but I’m glad to know that newer, greater things are ahead. Kobold Quarterly was hands-down my favorite gaming magazine, and was the publication that not only inspired me to start writing, but gave me my start as a designer.

    I really owe my whole freelance RPG writing career to Wolfgang and crew.

    With that, I just want to say thank you for everything. It was an honor to both write for the blog/magazine and work as the web developer. I look forward to what comes next, and can’t wait to get involved.

  14. Oh no!!! This was my first year of subscribing to KQ and receiving one is the highlight of my day! This is a great publication and most great works like this take time to become this polished and inclusive. Is there any hope to keep KQ running, perhaps with a slightly difference business model supported by the community or run under the leadership of a lesser Kobold…possibly keeping the Kobold-in-Chief as a sort of executive producer? Surely there are alternatives.

  15. Very sorry to see KQ go, but the fact you kept it going for as long as this, at consistently high quality, with all your other commitments, is an amazing accomplishment. Whatever comes next is bound to be good.

  16. This is incredibly sad news indeed! I’m glad that you guys are moving on to great new projects, though!

    I finally managed to subscribe to the print edition through money earned freelancing, and then the mag gets cancelled, that figures. I really want to thank you guys for giving me my chance to get published and hopefully will get to work with you again.

    Best wishes,

  17. I’m very sorry to hear that. Even though KQ focused on a range of games I rarely play (I prefer modern and SF games), I was always impressed with the quality of the zine. It’s sad that, like several other worthy adventures in publication, it started just in time to be hit hardest by the recession. May your next project be luckier (and as high quality)!

  18. Sorry to see KQ go. Glad you were able to give us AGE players something beyond the GR offerings, and thanks for serving as an alternate press for writers to get their foot in the door. Looking forward to the future!

  19. Just suggestion – I would love to have all 5 years as an anthology bundle that I could purchase. Any thoughts about doing that? Especially if it were 1 or 2 volumes, that’d be cool.

  20. You obviously know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, but that doesn’t make it any easier does it? I hope that door of opportunity doesn’t smack you too hard on its way open. Onward to greater things and treasured memories.

  21. Knowing all the time pressure this caused, and the incredible quality of Kobold Quarterly I completely understand the need to stop producing the magazine. I do want to say it was one of my favorite things in gaming. I have every issue and enjoy every one. Sad to see it go but you should be proud of what you accomplished, because it was impossible and only you could have pulled it off.


  22. I am so sad to hear this. But, it seems that magazines as we know them are going the way of the dinosaur. Thank you for extending my RPG magazine goodness for five years Wolfgang. Good luck on your new endeavors


  23. A sad day, seeing another periodical go. But I tip my little red gnome hat to you and your kobold crew. You shone brilliantly during that brief time you ventured into the sunlight. Very brilliantly. KQ has been a delight to read. Thank you for every issue.

  24. Sad to hear this, beloved Kobolds!

    Totally understandable, however. The good thing is that there is still going to be great things coming from Kobold Press to sate my appetite.


  25. While I am not sure what I will literally run with from my mailbox to my hammock 3 times a year, I will continue to support the fine folks that made this happen.

    Good luck to you and Open Design, can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  26. I’m so, so bummed to hear this, but I absolutely understand and I respect you guys for making the only decision you could. Looking forward to many more years of great things from Kobold Press!

  27. Ouch, I just found out my FLGS is closing as well. I am so happy that Open Design will Live On. Thank you Wolfgang and Shelley for publishing my first article EVER. My print copies of KQ will rest neatly beside my vintage Dragon Mags and continue to provide ispiration for as long as I can still roll a d20.