Skate Wizards (2022)

Skate Wizards is another zine that feels like it should forever be a zine, never a book. A collaboration between Michael C. Hsiung and Loot the Body, it’s about, well, skating, cool tunes, wizards and…uh…pipe weed that is totally medicinal. The back cover perhaps says it best, “Once the world was cool. Then it sucked for a really long time. How it has a chance to be cool again or suck forever. It’s all up to the Skate Wizards!”

The system is based on Maze Rats (which I am unfamiliar with) and Nate Treme’s In the Light of a Ghost Star (which I am). This boils down to a lite, three attribute D&D derivative with some unusual spells. Each skate wizard gets the same Permanent spells that they can cast at any time—Ramp, Sidewalk and Rail—which conjure the necessary skating surface. They can also cast one Rando spell per day, the effects of which are determined by rolling on a table and mixing descriptive words, which are then hashed out by the player and the GM. I just rolled “Dope Expanding Fire Tree.” Finally, a Skate Wizard has one Bootleg spell prepared from their collection of skate videos that allow them to perform a specific reality bending trick, like defying gravity for five minutes. There are skater specific magic items and if a Skate Wizard’s health drops to zero, they become a Poser and roll on a table of six lame-o fates they suffer in their new normie existence. A big heap of adventures and a table for generating skate trick names rounds out the package (though, online, you can also listen to the kickin’ soundtrack).

It’s a real treat to have so much of Michael’s wizard art in one place. I love his bold, clean linework and how he often flattens details and patterns so they look like textiles or stitching. And the illustrations are just bursting with humor and personality. Classic.

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