Alarums and Excursions

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Alarums and Excursions
EditorLee Gold
CategoriesRole-playing games
First issue#1, June 1975
CountryUnited States
Based inLos Angeles
WebsiteAlarums and Excursions page

Alarums and Excursions (A&E) is an amateur press association (APA) started in June 1975 by Lee Gold; publication continues to the present day. It was one of the first publications to focus solely on role-playing games.


In 1964, Bruce Pelz of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society (LASFS) began a monthly amateur press association known as APA-L.[1] In 1974, with the publication of Dungeons & Dragons by TSR, Inc., articles and comments about the new roleplaying game began to fill the pages of APA-L. Pelz felt the discussion was taking up too much space,[2] and he asked Lee Gold to start a new APA that would take this material and focus entirely on roleplaying games. The first issue of Alarums and Excursions appeared in June 1975, the title taken from an Elizabethan drama stage direction that moved soldiers across a stage.[3]

In addition to removing roleplaying games discussion out of APA-L, the initial aim of the publication was to prevent roleplaying games from becoming so divergent that people from different cities could not participate in games together.[4][5]

The June 2017 collation of Alarums and Excursions was #500, with a color cover drawn by Lee Moyer and printed by Rob Heinsoo.


Each issue is a collection of contributions from different authors, often featuring game design discussions, rules variants, write-ups of game sessions, reviews, and comments on others contributions.

Although game reports and social reactions are common parts of many A&E contributions, it has also, over the years, become a testing ground for new ideas on the development of the RPG as a genre and an art form. The idea that role-playing games are an art form took strong root in this zine, and left a lasting impression on many of the RPG professionals who contributed. The 1992 role-playing game Over the Edge was inspired by discussions in A&E.[6]

Over the years, contributors have included:


In the February 1976 issue of Strategic Review (Issue 6), Gary Gygax complimented the new APA, calling it "an excellent source of ideas, inspirations and fun." Although Gygax felt some of the contributors were "woefully lacking in background", and the quality of printing varied dramatically from issue to issue, he concluded, "For all of its faults, it is far and away the best D&D 'zine, and well worth reading. See for yourself why it rates a Major Triumph."[7]

In the June 1981 edition of Dragon (Issue #50), Dave Nalle reviewed Alarums and Excursions after its 63rd issue (November 1980), and although he found the writing style "a bit stuffy", with a "tendency for the writers to pat each other on the back", he still called it "the top APA publication... This is a very well run APA and features many of the leading thinkers in fantasy gaming."[8]


To date, Alarums and Excursions has been a winner of the Charles Roberts/Origins Award four times:

  • "Best Amateur Adventure Gaming Magazine" in 1984[9]
  • "Best Amateur Game Magazine" in 1999[10]
  • "Best Amateur Game Periodical" in 2000[11] and 2001[11]


  1. ^ "APA-L". LASFS. Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
  2. ^ Bretts RPG Magazine and Zine Index Archived October 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, entry on Alarums & Excursions, retrieved September 2007
  3. ^ "alarums and excursions". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
  4. ^ Mason, Paul (2012). "A history of RPGs: Made by fans; played by fans". Transformative Works and Cultures. Vol. 11. doi:10.3983/twc.2012.0444. ISSN 1941-2258. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  5. ^ Mason, Paul (2004). "Beyond Role and Play". In Montola, Markus; Stenros, Jaakko (eds.). In Search of the Self: A Survey of the First 25 Years of Anglo-American Role-Playing Game Theory (PDF). Helsinki: Ropecon ry. p. 2. ISBN 952-91-6842-X. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  6. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '90s. Vol. 3 (2 ed.). Evil Hat Productions. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-61317-084-7.
  7. ^ Gygax, Gary (February 1976). "Triumphs and Tragedies". Strategic Review. TSR, Inc. (6): 15.
  8. ^ Nalle, Dave (June 1981). "The 'Zines!". Dragon. TSR, Inc. (50): 24.
  9. ^ "The 1984 Origins Awards - Presented ad Origins 1985". GAMA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  10. ^ "The 1999 Origins Awards - Presented ad Origins 2000". GAMA. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b "The 2000 Origins Awards - Presented ad Origins 2001". GAMA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2016.

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