Welcome to the first issue of Winterwind's new bi-monthly ezine; the Winterwind Papers.

This is "new direction" we've talked about lately. Actually, it's closer to the "original idea" from almost three years ago when Winterwind was first launched. We met as members and moderators on Interplay's old message boards.

It was a decent little community until, in the summer of 2003, someone posted a joke about assasinating the American President. Good old Interplay over reacted and closed all non-game specific forums. In December of that year, Interplay closed the Black Isle Studios division. "Enough is enough" we said and Winterwind's online life began.

But Winterwind was never really about gaming. The founders were writers looking for an online home to hone our craft, kick around some ideas and have the freedom to discuss what was happening in the world around us. Gaming was just the obvious way to launch considering where we met.

It's taken almost three years to get here and of the original members, I'm the last one standing. Some disappeared without a word, some relationships went sour, some projects died along the way and some new people came on board.

Actually, it feels like we had a revolving door in the Moderator's forum.

But, here we are. Here you are.

We're honoured to have former Black Isle Studios designer, Damien Foletto joining us as a regular columnist. Damien is now with NCsoft, working on Tabula Rasa. You'd think his column would be about gaming, wouldn't you? Turn the page, you'll find out.

For our first issue, we've been twice blessed. We also have an interview with well known fantasy artist, Larry Elmore. You've heard of Larry Elmore. The man literally changed the face of fantasy role-playing games.

Our first literature selection is a short story from Winterwind forum member, Dragos "Baley" Manea, replacing an intended piece by Mattias.

My own work is twice represented. Against my protests actually but our co-editor/lead webdesigner, Mattias, wanted both in and I eventually acquiesced. The feature article is the first "objective essay" I've attempted in years. It ends on a personal note because of first hand experience with the subject matter. My column, the Latrine, also makes an appearance. Sometimes satirical, sometimes introspective, this one is the latter.

Sadly, it seems our first issue may be Mattias' last. With the work 90% complete, and after three weeks of delays, he disappeared on us. It's happened before. We're moving on.

When all is said and done, we are fairly proud of our first issue. We enjoyed working on it, anguish and all, and we hope you enjoy reading it.

On behalf of the Winterwind Staff,

Cheers,

Joseph Avery-North