Episode 21 – Night’s Black Agents RPG (with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan)

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INTRO (00:00) The GROGNARD files finally sells out to one of those new fangled games. There’s a new iTunes review too, that compares us to Ridley Scott’s Hovis advert. 

OPEN BOX (with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan) (0:07) We are joined by Gar who tells us about his formative years in RPGs, his role in relaunching some of the 80s classics for Mongoose and his role in developing adventures for Night’s Black Agents.

ACTUAL PLAY (41:31) The Virtual GROGMEET twittercrew take on Operation: GROUNDWORM.

JUDGE BLYTHY: (1:02:00) Judge Blythy sinks his teeth into the finer points of spending points.

OUTRO (1:40:02) Up date from the Patreon Projects.

Episode 20 (Part 1) Golden Heroes RPG (with Simon Burley)

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INTRO: This is a game that embodies the spirit of the podcast. It belongs to a period when the players were informing the gaming industry. Games Workshop decided to do a big budget version of the game. You can see the short film I made here (it’s less than 5 minutes)

OPEN BOX (with Simon Burley): As the co-creator of the game, Simon shares the story of its ups and downs. You can find SQUADRON UK at Drive Thru by following the link.

JUDGE BLYTHY RULES: We examine the rules with our resident rules lawyer.

OUTRO: News of the latest Patreons. and the aims of the campaign.

Games planned for The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff

Want to play RuneQuest Glorantha? other RPGs are available

Asako Soh - speaking to the kami

Here are some details for the games on offer for our mini-con in Leamington on 22nd September.  Booking for slots open soon!

All day 

GM: Dirk

System: RuneQuest – Roleplaying in Glorantha

Pitch: The Broken Tower and beyond …

Welcome to Greg Stafford’s World of Glorantha! Glorantha is a mythic world of mortals and gods, myths and cults, monsters and heroes. In Glorantha, the Runes permeate everything, and mastery of Runes allows astonishing feats of bravery and magic. Glorantha is an ancient world, and has known many ages, but now it is at the brink of the greatest conflict it has ever known… the Hero Wars.

An introductory game for people who want to (re) discover Glorantha and the new RuneQuest.

Max players: 6

10am-1.30pm

Table 1

GM: Matt H

System: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – hopefully 4e but if not out, 2e

Pitch:  Through the Drakwald – Archaon…

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UK Games Expo 18 ScrapBook

A collection of photos featuring my stupid face with people I met at UK Games Expo 2018.

Crack open the Top Deck … Birmingham we’re on our way (slowly)
Dirk in the Land of the Giants. Dimbyd has Pookie on his shoulder – kindly making sure we caught the train back to Birmingham on time
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Kat Simmons Smith (@MeerforBeer) was the first GROGSQUADer we met. She was promoting the great work of the RPG Haven in the Trade Hall
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Andrew Cousins (@TakasakiAndy) was one of the first listeners to the GROGPOD – he introduced us to Roll20 and online play. He had just had his US version of Dicing with Dragons signed by Ian Livingstone.
Blythy GMing Numenera with @richgreen01 and @OrlanthR
Neil Benson is a proud member of the DCC universe
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The Iron GM, Simon Burley, creator of GOLDEN HEROES
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In the bar, getting leathered with Gaz from the Smart Party. I got a bonus version of The Ten Commandments of Games Workshop.
Doc Cowie gets on bended knee to pitch his “The Breakfast Club goes Red Dawn” concept to Chaosium’s Ian Cooper
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Mike Hobbs from The Meeples and Miniatures podcast – rediscovering his RPG mojo!
One of my favourite moments from the weekend. I was there when Paul Baldowski found out he’d won The Popular Choice Award for Best Role-Playing Adventure for Three Faces of the Wendigo. It was emotional.
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Judge vrs Judge
My swag from the trade halls: a cup of tea and this battling cars in the aftermath game: Aslands? Shurly shum mishtake?

1-d-6 UK GAMES EXPO ’18 exposed

I think I’m just about coming back into the real world. Entering the UK Games Expo is like entering a liminal space where everyone is at ease with themselves and their place in the Universe.

Why can’t every day be like Expo?

Last year, it was about playing story games and understanding what had happened since we left the hobby back in the early 90s.

This time it was about running games.

After several anxious days preparing (I’m convinced that RPGs are part of a conspiracy to sell more printer ink), plus significant pre-match nerves the GM muscle eventually kicked in …

Judge Dredd

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I ran Better Living through Chemistry, the scenario developed by @dailydwarf for the GROGZINE ’18 (soon to be available on DriveThru RPG). It’s an entertaining ‘Judges on patrol’ adventure littered with witty asides and incident to provide an amusing three hours in Mega City One, capturing the golden age of 2000ad perfectly. This was the third time I’d run the game. Similar to the other occasions, I felt that the system creaked a little. It was a less deadly this time, but no less frustrating for the players who found themselves missing rolls when they needed them the most.

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There was some clever play from the Judges along the way, chaotic scenes and an hilarious interrogation involving a pedicure, astrology and surgical tape.

At one moment, words failed me, I wanted to describe a “golden fountain” but ended up saying “shower” despite myself. I don’t think anyone noticed.

HeroQuest

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Chaosium’s Ian Cooper is a terrific Games Master. If you get chance to play HeroQuest at a convention with him, then take it, you won’t be disappointed. He works hard to create an imaginative, immersive experience to compel you to engage with the story.

The adventure was a whodunit set in Forint, in the southern continent of Pamaltela. The wonderfully drawn pre-gens were members of masarin Jamader’s household in Garduna, a city of ragtag islands joined by bridges of different design. Blythy was a haughty Agimori sorceress and the rest of us were house slaves in her thrall. The relationship between the characters made for intriguing moments of interplay as we explored the city following a trail of clues.

Forint is to be developed as a future book for HeroQuest, which will allow players who are worried about imposing upon the canon of Glorantha publications: a chance to develop adventures within an exotic swords and sorcery setting. In the theatre of my mind it was Meereen twinned with Camorr written through the lens of Gene Wolfe

A great session. Don’t take my word for it, here’s Neil Benson’s view.

Nights Black Agents

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1984, Leeds, England. The miners strike is intensifying, the British Government have recruited deniable assets to pull off a black bag operation: wiring the room where a branch secretary of the National Union of Mine workers is planning a rendezvous with his counterpart from Transylvania, who has promised cash in exchange for … something … something mysterious.

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This is the third time that I’ve run Operation: GroundWorm and it’s one of those that has matured the more it has been played. There were some cracking scenes: a chase through the streets of Leeds, ending on the roof of Dolcis, punching the lights out of each other; a great bit of disguise fast-talk, squeezing information from a reluctant community; and finally Harry Reeves, the leader of the crew, finishing off the enemy, while smoking a Benson.

This was one of my high-points of the weekend and provided some food for thought for the forthcoming Episode 21.

RuneQuest

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I played The Broken Tower, the QuickStart adventure that was released for Free RPG Day last year. The new RuneQuest Glorantha PDF dropped on the Friday, so I felt a real burden of responsibility to inspire these players to get into the new game. There was a mixture of experience around the table, complete newbies, others who last played the game in the 80s and others who had loyally followed the various iterations.

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This was the first time that I had used the shaman. I was a little concerned that the complexity of the character (with its llama mount, baboon fetch and spirit combat rules) would distort the party, but it actually added a great deal to the weirdness and intensifying horror.

I wanted to at least inspire one person to run their own game of RuneQuest: Achievement Unlocked!

Losing a D8 

I lose a dice at every convention. This time it was a D8.

We had a list of stuff we while we were there: buying stuff, demoing some board-games and having a proper meal somewhere. The bucket list ended up being a ‘feck it’ list because when were weren’t playing RPGs we were having a really good chat with people we met on the way to doing things.

It was a great weekend, great people and over much too soon.

Next: Expo ScrapBook

 

Episode 20 (Part 2) Golden Heroes RPG (with Simon Burley)

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INTRO We’ve had a great, positive response to the first part of the episode, and a new iTunes review from Steve Race, host of Squadron Chatter, the Unofficial Podcast for Squadron UK RPG.

GM SCREEN (with Simon Burley) Simon Burley returns, to talk about Imagine magazine, his role as a ‘zine editor, his passion for the UK convention scene and the design principles behind his Code of … series of games.

POST BAG We head for birthday drinks in the hubbub of the Las O Gowrie snug and review some of the correspondence that we’ve received

WHITE DWARF @DailyDwarf has written an essay about the articles and scenarios that appeared in White Dwarf to support GOLDEN HEROES.

SHAGGY DOG A long rambling story about the worst game ever.

OUTRO The usual parish notices and thanks to Patreons.

Fanzine ScrapBook: SuperHeroUK

The world looks down on role-play gamers and the world of role-play gamers looks down on Super Hero role-play gamers.

Simon Burley makes this comment in Part Two of the interview that I did for the GROGNARD files episode 20 (currently in production).

I’m not sure if it’s the case that the RPG hobby has a complete downer on supers, but it is a niche within an already niche hobby that needs to fight its own corner against the opposition of the available alternatives. This activism probably accounts for the longevity of GOLDEN HEROES in the hearts of its fans; despite it’s relatively short shelf-life, there are enough supporters out there to ensure its continuation in the form of it’s most recent, wholly rewritten iteration Squadron UK. 

Since producing the podcast about GOLDEN HEROES, I’ve become aware of the enthusiastic fans that have been the driving force behind sustaining active interest in the game, for example, Steve Race and Kevin Rolfe host a podcast SQUADRON CHATTER which is the unofficial podcast of Squadron UK. It’s currently on an hiatus, but episodes are still available to enjoy. There’s examples of actual-play as well as progress reports on Kevin’s ambition to revise and update the supplements for GOLDEN HEROES. They also tell the story of a mythical project that was promised but never produced: “The Lancelot Caper” is mentioned by Pete Tamlyn in passing in a White Dwarf article but disappeared until it was uncovered by Kevin. 

Steve and Kevin’s interest was maintained through Yahoo Groups, which connected them to others who still had an interest in the game and developing a ‘back story’ and rationale for the GOLDEN HEROES universe. Back in the eighties, Simon Burley encouraged a like-minded team of Super RPG fans to develop scenarios and articles for his fanzine Superhero UK. He produced the first few before it had a life of its own and continued for 20 issues. 

It’s thanks to the fans that the game continues to Sunday Punch above its weight: “It’s Clobberin’ Time!

Thanks to Duane Woolley and Graham Kinniburgh for sharing some sample covers and pages from their collection.

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