If it’s good enough for Ken and Robin, then tireless self-promotion must be ok for us humble souls, right?
It seems that we peaked too soon with RuneQuest in Episode 1. The enthusiasm and passion that I had for my first RPG love seemed to hit a chord with those that have listened. It’s good to know that the podcast struck the right note early as it took long months of experimenting, researching and ‘find a voice’ before that first episode was released on SoundCloud, where no one could find it.
Creating the Podcast has put me in touch with great people who have been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge to reeducate me in gaming, to bring me up to speed with the developments of the hobby and to remind me about all the great stuff I’d forgotten about. It’s good to know that many people turn to the Tunnels and Trolls episode, where John Hancock proselytised about the game and its potential for putting fun back into your game.
For some listeners, they liked the last Episode the most, as they found Ian Marsh’s stories and my experiences with Postal Gaming interesting; fanzines and PBMs is an area of the hobby that is not usually explored in podcasts.
I’ll stop blowing smoke up my fundament in a moment, but until then, I want to talk more about PBMs. In the first GROGZINE I wrote a piece about The Gladiators Gazette, which was a PBM ‘zine that used the rules of RuneQuest, Tunnels and Trolls, D&D, and DragonQuest to create a gladiatorial arena where it was possible to create a gladiator to compete in a fight against a bunch of mercurial NPCs. The ‘zine developed over time so that the interaction between the participating characters became more important than the battles. In the piece, I wrote about how this experience of connecting with other players across the country was remarkably influential in my formative years. I even managed to track down the Games Master and the producer of the ‘zine, Jan McManus, to find out about why it came to such an abrupt end.
The most rewarding element of producing the podcast has always been hearing the stories of people rediscovering their love of the hobby. During the past couple of years there’s been tales of new RuneQuest groups, getting the old gang back together, or Traveller players, dusting off their little black books to play with strangers online, and there’s been a spin-off World of Darkness campaign thanks to bringing players together through the Patreon games that I’ve run. Keehar, from the Dissecting Worlds Podcast, as connected with listeners to produce an epic Pendragon campaign set around Chester; gritty, magical and wonderfully detailed (he’s written a great piece about it for the next GROGZINE, make sure you don’t miss it, sign up to the Patreon today!)
However, this weekend, the best legacy of the past two year’s efforts has arrived. BONES OF THE LOST GOD is a PBM ‘zine directly inspired by The Gladiators Gazette. The first issue is now available. The action takes place in an arena where you can play combatants spurned into battle by patrons, guilds and shadowy organisations. They’ll fight in the area defined by the bones of the Lost God’s Avatar, where his giant ribcage forms the stage for the bloodsport. The ‘zine offers places for the players to interact (The Frog and Bone Inn) to catch up on gossip and the manoeuvrings of the various factions within the arena. The opening issue gives an indication of some the underlying tensions in and around the arena, with Myxile throwing up the gambling odds and gossip (a wonderful homage to the original Ulmus Grabb in the original Gladiator’s Gazette). If combat is not your bag, then there’s potential to play different characters or parties exploring different areas in the town and engaging with the population.
This is the splendid work of Phil Cooper (@rumorsmatrix) who is using Labyrinth Lord and Solo Heroes to run the game. Please, please, please show your support by getting in touch with him and supporting this fantastic project at patreon. There’s room for more players if you get on board soon.
This could see the return of Marcus Mendusor, the grizzled noble from the original Gladiators Gazette, who I played until his in untimely incarceration in Lord Hendrick’s jails.
KEEP ON, KEEPING ON, ‘TIL SOMEONE SHOUTS FISHFINGER
As we enter the third year of the GROGPOD, with GROGMEET and the latest GROGZINE in planning, its great to know that there’s people out there still interested in what we’re doing.
We went to our occasional podcast production meeting at the Las O Gowrie in Manchester this week and, in-between conversations about the pressing matter of “which was the best ever Bond opening scene”, we sketched out the programme for the next 12 months. We have some really interesting games and guest contributors in the pipeline.
You’ll let us know when it gets boring, won’t you?
The first GROGZINE will shortly be available on Drivethrurpg on a ‘pay what you want’ basis. All proceeds raised from Drive Thru RPG will be donated to YSDC to help support all of the great work that they do to enhance Call of Cthulhu fan activity.
The next GROGZINE will be launched in November. All Patreons who are registered before the end of September will get a copy, wherever they are in the world, after that there will be a PFD version available for new Patreons joining after the 30th September cut-off.
More details about the content will be posted shortly.