Episode 15 – James Bond 007 RPG

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INTRO

This time we are looking at James Bond 007, a game we didn’t play back in the day, but the GROGSQUAD suggested that we should give it the once over.

We had a great review from Mike Hobbs from Meeples and Miniatures

POTTED HISTORY 03:43 This is the story of Chris Klug realising his vision of an espionage game that wasn’t simulationist in its approach.

JUDGE BLYTHY RULES 09:53 Our resident rules lawyer, the man with the Golden Gavel, checks out the finer points of the rules.

ACTUAL PLAY GOLDFINGER 40:38 An extract from our game of Goldfinger.

STARBURST MEMORIES 01:08 Learning from the Bond Villains

OUTRO 01:43 The new GROGZINE is coming! Sign up now. 

 

Twenty Four Hour Total Party-Kill

I’m honoured to be taking part in this year’s Charity 24 hour RPG organised by Tim from the Old Scroates. On 18th November from 1pm to 1 pm the next day there will be an RPG endurance test at WarGames in Southport, featuring Numenera, StarFinder and D&D 5e.

The event is in aid of a very worthy cause: Alder Hey Children’s Hospital; a specialist unit  that has touched the lives of many families in the North West region. Players will pledge a donation and the top 6 bids will ‘win’ a place at the table.

If you can’t attend, but would still like to support the players in this test of an old man’s ability to think straight for longer than 3 hours, then please donate at the Just Giving page, where you’ll also find more details about the event.

RUNEQUEST

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I will be offering a table of RuneQuest Adventures in Glorantha, using the GENCON preview version. You’ll roll characters using the new-improved immersive rules, before heading north, from Dragon Pass, to forge a new life for you and your clan in the Dorastor region. A new life awaits you in the Land of Doom.

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MAKE A PLEDGE

If you would like to play any of the games, simply send an email to kinoandhermes@gmail.com with your details, which game you’d like to play and your pledge amount.

You don’t have to pay anything at this stage. The bidding closes 1st November.

 

Fanzine Scrap Book: Cambridge University ‘zines

“The thing about these zines is that I don’t have anything to do with them. They came from the archives of the Cambridge University Roleplaying and Tabletop Society, formerly the Cambridge University Roleplaying Society, formerly the Cambridge University Dungeons and Dragons Society. I didn’t read them when they came out; I was 3 or at the time. A year or two ago, the society decided to get rid of the parts of its library that were not relevant to games that members actually played. Old games and books were sold off to raise funds to buy materials for more recent games. I bought a few books but also got given lots of old magazines that were just going to be thrown away. A lot of these were 80s White Dwarf and Imagine, which I added to my collection happily, but I also came away with these zines. They were among the oldest items in the magazines collection, a good few years before the bulk of the WDs I got.

I think the society’s decision is an interesting one: given that theyhave a limited amount of storage space and a limited budget, it makes sense that they’d choose to get rid of things that seldom get pulled from the collection. The old White Dwarfs had just become a white elephant, a bulky object passed between society librarians but never really read. The society’s members don’t play 1st ed. AD&D or Runequest or Traveller or whatever — they play 5E and story games and, well, I suppose they do still play Call of Cthulhu. So it makes sense that the society, which is, after all, devoted to *playing* games, should prioritise that over preserving its history.

For me, though, the zines are a fascinating piece of gaming history and one that I am glad to have had a chance to look at. Reading about the museum exhibits being prepared for this year’s GenCon, I wonder if there will some day be a museum (or just an exhibit) devoted to the history of RPGs — or even the British community specifically. It seems like there are a lot of interesting things to say about the way in which these fanzines represent an early community where games inspired people to create and share things and where there wasn’t a whole lot of differences between player and game designer.”

James Holloway – http://gonzohistorygaming.blogspot.co.uk/ –  @gonzohistory (keep checking James’ blog for news of his podcast Monster Man – The Monster Manual monster by monster, from A-Z.)

Nice to see that the guys at Cambridge are voting for their own ‘zines




Roll a badger!!!

Chaosium news from 1981!

Fanzine Scrap Book: Tasarion

As promised in the last GROGPOD this is the first in a series of blog posts featuring samples from RPG zines from back in the day.

Long, long before he directed a cast of thousands of Lannister extras to their death, Graham Kinniburgh was a very young Tolkien enthusiast. He has provided some sample pages from his ‘zine for the GROGSQUAD to enjoy:

A short note on Tasarion – a Tolkien Fanzine

GROGPOD listeners will had a gateway author (or perhaps a game) that will have introduced them to world of geekdom. For a small group of friends in Greenock in the West of Scotland at the very dawn of the eighties, that author was the undisputed Lord of Fantasy Fiction himself – JRR Tolkien.

And having fallen on love with the world and works of Middle-Earth, it was perhaps only natural that we would seek out other like-minded souls in the wider world. Of course the internet wasn’t around back then, but an organisation calling itself ‘The Tolkien Society’ did advertise its existence in the back pages of some of the (many) Tolkien related paperbacks that we bought. Letters via snail-mail duly exchanged, and parental cheques dispatched and cashed, we were soon ‘officially’ ‘The Hobbiton Smial’ – ‘smials’ being the name for the various local clusters of Tolkien Society members dotted round the country. What’s more, we were soon in receipt of ‘Amon Hen’ – the Society newsletter, and ‘Mallorn’ its intimidatingly erudite ‘scholarly’ publication.

‘Amon Hen’ contained news of society meetings (aka ‘moots’) and events, articles, short fiction, poetry, artwork and other Tolkienish tid-bits and through its pages we learned that some of the other ‘smials’ were producing their own newsletters too. I’m not sure if we used the word ‘fanzine’ at the time, but that’s what they were and it was only natural, despite the fact that we were only 12 (!!) that we would want to have a stab it too.

Thus was born ‘Tasarion’ our humble little offering to go alongside those other more grown-up publications The production details are practically lost to memory but I do recall struggles with such archaic tech as be-ribboned manual typewriters, pritt-stikk, tipp-ex and ancient photocopiers (issue 2, now seemingly lost to history, was cranked out on something called a Gestetner – which I remember being as hideous to use as its name sounds tripping off the tongue). However, our surviving issues are in surprisingly good condition so we must have done something right and am pleased to notice that the quality of the issues did improve so that they did look a lot more like ‘Amon Hen’ etc by the end.

As for the content, well please bear in mind our age. While we may squirm a little (ok a lot) reading them back now, we do so also rather pleased and proud that we made the effort to give vent to our fledgling imaginations and creativity.

Tasarion lasted for a grand total of 6 issues. Like a young band just hitting its stride with some decent material beginning to sell, we ran into ‘creative differences’; as we hit our moody teens we decided to re-imagine ourselves – no longer the Society’s young ‘halflings’, we wanted to be the bad guys of Middle-Earth and, as inevitable as acne, we re-branded ourselves as ‘The Dark Crown’ (it is for you to decide, dear listener, whether the sight of certain young goth ladies dressed as leather- clad ‘Brides of Sauron’ at the Society’s Oxonmoot in ’82 had anything to do with that decision !).

In short, things other than fanzine production occupied our time – sadly I cannot report that it was the sex, drugs and black-magic infused rock & roll that we craved – but probably even MORE of an obscure little game we’d been playing called Dungeons & Dragons

Graham Kinniburgh

Tasarion 5
Chin stroking is compulsory …
Sample 3 (Tasarion 1)
Meet the editors, “good, but a little rowdy”.
Tasarion Sample 6 (Tasarion 1 Quiz)
Test your wits against the quiz. There’s a poll of favourite authors. Hitchcock makes an appearance. He was one of my favourites too, as I assumed he wrote the Three Investigators.
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They cannot win forever …

 

Sample 1 (Tasarion 1)
It’s not ALL about Tolkien – how about this enthusiastic endorsement of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Tasarion 6

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Check your answers. The best ‘zine ever, named after a tree.

Episode 14 (Part 2) RPG Fanzines (with Ian Marsh)

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INTRO: News about a new PBM ‘zine that we’ve inspired – Bones of the Lost God – if you like Phil’s monsters, he’s put some of his art on Red Bubble.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN (with Ian Marsh): Ian Marsh returns to talk about his editorial-ship at White Dwarf and his involvement in Games Workshop. He also talks about Dr Who and his TimeLord game, before bringing us up to date with his latest endeavours. 

DAGON (with @dailydwarf): @dailydwarf gives his usual insightful analysis of literary criticism covered in Dagon ‘zine.

ATTIC ATTACK: Blythy joins me in the attic to talk about ‘zines and comments provided by listeners. I mention Monster Man, a new podcast that is being developed by James Holloway, check out progress at his site.

OUTRO: We’re making a ‘zine – sign up at Patreon – before the end of September 2017 to get a copy.

Thank you to all our Patreons for your continued support; without you, we would not have been going for so long.

If you would like a PDF of the last GROGZINE you can get it at Drive Thru RPG and The Complete Daily Dwarf too. All proceeds will go to YSDC to support the community there.

One – D – Six: Judge Dredd RPG

… down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.

He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

Raymond Chandler

Last week, we played Judge Dredd the RPG, published by Games Workshop back in 1985, co written by former Dragon Lords editor Marc Gascoigne with Citadel supremo Rich Priestley. When I trailed this on twitter it generated a great deal of interest – more than any other tweet I’ve ever written in fact – so this is a follow-up play report for all those people who were interested in finding out what happened.

@dailydwarf came out of GM retirement, after a 35 year freeze, to deliver his own scenario Better Living Through Chemistry, as a online, dry-run ahead of its appearance at GROGMEET. It was a chance to stretch some of those muscles that have been dormant and to familiarise everyone with the rules. The scenario will also be appearing in the GROGZINE, so I’m going to avoid any spoilers here and concentrate on some of the experiences of playing rather than the details of the story.

Despite the usual setbacks that inhibit the gathering of grognards – including holidays, family commitments, the under-funding of public services creating staffing shortages, and dodgy online-gaming platforms – we managed to straddle our LawMasters to dispense justice on the streets of Mega City One.

“You’re not very good with your d6s are you?” complained @dailydwarf as I fell short on yet another zinger. Roll one on this table, five highlights from the sessions and one fumble.

“Be careful out there …”

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In many ways, Judge Dredd is the perfect RPG set up: you are given missions to resolve, your motivations are straight forward, the setting is rich yet flexible and there’s plenty of opportunity for mystery and investigation. Every session begins with the report sheet of perp activity in the sector, packed with warnings, leads and specific tasks for your patrol as it hits the streets.

There were reports of an air-ship seen in the sector featuring costumed individuals, shouting about treasure … hang on, isn’t that our cast of characters from Storm King’s Thunder?

Mega-City One

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Very quickly, we felt like Judges, and adopted our roles very diligently, as we headed out into the wasted areas of sector 170. The scenario was set in the period after the Apocalypse War when the city was coming to terms with the devastation. Our judges were clearing through the wreckage of partially destroyed blocks. It felt like coming home, as this was the classic period of Dredd stories which generated nostalgia for both the game and the comics of the early 80s.

Unlike many licensed settings, the backdrop didn’t feel constraining. The city has been generating stories for 40 years and is richly populated with characters, perps, and imagery that provided instant immersion. @dailydwarf also used a slide-show of specially adapted elements from the strip to illustrate scenes and NPCs we encountered, which made it feel like we were part of a Prog.

Get me back to TEK

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Each of our Judges had a role in the team: the grizzled Veteran, the giddy rookie, the hotshot, and I went for the Judge who had been reluctantly redeployed to the streets from TEK division. He was keen to impress upon his fellow judges the capabilities of their kit. In the first encounter he gave an impressive display of ‘high-ex’ bullets from his LawGiver to bring the ceiling down on perps. This was followed by a less impressive display as a close-ranged ricochet bullet hit one of his team members. Whoops, sorry ‘Holy Cremola!’

I’d forgotten about the levels of back up available to Judges and how they can get you out of trouble. There’s always Pat Wagons available to pick up perps, Clean-up squads, Meat Wagons, Med-squads and forensic support for those tricky investigations.

We traded one-liners as the incidents piled on us, we had some great fun with Chemical Brothers lyrics too: “Hey, isn’t that another one of those block bustin’ beats?”

Judge Crunch

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@dailydwarf provided his “Dredd-Hack” cut down version of the core mechanics. Most situations are resolved through attribute based percentile checks. Depending on your Judge’s speciality, you may have some Special Abilities that allow for some additional investigative or combat edge over the perps. The combat is crunchy, and goes something like this: roll to hit, roll location (d100), roll for armour coverage if appropriate before rolling for damage. Perps are at a disadvantage as they’re not as souped up as the Judges, but they have the opportunity to strike first with their wild-fire. Judges have to be more measured in the their approach as they need to be able to pass sentence rather than shooting indiscriminately.

There’s a reference list in the Dredd Hack, providing advice on general sentences. I thought 20 years for illegal Boinging (R) was always too steep.

Why does it have to end?

Normally, when it comes to fumbles, I always complain about the interference of the online glitches (1-D-6 passim). I’m not going to this time. Sure, it was a right-royal pain in the arse for some of the time, but most of the time, it worked fine and the confusion, over-talking etc added to the experience as it felt more immersive.

The only fumble about this experience is when it came to an end. It felt like it should be the beginning of an epic campaign. Mega City One is a great setting, the rules are serviceable, the players were switched on, so it was one of those great RPG moments when you wanted to carry on with the characters and have more adventures.

“Hey, Grim, let forever be.”

As for @dailydwarf, his inert GM skills are now awakened, we’re all in for a treat. He’s a natural.

Meeples & Miniatures – Episode 223 – Sword & Spear Fantasy

Meeples & Miniatures

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Welcome to Episode 223 of the Meeples & Miniatures Podcast

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The Meeples & Miniatures crew get together once again to talk about what they have been up to, which this week includes The GROGNARD Files podcast, I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, Operation White Hot and Ninja All-Stars

For the feature part of our show, we chat with rules author Mark Lewis about the fantasy version of his excellent Sword & Spear big battle rules – Sword & Spear Fantasy

We hope you enjoy the show.

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