1-D-6 RuneQuest Glorantha (Play Test)

This weekend I attended my first ever UK GamesExpo in Birmingham, now confirmed as the third biggest games convention in the world. One of the many highlights of the experience was the opportunity to participate in a game of RuneQuest Glorantha using the play-test rules. Andrew Jones (AKA @dimbyd) was working from a PDF, in draft format, of the core-rules to create an adventure for 5 brave warriors wishing to enter the Hero Wars.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 15.46.26

Before I give a brief play report, there’s a couple of things to bare in mind:

I haven’t read the rules. I gave them a cursory glance in the bar, and it went something like, “what have they done with the sorcery rules then?” before Andrew took it away and said, “There’s no bloody sorcery in the game we’re playing.”

My perspective is from the point of view of a player and my thoughts on some of the key points that came out during the game and from my character.

Also, the adventure we played was one of Andrew’s own devising, and not the Quick Start scenario that’s due to hit participating FLGS on Free RPG Day 17th June ’17. I managed to speak briefly with Rick Meints on the very busy stall on the Saturday; he confirmed that 7000 copies of the Quick Starts have been printed. The PDF will be available from 1st July. I saw a copy and it looks a very smart, well presented production, that recalls some of the classic products from back in the day.

I missed the seminar talking about the release of the game, but it looks like the it will be available before the end of 2017.

So, in the usual format, this is five highlights and a final fumble.

The Adventure ‘Into the Upland Marsh’ was based on the notes found in ‘Dragon Pass and other adventures’, a collection of unpublished material by Greg Stafford, with notes from Sandy Peterson. Thanks to strange chaotic encounters we were urged by the Storm Kahn to venture into the Upland Marsh to the place known as The Howling Tower to break the source of the disturbances.

IMG_5480

The handouts provided were maps drawn by Greg and the original type-written manuscripts, which added to the feel of an old school, new school mash-up.

The Characters The characters were enhanced by a rich biography which was generated during the character creation process. The rules weave the character background into key events are constructed around their personal heritage such as the activities of their grandparents.

The core attributes are the same however the character’s association with runes are significant and expressed as a percentage also, the formative experiences of the characters shape their passions. The level of devotion, hatred, and loyalties, for example, is also expressed as a percentage.

It’s possible to invoke passions to modify certain situations and enhance your chances. It can have an effect on the choices you make too. We encountered a fleeing Lunar war-band, the passions of some of the party meant that we HAD to attack, when a more tactical avoidance may have been more appropriate.

Combat The very first encounter was a horrific zombified broo which we set upon with relish. Within moments one of the characters, Mirava ‘no-nose’, had been hit hard in the left leg (yay!) and fumbled parrying, so hit herself in the face with her shield.

Many of the elements of combat remain much the same – blow-by-blow, descriptive and lethal.

Old school pedants may be interested to note that Defence modification is replaced with ‘parry’ being a catch-all term that covers the ability to avoid being hit, but strike rank is much the same as RQ 2e.

The broo unleashed a SIZ 70 Giant through a warp hole.

Ducks! Andrew didn’t have a copy of the bestiary, so the encounters were taken from various sources (including FANGS), which confirms its backwards compatibility. We headed to Duck Point and encountered the Death Drake named Cracked-Beak.

It was at this point that the player who had never played in Glorantha before, crinkled his forehead permanently.

Cracked-Beak was a great NPC who was willing to help with advice in-between revealing his obsession with finding and destroying a zombie Killer Whale known as Moby Duck.

Magic It was the application of magic that was the most significant difference. Healing is more readily available for one thing, which is much better than depending on someone learning Healing 6 to reattach limbs.

All characters had access to Rune Magic and were able to use elemental runes to enhance situations. There was a pick list of spells that could be used as long as they were associated with your character’s Rune.

In the giddy excitement of choosing something interesting, I forgot to apply the old faithful ‘BladeSharp 4’. It didn’t matter, as I rolled a crit at the crucial moment when the zombie Wyverns were attacking.

Thanks to my enhanced damage from my blessed sword I managed to do double-double damage. I know! It was an incredibly satisfying moment.

From what I’ve seen, magic feels magical and very Gloranthan in this new edition.

IMG_1031

Sneezes A big thank you is due to Andrew for running the game, especially since he had been cursed by Malia and was ill in the run up and during the Expo.

I’m not so grateful that I rolled a CON fumble and now have a stinking cold.

1-D-6 UK Games Expo 2017

Flat-cap? – CHECK 

RPG Tees? – CHECK

Polished Docs? – CHECK

Freshly stocked All Rolled Up? – CHECK


All I need is a travel pack of Hob Nobs and I’m on the road, heading to the land of Slade and motorways to experience the biggest event in the UK gaming calendar: UK Games Expo 2017.

Running over 3 days, it’s truly epic in scale and vision, and much bigger than anything else I’ve experienced. If my bulging email spambox is anything to go by, there’s a ravaging hoard of traders about to decend upon on the National Exhibition Centre hungry to devour my money in exchange for their latest offering. 

Half way through the year and I still need to make progress with my resolution to learn more about story-games and the innovations that occurred in the 90s and 00s during my RPG deep freeze. I’m using this as an educational field trip to help fill in the blanks. Here’s 5 highlights from my itinary… and a potential fumble:

Kong Island Rangers Simon Burley, of GOLDEN HEROES fame, is hosting a game featuring his lightweight rules for Anime/Manga based adventures. THE CODE OF SHOJO AND SHONEN was the subject of a kickstart that didn’t make its goal earlier in the year. It’s a shame because what I’ve seen, it’s narrative character creation and simple 2d6 resolution mechanic, deals with the quirks of the genre perfectly. Who can resist travelling to a mysterious island in the middle of the ocean with the promise of encountering a magnificent Kaiju?

HeroQuest Glorantha “If you ever get chance, play HeroQuest with Ian Cooper, he unlocked it for me,” suggested Big Jack Brass when I complained that my grognardy old brain couldn’t get round HeroQuest; it looks like there’s fun in it, but I’m not sure how to get it out. I have chance to find out the secret code for the combination lock as I’ll be joining Ian to play Cold Hard Iron: dwarves, Iron and Telmori, what can go wrong?

World of Darkness Apart from a guest appearance in an online game, I’ve never played WoD despite it’s overwhelming popularity. I really enjoyed the experience of playing a Spectoral NPC, so I’m looking forward to this scenario from the other side of the equation as I’ll play a sophomore heading to a cabin on the lake. Sounds harmless enough.

RuneQuest: Glorantha It’s not all about eating my RPG vegetables, there’s some old school goodness to feast on too (albeit a partially reheated new recipe). I’m very excited to get a sneak-peak play-test of the new RuneQuest by playing a rare Greg Stafford scenario facing undead in the Upland Marsh. 

Tweet-up! I want to meet, shake hands and chat with as many people as I can while I’m there. When I’m not gaming, I’m going to mingle and tingle.

Time out. My only concern is running out of time. My carriage awaits early Saturday evening. My old man homing beacon will switch on at noon. After that, my concentration will fix on catching the train. I need to get a hard copy of The Two Headed Serpent. I need to mootch around the trade hall …. at some point …

If only to justify getting all that spam. 

One-D-Six – Operation Fast Pass

img_1868

When I was preparing Ep. 11 TOP SECRET, I was desperate to play the game again. I was keen to understand how the rules worked in play, as they’re paradoxical: a class and level game, that doesn’t really use class and levels; a neat character attribute generator that doesn’t tell you how to use them; a system of intuitive D100 mechanics peppered with clunky ‘outcome tables’.

I said in the GROGPOD: “It’s a narrative game trapped in a simualtionist rule-set”.

Is it really? Was it really a game of understated genius, or was it as Judge Blythy said “a bit weird.”

The only way to find out is to play the game, so the online GROGCLUB opened up for business last week to play the TSR module: Operation Fastpass (Code Name: Puzzle). It’s a scenario set in the Cold War era complete with ‘straight of central casting’ KGB agents.

The set up goes like this:

CLASSIFIED: Administrator – Priority A

SITUATION: Andrei Lerekov, a communist code expert, has sent a secret message indicating his desire to defect. Lerekov is the author of several military codes and has information of vital importance. He will be the guest speaker at the European Puzzle Editor’s Conference in Budapest.

OBJECTIVE: Help Lerekov to defect and ensure of his safe arrival in a friendly country.

AUTHORISATION: Administrator and Agents will operate under the authority of Section Mercury, ISB.

 

MISSION: Agent team will infiltrate the conference suite under cover, locate Lerekhov, neutralise enemy security, and get Lerekov out of the country. Security forces may include hostile agents.

Team personnel are authorised to use any means necessary to accomplish this mission.

CODE NAME: Puzzle

(ENDS)

Here’s 5 highlights and a lowlight from the first session.

The Setting The pitch that I made to the players was that it was going to be Man from U.N.C.L.E. with eighties chic meets Ocean’s 11. I realised when preparing the session that this was best viewed as a period piece. Although the agencies involved were the ‘real’ KGB and GRU unlike THRUSH or SPECTRE, for example, there’s an absurdity to the scenario now that we know more about the actual state of Soviet intelligence. They’re pitched as ruthlessly efficient, but it is probably better to see them as comic caricatures, because that what they seem like now.

I like how TOP SECRET equips the players with the Spy-fi gadgetry which allows this tongue-in-cheek approach possible.

C_LXOOpWAAEh4IY.jpg
The KING is keen to make sure that this mission is a success after the failure of the last one.

The Characters  The players had great fun selecting actors from the period to represent their characters and they all adopted code names from a pack of cards, as they were known by the ISB as ‘The Lucky Deck. Once shuffled they were deniable assets installed behind the Iron Curtain.

KING of Clubs – Technician – Lead, Field Agent
QUEEN of Hearts – Assassin – Second in command
Diamond JACK – Infiltration
The KNAVE – Infiltration
The ACE of Spades – Investigation
JOKER – Technician

IMG_2111.JPG
The KNAVE knows that the QUEEN is something of a loose cannon.

The Tourist The adventure is constructed as a Hotel Dungeon, with rooms of interest designed for exploration and encounters rolled on tables at various points of the action. There’s enemies, allies and traps … that’s right … traps … for the player characters to discover as they search for Lerekov.

IMG_2113.JPG

I re-engineered the scenario so that it was suitable as a shorter, more action focused, session, but I’ve retained some of the encounters, such as the spy fiction enthusiast who has been keeping an eye on the ‘Ruskies’

He’s an American Industrialist, looking to make contacts, but also adding to his interest in the world of espionage by watching the comings and goings in the hotel. There was a great ‘side-scene’, almost ‘off-camera’ as the hapless ‘cobbler’, the KNAVE, sought his papers so that he could get the team out of Hungary. He wasn’t quite ready to tell the King that he wasn’t ready..

 The Trade Craft 

IMG_2155.JPG
He’s the master of the switch-switch, not a lot of people know that …

The best aspect of the session was seeing the players getting into the mode of thinking like spies. The KING and the JOKER did a sweep of the room to dry clean it before the rest of the team arrived to share their humint on the movements within the hotel. They found a bug in the light fitting, so they used a Fusion Jazz LP to turn their discussions into white noise.

IMG_2157.JPG
Last on the team sheet, the first with the answers …

They also used an elaborate bug system that dangled out of the window to listen to the room below, where they hear talk of the sinister myasnik, an infamous GRU general.

There was also a great scene where the Diamond JACK and the ACE of Spades exchanged a vital piece of information in an audacious ‘brush pass’ under the noses of the goons in the lobby filling with puzzlers.

The Imposter In a ludicrous piece of plotting, it turned out that there were TWO Lerekov  ‘s at the event and they need to use a code word to determine which one one is which, unless the QUEEN gets them all killed first.

Roll 20. The only downside is the increasing flakey behaviour of Roll 20. In recent months, it seems that the platform struggles with more than 4 in a game. We soldiered on, because peace and freedom was at stake…  Although, there was one agent, willing to take matters into her own hands …

IMG_2118.JPG
The QUEEN – they knew that she liked to shoot first before asking questions …

The online GROGCLUB is one of the many benefits of being a PATREON of the GROGNARD files Including a chance to determine the subject of the end of the year podcast. The nominations are open this week, with polling taking place next week. There’s RuneQuest and Gangbusters planned later in the year. To find out more, on the page.

Episode 12 (Part 2) Games Workshop & Citadel (with Tim Olsen)

IMG_2207

Download Episode

INTRO – We’re still taken aback at the scale of response to the first part of this episode, but we’re conscious enough to issue a warning about Hob Nob balls.

POTTED HISTORY (3.49) – Kindly provided by @hobgoblinorange  who provides an overview of the major players and developments in the miniature figure art in the early 80s. He recommends the site The Stuff of Legends which features lots of images of Citadel miniatures from back in the day.

GMSCREEN (11.29) We return to the wonderful Las O Gowrie in Manchester to continue the interview with Tim Olsen, the former manager of Dalling Road branch of Games Workshop. TV and ZZ Top emerge as he faces the annecdotamator.

If you want to see Tim’s TV AM appearance you’ll find it here from 16:00 (John Noakes!)

THE WHITE DWARF (25.45) @dailydwarf returns with the second part of his Small but Perfectly Formed essay, examining miniatures in White Dwarf before it became all about miniatures.

ATTIC ATTACK (37.14) We climb into the attic of the all-new Dirk Towers to look at some of the interesting minis from our collection.

POSTBAG (01.06.34) There’s been a great response from listeners to the last episode, share some of the game shop memories from all over the UK. Including Alegis Downport who did a great piece on Tunnels and Trolls on his blog. There’s also the last word from Tim Olsen.

Thanks to everyone who joined the Patreon campaign this month. You’ll get a name check next time when I’ll share the details of the next ‘zine.

 

 

GROGMEET 2017


This year’s GROGMEET will be held at Manchester’s Mad Lab, in the heart of the city’s Northern Quarter, on 11th November from 9.00am – 6.00pm.

Tickets are now available here
WHAT’S GOING ON?

You’ll be able to play two games during the day, hosted by fantastic Games Masters, who will be bringing the best of old school games: Judge Dredd RPG, Paranoia, Warhammer Fantasy Role-playing and Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes; and new editions of old favourites, such as Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest and D&D. There’ll be some vintage miniatures too, in a pick up and play game within the Dwarven Forge.

Sessions will be from 10.00-1.30 and 2.00-5.30
The GROGNARD files annual ‘zine will be launched and all attendees will get a copy.
GROGMEET eve – why not make a weekend of it? We’ll be arranging a meet up on Friday night – with Nights Black Agents, Numenera and Feng Shui II available to play.
Our friends from All Rolled Up too will be there!
(Games may be subject to change, but a full list will be available prior to the event)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What’s the GROGNARD files?

A podcast, that talks complete bobbins about table top RPGs from back in the day. You’ll find it at theGROGNARDfile.com.

What’s a $5 Patreon?
The podcast is supported by a Patreon campaign to help cover the costs and to help the development of associated projects. $5 backers can get a discounted ticket for themselves as a reward.
Will there be food?
Hob Nob biscuits will be available. You will need to provide your own food. Mad Lab has a ‘bring your own’ policy as long as you tidy up your own mess. There’s Common, opposite the venue and supermarkets nearby.
Will there be drink?
Tea, coffee and orange juice will be available free of charge all day. Mad Lab are happy for you to bring your own too.
Is there a minimum age requirement to enter the event?
11 plus. If a game is not suitable, we’ll indicate it on the game sign up. The content of ‘zine may not be appropiate for under 17s.
What are my parking options for getting to and from the event?
Manchester is well connected with public transport and the motorway network. The nearest multi-storey is on Tib Street.
How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
I’m available on twitter @thegrognardfile or email me dirkthedice at gmail dot com.
What’s the refund policy?
Happy to refund if you can’t attend. Please give as much notice as possible if you can’t come as it will mean that I can open up cancelled tickets to the waiting list. The GMs will have prepared great adventures, so I want to make sure that there’s people play them!
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No.
What’s the fee?
The fee is what Eventbrite charges for its services. I absorbed the cost last year and I was left a bit short for the room hire, so I’m going to charge it seperately this year. 

Episode 12 (Part 1) Games Workshop & Citadel (with Tim Olsen)

img_2008.png

Download Episode

INTRO (15 secs)

This is an unusual episode as it is about a place more than a thing. This is about the remembered place that was Games Workshop, when we were kids, and the magical lead figures we found there.

POTTED HISTORY (6.32)

The story about how school friends came together to form Games Workshop and how it grew and grew …

OPEN BOX (WITH TIM OLSEN) (10:17)

I am joined by Tim Olsen who was instrumental in the early days of GW. He was the manager of Dalling Road branch, then Manchester, before taking the first stores to America. He is a fascinating and lovely guy. You’ll enjoy his contribution.

WHITE DWARF (31:35)

The first part of @dailydwarf ‘s contribution to the episode where he talks about his experience of using figures in his games.

OPEN BOX (46:08)

Blythy joins me to talk about minis, memories and how we consume games. There’s a riot going on in the background, sorry about that, it is the sound of Bolton I’m afraid.

THERE ISN’T A LAST BIT (1:20)

A call for the submission of your memories of Games Workshop and a thank you to Patreons.

 

The Complete White Dwarf Open Box Index

Every GROGNARD needs this in their lives!

The @DailyDwarf Blog

Ever wondered in which issue White Dwarf reviewed Nomad Gods? Or who only gave Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes a measly score of 4? And when did Open Box notoriously review itself? Well, wonder no more.

This is an index of every product reviewed in the Open Box column of White Dwarf magazine, from issue #1 to issue #93, Sorcerer to Chase. Each entry lists the name of the product, the publisher, the type of the product, and the name of the reviewer (with their overall score out of ten if available).

[From issue #94, Open Box became Marginalia – this featured not so much reviews as adverts for Games Workshop-only products. After a while this struck even Games Workshop as a bit of a waste of time, and finished in issue #100. I haven’t included these entries.]

Issue Product Publisher Type Reviewer (Score)
1 Sorcerer SPI Wargame Rob Thomasson…

View original post 5,924 more words