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

pic811883.jpg

Download Episode

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.

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.

 

 

Episode 5 (Part 1) Stormbringer RPG

 

ElricOfMelnborne
The cover on the copy we read in the library

“I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas.”  – Michael  Moorcock

 

Download Episode

RSS Feed

 

The subject of this episode is STORMBRINGER – Fantasy Role Playing in the world of Elric.

We have also opened a Patreon campaign to support the development of the podcast, and to help towards the production of The GROGNARD files fanzine.

If you would like to tip a few coins in the beret, then please go to this site:

The GROGNARD files patreon

SECTION 1: POTTED HISTORY (6:03)

Some background to the Elric stories.

The story of STORMBRINGER’s origins with new material from Ken St Andre – look out for a transcript of the conversation we had with him on theGROGNARDfiles.com, coming soon.

SECTION 2: OPEN BOX (16:59)

Blythy joins me in a faithful reconstruction of his teenage bedroom to discuss the early games we played of STORMBRINGER.

SECTION 3: THE WHITE DWARF (35:41)

A magnificent contribution by @dailydwarf about the dog-days of White Dwarf’s hey day and the brilliant The Madcap Laughs adventure for STORMBRINGER that appeared in the august journal.

SECTION 4: JUDGE BLYTHY RULES! (51:36)

The resident Agent of Law, Judge Blythy takes on the chaotic ‘Guantlet of Hand-Waving’ during an analysis of the rules

SECTION 5: THERE ISN’T ONE (01:23:00)

What to look forward to in Part 2 (supplements, a ‘show and tell’ of Moorcock miscellany’ and listener post bag).

Please write to us by commenting on the site or sticking a review on iTunes.

 

 

Episode 4 – RPG Games Cons Dragonmeet

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 22.23.52

Download Episode

RSS Feed

 

In a break with the usual format, The Armchair Adventurers are at risk of disappearing up their own fundament.

It’s too short to break in two, too long to listen in one go, so disappointing either way. Take your time, pause a little, as you listen to the blow by blow account of our big day out.

INTRODUCTION

It’s 30 years since we last went to a Games Convention. We went to Dragonmeet ’15 in December, this is a reflection on what we did when we were there and how things have changed in gaming in the meantime.

This introduction includes a A brief potted history of Dragonmeet, with extra bits of information provided by Modiphius.

OPEN BOX

The morning of the day before, Judge Blythy joins Dirk as we plan the trip and reminisce about Games Cons of the past.

WHITE DWARF

Everything comes back to White Dwarf and it’s coverage of Games Conventions back in the day were our way of enjoying them vicariously.

There’s a quote from Scott Dorwood who reviewed the podcast.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN

Some general reflections on our observations while we were there as well as a blow by blow account of some of the experiences we had.

Under discussion:

Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands using 7th Edition

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules distilled into 52 pages

How the market has changed, stuff we bought, and the apparent controversy around the benign Chaosium seminar.

We attend seminars featuring Ken and Robin Talk Quickly About Stuff and the “Is there too much Cthulhu” debate between The Good Friends … and The Smart Party.

While we were there, we interviewed Mike Cule, star of the stage and screen, and the author of RUMBLE AT THE TIN INN (amongst others) and one of the hosts of Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice.

ED’S BARGAIN SHED

Eddy, the resident bargain-hunter in chief, shares his Dragonmeet haul and takes on the 20 quid challenge.

POSTBAG

Listeners share their convention experiences.

Normal service will be resumed next time when we discuss STORMBRINGER.

 

Runequest 6 – back to the future (Part One)

THE FIRST TIME

They say that you always remember your first time. It was a sun-dappled day in 1982 that we had our debut RPG game, we really should have been enjoying the fresh-air, but for weeks we had been pouring over the finer points of the RUNEQUEST rules. It was a massive conceptual leap to grasp the idea of a game without a board. Thanks to an article in Starburst magazine, which provided an example of play, we were able to work out the idea of ‘Games Master’. When combined with my 12 year old ‘God Complex’ it seemed a natural thing to do. The Games Workshop box set contained ‘everything you needed to play’ which at the time seemed slim pickings, but on reflection were a feast:

BRP

Basic Roleplaying: A pamphlet that provided the essential mechanics behind RUNEQUEST, which was later adopted by other Choasium games, most notably CALL OF CTHULHU. The idea of a ‘percentile dice’ being able to resolve most skill-based actions was fairly simple to grasp, as was the attribute vrs attribute resistance table to resolve tests of strength, willpower and agility.

1370208957019

Runequest Rule Book: The cover, and the box featured an evocative painting by the wonderful Iain McCraig, depicting a boiled-leather-bikini clad woman battling with a horrible lizard monster. We would learn that the woman’s chances of survival were minimal if the tenants of the rules were followed. The rules introduced the rather baffling ancient world of Glorantha. Its a wonderful ancient-world setting, but overwhelming for a 12 year brain trying to get to grips with hit locations, three different variations of spells and ‘treasure factors’.

runequest2ndgwcont

FANGS: A collection of (much needed) pre-generated non-player characters. The best thing about RUNEQUEST is that the NPCs are as richly detailed as the PCs; the worst thing about RUNEQUEST is that you have to roll the NPCs in the same way as the PCs. It meant more work for the Games Master. This booklet provided characters ‘generated on one of those fancy computers that everyone is talking about).

applelane

APPLE LANE: A card-backed booklet with a simple line drawing of a little fella being mugged by a goblin-like creature. Inside it provides the details of a small hamlet nestled in the mountains of Dragon Pass. There are three scenarios, the most significant was Grindle’s Pawnshop, where the adventurers are recruited to protect a building against an attack from a pack of baboons.

GRINDLE’S PAWNSHOP

The first game that we played on that summer’s day was Grindle’s Pawnshop. As the Gamesmaster, I had played the game a hundred times in my head before we actually sat down to do it. There had been weeks of painstaking preparation. The scenario suggested that the plans of the Pawnshop were mapped out on ‘butcher paper’, but I wasn’t sure what it was and the bemused heavy-metal lovin’ guy at Manchester GAMES WORKSHOP didn’t know either.

I compromised and drew the floor plan of Grindle’s Pawnshop on a sheet of graph paper. We’d been collecting Citadel miniatures long before we knew that they were connected to a game. In essence, we had created a board for a game that didn’t really need it. The first game was faltering as I was constantly consulting the rules to try an accommodate an action that the players had devised that didn’t fit the version that had been practised in my head.

Despite the sometimes clumsy session, it was clear by the end of it that we were hooked. The thrill of being in the middle of an epic combat with a group of bandits lead by a centaur was just too enticing. The ability to determine our own destiny in a fantasy world, when we were forced in to conformity in school, made us more determined to learn the rules and put the hours in to get better and better at it.

REUNITED – Runequest second ed.

Fast forward 32 years and our gurnard group is stronger than ever. We reunited several years ago to dust off the old supplements such as Borderlands and Griffin Mountain. As adults, we have been able to weave a more textured experience of Glorantha and have been willing to make the setting our own. When we were teenagers we were a bit too precious about upsetting the multi-layered game world with its countless cults, races, myths and convoluted history. There was always a concern that if a Games Master changed something, it would be later contradicted by a supplement.

Now we feel more at liberty to do what we like with the setting, besides there are so many supplements for Glorantha already out there, we are never going to read them all.

At first, we were rusty on the rules. Each of us remembered the rules for ‘special attacks’ differently. Was it full damage plus rolled damage? or, roll the damage twice? Either way, it seemed more deadly than a ‘critical’ that merely ignored armour. Could special attacks be parried with a normal parry roll, or did it need to be a special one? We had a number of different permutations  in the early games, which meant that combat was often broken with outbursts of “that can’t be right, can it?”.

Steven, our resident rules lawyer, studied the appendix of the second edition rules where the different effects of an impale, slash and crush, are described in detail, which explained the results of special attacks change, depending on the weapon. We realised that the rules that were in our memories were a conflation of STORMBRINGER and some house-rules we adopted back in the day, thanks to an article that once appeared in White Dwarf.

Since the 2nd edition rules were released back in the early 80s, there have been a number of iterations published. Thanks to the complicated exchange of rights and acquisitions since then, its has been difficult to keep up with what actually constitutes ‘Runequest’. Last year, The Design Mechanism solved uncertainty by deciding that the latest version of the rules were the ‘6th’ edition and they published a handsome rule-book to bring the game into the 21st Century.

It’s time for the these old gurnards to freshen up!

Starburst Memories: Tired of reality?

This is where it all started …

The Dirk Malcolm Alternative

You might consider that you wasted your youth. Perhaps you spent it shooting pool in some smoky hall, locked in your bedroom playing the guitar or just partying hard when you should have been studying.

That is not a waste. That is not even the beginning of a waste. When others were developing the ability to win a few quid hustling in a local bar, to lead a sing-a-long at a barbecue or just to speak to the opposite sex, what I got for my endeavors was a wizard with a frost wand.

Yes, I spent my youth playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Mark Barrowcliffe, The Elfish Gene – Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange.

Starburst 41 Cover011

After months of trawling through ebay I have managed to secure a copy of Starburst 41 from December 1981. I like to call it The White Rabbit issue as it lured me down a hole…

View original post 788 more words