Cults of Cthulhu (with Mike Mason) Ep 66

Live from GROGMEET 23, join us as we roll back the years with Mike Mason. We look at the key moments in the history of Call of Cthulhu: its origins and its early campaigns.

In Library Use, Blythy and Dirk look at Cults of Cthulhu and Different Worlds and consider the world populated by people who are ‘tuned in’ to Cthulhu.

Mike Mason and Paul Fricker have a new podcast project

You can support the GROGNARD files at Patreon.

GROGMEET 2023 Scrapbook

10th-12th November 23 was GROGMEET. This year we took over the city. The games and socialising was spread across multiple locations, so it could be bigger but stay small. Thanks to FanBoy Three, Northern Monk, Whitworth Locke and The Lass O’Gowrie for being perfect hosts. This event would not be possible without the GMs bringing excellent games that seem to improve year on year. Thank you to you all.

If you would like to hear other experiences of the event, listen to Mason and Fricker’s Eldritch Stories, to hear Mike Mason (the Guest of Honour) and Paul Fricker talking about the games they played. Neil Benson, the Old Scouse Role-Player, always has an enthusiastic report, this time he suggests that it was the best yet. There’s a wonderfully thoughtful reflection on playing SPI’s DragonQuest by Graham Spearing.

We certainly enjoyed the Manchattan sun ssssshine!

Manchester has transformed since we started in 2016. We want to keep it a small meet-up, while it grows a bit bigger. We used multiple sites across the city.
GROGFRINGE at The Northern Monk – an afternoon of Old School Games playing vintage scenarios from White Dwarf and Imagine (following an introduction from absent friend Dave Paterson)
Raspy Raven’s Jim McCarthy creates Paranoia
A dramatic moment in Chris Sharp’s The Litchway
The annual @DailyDwarf 2000ad spectacular – this year? Fire up your cod-piece it’s Savage Worlds ZOMBO!
So We Go To The Stars … Arjen intends to take them there one way or another …
The Night of the Mabden. A group of saboteurs get ready to set traps and make the next day very difficult for the players who are due to play in a game at GROGMEET.
Doc in full flow for Something Knocking Butty Boy – the Mike Hobbs Memorial Game – Warhammer RPG
Benet is the holder of the Mike Hobbs Memorial Trophy 2023
GROGMEET – Whitworth Locke
Buck Rogers!
Very neat character sheet. A simple, yet effective dice pool game. That lighter was very useful
The Day of The Baaltraig … due to the intervention of the Mabden the night before, the mission went to the wire.
An RPG Group run at Headspace, a mental health outlet in Bolton, received a package from The Mike Hobbs Just Giving Fund.
Enter “The Theatre of THE MIND” with Ian from Fenris
All back to The Lass
A new podcast born every minute. Could this be the Steve and Stef Talk about Stuff show?
No match for The Mitchester Arms
“Who ordered the Mitch-o-gram?
Doctors in the House – Conan? Excalibur? Or Sword and the Sorcerer?
MORPcon Dragonbane with Dragon Girl Debbie. Pink Goblins causing trouble, or are they?
GROGFRINGE Sunday Morning
Mike Mason rolling back the years after tapping the shrine

Down Dread Portals

This year has been the year of the Multiverse at The GROGNARD files with Planescape and the Sundered Worlds of Moorcock. We were intrigued to hear about the new Multiversal game from Newt Newport’s D101 written by Paul Mitchener. The kickstarter is now open, funded and reaching the stretch-goals.

Beyond Dread Portals is an eye-catching title for an RPG – what’s the pitch?

Newt: Beyond Dread Portals is an exciting roleplaying game of world-hopping fantasy. The easy-to-learn rules are built from a core loosely based on the world’s first fantasy roleplaying game tailored to fit the setting.

This is a d20 game familiar to players of that other game, why did you take that approach, rather than using D101’s OpenQuest mechanics?

Newt: Mitch was rather taken with what I did with Crypts and Things (D101’s take on 80s Brit RPG Swords and Sorcery), hence the bespoke D20 system and the setting. Which comes from an old AD&D 2nd Edition campaign of his. It’s a game that celebrates that glorious period in the late 80s to early 90s. When TSR did other settings, such as Dark Sun, Ravenloft and of course, Planescape.

I have been playing a number of multiverse games in 2023, what is their appeal, and what does BDP do differently than the others?

Newt: It provides a playground for exploration. There’s enough detail in the setting that players can quickly pick up on the themes and run with them, without the Referee being overwhelmed with having to know large amounts of detailed game lore.  Also, there’s room for plot twists galore with all the game’s Guilds and other factions.

Does magic and other abilities adapt, change, and behave differently depending upon the plane?

Newt: Not in a mechanical sort of way, because at the end of the day, it’s a straightforward fantasy game. But there are definite cultural implications. Certain magic will mark you out as a member of one of the game’s factions, one of which is especially risky to be a member of in Ys itself due to being made illegal. 

What are the themes of the different planes, what characterises them and which one is your favourite?

Newt: I’ve been quite taken by Erebus, a living cavern complex world. No surface and no sky. The Empire tried to set up shop there but failed because of the monstrous local inhabitants. So, there’s a whole failed colony vibe. It’s a nice place to have the players go visit in a desperate sort of “get in, do the mission, get out before you alert the big monsters” way.

The city of Ys is the central hub where adventures begin. What’s that like?

Newt: A vast megalopolis on the scale of Ancient Rome or London. Whose streets and buildings move about periodically. Like in the film Dark City. It’s got a ridged social structure of the Guilds, which has been upset by the Autarch’s invasion. So, it’s a society in crisis, with a big gap between rich and poor, where everyone is struggling to maintain, or even increase their position, in the face of a ruler that doesn’t care for their livelihood. So, there’s a huge theme of Decadence and Decay in play. 

Will there be supporting scenarios for the game?

Newt: Absolutely. Mitch and I have been running it online and at conventions for over five years. If it funds, there are three of these up for grabs as stretch goals. Further out, I’ve got a Great Tour of the Worlds of Ys campaign at the planning stage. I’m sure if we do individual guides to the Worlds, there will be adventures in those as well.

Small creators like D101 depend upon ‘getting the message out’ how does the current environment of a multiverse of social media make things more difficult?

Newt: It’s been not easy getting the word out beyond our core audience at times. But with the help of friends such as yourself and the Smart Party (Ben and Gaz), we are slowly getting there. Also, this is a new thing from D101, which I hope will be as big as OpenQuest, because the system is so much fun, and I want it to power other D20 games I have in mind.

What are the details of the Kickstarter?

Newt:  We open on Kickstarter on Monday, 23rd October and we are live for a month until Sunday, 19th November.

Glorantha (with Jeff Richard)

A homecoming. The GROGNARD files returns to Glorantha, the setting where our RPG life began.

4mins – Jeff Richard joins us at the Book Club to talk about The King of Sartar, Greg Stafford’s epic book of The Dragon Pass. The discussion also includes The Cults of RuneQuest.

26 mins – Judge Blythy and Dirk are in the Library looking at Different Worlds issue 1 and Wyrms Footnotes 5.

44 mins – Closing time chat about Liminal and adapting old White Dwarf scenarios.

Want to see some Glorantha action with vim and vigour? Check out Unconventional GMs, don’t forget your cow.

Join the GROGSQUAD tribe at Patreon.

Michael Moorcock Ep. 64

Behold the man! Michael Moorcock joins us in the room of role-playing rambling to talk about memoir, the multiverse, movies and much more.

I recommend Sanctom Secorum and Appendix N Bookclub interviews too.

I have appeared on Breakfast in the Ruins talking about Letters from Hollywood.

I recommend Moorcock’s latest trilogy The Sanctuary of the White Friars.

Please support us on Patreon.

Liminal Inspirations Ep.63 (with C.K.McDonnell) (Part 2)

Continuing to find inspiration from urban horror/fantasy, in this episode we look at The Stranger Times and Children of the Stones

In this episode, we continue looking for inspiration from urban horror/fantasy.

C.K. McDonnell joins the book club to talk about his career and his series of novels set in Manchester, The Stranger Times, about a newspaper covering the supernatural. There are three books in the series, with another coming in a couple of months, and a podcast that supports the novels.

Dirk and Blythy are in the Las O’Gowrie discussing the seventies children’s TV Classic, The Children of the Stones.

If you want to find out more about the book club, including the forthcoming guests, then follow the page on this site.

Please support us on Patreon.

Liminal (with Paul Mitchener) Ep.63 (Part 1)

Join us as we discover the places and people ‘between’ with Paul Mitchener, creator of Liminal RPG

Welcome to the world of Liminal. Dirk and Blythy are in the throes of discovering a world where the ordinary and extraordinary interact.

Joining us in the Room of Role-Playing Rambling is the creator of Liminal, Paul Mitchener who has provided an insight into the game and its influences.

Support the GROGNARD files on Patreon.

Call of Cthulhu Ep.2 (Part 2) – REMASTERED

Another repeat! This the next in the ongoing campaign to remaster the files from the early GROGPODs. Some of the early ones are difficult to hear, so this has been equalised. It does result in some strange gaps and distortions, but nothing too distracting I hope. The roll of dice are missing from here because I got complaints about it hurting peoples’ heads.

I mention Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice, which is still going strong.


Behind the screen I have a table of Call of Cthulhu supplements. I’m joined by Judge Blythy who rolls the 1D100 to select 5 for detailed discussion.


Ed, The Armchair Adventurer’s Chief bargain-hunter provides an e-Bay price index for the supplements under discussion.


A selection from listener comments, including a fascinating look at The Lovecraft Variant – an early Cthulhu adaptation for Tunnels and Trolls.

The Lovecraft Variant is now a fully fledged game.

Follow me on Twitter @theGROGNARDfile

UK Game Expo 2023 – Scrapbook

To illustrate the podcast with our report on our exploits at UK Games Expo 2023 here are a collections of images from the weekend.

The National Express, waiting for the Jolly Hostess
Angry Men in Local Newspapers – “So-called Integrated Transport System”
Kalum (Jeremy) from the Rolistes podcast
Dirk reunited Ralph Horsley with his 80’s zine “Convert or Die!”
Paul Tomes @spookshow7 meets one of his creations in the wild – not Steve Ray – but his tee shirt!
Planescape – Fun eyebrow communication with a shackled demon
Pre-Panel livener in Withered Spoons
The Repair Shop. Not a dry eye in the house.
What is the best in life?
Make the bling sing!
The Mitcheners Arms on Tour
Dave reunited with something wonderful from Pookie’s bag
Joolz meets the Old Scouse Role-Player
Wow! “It’s the GM!” “No it isn’t!” “Maybe there’s a third way
Rescued from the vaults of Chaosium by Doc Cowie
Beggar Knights of Nadsokor
Rich August makes a sneaky retreat
The End of the Marathon
The Haul
Dirk came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the Judges Guild in his hand

UK Games Expo Report 2023

You’ll need at least two brews and a whole packet of Hob Nobs while we go on and on about UK Games Expo 2023.

It’s that time again! We went on the road in a charabanc and headed to England’s 4th City, Birmingham, for the UK Game Expo 2023.

We report on the games we played, the people we saw and the stuff we bought in a spectacular weekend.

Learn how we became Pookie Porters carrying his impressive haul, which can be seen revealed on this video.

There is also news from our bar-side chat with Paul Fricker and his podcast recommendation of Filthy Ritual, the true crime podcast. He has also written about it on his substack.

Dirk participated in a panel of fellow podcasters with the RPG Repair Shop. There is an edited sample featured here, but if you want more, then listen at Frankenstein’s RPG.

If you would like to support the podcast, then please support us on Patreon. Thanks.