Episode 17 – Review of 2017 in RPGs


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Intro: For this GROGPOD, we take a break from the usual format, instead of concentrating on a single subject, we are looking back at some of the experiences that we have had over the year.

Thanks to Phil the Dice Mechanic for his review

Groggies Pt 1: Our annual awards are determined by the random subjects written on the spurious envelopes. In this section we look back on the year in games mastering – some of the highs and lows – we award the Messianic Megalomaniac award for the year.

The Trial of RuneQuest: Earlier in the year, Dirk took the RPG Academy to Apple Lane. This is an edited extract. You can find the full version here and the you tube video here (if you really need to).

Groggies Pt 2: This is the Olive Kinnisberg Memorial Award for players, playing and players and the games that we play. There’s a mention of UK Games Expo, The Heroes Journey and Star Trek Adventures.

Postbag Pt1: Mark Hides has written a memoir of his experiences of RPGs in Sheffield. You can get his book here.

Groggies Pt 3 There have been lows as well as highs

Postbag Pt2 Rog Coe and Wayne Peters are regular correspondents to this site.

Groggies Pt 4 The new game that we have been playing and some of the hopes for the new year.

Outro: Thanks to Patreons and you’ll find details about the Spaghetti Conjunction here 

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

16 thoughts on “Episode 17 – Review of 2017 in RPGs”

    1. Indeed — I started off giddy then calmed down. I was over compensating as I don’t think Blythy had quiet woken up when we started.

  1. Just enjoying the latest cast from the Grogs. I am not finished but I had to send in my opinion. I have to (once again) agree with Judge Blythy (or Blythie) when he proclaims that the onus for enjoyable games lies with the players not the judge. It has always been my belief that players who show up to a game and want their characters to sit in the tavern and drink instead of latching onto the various baited plot hooks that the judge has dangle in front of them should be hung from the highest yardarm.

    I will continue my listening…

  2. I was very interested in hearing about your GM-itis and I’ve got a couple of points I want to make.
    First of all, listening to that clip of you running the game for the Roleplayers Academy, I appreciate it was just a short clip, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with anything you did. I really don’t understand what it is you felt you did wrong. Indeed, I would never have been so bold as to affect an American accent whilst talking to a group of actual Americans 😀
    Secondly, this is something that I suffer from myself (as do most GMs if we’re honest), and I’ve found listening to actual plays has helped considerably. Running a game always seems like a great idea initially and I get very excited, but as the day of the game draws near, I begin to get what can only be described as stage fright. I begin to doubt myself. The scenario is garbage, I start to think. The players will hate it, they’ll have a shit time. It’ll be rubbish. Then during the game I’ll be um-ing and ah-ing and checking rules and contradicting myself* and convinced that I’m ballsing it up no matter how much fun the players seem to be having. When it’s all over I swear I’ll never do it again and then come across another game that I want to run and it all starts all over again.
    As I mentioned, the thing that has helped me with this self-doubt is listening to other GMs and realising that they’re all the same. _We_ are all the same. From the lowliest of beginners to this peculiar new breed of Youtube celebrity GMs like Matthew Mercer. They all just read out a scene description, do silly voices and bad accents, call for perception checks and initiative rolls, wing their way through rules and ‘um’ and ‘ah’ like everyone else.
    Tangentially connected to this I agree with Blythy. I think there’s a certain responsibility for players to make the game as fun for the GM as the GM is trying to make it for them. There was a thread a few weeks back around thanksgiving about thanking your GM. It all seemed to be based around turning up on time and giving them cookies etc. Nothing about forgiving them mistakes, allowing them just a small amount of railroading or playing along with their epic plot because they took ages to write it and prepare. GMing is often one mind vs six and that’s a lot of pressure. Give your GM a break once in a while.

    *When running the Runequest Quackstarter I had the wisened old man tell the players to stay away from the Broken Tower as it was evil and no good could come of it. Then two minutes later tell them to go on a quest to figure out what was going on there.

    1. Hi Wayne,

      I had to do a Brooklyn accent as I don’t have many more up my sleeve. It was funny, at the time of release the RPG Academy assumed that I lived in London, much to the amusement of the UK listeners.

      The subject of GMitis: I think it was a good thing as it got me to be less complacent about what I wanted to do. I’ve never felt nervous as a GM as I have always thought that I can wing it. I suppose that seeing myself in action, made me realise that I defaulted to certain approaches. Both Blythy and I have come to the agreement that it needs everyone around the table to be engaged for the magic to happen: it might still be ‘fun’ but sometimes, fun can be hard work.

      Thanks for being so forthcoming with feedback Wayne, it has kept us going this year!

      All the best


  3. A nice friendly episode to end the year, many thanks for your hard work both in podcasting and Grogmeet, and I was pleased to play a small part in getting you back into GM’ing, the Luther Arkwright game at Convergence as thoroughly enjoyable and you paced it well and got lots of intrigue and tension involved.

    1. Ian

      Thank you. It was good to run the game with you. Thanks for you part in lifting me out of the fug of GMitis.

      I hope that you are going to come along to the next Convergence, I’m going to run Golden Heroes’ adventure ‘Queen Victoria and the Holy Grail’.

      We’ve decided that you make a cracking ‘Eddy’ stunt double – are you up for it?


  4. Jusr backed on Patreon, and have been reading the Grognard publications. My ghod, the nostalgia is strong: F C Parker (haven’t heard that name in 30 years), Halls of Tizun Thane (which I know from best of WD scenarios 1), Starbase etc.

    All,of which leaves me two,questions. Is there a forum where other Grognards hang out; and I’d like to write an article on Golden Heroes – which is the best way to submit it?

    1. Kevin,

      Firstly, thanks for signing up to the GROGSQUAD, please to have you on board!

      The impact that FC Parker had on our listeners is extraordinary!

      There isn’t a forum, unfortunately as there has been a number of requests for such a place. Perhaps it’s something I can look into for the new year. I am very active on twitter and you’ll find that there’s a contingent of the GROGSQUADRON that like to keep in touch there.

      As for Golden Heroes, I’d love to see your thoughts, there’s an episode coming about the game very soon!



  5. A lovely end to the year thanks. A fairly crap year it has to be said, made better by finding the Grogpod last April when looking for info on the old Runequest boxed set. As a result of all this amazing enthusiasm and newstalgia from Dirk and Co, i’ve gone and ‘got the band back together’, only instead of the old quartet, this time its a 5 to 8! piece jazz fusion ensemble, some old hands, some first timers, playing monthly one shots at a swanky new games cafe.
    First game is Friday night. 7 players signed up. Fingers crossed, nearly printed and photoshopped everything needed, the rest i can wing on the night, or scribble down at work. It’s a pumped up high-jeopardy version of Marcus Rowlands Draw The Blinds on Yesterday for Cthulhu, and in tribute to my pleasant Numenera experiences at Grogmeet it will be mostly ‘theatre of the mind’, a departure for me.
    The fact i don’t have any 1980’s investigator/bystander figures is neither here nor there…
    Happy New Year Grogsquad!

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