Episode 18 (Part 1) Judge Dredd RPG (with Marc Gascoigne)


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INTRO: Warning, there’s an unnecessary David Bowie impression in this bit, as the Judge Dredd Board Game appeared in Labyrinth.

POTTED HISTORY: (00:05:00) A brief publication history of Judge in RPGs and news of the forthcoming game from EN Publishing.

OPEN BOX (with Marc Gascoigne): (10:44) We are joined by a giant in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy publishing. He tells stories about his time editing DragonLords fanzine , working with Games Workshop and designing Judge Dredd.

DAILY DWARF: (00:48:24) @dailydwarf writes an introduction to some of the great material that appeared in White Dwarf, before the sun set on its coverage of RPGs.

ATTIC ATTACK: (01:07:00) Blythy joins Dirk in the loft to reflect on 2000ad and how it influenced our play.

OUTRO: (01:37:00) Dirk is running Judge Dredd at Spaghetti ConJunction in Birmingham on 10th Feb 2017. Also, there’s news about how to get PDFs of the GROGZINE and the forthcoming Virtual GROGMEET.

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 18 (Part 1) Judge Dredd RPG (with Marc Gascoigne)”

    1. Nothing escapes the ‘Proofing-Eye’ of Pookie. Thanks for that. I’ll make sure that there is an errata next time. I also spotted that due to a slip of a tongue in the Potted History section I mentioned Battle when I meant Action. Also, Dredd is a 22nd century lawman.

      The fact checkers have been killed.

    2. Yeah, I realised I’d misremembered about three minutes after I’d said it but my interminable monologue had moved on. Apologies to David and Francis both! — M

  1. OMG reminiscing overload. There were so many items in this episode that brought back memories of younger days, even Marc mentioning SPI’s Sorcerer and Kings and Things, games I still own.

    I started my sci-fi comics with Tornado which merged with 2000 AD, and a work colleague at the time was a Double Seto Thargo (he owned two complete collections!), I greatly enjoyed the Judge Dredd strip, and played the boardgame (only managed to arrest Judge Death for Umpty Bagging) but never played the RPG, but I do remember it from Games Day, I think we were heavily into Car Wars by then.

    Again, Dirk’s magnificent interviewing style (a.k.a. let ’em ramble), provided Marc with a wonderful storytelling opportunity, and the attic banter was up its usual hilarious standard of crusty repertoire, more like Judge Bread.

  2. Another good un.
    Those JD skirmish rules by Rick Priestley, would they be the same ones that are in the Citadel Journal Spring 1986? If so they were very good, not sure if that publish date makes them pre-WH40K, but they were essentially ‘Lawhammer’ rules. They coincided with the figure release and i remember playing a few games with them, which as i can remember them must mean they were enjoyable. Had stats and rules for all the JD world weapons and types of Judge and Perps, Kleggs etc.
    Once again Albie Fiore pops up, i know he is unfortunately no longer with us, but is there a chance of a future section on his contribution to the scene, maybe as a selection of read out memories from those who worked with him who you’ve previously interviewed?.
    From his obituary at the time he seemed like a very interesting bloke.
    As for first prog of 2000 ad it was somewhere around the 50s, the issue with the JD Firebug story, where the perp has a layer of skin removed by a vicious scalpel bedecked medical machine to see if he’s the culprit, and is left covered in bandages and sent to the Cubes. I can remember my 7 or 8 year old self being thrilled and horrified in equal measure, they dont make em like that anymore.
    I gave up in the 6 or 700s perhaps when the talent had left, and now have a complete collection of the golden years, 1 to 500 or so, the big furry ones. The collected talent in those piles is unbelievable when you think about it today.
    Cheers all.

    1. Thanks Rog. Interesting idea about Albie Fiore, one I’ll consider. I’ve had a similar suggestion for a Marcus Rowland special, given he’s a name that crops up often in our discussion.

      Thanks too for the play report from getting your gang back together – loved it.

  3. Another cracking episode, Dirk. Many thanks.

    I have vague memories of bringing back a very early issue of 2000AD from an excursion to the local news agent with sweet-money from my Gramp. Not sure which issue. It had Mach-1 and Flesh in I think (it might have even been the first issue!!). I seem to recall I liked it but my real acquaintance with 2000AD didn’t really start until the late 80’s when, as a teenager, I was swept up in the comics explosion of the time and subscribed to the mag from prog 568 in 1988 with it’s garish and eye-catching, orange Rogue Trooper cover.
    Sadly, I missed the classic early stories like Judge Child and the Apocalypse War but was able to catch up with some of them in various reprints. This included what is my favourite 2000AD story, ‘The Killing’ featuring Strontium Dog. A whole city block is cleared out by some tyrranical despots and various ne’er-do-wells are invited to fight each other in last-man standing death match where anything goes. The concept along with Ezquerra’s always fabulous artwork really fired my imagination. I actually tried to run a game based on it using the Traveller rules. I can’t quite remember whether it worked or not, though sadly.
    I kept reading 2000AD until the early 90’s around prog 800 or so and took in some terrific stories such as Dredd’s ‘Full Mental Jacket’ and Chopper: Song of the Surfer. Towards the end of my run it was noticeable that the mag seemed to shift to appealing to older teens and became somewhat edgy and whilst it brought in some of my faves from Deadline such as Jamie Hewlett and Phil Bond it also had stories like the death of Strontium Dog which just felt like it was lacking the dark humour of earlier 2000AD and was just dark and maudling. I felt the art was going downhill in places then, too and I drifted away from the publication and have barely read an issue since.
    However, after listening to the latest episode and researching the mag, it occured to me that my son might enjoy a weekly dose of Zarjaz thrills (and I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if I were to glance at it too). An annual subscription is £120! but I might place an order with the local Newsagent instead.

    I got into the Judge Dredd game around the same time I got in to 2000AD. Despite not being a regular reader of the mag until the late 80’s, I was well aware of Judge Dredd and was really interested in the game and what I’d read about it in White Dwarf. It seemed like a great idea. You didn’t need to play Dredd himself. Like Star Trek, it made perfect sense to create your own characters and still tell stories in the same universe. I’m pretty sure I ran a game for my group including the obligatory Hill Street Blues morning briefing ending with ‘Let’s be careful out there.’ However the sessions I remember were with my friend, Chris who essentially used it as an excuse to bully and torture suspected Perps, thinking up ever more creative ways to kill them. Teenagers, eh?

    1. I recall that Ed was disappointed that game encouraged arrest rather than murder and torture. Teenage kicks? or, was there something in the air?

  4. I feel guilty that my first reply to you, having enjoyed previous podcasts (and even having the twin honours of a couple of generous mentions from Ian Marsh, and having some of my work villified) is to ask if you could sort out the download link on this podcast, as it currently links to the previous one, and the live link doesn’t work for me (maybe something to do with me being in Japan? I don’t know).

    I’m keen to hear what Marc has to say. I remember Albie dazzling the compositors in the office because he actually laid out Judge Dredd ‘in the machine’ rather than printing out strips and using paste-up. That’s what I recall, anyway.

    Cheers for now.

    1. Thanks for pointing it out Paul, it should now be fixed. Funny you should mention the composition …

      Villified? Are you sure? We usually reserve vilification for giant badgers. Ian actually had more effusive tales from your flat-sharing days that I needed to cut due to time limitations.

      If you have any further problems let me know and drop me a line at dirk the dice at gmail dot com.



      1. Looks like it’s sorted now: I’m downloading as I type. Thanks for that. Oh, I was vilified, I can assure you, but deservedly so (albeit anonymously).

        Yeah: do something about Marcus. I interviewed him at the last London Worldcon (for a fan studies paper I wrote) and he’s still the same old Marcus. As angry young fanzine editors we used to take the piss out of him, but let’s be honest, he was a legend, wasn’t he?

  5. Another classic from the Grogmaster. Seems to me that the one other thing that binds us RPG Grognards together beyond gaming is 2000AD – is there a grognard who didn’t read it?

    One of my long term mates, Dave Perry, had three stories published in 2000AD in the Tharg’s Future Shocks series – The Martians, The Lanulos Run and The Men in Black. That was before I met him in the ’83, and when he told me I thought it was BS. Turned out to be true. If he comes along to Grogmeet this year he might sign some of those old progs for you..

  6. I bought progs 1 – 50 of 2000 AD. I stopped buying it when I was a senior at high school thinking that comics were kids stuff. A decade later I was reading Alan Moore and re-discovered the amazing 1980s stories in 2000 AD like Halo Jones, Nemesis and Slaine. Wow!

    I was also unimpressed by the Judge Dredd RPG. It just didn’t have the wild imagination of the comic. I think if it had been done right (and come out first), the RPG would have been as good as Paranoia.

  7. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of 2000 AD to modern comics.

    And I say that as an American who’s never seen an issue of 2000 AD. (I’ve seen stories: DRedd, Strontium Dog, the Alan Moore stuff – but the magazine remains elusive)

    All the the talent that came out of 2000 AD and went on to do other stuff is just overwhelming.

    Heck, we got years and years of Batman by Alan Grant and John Wagner.

    Thanks for the insights into one of the most important comics I’ve never been able to read.

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