The GROGNARD Files

Table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.

I’m an RPG addict. I can feel it every waking moment and I can’t resist the impulse. Maintaining a constant feed of the habit requires scheduling. Here’s an up date on my plans:

Here at the Armchair Adventurers, we like to have a broad thematic approach to our gaming. When I say ‘broad’ I mean that we feel free to ignore the theme if it doesn’t quite fit. This year we are exploring some of our influences from when we were playing in the eighties. You’ll notice from the recent GROGPOD episodes with the introduction of the GROGGLEBOX segment, we are revisiting some of the film and television that informed our imagination as we were discovering RPGs.

Now that I’m at the half-way point of the year, with great games behind me, I’m looking forward to what’s coming and the theme is still ‘broadly’ influencing what I intend to run as a GM and play as a player.

I’m pleased that we have managed to get the momentum behind continuing serials of games as well as one-shots. The Two-Headed Serpent campaign continues to surprise and impress me with its inventiveness. This is Cthulhu gaming at its most adventurous and, following over a year of play, I don’t feel any sense of ‘campaign-fatigue’; the central conundrum that the players are trying to negotiate is still an intriguing premise after 16 plus sessions. It helps that there is a great group of players who have really got into the pulp spirit of their characters.

Our fortnightly D&D 5e group has been dabbling in the sandbox of WaterDeep during Dragon Heist, with a cast of thousands. We’ve been playing factions against each other to progress our reputations in the city and to deal with the sometimes contradictory motives of the player characters. It has been fun being a Teifling-Monk landlord of a hostelry, but we have hit the next act, which is going to involve some old fashioned dungeoning and dragoning.

We’ve also enjoyed more sporadic campaigning in the Old World of Warhammer, the final frontiers of Star Trek and Glorantha HeroQuesting in Dragon Pass.

1. Ed’s Shed

Last year, we experienced the ‘Eddy Corrective’ when Eddy slammed the brakes on our endless ‘pursuit of the new’.

He suggested that we should stop, reflect on what made us excited about coming back into the hobby in the first place and rediscover the old school magic. Instead of delving the depths of The Curse of Strahd D&D 5e style, we went back to the relative simplicity of RuneQuest 2nd editon (The Rainbow Mounds) and OpenQuest in Hårn.

Now we are playing Monster of the Week.

I know. It sounds like the Eddy Corrective has gone off the rails. I never thought that Eddy’s negative response to the new games in our repertoire would end with us playing PBTA, AND really enjoying it, but that’s what’s happened.

However, the ‘corrective’ was more about a return to simplicity than about ‘keeping it old’ and Monster of Week is perfect in that regard as it is both simple and focused in a way that suits our gaming group.

Following our recent White Dwarf Book Club, I’m going to use The Black Hack to resurrect Troubles at Embertrees over the summer with a view to running the StarStone adventures from The Northern Sages. I have an idea of how the story could continue and the elegant design of The Black Hack will suit it perfectly. I think.

2. Blake’s Seven

On the Kanban board, the next row that is being attacked is ‘Blakes 7 – the Role-Playing Game‘ using the fan-made rules from Horizon. Andy Cousins has created the crew and I’ll sticking the the first season as I’m not a mega-fan like Blythy. I hope that I can recreate the TV episode experience with the same aplomb that Blythy managed with FATE for Robin of Sherwood. All being well, you should hear the results in a forthcoming episode of the GROGPOD.

3. Vurt

For Owlbear and the Wizard’s Staff, I’m preparing a one-shot game of Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game from Ravendesk games.

I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Noon’s vision of Manchester as Utopian cityscape, where it’s possible to slip into a consensual dream space and encounter the weird and wonderful in experiences that may impact on your circumstances in the real world. It seemed the perfect fit for an RPG, so when it was available for retail last year, after a successful Kickstarter, I bought it.

It is based on the Cypher System devised by Monte Cook games and it fits the setting really well as the feathers that invoke the dreams, act like one use cyphers.

I have an idea for an adventure that explores some of the weirdness of Bolton’s past and some of the characters that you might encounter in my home town. I can feel an epic production coming on.

4. Legend of the Five Rings

The annual charity RPG event held in Southport, is earlier than usual (the week after Owl Bear on 28th and 29th September. There are a couple of 24 hour games available, but like last year, I’m going be a wuss and offer 12 hours.

It’s a perfect opportunity to complete a campaign in one sitting, the time flies while you raise money for charity (this year the chosen charity is Galloway’s Society for the Blind)

When I went to UK GamesExpo, I really enjoyed the Legend of Five Rings session, so I’m planning on running one of the pre-written adventures at the charity event.

If we can understand the results of dice at the end of the 12 hours, we will have succeeded.

5. Wednesday Game Day

Blythy and I have managed to squeeze in some time during the week to visit a local gaming coffee shop. We’ve been trying out some card-based games. We really enjoyed Miskatonic University Restricted Collection. KeyForge, not so much (it’s already gone on eBay). We’re going to continue to experiment and extend our range (perhaps some Nights’ Black Agents Solo Ops?).

6. I’m ‘peak gaming’ yet I still can’t get enough. Following all the White Dwarf chat, I’ve started to pine for Traveller.

The addiction continues.

4 thoughts on “1D6 Year on the GROG – Half Term Report

  1. Dying of envy at your many gaming opportunities – curse your proactiveness. Glad you enjoyed Miskatonic University Restricted Collection – i kickstarted it and it’s been a family hit with son, mum and sister all giving me a kicking over the course of a weekend get-together. Better as a 3/4 player game than a pair i think.

  2. paulowen8454 says:

    It’s great when your gaming momentum picks up. I’ve had to curb my spending and not buy any more games until we play the ones we have. Currently I run a weekly Cthulhu modern era game on Roll20, and fortnightly we play AD&D and Dragon Warriors. Every so often a bonus one off Saturday evening for things like MSPE. This all started because some of my year 6 students played 5th Edition so I started an AD&D breaktime club at school where I took them through White Plume Mountain. Some teachers came to see what I was doing and asked me to run a game for them. I am now very much thawed out.

  3. Dave Paterson says:

    Blimey, that’s ambitious! Having now been back in the fold for about 2/3 years am only now beginning to ramp things up and particularly on line with Barbarians of Lemuria, a bit of Old School essentials and some Spire and the face to face activity is Achtung Cthulhu and some MERP – DEAD OLD SCHOOL AND NO MISTAKE!
    Am also trying hard to keep writing something broadly Elizabethan…but that is a long, slow burn I’m afraid.
    Just also just say that am I incredibly excited to be going to Grogmeet, I’m in that Christmas eve type hoping and waiting state now?
    Keep up the great work!

  4. No PSI-World campaign.

    Boychik, I am dissapoint

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