The GROGNARD Files

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

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INTRO: This time we are looking at Blake’s 7 and its influence on our gaming.

GROGGLEBOX: Eddy joins us in a noisy Port Street Beer House in Manchester to discuss ‘Project Avalon’

ACTUAL PLAY: Thanks to Andrew Cousins of lending me his copy of the rules to play. Blythy as Avon, Doc Con Cowie as Blake, Andrew Cousins as Vila, The Welsh Wizard Michael Hobbs as Jenner, and Mark Kitching as Cally.

FIRST, LAST and EVERYTHING: Guy Milner of Burn After Running blog.

THE GM SCREEN: Just how much of a fan is Blythy?

OUTRO: News about the GROGZINE 20

3 thoughts on “Episode 30 – Blake’s Seven RPG

  1. Rog says:

    It’s 1978 – Ask The Family with Robert Robinson is on:
    ‘Ahhhhhhhhh would that it were, Mr Farquhar-Smythe, would that it were. ‘
    I used to look at the ‘posh kids with brainy parents’ answering the questions, look around at us and uncharitably think ‘we wouldn’t stand a chance.’
    Eventually the minutes counted down until Blakes 7 came on. Usually i’d be lying on the carpet watching. No other program, even Tom Baker Doctor Who has such clear childhood memories for me. I loved Blakes 7, from the first episode.
    The bleakness, the ‘Britishness’ of the universe, (never an american accent), colony planets filled with brutalist tower blocks, multi-storey car parks or power stations; when they weren’t quarries or caves.
    No advertising signs, no entertainment visible, it’s got a unique vibe. The meaner side of the 1970s propelled into a totalitarian future, it was a good fit for Thatchers Britain.
    I’ve been rewatching them in recent years, they’ve still got it; so the SFX is shoddy, i watch ready to be pleasantly surprised when they manage to pull off a nice effect or the prop department have made a nice bit of kit, the rest is all part of the nostalgia blanket.
    And those little creatures in the head in the tank episode gave me nightmares back then.
    The TV show approach to the RPG session was a great idea.
    Everyone dropped into their characters without the need for any specific rules, probably a case of needing less rules.
    It was the same when we were playing the Blakes 7 game at Grogmeet, we had a lot of fun independent of the ruleset.
    But as it was Traveller, Traveller play did influence it like Blythy said: no way were we going down to an early meeting with the federation like the natives wanted. Baddies ambushing us? we’ll just teleport back to the ship. Pursuit ships incoming, ok well our ship is lethal so we’ll stay on the spot and rotate to shoot them, and the final showdown, ok Servalan, just keep talking until we can get someone in the room with a RAM grenade.
    A brilliant end to an enjoyable game as Travis and Servalan were blown to pieces mid speech, but probably not how Terry Nation would have ended the episode!
    I think the ‘creating the TV show’ in real time style is a good way to go for this kind of game.
    As for starship combat rules, we always found the Star Frontiers Knight Hawks rules really good, simple and fun, no vectors, ships with Hit Points.
    An especially great podcast, cheers.

  2. Whiskey Priest says:

    See, now that made me think. One of my oft dicussed fantasies is of a long lost Sci-fi Tv series that was broadcast in the late ’70’s. The same production values of Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who but only vaguely remembered. Using the tropes we are all aware of we could create an RPG based around the series. Each of the characters could be based on a vague archetype but fleshed out by the player as everyone remembers the characters differently (wasn’t Nigel Havers in one episode as a baddie?). The background could be fairly solid as someone discovered the show notes in bin at the back of kebab shop in Preston. Like Bltythy and Dirk discussed, it would work because you were playing it as episodes of a TV series (admittedly one that didn’t exist) rather than in a real universe. The idea of dodgy sets and rubbish special effects could be built in and action broken down into ‘scenes’ and…..and…..well, you get the idea. I’d better go and put the kids to bed!

  3. Michael Cule says:

    Thing I always wanted to ask Terry Nation about BLAKE’S SEVEN: What was Gan supposed to be good for?

    Think about it with your GM’s head on. A player comes to you with a character whose big schtick is… They can’t hurt anybody.

    They don’t have anything much to compensate for that. They’re not like your Chalana Arroy Healer or the Tomorrow People with their psionic powers. They’re just this big guy who has an inhibitor in his head.

    Are you going to say ‘Great, Frank! Just what the party needs…” Or are you going to explain what the campaign is going to be about again.

    Terry, why did you do that to that poor actor?

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