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

Armchair Adventurers

I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.

The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983.

We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH.

Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.

The GROGPOD tells our story. Each episode is about 90 minutes long and features regular sections: Open Box, a reflection on a game, then and now; White Dwarf, wonderful essays examining how White Dwarf supported RPGs written by @dailydwarf ; Judge Blythy Rules, a deep dive into the mechanics of a game; and interviews, reviews and views.

It features regular contributions from Judge Blythy @sjamb7 , Ed in his Shed @Edinthesand and The White Dwarf @DailyDwarf with special guests.

Stream from Spotify or download from iTunes and places where podcasts can be found.

Start HereSession zero an Introduction to the GROGPOD

EP1:   RuneQuest (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP2:   Call of Cthulhu (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP3:   Traveller (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP4:   RPG Games Conventions DragonMeet ’15

EP5:   StormBringer (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP6:   ‘Advanced’ Dungeons and Dragons (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)

EP7:   Tunnels and Trolls (with Jon Hancock) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP8:   The Traveller Adventure and a Guide to Online Play

EP9:   Imagine Magazine (with Paul Cockburn) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP10: More RuneQuest (with Rick Meints) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP11: Top Secret

EP12: Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures (with Tim Olsen) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP13: Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes (with Jon Hancock)

EP14: RPG Fanzines and PBMs (with Ian Marsh) (Part 1)(Part 2) 

EP15: James Bond 007

EP16: More Call of Cthulhu (with Mike Mason) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP17: Review of 2017

EP18: Judge Dredd RPG (with Marc Gascoigne) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP19: Paranoia (with Paul Baldowski)

EP20: Golden Heroes (with Simon Burley) (Part 1)(Part 2)

EP21: Night’s Black Agents (with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan) 

EP22: RuneQuest Renaissance (with MOB) (Part 1) (Part 2)

EP23: Dungeons and Dragons, Storm Kings Thunder

EP24: Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing (with Graeme Davis) (Part 1) (Part 2)

EP25: Review of 2018 (Featuring WFRP actual play)

EP26: HeroQuest (with Ian Cooper) recorded at GROGMEET

EP27: Robin of Sherwood (with Graham Staplehurst) (Part 1) 

EP27:  (Part 2) Fate (with Robin of Sherwood actual play)

EP28: (Part 1) Monsters! Monsters! (with Ken St Andre)

EP28: (Part 2) More Tunnels and Trolls (with Ken St Andre) 

EP29: (Part 1) White Dwarf the RPG years (with Mike Brunton)

EP29: Extra – Mike Brunton: a tribute

EP29: (Part 2) White Dwarf the RPG Years 

EP30: Blake’s 7 RPG

EP30: Extra – Blake’s 7 RPG Actual Play

EP31: Numenera

EP32: Thieves’ World

EP33: Live Action Role-Playing (with Jamie Thomson)

EP34: Review of 2019 (with Jamie Thomson)

EP35: Pulp Cthulhu (with Paul Fricker)

EP36: (Part 1) MiddleEarth Role-Playing (MERP) (with Liz Danforth)

EP36: (Part 2) Middle Earth Role-Playing (MERP) (with Liz Danforth)

EP37: Gamma World RPG (with Pookie) 

EP38: Lyonesse RPG (with Loz Whitaker)

EP39: Hawkmoon RPG (with Loz Whitaker)

EP40: Robert E Howard’s Conan RPG (with Jason Durall)  

EP41: Five Years of the GROGNARD files (with Jason Durall)

EP42: Aftermath! RPG (with Doc Cowie)

EP43: (Part 1)Dungeons & Dragons (with Lew Pulsipher)

EP43: (Part 2) Dungeons & Dragons (with Lew Pulsipher)

EP43: (Bonus) Dungeons & Dragons (Dragon Magazine) 

EP44: Dragon Warriors (with Dave Morris)

EP45: Review of 2020 (with Dave Morris)

EP46: (Part 1)  DragonQuest (with Chris Klug)

EP46: (Part 2) DragonQuest (with Chris Klug)

EP47: Dr Who RPG (with Dave Chapman)

EP48: (Part 1) Return to Call of Cthulhu (with Lynne Hardy)

EP48: (Part 2) Return to Call of Cthulhu (with Lynne Hardy)

EP49: Marcus Rowland (with Thunder Phase) 

EP50: (Part 1) Fighting Fantasy (with Ian Livingstone)



Call of Cthulhu Actual Play (with How We Roll podcast and Scott Dorward)

Stormbringer Actual Play (with Red Moon Roleplaying)

An RPG GamesMaster Prepares (UK Games Expo 19)

Extra – Thunder Phase! Live from GROGMEETish2020 (with Paul and Gaz) 

Extra – My RPG First, Last and Everything with Tim Harford

Extra – Forgotten Futures (with Marcus Rowland)


RPG Gamer Dad

Dissecting Worlds: Stafford vrs Gygax

What Would the Smart Party Do? – RuneQuest

RPG Academy – Trial of RuneQuest

100 Episodes of What Would the Smart Party Do?

Warhammer Actual Play

How to GM at Conventions (UK Games Expo 19)\

Appendix N Book Club – Moorcock’s Singing Citadel

Review of 2019 (with the Smart Party and Paul Fricker)

Loco Ludus – Kitbashing Gamma World and Strontium Dog

Smart Party – Reviewing GM Advice 

Fictoplasm 82: Hawkmoon by Michael Moorcock (the Tale of the Eternal Champion vol. 3)

Frankenstein’s RPG – Initiative and Magic

Armchair Dragoons (Mentioned in Despatches)- Organising Virtual Conventions 

Orlanth Rexes’ Gaming Vexes – Spire: City Must Fall 

The D20 Future Show – Lockdown Interview Series (Post-Apocalyptic Gaming)

Fictoplasm 92: Corum by Michael Moorcock 


25 thoughts on “GROGPOD

  1. Andrew says:

    I love the podcast and look forward to it every month.

    With that said, these past two episodes have focused a lot on D&D 5th ed. I really hope this trend doesn’t continue, after all this is the Grognard Files!

    1. Dirk says:

      Thanks for the feedback. We’re GROGNARDs but part of the schtick is to examine how games have changed since we last played them. We’re Old School, with a hint of new. Neo-Grogs. Feet in both timelines. Next time we’ll look at T&T and the recently published T&T delux!

  2. Jon Reinhardt Husvegg says:

    Hi love the podcast. I was born in Norway at the early 80 so im a bit younger than you are.But still I have always preferred the simulationist rpg games . And picked ut RQ 6 a few years ago after i got a bit tired of my old favoritt game Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Where i have played 1 and 2 edition and it is one of these games that i both love and hate. But in needed new rules and a new setting. That when i found RQ6.

    I was a player for Rq 3 in the 90 but never was a gm. When i picking up the 6 edition i really got inspired to play again. I started to look in the nett for where to start on Glorantha. Its so big and intimidating. And i found you podcast after listening to the Tales of Mythic Adventure podcast.

    As a father i dont have that much time playing so part of the hobby has changed to reading rpg rules and settings. I like the whole show but my favoritt pars is Judge Blythy rule reviews. I am a fan boy :D.

    For now i have mostly played Mythical Britain and some viking age scenarios, and that is a good setting where i can use my experience as an archaeologist and commitment in the viking battle reenactment scene.

    Anyhow i hope that you could do a episode of Warhammer fantasy roleplay. From my point of view this game has a loot of element form both call of Cthulhu and runequest. And have some great scenarios.

    With friendly regard from Norway.

  3. stuarthelm says:

    Hello, I was searching for podcasts on Traveller and came across your 2 part podcast on iTunes. It feels like I am reminiscing with old friends as I listen to you speak. I still remember seeing Traveller sitting on a shelf at the hobby shop while my dad was shopping for RC airplanes back in 1979. The black books were sleek and mysterious. I didn’t even know what an RPG was for another year past this point when a friend introduced me to the D&D basic set. Unfortunately, I stopped playing RPGs and sold a bunch of them (Traveller, Space Opera, Living Steel, AD&D, Recon) after university in 1990 and didn’t come back to them until 2008. Recently I had the opportunity to meet Marc Miller at GaryCon 2017 last week. You can reach him at farfuture AT or his website in case you are interested. Thanks for all the awesome information! I didn’t realize that White Dwarf had so many Traveller ideas in them.

  4. Mark Hides says:


    I am really enjoying the podcast. I date from 1981 and was for my sins the first customer of GW Sheffield (managing to get served before the store even opened because they left the doors unlocked whilst stocking the store) and became a disciple of that 80s brush master the late Pete ‘Greblord’ Armstrong. I played anything and everything and gaming took me all over the place at a time when most kid’d parents wouldn’t let them even go into town on their own. I went on to manage and then own the Sheffield branch of Dungeons and Starships which as you’ll probably know was part of Chris Harvey Games, whose fanzines and catalogues were so much a part of my development. In 2011 my gaming memoir ‘Real Life’s A Bu**er – A Tale Of Sex Dragons & Rock ‘N’ Roll’ was published (a must-read if you want to laugh and cringe at the same time) and as it generates income I guess I have a lot to thank gaming for! Keep up the good work!

    Mark Hides

  5. Mark Hides says:

    When I say I date from 81, that was when I first picked up a dice in anger… I am much older than that. 🙂

  6. Dirk says:

    Hey Mark

    I’ve read your memoir! It was something of an inspiration for the podcast as we started to do the same, writing a book to be published as an ebook, but we got bored and did the podcast instead!

    Thanks for getting in touch, pleased that you are enjoying the podcast.


    1. Mark Hides says:

      Thank you. I am binge listening as I work (I paint figures for a living having tired of Government service) and I keep thinking ‘Hey, that’s just like…’ which really reinforces my own sense of the similarities of experience within our age group. Pot plants, Runequest background, Traveller figures (still available from RAFM for pennies) and that sense that we were on the cusp of something which made us ‘higher’ – LOL.

      All the best,


  7. Brings up so many memories! I confess, I was never a tea-and-hobnob kinda guy, but Vimto and KitKats served the same purpose 🙂 Going to sound out game availability near me – all your fault! New CoC podcast very nostalgic – ah the joys of low SAN 🙂

  8. Tom says:

    Keep up the good work chaps. Have become an avid listener of your podcasts since a friend recommended them to me. Often find myself nodding volubly in agreement at your many experiences and thoughts on RPGs as I’m transported back to the gaming hey-day of the 80s.

    I heard a shout-out in a earlier podcast asking for the experiences of those who gamed outside the UK. Maybe at some point I can contribute a few lines on what it was like to first experience, and then play, RPGs while living on a small Caribbean island some 35 years ago. Rolling D20s under a palm tree in the corner of the playground while the hot sun shone overhead is an experience I can commend to all.

  9. Justin says:

    Dear Dirk and Blythy,
    Wanted to congratulate you on the podcasts, very informative and entertaining, your enthusiasm is contagious!. Only discovered them recently having come across your Apple Lane scenario on YouTube. Back in the day, early 80s, we were D&D, sorry, Advanced D&D players and although I can’t recall all the scenarios I do remember the excitement of the Against the Giants scenarios that were mentioned in the podcasts. Our sessions were great fun, usually accompanied by a chinese and a backdrop of The Stranglers (who don’t seem to feature in your play list!). In 83 I bought Runequest 2nd edition and attempted to get my mates to try it. we had a go at Apple Lane and I loved the more realistic mêlée, I thought SR was a great idea and no more making up where a plyer had been wounded instead the rules were clear that you had just lost your arm from that trollkin axe attack. Talking ducks aside l thought it looked fantastic. Unfortunately the consensus from my group was that it was unnecessarily complicated and we didn’t play as much as i would have liked. Well maybe I’ll have another go now that I’m officially out of cryo, just recently started plying Traveller with my son and other Dads so maybe I’ll introduce them to RQ or contact my original party through Roll20. Thanks again for the inspiration, cheers J.

  10. jules lawrence says:

    Hi Guys
    Recently discovered your podcast via The Friends of Jackson Elias and, as a fellow vintage gamer, I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying having Dirk and Blythy as travel companions on my drive too and from the day job. I nice blend of quirky but knowledgeable from tow characters who feel like the kind of folks I’d like to spend an evening bantering with over a few beers.

    Many memoires- I’ve thoroughly enjoyed diving back into the world of Traveller etc with you fellows. Never felt I managed to get Traveller feeling right- it was really tricky to get the mood locked down…


    Many thanks for being “my passengers” & a very merry Christmas to you

    All the best


  11. Brian Hunt says:

    I only found your podcast when my favouroute Arabian porn site was hacked with links to a strange dark place near Bolton. Coincidentally and happily I had started Roleplaying again in the recent years after many, many years of absence from the hobby so this strange convergence of hobbies was fortuitous.

    I had recently picked up the James Bond RPG so I started there and then back to beginning and worked my way forward. I have very much enjoyed listening to the podcasts and it has taught me a few things;

    1. I regret not joining in an RPG session for Runequest many years ago.
    2. I really need to try Call of Cthulhu.
    3. I need to build up the confidence to start GMing again.

    I am currently playing a D&D 5e campaign over Roll20 every week. Roll20 has been a revelation, and I would recommend it to anyone struggling to get a regular group together.

    Anyway, carry on doing what you’re doing and I will try and say hi at UKGE!

  12. rumleech says:

    One of the few podcasts I listen to regularly (sorry, everybody else), probably because it mirrors my story in many ways. The style, too, is a big draw, warm and humorous but not poking fun at the subject matter. Insightful and analytical but not bogging down in unnecessary minutiae. Nostalgic but keeping an eye on current trends. Simply a marvellous way to reintroduce one’s self to the hobby. Give it a listen.

  13. Kevin Thorpe says:

    I love this Podcast as it is as if Dirk and Co had the same adolescence I had. Had our group of Lincolnshire based Marillion fan/RPG fanatics had north west doppelgängers it would be you chaps. The years just fall away when I listen to Dirk and Blythy

  14. Micah says:

    Just found your podcast and although I have come to it late feel quite lucky as it means I have a lot of listening still ahead! I am a big OSR fan and discovered T & T about a year ago which has been awesome as I get to delve solo (which is often the case as an older gamer with work and family responsibilities!) and have introduced my 10 year old to and it’s simple and fun enough for her to really engage with it.
    Thanks for the great podcast and listen on the daily commute!
    P.S. Do you have GROGNARD files d6 for sale ? Would love to get a couple if so.

  15. Rob Morton says:

    Just spotted your podcast and ploughing through from the start. Loving hearing your early years experiences – I grew up in Morris Green and was similarly attracted to GW stuff in the 80’s. Lived your stuff on Golden Heroes and WFRP.

    1. Dirk says:

      Excellent – I lived in Great Lever. The first house I bought was on Georgina Street!

  16. Chris Lawson says:

    Like so many of the posters above, and your good self at Grogpod, I first played RPGs in the the early 1980s with a bunch of friends (in Haslingden just over the hill from you). In our case we were driven into the arms of roleplaying by the famous D&D scene in ET. We played the usual stuff; AD&D, CoC and a smattering of Traveller. I had Tunnels and Trolls but never played it and we never went anywhere near RuneQuest. For three years I played, I read White Dwarf and I painted minis but then we all drifted away from gaming.

    Time passed…

    More time passed…

    Quite a lot more time passed…

    Then, in 2018, I was talked into picking up the dice again for a game of Moldvay Basic in a local pub. Frankly, it was the promise of beer rather than roleplaying that drew me in but after one session I was hooked again. Now I play and DM 5e games every week and I’ve filled a room with classic and modern RPG books thanks to the magic (curse?) of eBay.

    Anyway, that’s rather a roundabout way of saying I’m working my way through you podcasts and getting a heady Proustian rush off them. Also, hailing from Radcliffe, it’s good to hear a familiar accent and mention of many places I visited myself in my teenage quest for gaming paraphernalia. One thing though, in the first Traveller podcast you said there was only one games shop in Manchester. What about Odyssey 7?

    1. Dirk says:

      Thanks for responding. Welcome back! Great isn’t it. In the Stormbringer episode we talk about Odyssey 7 and seeing Michael Moorcock there.

      1. Chris Lawson says:

        It is great, I often kick myself for stopping but that way madness lies. I’ll give the Stormbringer episode a listen. I love Michael Moorcock’s writing but haven’t ever played the game.

  17. Andrew Scott says:

    Can’t believe it’s takem me this long to discover your podcast. Being of roughly similar age and interests, it’s been great hearing your remiscenses and insights into the classic games of my youth. As an erstwhile cockney geezer who relocated to Orrell some years ago it feels comfortingly ‘local,’ too.

    I’m sure you have plenty of ideas for upcoming episodes, but if you’re taking requests, I’d be interested in hearing your take on the newer wave of Brit-OSR stuff published over the last decade or so. Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2E, OpenQuest, Maelstrom Domesday, Warlock! etc – all draw fond inspiration from the games you’ve covered; twisting, blending and melding them them into design patterns that I find as valid and exciting today as the originals were way-back-when.

    Anyway. Great stuff. Keep it up!

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