King Arthur Pendragon RPG (with David Larkins)

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In this episode, we finally draw the sword from the stone and examine a game that had an enormous impact on gaming in the 80s: King Arthur Pendragon.

David Larkins, the Pendragon line editor for Chaosium, joins us to tell us about the history of the game, how it works and the future developments.

Judge Blythy, our resident rules-lawyer, reviews the mechanics and we discuss how the game works conceptually.

We also have some closing time chatter about hot topics on our table top.

GROGMEET 2021 – Scrapbook

If you have listened to my brief play-reports on the latest GROGPOD, you can use these images from the weekend to illustrate the event before your very eyes.

GROGMOOR GMs gather to put the swords and the sorcery into Barbarian’s of Lemuria’s epic six table adventure.
Sam Vail’s heroes gather to defeat the demon hoards (“Turn around and look surprised”)
Dave Paterson brings Frankenstein’s RPG to life.
Doc Cowie amasses the Light Bringers against the hoards of Chaos in Gods War.
He donated this amazing trophy in memory of Mike Hobbs (won by Jeremy this year). The award was made and sculpted by Fenris Games and painted by Roy Duffy. Fantastic.
Armchair Adventuring with Daily Dwarf and Blythy
Steve has brought his Potion of Sobriety rolled from a table, apparently at random.
It’s the old school and essential scouser Neil Benson.
Bushido returns with Asako_Soh
Rob demonstrates a strange fist mutant in Troika!
How long is that cheese?
The g-men of Lake Front City relax after bringing the hoods and the unions under control. (strictly non-alcoholic, obviously)
Bud scares the bejesus out of these Call of Cthulhu players
The Fitzgerald
Where is that potion of sobriety when I need it? Playing Paranoia online, into the night.
Kong was much bigger and more impressive in my head

Extra – Dirk and Blythy grogMEET Frankenstein (with Ian Cooper and Paul Fricker)

Dave Paterson hosts Frankenstein’s RPG with Dirk, Blythy, Paul and Ian

Welcome to another extra all about this year’s GROGMEET. This time it includes a live recording made at Fan Boy Three.

Frankenstein’s RPG podcast has been pulling together the best bits of role-playing games this year to produce an epic monster of a game. We got together to decide which would be the best supplement to support the game.

You can catch up with the Frankenstein’s RPG over at anchor.

Also in this extra podcast, I give a personal reflection on the games I played and recommend some podcasts that you may enjoy.

I played Paranoia with Iain Wilson, you can catch some of his actual plays and discussion on his podcast Roll to Save.

Pookie makes quizzes and reviews RPGs.

Newt Newport is a publisher D1o1 games and organises Go Play Manchester.

Tale of the Manticore

What am I Rolling (Vurt actual play)

Breakfast in the Ruins (Wizardry and Wild Romance)

Fictoplasm (Corum)

Weird Studies

Gaming & BS

The Gauntlet Podcast

Fear of the Black Dragon

Smart Party (Jason Cordova interview)

Orlanth Rex’s Gaming Vexes

Titterpigs

You can find out more recommendations by following the newsletter on Patreon.

MOBTOBER – The Gangsterfest

In November, the GROGPOD will be featuring GangBusters, the TSR role-playing game of the roaring twenties.

In preparation, MOBTOBER is a short season of gangster films, a mini-film festival at my house, that you are invited to participate and follow online.

Elsewhere people with more stamina and stronger stomachs are participating in the October Horror Challenge, a more seasonal list. This is a similar challenge, but with a more leisurely pace. Instead of watching a film every day, I will be watching 10 films in 20 days and will write about them on the Dirk Malcolm world of film site.

Why have crime RPGs had such a continuing appeal from Lankhmar to Duskvol?

Heists are a standard adventure for most RPGs, but its difficult to find an RPG that reflects the daily paranoid grind of the fictional mobster: the moral descent into personal oblivion, the need to maintain networks, manage heat from rivals and settle scores. In the realm of genre emulation GangBusters and FGU Gangster! offer little to support this kind of play. The 1980s RPGs were more on the side of the authorities trying to break up organised crime. Of course, we had other ideas and were keen to play the mobsters. Recently, Blades in the Dark offered innovative mechanical features dealing with these matters. It will be interesting to explore some of the tropes of the genre more closely and consider how they might be brought to the table.

A couple of points to note as you study the list: this is not meant to be definitive. I’ve tried to avoid the obvious and focus on films that I haven’t seen before, or in the case of Miller’s Crossing and The Long Good Friday, films that I saw so long ago that I’ve forgotten about them.

Gangster films tend to gather cult status as they are not only ingrained in geek culture, the cliches and tropes appear in mainstream culture through advertisements and are referenced in music, television and every-day discourse.

The second criteria that I have adopted is related to gaming – what are the gameable elements of these films? What are the characters, situations, plots, structures and setting details that lend themselves to RPGs? How do they create the points of contact within the fiction and how can they be used in constructing scenarios?

As I have been pondering this list there have been a number of great suggestions made by the GROGSQUAD over on the discord server and twitter. There’s always the thorny genre issues to mull over, “is it a gangster film or a crime movie with gangsters in it?” In this list I have selected films that attracted my attention and seemed to fit into what I was looking for in a mobster movie. If you don’t think it qualifies as a mobster movie, that’s okay, because this is my list.

Here goes, this is when I’ll be watching the films and where you can find them online.

6th: Miller’s Crossing (1990) – Disney Plus (Star)

8th: Gotti (1996) – You Tube

10th Free Fire (2017) – Prime

12th Scarface (1932) – You Tube

14th New World (2013) – Prime

16th Underworld (1927) – You Tube

18th The Mission (1999) – You Tube

20th The Penalty (1920) – You Tube

22nd The Long Good Friday (1980) – You Tube

24th Boondock Saints (1999) – You Tube

Watching these films is going to be great, but it will be even better if you can take part in the discussion over at discord, on twitter or the Facebook group. If you need the details, then let me know and I’ll send them to you.

This should be a good exercise and will get us all in the mood ready for the trip to LakeFront City in November.

Dirk

Episode 50 (Part 1) Fighting Fantasy (with Ian Livingstone)

Armed with no more than 2 dice a pencil and eraser we are delighted to have special guest Ian Livingstone on Episode 50.

Also in this episode, the return of face to face recording in the Las O Gowrie. Judge Blythy talks to Dirk about his experiences of Fighting Fantasy and reveals his thoughts of the rules. We also talk of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Troika, and Quarrel and Fable.

Mr Jim Moon, host of the fabulous Hypnogoria shares his first, last and everything.

The return of the excellent Sea Shanty from Daily Dwarf and Lichway Ed Foster.

You can support the GROGNARD files at Patreon.

Episode 48 (Part 2) Return to Call of Cthulhu (with Lynne Hardy)

Please note that ‘Download’ is now part of the Player

The GROGNARD files returns with the Return of Call of Cthulhu with the return of Lynne Hardy. This time she faces the Keeper’s Screen to reveal her Arcane secrets. She talks about her contribution to the Dying Earth Role-Playing Game, Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks, the game she designed, and more news about upcoming Chaosium releases that we can look forward to in the coming months.

In the introduction, I refer to it as Episode 47, it’s not, but what are numbers. I have never understood our bizarre numbering system. This show note counts as Errata. We delve into Different Worlds Issue 19 which was a Call of Cthulhu special and features errata, essays by Sandy Petersen and Lyn Willis and more.

The Post Bag returns with comments from listeners. If you are interested in hearing more from The God Learners podcast, you’ll find it where you get your podcasts.

We share a hoary old story about a trip to Morecambe, where nothing really happened, but it was character forming.

This episode features an advert for Tale of the Manticore.

Please invest in The GROGNARD Files at Patreon.

Episode 48 (Part 1) Return to Call of Cthulhu (with Lynne Hardy)

The Armchair Adventurers keep coming back to Call of Cthulhu and we are about to begin Children of Fear, written by our guest Lynne Hardy.

In this episode we discuss Lynne’s formative years in role-playing and how she started work with Chaosium with a pitch for this richly detailed and horrific campaign.

Tristan Narbrough is a GROGSQUAD member who currently lives in Japan, he tells us about his first, last and everything.

Blythy is back from the wilderness and in fine form talking about different Cthulhu mythos settings that we have experienced.

You can support the podcast by backing us on Patreon.

Episode 47 – Dr Who RPG (with Dave Chapman)

As the Final Score recedes (great result between Arbroath and Queen of the South) it’s time to grab a Tizer and sit down to an episode all about Dr Who.

We speak to Dave Chapman, who is the lead writer on Doctor Who Roleplaying Game from Cubicle 7 about his history with the Doctor, his career in game design.

Michael B has sent his First, Last and Everything from Down Under.

In the zoom of roleplaying rambling we watch Dr Who, Pyramids from Mars on the GROGGLEBOX

Please show your support for the podcast over at Patreon.

The Welsh Wizzard – Mike Hobbs, an Appreciation

GROGMEET 2018 (the one in the shed)

According to Malcolm Gladwell, there are people who are natural ‘connectors’ in a community. They know large numbers of people and are in the habit of making introductions to others due to their “ability to span many different worlds (and) intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability and energy.”

This morning I heard the shocking news that our community has lost one of its great connectors. Mike “The Welsh Wizzard” Hobbs who was known in hobby circles for his miniature painting (displayed on twitter), his generosity of spirit, good humour combined with a sly wit (expressed in his blog) and for being the co-host of the long running podcast Meeples and Miniatures with his best mate Neil “The Brummie Dwarf” Shuck.

The GROGNARD files owes a great deal to Mike. He discovered the podcast at a period when it was running out of steam back in 2017. Thanks to his connections in the wargaming convention world, he was spreading the word about it: “I happened across this podcast on Twitter and thought I’d have a quick listen, as I used to play RPGs back in the 80’s, I was hooked from the start … over the past 2 weeks I’ve listened to the back catalogue.”

He mentioned the GROGPOD on Meeples and Miniatures 223 with an enthusiastic endorsement and as a result we had a huge influx of new listeners. He was such a respected figure that people could not resist his recommendation. Although he wasn’t pouting on instagram, he was a true influencer, drawing more and more war-gamers to the idea of rediscovering the lure of RPGs. The new listeners he brought boosted our energy to continue and it grew the GROGNARD files community massively.

At UK Games Expo 2018 he joined my game of RuneQuest, Broken Tower and he presented me with a fantastic painted figure of Judge Dredd. “Keep going mate, it’s fantastic,” he said in his gentle Welsh accent. He recounted the experience of playing on his blog ‘Musings of the Welsh Wizzard’ with real excitement to be playing, even noting my perplexed look as I tried to hurry on the discussion about the parking arrangements of the bison mounts.

Before long he was back into RPGs, bringing along armfuls of delicious welsh cakes for the attendees of GROGMEET, he played Jenner in our Blakes Seven game and this weekend he was playing Numenera at virtual GROGMEET.

He was a caring, humble and generous soul and I will miss him deeply. My thoughts are with his family, Neil and his many friends.

I was always ribbing him about how guilty he sounded about his ‘accidental’ purchases. Last year he revised his review of the GROGPOD, adding a warning, “beware as you might find yourself buying lots of new things that you never know you needed in your life, but hey that’s not a bad thing, is it?”

Gladwell said that connectors are vital to create a ‘tipping point’, so the next time something tips off the wobbly shelf into my hands at my local games store, I’ll be thinking of Mike.

Dirk

Episode 46 (Part 2) DragonQuest RPG (with Chris Klug)

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Whatever happened to March 2021? We may never know, let’s hope that April restores normal service.

In this episode we continue the discussion with Chris Klug about his career in game design:

James Bond RPG (which we covered in Episode 15), Aidyn’s Chronicles, and his work for Chaosium, such as The Smoking Ruin for RuneQuest Glorantha.

Judge Blythy hands over his gavel for Judge Blythy Rules and we introduce a new segment to discuss Deadlands and other matters.

You can support The GROGNARD files by putting a tip in the beret at Patreon.