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.

Episode 41 – Five Years of The GROGNARD Files (with Jason Durall)

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Blimey, we’ve been doing this bobbins for five years! Good grief! In this episode, we go back to the beginning to look at RuneQuest with Jason Durall, as well as other highlights from his career in role-playing.

Blythy and I face the randomly selected Thunder Phase suggested by Patreons.

First, last and everything is presented by Bud RPG Reviews.

I make a reference to Full Fathom Five, a Call of Cthulhu game that’s currently on Drive Thru Rpg via the Miskatonic Repository.

Here’s to another 5 years!

Episode 40 – Conan RPG (with Jason Durall)

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Know o prince … the GROGNARD files produces another epic (take your time …). We’ve been playing Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed of, by Modiphius and having great fun emulating the Hyborian world of Robert E Howard.

Jason Durall is an enthusiastic player as well as designer and he gives a great interview talking of his formative years in the hobby and how he approached the Conan project.

We take a look at the rules that seem to provoke a love-hate relationship in players. Are they really as crunchy as they appear?

Finally, Eddy joins us as we discuss Conan The Barbarian (1982). If you can persevere the pops and crackles of Zoom compression, you’ll hear a significant difference of opinion.

Newsletters, one-shots, an incoming ‘zine, why not join The Patreon?

Episode 32 – Thieves’ World

Only those who seek death, or sell it

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INTRO: It’s the first anniversary of Greg Stafford’s passing and to recognise the event, we are celebrating one of his greatest, collaborative creations: Thieves’ World. There’s a quick potted history featured here, if you want to see the supplement for yourself, I’ve made a short unboxing film.

OPEN BOX: Eddy has managed to track down a copy of the supplement from eBay. We open it up together.

FIRST, LAST and EVERYTHING: From Californian GROGSQUADer Will Johnson.

WHITE DWARF: @DailyDwarf ‘s back for White Dwarf in the City.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN: Blythy and Dirk try to make the tables work.

OUTRO: Follow us on Patreon.

Episode 22 (Part 2) RuneQuest RolePlaying in Glorantha (with Michael O’Brien aka MOB)

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INTRO: I’ve got one of those blowers with a feather on the end to celebrate our anniversary and the release of RuneQuest RolePlaying in Glorantha.

MOB RETURNS: MOB talks about all the different ways that you can play in Glorantha: 13th Age, HeroQuest, but especially RuneQuest. Here he talks about how RuneQuest appeals to the gamers from back in the day, through its legacy supplements and how it can appeal to new gamers who have discovered Glorantha through The King of Dragon Pass. He also talks about some of the new releases, such as the Bestiary and 6 Ages as well as some of the fan initiatives such as Encounter Role-Play. He also reveals the plans to create a site for Glorantha fan material using a similar model as The Miskatonic  Repository.

 

JUDGE BLYTHY ROLLS: We discuss ‘how to get started in Glorantha’ with an emphasis on ‘play’s the thing’.

ACTUAL PLAY: Gaz and Baz from The Smart Party podcast with Matt Hart from Steam Forged Games join Dirk in a Diana Jones Award winning segment of Actual Play. If you want to see more then head to their site.

JUDGE BLYTHY ROLLS AGAIN: We discuss character creation using the new rules. I try to appeal to the Judge with my new gizmos from Infinity Engine and Q Workshop.

OUTRO: There’s three months to go to join the Patreon campaign to receive a hard-copy of the GROGZINE 19.

 

Now&Then: MOB’s adventures in Sun County

In Episode 22 of The GROGNARD files our special guest, Michael O’Brien (MOB) the Vice President of Chaosium, discusses his formative experiences as a role-player in Melbourne and how he was motivated to revive Glorantha by producing new material for the game that could inspire new players in the nineties.

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The supplements produced MOB, under the editorial guidance of Ken Rolston, over this period was known as ‘The RuneQuest Renaissance’. The first volume in the series of supplements was based on MOB’s house campaign set in Sun County: RuneQuest Adventures in the Land of the Sun. He describes it as ‘Spartans in the Wild West’ as it focuses on a highly civilised society trying to cope within the wastelands on the edge of Prax. It’s a cracking adventure packed with loads of interesting NPCs and exotic locations.

At the centre of it all is the Sun Dome Temple, a distinctive building which is the seat of religion and government in the Sun County. The book explains the day-to-day life of the Yelmalio (Sun) worshipers, it also describes some of the local features, such as the Retirement Towers that hold Yelmalio priests waiting in solitude for great insight from their god.

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LEAVING OZ

MOB hasn’t lived in Austailia all of his life. After a career in Higher Education, he went to live in the United Arab Emirates for 10 years, he came back in 2014. He had a job in a university there,  as part of the senior leadership, which was, “an interesting, yet demanding and intense job. There was not much opportunity for gaming during this period, because I think my entire life there was like a live action roleplaying game.”

“There were many great things about living in the UAE, I really enjoyed my time there. I did have some gamer friends, Andrew Bean who helps out at the Chaosium booth many times. He lived in the UAE and his wife and my wife would play board games there quite frequently as well down at the British club; she talks about it in her women in table-top gaming interview.”

Bear in mind that this was over a decade later than the publication of Sun County: “One of the most bizarre aspects of living in the UAE; if I looked out of my window, across to the break-water there was a building, a theatre, that was the exact image of the Sun Dome Temple. I found it fascinating.”

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The Sun Dome Temple – as seen from MOB’s apartment building

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A closer view of the theatre

He said, “In many respects the whole place there very much looked like Sun County. It even has watch-towers spread throughout the desert and countryside like the retirement towers you see in Sun County.”

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UAE and Oman have watch towers dotted everywhere

“I must have been channelling all of this as the book was written way back in the early nineteen nineties. Back then, I knew nothing about the UAE, my first experience was going into work one day at the University of Melbourne and my boss asked, “how would you like to go to a conference in Abu Dhabi?” I said, “I’d love to do that, where’s Abu Dhabi?” I had to look it up.”

Now, that’s what I call sun-chronicity.

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MOB outside the fort in Al Ain Oasis … very Sun County

Episode 22 (Part 1) RuneQuest RPG Renaissance (with Michael O’Brien aka MOB)

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INTRO: Three years of GROGPODing and Forty Years of RuneQuest seems like a great point in time to revisit the game that we played the most back in the day. RQ3 contributed to us stopping playing, so this is a chance to revisit the game and see what happened when we stopped playing. The sound is a bit haywire on this podcast, hope it doesn’t spoil things too much.

OPENBOX: Chaosium’s Vice President tells the stories of his formative years in role-playing and how RuneQuest in Glorantha was so important to him. He was instrumental in keeping the flame alive as a fan as he wrote and developed Sun County, the first RuneQuest supplement produced for 8 years, following Avalon Hill acquiring the game in 1984. He wrote a report in the early nineties for The Tales of the Reaching Moon explaining how the game could be revived.  This is a great chat about the nineties renaissance.

THE WHITE DWARF: A survey of RQ3 as it appeared (and disappeared) from White Dwarf, written by the wonderful @dailydwarf

JUDGE BLYTHY RULES! Dirk and Blythy pick over the bones of RQ3 and there’s a monster quiz!

OUTRO: Check out the RuneQuest Actual Play with The Smart Party   . If you’d like the GROGZINE 19 and The Collected Daily Dwarf Vol 3 and Judge Blythy’s Book of Judgments — then please chuck us a tip in the beret and join the Patreon campaign

 

1D6 No sleep ’til Five Eyes!

I think my ‘old-timer’ body clock is almost getting back into synch after last weekend when I participated in the 24 hour RPG charity event.

This is the fourth time that the event has been run, but the first time I’ve taken part. I was kindly invited by Tim from the Old Scroats, (see the UnEarthed Arcana part of the D&D podcast episodes.)

WarGames, the huge games store that can be found on swanky Lords Street in Southport, UK, were the generous hosts for the event.

If you’ve listened to my appearance on The Smart Party podcast, you’ll know that I originally intended to run the new RuneQuest rules in Dorastor, however at the last minute, I decided to make things easier for myself and keep it old school: I ran the BorderLands campaign using the Classic RuneQuest rules.

I can run those games in my sleep, which is just as well as the plan was to run the game from noon Saturday to noon on Sunday.

The whole experience was tremendous fun and for a good cause too. So far, with the Just Giving account and cash collected, the event has raised a whopping £2281. Thanks to all the participants and the generous pledgers.

You know the format … 5 highlights and a fumble.

1.Once more, with character …

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Fresh-faced at noon on Saturday

Rather than turn up with a fistful of pre-gens, we created the characters at the table (a session zero, if you will). The process took a little longer than I anticipated, but it allowed me to do a quick prima on Glorantha as well as the rules.

In the end, I think it was a good idea for the players to create their own characters as it allowed them to establish relationships and rivalries with the other players. There were a couple of siblings, for example, which meant that they looked out for each other more (jumping in the river to rescue a brother in distress), or they had deep rooted antipathy towards each other (“You are a coward brother!”).

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2. RoneQuest

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A party of six mercenaries gathered at the fort of Raus of Rone, ready to tame the wild lands and broker deals with the local beast-riders and other nomad tribes in the region. The fusty old Lunar Duke-in-exile plans to create a new colony of settlers from the North, but first, order needs to be brought to bare on new frontier.

The episodic format was perfect for the 24 hour long session as it was straight-forward, “go there, do that” mission based with a punitive contract that encourages the party to break the rules.

One of the players was a veteran of the BorderLands campaign, so he became Gerontiios, the right-hand man of Daine, the Duke’s sergeant at arms, (the lapsed Humakt Rune Lord and stoical NPC confident for the players.)

Gerontiios was bold, leading the unruly sell-swords, around the wilds of the Zola Fell valley. They encountered High Llama riders, dinosaurs, chariot-raced with Morokanth, battled with crocodile riding ducks and much more.

3. Gift from the Gods

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This being RuneQuest, there were limbs flying and fumbles galore, but I gave them a little advantage. At the start of the game I gave them a packet of wine gums. This was their luck pool. They could use the sweets to reduce their roll so that a near miss could be a hit.

In addition, some of the players had been given extra rolls thanks to sponsorship donations. They came in handy at some crucial moments.

3. Multiverse

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There were other games being played: Numenera, StarFinder and D&D 5e.

The GMs agreed beforehand that we would have a common theme of “an evil presence, breaking through the dimensions, aided by acolytes in the different Universes.”

An obscure symbol would unite the campaigns, to identify the influence of this cosmic evil as it attempted to penetrate the different realms of the multiverse.

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Using ‘whats app’, we shared elements that had escaped from our games. Ethan sent “500 tonnes of rock and dirt from a plane,” from Numenera which manifested in Glorantha as a rain of silt which formed into a congregation of Whirlvishes – a vortex of sand.

I followed Baz & Gaz’s advice and had a group of rival mercenaries tormenting the PCs. The Sartarite bandits led by Rattle Poisionknife, a Sartarite bandit who had a tattoo of the symbol on his arm and was leading some of the locals towards his sinister faction, who were intent on awakening the dormant Nosferal.

At midnight, Gerontiios was sent on a HeroQuest to another table. He ended up in a dimension of sound in Numenera.

A nano from the Numenera game manifested as a purple duck at our table. He taught the Flintnail masonries how technologies of a ‘lifting device’ to help them in the construction of the Duke’s Fort. He defied being tied by a Waha rope by reversing his temporal existence.

Delirium began to set in at this point.

5. Five Eyes

“Avoid Five Eyes Temple,” Gerontiios commanded. Once they eventually went there, he was hit in the face with a manticore stinger and left for dead. Thanks to Divine Intervention (and a couple of wine gums) the Red Moon goddess revived him.

The River Horse temple had been taken over by the revived soul of Nosferal. The Newtlings were now undead servants in his thrall.

Despite his depleted power Gerontiios explored the far corners of the river caves and was possessed by a disorder ghost, who unleashed Nosferal from his tomb!

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6. The 4am Wall (fumble)

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By 4am, the esprit-de-corps was breaking down somewhat. 16 hours of play and things started to fray. They struggled to motivate themselves to reach the lofty heights of Condor Crags.

“What the hell are we doing this for? Why are we here?” they exclaimed. I’m not sure whether or not it was in character.

“We are all of us!” declared Gerontiios, rallying the band together to make the final push.

As dawn broke, the players found a second wind, an Orlanthi wind, which blew them towards a final confrontation with Nosferal, Rattle PoisonKnife, and the zombified bone-dragon Kerrang!

Their enemies were defeated thanks to the cypher recovered to Numenera (water from the River Styx) and a few remaining wine gums.

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Noon on Sunday!

 

Episode 16 (Part 2) More Call of Cthulhu (with Mike Mason)

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INTRO: A dedication to Carl T. Ford, the publisher/ editor of Dagon Fanzine.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN 00:02:20 (With Mike Mason) Mike faces the Keeper’s Screen to talk about Traveller, D&D and the all new Masks of Nyarlathotep (coming soon).

DAILY DWARF 00:40:00 @dailydwarf does an incisive assessment of the scenarios that appeared in White Dwarf. CURSE OF THE BONE was the winner of his 2015 Scenario Slam

JUDGE BLYTHY RULES! 01:00:00 We take a look at some of the changes in the 7th Edition rules.

OUTRO: 01:40:00 More news about the Patreon Campaign.

Episode 16 (Part 1) More Call of Cthulhu (with Mike Mason)

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INTRO 00.00.16

We are returning to one of our favourite games, Call of Cthulhu, to consider what has changed for the game over the past 2 years, since the last episode.

OPEN BOX (with Mike Mason) 06.00

At the time of recording, Mike had just returned from his trip to NECRONOMICON and was fresh with the news of the great success for Call of Cthulhu at GENCON.

Mike shares his experiences from his formative years of role-playing and how his fascination with horror, drew him towards Call of Cthulhu.

ED’S BRAND NEW SHED 50.00

Ed is the first of us to hit 50 and his family have treated him to a brand-new metal shed. He talks us through his Fungi From Yuggoth scrapbook. You can get Mutable Deception from Drive Thru RPG.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN 01.08.00

We’re on a Jolly Boys outing – this is the player reflections on playing the Fungi … campaign.

OUTRO 01.33.00

We had many new Patreons joining us in September. Thanks to you all – sorry for mangling your names – we are very grateful for your contributions and look forward to making the ‘zine available in the next couple of months.