Once in a blue moon there’s a post on the Daily Dwarf blog.
Here are his top 5 Issues of White Dwarf – what are yours?
Once in a blue moon there’s a post on the Daily Dwarf blog.
Here are his top 5 Issues of White Dwarf – what are yours?
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).
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.
In the latest GROGPOD we discuss ‘zines in general and DragonLords in particular. Our guest contributor Ian Marsh edited the zine with his friends Mike Lewis and Marc Gascoigne and was remarkable for its irreverent coverage of the hobby. Its self-deprecating tag line “Yet Another Fantasy & Sci-Fi Roleplaying Magazine” reflected its satirical tone that earned it the reputation of the Private Eye of RPGs. There were 22 issues published with short print runs so it’s difficult to get your hands on copies. A dedicated collector like Ed in his Shed would turn his nose up at prices of £50 to £150 asked for on sites like eBay. The final issue is difficult to find as it had a short print run. Ian says that it was particularly eccentric and wild as he knew it was the last one.
You’ll find PDFs and copies of the covers if you search long enough, but I thought it would be good to feature some illustrative content, provided by Ian, to support some of the discussion we had on the GROGPOD.
Warning high nipple content. This was Dragon Lords after all!
INTRO Welcome to the world of fanzines.
OPEN BOX (with Ian Marsh) The first part of an interview with Ian Marsh, who was the editor of DragonLords fanzine and went on to become the editor of White Dwarf.
DAILY DWARF For one episode only @dailydwarf becomes the Daily Dagon as he looks at Dagon and why he thinks is was such a special zine.
OPEN BOX Another one? This time it’s with Blythy as we look at our experience in the world of PBMs.
OUTRO: Thanks to Shop on the Borderlands for providing a copy of DragonLords issue 7 for discussion.
Let us know your favourite ‘zine and send us pictures for discussion in the next episode.
Why not show your love for the podcast, and join the activities of the GROGSQUAD by becoming a Patreon?
When moving house, many things resurface that have been buried away for years; I’ve found stuff that I thought was long gone. These artefacts form an unnecessary archive to a life that has been lived. I’m a curator to my own life for a world that doesn’t really care. I’ve cleared the loft with a ruthless abandon – throwing away cards, files, knick-knacks, magazines and tatty books without a second thought – an instant life-laundry.
During the clear out, I found a batch of 50 of The Pseudo-Nymph, an anthology of Science Fiction stories and poetry that I produced in 1991. It was the practical part of a dissertation I wrote about SF micro-publishing in the UK. The essay had one of those meaningless convoluted titles, that I can’t remember, but it included material gathered in an interview with David Pringle, the then editor of Interzone and the Games Workshop fiction line.
The late 80s were a boom time for the number of small press titles emerging from different corners of the UK and covering the whole, diverse range within the broad church of the genre. The New SF Alliance (NSFA) was a loose coilition of small publishers who got together to support distribution from a single address. The Pseudo-Nymph is a collection of illustrated material from each of the magazines that formed the NSFA.
DREAM, later NEW MOON SCIENCE FICTION, was a magazine that put SCIENCE back in science fiction with plot driven stories that avoided experiementation, they gave Steven Baxter his first break, among others. THE SCANNER was a more off-the-wall magazine that liked to have humour as well as more serious pieces of both fiction and criticism. WORKS was one of my favourites as it tended towards short, short fiction and mood pieces. AUGERIES was one of the early and most respected of the members of the alliance, while NOVA was newer and more off the wall.
The most inspirational was Chris Reed’s BACK BRAIN RECLUSE which pushed the boundaries of desktop publishing design and had an eye for the emergent ‘slip-stream’ experimental SF which was just about gaining transaction at the time. He was the enthusiastic patron of the alliance who did all of the publicity and PR on behalf of the the small press. More importantly, he was a great distributor of micro-publishing, bringing rare and interesting fiction to the UK from the backwaters of the USA.
There’s some really good fiction included in the collection. I let each of the editors choose one of their favourites from the their magazines. It resulted in many of the stories having similar themes: altered states and displaced time. It was the artwork in The Pseudo-Nymph that caught the attention of the reviewers. There are a couple of striking pieces, including examples from some artists that will be familiar to gamers: Dreyfus who contributed to Elric! and Call of Cthulhu for Chaosium and Alan Hunter who often illustrated Lew Pulsipher’s contributions to White Dwarf).
The Pseudo-Nymph struggled to find an audience. In the pre-Internet time, it was difficult to get the message out to audiences, despite the valiant effort of the NSFA to find readers, I sunk the printing costs into my big student overdraft and was left with loads of copies. I must have kept a batch of them ‘for old times sake.”
I’ll keep searching, I know there’s a copy of GOLDEN HEROES around here, somewhere.
In April, I will be sending $5.00 Patreons a copy of THE PSEUDO-NYMPH and pulling the remainder out of the hat to send to $3.50 supporters, as a ‘thank you’ for their support.
Here at Dirk Towers, we’re currently beavering away over the first annual ‘zine that’s due to be launched at GROGMEET later in the year.
The hard-copy of the ‘zine will be available to PATREON supporters pledging $3.50 plus and to attendees of GROGMEET.
The print run will be strictly limited. We’ll probably print an additional 20 for our own private pleasure, but other than that, it will be PDF only.
If you want a hard-copy, please ensure that you have signed up before the end of September as we’ll be taking the print numbers from 1st October.
Also, make sure that you complete the shipping details on your PATREON profile, so we can get the ‘zine to you (Worldwide shipping).
The PDF will be available to all PATREONS ($1 plus) from December.
The content for the ‘zine continues to take shape, this is what you can expect:
There’s contributions from Ed from his shed and the illustrious Games Masters of GROGMEET and much more.
Right, no more time to waste, my nose must return to the grindstone. Dirk
THE FIRST TIME
They say that you always remember your first time. It was a sun-dappled day in 1982 that we had our debut RPG game, we really should have been enjoying the fresh-air, but for weeks we had been pouring over the finer points of the RUNEQUEST rules. It was a massive conceptual leap to grasp the idea of a game without a board. Thanks to an article in Starburst magazine, which provided an example of play, we were able to work out the idea of ‘Games Master’. When combined with my 12 year old ‘God Complex’ it seemed a natural thing to do. The Games Workshop box set contained ‘everything you needed to play’ which at the time seemed slim pickings, but on reflection were a feast:
Basic Roleplaying: A pamphlet that provided the essential mechanics behind RUNEQUEST, which was later adopted by other Choasium games, most notably CALL OF CTHULHU. The idea of a ‘percentile dice’ being able to resolve most skill-based actions was fairly simple to grasp, as was the attribute vrs attribute resistance table to resolve tests of strength, willpower and agility.
Runequest Rule Book: The cover, and the box featured an evocative painting by the wonderful Iain McCraig, depicting a boiled-leather-bikini clad woman battling with a horrible lizard monster. We would learn that the woman’s chances of survival were minimal if the tenants of the rules were followed. The rules introduced the rather baffling ancient world of Glorantha. Its a wonderful ancient-world setting, but overwhelming for a 12 year brain trying to get to grips with hit locations, three different variations of spells and ‘treasure factors’.
FANGS: A collection of (much needed) pre-generated non-player characters. The best thing about RUNEQUEST is that the NPCs are as richly detailed as the PCs; the worst thing about RUNEQUEST is that you have to roll the NPCs in the same way as the PCs. It meant more work for the Games Master. This booklet provided characters ‘generated on one of those fancy computers that everyone is talking about).
APPLE LANE: A card-backed booklet with a simple line drawing of a little fella being mugged by a goblin-like creature. Inside it provides the details of a small hamlet nestled in the mountains of Dragon Pass. There are three scenarios, the most significant was Grindle’s Pawnshop, where the adventurers are recruited to protect a building against an attack from a pack of baboons.
The first game that we played on that summer’s day was Grindle’s Pawnshop. As the Gamesmaster, I had played the game a hundred times in my head before we actually sat down to do it. There had been weeks of painstaking preparation. The scenario suggested that the plans of the Pawnshop were mapped out on ‘butcher paper’, but I wasn’t sure what it was and the bemused heavy-metal lovin’ guy at Manchester GAMES WORKSHOP didn’t know either.
I compromised and drew the floor plan of Grindle’s Pawnshop on a sheet of graph paper. We’d been collecting Citadel miniatures long before we knew that they were connected to a game. In essence, we had created a board for a game that didn’t really need it. The first game was faltering as I was constantly consulting the rules to try an accommodate an action that the players had devised that didn’t fit the version that had been practised in my head.
Despite the sometimes clumsy session, it was clear by the end of it that we were hooked. The thrill of being in the middle of an epic combat with a group of bandits lead by a centaur was just too enticing. The ability to determine our own destiny in a fantasy world, when we were forced in to conformity in school, made us more determined to learn the rules and put the hours in to get better and better at it.
REUNITED – Runequest second ed.
Fast forward 32 years and our gurnard group is stronger than ever. We reunited several years ago to dust off the old supplements such as Borderlands and Griffin Mountain. As adults, we have been able to weave a more textured experience of Glorantha and have been willing to make the setting our own. When we were teenagers we were a bit too precious about upsetting the multi-layered game world with its countless cults, races, myths and convoluted history. There was always a concern that if a Games Master changed something, it would be later contradicted by a supplement.
Now we feel more at liberty to do what we like with the setting, besides there are so many supplements for Glorantha already out there, we are never going to read them all.
At first, we were rusty on the rules. Each of us remembered the rules for ‘special attacks’ differently. Was it full damage plus rolled damage? or, roll the damage twice? Either way, it seemed more deadly than a ‘critical’ that merely ignored armour. Could special attacks be parried with a normal parry roll, or did it need to be a special one? We had a number of different permutations in the early games, which meant that combat was often broken with outbursts of “that can’t be right, can it?”.
Steven, our resident rules lawyer, studied the appendix of the second edition rules where the different effects of an impale, slash and crush, are described in detail, which explained the results of special attacks change, depending on the weapon. We realised that the rules that were in our memories were a conflation of STORMBRINGER and some house-rules we adopted back in the day, thanks to an article that once appeared in White Dwarf.
Since the 2nd edition rules were released back in the early 80s, there have been a number of iterations published. Thanks to the complicated exchange of rights and acquisitions since then, its has been difficult to keep up with what actually constitutes ‘Runequest’. Last year, The Design Mechanism solved uncertainty by deciding that the latest version of the rules were the ‘6th’ edition and they published a handsome rule-book to bring the game into the 21st Century.
It’s time for the these old gurnards to freshen up!
This is where it all started …