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.

Extra – It’s a con! GROGMEET preparation

It’s that time of year when we are preparing for the GROGMEET convention in Manchester and, this time, online.

Blythy and Dirk discuss the history of the meet-up, give some tips on how to start one yourself, discuss the thorny issue of ‘player sign-ups’ and run through the games they are running at the event.

Ottawa Tom shares the first game he played, the last game he played and the game that means everything to him.

Why not catch up on Frankenstein’s RPG before the GROGNARD files meets up with it!

GROGMEET art is by Simon Perrins.

Support the podcast 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.

White Dwarf Book Club – Issue 37

A random roll on the d100 as thrown up 37 (4 issues later than the first one) which was dated January 1983. The magazine had started to get into the stride as a monthly publication after years of coming out every two months.

This was the month that wearing a seat belt became compulsory in the UK, despite protests from people bemoaning their loss of the civil right of being thrown through a windscreen. BBC launched its Breakfast Time programme with Frank Bough jazzed out in his jazzy jumpers and the Green Goddess preened in green.

ET won the Golden Globes for film drama (with Tootsie winning the comedy) and Hill Street Blues won the TV awards. Steve ‘interesting’ Davies won the Snooker Classic in St Helens. Superman: The Movie is shown on TV for the first time.

Let’s look at this together: What did you make of the cover? Did Alan E Paul’s FAERIES appear in your games? Did you learn your Traveller referring ropes from Andy Slack? Some classics appear in Open Box … did you play Crasimoff’s World? Vampire tables! Don Turnbull is getting cross on the letters page… How did you make use of issue 37?

Episode 10 (Part 2) More RuneQuest RPG (with Rick Meints)

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INTRO Blimey Charlie! This is the twentieth podcast!

1:53 GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN Rick Meints, President of Chaosium, joins us once again. This time we roll on a special ‘plunder’ table to search his fabled collection as he recounts past adventures from back in the day.

42:08 OPEN BOX Borderlands is Chaosium’s classic campaign from 1982 – we’ve played it twice, once in ’83 and again in ’13 – find out why this is very much our ‘foundational document’.

1.25 POSTBAG We’ve revamped the Patreon campaign – join now and get access to the ‘zine PDF  – also, you can join the Valhalla agents at Convergence

Episode 8 The Traveller Adventure

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“Don’t mess with me, I’ve been corrupted by Space Monkeys”

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Wednesdays 21:00 – 23:00 Fortnightly, between Sept 15 and July 16 was Traveller Time. During this period we played Traveller online using Roll 20.

INTRO: I put out an advert for players on the site to play the classic 1983 adventure from GDW.

OPEN BOX: 4:27 We discuss some of the benefits and pitfalls of playing online

POTTED HISTORY: 31:57 A run down of the history of the supplement and the characters and players.

GAMESMASTERS SCREEN: 38:22 Blythy and Dirk discuss some of the highlights and lowlights of the adventure

ED’S SHED 01:26 Not bargain hunting this time, instead he offers his views on the adventure.

POST BAG 01:30 Other players offer their views and thanks to new Patreon backers.

Episode 4 – RPG Games Cons Dragonmeet

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In a break with the usual format, The Armchair Adventurers are at risk of disappearing up their own fundament.

It’s too short to break in two, too long to listen in one go, so disappointing either way. Take your time, pause a little, as you listen to the blow by blow account of our big day out.

INTRODUCTION

It’s 30 years since we last went to a Games Convention. We went to Dragonmeet ’15 in December, this is a reflection on what we did when we were there and how things have changed in gaming in the meantime.

This introduction includes a A brief potted history of Dragonmeet, with extra bits of information provided by Modiphius.

OPEN BOX

The morning of the day before, Judge Blythy joins Dirk as we plan the trip and reminisce about Games Cons of the past.

WHITE DWARF

Everything comes back to White Dwarf and it’s coverage of Games Conventions back in the day were our way of enjoying them vicariously.

There’s a quote from Scott Dorwood who reviewed the podcast.

GAMESMASTER’S SCREEN

Some general reflections on our observations while we were there as well as a blow by blow account of some of the experiences we had.

Under discussion:

Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands using 7th Edition

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rules distilled into 52 pages

How the market has changed, stuff we bought, and the apparent controversy around the benign Chaosium seminar.

We attend seminars featuring Ken and Robin Talk Quickly About Stuff and the “Is there too much Cthulhu” debate between The Good Friends … and The Smart Party.

While we were there, we interviewed Mike Cule, star of the stage and screen, and the author of RUMBLE AT THE TIN INN (amongst others) and one of the hosts of Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice.

ED’S BARGAIN SHED

Eddy, the resident bargain-hunter in chief, shares his Dragonmeet haul and takes on the 20 quid challenge.

POSTBAG

Listeners share their convention experiences.

Normal service will be resumed next time when we discuss STORMBRINGER.

 

A year on the Grog

I’m sat in the den, packing away the tinsel for another year, because Dirk Towers is saying farewell to the festive period. I’m back at work, serving The Master in return for food tokens, so I’ve begun to console myself in looking forward to 2016.

The first 6 months of the new year look like a veritable feast of gaming with an unprecedented 20 sessions planned between now and June. We haven’t done this much RPG since those heady days of the early 80s.

If we pull it off … if we pull it off … if …

HIGHLIGHTS

The next episode of The Grognard Files podcast will be about Games Conventions in general and Dragonmeet 2015 in particular.While I was there, I got a (signed) copy of Nights Black Agents and I’ve been reading it ever since. The hardback is packed to the brim with resources and enough inventive ideas for you to shake a stake at, but I’ve had a difficultly getting my head around it. I suspect that there’s less to the Gumshoe system than meets the eye. It’s an example of what my English lecturer, Chris Baldick, used to refer to as ‘periphrasis’, in other words, a lots of words to say something very simple.

That said, when I’ve watched actual play demos, it actually seems workable, and I’m looking forward to being the director of a Bourne-meets-Buffy type extravaganza because I think it will suit my style of Games Mastering perfectly.

There’s a great demo-game available for download that will get them into the pace of the action in media res with an exciting car chase emulating the high-powered super-spy genre with great panache.

Night’s Black Agents is an improvised story game that uses the idea of ‘spending’ resources to improve the chance of success for your actions. Numenera uses a similar principle and for most of today, in between nursing a sick child, I’ve been preparing my character, because we’re going to start playing next month with Judge Blythy as the Games Master (or whatever irrelevant variant on the GM title Monte Cooke Games have devised).

It’s ages since I’ve enjoyed creating a character as much as I did making the choices for the Numenera. It’s relatively simple and allows a great deal of flexibility for the player to use their imagination to develop someone that they want to play, rather than being at the mercy of dice rolls.

Zadie Zenokey IV (or Zen 4) is a nano (a kind of Numenera magic user) with the descriptor of ‘Mechanical’ which gives her a great insight into the ways of the Numenera magic. Her focus is flesh and steel, the source of her magic is through ports in her spine and cables under her skin to a cpu on the right-side of her brain and her cybernetic left-arm. Her back story concerns her ancestors who were all but wiped out by a virus, the survivors and subsequent generations developed mechanics to cope with their mutations. Zen 4 has developed a secret order who are seeking the remaining Zenokey so they can reunite.

“DO SOME OLD”

It’s not all about the new stuff. Some of the highlights of the coming months include the continuing campaigns of Fungi from Yuggoth (CoC) and the Aramis campaign (Traveller), keeping it old school.

In February, I’ll be opening the Grognard File labelled STORMBRINGER, Fantasy Role-playing in the world of Elric. Over the past few weeks I’ve been rediscovering Moorcock and hitting e-Bay, filling the gaps in my collection of supplements. I’ve been overcome with an impulsive desire to consume souls, however it seems unlikely that I’ll be sated, therefore I’ve decided that I’ll run a game instead. We have one scheduled for the end of the month.

In the coming months, the Runequest classic bonanza will be released from Moon Design’s epic Kick Starter campaign, marking the celebrations of 50 years of Glorantha. In the podcast we have talked about our group reviving some of the classic Choasium games, so I’m going to continue this endeavour by resurrecting another OSR classic for my group.

On top of all this Armchair Adventuring, we’ve been invited to a marathon session of D&D 5th edition, which is very exciting.

So, as I plug myself into the collective unconscious of work, facing minor disappointments with stoic indifference, I can console myself that there is an escape pod available. As long as the Fun Prevention Officer gives me the key.

Episode 3 (Part 2) Traveller RPG Micro-Grog Pod

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In this episode, we return to Traveller, and look at some of the supplements for the game. When it comes to politics, we are as woolly as John Stewart Mill riding a sheep and wearing cardigans, so we examine our attitudes towards the politics of the Imperium.

Games master’s Screen: Judge Blythy enjoys the benefit of High Passage, as his status demands, however he is less enamoured the concept of the D66.

The usual memories and discussion around the selected supplements take place.

Postbag: There’s been much interest in Traveller including a game description by Andrew Cousins. I also reflect upon the recent Runequest Classic kickstarter.