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Wild Tangents

Lost the thread of RPGaDay, yet again. Time has moved on and now social media is all about moving from, you know, that place, to somewhere else. In case it all burns down in a fit of pique.

This is just a test of a thing: Mastodon

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RPGaDay2022: Day 4

I expect this will be a short one (cue inevitable rambling), in answer to the question: Where would you host a first game?

Somewhere quiet, with a table.

Over the years I’ve typically gamed (played and run) in people’s houses. So there’s been a lot of ’round the kitchen table’ stuff. Once upon a time I was part of a weekly RPG thing at the Dragonslayers gaming group at QUB in Belfast…but that was way-back-when and these days I prefer something a bit more…if not private then at least less actively loud and busy. A library would seem ideal if they have the room(s).

Which is not to say I don’t like running games at cons – and I’ve done that many times, with varying degrees of success over the years. It’s just that for a stable, ongoing gaming night, and especially for a first time game, tables to set all your stuff on are great. Essential even.

And, again, it’s not like I haven’t played or run games when everyone has been sitting around a room in comfortable chairs. But it’s not the same. I think you need the demarcation, the creation of a ‘space for gaming’.

Also, if the ‘new gamer’ is someone the group already knows, then I guess we could just stick with bringing them into the group at whatever location we normally play, otherwise, maybe go back to a gaming group for the initial sessions, while everyone gets to know each other. Even if that does involve someone shouting their way through Tomb of Horrors two tables over.

There’s a whole other aspect to this question and I did muse for a bit on the idea of maybe running a first game in a castle, or a haunted house, or perhaps an abandoned fairground on a pier. On reflection though I suspect that might be trying too hard, and in danger of overwhelming the point of the gaming session. It is tempting though. Maybe one day…

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RPGaDay2022: Day 3

Today’s question–which I had prepared for and yet somehow still ended up leaving to the last minute–is this: When were you first introduced to RPGs?

Initially I would have said it was around 1981, but checking the dates of various relevant things, it seems more likely that it was sometime in 1982 that I actually got my hands on a copy of an RPG and commenced playing.

The concept of RPGs came slightly earlier, in the form of advertisements in a UK science-fiction/fantasy/movie magazine called STARBURST (still going strong to this day, albeit after a slight break in the early 2000s). I remember ads for D&D, but oddly the one I recall most clearly (scientists fleeing from something awful) was for “Attack of the Mutants”, which was apparently a board game and not an RPG at all.

In summer ’82 I worked in a shop in a forest park, and used some of my wages to buy the 1981 Moldvay variant boxed set of Basic D&D. Which looks like this:

Classic Erol Otus cover (my copy doesn’t look anywhere near this good)

I then attempted to run Basic D&D for a couple of friends. With variable results. But obviously something went right because I’ve not stopped running games since.

Oddly, I also remember the influence of ET: The Extraterrestrial, a book about RPGs called What is Dungeons & Dragons?, and the first Fighting Fantasy book, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but looking back those all seem to have appeared after I’d already bought and started playing D&D, so… shrug :-/

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 5

As the actual question number five–about recurring NPCs–covers a lot of the same territory for me as the previous question, I’ve decided to go with one of the alternative options.

Question 5: Most memorable character retirement?

I’m taking this to mean something other than getting a gold watch and going to live in France; or finally winning a flying long-ship crewed by dancers…I’m thinking of it more in the sense of “routine retirement of a replicant”.

Perhaps I’m wrong in that presumption?

Anyway, there was this character–let’s call him Eddie–who was very like Fitz from the TV show ‘Cracker’. The original UK version played by Robbie Coltrane this would be. Expect Eddie also had a bit of esoteric business going on where he could tap into the minds of other folk and really get an understanding of what made them tick, sort of thing. He could see the clockworks whirring. Give them a nudge, here and there. It’s all good. Handy for solving terrible crimes and what not.

Trouble was, games being what they are, it only took a few bad dice rolls for Eddie’s careful finessing of people’s thoughts to turn into a wild bludgeoning that knocked people right out of their tree.

As I remember it, the dice just seemed to be breaking bad, every single time Eddie tried to check anyone’s mind, and things were getting seriously out of hand and this was when the game was reaching an after a fashion raggedy denouement …

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 4

Question 4: Most memorable NPC?

In some ways this is an easy-ish one. I think I discussed this last year as well.

The answer for me as a player is the fighter/vampire Drelnza from Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. At first, I was struck by the fantastic scenario artwork–Drelnza’s (supposed) final resting place–then the PC cleric was struck by Drelnza’s sword, and then my character, the fighter known as Nilok, was hit by a charm spell and totally enthralled.

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Moving day(s)

Attempting to move my wordpress blog to my pre-existing web-hosting with a different provider.

So far it’s going well. Although I’m not convinced I have everything pointing in the right direction as yet. No doubt it’ll all shake out over the next day or so.

Eventually it’ll have the old web address but at the moment I have this alternative ‘brokentoys’ one. Maybe. I dunno. Some things seem to already link just fine using the old address, other things/devices…not so much.

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War is not the answer

A change to the usual set up this week, as we start with:

Console Gaming

Could have been PC gaming but despite having purchased the Brothers in Arms 3-game collection at a very low price, I completely failed to install it on my PC. I was distracted by the equally cheap and even more hectic Battlefield 4 on PS4, in which I have achieved very little so far; beyond marvelling at the pretty graphics and the sheer amount of ammunition expended.


Achtung Cthulhu continued to happen. The characters investigated some suspicious goings on in Rome, and managed to avoid launching an infiltration mission that would most likely have ended in a fascist bullet-storm and many, many allied fatalities.

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In the meantime

Back with more waffle about what I’ve been up to lately, in a vague attempt to build up a blogging habit.


The proposed launch into OSR did not happen as planned, due to unforeseen circumstances for one of the players, and there was a short discussion about what the rest of the group should do instead. In the end, I decided to run a session/play-test of my fledging ‘game about vampires, and stuff’.

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randoms xv: it starts with the hands

I had a dream about people turning into cows. Not actual cows, more a kind of Gerald-Scarfe-Pink-Floyd-video grotesquery of lumpen bovine humanity. It starts with the hands and feet, maybe, becoming useless club-like stubs at the ends of spindly limbs. The rest of the body is bulked out, the epidermis peeling away to leave dun coloured patches of blubbery flesh. The face is elongated, snout like, the ears are curved protrusions of stretched skin. In a certain light I guess they do look more like pigs? But in the dream they called them cows at first and that name sort of stuck. 

It’s not a localised event. It’s a worldwide phenomenon; a social crisis and a health catastrophe. How does the world respond? How do family and friends cope if it happens to a loved one? What do you do if it begins to happen to you? 

I woke up before that part of the dream unfurled itself. In many ways that’s a blessing.


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#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 10

Question 10: Where do you go for RPG reviews?

Various websites (Drivethrurpg, RPGnet, some blogs), ancient issues of White Dwarf for the older games, recommendations from friends and fellow gamers.

These days if I’m not picking stuff that’s been around for two or three decades, I’m buying things off Kickstarter before the reviews are even in.

It’s going well so far.

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