Lamentations of the Grognard
Irregular musings on Role Playing Games and the Role Playing Game industry and culture. Including reviews, reminiscences and ramblings.
Saturday morning, September 17th, 1983. One week before my 11th birthday and only a few weeks after I’d first played Dungeons and Dragons, CBS aired the first 30 minutes of the greatest saturday morning adventure ever. Every weekend for the next three years would include this half hour animated Dungeons and Dragons animated series.
27 episodes of following Hank the ranger, Eric the cavalier, Sheila, the thief, Diana the acrobat, Presto the magician, Bobby the barbarian, and Uni, the baby unicorn, as they searched the realm for a way home to our world after being magically transported via a Dungeons and Dragons roller coaster at an amusement park.
Dungeon Master served as a sort of guide and impetus to the group, dropping clues and instigating adventures and investigations along the way.
The June post was supposed to be about the classic 1984 Marvel Super Heroes RPG from TSR.
Only this isn’t June, and this post isn’t about Marvel Super Heroes.
See, I’m several weeks late in writing about games, because I’ve been too busy playing. Normally I’ll host a game night and run a one shot scenario of whatever game I want to write about next. I’ll dust off the old rulebook, reread the system, write a short
scenario and make some characters, and that was going to happen in early June.
Only it didn’t.
“Boot Hill is full of fellows who pulled their triggers without aiming”
It was early 1988, I was staying over at my friend Dan’s house for the night. Normally we would spend the entire night trying to rescue Princess Zelda, but this time was different. Dan and I had played D&D before but he wasn’t part of my regular group of D&D friends and we usually only played nintendo together. Dan and I were friends because our moms were friends and he went to a different school, so we really only hung out when our moms did. Continue reading
“Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars — Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.”
— The Nemedian Chronicles.
January 22nd 1906 in the small community of Peaster Texas, Robert E. Howard was born. While his career, and his life, would be short, his impact would be immeasurable.
During his brief but prolific career Howard created many memorable characters, from Kull the Atlantean, Solomon Kane the Puritan, Bran Mak Morn the King of the Picts, and merchant marine / prize fighter Sailor Steve Costigan. But none would have the impact of his black maned Cimmerian Barbarian who would rise to be King of Aquilonia.
In 1932 Weird Tales Magazine published the first Conan story “the Pheonix and the Sword” and the legend was born. Howard would write twenty more Conan stories (16 of wich would be published in his lifetime), one poem “Cimmeria”, and an essay “The Hyborian Age” before is death in 1936. L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter would publish 9 more based on pieced together fragments, notes and outlines. And in the 80 years since Howards suicide, more than 50 novels and dozens of short stories by various authors have been published. Continue reading
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, West End Games produced the original Star Wars RPG. First published in 1987, fresh on the heels of the award winning Ghostbusters RPG, West End Games (WEG) created one of the most entertaining and simple RPGs ever.
The Star Wars RPG perfectly immerses the player into the well known and well loved universe of Star Wars. Complete with images from the movie and full color fake advertisements from the Imperial Navy and Galaxy Tours’ Four Week Grand Galactic Tour. This hard cover book contains everything you need to join the Rebel Alliance against the forces of darkness and defeat the Empire. Everything except a few 6 sided dice that is. An elegant system, for a more civilized age, the conflict resolution system is entirely D6 based so you can simply pilfer the Yahtzee set and you’re ready to go. The resistance based system sets difficulty points for various tasks and the dice pool stats and skills determine the characters abilities. The system is smooth and painless for even the greenest game master with only the slightest of prep time. It would later evolve into the WEG core D6 system released as a stand alone universal RPG a decade later. Continue reading
It’s that time of year, and odds are you’re thinking about gifts. Either gifts to buy for that special geek in your life or you’re rounding off that wish list for the fat guy with the beard. Either way, I’ve got the perfect collection of high end gaming accessories for the distinguished nerd.
Whether you’re upgrading your existing game room or going for the full medieval remodel you’ll need a few basic items for a great game session.
You know them, you love them. The guilty pleasure, b-list (or worse) horror movies that are so low budget they are more comedies than horror. From “Plan 9 From Outer Space” to “Troll 2”, these cult classic no-budget masterpieces defy all expectations and survive as favorites to fans who weren’t even born when they were first released. Offered up by the classic local network horror hosts, from Elvira to Zacherley throughout the 80’s, no movie was too bad, no budget too small. Many of these treats are available free online, long out of copyright and you can now make fun of these schlock-fests any time from the convenience of your cell phone. Continue reading
Ages ago, before the modern times, the world was very different. The earth, and all of humanity, were battered and punished almost daily. Again and again, the apocalypse happened. Again and again, the world was destroyed and humanity was all but lost. Save for a few brave souls, fighting against the forces of darkness in a savage world of the future.
Sometimes it was disease, sometimes it was natural disasters, but most often it was nuclear war that was responsible for the repeated collapse of society. Most of the time these Armageddons were nearly total, leaving the earth a smoldering husk inhabited by primitive warriors and mutants; others were a slower collapse of infrastructure leading to pockets of civilized humanity surrounded by inhospitable wastelands. But in every instance the holocaust provided a similarly corrupt and hostile world with threats on all sides. Continue reading