Where the Wild Things Are….A helping hand in making an RPG work

A couple of years ago I agreed to run an RPG for some members of the Corehammer crew. Most were first time role-players with a couple of more experienced heads in the mix. After careful thought and consideration I decided to go with what I knew best, Shadowrun 2nd Edition. For those who don’t know, Shadowrun is set in the near future dystopia of 2075. A calamitous shift in the world which has seen people evolve/devolve into mythical races, magic to resurface and dragons to take to the skies and the board rooms of mega corporations! Think Bladerunner meets Lord of the Rings!

After a quick snoop around I found a great simple starting adventure that was released as part of the 4th Edition quick play rules (available for free HERE) With some tweaking it was easily adjusted to 2nd Edition rules…… Continue reading

Bad Boys: And some Skittles

Join me, if you will, in 1995. I’m 11. Our household is quite heavily into basketball, Fresh Prince (even though we don’t understand half the sexy jokes), and beating each other up. Still.

So what do you think happened when we found out that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were gonna be in an action movie, with guns, bad guys, guns, swearing, fast cars, and guns? You guessed it. Meet me on the corner by the video shop, guys. Friday, 6pm, bring your Skeleton warriors glow in the dark pyjamas (so we can match, natch) and your special fried rice.

In a bizarre ritual of which I never understood the licensing loopholes, before you were able to purchase the videos for real, wrapped in cellophane, with a bunch of leaflets inside beckoning you to purchase a crappy tshirt (“IF YOU SEE THE POLICE – WARNER BROTHER!”) or some orthopaedic shoes, you were able to procur the VHS tapes as ex-rentals. Not much difference in quality, I’m not sure how many other people who lived in Abington, Northampton were renting the Ewoks cartoon, but they came in a different box. The massive, weird, heavy, and, as we discovered exercising some of our bottomless sibling-based rage, quite dangerous rental box. The questions surrounding this were endless. Where are the real boxes? Whose job is it to swap the covers out? What are they made of that doesn’t break when you throw them off the roof at your brother? None of this was ever answered, but it didn’t matter. I loved Bad Boys so much, that once again, to save herself money, my long suffering mother purchased this movie for us ex-rental, such was the cost of keeping us in bubblicious Friday nights. And once again, I watched it every Monday before school until the next big favourite came along/the tape was worn down to a macroscopically thin band, probably snapping in the machine.

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Stand on your own- No Retreat, No Surrender PART 1

 

NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kurt McKinney, 1986

Whilst somewhat overshadowed by actual wars in which real people died, make no mistake eighties popular culture was a bloody battlefield of bitter conflict. Coke vs Pepsi, NES vs Sega, Roxanne Shante vs The Real Roxanne. All gruelling wars of attrition in their own right but they all pale in significance next to the harsh reality of my own personal Hamburger Hill….Betamax vs VHS…..

See my family didn’t have a lot of disposable cash. And whilst there was always a modest meal on the table, luxuries like video recorders were pretty far down the list of things we could afford. If I wanted to watch a movie I had to wait for it to come onto terrestrial television or hope that an invite from the kid next door  to watch a tape round there might be forthcoming. One day I will tell you all the story of how I feigned illness whilst at a classmates birthday party and weaved an intricate deception just so I could be left alone in the house to use their video player to watch Empire Strikes Back. I was eight years old.

In 1988 my dad returned home from work with a pep in his step. For a man who dug holes in the road for forty years of his life this was an unusual sight. Normally he’d drag himself through the door at the end of the day, defeated. Eat his dinner in silence then slump in the armchair and fall asleep watching the news. But today was different. He entered our home with a look of triumph upon his brow. ‘Look what I’ve got’. Out of a black bin bag he produced a bulky video recorder. My eyes flickered with delight as my Dad’s craggy features split and he smiled down at me and together, father and son hastened to the front room to set up the video recorder and commence our journey into cinematic heaven.

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November Hardcore round up – Part 1

Let me tell ya readers, we are truly living in some coptic times. Maybe it’s the state of the world that’s got the youth riled up. Not a day goes by without some jackass banging another nail in the coffin of a hopeful outcome for this planet. Sucks for the world but hey great for angry music. My inbox has been inundated with so much fresh well executed hardcore, that it is almost getting boring to review it. With quality at such a consistently high standard it becomes very difficult for a writer, even one as erudite as I, to keep coming up with new ways to describe cool shit. To that end I actively encourage shitheel bands to get in touch with their ham fisted racket, so that I once again have a reason to hack up my scorn first thing of a morning. Anyway the hour is late and I’ve got shit to do so lets crack on with it shall we?

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Fighting Fantasy Charity Auction

One of life’s great certainties is that sooner or later this world will find some way of knocking you on your arse. Even the best of us can get caught slipping and once the blows start landing and the damage starts mounting, it’s all you can do to cover up and ride it out. Sometimes it’s nice to reach out a hand and help folk get back on their feet. Instances like that reveal a lot about the character of the people around us and the communities we build and contribute to. With that in mind I thought it worthwhile drawing our readerships attention towards the efforts put forth by Joe Kelly and fantasy artists Russ Nicholson and Malcolm Barter who are hosting an auction of original artwork and rare game book materials in order to help out a mate who’s having a rough ride.

Here’s the LINK and Here’s the blurb:

“A member of the gamebook community has fallen on hard times, and myself, the incomparable Russ Nicholson and the esteemed Malcolm Barter would like to help them out.From our own collections we have donated a wealth of gamebooks and original art (including two original colour pieces from the Goldhawk Series) to be auctioned to raise money for our friend.

All books, book sets and pieces of art will be available for auction from Saturday 4th November 5.30pm GMT to 8.30pm GMT. The auction will run over three evenings. Bids should be PMed directly to Joe Kelly and I will update sale items with the highest bid. Bidding will be put on hold between each evening.

Prices given are minimum bids.

Postage will be extra. A single book will cost approximately £9 insured but untracked anywhere in the world. Insured and tracked will be approximately £15, posted from New Zealand. Artwork will be £3.50 signed, £12 tracked posted within the UK, international shipping cost will be more. Postage is included for the badge set, map set and Malcolm Barter art.
Payments will be made by paypal to joehell@gmail.com. All money received after paypal deductions will be forward to our friend (Russ, Malcolm and I are making no profit from these sales).
MINIMUM NEW BIDS SHOULD BE IN INCREMENTS OF £5 FOR ART, £2 FOR BOOKS.”

Jagged Visions: The Devil and Joseph Wilding

It is often said that ‘The Devil is in the details’ and that is certainly true when discussing the meticulous work of Chester based artist Joe Wilding. His illustrations are dense with visceral ideas and hang heavy with sinister mood and potent symbolism. And whilst the man himself is as genial and personable as anyone you’d care to meet, his artwork never fails to horrify or stir a funeral mood. It’s this duality that makes Joe such a pleasure to collaborate with. I caught up with him recently to peer behind the veil and discuss the ideas behind his new series of limited prints (available HERE )
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Corehammer Christmas Mosh & Raffle

Yo, just a quickie. Our annual festive meet up is scheduled for November 18th at Mantic HQ in Nottingham. Games will be played, rips will be executed, snacks will be consumed. Much laughter and jackanapes to be sure. All are welcome. Fiver gets you in and you can get a ticket HERE

Organise some games, play some new ones, make new friends, raise some money, enjoy a little solidarity. No bullshit attitudes or nazi’s cheers. Stay the fuck home.

We are also running a charity raffle at our Christmas do to raise money for St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre. Thanks to some very generous and kind individuals and companies, the prizes for this are absolutely incredible, check out our Facebook and Instagram over the next few weeks for what’s going to be up for grabs.

You need to get a ticket to take the ride though, and while we will obviously be selling some on the day, we’ve got you covered if you can’t make it either. We will be selling them in packs of five (it doesn’t make sense to do less due to the Paypal fees etc, which is what the 40p is for), and will send you a photo of your tickets with your name written on them. They will be added to the draw on the day (which we stream live as it’s 2017), and you will have just as much chance of winning as anyone else. Anything you do win will be posted to you, wherever you live in the world.

People have been generous, you can be too. Link HERE

All money raised from entrance to the day and from the raffle will be donated to assist the good work that the folk over at St Mary’s Sexual Assault resource centre. Go have a read of their website HERE and get your head around exactly what they do.

 

Nate Vs The Living Dead Part 2: Inhale The Horror

The Nightmare Legion blew into my life like a sepulchral wind. I could not peel my eyes away from that glorious box. This was everything my pre-pubesecent self had dreamed of. I had no idea what a Regiment Of Renown, a Warhammer or a Games Workshop was. All I knew is that the image on the box of an army of grinning skeletons, marching forth from their tombs clad in rotting armour beneath a ragged banner. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. This was better than having Findus Crispy Pancakes for tea or being allowed to stay up and watch The Equalizer or catching a glimpse of Linda Lusardi’s knockers whilst out on my paper round.

I cycled back to the head shop the very next day. Bombing it all the way. Grifter gears cranked way up to red. Parka blowing in my wake. That’s how serious this was. I was full of courage and excitement.  Upon arriving at the store I nervously peered into the murky entrance. I don’t know what I expected to find in there? A coven of witches gathered round a boiling cauldron cooking up Liquid Gold? Maybe a drug dealer, like the ones that hung around in abandoned precincts off Double Dragon, waiting to smash my head in and stick hypodermic needles into me and get me addicted to heroin. These were genuine concerns for Yung Nate. I dug deep though, found some of that ‘Intestinal fortitude’ that Gorilla Monsoon used to talk about and crept inside. 

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Too Much Horror Business: Overdosing on the macabre at the age of 4

Not one to blow my own trumpet, but I’ve seen pretty much 95% of all Horror films ever made.

Where did I get that percentage from? My arse. I’ve absolutely no idea how many I’ve seen, but it’s a fucking lot I can assure you.

Earlier in the year my Mum told me that my fucking dickhead Dad showed me The Hills Have Eyes on VHS when I was four years old. A ridiculous thing to do and I wish he hadn’t as, apparently, I was greatly affected by it and rightly so, it’s a fucking NASTY film. But, a year later, Ghostbusters shit me up just as bad so maybe I’m just a YELLOW CHICKEN. But it ignited a love for ghoulies and ghosties that never left. It was kept burning by Fighting Fantasy books, Scream comic, 2000AD, Splatterhouse arcade machines, Garbage Pail Kids, Monster in My Pocket, Supernaturals, Oink! And the ability to draw whatever my imagination desired. The mid-late 80s was a fucking incredible time to be a young Horror fan.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Author: Joe Boyd

This review starts on a cluttered bedroom floor in a small Derbyshire town, where two gangly teenage boys with too much hair are sat in front of an eviscerated VCR. It’s the mid-2000s, and me and my friend Mike are watching horror movies.

This always was a bit of a trip for me. Mike has a personality disorder, so spending time with him was never like hanging out with the average teenage boy. His moods are erratic, and his outlook on life switches from happy to nihilistic in an instant, flicking back just as quickly. He’s been diagnosed with ADHD before, and it’s easy to see why; his attention is constantly springing from one activity to the next. Watching horror movies is, therefore, an interesting experience.

Mike doesn’t have the patience for a whole movie, or even half of one. He watches them in bursts of energy, like a series of sprints, pausing to play a videogame or take something apart to see how it works, before catching up where he left off. When him and I get together, therefore, he skips most of the films. What I get is a kind of highlight reel of all the gory bits, as he switches out one tape for another in excited glee.

We watched vampires slash up a bar in From Dusk till Dawn, followed by Drew Barrymore’s fatal final phone call in Scream. We watched Final Destination – the perfect film for Mike’s attention span – in a chaotic, random order, skipping from death to death and laughing at the contextless slaughter.

In retrospect, that’s not actually much different from watching Final Destination normally.

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