Bardcore – East Lancs Tales

I’ve always had my reserves in regards to pen and paper roleplaying because of something that happened to me in the winter of 2009. I was working in the dismal council tax office of my local government at the time, surrounded by people that spent money voting on Big Brother and counting down the days to an all-inclusive binge in Shagaluf, or so I thought…

It was lunch break, and I was deep into a Gotrek & Felix novel, in a carefully selected location so that I would not cross paths with any of my “Ant & Dec are funny as fuck” toting colleagues. Peaceful as it were, I felt a lingering presence gazing upon me, and I dared not turn around in case it was a manager looking for some poor soul to stay late. Eventually, I turned to face my spectator, with “Sorry I’ve got an appointment tonight” ready to roll from my tongue. I was relieved to see that it wasn’t one of the 40-a-day crones from middle-management standing before me, instead, I found a random guy with a look of disbelief painted across his face.

“Is that a Gotrek novel!?” He gasped excitedly

“Yeah mate, Zombieslayer” – I mumbled cautiously

He took it upon himself to sit beside me and began to waffle on about Warhammer, clearly passionate about the craft. I dropped my guard and freely discussed the fantasy setting with the lad, but I couldn’t help but feel like he was sizing me up. He would casually drop questions that were probing my knowledge about the lore, I thought nothing of it and talked away. I was always reluctant to talk to strangers but once I got rolling with Warhammer, I could chat for hours. After a good 20 minutes of chat, the lunch half-hour was almost up and I started to gather my things. That’s when he asked me..

“Would you be interested in a Warhammer Roleplaying game? My group play once a week at my house” – He spat nervously, wincing in preparation for rejection

“Sounds sick, what day?” I said

His face was a mixture of incredulity and pride for he had successfully recruited a new adventurer for his campaign. We quickly exchanged contact details and headed back to our dreary desks that were permanently littered with discarded benefit applications.

A few days later I received a text from the Lunch-break guy saying he could give me a lift to and from his house after work, accompanied by a short summary of what’s happened so far in their campaign. Something about a temple in the Chaos Wastes, I was up for that! At this point, excitement overtook wariness as I was eager to set foot in the world of Warhammer and explore like I had many times in my imagination.

The day of roleplaying was finally upon me, and like every questing adventurer worth their salt I had packed 2 orange Lucozades, family sized chili heatwave Doritos and a banana to stay the mawing jaws of exhaustion. The drive was as awkward as you’d expect with a little bit of “Nice round here” from me and a little “Yeah it’s pretty quiet” from him. Fortunately, the drive was short and we soon arrived at his house.

“The other guys are already inside setting up” said Lunch-break

We made our way up the drive and I strained to catch a glimpse through a gap in the curtain. What I saw shocked me to my very core, I fought an internal battle with my leg muscles as they wanted to sprint in the opposite direction of this accursed place! Nah, I’m only joking, I just saw 4 lads scribbling on bedraggled character sheets.

As we entered the room all but one of the guys turned to face me as Lunch-break introduced his companions to me one by one. Firstly, there was (all names in this story are fictional) Lad-with-nails, who played a Female High Elf Sorceress very seriously. Also, he had worryingly long fingernails. Next up we had Groggy Joggers, named after the pox-ridden, sports direct issued jogging pants, that were bound to his legs with what looked like years of sitting on his ass doing fuck all. Thirdly came The Normie, to the untrained eye this man looked no different to your average “Lads, Lads, Lads” lad but I spotted one sure giveaway of his true nature. Carefully placed underneath his Topman t-shirt that was emblazoned with “Born Sinner” was a necklace bearing the symbol of Chaos. (People who wear gaming jewelry: Have a word)

I quickly sat down, as to not hold up the session any more than necessary, the DM at the head of the table still hadn’t said a word to me at this point and was barely visible behind his piles of dusty tomes. The dungeon master slipped a side of a4 to The Normie, who then passed it to Groggy Joggers whose clam-ridden claw extended out towards me.

“Okay so I’ve written you into the campaign as a prisoner that these guys come across in this dungeon” the DM finally spoke, and his squeaky, nasally voice instantly relieved the tension that had been building due to his silence

The game had started, and the other players were discussing what to do about me, a stout Dwarf Slayer they had just stumbled across in a dingy cell. Groggy Joggers and The Normie were weighing up their options while I just sat back and tried to get a feel for the setting. I was preparing some kind of “If you release me I’ll show you the way out” spiel when Lunchbreak guy started blasting out some Gimli-esque banter at a ridiculous volume in an ACCENT. His attempt at a dwarf sounded as if Peter Kay was doing a Scottish Accent but reverted to regular every other word because he couldn’t think how to pronounce it quick enough. I immediately hissed with laughter at the ridiculousness of it, and before I could control myself the heads of my fellow roleplayers turned sharply to face me. Five sets of sunken eyes glowering at me with a predatory stare akin to how the current U.S president looks at his daughter….

To be continued..

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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

How To Get More Women Into RPGs, And Why We Want Them There

maxresdefaulteditor – this article was originally posted by Von on his blog

This post follows on from a discussion of unexpected quality on Your Dungeon Is Suck of all places: start here, then skip some crap when the thread winds down and resume here. Try to look past the Bad Words that are used and engage with the substance of the arguments and I hope you would get the sense that everyone is thinking about what they’re saying for once, even if they happen to be Wrong from a given point of view.

Talking this issue over with Hark, she brought up the oft-mentioned point that while not being A Woman, I have seldom wanted for female players in my own games. I’ve had three all-male groups in my lifetime, one in a single-sex school and two derived from wargames clubs. I suppose the game I hosted at FanBoy3 in Manchester is an oddity in that everyone who responded to the ad was male, and there was only a woman in that group because I brought Hark along. For me, an active roleplaying game WITHOUT female players is the anomaly: according to Her Harkship I can pull hot female roleplayers out of my ass wherever I go. Either I’m some sort of Intellectual Love God, or I’m doing something appallingly basic that your average podgy bearded gamer dude isn’t

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