Grogten 2020

Grognards in Tenby = Grogten. Not just ten Grognards hanging out somewhere; there were actually eight of us there, top gamers and good mates. The idea came together last year, I think inspired by The One Ring Roadtrip. I must have been raving on about it to my Barbarians of Lemuria group when @davepaters suggested we do a similar thing at his place in Tenby… lovely. Plans were made, ideas formed, permission sought. Slowly it came together.

Unlike The One Ring Roadtrip with it’s single adventure over a weekend, this time we would have different games of 3-4 hours each, and because I was the regular Barbarians of Lemuria GM, I would get to sit back and play in them all. Post Grogmeet we started to firm up plans, making travel arrangements and deciding on games.

An early start on the morning of 24 January saw me leaving the leafy suburbs of Crosby and heading in a more or less direct line across Wales to Tenby. The journey was a little fraught with the main road completely closed due to a house collapsing and Google Maps having no idea how to get around it, although there was some stunning scenery. Arriving a little later than anticipated and giddy with excitement, it was great to catch up with the others: @MozleyJim, @jaje7406, @KiernanEd, @Sam0Vail, @davepaters, @OrlanthR and @carlclare. @jaje7406 had prepared a fantastic South African lunch of Boerewors which we all hungrily scoffed before getting stuck into the first game of the event.

Game 1: Star Frontiers: Aramax One (GM: @davepaters)

Despite it being a regular game back at the old Rice Lane Game Club in Liverpool I never did get the play Star Frontiers, so was incredibly excited to give this a go. As the opening game, @davepaters had bravely decided to run with 7 players using an old Imagine magazine adventure. With most game events there isn’t enough time to create your own characters, but with the luxury of a whole weekend we did just that, the old fashioned way, with lots of randomly generated stuff. My character was Chee-tar, a techie Yazirian with a penchant for hacking robots and blowing stuff up. Our band was hired by a mysterious agent to blow up a data storage facility outside of town; as it was our only route of the stinking planet we took the job.

As you’d expect there was lots of old school gaming going on, but it was a great deal of fun and I really enjoyed the Star Frontiers system. Needless to say we were successful in our mission, perhaps doing a bit more damage than we needed to.

By the time Star Frontiers was finished we were well set up for the weekend, and so headed to a local venue for further beers and tasty grub before returning to the house to spend the remainder of the evening talking gaming nonsense with more beers and whisky. This is what life is about!

Game 2: Liminal (GM: @davepaters)

Proudly displaying our sausages

After a glorious fry up for breakfast we settled down for the first session of the day. Really, it was glorious with @MozleyJim and @jaje7406 taking on chef duties and everyone else helping out in whatever ways they could, and it set us up for a solid day of gaming. In fact, three sessions back to back. We’d cleverly organised things so that each GM got to run their game twice and players got to to play every game; so while I was sitting down with @Sam0Vail and @carlclare to play in @davepaters Liminal game, @MozleyJim, @jaje7406 and @KiernanEd were getting stuck into @OrlanthR‘s Tales from the Loop adventure.

I’d not played Liminal previously but had heard and read lots of great things about it. It’s a unique setting, a modern day UK with a hidden world of magic, fey and weirdness. Our characters were sent out to find Welland Archer, a missing researcher from the Council of Merlin who curiously was looking into a connection between Henry Tudor and Dr Dee… It turns out Henry Tudor fled to France from a house in Tenby (in fact just a couple of doors down from where we were playing the game!), and young Welland had started his research there. I don’t want to give any spoilers as I’m sure @davepaters will run the game again… but it was fantastic, full of local information and flavour, lots of trails to follow and a brilliant conclusion.

Game 3: Tales from the Loop (GM: @OrlanthR)

The other Tales from the Loopers

After a tidy lunch of local pies and pasties, myself, @Sam0Vail and @carlclare created our TftL characters. Before too long we’d put them together based on archetypes; I was Benjamin ‘Buttons’, a nerd who found solutions to everything in his pocket calculator. Turned out it was one of the adventures from the TftL rulebook, but @OrlanthR had cleverly changed the setting from somewhere in Sweden to Tenby – we were in the Pembrokeshire Loop with all the Magnatrine tech that is part of the TftL . Our adventure started with some weird stuff about birds… but in the interests of avoiding spoilers we’ll leave that there. The system was really neat; a simple dice pool resolution mechanic, and a setting very easy to get into… we were all teenagers in the 80’s so doing weird stuff like using libraries was all part of it. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about playing a 10-15 year old, but it was a lot of fun with a system designed to just make it work.

Game 4: Strontium Dog (GM: @Sam0Vail)

@Sam0Vail has a copy of an old Games Workshop Strontium Dog game that never made it into publication. It’s based on the GW Judge Dredd game but in it’s current form is three ring binder folders of dot matrix paper. This time I was joined by @MozleyJim and @davepaters as we created our mutant Search and Destroy agents. Initially the random tables were throwing up some odd mutations – I had with ‘back covered in suppurating spots’ and ‘skin hangs badly in folds’. Luckily with a bit of GM fiat we rolled on different tables, and I ended up with a much more exciting animal mutation – a tiger head. Thus was born Roary, joined by Worker (@davepaters‘ ant headed mutie) and Tickles (@MozleyJim‘s cute and cuddly cat headed mutie).

These empty bowls give testament to the deliciousness of @MozleyJim‘s Saturday night curry!
And the other Strontium Dog group. Clearly I was in the camera shy crew.

We’d taken a job worth 3.2M creds to apprehend and return Harlan Brozack, a crim with a long list of offences, primarily involving the narcotic Zaap. Our adventures took us across worlds to seedy nightclubs, dodgy warehouses and more… ending with a great chase scene finale. The system held up really well, our PCs seem much more capable than the Judges from GW Judge Dredd and the action was fast moving. @Sam0Vail had really capture the flavour of Strontium Dog, we felt like dirty muties with the galaxy against us.

Game 5: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition: Slaughter in Spittlefeld (GM: @jaje7406)

Sunday gaming started with a trip to the Old World; I was playing the Rogue Albrecht Von Bakstabben and was joined by @MozleyJim as a devout Priest and @davepaters as an angry Dwarf. No spoilers for this beyond us waking up in a quarantined flop house with a mystery to solve. It’s the second time I’ve played WFRP 4e in the past month – there’s so much to like about the system and the setting, and this was a great one shot adventure.

Game 6: Night’s Black Agents (GM: @carlclare)

After a rustic lunch of fresh bread, cheese, ham, pickle and maybe a beer or two, we swapped tables for the last time. Randomly picking our characters, I played Oliver ‘Ashcan’ Quinn, a grizzled old veteran one last job away from retirement, while @MozleyJim played Mace Hunter, an American Con Man who Ashcan didn’t fully trust. @davepaters played the French Assassin, Dr Felix Duboise, with a glorious french accent. It has been commented on Twitter that @carlclare really knows his history, and this really came across in the adventure; real depth and loads to investigate. Once again avoiding spoilers, this was a great adventure with an explosive ending. What a great way to draw the curtains on the final game of the weekend.

Fortunately the weekend was not yet over and so we whiled away the Sunday evening with a stroll around Tenby, beer and lovely grub in a local pub and chatting back at the house about games nonsense and other stuff, then we were all heading back to our respective homes on Monday.

What an amazing weekend it was, better than we could have hoped. A huge thanks to @davepaters for putting us up and putting up with us, and to everyone who was there, the fantastic GM’s and players. I don’t know if these games will be on offer at other events, but if they are I’d highly recommend playing them.

On to Grogten 2021!

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