Grogten 2021

Sigh.

Last January we had the first Grogten in Tenby, a face to face event (was there any other kind back then?) hosted by the convivial raconteur @davepaters with great gaming, fantastic company and top-notch food and beer. You can read about that here.

Wish we were here…

As we moved through the various lockdowns of 2020 we wondered whether the next Grogten would be a face to face event in January 2021. Turns out it wouldn’t, but not to be deterred, as has be come the fashion we set out to have an online event. There were nine of us this time, so the organisation was fairly straightforward – just a bit of scheduling on a spreadsheet and a meet up beforehand. Because we would have fewer sessions and a similar number of games we knew not everyone would get to play them all like last time, so we did an exciting national lottery like draw to see who would get to play which game. I was very happy with the games I ended up in, although they were all amazing and I’d have happily played in any of them. Same as last year I didn’t have to worry about GMing so I was able to sit back and relax…

We kicked off the Friday evening with a virtual pub to chat a bit of nonsense before getting stuck into the gaming.

Session 1, Friday evening 22nd January

Pendragon: Agent Excalibur

This is @Sam0Vail‘s Pendragon twist, bringing many of the themes of Pendragon into an early 1960’s setting. I’ve played it before and it works really well. Last time I played (at Virtual Grogmeet 2019 I think) we were foiling nazi’s, this time it was all a bit more parochial but no less threatening. Reprising the role of Jim Troutman (codename: Lancelot), team leader and all around great guy heading up a crack team of Eddie Grayson (codename: Percival) played by @dracowie and Steve Hammet (codename: Tristram) played by @mcookie123, we were sent to the green and pleasant village of Cern Abbus in Dorset. Sounds lovely. Except there was some weird stuff going on as a group of kids from different time periods had appeared out of nowhere. Time to get all suave and investigatey and find out what’s going on. As always I want to avoid spoilers, but needless to say it was an excellent adventure that’d I’d recommend you play if you can. Considering Cerne Abbus was such a lovely place it did seem uncommonly deadly. I believe Sam has submitted it for this year’s Virtual Grogmeet in April, you should check it out.

The other Grogten game running in this slot was Tower Heist, a Traveller adventure GMd by @KiernanEd

Session 2, Saturday morning 23rd January

Dragon Warriors: The One-Eyed God

I’d picked the latest edition of Dragon Warriors up not long after my 20 year hiatus, and since then it’s just sat on my shelf gathering dust so I was pleased to have a chance to play this classic. Our GM @davepaters had picked one of the original adventures to run us through and we’d all had a chance to discuss and pick our pregens in advance. I played Brave Brave Sir Robin the knight, who unlike his namesake was reasonably brave, although not stupidly so. The rest of the party consisted of a dim but hugely strong barbarian warrior (@Sam0Vail), a worryingly shady assassin (@mcookie123) and a cunning mystic (@Jimjim_The_Grim). There was treachery afoot and an attempt on the life of our employee Baron Aldred. What kind of cur could have attempted such a thing?

It was down to us to see justice done… and with that I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, other than to add it was a cracking adventure, full of old school charm and whimsy. I can see why there is so much love for this game that goes beyond nostalgia.

@davepaters has submitted this to run at Virtual BurritoCon6, you’d be a fool to miss it!

@dracowie ran the by all accounts excellent The Queen’s Men for the other group. It’s the only game I have a photo of so it’d be rude not to include it.

Session 3, Saturday afternoon 23rd January

Vaesen

This has to be one of the most talked about RPGs of 2020, so I was really looking forward to trying it out. GM @mcookie123 had given us a choice of pregens all of which were fascinating; some with more of an investigative bent, others more social, but I went for the military man Captain Franz Nordenfilt, a retired naval captain with a past and a secret (which we all seemed to have). The good captain was joined by Hugo Nilsson the author (@carlclare), Henrik Jarv the police inspector (@Sam0Vail) and Blenda Lindberg the outdoorswoman (@KiernanEd). Summoned by the mysterious and shadowy organisation The Society we were asked to investigate the death of a vicar at the remote settlement of Fjallbacka.

This game was dripping in period atmosphere and of course a growing sense of dread and menace as the session evolved. @mcookie123 did a great job getting as all spooked out and facing some rather deadly threats. I can see why the game gets so much love. I’m still very much on the fence with the MY0 system after playing Forbidden Lands, but I thought it was a much better fit here.

Vaesen is a game I’d love to play again and I’d highly recommend trying it.

The other game running in this slot was RuneQuest Glorantha with @Jimjim_The_Grim at the helm. From what I’ve heard he runs a mean RuneQuest game.

Wrapping up

And that was it, just like that, over in the blink of an eye. Three great games with fantastic company. A few of us did meet in a virtual pub afterwards, but we were all pretty knackered – still it was great to chat through the games and set out our hopes for gaming in the coming year.

Huge thanks to @davepaters once again for being at the helm and to all the other amazing gamers who were part of it: @dracowie, @Jimjim_The_Grim, @jaje7406, @KiernanEd, @Sam0Vail, @mcookie123, @carlclare and with us in spirit if not virtual presence @OrlanthR. Fingers crossed we will get a face to face Grogten later in the year or early in 2021. Can’t wait!

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