After months of anticipation Grogmeet was over and done in a flash, but as usual it was utterly brilliant, a great opportunity to hang out with the many gaming friends I have made over the last few years.
My weekend started on the Thursday when I picked up my mate @Corsair1973 from Liverpool (he’d come over from San Diego for Grogmeet), arriving in Manchester in plenty of time to drop of our gear and head to Northern Monk to spend the evening with other over enthusiastic grognards. While most of the Grogsquad were doing the traditional pub quiz online, I was running it face to face in a pub as it was meant to be. Had a great evening all in, set the tone for the weekend to come.
Perhaps due to the excitement I awoke early and had my only visit of the weekend to Ezra and Gil, the once traditional coffee house and eatery of the Grogmeet weekend. While the place was busy there wasn’t a grognard in sight at that point so I chilled with a coffee before meeting some of the early arrivals for the weekend at La Collina, the new kid on the block coffee house and eatery. As the morning wore on more folks arrived so it was a load more coffee before heading off to Fanboy 3 for the first gaming event of the weekend.
Each year I help organise a multi-table event, with a lot of help from the other GMs (a big shout out to @Sam0Vail for his excellent work turning squeezing Mothership into a Judge Dredd shaped hole). In 2021 the PCs had to save Lemuria from a demon horde (which they failed to do!), 2020 was virtual Mausritter, 2019 Mothership and 2018 a multi-system bar-room brawl and dungeon (it was a chaotic as it sounds). 2022 was the year of…
Grogcit-1 Judges are stretched while Block War rampages across the city, it’s the perfect time for a small time gang to cause some mayhem with the Judges distracted. The set up was simple, each of the seven tables was a gang with a gang name and a block. Each GM had written an encounter which could be completed in 30 minutes. The six GMs would rotate around the tables, with a strict 30 minute time limit and 5 minutes to change table, and there were a maximum of 10 points available for each encounter.
It was all planned meticulously, but like all good plans it fell apart in the best possible way. I really enjoyed it though, it worked well with GMs getting to tables quickly (for the most part, there was a bit of confusion for the last slot), but it was exhausting running the same encounter again and again in a short space of time. At the end we had a roll off for the best gang in Grogcit-1, rolling against the total of their encounter scored. The Gerald Bostock block proved to be the top gang on the day.
I’d signed up for @DailyDwarf‘s Up Stix Creek Strontium Dog based Savage Worlds game. I’ve played in his games before and they are always ace, the closest I reckon you’ll ever get to a 2000AD role playing experience. His depth of knowledge and joyful passion for all things 2000AD come through in his games, and Savage Worlds seems to be a really good fit for comic book action.
@DailyDwarf builds up the panels of the story comic book style as the game progresses so you always end up with a great visual overview of the story. I can’t really talk about this without giving spoilers, so all I’d say is, if you get the chance to play it you should. There was one particular set piece which was inspired, we had so much fun with it.
Of course the Friday evening finished with a visit to the pub, once more in Northern Monk. I was still feeling the excesses of drinking on the Thursday so only managed a couple of pints before hitting the hay.
Being the main day of Grogmeet quite a few more people turned up. Walking into Fanboy 3 and seeing so many familiar faces was a real buzz, it was hard to walk more than a few feet before bumping into someone to catch up with. But we were there for the gaming and settled down for the morning session.
Demon Driven to the Maw
I ran and enjoyed this Cairn adventure at Owlbear and Wizards Staff back in September so it was an easy prep option for Grogmeet. Set in 16th century Scotland, the PCs are on the trail of a thief which leads to a castle where they are readily welcomed… but all is not as it seems in this creepy adventure. We’re always saying it’s the players that make a game, and that was definitely the case here… they quickly created characters (the joy of a simple system) and before long were investigating the castle and getting into some colourful situations…
Cairn is a lovely system, I’ll definitely be running it again.
The Court of the Crimzon Thing
A few years ago I’d picked up Zenobia in PoD (there’s a free PDF version as well) it’s a light system with a great setting and a load of flavour, but in my endeavours to clear some shelf space I’d sold it earlier this year. When I saw @Simplikissimus running the game I knew I had to get on it, both to try out Zenobia to see what I was missing and because I knew I’d get a great game with @Simplikissimus.
Simplikissimus nailed the bronze age setting, it oozed atmosphere and the system did the job for a one shot (I’m not sure how it would hold up to campaign play). We explored, travelled and battled our way to the big boss for an epic battle. Really enjoyed the session though, and the setting is rich with opportunities for adventure.
As usual the Saturday ended with a bite to eat and plenty of booze. This year grognards were spread across different pubs so we moved about quite a bit, but it was a great night all the same.
@bastionland was the guest for this years Grognard Files live interview recording. The remainders of the grogsquad gathered in Fanboy 3 for what proved to be an interesting and enlightening interview. We were all rather jaded by this point though, and following the interview quite a few more folks headed home, long journeys ahead of them.
Go Play Manchester
The final event of the weekend (separate but related to Grogmeet) was organised by @Newtus. This year I’d signed up for a Star Frontiers session with @theGROGNARDfile, but with one player unable to make it and other tables down on players I joined @RoderiHamilt for his WFRP home brew adventure O’er the Hills and Y’ha-nthlei set during the Napoleonic Wars. We were soldiers in the 95th Rifles sent to recover a French spy, or so we thought. I’ll avoid spoilers here, even though things did get weird towards the end we were victorious! A glorious end to a glorious weekend!
And so it was that the Grogmeet 2022 weekend came to an end. As always huge thanks to @theGROGNARDfile and @sjamb7 for organising the whole thing and to all the great gamers who came along. Onwards to Grogmeet 2023!