2020 Gaming Plan

Last year I set out my gaming plans for 2019 – they were ambitious but open to change, and for the most part I followed them, getting to cons and running most of the games I had planned to. The games I didn’t get to run were Black Blade of the Demon King and World of the Lost for LotFP, I’d like to get to run one of them in 2020 at least. Unfortunately I had to drop out of Lunchtime Lairs as my company moved me to a different office, but that has gone from strength to strength which is pleasing.


  • Convergence (6th-8th March, Stockport) – same as previous years I’ll only attend on the Saturday. Will try to run something for Barbarians of Lemuria or Romance of the Perilous Land if I can get something together in time.
  • Virtual Grogmeet (17th-18th April, Roll20) – as this conflicts with DevaCon I may just run a game on the Friday evening, probably my Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Midderlands Adventure, The Mad Queens Jewels
  • DevaCon (18th April, Chester) – I’d love to run a Midderlands adventure set in Chester, but have no ideas as yet. Will see how that pans out.
  • UK Games Expo (29th – 31st May, NEC Birmingham) – last year I ran two games, I expect to do the same this year, although I will probably play less. No idea yet what I’ll run, better get my thinking cap on!
  • BurritoCon 5 & 6 (June & October, Fanboy 3 Manchester) – if things work out I’ll throw together further BurritoCon events, but I have no specific plans at the moment
  • Owlbear & Wizards Staff (September in Leamington Spa) – this was a brilliant con in 2019, so I really hope I can get to it in 2020
  • Grogmeet (7th-8th November – I think) – there will be a Friday afternoon multi-table game again along the lines of this year’s Mothership game, still very early days, but we’ve already talked through a few ideas. Other than that I have no plans on what to run…
  • Go Play Manchester (various dates, Fanboy 3 Manchester) – I didn’t get to as many of these as I had hoped in 2019, I’m hoping 2020 will offer more opportunity to get along.
  • Grogten and The One Ring Roadtrip – these are two weekends away with gaming mates. From my point of view they require little prep as I won’t be running any games at them; however they look like being excellent events.


My plan is to continue to enjoy the amazing games I’m lucky enough to play in (Pink Gins and Googlies, Two Headed Serpent, RuneQuest, Luther Arkwright, Fall of Delta Green), and play others when I can. As a GM I’m still very much focussed on OSR games, particularly Old School Essentials, LotFP, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and to a lesser extent Dungeon Crawl Classics, but there are a handful of other games I want to delve into more this year including Barbarians of Lemuria, Everywhen and Romance of the Perilous Land. The One Ring also has huge appeal but I doubt I’ll get that to the table in 2020.

  • I’m going to continue running Night’s Dark Terror, that’ll definitely be completed this year. If I have time I’d like to run some other old D&D modules, maybe Red Hand of Doom or Night Below.
  • Restart Barbarians of Lemuria. The heroes look on while Parsool falls under the boot of the almond eyed Sorcerers… there’s loads I can do with this. There’s also a load of good stuff in Lemurian Legends I’d like to bring into my game.
  • Run Black Blade of the Demon King, probably using LotFP or possibly Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells which I think has the potential to become a go-to old school fantasy RPG
  • Do something with GDW Space 1889, I’m thinking of running it using Everywhen, the generic system based on Barbarians of Lemuria. It looks like a good match at the moment and I have a load of old modules I can put to good use.
  • Run some Dungeon Crawl Classics one shots, possibly set in Lankhmar if I pick up the boxed set
  • I’d love to run a hexcrawl, ideally Hot Springs Island, but I don’t know if I’ll have time for that.


I did struggle with some of my 2019 resolutions although I still think they were entirely reasonable, I just need to be more determined. I managed to focus on LotFP, Old School Essentials and Barbarians of Lemuria for the most part, although I also ran Mothership, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, not too bad really. I was also able to get my Kickstarter purchase impulse under control, only grabbing a couple of new systems in the early part of the year and a few adventures and other bits as the year went on. Lighter prep still eludes me, but I am working on it…

I guess the question is, what are the point of these resolutions – for me it’s about making the best use of the time I have. Too many games is a distraction, it’s easy to spend so much time reading new systems that you spend no time running them (or preparing to run them). So for 2020 my resolutions are:

  • Focus on these systems: Old School Essentials, LotFP, Barbarians of Lemuria, Everywhen, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, Dungeon Crawl Classics. Everything else is just a distraction.
  • Continue to master Kickstarter, only supporting projects where:
    • They add content to games I already own, adventures, settings and so on
    • They are revisions of games I already own
  • Aim for lighter prep. Brief notes and lists will do for the main part
  • Get to grips with Fantasy Grounds Unity which should come out of beta soon. I’ve already started dabbling with it and I’m impressed, but there is still quite a steep learning curve. It will replace Roll20 as my VTT for games I run.
  • Manage social media better – spend less time on Twitter, more time doing useful stuff
  • Read more, particularly novels and comics

Grogmeet 2019

There are events you look forward to – a weekend break, Christmas, your best mates wedding, and they are nice. Then there are the epic events that dominate your thoughts for months in advance, a sense of excitement growing as the occasion draws near. Grogmeet is one of those events, occupying my RPG thoughts for many months and when it arrived it didn’t disappoint.

In the run up myself and a crack group of Grog GM’s had been planning a multi-table adventure for the Friday afternoon of Grogmeet using the Mothership system for a neat space horror adventure. I’d also offered to run The Mad Queens Jewels, a homebrew adventure on the Saturday morning of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells set in The Midderlands, an adventure that seemed to go down well at Owlbear and Wizards Staff con back in September. Then, just a few weeks before Grogmeet Dirk the Dice asked me to run a game for the Friday evening and after much consideration I put forward Escape from Skull Prison, the starter adventure for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. With a load of prep on my hands (apart from The Mad Queens Jewels which was pretty much boxed off), I ramped up my efforts for Grogmeet, not wanting to disappoint any of the players and deliver the best games I could.

Last year I had to leave Grogmeet early due to an unexpected family illness and so this year I was keen to get the full experience. Unlike previous years I had to make a solo journey over the Manchester, but it gave me a chance to go over my adventure notes, then after a bit of lunch and a quick catch up with a few Grogs, we headed over the Fanboy 3 for the start of the weekend.

Last year’s Friday afternoon game, a multi-table, multi-system bar room brawl was a lot of fun with many players commenting on it being a good ice breaker. But it was just a little chaotic and didn’t go quite as planned. I was hugely relieved then to get our multi-table Mothership game off to a start; I was much more confident about this, we were using the same system and the GM’s Dirk, Sam, Steve and Rick (plus Griff who while not present due to a bout of laryngitis left an indelible stamp on the game with his contribution) did a great job in the lead up to the game. It was truly a collaborative effort with everyone bringing ideas and insights to the format and writing one of the scenes in the game.

Dirk started the ball rolling with the introductory blurb, bringing to life the cigar smoking Sergeant Apone who unsurprisingly was a native of Brooklyn. Quickly the players moved to their tables (drawn randomly) and we quickly started the simultaneous adventures. Mothership is great for ramping up character stress levels so when they panic bad things can happen. The scenes were all designed to pile on stress and get to panic points quickly and it was no surprise to find characters freaking out, curling up in catatonic ball or dieing due to a heart attack (quite a common occurence it seems). My players – Ian, Norman, Rob and Simon – were a great group, getting stuck into the spirit of the game, with Simon as the Corporate Jerk in the last scene taking the last escape pod and leaving the others to perish. Part of the set up was that each table had to detonate a nuclear core before reaching the escape pods – if three of the five were activated then the resulting explosion would be enough to close the rift that threatened the universe. Honestly I had expected all five of the tables to activate nuclear self destruct, but at least two of them didn’t, self serving, cowardly bastards…

Imagine if this lot escaped Skull Prison…

I was a little nervous about running Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells as the system was fairly new to me (although quite light and easy to run) and I wasn’t entirely sure about the adventure. However, a trial run the weekend before had given me some valuable feedback that I brought into this session. I had six experienced players – Dirk, Adam, Andy, Mark, Blythy and Simon – at the table and they quickly took to their characters, a ragtag bunch of cons on Skull Prison, a private facility where the prisoners may or may not be guilty. When a power shortage released the mag-locks on their doors, they took the opportunity to attempt an escape, quickly subduing Slitface and his gang, but nearly coming unstuck against the Black Bats – some quick thinking navigated that problem and the rest of the prison, until they reached the final encounter against the prison commander. A desperate firefight seemed to be going against them until the smart character in the group (played by Mark) activated the self destruct sequence (‘the Mothership gambit’ as Dirk called it), and with a minute to go they raced for one of the ships and managed to fly out as the prison exploded behind them.

RuneQuest hero’s from Steve’s epic Sartar Rising campaign, with Gianni present in spirit

Saturday morning was my last session running a game – this time it was Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. I was feeling good about this adventure as it was a homebrew that I knew really well. As I’d come to expect, I once more had a great group of players – Steve, Martin, Malcolm and Chris – who really engaged with the setting and wasted no time planning their escape from the Leaningtown Spa with the Queen’s jewels. Once again there was some really creative play and exciting combat and despite a few hiccups this group did the job as well.

Steve isn’t just a great GM because of that amazing GM screen…

Grogmeet GM’s get the first pick of games for sessions for the slots they are not running, and I no hesitation in picking Steve’s Middle Earth Role Playing game. Like many Grogs this game has a special place in our hearts as it was often our first gaming experience in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It was with some excitement that I sat down for the Saturday afternoon session. This was an adventure that Steve had written set in the dark days of the War of the Ring after Osgiliath had fallen and the hordes of Mordor flooded across the Pelennor fields. Our mission as a band of rangers stranded in Osgiliath was to return to the Minas Tirith and join fellow Gondorians in defence of the White Tree. I won’t give any spoilers but will say that it was an excellent adventure. MERP showed it’s age, but it worked amazingly well with Steve handling much of the crunch for us – when I think of the complexity of combat and the tracking of effects on our characters, I shudder to think how a GM would keep a grip on that for all of the NPC’s and monsters that could be encountered.

Sunday morning is the interview slot where Dirk the Dice chats to an RPG luminary and this year it was Paul Fricker, author of Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition and one of the authors of The Two Headed Serpent adventure for Pulp Cthulhu. Dirk follows the format of his show, engaging his audience throughout (all together now “Where’s me dice bag?”); it was like watching a master craftsman at work aided by the tools of his trade – the ridiculous homemade shrine to the actor Caroline Munroe and of course the GM screen so he could make hidden roles to randomise questions for Paul. Good job we all had decent imaginations… Paul was a great guest, going right from the early days of his gaming life (agricultural simulation board games anyone?) to working with the luminaries of Chaosium on their Call of Cthulhu game. I’m playing The Two Headed Serpent for Pulp Cthulhu at the moment so it was great to get some spoiler free insights.

And with that Grogmeet itself was over. Some folks had to leave for long journeys home so there were many fond farewells, but for myself and a few others the gaming was to continue as Newt Newport of D101 Games had arranged a Go Play Manchester event to follow straight on from Grogmeet. I’ve been to Go Play Manchester before so knew it would be a great event and was looking forward to playing in Blythy’s Troika adventure The Cage of Sermit. I’ve not played in Blythy’s games before and was particularly looking forward to it and to playing Troika, a game that sits on my shelf but has not yet made it to my table. We were an odd group of adventurers (and players one could observe!) tasked with rescuing an imprisoned wizard from a desert prison to save a dying world. Troika delivered admirably with light, fast moving rules as did Blythy, giving us a colourful, exciting adventure full of crazy characters and strange locations.

There is another element to Grogmeet that I’ve not yet touched on, and that is the amazing sense of camaraderie, generosity and good spirit. I spent quite a bit of time eating and boozing with the other Grogs, catching up on life and gaming – that is nearly as much a part of Grogmeet as the gaming. And so to all you Grogs (most of whom I’ll game with one way or another before next Grogmeet), cheers to you all, here’s to Grogmeet 2020!

BurritoCon4 has gone

You’ve probably heard me go on about BurritoCon4 quite a bit. A small, friendly event held at that most wonderful of game stores, Fanboy 3 in Manchester. Following on from the previous successes of previous BurritoCons, my plan for number 4 started not long after 3 had finished and after asking around I was pleased to see there was quite a bit of interest from previous attendees (many of whom I’ve become good friends with) and gamers that were new to me and the event.

The formula was unchanged with 2 three hour sessions, this time aiming for five tables (I had suggested extending the slot length, but the feedback was clear – 3 hours is just right). I communicated with attendees through a Twitter group, although I’m not sure that’s the most efficient as some folk don’t use it. I found myself repeating key messages on Facebook and email… not ideal, although I’m not sure how best else to do it.

I’d also decided to use Warhorn for sign ups to games, but this meant GMs had to submit their game specs a few weeks ahead of the event. At previous BurritoCons it was much more relaxed with GMs having up to the day to decide what they wanted to run and players trying to get onto games they wanted, a bit more potluck. Based on feedback from the last event I knew players preferred to sign up in advance. All in though there was relatively little to organise – Fanboy 3 are fantastic and make booking tables dead easy, and the GMs were great in getting their specs over to me… then it was just see how it went on the day.

The day was certainly RPG filled with Bud of Bud’s RPG Reviews knocking around at my house and us jumping the train to Manchester, talking RPG gubbins (a close relation to bobbins) along the way. Quite a few folks met up in a cafe across the road from Fanboy 3, but shortly after 10 we were all at the venue, ready to go. Again from an organisation point of view everything was really straightforward as I’d come prepared with a couple of lists, so it was easy to get tables sorted and ensure all the players paid their table fees to Fanboy 3.

Morning session

In the morning session I played A Goblin Quest, expertly GM’d by Joy. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the game; in this instance it quickly became clear as the rules were easy to understand and the setting was delightful. A little microworld where you play a ‘clutch’ of puny goblins out on a crazy mission – in fact, it is the players who decide what the quest is and determine what they need to do to complete the quest. Each quest is split into 3 tasks each with 3 stages and a simple game mechanic determines how you progress through that… features of your clutch such as area of expertise and quirks affect your dice rolls, but the real fun is the narrative bit where players describe what stupid stuff their goblin is doing to move the task forward before rolling the dice. Needless to say there’s lots of chaos and goblins in your clutch get churned through… it was huge fun and is a game I’d recommend checking out.

Our despicable and somewhat useless bunch of goblins plot and scheme to put on a play for a powerful Wizard… a tale of goblins uprising against Wizards. Perhaps not our best decision
My goblin clutch, the Fervent Five who were good at throwing stuff, especially their useless Frisbee. They were pretty useless at everything else.

While we were enjoying being small and highly squishable goblins, there were a number of other games on the go.

Umerican Survival Guide with Griff… it had crabs and vending machines. Mad and brilliant at the same time
Although you can’t see it here GM Tim had a cool 3D printed spaceship interior for his Traveller game. According to Dirk the Dice it was his best Traveller game in 30 years!
Top DCC Judge Bruce skillfully guides his players through the dangerous streets of Lankhmar

Afternoon session

I was running Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells by Old Skull Publishing in the afternoon, having resurrected Who Watches the Watchfires (a Fantasy Age adventure converted to SS&SS), last ran at my first Grogmeet back in 2017. While I love con sessions, I do struggle with time – sometimes a four hour session doesn’t feel enough, so I needed something I knew would fit within a three hour slot and this did the job. A cracking group of players joined me at the table and threw themselves into the adventure; a fairly action and combat heavy scenario involving recapturing a small frontier fort. The SS&SS system did the job fantastically well, offering fast moving action resolution and combat. Again, another game I’d recommend checking out.

I didn’t get a photo of my players (sorry!), so this will have to do. The characters (yellow bases) realise they may have bitten off more than they can chew… or had they?

It was great seeing other players getting stuck into their afternoon games.

GM Craig taking Demon Hunters A Comedy of Terrors for a spin with his homebrew adventure Talentless Hacks. Set in Hollywood, with some talentless hacks. And a demon.
GM Josh shows us older GMs how to do it with a laptop… the giant robot mechs went down a treat
Andy H unimpressed with my sneaky photo. GM Guy is too focussed on bringing Glorantha to life with 13th Age.

After the con we all headed around to a local pub for a few beers and more game talk, before grabbing a bite to eat and heading back home on the train with Bud.

All in I had a fantastic day and was pleased to get positive feedback from the folks who attended – that made it all worthwhile. It’ll be some time before I think about a BurritoCon5, it certainly won’t be until well into the new year. In the meantime if you’re after events with a similar feel and cracking games there are plenty of other events to look forward to, my favourites being:

  • Grogmeet 8-10th November in Fanboy 3 the annual meetup of followers of the Grognard Files podcast and perhaps the best gaming event of the year
  • Go Play Manchester, a monthly gaming at Fanboy 3, next one is 10th November. Their mini-winter Con on 11th January 2020 is a similar format to BurritoCon and well worth getting to.
  • Convergence, a three day con in Stockport over the first weekend of March
  • DevaCon, a one day event in April… no date has been set as far as I know for 2020, but it’s another small one day con well worth a visit

Dirk the Dice has written a piece on BurritoCon4 on his blog – you should check it out and while there subscribe to his podcast.

Owlbear and Wizards Staff 2019

I measure my progress through the year with family birthdays and gaming events… Convergence marks the start of the con season in early March, then DevaCon in April, UK Games Expo in May and BurritoCon3 in July, then it’s the inevitable slow down over summer with folks on holiday and fewer game opportunities. Owlbear and Wizards Staff (OBaWS) fires off the second part of the con season, followed by BurritoCon4 in October and Grogmeet in November. It was with great excitement I looked forward to OBaWS, held in leafy Royal Leamington Spa.

This year I decided to make a full weekend of it and stopped in a nice B&B with fellow gamers Julian & Sue, Lee and Graham. It was great to have some gaming chat over breakfast! Everything needed for the weekend was within easy walking distance – pubs and the venue.

The Friday evening was a nice social event, catching up with old friends and making new ones over beer and a fantastic curry with more booze and food on the Saturday evening after the main event. Of course gaming is the main focus of these cons, but socialising is a big part of it as well.

Julian, Sue and Paul too, Blythy Dirk and James

OBaWS is held in The Band Factory, a nice sized venue with 13 tables and loads of great games on offer. Matt the organiser did an amazing job of putting the whole thing together with Samosas for lunch, and drinks and biscuits available throughout the day – the kitchen was the main meeting place, it was great to catch up with the many gamers I’ve come to know over the last couple of years. GM’s received nice goody bags with some OBaWS dice and a nice OBaWS dice tray, a lovely touch.

The main game room with additional tables in the kitchen and upstairs – a properly busy con

Session 1: The Mad Queen’s Jewels (Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells)

I really didn’t get this adventure into a workable state until a couple of weeks before OBaWS; I couldn’t decide on which system to use and the overall idea for the session kept changing, but I nailed the adventure and went with Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells in place of my initial choice LotFP. Great players really made this game for me – Bruce, Erin, Mark, Phil, Tom and Turan really invested themselves in the game and SS&SS proved to be a great system, I’ll definitely be running it more often.

Heroes of Obediah Cromwell’s rebellion (left to right): Phil, Erin, Tom, Turan, Mark and Bruce

Unlike other con games I’ve ran recently this adventure was very much theatre of the mind with a few hand drawn maps, but no cardboard miniatures or detailed maps. This suited the nature of the adventure which was very open – rather than plan and execute a heist as I had originally planned, we had a “you’ve got the jewels, now you’ve got to escape” situation; there’s a load of content that wasn’t explored which I expected – the hope is I can run this adventure with multiple groups and each time they will have a completely different adventure. The finale to the adventure ended far better than I could have anticipated!

Notice the Judge Death pterodactyl head on the desk – a gift from the very talented Kaye Elling, was well pleased with that!

Session 2: Acting Up in Lankhmar (Dungeon Crawl Classics)

I’ve only played DCC with the GM Bruce Cunnington once before – it was at my first Expo back in 2017 (hard to believe Bruce!), and so I was desperate to play in one of his games again. I love Lankhmar and had heard great things about Goodman Games’ version, so I was made up to get a place in this game. Without giving spoilers, this was an adventure that oozed Lankhmar, in fact it highlighted to me why DCC and Lankhmar are such a great match – weirdness, larger than life characters, fast pace and a great sense of adventure left me wanting more. All of the players threw themselves into the game, with crazy schemes, and subtle and not so subtle machinations winning the day – in particular the way magic works in DCC and how it was used by the Wizards in the party really changed the game. Can’t wait to play it some more!

Theatres can be such dangerous places in Lankhmar…
But we survived… the iconic DCC players and GM photo

Even after the games we finished there were so many people to hang around with, so many folk to catch up with and chat to – it was great! After quickly dumping my stuff of at the hotel it was off to the Royal Pug for a night of booze and food with gaming pals old and new. Brilliant stuff.

This is a con with a big heart run by a well organised, generous and very hospitable host and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m already thinking about con games for 2020 and what I might run at the next OBaWS…

BurritoCon4 is go!

Following hot on the heels of BurritoCon3 is the new kid on the block, BurritoCon4.

If you seethed with envy at missing BurritoCon3, now is your chance to make others jealous. Come and join us for a friendly mini-con with top games to play and the most wonderful gamers on this earth. With four tables and 8 games on offer there’s going to be something to tickle your RPG fancy.

Saturday 19th October, from 10am – 5.30pm at the UK’s best game store, Fanboy 3, Manchester.

It’s £3 per player per game (so £6 for the day) payable to Fanboy 3 on the day. GM’s get £1 store credit for each player at their table.

If you’re interested in coming along get in touch on Twitter @OldScouserRPing

The Games

Reliquary Of The Ancient Ones

Mutant Crawl Classics (GM: @M0RT75)

When a terraquake reveals that your jungle village has existed for centuries atop an installation of the Ancient Ones, your good fortune seems to good to be true. Surely enough artifacts and ancient lore exist to satisfy desires for power both subtle and gross.

But your tribe’s Seeker teams are all out on missions, so it falls to you and your youngling friends to volunteer for an exploration of the hidden treasures and knowledge that lie in the reliquary beneath your feet.

Some of you will even make it back. Probably.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Mongoose Traveller 2Ed (GM: @Simplikissimus)

The invasion of Aurora by the alien Kafers, has thrown the French Arm into turmoil. Refugees are flooding ‘down the line’ fleeing the slaughter. Whilst Interstellar Governments mobilise, a plucky trader crew are doing their bit ferrying families to the temporary safety of a commercial outpost. But will Port L’Enfer offer a sanctuary for all? And with a million Francs of salvage in the mix, will the crew of the Zuckerzeit have to choose between money and morals?

Talentless Hacks

Demon Hunters A Comedy of Terrors (GM: @whodo_voodoo)

People go missing in Hollywood all the time, it’s a big place and actors don’t tend to announce when they’ve decided to give up the dream and head back home. So when a 3rd rate mystic was apparently possessed by the soul of a missing actor live on daytime TV the Brotherhood took notice. Well the Cipher collective did, they’re hooked on that crap.

Your mission is simple – track down the mystic. We need to know if they’re just a run of the mill fraud or whether the ghost was telling the truth about another bunch of talentless hacks summoning a demon in return for success. If it’s the latter deal with it as well, just make sure you keep it off camera.

Mall of The Fountain Thing

Umerican Survival Guide (GM: @doc_griffiths)

Mall of the Fountain Thing is a 0-level funnel adventure for use with the gonzo post-apocalyptic setting Umerica. Every eleven years like clockwork the youth of the Rad-Zone are rounded up by fearsome and inhuman raiders and taken “elsewhere” for some unknown and nefarious reason. The time is approaching and you play a bunch of callow teens. It is the morning after the massive party your village threw in your honour by the light of The Broken Moon, your parents are tearful and holding you close, and from the dustbowl you can hear nerve-jangling chittering and claw clacking….

No Room for a Wallflower

Lancer (GM: @joshua19111)

You are Lancer mech pilots, best of the best when it comes to getting the jobs done normal mercenaries can’t. This job should be a milk run, go down and investigate the colony of Evergreen and find out what is causing it enough trouble to hire us for a large amount of credits – what could possibly go wrong on a job this simple. You know the drill suit up, get rid of the problem, and come back to a 4 figure paycheck. See you on the other side pilots.

Sting of the Scorpion Men

13th Age Glorantha (GM: @milnermaths)

An unprovoked attack on an isolated village tells you what your shaman already knew – the poisoned earth around Larnste’s Footprint is rising up. You will have to travel through the Fossil Wood and evade the Chaos Beasts therein to steal the one thing Gagix Two-Barb and her Scorpion Men don’t want you to have – her Sting.

13G mixes the narrative d20-ness of 13th Age with Greg Stafford’s mythic world of Glorantha. This adventure is for 4th level characters – pregens provided. Ducks! Baboons! Scorpion Men! Bison Riders!

Blasphemy and Larceny in Lankhmar

Dungeon Crawl Classics (GM: @M0RT75)

A member of your gang awakens in an alleyway with foggy memories of a deal made, a job taken, a partner slain, and a heist planned. They struggle to remember the details, but you all agree that breaking into an abandoned temple should be a simple matter – in and out. Yet the heist is on a collision course with something sinister.

What begins as an easy job becomes anything but, as you confront cultists, vengeful spirits, and the servitors of a long-forgotten god. While seeking an easy score, you uncover a plan to strike a blow into the heart of Lankhmar, and no one is safe from the blasphemous plot. A choice needs to be made. Will you stand with the city, or risk letting it descend into chaos?

Curse the gods of Lankhmar for their cruel joke that, in the shadowed alleyways of Lankhmar, there is no such thing as a “simple matter.”

A Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest (GM: Joy)

Goblin Quest – the game of fatal incompetence – a comedy one-shot romp where each player controls five goblins (in sequence, not in parallel) who attempt to achieve a basic task. But, goblins being as unlucky and stupid as they are, even simple actions have a chance to immediately, violently, permanently wrong.

You are a goblin, you have a week to live and are going to make your mark. You are going to undertake…. A GOBLIN QUEST

Circuitous Contrivance of the Ant-Seed

The Black Hack 2e (GM: @d_percentile)

Help me make sense of this entirely procedurally generated scenario! The title and key features were created from random tables in Matt Finch’s Tome of Adventure Design, as heard on dpercentile podcast episode 50! Mapping and locations will be looked after by Goblin’s Henchman’s innovative ‘labyrinth move’ hexflower chart.

Accompany a heretic priest into the dreaded Reaction Caverns in search of a fabled girdle of great power.

We’ll be playing the rules-lite indie osr system The Black Hack 2e right out of the box, so that the mechanics will quickly get out of the way to let the exploration happen. You can expect frequent and quick combats, high lethality, and mercifully quick character creation.

Who Watches the Watch Fires?

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells (GM: @OldScouserRPing)

The watch fires of Rath’ator warn against invaders, because Rath’ator’s small army relies on the surrounding badlands to defend the city and its sparse farmland. Any attackers must cross treacherous hills and travel a road rife with blind gullies and steep canyons. Even a modest force can bleed aggressors white long before they reach the city gates – but only with enough warning.

A line of watch fires stands along the southern road to Gaxor Keep and the Sticks of Xoth’Gor. At the first sign of an invasion, the guards light the fires, the city locks its gates, and the banners of Rath’ator ride out to thwart the invading army.

But now, the watchfire keep has been taken by treachery, and you discover the betrayal by chance. Can you retake it in time and light the watch fires?

BurritoCon3 been and gone

After many weeks of organisation (which wasn’t a great deal) and looking forward, BurritoCon3 finally came along, and last Saturday 27th July, twenty or so gamers gathered in Manchester to play some great RPG’s. In the lead up to the event I was delighted by the response of gamers on Twitter, with plenty of GM’s offering their services and players eager to join in. Last year there were two BurritoCon’s, both with two tables, so this year being able to scale up to four tables felt great.

Like the previous events this was held at Fanboy 3, a venue that has great facilities, shelves full of gaming goodies and a great attitude to small events like this. If I had one criticism it would be that it’s not in Liverpool…

After dropping my daughter and her friends of at ComicCon I headed up towards Hilton St; my plan was to grab a coffee and bite to eat in the cafe across the road from Fanboy 3 which didn’t open until 10. Turned out most folk had the same idea and so a load of us gathered there first; it was a great to catch up with gamers I know and put faces to Twitter handles for those I didn’t. All in a great bunch of people.

When the doors of Fanboy 3 opened at 10 we headed over to get games set up and get things moving. I didn’t have any kind of sign up for games; previously I had avoided it and trusted the players would more or less be happy to try any game, but was just a little worried it might not work with more attendees. Everyone was great about it though, and when players weren’t able to get their preferred table they happily jumped on another one (at least that’s how it seemed to me). For future events I may go for a more formal game sign up with something like Warhorn.

Morning Games

Marvel FASERIP: Escape from New York

The Code of Steam and Steel: The case of the missing Prince Albert

Shock photo of @squadronuk without gaming persona cap

Monkey: Peaches Fallen From Heaven

Old School Essentials: For the Honour of the Tribe

In my photo taking frenzy I forgot to take a photo of my table… an amateurs mistake I know. I was running a classic Imagine magazine adventure, a proper old school affair where the tribal heroes @BudsRPGreview, @daveygriff82, @jaje7406 and Tim set off to retrieve the holy mace Iron Lure from the evil wizard Bayn Tamarind. It’s an adventure I’ve ran before using other OSR systems, I felt it worked particularly well with Old School Essentials. The players were great, throwing themselves into the adventure, with all but one of the characters surviving.

Afternoon Games

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Frozen in Time

@mcdie88 holding the players attention so much they didn’t even pose for a photo…

WEG Star Wars D6: Everyone Comes To Squig’s

You must remember this… @fechtbuch‘s Casablanca inspired Star Wars adventure. I hope we can… play it again, Andy

Project Cassandra: Ich bin ein Berliner

Seems I also can’t play games and take photos. Apologies to the GM @whodo_voodoo and the players, no photo for this one as well. This was a cracking cold war, psychic agents save the president adventure with some really nice set pieces and some great GMing. @whodo_voodoo was testing out his own system, Project Cassandra, which is perfect for one shot play – easy to pick up and get into.

HeroQuest Glorantha: Wyrmghost Ruins

@ian_h_cooper cunningly deploys his giant hypnotic dice while he gems up on his adventure

@squadronuk and @whodo_voodoo both blogged about BurritoCon3:

Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who turned up and made BurritoCon3 a great day – I know quite a few of you travelled some distance to get there. Extra thanks to the GM’s who put the work in and ran great games.

I’m starting to think about BurritoCon4 already…

UK Games Expo 2019

A week after the event I write this with tears in my eye, tears of joy for Expo was truly awesome, and a tear of sadness now that it is over. Friends, games, food, beer and a single game of footy made it a weekend of epic proportions. Just how did it go down?

Thursday 30 May

Invited to Bean Gaming in Leicester by @M0RT75 for a Dungeon Crawl Classics session with DCC master Judge @BrendanJLaSalle, I was very much looking forward to this. The spiritual if not actual start to my Expo weekend, plus it would be much quicker to get to the NEC the next morning compared to driving direct from Liverpool.

It’s the second game I’ve played with @BrendanJLaSalle and as expected he delivered in bucket loads. His boundless energy is infectious and draws you into the colourful scenarios he creates; even with a table of 8 players he keeps things moving and the adventure keeps flowing. On this occasion we were playing The Inn of Five Points, one of Brendan’s published adventures – without giving spoilers we fought foul beasts, took a wild ride and battered a big bad, all living to tell the tale. Gordo Ironarm will fight again!

Friday 31 May

A very early start saw me on the way to Expo. The prepayment for parking meant I didn’t need to queue and before too long I’d met up with gaming chums @OrlanthR and @Lintillaz. We visited the trade hall with our own individual quests; what games would we buy, what surprises lay in store. Maybe it’s because I’m an old hand (my 3rd Expo) I wasn’t too overawed by the scale of the thing and was able to focus on the stalls I wanted to visit. The highlights for me were F-Side Games (the best little game store in town), Soul Muppet, Mottokrosh Machinations, LotFP, Melsonian Arts Council, but there were many other worthies including All Rolled Up/Just Crunch and Squarehex. I love these smaller publishers and the materials they produce.

After a locating my hotel and dumping my goodies I returned to the Hilton for some RPG goodness. I was running my tried and tested Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, A Heart for Madness; as expected the players were great and really got stuck into the Swords and Sorcery vibe of the game – cutting down swathes of rabble to take on the evil villain and his band they were victorious. It was the fourth time I’ve ran the adventure and it always seems to go down well… keeping it simple really seems the way to go for con adventures.

Despite trying to move things along I ran over slightly (I always struggle for time, something I’m working on) and so only had a little time to grab a bite to eat and catch up with a few Grognards before heading off to my evening game, Ironsworn with GM Graham S. This is a narrative game inspired by PbtA, not the kind of thing I’d usually go far – I couldn’t get my head around Dungeon World, so I hoped this might make this type of gameplay clearer. Plus the setting sounded fantastic.

Graham ran a cracking game and the other players threw themselves into the setting. There are some interesting mechanics that dictate the flow of the game such as journeying; there was an endpoint we had to reach, and based on rolls of our guide degrees of progress were marked on the journey track each day, with various encounters also stemming from the rolls. When combat breaks out there are no rounds as such, just a narrative flow; if a character can trigger a Take the Initiative move in response to an enemy attack they get to act. Then you can Enter the Fray to join the fight and so on. I think a good grasp of the mechanics would be useful for players (a couple were already familiar with it), but overall it made sense.

The adventure itself was very good, our band of Ironsworn had made an Iron oath to help out another village many days travel away. The land was mystical and dangerous, our characters primitive and superstitious, decisions had an impact. We were victorious, although as with all great stories the nature of our victory was somewhat ambiguous, we knew this was likely not the end of this tale. Unfortunately as the evening wore on I was becoming increasingly tired and I don’t believe I gave the game my best (apologies to Graham for that, he was a top GM); maybe I will avoid any evening games next time and just head to the bar.

Saturday 1 June

An early start to the day saw me at the table of another great DCC Judge, @LeeJNeilson  to play the classic Sailors on a Starless Sea. It’s an adventure I’ve heard great things about and wanted to GM myself; however before reading it I wanted to play it through. Once more a group of peasants roped in to carry out an impossible quest, we took on monstrous challenges and as we progressed our trusty band of heroes lost comrades, one by one meeting a grizzly death. The death stamp is so much fun! Another bonus was catching up with an old work colleague I’ve not seen or heard from in over 10 years, he was playing in Lee’s game. Unfortunately I didn’t get his contact details as I had to leave the game before it finished… maybe I’ll bump into him next year.

With another trawl around the trade hall I picked up a gifted copy of Best Left Buried Deluxe (for my editing contributions), Mothership and Winter’s Daughter. Then it was off to the afternoon game.

According to Expo I had six players signed up for The Road to Hell by D101 Games which I was running with Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules, however only four players turned up – something I’ve not experienced before at Expo. I had clearly flagged the game as 18+ as there was some dark and twisted content in it, and in the lead up to the session I had the controversial incident of the previous day at the back of my mind… I hoped nobody would be offended by the game. As it turned out I had a great group with @carlclare who I have gamed with for a while now and three Scottish chaps; John, William and Alex. Investigating the mysterious goings on at the Inn of the Cock in a weird and mystical Elizabethan England, they really threw themselves into it, it was a great session that left me exhausted and elated.

I had kept the evening clear to catch up with gaming friends in the Hilton bar, and as it turned out there was also the Champions League final and we know how that turned out. All in it was a fantastic day.

Sunday 2 June

My final game of the con was a Lyonesse adventure called Coddifoot’s Stipule, GMd by top Grognard, @theGROGNARDfile. The Lyonesse RPG isn’t due out for a little while yet, but the Design Mechanism sent a copy of the rules to @theGROGNARDfile and put together the adventure for the event. What an honour! Not wanting to give any spoilers I’ll just say that the adventure captured the feel of Lyonesse as I understand it from my recent reading, full of charm (and food) and no small measure of humour (and food), wrapped up in an easy to understand d100 system (with food), and pleasingly served up in tasty portions of adventurous fun by our masterchef GM.

A bit of lunch and a final potter around the trade hall with @theGROGNARDfile, @sjamb7, @DailyDwarf and @OrlanthR saw the day out. A little sad that it was over, yet still buzzing from the event I headed back home, although sadly not in time to catch LFC’s parade through the city.

And finally…

To sum up, I had a great time, everyone I talked to was having a great time. We talked, we gamed, we spent money, we ate, we gamed! Catching up with the folks I game with online and chat with on Twitter was a huge pleasure and a great part of the overall experience; these games would be nothing without great people to play with. Saturday night in the Hilton bar was amazing for so many reasons…

So my mind turns to future cons. There’s BurritoCon3 in Manchester, 27 July, Owlbear and Wizards Staff in Leamington Spa, 21 September and Grogmeet in Manchester 8-10 November, with a few Go Play Manchester‘s thrown in between that lot. Hope to see you at one…

Hold my hands up to this one – I’m pretty rubbish at taking photos at events, so while some of these photos are mine I’ve nicked others off Twitter and MeWe…