Ever since I started to listen to the Grognard files podcast I’ve heard about this mythical event called ‘Grogmeet’ and this year I decided I need to attend and see what all the fuss is about. my good mate Ralph was also keen so we booked our tickets, and made plans for our adventure in the frozen North aka Manchester
Grogmeet is a 1 day RPG event with side events on the Friday and Sunday so it’s nearly a 3 day event but lets go through each day in turn
Friday – Head North
Friday was a cold and wet day, perfect weather for a long drive to Manchester, myself and Ralph had signed up for Grogmeet Eve which was one of the side events that was planned to start at 6pm, I left my house at 11 ready to drive over to Ralphs house that is deep in the Forest of Dean. Before leaving I packed the essentials and armed with some chocolate to keep me going on the way I set off to the ewok forest
eventually we made it into Manchester and found our hotel, we dropped our bags called a taxi and sprinted over to the venue for GrogMeet Eve Fan Boy 3
Fan Boy 3 is a gaming store and a half, it is stuffed full of stuff and I could have spent the evening just going over the shelves and buying stuff, but I couldn’t because I was late for my game.
ok here’s a few pictures of the Store I took on Sunday, just to give you an idea of whats there
Fridays game was a Judge Dredd game using the Savage Worlds engine and was run by Alan Gairey aka @DailyDwarf on Twitter, we were part of a joint mission to arrest a known criminal and bring him back to Brit City, but as the prep was last seen in the Cursed Earth we needed the help of Mega City One to find him.
the scenario was fantastic and the 4 players Neil, Kris, Simon and myself spent most of the game fighting amongst ourselves as none of us really trusted each other, here’s a few pictures to give you an idea
After the game we all retired to one of Manchester’s drinking establishments for a few post game beers, we had a table with Simon and Simon one of which has signed up for the Great Game run by Prof Tony Pollard and is running the Union Brigade which means he has to paint up nearly 100 Napoleonic Cavalry. The other Simon is our mate GoatMajor who I last saw at the Joy of Six event and it was great to catch up with him again
Saturday – main event
Saturday arrived with a slight hangover but fortified with a bacon sandwich, myself and Ralph headed for GrogMeet18 proper which was happening in Mad Labs in downtown Manchester. our first task was to find the place but luckily we meet up with some other attendees and we eventually found the venue. Mad Lab is an interesting venue, I’m still not sure if its a community art project or an unfinished office block. but we were greeted by the ever smiling Dirk the Dice (not his real name) and were soon mingling with the other players. I quickly noticed a table in the corner that started to fill with stuff which we learnt were the raffle prizes
I obviously brought some raffle tickets
Game 1 – Quarrel and Fable
for the first game of the day myself and Ralph took part in an adventure called Malady of The Moor-King using a set of rules written by Sean Smith. Sean himself was running the game and it was a really fun adventure which had a Fighting fantasy style feel to it. we managed to overcome the baddies and returned the land to good. as a by product we also took over the kingdom as my character convinced everyone that I was the old Kings lost son, which was nice.
unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the game but I did pick up a copy of the rules that Sean signed for me
Game 2 – Heroquest
there were 2 Heroquest games being played in the afternoon and both myself and Ralph got onto them, Ralph was playing a game run by Ian Cooper who is the line editor for Chaosium and is a bit of a superstar, I got onto the second game run by fellow Cardiffian Andrew Jones. the game was called Ducks on the Red Moon and told the story of how a group of Ducks traveled to the Red Moon to find the golden egg. it was very silly but utter fun and introduced the concepts of heroquest in a perfect way. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy heroquest as its a very high level narrative game but after playing it once I just clicked with what it was doing as it just allows the player to tell the story themselves whilst the GM guides them through the adventure. Andrew was a brilliant GM and that game will stay with me for years to come.
once the games had completed we all congregated in the main room and Dirk ran the raffle, I was lucky enough to get 2 prizes, beginning with a copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics and a game called Corporation which I know very little about (oh I also got a mug)
picking up DCC was a bit of a mistake as its a huge book that weighs a ton, and we were heading out to eat and have a few drinks. 6 hours later after drinking a fair few pints and enjoying the company of like minded gamers myself and Ralph found ourselves in a kebab shop were we feasted on manchester’s finest lamb based products.
Sunday – post GrogMeet and journey back home
Sunday started badly as I had the hangover from hell, but fortified by yet another bacon sandwich and a gallon of sweet tea I was able to make the short journey to Fan Boy 3 for the post Groogmeet event. the journey took a while as manchester has a stupid one way system and we got lost multiple times. but we made it in time for the event.
Dirk was going to do a live recording of the Grognard files and he interviewed Ian Cooper on his history of gaming and the work he has done with Heroquest and Chaosium. Ian was a wonderful guest and it was interesting to get an insight to Heroquest and everything else.
we finished up by having a small hunt around the shop where I picked up a copy of eleven lights the heroquest campaign that Ian signed for me
Then we said our goodbyes and headed home, stopping only once to fill up on baked goods in a greggs
Well I tell a lie as we did make a detour to see Vlad who had some figures for me, but don’t worry there will be a whole blog post them as they are something very special
this was my first real RPG gaming event and was a bit worried as I hadn’t played any of the games I was playing, but I didn’t need to be as the GM’s ran the games and allowed us to learn the game during the play. all 3 games I played were different but there was a commonality in them and that was the players, everyone wanted to have fun, there were no ego’s, no power gamers or anything like that, we all just wanted to enjoy the event. each part was really well organised and I never felt unwelcome.
Huge thanks has to go to Dirk and Blythy who are the Grognards, but also want to thank everyone I met at the event for making a shy welsh boy feel at home, it was great to put faces to twitter handles. I also want to say thanks to Simon (Goat Major) for the company and chat through out the weekend, and of course my driving companion and brother in arms Ralph for making sure I had the car pointing in the right direction
so will I attend next year? damn right I will this is now on my event calendar and the only question is do I feel brave enough to run a game?
to finish up here’s some picture of the weekend