No not that kind you smutty minded troglodytes. I’m on about the multisided dice type while talking about robes, staffs and magic spells… Well ok, it could pass for the smut laden filth you lot started thinking about at the start.
This post is an attempt to chronicle a bit of my fractured memory from the 90’s before it slips away for good due to drink and old age, and stems from a random conversation on twitter, so before I lose too many readers (too late, one left and now theres only you reading it) I shall do that wibbly wobbly thing they do on TV programmes to show we are going to a flashback. Ready? You have to join in with this bit. Wibble… wibble… wibble….
Its the 90’s, probably around ’93 or ’94. A bunch of teenage lads sit in a spare bedroom in a northern house just outside Rochdale. Pot noodles for lunch, masses of lead miniatures line the bookcase and the dice have more sides/angles than they should. I was the GM to our little RPG group more often than not with Warhammer fantasy Role-play being the main one but we also tucked into Rifts, Necromunda (is that RPG? It has RPG elements), Shadowrun, Star Wars (the second most played), Runequest (i don’t think we actually played that as the rulebook was highly complex), Call of Cthulhu, Toon and Battletech.
Most of these anecdotes are probably only funny to people who are involved but I like to think they could be understood by anyone who has held a D10. The core group was four of us, Martin (Orc war boss), Tony (Dark Elves/Dark Angels), Francis (Wood elves/Eldar) and myself (Empire/Imperial Guard), other people joined in now and then but it was just us few. At this point I should go all hipster and point out that we played the 3rd edition Warhammer (big old hardback which I still have), started on Rogue Trader (no, not the TV series about dodgy plumbers, it was the first version of what is now Warhammer 40k) then moved onto the 2nd edition when it became 40k (circa 93) and our version of Warhammer RP was the first edition, along with the various addons that went with them all. The group could never keep on plot and, while I liked to think I could keep the story moving, it often ended up with them going far off tangent and ruining my careful preparation but what didn’t help was I tried to stick to the story a bit too closely rather than be flexible and play by ear when they went off course.
Lets start with the characters, like the transgender druid. We played WFRP at the time of playing Warhammer fantasy battles so we often had minis for all of our characters and NPC’s but often when starting the games we didn’t always have minis to represent them straight away. Now credit where its due, someone tried to be unusual and rolled up a female druid. We played one days worth of a campaign game in which one of the other characters (the Wizard i think) decided to… erm… get jiggy with this loverly and I seem to remember it may have been in some barn as we ended the days session with the group traveling. So skip forward to the next session and someone managed to get some new figures and our druid now has a mini… complete with beard. Unable to find a female druid figure in Games Workshops back catalogue he ended up with a figure from the Talisman collection (top row, 2nd from left). This caused a few sniggers about the romantic tryst the night before (actually it could have been rape knowing these guys) but we retconned the previous session to say it was always a bloke. The young couple never spoke of it again but the rest of us did. Many times. Including about 5 minutes ago on twitter…
Then we had the poodle killing dwarf. At the time we often bulked out the parties with two characters. Martin had the aforementioned wizard whos most powerful spell for a while was ‘protection from rain’ (complete with mini umbrella) and a dwarf trollslayer with no patience. While playing part of the ‘Enemy within’ campaign the group spent most of their time wandering round a city looking for clues which our little slayer got bored of doing so promptly started strangling dogs. No reason for it, just a bit of harmless dog killing to pass the time.
I went through a phase of trying to do individual bits for each player so I took the assassin to one side and tried to corrupt him to chaos but it didn’t work (an incorruptible assassin who doesn’t want power! Whaaaaa?) and the dwarf was temporarily loaned out to a special forces group which I based on the men from U.N.C.L.E. to do a warehouse raid. He ended up not using the custom repeating crossbow pistol I gave him and slaughtered most of the NPC’s with an axe.
They got low on money at one point while in the Empire so made the group actually roleplay out street performing to raise cash so they did the ‘shoop shoop song’. I gave them a few coppers based on how bad they did and it was bad.
One guy who dropped in for a game rolled up a Halfling thief (a bit of racial stereotyping there) and then promptly had an arrow through his head in the first fight he got into.
There was the time the party stumbled onto a camp of orcs with two of them ‘getting jiggy with it’ (what WAS I thinking at that point?)
The out and out corruption of the character leveling, when changing classes the players would combine upgrades meaning some players ended up with a WS of around 90 and one guy got so strong he could punch through an orc.
I got roasted for saying ‘nitch’ instead of ‘niche’ in one game.
My Blood Bowl team called something like Azule Bolg which translated into fat and rich, which worked well as they moved like slugs on the pitch but despite losing every game, managed to be the richest team.
While playing a Star Wars session I had the group running through an asteroid trying to destroy an Imperial research base and they came around a corner to find a room full of stormtroopers. Hats off to the player (can’t remember which) who announced he was going to shoot the door to lock it down, I wanted the players to be forced to go a different way so waved at the door in the room we played in and said it was a door like that and they had just blown the handle off the door… they then spent the rest of the
day year lifetime laughing at me for putting a wooden door in a research base. I was attempting to say it was a manual door but you don’t really see a lot of those doors in the Star Wars Universe so either way I was onto a loser.
I’m not even going to get into the farce that was most of the games of Warhammer. I lost most, if not all of them…
Here ended the geekery.
Just a little footnote here, as I was writing this up I remembered that we played the Fighting Fantasy RPG a couple of times and I think it came before WFRP. There was the Riddling Reaver, a small RPG book the same size as the FF books as well as two really chunky rulebooks for expanded RP. Sadly nothing sticks out from those games but I may need to see if I still have the books to jog my memory.