Monday, 10 December 2012

Here, Have 1000 Dungeon Rooms

No, seriously. Here you are.

The first 21 rooms look like this;

Ugly, but functional.

Here's how it works. This is basically the Moldvay dungeon stocking tables streamlined down to a single d1000 roll, so that you roll once and get the complete room.

M means monster present, S means a special/unique present, T means a trap and a Y in the TREASURE column means treasure present.

The numbers in the columns come into play with d100 tables you plug in from elsewhere. So a roll of 007 on that table gives you a room-with-monster but also tells you that it is Monster #85 of your pre-defined table. This table is, of course, themed around whatever your dungeon or level is themed around. And you don't need all 100 monsters as you can say things like;

01-40 Chaos Dwarves
41-42 Flailsnails
43-50 Blind Cave Stirges etc. etc.

And so on. A d100 table can easily be re-factored to a d10 or d20 table. And if you don't want that many monsters, then it's easy to truncate that table so that a roll of 85+ (for example) is No Encounter.

The same is true of traps and specials. Room 005 gives us Special #19 and Room 015 has treasure guarded by Trap #64. Again, hackable to reduce the frequency.

FEAT.1 through FEAT.3 indicate d3 dungeon "features" which is basically the sort of stuff you get on Dungeon Dressing tables. Random rubbish, architectural features, natural cave formations, pools, archways, offal, chaos spikey bits sprouting from the walls etc. etc. This is where you define the "look and feel" of your dungeon.

If you want less dungeon dressing (i.e. d3-1) then simply ignore the last result on the list.

 Now, the obvious use of this is for stocking pre-created maps. But, your Boy Coop here is an idle fucker at the best of times and hates stocking maps. So kilodungeon is designed from the ground up for seat-of-the-pants improv. In other words no map drawn out in advance, just generated in play. This is an exercise in determining what you really, really don't need sorted in advance to start to play (which means that it owes a considerable debt to the "lightbulb moments" engendered by the One Page Dungeon concept and the superlative Vornheim).

How big are these rooms? What shape, where are the exits?

They are as big and as small as is required for the action contained within them. If it's a Dragon lair it's big. If it's an empty room it's probably not important, if it's a temple to Prahmfaaze, Mother of Bastards then it's probably big enough to house an altar and large congregation. Exits are, well, there's the one the PCs entered and the rightmost column tells you how many there are. Shape is not important unless it's important in which case draw something down. On a piece of paper somewhere. At whichever point it starts to matter.

There is nothing to stop you deciding once a result has been ascertained (posh way of saying, rolled on d1000) that it applies to a series of rooms or caverns so stops becoming a cave with Morlocks in and becomes a complex of linked caves that the whole Morlock tribe inhabits. This increases the efficiency of kilodungeon considerably and might more to the tastes of players who demand realism in the dungeons they ravage while pretending to be busty Elf tarts in scalemail knickers.


When planning out the dungeon (which means assembling the M, T, S and Dungeon Dressing tables) decide upon the percentage of rooms to corridors. Not necessarily footprint ratios or anything like that, just the flat percentage change that leaving a room leads to a corridor. Then roll for each exit used. If it comes up corridor, you can roll above for number of exits from that corridor on the d1000 table or simply roll d4 (which is all the little bit of VBScript I wrote to produce the above does).

Corridors go wherever and twist and turn wherever. Make it snap up to the rest of the already-drawn map or head off in another direction. Whichever seems most useful at the time. You're the DM after all.

Secret Doors.

Again, flat percentage of rooms/corridors that may have secret doors. In the interests of saving effort don't even waste time thinking about them until if and when the PCs start looking, then do a secret roll. (Or pre-game knock up a list of 20+ results and use them in order).

Level Entrances/Exits

You probably saw this coming - flat percentage chance of each room. Roll it etc. etc.

With the last three constants you can tweak the snakiness of the dungeon, density of secret doors and passages, and ease of egress from the level. It strikes me that you could also rip an existing module apart, cannibalizing it's monster list, trap list, specials and dungeon features and play it using kilodungeon.

Obviously, the contents of the PDF were generated by pressing refresh on my VBScript. I could churn out dozens of those charts at a drop of a hat.

Thoughts and criticisms welcome!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sometimes You Find a Random Picture...

...and think "Bloody Hell, that needs keying up as a dungeon."

Not mega-, not giga-, straight to yottadungeon that one.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

'Neath Whatever Isle

A dungeon outline built up from a few clicks of the RANDOM button on

(Click to embiggen, else much of the below won't make any sense)

All the PCs realise that they have had the same dream recently of a small island atop an underwater spire with a large fortified manor house or walled village, and lighthouse built underwater i.e. the picture handout above. For Old Skool characters this looks loot-able and therefore finding it becomes a matter of urgency, for characters from AD&D 2nd Edition onwards the dream was accompanied by visions of Merfolk crying for help and therefore finding it becomes a matter of urgency.

Island is located wherever DM wants to send campaign and is named appropriately to the local culture. Underwater construction is lair of Ventru the Atlantean, Merman Vampire (or Mermaid Vampire if you like).

High-level PCs probably have magical means of descending to the level of the lighthouse (where the underwater entrance to lair is). Low-levels probably don't and their attempts to dive to it flounder in strong currents returning the PCs to the surface after a bit of hp loss due to being battered against the rocks. If they are looking for it while underwater, something that might be the lighthouse beacon glow is vaguely visible down in the depths - on the right of the picture.

The island itself is occupied by Horrics, basically Giant Ferrets from B/X with the faces of wizened old men (for little reason other than the fact that it seems quite freaky and Chaotic whereas ferrets are in reality friendly and playful domesticated creatures. It's just a reskin of an existing creature and it's stats). Whether these are vicious predators or only fight in self-defence is up to DM and probably depends upon whether your game is low-level or high-level, or hack-and-slash or not. Despite the human faces they have only animal intelligence.

At the highest point of the island is a deep vertical shaft with an ancient spiral staircase carved from the rock and built up with pieces of driftwood and derelict ships. PCs can descend to the dungeon from here - it may be the home of bats or bat-like creatures (e.g. Stirges).

Whatever Isle Random Finds (d6)

1 - Skeleton in rotted remains of diving suit (brass helmet worth 65gp)
2 - Coastal erosion reveals 2500sp in sacks marked PROPERTY OF CAPTAIN DIVIATIO
3 - Lobster pots with 2d6 Lobsters, each effectively a meal if boiled
4 - Mound of earth. d6 hours to dig up, chest with 400gp of contraband rum, playing cards, foreign pornography etc.
5 - Suspiciously clean hand-axe. Actually a +1
6 - d6 Turquoise each worth 20gp.

Waterfall - Any PC stupid enough to go over takes 2d6, Save vs Paralysis to halve. Fatal damage - drowned and 3-in-6 body lost, washed out to sea.

Alternatively the underwater entrance is a potential means of ingress or later escape.

The lighthouse beacon is something akin to a Kalte Firesphere from the Lone Wolf gamebooks (magically glowing hemispherical stone) under a dome of transparent crystal. Any merman/mermaid or similar seeing the glow of the beacon at close quarters must Save vs Spells or sink into a state reminiscent of being slipped a Mickey Finn of rohypnol. Once this happens Ventru's servants, who are amphibious humanoids capable of breathing air and water such as some form of Sahuagin or saltwater-adapted Chaos Toadman venture out into the sea and abduct the helpless Mer-being, the victim intended for later consumption by Ventru. Ventru isn't keen on the blood of the surface dwellers as it lacks the necessary tang of brine and sushi.

These servants exit and enter through a natural underwater fungus that grows across a tunnel mouth in the side of the spire (to the left of the beacon on the picture). This can be pushed apart and naturally rapidly squeezes back around anything passing through it, creating a reasonably water-tight seal between the air-filled dungeon and the sea.

PROTIP - In Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse edition this is probably Giant Vagina Dentata instead.

The following important rooms are found within the dungeon. Others to be added by the DM.

The Servant Lair - one or more rooms for the Sahuagin/Chaos Toadmen. Large drains to get rid of any water ingress from when the fungus "seal/door" is used.

The Charnel Pit - A deep pit lined with downwards facing spikes of coral. All the blood-drained Mermen are flung down here so it is a pile of skeletons (top half human, bottom half fish) and decomposing corpses with potential for hostile undead encounters or friendly/neutral ghosts.

The Cracked Window - Ventru's quarters are on the left side of the spire (see pic). The windows are solid, translucent blue crystal with a calming blue glow filtering through into the dungeon. Mix of worked rooms (furnished) and natural caves (windowed). However one large window is cracked with an obvious large flaw and if the PCs can put enough destructive power here, then the complex can be flooded. However the huge water pressure here will make being in the room at the same time as the window is blown somewhat dangerous if not outright Save or Die foolish.

Prison/Larder - Merman and Mermaid captives, for whom the spell of the beacon has worn off and need rescuing.

Ventru's Lair - For low-level gaming, Ventru is tucked away in an inaccessible part of his complex. For high-level gaming, Ventru will play cat-and-mouse with the PCs and put in a personal appearance.

PROTIP - For Old Skool gaming the latter happens even if the PCs are low-level. Tough shit.

Access to Ventru's inner sanctum is via The Purple Gate...

The Purple Gate - This blocks off the end of a tunnel or chamber. Access is via opening both eyelids at the same time (requires two climbers as the distance is just a bit too great for a tall man to reach both), at which point the entire neck section "telescopes" down into the torso revealing the access. For high-level PCs everything else like the nipples, ear-rings and forehead jewel fire off traps - perhaps ejecting poisonous sea urchins or similar from concealed chambers of seawater.

Ventru's Illusionary Amusement Gallery - The lowest chamber of the dungeon appears to be home to a bloody battle between forces of Achilleos/Frazetta-style barbarian/bandit warriors, Orcs and Skeletons. This may take the PCs by surprise as nothing of this could be heard from the other side of the door. Casualties vanish and reinforcements arrive from places the PCs were not looking.

The battle is entirely illusionary and cannot be disbelieved. Just as the PCs relax and realise that they cannot interact with the slaughter in any way somebody is attacked at +4 by the Invisible Stalker that lurks here under instruction from Ventru to kill anyone who ventures here who isn't him. Watch the paranoia mount as the PCs start to suspect that some of the barbarians aren't illusionary...

The rest of the dungeon is fill-able with whatever you want - but you don't need me to tell you that.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Build A Dungeon From Me

Winter nights are drawing in, clocks have gone back, time for a new project. is an idea I've had for a while now, a tumblr blog dedicated just to pictures that might spark a encounter or landscape idea for a game i.e. for production of the type of illustrative maps that Zak S builds up for his games and posts online. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that.

If you add "/archive" onto the end of the url, you get the overview which is perhaps more useful than scanning through page by page. Does anybody know how to modify a tumblr theme to include an archive button if it's not present?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Right then, that's fucked it. How many years do you reckon it will be before they decide the "franchise"(*) needs a gritty, reimagined reboot for a more modern age and they wipe the slate clear and remake the original? Probably after a long chain of steadily worse films that come out every three years to increasing indifference.

Wouldn't it just have been cheaper to have done this before making John Carter and then not bothered to make it?

(*) I really, really, really fucking hate the modern mis-use of this word to refer to film or computer game series. Anybody who uses it front of me in person will get kicked in the cock or vaj (delete as applicable).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Once Upon a Time I Sent an SAE to Nottingham

Once upon a time, which I now know to be around the July of 1985 I saw this in the back page of a Lone Wolf book, quite possibly the very one I photographed this from twenty minutes ago.

So I begged a 1st class stamp off a parent and off it was dispatched. And pretty shortly afterwards somebody took a break from being whipped mercilessly by Bryan Ansell to send me some mailshot sheets of the new Citadel releases printed in red on yellow paper. In fact despite only asking for one SAE they continued to send mailshots out for a couple of years, probably until (I guess) they stopped doing them in favour of White Dwarf instead.

Now I couldn't remember what was on the mailshots but by remarkable coincidence, wardy-la has posted some scans of exactly that red on yellow mailshot from 1985.

I hadn't seen either of these for twenty-seven years so this was probably the most nostalgic gaming thing I'd experienced since, oh, Tuesday and, before that, the previous Friday.

Seeing the D&D Skeleton reminds me that at about this time, I got a free Dungeons & Dragons-branded hologram in some breakfast cereal. It was this very Skeleton in exactly the same pose (so probably taken from the original Citadel Miniatures studio shots) and I remember there being a Bugbear in the same series - also a model from BDD2.

So, hardcore Citadel collectors, somewhere there exists a range of cardboard-mounted holograms of Citadel Miniatures from BDD2 Monster Starter Set. What you waiting for? Get on with it... :)

(Sod's law says this will draw out a post from amongst the Oldhammer blogs with someone's complete collection of 1980s breakfast cereal Citadel-Miniatures-under-D&D-Basic-license holograms within about a day and a half. Don't let me down now...)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Battle At The Farm 3 - This Time It's Personal!

You thought last Friday's game of 1987 vintage Rogue Trader was retro? Well you ain't seen nothing yet you heretical xenos scum.

Those of you who's memory reaches back 25 years may well remember that good old GW gave you a sheet of counters for TBatF which you could photocopy and use to play the game before you bought any figures (I know, completely unfuckingthinkable isn't it...). Which looked like this

After removing the blue and grey in GIMP (the white balance option), printing on appropriately coloured card, laminating, dismembering with Mr. Stanley and the steel rule and then gluing to 30mm square pieces of watercolour board painted Chaos Black, they looked like this

(Oh, and that man jailed over sex with girl in the newspaper somewhat surprisingly didn't actually work for the BBC. I think that might have been his problem).


But they did. Again. And Ork Number 2 Hruk died from the very first shot the Marines fired. Which was a plasma missile aimed at somebody else that missed it's original target. Just to rub it in like.

Anyway, pics of just how retro this looked. You can tell there is a new iPhone out that they want you to buy as my older one has suddenly lost the ability to take decent photographs. Weird that, it's almost like they know...

Classic Old School 5 man squad formation - three up, two back with the back two firing through the gap. Maximum nostalgia.

 Battle-Brother Tomsk(*) on sentry duty.

Space Marine defenses. Can we get true LOS over the wall sections to the counters under 40K 5th edition rules? Who gives a flying fuck?

Banzai charge. Squad Leader Baldgazh doesn't give a fuck about the loss of his squad in two turns of Marine fire. Ld7 and low dice rolling is all an Ork needs.

Thrugg leads his counters models behind The Orchard. Don't look at the missing aquarium plants that were accidentally left behind at Coop Towers II. I meant it, stop looking.

High water mark of the Ork advance. Three dead Marines in the farm-house all casualties of Thrugg's following fire plasma pistol. S6, +2 at short range, -1 save. Following Fire - if you wounded (even if saved) have another shot at same target or anybody else with 4". Keep going as long as the dice keep up. Lovely.

Sad state of the Ork firing line after the battle. I always used to lie down "dead" models in games when I was a lad so it was nice to do something similar in tonight's battle.


Anyway that's it for the nostalgia experiment. However it has highlighted what a great game 40K is if played in 1987 style with tiny forces and GM-led scenario games and the next plan is to complete forces for The Wolf Time, the campaign from Chapter Approved. As well as a few games mucking around with robots and vortex grenades and Ambulls and bio-wire and powerboards etc. and maybe even a diversion into playing it with 15mm figures.


If you, or anybody you know, have been affected by the issues raised in today's and yesterday's posts then man up, pull your finger out and dust off your copy of 40K, forget about anything that came out later than WD94 and get on with it. It's ace.

(*) Have you noticed that one of the second wave of Space Marine models (which ironically enough is the ones that came out at the same time as RT) is called Communications-Brother Orinocco? And Orinocco is a Womble is he not? No, I never noticed at the time either. Yes, I appreciate that this subnote makes fuck-all sense outside of the UK. Sorry about that.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

PhotoIntel From Rynns World

In another dimension lost within The Warp is a place where it is still 1987 so fuckyeahtimeforroguetrader!

Phil S, Steve B and myself played Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader yesterday (Friday 19th), 1987 style. The scenario was The Battle of Farm from the original book, the rules were original book and the original book only, with no later amendments, no errata and using the frankly bizarre rules for template weapon deviation. Phil tried to grow a mullet especially for the game but only started seriously thinking about it late afternoon on Friday so it wasn't particularly noticeable. I want a FRANKIE SAYS... t-shirt for next time we play.

Anyway, via Astropath relay, witch machines and the efforts of the servo-tortoise have some photointel of hostilities upon Rynn's World, trying not to notice that the calibration of the optical sights appear to be slightly off possibly as a result of violent re-entry into realspace from the warp. Our chief Jokaero techie has accordingly been punished by applied use of the porta-rack. Inquisitor Obi-Wan Sherlock Clouseau has extracted a full confession and mea culpa from the alien concerned apologising for this heretical incompetence.

Overview of the famous battlefield showing the titular ruined farm, the L-shaped orchard and Bultha's Rise complete with it's power generator which is a shower gel bottle sprayed-up by Phil for the game.

Battle-Brothers Tarquin and Tobermory on sentry duty. Isn't it amazing how Rynn's World agricultural buildings look nothing at all like ruined Norman churches?

Battle-Brother Tarquin looking a bit newer than 1987 if we are brutally honest.

The Finger of Mork! Thrugg Bullneck tells his "Troopers" (they must be dismounted cavalry...) where to go. This happened to be across open ground towards some hiding Space Marines but obviously NOBODY REALLY KNEW WHAT THE SCENARIO FROM TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO IN A BOOK WE ALL OWN AND HAVE READ THOUSANDS OF TIMES WAS REALLY ABOUT so how was Phil to know?

Commander Pedro Cantor holds an impromptu team meeting about whether it is chapter policy to allow Battle-Brothers to paint KIL KIL KIL and smiley faces upon their Power Armour. (For the record, it is apparently).

Space Orks of Charadon attempt to infiltrate through The Orchard. With 2" visibility in woodland NOBODY REALLY KNOWS THEY ARE THERE just like those Orks DON'T KNOW THE MARINES ARE THERE.

Orks. Orchard. This is, I think, from game 2 whereby I controlled the Marines and Phil the Orks. Steve was Marine Commander in game 1. The third player was THE GAMESMASTER BECAUSE IN THE EXCITING WORLD OF 1987 YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ONE.

Last, aerial photography from an Orgus Flyer high above the battlefield. Cantor takes advantage of the incredible lethality of Bolt Pistols at close range (seriously, +2 to hit at under 8", S4, -1 Save) to close in and engage the greenskins.


More about the game later. We were pleasantly surprised, suspecting that casting eyes used to modern games back upon the old blue book would show us a clunky, slow-moving system but actually for smaller-sized games it's nigh on perfect and as a toolbox of funky stuff to build a scenario around it's without peer. We are going to play it again, but next time we aren't going to be using the mix of figures from last time. Next time we are going proper 1987 Battle At The Farm. With these beauties...

The scenario isn't massively balanced but might have been a bit easier for the Orks had it not taken us nearly two games to realise that Space Marines only have T3 under these rules...

I have noticed though that the followup "Skirmish on Rynn's World" from WD94 doesn't give the devastating Bolt Pistols to the Space Marines and gives all of the Orks crack and frag grenades which massively changes the balance of power at close quarters so presumably Rick Priestley decided something had to be done about it.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Next Friday's 40K Army List In Full...

...and if Commander(*) Pedro Cantor survives The Battle At The Farm then next session he may get to defend the road tunnel at Jadeberry Hill that runs under the Pakamac(**) river and leads to the gates of New Rynn City.
Time to party like it's 1987!

(*) His counter seems to have him demoted from Chapter Master, no doubt as a result of losing his chapter to a rogue defence missile while ineptly failing to fight off the invasion of Snagrod, the Arch-Arsonist of Charadon(***).

(**) Yes, I only just noticed that one as well.

(***) Pete Cantor was/is a mate of Rick Priestley during the 40K playtests. Apparently he wasn't very good at 40K.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Aquila 1974

Apposite to a recent US court-case involving GW trademarks, have a picture of Barney Bubble's cover for Hawkwind's 1974 album Hall of the Mountain Grill.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Mantic. Of course.

More quality trolling designed to cause wailing and a-gnashing of teeth over on the other side of Nottingham. You know the score.

American Football but in THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE as opposed to American Football but in A GRIM WORLD OF PERILOUS ADVENTURE, which would of course be horribly unoriginal.

This is what Coop thinks...

 Where's me Quickshot 2 Turbo?

Monday, 13 August 2012

About Right for INT9

I cannot believe that I've only just noticed this...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Blood of the Zombies in The Guardian

Here's a surprise - an article on Fighting Fantasy in The Guardian that isn't crap and actually has a decent comment thread.

It even has a link over to

Monday, 30 July 2012

My Neo-Mordheim Chaos Warband Let Me Show You Them

Sorted for tomorrow night's game of Song of Blades and Heroes at the oddly-named October, Birmingham's wargame club. Confronted with a virtually infinite choice of warband construction, I felt it artistically necessary to go down the Old School 1980s Realms of Chaos Khornate Chaos Warband/Aspiring Champion route.

Straight out of the Coop school of crap, point-and-click cameraphone photography is this team shot of Barbas the Wing'd One's Brethern of Blasphemy...

Apart from the Derro in the chequered hood, all of these pj's are at least a decade old, dragged out of The Vaults beneath Coop Towers and given a little bit of paint tarting up, varnishing and re-basing. It's a motley crew because it was picked from what floated to the top of the barrel first and appeared to need little remedial work before fielding in anger.

Rear row, left to right - The Bandaged Dead #1 and The Bandaged Dead #2 (GW/Milton Bradley Heroquest Mummies), Barbas The Wing'd One (possibly a Reaper Miniatures figure), Vladimir the Eternally Angry (GW/Milton Bradley Battlemasters Chaos Thug).

Front row, left to right - Heinrich Bloodbather (Citadel Chaos Thug, 80s vintage), Jawcracker Whiteskin (Reaper Miniatures Derro pretending to be a Chaos Dwarf), Killfuck Soulshitter (IIRC a Heartbreaker figure, possibly a licensed Magic:The Gathering figure).

I have since finished another Chaos Warrior that might replace Killfuck as the original Killfuck figure isn't really a Chaotic type.

Will be playing Darth Phil of A Game of Bones, no idea what he will turn up with, probably Spanish Civil War Republicans or similar...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Suddenly Derro! (and Subbuteo)

More painting little mans. Having played Song of Blades and Heroes on Friday I immediately decided to get my own warband, which will be Old Skool Chaos Warband in style.

Reaper Miniatures Derro pretending to be pre-Assyrian-beard-and-big-hat Chaos Dwarves. The influences behind the pale skin, chequerboard, Rotring-inked tattoos and lashings of gloss varnish should be obvious to fellow travellers.(*)

SoBaH is a sort of Neo-Mordheim in that you play with about 5-12 figures and have a campaign system that tweaks your warband after every battle however, unlike Mordheim, you can play a mini-campaign of 3 or 4 games in a single evening (i.e. the amount of games of Mordheim - or Necromunda for that matter - that a campaign needed before becoming a pointless exercise of the big boys trouncing the whipping boys every single time leading to it's abandonment).

Current plans are to finish off the other three Derro I have and then a blister pack of two Bugbears (again from Reaper) as Khornate Chaos Beastmen.

Also I suddenly want to play Subbuteo again but only if I can paint my own Athletico Fightingfantasista team -

(*) But just in case it isn't obvious, it's the Blanchitsu/Aly Morrison mid-80s thing.

Friday, 20 July 2012


One of those brilliant ideas one wishes one had had oneself...

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Newhammer is Oldhammer

Been painting little mans let me show you them.

I love gloss varnish but it really doesn't help my already piss-poor photography non-skillz. These two are resin toys from Ramshackle Games, painted in a sort of Blanche style with limited palette, red, subdued bases, chequers and lashings of gloss varnish. While it isn't obvious from these particular figures,  they are the start of an Adeptus Mechanicus warband based upon a whole load of robed-with-crude-cyber-bits-hanging-off-them figures that Curtis at Ramshackle produces.

Chaos Renegades Brothers Shitbastard and Uterusbiter from the Insane Abortionists chapter. Evil Empire plastics, also Blanche tribute in style.

So what am I going to do with these? Well, wouldn't it be great if there was some of hardback science fantasy wargame that was published this century that didn't just propose tedious competitive, equal points "encounter battles" between people who think winning a cookie-cutter wargame somehow reflects back upon their "skill" and "generalship".

Something that encouraged and cajoled gamers into creating their own scenarios and forgetting about balance and including optional "here, try this for a fun and memorable game" stuff like rules for fighting in hard vacuum, on planets or space stations where the gravitational constant is not equal to 1, entertainingly explosive terrain, orbital platforms where you can be blown away into space by template weaponry, lightning storms, corrosive atmosphere, sub-zero temperatures, dangerous fauna, dangerous flora, toxic rivers etc.

You know, all the stuff that makes the tournament wargamers whimper "my optimised build is nerfed". Something I could play while wearing my Oldhammer scene shirt.

Handy that, because there is. This bastard.

FFFFuck!!!!!!!!!!! Steady on Coop. Shurely shome mishtake?

No. I have recently acquired a taste for humble pie served with side platters groaning under the weight of roast crow.

This is such a sea change from previous GW offerings that it almost ought to be put out under the Specialist Games label, ignored by senior management, not supported, removed from shop shelves and then nixed because an Excel spreadsheet told them to. 6th edition is encouraging gamers to make up their own planets and campaigns and characters, nagging them to at least set their game amidst the background (rather than just 2000 pts Black Templars vs 2000 pts Tau) and start mucking about with the game setup so that balance and optimisation get fucked.

Someone on Frothers described this as a bloody great big two fingers up to the tournament crowd.

So why did I notice this? I read a post on one of the "40K is teh greatest evah" boards in which a stateside 40k player who had bought the book on midnight of the release day claimed to be a (very near quote) "47 year old player who is in tears at what they have done to my game".

Let's be honest if my own Father said something like that I'd immediately kick him in the bollocks although he admittedly wouldn't since he doesn't give a toss about gaming unless it's Tiger Woods on the Wii and I really ought not to since I still owe him a favour for him taking Das Coopwagen for it's MOT retest because I was at work.

But if a 47 year old competition manchild can be reduced to tears by a game becoming far less "BEHOLD ME PROVING MY RAW PURE SKILL YOU ARE NOTHING LESS THAN NOTHING" than it was before, despite him being of serious need of a kick in the bollocks if indeed he has any, the likes of muggins here gets very interested. And hence the £45 missing from my wallet now.

Anyway, Grandfather and Grandson at a happy family reunion. Grandfather was telling young 'un about  Abdul Goldberg, Catachan Face-Eaters, graviton guns, flowchart-following robots, and Space
Marines with captured shuriken catapults.(*)


(*) I believe this may be the first time I've knowingly used an Oxford comma in print. I say them all the time though.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Worlds Hardest Gamebook Puzzle (Possibly)

PROTEUS 12 - The Weaver of Nightmares. This puzzle has left me baffled since 1987 and I only discovered the answer today - and that was from a long Google search for it following several abortive searches in the past.

(That's not the titular Weaver BTW, that's actually a wise woman called Frowellyn who helps you out. In exchange for gold. The actual Weaver looks like a gay social worker who ran the youth club for problem children and tried to turn them against "Fatchah".)

Anyway, the Weaver is effectively a CE aligned high-level Illusionist who is holding a large number of the men of Glengantha hostage in his dungeon-funhouse-house. For reasons nonsensical that only really make sure if treated with a large dose of Balthus Dire's Curtains the Weaver's henchman Dreadthread (Yeah, mon!) has hidden seven metal tokens around Chez Weaver that you will need to in order to tell the Weaver exactly how many of the men of Glengantha he has hostage. If you can't tell him he will kill you. If you can tell him he will errr... attempt to kill you.

(Does any of this make sense to you? If so you may have accidentally banged your head on the headboard when getting out of bed this morning and could still be concussed. Seek medical aid.)

I'd tell you where to download all this nonsense yourself for a more in-depth look but last time I did that the PROTEUS people came out of retirement to go all DCMA and similar batshit on me. If only there was some of form of well-respected Internet site that automatically catalogued web pages and offered some form of textual searching on those catalogues. Why by now, it would have a number of pages that surely must number in the googolplexes!

Right then, each token has a few letters on it. The tokens are

And one of ZEOBEB, ZEO or ZEOPSAJ. Why the ambiguity? Because of this paragraph.

With those seven and a somewhat obscure clue from The Weaver (...“and I will even give you a clue –  I am also known here as SAW-RAN. How many prisoners?” ) you need to determine the number and since it's a case of "turn to that numbered paragraph" and the gamebook is 225 paragraphs long you can quickly determine that it's between 2 and 224 since 1 is the first paragraph and 225 is GOAL IN A WINRAR IS YOU!!1

Right then, that's either so blindingly obvious that you've twigged it already or you'll be stuck for a quarter-century.

And furthermore, I'll actually give you the answer since it's easy to brute force a 225 paragraph long gamebook (hey, it was good enough for Inside UFO 54-50).

It's 57.

Which probably makes life even harder as the BritOldSchool Examiners Board really wants to see the workings.

Get on with it, leave your thoughts in the comments remembering that the target audience for this magazine was probably about 10-14 years old.

(You could Google and find what I believe is the only webpage with the answer on it, but please don't spoil it for any others who are scratching their heads unless you can work it out yourself).



Straight out of The Weaver of Nightmares, the SPEARWING basically a flying Cat-man Furry bat-winged-with-unicorn-horn thing. Illo by Gary Harrod.

P.S. Blogger, owned by Google, has a spellchecker that flags up "Google" and offers no alternatives. I find this almost as amusing as the fact that auto-correct on my iPhone, masterminded by a fellow atheist, doesn't auto-capitalise "god".

Thursday, 5 July 2012

WARPS - A Grim World of Perilous Adventure

Earliest print mention ever of WFRP? White Dwarf 78, June 1986.

Presumably stood for Warhammer Roleplay System.