Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Coopdevil Collection - The Fighting Fantasy Wing

(Cross-post from the Sweary-Mary named tumblr blog)

A rare glimpse of the Coopdevil Collection - the Fighting Fantasy shelf. Behold the beauty of GREEN SPINES!

Left to right on the shelf
1 - Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Roleplaying Game (signed by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. This book taught me what roleplaying was.)
2 - Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Roleplaying Game (not as battered to fuck as the former so this is the usable copy from eBay)
3 - Out of the Pit (battered to fuck)
4 - Trial of Champions
5 - Scorpion Swamp
6 - Temple of Terror
7 - Phantoms of Fear
8 - Caverns of the Snow Witch
9 - Legend of Zagor (Wizard Books reprint)
10 - Citadel of Chaos (early version with the cover by Emmanuel, the first FF ever I owned)
11 - Return to Firetop Mountain (Wizard Books reprint)
12 - Robot Commando
13 - Starship Traveller (pre-green spines)
14 - Dead of Night
15 - The Forest of Doom
16 - Island of the Lizard King
17 - Freeway Fighter
18 - House of Hell
19 - The Riddling Reaver (4 adventure campaign book for the FF RPG)
20 - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (not obvious due to UV fading but this is the original brown spined version. I owned this in the day, swopped it for some other tat with a mate and then, nearly a decade later found it in a second hand book shop. That is, found the actual physical copy I’d owned before. Bought it like a shot. Said mate had slung it out and still has no idea how it got there).
21 - Creature of Havoc
22 - Beneath Nightmare Castle
23 - City of Thieves (pre-green spine)
24 - Crypt of the Sorcerer
25 - Deathtrap Dungeon (pre-green spine)
26 - 29 - Sorcery! series, Wizard Books reprint
30 - Blacksand, Port Blacksand sourcebook for Dungeoneer/Advanced Fighting Fantasy
31 - The Seven Serpents (battered to fuck)
32 - What is Dungeons and Dragons? (Not an FF book but whatever…)
33 - Eye of the Dragon (Wizard Books. Not originally published by Puffin)
34 - Maelstrom (also not an FF book)
35 - Stormslayer (Wizard Books)
36 - Night of the Necromancer (Wizard Books)

Left to Right rammed in on top
1 - Seas of Blood
2 - Appointment with F.E.A.R. (Wizard Books reprint, bought this last Saturday from Graham Bottley of Arion Games/Advanced Fighting Fantasy fame)
3 - Moonrunner
4 - Howl of the Werewolf (Wizard Books)
5 - Armies of Death (Wizard Books reprint)

Not photographed
- Arion Games Advanced Fighting Fantasy (doesn’t fit shelf)
- Arion Games Crown of Kings campaign (doesn’t fit shelf)
- Masks of Mayhem green spine and Bloodbones (Wizard Books) appear to have gone missing during house move.

That’s not all I’ve owned, I’ve owned books like Talisman of Death but lost them over the years.

Green spines were a fantastic idea. You can walk into any second-hand bookshop anywhere in the land and immediately clock whether there are any pre-loved and pre-cheated FF books to be hand.

(Odd panorama shot is via Microsoft Photosynth on the iPhone. Tumblr version is a more conventional pic)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Mirror Universe WFRP

I've just discovered this oddity, the box art for Magia i Miecz - Miasto the Polish version of Talisman City.

How strangely unsettling is seeing this image the wrong way around? And it becomes clear that in John Sibbicks original he knew to leave a "quiet" sector where the spine of the original cover was but here it's just distracting void in the middle of the box-art. Suddenly everything looks completely wrong and, of course, in a major attack of whatthefuckery the Polish publishers are using a stock piece of GW dungeon-based art for a GW city-based game.

What did the Polish version of Talisman Dungeon look like? Middenheim? Bögenhafen?

Actually according to Magia i Miecz - Podziemia looked like this...

...which is quite metal, but not quite as metal as it's instruction book.

D&D Next Makes the Pages of The Guardian

Article in the UK left-wing broadsheet newspaper;

Monday, 28 May 2012

Hope You Are Sitting Down

...because I really, really like the look of the "D&D Next" playtest.

If you're shocked, then I can assure you I'm even more shocked.

I've had to, ahem, "acquire" the playtest pack since the WOTC website told me that my email address was already in use. I could only imagine this was via MtG or similar so I requested a reminder of password to be sent to that address only to be told that that address wasn't in use. You can't have it both ways WOTC. So, it was "acquired" instead.

My initial thoughts are that this is lovely and light and has some neat ideas. I worry though that the end product will be hideously bloated and as unintelligible as 3E, a game I looked at and decided was utterly un-runnable. If it stays this light it's a day one purchase. If it bloats, I will give it no more heed.

Highlights thus far from a quick skim.

Advantage/Disadvantage. Rolling a d20 (aiming for high) and something is in your favour? Roll two and take the best. Something against you? Roll two and take the worst. Excellent little rule and one you can graft onto any version of the game. (Oddly enough I played the card-driven, weird fantasy wild west horror tabletop game Malifaux on Saturday at Expo and this has a similar, draw two and take worst or best mechanism).It's codicified in the rules as "you have advantage" or "gives disadvantage".

Background and Theme. Rather than the hideous picklist of min-maxing munchkin masturbatory fantasy that blighted 3E, you define a PC in four sections - Race and Class (fairly self-explanatory), Background (where you came from, think of starting career in WFRP) and Theme, which is kind of a which-type-of-Fighting-Man-or-Magic-User-are-you thing. This gives you two packages of feats and skills which strikes my ageing brain has far more manageable than the min-maxing horror and should avoid what I regard as the greatest single sin of modern RPGs - chargen so complicated that the book recommends you spend the entire first session doing nothing but creating a party (Rogue Trader, yes I am talking to you boy).


"For a more Old School experience, don't use Background and Theme". It says this on the character sheet. Right there. For Old Skool just ignore this shit and get on with it. Ace.

Researcher. The pre-gen Elf Magic-User has this skill. If the test to identify a magic or otherwise arcane or historically interesting geegaw fails, the character still has an idea where or from whom the answer can be found. So scenario hooks just flow out of this one thusly

"Can I identify the origin and purpose of the Jewelled Diadem?"
"Roll for it."
"Bollocks, whiffed it."
"No you don't. But you remember your old master at the university mentioning that the World's leading expert on diadem's of this type is the Sage of Saffron who lives in a hermitage somewhere in the Cripplespine Mountains. Supposedly he will only take payment in the form of pre-human relics that he finds interesting or unique."

So I've had zero interest in this since it was announced (actually, TBH I've had zero interest in this since before it was announced as the abortion with the number 4 on it had killed any interest in the future output of WOTC's RPG division) and now I really like the look of it. But don't let her pig out on the fry-ups and Lambert and Butlers eh?

On the subject of D&D fantasy, the entry list and collected downloads for this years One Page Dungeon contest is out and my entry appears to have err.. gone missing I guess. It was definitely posted before the deadline but either never arrived or is skulking a spam folder somewhere. :(

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Back from UK Games Expo Day 2

Much quieter today. Worryingly so when the event is moving to a bigger, more expensive venue next year. The Midlands has had shit weather recently but had basked in glorious sunshine all week so perhaps the call of the garden centre was strong today.

Bit disappointed to see traders packing up early, reminds me of the second day of the old Derby wargames show at the Assembly Halls where people started preparing to leave by two o'clock. Probably a result of how quiet Sunday was.

Picked up a few bits and pieces today but my favourite was acquiring a copy of OGRE Miniatures.

I've been after this for a while now, but it's expensive on eBay and I hadn't seen a copy in the flesh for over a decade. I turned up at the Bring and Buy early this morning and the first person I saw was buying a stack of boxes and books and there was a copy of OGRE Miniatures on top. Bollocks. Two minutes earlier and it would have been mine.

"Look in the boxes of books," suggests Scott, "have a see if there is another one."

"Waste of time," says I, "I've only ever seen two copies of it in my life and that was the second one."

Mentioned this near-miss to the lads over a couple of pints at lunchtime.

At the end of the afternoon, Phil S of strolls over to me and asks "Is this what you were after? It was on the Bring and Buy."

Clutching an un-punched copy of OGRE Miniatures.

It was two quid and being a gentleman he refused to accept the money for it.

Next year the event is at the NEC Hilton Metropole next door to the airport. I see this as an attempt to get more international business involved (this year had Mayfair Games over from the states and James Raggi IV of LOTFP fame from Finland) but it creates lots of questions about the expense of parking and whether it can be got to without having to drive - there's a train station at the airport which is on the same line as the nearest train station to Coop Towers II but it's not clear if there is pedestrian access to the hotel once you arrive.

We do Expo because it's almost on the doorstep (about 15-20 minute drive this morning) but I've never been certain that I'd travel for it. The other side of Birmingham is far from "travelling" but the NEC is notorious for screwing every last penny out of you. We'll see but this year might well have been the last year I attend.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Back from UK Games Expo Day 1

Just back from Expo (or accurately back from hospital visting hours having swung past to visit my Grandfather on way back from Brum).

Was escorting my mate and the 8 year old not-really-a-nephew-nephew so didn't really get as much chance to look at stuff as I had wanted, but going tomorrow on my own so that will be a shopping day.

N-R-A-N-N played D&D (of a sort) for the first time today, happily I had at home the purple box version of the black box version of Basic D&D which I had picked up from an earlier show for the princely sum of £2 with the intention of giving him and then had forgotten about entirely. So N-R-A-N-N left Coop Towers with a box of D&D and some dice from the fishing tackle box of spare dice.

I picked up Vornheim from James Raggi and he didn't try to Cannibal Holocaust me or anything so that was nice :)

Bring and Buy total waste of time with stuff piled up on top of each other.

Bought an FF book that I haven't got and haven't actually read (something of a rarity) - Appointment with F.E.A.R. which I seem to recall huffily dismissing as "not fantasy" in the past. N-R-A-N-N went for Creature of Havoc after both myself and Graham Bottley on the Arion Games stand told him it was the best one. I feel vaguely sadistic about pushing Steve "Steve Fucking Jackson" Jackson's CoH on an 8 year old but bollocks he can learn to cope with it.

The temperature outside was 27.5C and inside was heaving (busiest I've ever seen it).

Had to come away early today but hoping to be there all day tomorrow depending upon hospital duties.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Eighties GW Font Request

I know there are blog followers out there who have serious graphic design mad skillz so...

Does anybody know of a suitable TrueType font to emulate this, the font found in Warhammer and other Citadel Miniatures publications of the 1980s? It's a strange typeface and it's sans-serif so doesn't really look like conventional typewriter output - perhaps it was a daisy wheel printer or similar.

Notice also that the upper case sub-headings are slightly heavier than the body text which suggested "printer in bold/heavy" to me. It also has distinctively heavy full stops (periods) and isn't monospaced.

I ask because at the moment I use Souvenir when writing out my fantasy RPG notes because it was the font used for the Lone Wolf books (and, I believe the font of the B/X booklets) but fancy changing to something like the above for maximum retro-appeal.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Been distracted recently from Brit Old School stuff. Because of;

I've had Battletech so long, unplayed, that not only is there a new version out but I own the intro boxes of both the previous versions without ever having played it. I am making a vow to actually pull finger out of arse (not literally - this is merely a quaint turn of phrase) and play it. The above three are the three I've painted most recently and behind them you can see that I've even gone as far as to acquire the first 12 episodes of Robotech (99p off eBay) for "research".

It's... hmmm...

Robot fights good. Teen drama poor.

Anyway, while talking about figure painting...

New Citadel Agrax Earthshade ≠ Devlan Mud.

This is seriously fucking bad news. Never mind the impending implosion of the Euro and subsequent estimated cost to the global economy of one, trill-i-on dollars or the fact that Woy has decided that John Terry is fit to represent his coutry this is the really bad fucking news. Despite what GW claim, Agrax is thinner, dries to a lighter shade and doesn't appear to be as eager to flow into fine detail like Devlan did. The fuckers of GW strike again. This is potentially the point at which I down brushes and never paint again.

Happily, I received an order of Army Painter Quickshade Ink Strong Tone today which having thrown on an SJG OGRE Miniatures tank this evening has behaved identically to Devlan. Until a couple of months ago this would have meant that I had no reason to ever darken the doors of GW again except that the rest of their new range is actually really bloody good and I'm using a lot of it. The fuckers of GW strike again. More impending attacks of  No, I'm not painting anything at the moment fuck off.

Actually I am. This year I've painted more stuff at the the fastest painting rate I've ever managed. As a result I've been on a splurge all through 2012 and painted like a mad bastard in the interests of getting as much lead and plastic (don't do Finecast)  finished off before the steam all runs out and I don't look at a brush for six months.

Weirdly enough this stage hasn't struck yet and I've finally worked out why and that's weirder still.

It comes down to this - I don't have a permanent painting/hobby setup in the new flat unlike the spare room I had at the old Coop Towers.

This is completely backwards but I've realise it makes perfect sense. At the moment I paint on a cheap plastic tea tray from Tescos placed on the dining table. As this has to be cleared away periodically (i.e. to eat things) this has forced a strict discipline and forwards planning on my painting. The result is that I paint one small chunk of a project at a time and get the required paints out first. This is the complete opposite situation that what existed before whereby a 15 foot worksurface would progressively get cluttered up with the work in progress of a dozen painting, slotcaring and general household tasks before running out of space, not returning to the worksurface and generally leaving projects to gather dust. These days if I start something, it has to be finished and I'm finding it generally is.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Lazy Picture Post

I think we can all guess what fluid that river is comprised of.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Enemy Withining

I've signed up to play in a pbp version of The Enemy Within over at and Never taken part in a pbp before, this could be fun.

Also got around to submitting The Jewelled Diadem of Akat-Anrak to the One Page Dungeon Contest 2012 although I didn't get chance to tidy up the single page so just submitted the PDF first draft I'd done.