POST CAFFEINE REHAB Brendan digs into topics with Full Metal Ben, the Warlord Amanda and his sponsor, Dr. Drew. Lotta rambling diatribes in this episode, but eventually Brendan does manage to get around to talking about his Lamentations of the Flame Princess game. Heather comes on the show and off the air does a mic drop, puts both hands up in the air and proclaims “I DID AWESOME!” Brendan shakes his head a lot and tries to remember the days when doing a podcast about roleplaying games with all of his friends sounded like a GOOD idea. Are you still reading this? For chirstsake, listen to the show!
As a thought exercise, I thought it might be fun/harrowing to take a stab at how much money I’ve thrown down the bottomless, money hungry pit of the gaming industry. I need to break it out by type for any real accounting:
Board Games – I fancied myself a board gamer for a good while. I was regularly dropping $50-100 on the things. I still have probably twenty or so I’ve never even played. I told myself I could play them with the kids when they get older, but if I’m being honest that will never happen. I’m a compulsive hoarder. Rough guess? $2500 dropped here.
- Magic the Gathering – Like everyone else in the nineties I got sucked into the vortex that is Magic. It was like heroin. It was worse than heroin. At least heroin has the decency to be the sort of thing you lie to people about. I told people I played Magic. Hell, I was kind of proud of it. Honestly, I probably would have ended up sucking just as much dick if I had known that was an option. $2500 easily. The only thing that kept me from spending more was being a broke ass high school student. Luckily I punched out at the right time and recouped some of my losses. Hahahahahaha just kidding. I sold my cards for next to nothing and counted myself luckily to get out without sucking a dick.
- Vampire: The Eternal Struggle – When I wasn’t wasting time on Magic, it was Jyhad/Eternal Struggle. II was more practical here, buying complete boxes on ebay instead of feeding my addiction a booster at a time. I’ll call it $1000, though I think it was higher.
- Rage – Yes, I played Rage. Both versions. Shut up. I got into Rage when it was cheap. I could get boxes for under $50. Consequently I bought a lot of them, because it was a such a deal! I’ll say another $500 here.
Dice and Junk – Everyone needs peripherals. $500.
- Dungeons & Dragons – Look, I don’t even know. $1000? More? It feel like more. I compulsively collected 3, 3.5, and 4. I’m starting 5th edition because I can’t control myself. Don’t cry for me. I know I’m already lost.
- Star Wars – $500 or so. Fortunately Star Wars was never super popular. I got most of the books at a discount thanks to Amazon, and the Saga Edition was no where near as comprehensive with books as it could have been. I have thus far managed to avoid the latest iteration with multiple core books. Hooray for small victories.
- Classic World of Darkness – I don’t want to talk about. I don’t. Whatever it all cost, it was worth it. I have dozens of these books, and this is after getting rid of a bunch of them. $2000? $3000? I don’t care. I’d do it again. I’ll probably re buy some of the books I no longer have. I’ll get the 20th anniversary editions. I’ll suck a dick. I’ll suck twenty. Fifty. Line them up. It doesn’t matter.
- Chronicle of Darkness – I mostly stuck with CoD, Requiem, and Changeling here. It was still a lot of books. And now the second editions are coming it. I’ll call it $1500 and be done with it.
- Misc (Shadowrun, Cyperpunk, Eclipse Phase, CthulhuTech, one offs) – Lets say $750.
- Warhammer Fantasy – I managed to limit myself to one army in this game. One big, expensive army. The core box alone with a couple hundred, Factor in multiple editions. $750 conservatively.
- Warhammer 40,000 – Look, I did things. Things I’m not proud of. Things I don’t want to talk about. $2500, even though I know that is a lie. A damn lie. Because the truth is too hard to fathom. Games Workshop pimped my ass with this game, and at the time I loved it. I couldn’t get enough. I look back with shame. Yet I know the only thing that stopped me was not having enough time for it anymore.
- Warmachine – For a while I thought Warmachine was the antidote to the Games Workshop poison. Oh ho, how naive. It is a different flavored fruit from the same twisted vine. I spent $1000 on my Menoth army, and I never really got around to playing it.
- Misc (Anima, Starship Troopers, Reaper minis) – $500 probably. I don’t know. I still have most of these. Somewhere.
- Paints – $500. Modeling paint is damn expensive. I swear they make it from mermaid blood or something.
- Brushes – During my forays into miniature painting, I decided what was holding me back was brushes. Namely that I was using overpriced Games Workshop brushes, and not ludicrously expensive sable hair brushes with fucking unicorn horn handles or whatever bullshit they claimed. I dropped some cash on brushes and brush holders and brush conditioner and yak semen to give them sheen. My painting still sucks. Go figure. $1000.
If I’m being realistic it is probably close to $20,000. The price of a car. Not even a shitty a car. A decent car. The kind where the AC works and it doesn’t make that weird noise when you hit 60 miles per hour. A legit car.
I really shouldn’t have done this.
I first got started with table top gaming in the fifth grade. We started with Dungeons & Dragons. The blue box. A grade school chum of mine, whom I shall Dan because that was his name, introduced me to this strange world. Dan had two older brothers, and by older I mean we were 10 and they were 16 and 18. They had a good collection of rule books and games and we had nothing, because we were 10 and no one gives a shit about 10 year olds, especially in the 80s. Even a 10 year old scotch got pissed all over during that period. Hooray for the excesses of that era. I digress.
Dan’s brothers had a wonderful assortment of games. We spent hours digging through their collections and trying things out. The one thing I remember most from this time is the importance of rules. Dan and his siblings would drill into you how imperative it was that you played by the rules. That the rules were there for a reason and you were not to contradict them. The written word was sacrosanct. The intention of the game devs was as good as the word of God himself, handed down through the prophets and transcribed for us lowly mortals scratching in the dust and filth. As a Catholic, this resonated on deep level with me.
Dan’s brothers also used these games and rules to punish and torture our characters. Again, as a Catholic this resonated deeply with me. The scenarios they ran for us were brutal death traps for our low level characters. The world was naught but suffering and pain. Of course, their insanely leveled and richly rewarded characters breezed right through them. When it came time to dole out experience, they often passed our characters over because “they didn’t even do anything in that fight.” This capricious and arbitrary system of justice became a pattern during this time.
They also had Warhammer 40,000 and Battletech. When they allowed us to play those games with them, they became hilariously lopsided scenarios where their side was a wall of armor and I was commanding a handful of Space Marines trying to take out a Predator tank with a bolter. Battletech was a row of Atlas clan mechs against a similar number of light mechs with no modifications.
Interestingly, they refused to lay board games with us, I suspect because it would have forced a level playing field. It was months before I spent enough time with their books to figure out they had rigged the world against us. That while the rules were important, they also existed to ensure fairness, and they had been twisted to run counter to that intention. I recall a cold sort of anger at that realization, as the wheels turned in my tiny head. I would like to say I got my revenge on them. That I write this from a room in which their polished skulls gaze mournfully down upon me. The truth is less exciting. I simply stopped playing with them. For a gamer, not having people to play with can be the worst fate of all. Looking back, I really should have been asking the question why the fuck a 16 and an 18 year old wanted to hang out with a bunch of ten year olds. That is… really weird. Like… super weird.
Wow, frustrating. I just wrote a bunch of words only to see them mysteriously disappear with a mistype. How encouraging. . .
Oh well, that enables me to tell my story again. Stories get only better with the more they’re told, right? In fact, I could tell you the same story I told you last week and rather than chafe at the familiar and now boring plot, you’d marvel at the continuous improvement in my panache as a storyteller, right? No?
So this story, like all stories, begins in the past. Lamentations of the Flame Princess was my most recently purchased rpg book and hadn’t been in my hands for less than a day when it struck me: if OSR is about recapturing those glory days of yore when AD&D was the bread and butter of our gaming experiences, what games do I, as a now older gamer miss? What would I like to recapture about those times?
I put this thought away, but it was to soon resurface. At my favorite local game store, the Game Depot (which, as an aside, I have been frequenting since before I was in high school which is a testament to just how well they operate to stay open for so long being as how it has been about seventeen years since that time), the proprietor, Dave (who was a guest on a wonderful episode of our podcast if you missed it), had purchased a magnificent collection of old rpg’s from a gamer who for one reason or another wanted to sell his old collection quickly. And so he put those old books on a few of the gaming tables and allowed customers to browse and make offers.
I remember Brendan ended up with a copy of HOL and a few other things. And I found myself face to face with one of my earliest rpg loves: Cyberpunk 2020. And here that old thought about recapturing the things I loved surfaced. That night I walked out with a copy of the core rules, three of the chrome books, and another book for $25. And let me tell you, those chrome books really struck a chord inside me. If you are unfamiliar, the books are actually organized like it is a catalog. They are at their core equipment books. But the layout, which at the time I found so novel and fascinating, was like a catalog with pictures of cool stuff, with drawings of the imagined people of the future modeling the gear in giant shoulder pads and chrome shades. I was hooked.
I have subsequently been scouring a local used bookstore and ebay, getting an old school collection together. I am close to having everything R Talsorian put out for Cyberpunk. And then I thought, what else do miss? Cue a conversation with Brendan in which he mentions an old game I ran back in the day of Corum, which was an alternate setting book for Stormbringer/Elric which was set in another of the Moorcock Eternal Champion Worlds. And here obsession number two was born.
I now own a first edition Stormbringer along with the Hawkmoon setting which I am dying to try out (but I am being good right now and working on my game and not putting too much energy into other games. . . eventually I’ll get there). I have also expanded my focus. I started to wonder what other games from those times did I miss and would have loved? After all, these games are never dead as long as there are books available. I am considering SLA Industries which was a game I skipped. But after reading a write up, maybe I shouldn’t have. Any suggestions about this or another game?
What games from your youth would you like to give another go?
Brand new Episode of The Shadowsworn Radio Hour is up. Grab it quick and shove it in your earholes. Adam and Brendan are almost out in front of something for once and they tear apart the Onyx Path 2016-2017 catalog so that you won’t have too.
That’s right bitches, Brendan and Adam are going to make you privy to all the inside shit that they print about on the internet where anyone can see it. AND IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH: They are also going to dazzle you with their supah-fresh “takes.” Fuck yes. Sounds so sweet.
Anyway, take a listen and get at us with your Black-Hearted feedback: email@example.com.
Spill our tears, we love that shit.
TASTE THE RAINBOW MOTHERFUCKERRRRRRRRRRRRSSSS!!!
Intro: “Ring of Keys” by Our Lady of Shadows aka Vampire Cop aka Brendan Motherfucking Carrion
Bumper: “The Bog” by Bigod 20
Outro: “Like A Prayer” by Motherfucking Madonna for (Black) Christ’s Sake covered by Bigod 20.
Get with it you filthy cretins.
Oh man, I really just can’t get enough Age of Sigmar. I swore up and down I’d never go back to GW. I got rid of all my models. I gave away all my paints. I did the gamer 12 steps or something, I dunno.
I was fucking burned forever.
But now, it appears, I am back.
I guess I know how it happened. I’m a romantic sort. I’m the kind who is overly likely to get into a mood and sit around on a rainy day looking out the fucking window and mulling over a broken relationship with a girl who hasn’t thought of me in years. I have a maudlin sensibility in that way.
I think that’s why I ended up in so many goth clubs over the years, listening to brokenhearted songs for brokenhearted people. But even now I’m romanticizing the whole damn thing.
I guess that the truth is that I have a taste for toxic relationships.
Here I was back on my feet after years and years of clean, sober, Games Workshop free living. Ah yeah, it felt good. “Why not play some Infinity?” I thought to myself. “I’m fine. It will be fine. Things are different now. I’m different now.” Classic rationalization.
So I started playing Infinity with Young Dustin the Paladin and Full Metal Ben. The rules are tight. The rules let you do practically anything you think of. The ruleset is dynamic. The model range is great. The model range is attractively affordable. The lore is pretty rad. Narrative play could be a thing.
It was a good relationship! A perfectly fine, healthy relationship. And what did I do? I fucked it all up.
You see I just couldn’t stay away from those damn GW models.
When I lived in LA and I was broke as fuck, I used to go to this walk in clinic where I got free health care because I worked at Whole Foods. The clinic was across the street from a GW store. Of course.
I had to ride the bus back then, I wasn’t making enough money as a grocery checker to support a car. So I would arrive 20, 30 minutes ahead of my scheduled appointment and walk to the clinic, crossing the street and pressing my face against the the glass like some kind of asshole, always thinking “I wonder if I could go back?” Then I would cross back across the street and go to the doctor.
I watched a lot of stuff happen through that window, new 40k boxed sets. The End Times. I made it inside a few times and mostly found it to be as eye-roll inducing as I remembered from back when I thought a hot way to spend Saturday night was to hit up the GW store at the local mall, and then head over to an independent hobby shop called Warboss games after the mall closed. But there were some rad new Chaos models out. Stuff I couldn’t help but imagine in Nurgle’s Rot green, trimmed with Corpse Flesh White.
It was just too damn expensive though. If I couldn’t afford a car inn LA, a city where you need a car to get ahead and bus life kills you slowly, a death by a thousand cuts, I couldn’t afford a Death Guard army (with the Forge World shoulder pads, Land Raider doors and Spaced Armour newb.)
So here I am in the present. I have a girlfriend. A car. TWO dogs. And a job that pays for everything and leaves some money left over to feed my various addictions. And I find myself walking back and forth in front of the Age of Sigmar stuff whenever I’m down at my local hobby joint, Game Depot, in Tempe Arizona.
The thing that kept me out was the thing that kept a lot of people out I guess. GW bungled the rollout in a big way. No one understood the concept of the game. It seemed like some kind of bullshit free for all. All the weird new names, the way that it seemed like there were only going to be four armies. Four pages of rules. It didn’t look like anything I had ever seen before and so, of course, I hated it.
But as they kept rolling out the new armies, books and kits I kept coming back to look. There was definitely something going on here. Something beneath the surface that wasn’t immediately apparent. The game started to reveal itself and I started to get excited.
I ran playing by a couple of the old standby foolios. The guys who were always down back in the day. They were not down. They convinced me for about two weeks that it was a huge mistake. For about 7 days I was educating myself on Kings of War. I almost bought in.
Then one day, I had my buddy Ben Mandall over to record a podcast. Like me he is the kind of guy who is always looking for new games. He’s the kind of guy who is always recruiting. After the episode was in the bag he hit me and Full Metal Ben up. He had a hardsell for Age of Sigmar and he wanted us in. Mostly he wanted someone to split a starter set with him.
From that moment, I was in. I fought it for another day or so, but within the week I was back down at Game Depot splitting a starter box with Mandall.
So, I’m back. And I’m having a great time. I’m not going to sell you the game. If you want someone to do that I highly recommend Dan Heelan’s podcast Heelanhammer out of the UK. It sold me AoS and now I’m a devoted listener as well as player.
Once you’ve been converted I have two more recommendations for you. While Heelanhammer is probably the best Age of Sigmar podcast. The Black Sun is my hands down favorite. It’s also one of my favorite podcasts, period. I’ll let you mull over the difference, that discussion is for another time.
Also, you should consider giving a listen to The Lost Lighthouse podcast: Age of Sigbrah. Gary talks about Nagash a bit too much perhaps, but otherwise it’s a great show. I’ll put some links below.
So, that’s me and AoS. Maybe I’ll see you out there.
The Lost Lighthouse URL defies copying. Connect below:
I do a small blog on Ben Curry of Bad Dice Podcast’s The Grand Alliance forum. If you are into Age of Sigmar, it’s a great community and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. I try and update my blog every week with new insights into the games and hobby around my Nurgle Rotbringer army “The Path of Rot.” If you’re into that sort of thing, please come check it out and consider signing up for The Grand Alliance. I’ve met a lot of people on there and they’ve all been cool and actually made the hobby experience more fun.
Everyone is at Gen Con checking out what’s the haps for the next year of gaming and I’m just sitting here looking at my Instagram feed like:
Have fun at Gen Con foolios. Have some great games and come back and tell us everything. Grab some of that LE swag for your homies at FMRPG, the DM says you’ll get extra XP for it.
What’s up muthafuckas?!
While you are all trolling the halls of Gen Con you may need some sweet-ass-sweet podcast talk to get you by. At least maybe for that drive home.
In this week’s episode Brendan and Ben are winding down from con season and the disastrous LepreCon while you guys are out there enjoying it’s zenith. They are joined by the Mysterious Jeff for the first half and then by their homie Keith in the second half. It’s our longest episode yet, and really it’s pretty not bad. Except for the technical issues we had recording Keith, that was terrible!
We talk about what we’ve been up to, what’s new with our favorite lines and the past, present and future of pulp fiction with our friend Keith Shaw.
Anyway, pull up a chair, crack a beer, paint some models, whatever. Here’s to episode 25!
Portrait of a playa: KB Shaw.
Here’s a link to not only one of my favorite comics about roleplaying, but really, one of my favorite comics ever. Here at Full Metal RPG we fucking love this thing. But it’s a joke people, I mean seriously. I’ve caught some blowback in the gamer community for handing these things out at events and using them as our card with our contact info.
I guess I forgot about that legendary gamer sense of humor.
Anyway, read on and enjoy! If you like what you see, check out the indie movie based on the tract. Also hilarious but in a much more self aware way.