First things first, if you have any interest in roleplaying games at all then go at once and subscribe to the Grognard Files. Don’t wait, delay or hesitate just go subscribe. I’ll tell you just why in this post but you may as well be downloading your first episodes while you read.
The Grognard Files is a gaming podcast hosted by the inimitable Dirk the Dice, a gamer of many years experience from Bolton, in Lancashire in the northwest of England. Despite the fact that he’s from the wrong side of the mountainous Pennines that divide Lancashire from Yorkshire (“build the wall, build the wall,” the Yorkshire tribes chanted to their strange deities at the dawn of time) his life in gaming corresponds pretty closely with that of yours truly.
Dirk got into gaming in the early 1980s and played through a wide variety of games with his friends and other local groups. He (and they) entered a bit of a deep freeze but recently came back to the scene.
The podcast covers retrospectives of some older games and his experiences playing them. He interviews gaming luminaries (“from back in the day and today”) and invites comment from his fellow host (Judge) Blythy often going into the whys and wherefores of the rules and systems being discussed.
In more recent episodes they’ve moved on to cover more contemporary games and trends in the hobby and their insights accord so strongly with my own that I’ve found myself listening to the podcasts with the sense that I’m sitting with my own buddies and talking things through.
The episodes are fun, engaging and informative with a streak of laconic humour running through them particularly when Dirk and Blythy are discussing something contentious in the room of roleplaying rambling. They clearly have a lot of affection for each other and know each others’ foibles well, The recent segment where Dirk sheepishly admitted to having bought some merchandise he didn’t need (“well that doesn’t sound like you at all”) owning up to Blythy about a wooden, rune encrusted Strike Rank tracker for Runequest was a thing of beauty.
Any negatives? Only one. Since becoming a listener I have spent more money on new games than I have done in ages – and enjoyed every penny worth. On the basis of the enthusiasm shown by Dirk, Blythy et al for Runequest – both the original and the re-released version (skipping over the poor Avalon Hill reboot in the mid 80s) I’ve thrown myself headlong into Glorantha for the first time and am planning a campaign. Purchases so far – the core rulebook, the gamesmaster pack, the bestiary, the Glorantha sourcebook… damn you Dirk you’re costing me a fortune!
But despite that, and believe me no Yorkshireman disregards expense except with good cause, I recommend the Grognard Files to anyone who has an interest in this crazy hobby. It’s informative and inspirational, but most of all it’s a fun way to spend time.
You can find more information and the podcast itself HERE. If you do like it remember to rate it and review it on iTunes so it gets more prominence there, which it really deserves.
And as a thank you to Dirk for the show here’s a picture of the actor Caroline Munro with whom he seems to have a mild obsession bordering on the cultic. I don’t know what Runes she’s affiliated with but I imagine Dirk is working toward being a Rune Lord in her service.
Finn’s first novel A Step Beyond Context is available on Amazon.co,uk and Amazon.com and a few others as well. It’s a punchy genre-busting mystery with a heroine who is a Regency lady, a high tech mercenary and much more.