Thursday 30 December 2021

15mm miniatures skirmish game for Those Dark Places

 I've done it. I've designed the 15mm miniatures skirmish game for Those Dark Places. You can use RPG characters at a push but the basics are the same.

I didn't realise I'd already designed so much of it. I just need to playtest it to hell and then write it up properly.

It won't be released any time soon - there's other stuff for me to finish - but that's another project that's on its way!

Sunday 12 December 2021

The Gamma-Sigma 12 Report

Coming in early 2022...

“Is anyone out there? This is Resource Station Gamma-Sigma 12, we are under attack from a life form…  


Our escape ships have launched only half-filled – cowards! - and there are no vessels left here to get us off the station – there are about twenty of us here and we’re scattered all over, requesting… 

(static, crashing sounds, an inhuman screech)

Ben! Ben, they’re through! Get the gun! Patricia, take this and get ready! They’re through!


Just shoot! Fire! Fire!

(gunshots, screeching, a cry of pain)

Dan, no! Keep firing! Keep…

(static, transmission ends)”

'Adventure Presents' from Rebellion Unplugged

I've been reading the rules for 'Adventure Presents', a new RPG game from Rebellion Unplugged. I'm really enjoying it and the rules, though light, has some real meat so it can be picked up and played with no fuss, as well as having depth to the system.

'Adventure Presents is an anthology series of stand-alone RPGs from some of the most exciting designers and artists in the industry. Each issue of the magazine offers a complete story, and contains everything you need to get playing in a matter of minutes – pull-out character sheets, maps, a Game Master’s reference booklet, and more.'

The basic rules are free on the RU website.

I'm also going to be ordering the Tartarus Gate issue. Sci-fi horror? Well, of course.

Monday 6 December 2021


Runescape is a fun game - its quick and easy to get into and you can be downloaded and ready to go in no time. I find it great for casual gaming but there's plenty of scope for serious MMOers too, with loads of content to keep you going for an age.

Its listed as free but is it play to win? I don't think so. At least, my character got quite far and I didn't feel limited and I'm having a great time with my new character. I'm sure there's benefits to paying a subscription, and to be honest I'm really tempted. I want to delve a little more into the world to see if I can create a tabletop roleplaying campaign world out of it!

I'd love to see the setting of Fighting Fantasy adapted to an MMO like this. As much as I'd love a FF game to be like 'Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance', a game I spent countless hours playing on the PS2, I'd love to see Allansia and the rest of Titan given the MMO treatment, and be able to travel the world and partake in dungeons and adventures based on the books. I think the popularity of the FF franchise would suit a game like Runescape, as well as give the exisitng Runescape fans - and new gamers - a whole new world to explore.

'Tis a dream I have.

Saturday 4 December 2021

The One Ring from Free League Publishing

I'm reading the new 'The One Ring' from Free League Publishing and enjoying it immensley; the artwork and design, as ever, is excellent and it really helps with immersion. I'm a huge fan of atmosphere and theme in RPG books as I feel it helps with getting emotionally involved with the game, and this has flavour in spades.

I'm making my way throught the starter set, core rules and the Rivendell supplement so I'll report back with more details soon, but rest assured that this is another instance of Free League knocking it out of the Park.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

MiniSix from Antipaladin Games

 Before you go to a popular game engine for your next campaign and you spend an age tearing the system up to make it work for what you have in mind, can I just point out that there is a system with which you don't have to do that to a huge extent.

The MiniSix system is a cut-down version of the D6 system that covers all genres, is modular so that you can make it as light or crunchy as you want, is easy to hack and really easy to learn. Its basically the WEG Star Wars D6 game (I've always said that the first edition rulebook worked well as a generic system) trimmed right down for general play.

The D6 System is well worth your time and a lot of fun. Before you hack into your usual system, give this a look.

Sunday 28 November 2021

My Fighting Fantasy adventure translated into French

 My first Advanced Fighting Fantasy scenario 'The Floating Dungeon of Varrak Aslur' has been translated into French and is being included in a book of 10 scenarios with some amazing writers I admire and look up to. It'll be available from Scriptarium.

Check out the awesome cover!

Friday 26 November 2021

Fighting Fantasy - The Trolltooth Wars

Since I ditched Facebook and Twitter I've got back into reading and I thought I'd go back and enjoy some old books. I've started with The Trolltooth Wars, one of my favourite fantasy books when I was a kid.

It's still an entertaining read, with a lot of flavour for a fan of Fighting Fantasy, and the graphic novel really gives it life. Hugely enjoyable.

I'm falling into a FF hole and I'm thinking about running new games using the introductory game.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Using RPGs for something other than their intended purpose

I used 13th Age to run a campaign set in Conan's world of Hyboria. The gods were the Icons 

It was awesome.

I once used the original Cthulhu Dark Ages game to run a game set in Middle-earth, just after the War of the Ring.

The low magic worked really well and the system suited it.

I also used the Buck Rogers XXVc to run an adventure game for a crew travelling beyond the Solar System for the first time, so it was a kind of Lost In Space game using the D&D Monster Manual for alien beasts and races.

The first edition WEG Star Wars RPG I used for all kinds of things. Fantasy, hard sci-fi, modern. That book worked just as well as a core system rulebook as it did as a Star Wars game.

I ran a Warhammer 40K game using WFRP first edition and the blue pages of the original WH40K Rogue Trader book. Instead of the homeworld being Terra, I kept it as The Old World.

I used MERP in a fantasy Europe setting, stripping out the magic system and using the monsters in a kind of medieval version of the show Supernatural.

I used Twilight 2000 for a Vietnam War era game about a squad getting shot down and becoming lost in the jungle, and I threw in the Predator for good measure.

I used Call of Cthulhu Third Edition for a 1920s gangster game, with warring criminal factions in the fictitious city of New Roma on the East Coast. The twist was that the family winning the war was summoning monsters to use as hitmen so nothing could be traced back to them.

I used Paranoia straight - no humour, no jokes, but horribly stark and dystopian. The players had to sneak around as they organised the resistance to try and break free of the Computer. It was strangely compelling and really creepy.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Basic Fighting Fantasy

Still one of my favourite roleplaying games, it's a wonderful world to game in and the ruleset is fast and fun. It's clunky but I think the power of nostalgia gets me through.

I like Advanced Fighting Fantasy but sometimes I just want starters and not the main course.

Friday 29 October 2021

FIRETEAM - Rules Light Sci-Fi Action Roleplaying

OUT NOW - Fireteam is a rules-light combat-heavy #ttrpg in which you play a specialist in an Interplanetary Combine Fireteam.


A simple D6 dice pool roll-for-successes system keeps the action moving and includes five 1 or 2 session combat missions.

This is an adventure roleplaying game designed for quick one-shots of high action and fast combat. Players will take on the roles of Specialists in a Fireteam of the Interplanetary Combine, a government body in constant conflict with the universe.

Threats to the Combine come in all shapes and sizes; insurrection, terrorism, and strange, alien threats that the Combine struggle to deal with. On top of all this they are fighting an ongoing war with the Gene League Separatists, a huge collection of worlds that see the Combine as a threat to their ‘freedom’ and individuality, as well as seeing the rest of the non-augmented human race as inferior. They feel they are fighting a war for the purity of their genetically superior species and their independence, and worlds and star systems continually change hands with the borders shifting every few months. It’s becoming more than the Combine can handle.

If there’s a problem, and if every other route to a resolution has tried and failed, then it’s time to call a Fireteam.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Cosmic Quest - Share this! It's free!

Cosmic Quest is a handbook to help you use the core rules of Those Dark Places for exciting games of stimulating exploration, exciting combat and heroic deeds.

I originally played this with the awesome team that is @tales_infinite and I ran a Star Trek game set just after the Dominion War. It was a lot of fun, so I wanted to share it!

Sunday 24 October 2021

FIRETEAM - A Rules Light Science Fiction Action Roleplaying Game

Out Friday 29th October!

It's short and sweet with a setting you can build on with an easy D6 dice pool roll for successes system.

The bulk of the book is 5 combat missions that expand the setting, good for  1 or 2 sessions each and for both fighters and roleplayers!

Sunday 17 October 2021

Legacy of Blood for Against the Darkmaster available now!

Available now from DrivethruRPG


Once one of the mightiest families of all the Nine Kingdoms, the Leorics have now fallen on hard times. Dark tidings and unspeakable rumors surround this once noble house. But a chance at redemption may still be at hand. In a desperate race against time, the heroes must recover a cache of lost magical artifacts before they fall into the hands of agents of the Darkmaster. Only this way they can restore the fallen noble family’s legacy, and stop the darkness spreading through their domains.

Can they reach the treasure before the agents of the Darkmaster pursuing them? Can they sneak past the dragon who has made Castle Dulgroth her lair? Can they survive this Legacy of Blood?

Legacy of Blood is an Adventure Module for 4-5 Level 2 to 3 characters, to be used with the Against the Darkmaster Core Rules.


A map of the Windown Plains, complete with keys to several adventuring locations.

Adventure hooks for three additional short side quests.

A cast of diverse and interesting NPCs, each with their own agenda and motivations.

Scheming noble houses and vicious minions of the Darkmaster.

A legendary dragon!

Friday 10 September 2021

Those Dark Places: The AMC-222 Report OUT NOW

The AMC-222 Report

'This is a good one.

‘Asteroid Mining Catch 222 in the Peller System has sent out an emergency request for assistance. They have two members of staff deceased, probably murdered, and another member missing. After the station started a new mining shaft two workers were found mutilated in the mine and there appears to be foul play in the disappearance of the third. I’ve attached what we know to this message but these deep space mining facilities don’t have the best hypercom transmitters so the data package was quite small. Anyway, there should be enough information to give you an idea of what’s going on.'

'The AMC-222 Report' is an official adventure for 'Those Dark Places Industrial Science Fiction Roleplaying' published by Osprey Games.

Tuesday 17 August 2021

**COMING SOON** FIRETEAM - A Rules Light Science Fiction RPG


FIRETEAM - A Rules Light Science Fiction #ttrpg. Protect the Interplanetary Combine from threats within and without!

Full rules and six missions included. Designed for one-shot action games on online tabletop sites, but can be played as a traditional RPG.

The game uses a D6 dice pool looking for successes, and it's centered around a team of soldiers in four different roles: Rifle, Medic, Tech and Heavy Weapons.

Games are strike missions using square-based combat maps, the kind found on VTT. The quick rules allow for fast involved play, and the characters can develop over a period of time as they complete missions for the Interstellar Combine. Seperatists, terrorists, opposing governments, alien threats and internal conflict. Just another day in the Fireteam.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Brian Fitzpatrick

 I've spent much of the last few days thinking about Brian Fitzpatrick. 

His is the first name in my acknowledgments in my first published roleplaying game because when I asked for feedback he was the first to volunteer, the first to offer feedback and the first to give me a reason to be excited about what I was doing. I did some work for his Aliens & Asteroids game and he was always generous, honest and informative and even when he wasn't 100% on board with my ideas he worked around them and we hit compromises that suited us. There was never any drama, just honest creativity and a genuine love of the game and the hobby as a whole.

I guess I'm writing this to acknowledge his importance in other people's lives, even ones he'd never met face-to-face all the way over the pond, and I'm saying goodbye to a stalwart of the RPG community, a talented and generous creator and, most of all, a friend. I was proud to have worked with him.

Goodbye, Brian.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Coming in July for Those Dark Places

Coming in July for Those Dark Places, the Industrial Science Fiction Roleplaying Game.

'The AMC-222 Report'

A new shaft has been opened on an asteroid mining station and now two people are dead and one is missing. What is happening on station AMC-222?

Saturday 5 June 2021

Interview with the Dungeon Designers Guild Podcast

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the Dungeon Designers Guild podcast and over the course of an hour and change I get to talk about my hobby, my influences and Those Dark Places.

You can hear my ramblings here.

Thursday 20 May 2021

The GM Simulation Expansion PDF is out NOW for Those Dark Places

The GM Simulation Expansion PDF is out NOW for Those Dark Places. This FREE addition to the original book offers ideas and examples for aliens and monsters in your TDP game. There's adventure hooks, too.

In this book you will find some guidelines on how to introduce the ‘unknown’ to the game; alien horrors, cosmic terrors and eldritch wonders. There will be a few new rules to help you incorporate these things into a session as well as adventure ideas to get you moving so you can let… things loose on the players.

Sunday 16 May 2021


The ‘GM Simulation Expansion’ is a free short book that gives the General Monitor a few more options to play with in a game of Those Dark Places. In the core rulebook there were plenty of adventure hooks and ideas to get a game going, as well as the adventure ‘The Argent III Report’, and in this supplement there will be a few more ideas for different kinds of games…

In this book you will find some guidelines on how to introduce the ‘unknown’ to the game; alien horrors, cosmic terrors and eldritch wonders. There will be a few new rules to help you incorporate these things into a session as well as adventure ideas to get you moving so you can let… things loose on the players.

Things are about to get weird in the deep dark.


Friday 30 April 2021

Those Dark Places: The Ana-Sin-Emid Report now available on Kindle

The adventure is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

'About an hour ago the Deep Space Transport Vessel Ana-Sin-Emid dropped out of FTL and has been steadily coasting to the outer marker. There has been no communication from the vessel or any responses to hails and the staging nature of the deceleration has the signs of being automated.

The Deep Space Reconnaissance Vessel Grahams is on dock C. Be ready to launch within the hour. Get on board the Ana-Sin-Emid, get to the bridge and report back to us. The outer marker is an AU out so it should only take you a day to get there. We’ll have a fully-equipped support ship loaded and ready to follow in about 12 hours, but you’re our first response to help and, if possible, lay a salvage claim.’

'The Ana-Sin-Emid Report' is an official adventure for 'Those Dark Places Industrial Science Fiction Roleplaying' published by Osprey Games.

Sunday 25 April 2021

The 'Casket of Fays' ezine for Dragon Warriors - a conversation with Simon Barns

Dragon Warriors is one of the great British roleplaying games from the 1980s, and the classic system was given an update in 2008 by Magnum Opus Press, the torch of which was then picked up by Serpent King Games. You can learn more about the game and its history here.  

The game has a huge following and we were treated to many fan-produced products, namely the e-magazine Ordo Draconis and now the popular (and free!) ezine Casket of Fays, which has been bought to us by the talented Simon Barns.

I had a chat with Simon about the game and the ezine.

What got you into Dragon Warriors and how long have you been playing it?

White Dwarf 71. Did that come out in 85 or 86? Whenever, it had an adventure in it that was statted for AD&D and Dragon Warriors (Box of Old Bones). I read that adventure, I liked it, and I wanted more. I quickly worked out just what those little Corgi Books were. Books 1-3 were acquired, then the other three followed. I ran some games. I dabbled. Then the books got put away for a few years as I matured. Yeah, right.

In the 2000s I came across DW again. I dabbled in a mini campaign, I got the DragWars Yahoo email, and I was on the DW Wiki. The wiki’s still running. Give it a visit. Be careful. It’s held together with string nowadays. 

Late 2000’s, James Wallis announced Magnum Opus Press’ 2nd edition. I followed that (I even went to the launch party – which had a sword swallower – what a soiree!) and gradually picked the books up. I went back to lurking for a few years until the Dragon Warriors Facebook Group came along and things started moving along again.

How did Casket of Fays come about? What made you want to create the zine?

Back in March 2020, I found myself off work with a lot of free time. I’d been looking at zines for a few years and the RPG Zines groups came to life.  There’s some fantastic stuff out there, as you’ll know. Wormskin is a fave, that’s the Dolmenwood zine, and if you’ve ever heard of Tekumel, you should check out ‘The Excellent Travelling Volume’ from James Maliszewski. It’s a rabbit hole, just waiting to be jumped down..

Anyways, I think it was June, there was a chat on the DW Group about Discord. I think Greg Dzi asked if there was a Discord, and Jimbo Healey said ‘No, but I can make one.’ Jimbo will be the first to admit that he doesn’t do tech, but I do, so I volunteered my excellent skills to support. We had a Discord.

Chat was had, and in the fullness of time I realised a few things. 1 - There was a load of DW material out there that would be great to bring out into the light. 2 - There were many DW lovers out there who, and I paraphrase Dave Morris here, ‘are up there with any commercial creators.’

That’s why it’s always gratifying to see fan material inspired by what I’ve written, and an extra bonus in the case of Legend is that it seems to inspire a quality of content on a par with the very best commercial RPG publishing out there. - Dave Morris

3 - I’d like to get a chance to mess around with zines. I suggested, I came up with names, people suggested better names, and Red Ruin Publishing was formed.

We weren’t the first though. ‘Ordo Draconis’ is in recent memory, along with its spinoff, ‘Cadaver Draconis’, and way back (and I’ve never seen a copy) there was ‘The Ereworn Ear’. If anyone ever sees a copy of that last one, please, let me know.

What's the future of Casket of Fays? Do you intend to keep going as you are, or are there plans for expansion?

Interesting you should mention that. We’ve done four issues now. Issue five is due out at the end of June. Give it a few weeks after I type this and I’ll start bothering the writers and artists again. We’ve got content in the archives for a couple of issues worth, and I’ve never been afraid to raid the archives from the wiki, but one thing which has been on the radar for probably the last couple of issues is size. I love A5 format (takes me way back to the good old Beholder zine) but sometimes we get submissions that would fill the zine on their own. We’re planning a ‘special’ – name to be determined yet – that will be magazine sized. Early days yet, but I’m talking to a couple of the old names of DW who will be familiar to many who were in the Yahoo group, and there is some exciting stuff coming. We should have some pretty colour too.

What would you like to see happen with the Dragon Warriors IP?

I’m eagerly awaiting DW 2.0 from Dave Morris, ‘Jewelspider’. I don’t think that’s going to replace 1.0 in my heart, but it’s nice to have options. Then there’s ‘The Cursed King’. I hope to see that soon, along with Brymstone. Over to Serpent King for those. Hopefully they’ll release ‘The Summoner’s Tale’ from Shaun Hately this year. That’s been on the cards for a while. I know Shaun and have gamed with him (Australian time!) and that adventure is like to be a treat.

I’d like more people to play DW. Had a vague plan last year to hit cons (armed with Casket of Fays) that got derailed. Let’s see what the second half of this year brings. Promote the heck out of the game, get on people’s radars, get more people involved, maybe get people to tout to SKG. There’s a lot of love for this hoary old game. I want it to last another 35 years.

Any future plans for other releases, such as adventures or expansions?

My plans are so immense that I’ve moved up to a Trello board!

Solo adventures are coming. People like them. DW attracts people who played Fighting Fantasy. We did one solo as a trial, and, well, there’ll be more. We got great ‘sales’ off it. That was the ‘Village of Frogton’ from Jimbo Healey

There’s a further chapbook or two coming featuring Cedric and Fulk, Nigel Ward’s pair of monks. The Adventures of Cedric and Fulk #1 'The Wickedest Man in Banlet' .

Adventurers to the town of Chapelstone, an ancient Ta’ashim port that has been annexed by Crusaders, as well as ‘The Thousand Islands’, and for that, look in Casket #1 and #4 for a couple of peeks. These are being brought to us by Damian May.

There’s more, but those can wait for another day. Thanks for having me on, Jon!

I’d just like to thank the DW community for their massive support with the Casket. The zine has consistently had great content in that I’d be happy to compare to professional gaming releases.  I’ve made some great friends over the last year and gamed with a load of them in various campaigns. I’m not going to write them down as it’s a bloody great long list, so instead I’ll just tell you to check out these websites.

Welcome to the Great Library

The Cobwebbed Forest


Thanks, Dave for a good few years of gaming!

Sunday 11 April 2021

Let's Play: Those Dark Places | Osprey Games

Warren, Gerry and Ben join Those Dark Places designer, Jonathan Hicks, for a one-shot session of this Industrial Sci-Fi roleplaying game published by Osprey Games.

Taking on the role of three crew members delivering important resources to Earth, will the crew be able to deal with the unfolding chaos of their new situation? In space, no-one can hear you scream. Featuring Those Dark Places artwork by Nathan Anderson!

Are you going to give this RPG a shot?


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Friday 2 April 2021

New WARLOCK! adventure 'Bridgetown'

 This is a great project I worked on for Warlock! and it's available now from DrivethruRPG.

An adventure supplement for Warlock!, the old-school roleplaying game inspired by the early days of British tabletop gaming.

Explore Bridgetown, before it falls into the Fardruin!

In this adventure for the Warlock! roleplaying game inspired by the early days of British tabletop gaming, the characters explore Bridgetown, once a wonder of the Kingdom, now a collapsing den of thieves, vagabonds and worse. Can the characters discover a missing bracelet of sentimental value before it disappears into the dark alleys and twisting paths of the ancient town? And what was that, scurrying about in the shadows..?

Monday 22 March 2021

Coming on April 16th for Those Dark Places Industrial Science Fiction Roleplaying...

'About an hour ago the Deep Space Transport Vessel Ana-Sin-Emid dropped out of FTL and has been steadily coasting to the outer marker. There has been no communication from the vessel or any responses to hails and the staging nature of the deceleration has the signs of being automated.

The Deep Space Reconnaissance Vessel Grahams is on dock C. Be ready to launch within the hour. Get on board the Ana-Sin-Emid, get to the bridge and report back to us. The outer marker is an AU out so it should only take you a day to get there. We’ll have a fully-equipped support ship loaded and ready to follow in about 12 hours, but you’re our first response to help and, if possible, lay a salvage claim.’

'The Ana-Sin-Emid Report' is an adventure for 'Those Dark Places Industrial Science Fiction Roleplaying' published by Osprey Games.

To be released on April 16th on DrivethruRPG.

Saturday 20 March 2021

New Those Dark Places material coming soon

 I'm working on a sequence of Reports (adventures) for Those Dark Places but I just need to sort out releases. They'll be based on the  games I ran for @GarblagGames, @DougVCGaming, @joindicebreaker and @ontabletop 

Keep monitoring this transmission.

The first adventure I'm going to release is 'The Ana-Sin-Emid Report', which I originally ran for @GarblagGames last year. It was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to fleshing it out.

Thursday 18 March 2021

Those Dark Places miniatures game

I'll be purchasing some 15mm minis from Ground Zero Games to playtest the miniatures game of Those Dark Places which I've given the working title of Darker Places.

I'm looking forward to this. Wargame design is new to me and it'll be nice to try something different.

Saturday 13 February 2021

Warlock! from Fire Ruby Designs

Warlock! is a game that I really need to sit down at a table with, and it's on my list of games to play when these lockdowns are lifted.

'Warlock is a rules-light roleplaying game that aims to emulate the feeling of old-school British tabletop games of wondrous and fantastical adventure. Warlock looks to reproduce the play style of its illustrious predecessors but in a light, quick and simple manner, with a consistent rules set that is easily hackable and adaptable as desired.

Features of the system:

Character creation, core rules, combat, magic and creatures all in one book!

Stat-less skills-based characters.

Unique careers that give skills and add flavour.

Simple resolution mechanic - roll a d20, adding your skill and try to get twenty or more.

Simple opposed tests for combat means there’s always a result, for good or for bad!

Spells available to every character.

Built-in setting, the Kingdom, for your games.

Easily adaptable to other settings.

Visit the link below to read an extensive preview of the book and to buy the book and/or PFF.'

Fire Ruby Designs

It's also the game I chose over WFRP 4th edition, believe it or not; my favourite fantasy RPG of all time is WFRP 1st edition, and I got all the other editions in between including Zweihander, but when 4th came out I got the PDF and - as much as I enjoyed it - I didn't feel I needed yet another version of WFRP and another iteration of the rules. I was looking for something similar but much more malleable and then I came across Warlock!, which ticked all my boxes. Great system with an old-school flavour that invoked two of my favourite games, and a nice simple learning curve because I turn 50 this year and I simply don't have the time or the mental energy to learn or remember reams of new rules!

Warlock! is excellent and it's a game that came along at the right time for me as it was simple, evoked my favourite era and genre of fantasy gaming and is just an all-round excellent game.