Magic. Myth. Legend.
Blood. Guts. Thrills. Chills.
Imagination! Dreams! Nightmares! Suspense! Noir!
Film. TV. Comics. Graphic Novels. Books.
Star Wars. Indiana Jones. Lord of the Rings. Blade Runner. Robin of Sherwood. Mr Vampire.
Note – No Zombies. Banned from the House of Pyne – wife is allergic (she apologies to all zombie-lovers everywhere for being a cowardly lion)!!
All of these things immerse you into adventure, other worlds and strange beings – all somehow (and not a little spookily) familiar. The best of stories can make you jump out of your skin. Keep you on the edge of your seat. Laugh. Cry. Groan. Cringe. Even cheer!
Whatever genre, whatever platform. All of them can elicit emotion, engage the imagination and inspire.
our adventure started when a teacher introduced us to Tolkien and D&D – we were completely blown away (what the heck had we been doing all this time?). Here was this fantastic world of Middle Earth and if we wanted to we could create a similar Tolkieneque landscape with D&D and jump right into it. Our imaginations were kick-started by creating characters that we would ‘be’ as we set off on our quests. We created dungeon, after dungeon, after dungeon (you get the idea), which was just as much fun to us as playing the game itself and we’re pretty certain we didn’t get to explore all of the ones we made.
I loved it so much I started a D&D club at school so I could play even more. Weekends was no longer enough. As GM I took my inspiration from the fantasy books and films we were reading and watching voraciously. Conan. Wizard of Earthsea. Beast Master. Tarzan. Rupert the Bear – yep, you read it right!!
Fuel for the imagination. Food for the soul!
Then the Fighting Fantasy line of game books were published and we collected as many as we could lay our hands on. Those explosive little books packed with more adventures journeying into the vortex of the unknown. We even took off one morning with the dog (Zero) on a mini Hobbit adventure from our house out in the sticks into the nearest town, it took us half a day’s trekking just to buy one of those paper treasures, only to find the one we wanted wasn’t in stock!
then, like a blockbuster movie, disaster struck. Our world of gaming nearly came crashing down one year. It started off very innocently when I secretly started applying house rules to our D&D games. The thinking behind it was to make sure that our characters wouldn’t die. Then I had an attack of conscience (sad, I know)!! With only the kind of wisdom an 11yr old can conjure up I decided that we should really be playing the game by the rules (even sadder). Unfortunately (and he still hasn’t forgiven me for this), my new-found code of ethics coincided with Ash having a school project about writing New Year’s resolutions. Ash’s big resolution was not ‘peace on earth’ or ‘solve world hunger’ but to get his wizard to level 11! Here’s the fantasy math(s). Ash’s resolution + my enthusiasm for applying the D&D rules to the letter = Ash’s wizard reduced to ashes by a Red Dragon. And being ashes, he couldn’t be resurrected. Ash = unhappy bunny.
This ‘incident’ (and it was traumatic, at least for one of us – sniggers behind hand) led to us abandoning the conventional rules and embracing metagaming like two ravenous honey badgers. We created more and more house rules and then expanded further into the world of miniatures – and floorplans – which served to make the adventures we were having even better. It wasn’t long before we dabbled in customising our miniatures and I use the word customise loosely here. Skaven-headed Space Marines was one of Ash’s better results but our naive attempts with drills and glue were a complete triumph if ensuring two parts of the same mini can never be reassembled is the goal. On the other hand, building 3D dungeons out of polystyrene covered with moulded clay was infinitely more successful.
we delved deeper into the library of fantasy and science fiction books and movies. If we weren’t gaming, we were reading or movie-ing, or attempting to write our own novels and comics. Somewhere in there we even found the time to go to school.
We acquired more RPGs so that we could be Super Heroes. Investigators. Space Captains. We discovered the bottomless pit of Games Workshop’s miniatures. And their games. At one point we were really into Warhammer, Warhammer 40k and Blood Bowl. It wasn’t just the games themselves but the cool worlds we could plunge into.
You had to create your own characters. And armies. And magic relics. And monsters. And demons. And stories. We even devised our own troop types and locations and our own worlds began to take shape. Sometimes the customisation was as much fun as the gaming. Ash created about a squillion (one of my wife’s favourite uberwords) Wood Elf armies – he still finds the odd one lurking in amongst his books and boxes to this day! We tweaked rules, pimped boxes and created endless house rules, world additions and stories for each and every game. These games actively encouraged you to use your imagination and ours worked over-time!
Although we also got into video games – mapping out our own walk-throughs – tabletop gaming was our real passion. The adventures and scope for creative imagination seemed unlimited. I remember skiving off college for a couple of days just to read the rules to a new RPG I’d just got and there was even a week where I was stuck on an insanely boring work placement so to handle the high boredom factor I played Blood Bowl in my head the entirety of my week there using a coin-flip to make decisions. Even when I eventually went to Uni, we played Warhammer by snail mail – yes, the dark days my friends.
by this point we were well immersed into hobby gaming, fantasy and sci-fi. Books, comics, films, tv and games. We sought out any fantasy or sci-fi we thought was cool. The discovery of a new world was just sucked into the ever hungry black hole of our imaginations.
All the inspiration we had accumulated, along with the creation of house rules, adventure plots, game customisations and our own additions to worlds often resulted in our own games. Early on, we combined D&D with Fighting Fantasy to create a tile laying, solo D&D game where every adventure was different. We created our own spy vs. spy RPG. We created a board game that revolved around collecting spell items. It was an almost natural progression and eventually we were creating our own worlds, our own stories and our own style of games set in them.
Even now in our older geekhood we’re still keen to discover and explore new fantasy, new sci-fi and new gaming experiences. Our hope is that others will explore our worlds. Play our games. Read our stories. Adventure into the unknown with imaginations fully fired-up. Oh yeah, we hope you think they’re cool too.
Creak! Click! Swoosh! Ow!
Roger. Willco. Over & Out!
Go head-to-head in a game of high-jinks dogfights with airships!
Each player takes control of an airship and seeks to defeat their enemy in the turbulent skies of an oddball fantasy world.
of Shot & Blade
Go head-to-head in a game full of Action, Magic & High Adventure . . .
An adventure showdown where such skills as sabotage, hunting, outfoxing and observation are as important as combat