Bill Heron – Gaming in Edinburgh and other RPG stuff

Mandragora ( is a site is dedicated to pen’n’paper roleplaying games (RPGs). It also has a page dedicated to gaming in the city of Edinburgh where I live. I’m Bill Heron, and I’ve been both player and GM (Games Master) over nearly 30 years although I spend most of my time GMing these days. I also harbour delusions of being a proper games designer and author too: see below!

What are the Mandragora?

Much of this site details with my creation, the Mandragora (in the wiki), along with a number of ideas that spun off from them. I’ve made a large amount of material available, largely background, in the Downloads area as well. Created as a nemesis for my PCs in an AD&D game, the draconic beings have since featured in two play-by-mail games, as well as being a recurring race of villains in my Ashes of Freedom D&D campaign setting. Descended from Dragons, Mandragora possess a long life, powerful magical abilities, an arsenal of natural weaponry, and years of training and experience. The Mandragora themselves dwell on the Isle of Lonaraban, far from humanity but their plotting and scheming extends to Volkrania and other lands (and worlds).

The Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom RPG

As of September 2011, I’d begun planning my own RPG. Based on the Mandragora, and Ashes of Freedom, the title is Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom. The game setting is likely to be one of intrigue where magic has replaced technology. I’ve been blogging about this experiment. I was planning to use the FATE system to build it as it is OGL (Open Gaming License). The new version of FATE is now out, after a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. I’ve plenty of other things to get on with. For now, the Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom RPG is on hold.

Games I play

As you can see from the Games & Settings link on the menu, there’s quite a few games I’ve been involved with over the years. As a player, I’ve probably actually played in more systems than I can remember.

  • I’ve created a number of settings over the years for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game. While I’m not a fan of 4e, I’ve played every edition. I’m looking forward to D&D 5e (or DNDnext as it is called).
    • Against the Odds (D&D 4e). I occasionally think about running this setting again, but I don’t seem to have the time. It didn’t translate well to 4e D&D.
    • Ashes of Freedom (D&D3.5) is one of my favourite settings and one that my players have enjoyed immensely. It has become my default “go to” setting for RPGs. I also ran a drop-in D&D 4e game called Watch Upon the Border set there. The Mandragora and Volkrania have their origins in AD&D (2nd edition).
    • The New World setting (D&D3.5) was ORC Edinburgh‘s collaborative attempt at a Shared Campaign. Although it stalled due to DM commitments, it has since seen a lot of use as a setting!
  • The Dark Edinburgh setting. My thematically loosely-linked horror games set in Edinburgh, mainly focussed on Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhutech. Ideas for it also featured in the Dresden Files RPG. Here’s how they fit together.
    • Dresden Files RPG. I played Alex Tregardo, an Emissary of Power for the Dragon Adonnax. I’m a big fan of the Dresden Files books, not just the RPG.
    • Call of Cthulhu RPG including my own setting called Arunstoun. I also did some mash-up rules for Brian Lumley’s eBranch/Necroscope series for CoC.
    • Cthulhutech RPG, featuring my Through the Looking Glass setting. Set in the Edinburgh of 2085.
  • Warhammer 40,000 RPGs. In the Rogue Trader wh40k RPG, my character is Diogenes Valexos (aka Basilisk) the Navigator of the Tranquility. In Black Crusade, I play Belial, (aka Nemo Inconnu) a Heretek. I am also ran a Dark Heresy and Only War mash-up called Fires of Perdition, set on the world of Crucible with the players as Arbites.
  • Star Wars RPG, Saga edition but mainly the West End Games version. It’s always fun to run this simple game from West End Games (provided your players don’t take it too seriously).
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I’m running the epic Enemy Within campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP 1e).

What else am I up to?

Games I’m likely to run include the Deluxe Werewolf: the Apocalypse – I got rid of my 1st edition stuff years ago, but I also got in on the 20th anniversary Kickstarter edition. When will you rage? When the AD&D rules are republished, I’m planning to run the AD&D adventures Dragon Mountain and Return to the Tomb of Horrors. I’m also awaiting the fantastic-looking Shadows of Esteren, which I backed on Kickstarter too.

I’ve got some ideas percolating around for a novel featuring a city watchmen named Kayle Wynters. It wil feature a Mandragora too, and will be called “A Wynter’s Tale”.

Hopefully you’ll stick around and find some of the little nuggets of info useful. Not all of the articles are gaming-related: I work in IT, dabble in web design, mainly forum and CMS packages. I also enjoy cooking but don’t often have the chance to experiment.

IT Articles

RPG Articles


Some of these pages contain links to Amazon via an affiliate link. Check out my blog to find out about the games I’m running at ORC or elsewhere. If you’ve really found the stuff on the website useful, why not send me something from my Amazon wishlist?

Bill on Twitter

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