Bill Heron: Gaming in Edinburgh and other RPG stuff


eBay, Werewolf and Shadows of Esteren Kickstarter, and WFRP MP3s

Ebay and Kickstarter have a lot to answer for really. I sold off my 5,000 point Warhammer Undead army over 15 years ago along with a lot of my other miniatures, and a lot of my RPG materials. I seriously regret it now. I wish I’d kept them – we’re talking Werewolf: the Apocalypse  (1st and 2nd edition), Vampire: the Masquerade, and a huge number of AD&D materials. I’ve also picked up the Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Dragon Mountain, and the Menzoberranzan AD&D boxed sets. I need to watch my spending on them! A few years back I actually made a nice bit of cash speculating on ebay but the time taken to bundle everything up and list items was a nightmare.

There’s also some real idiots out there on ebay who will screw you over any chance they get for postage or Paypal fees. There are also those who claim 100% positive feedback, often through somewhat unscrupulous means, particularly when they are selling multiple items (usually over-priced) through a single listing or “Buy it Now”. Some individuals have huge amounts of games listed but most collectors will avoid having anything to do with those who threaten and browbeat customers – check the Acaeum forum if there’s any warnings and always look closely at the feedback. Make sure that any maps or similar are included as some fail to list these missing items.

I’ve recently contributed to the Werewolf: the Apocalyse Anniversary edition on Kickstarter. I’m not really looked at the game since late second edition when it was beginning to collapse under its own meta-plot weight as with all the original World of Darkness games. Can’t believe it was 20 years ago though! Along with AD&D, it was one of the first games I ever ran as a campaign – and I understand Samuel Haight may reappear (or his clone anyway!)… Also on Kickstarter, I’ve backed Shadows of Esteren, a medieval horror RPG that looks gorgeous and has a lot of extra stuff for backers.I know that Numenra, Monte Cook‘s new game has recently been funded, along with Robin D Laws Hillfolk, but neither really interested me. UPDATE: Unfortunately the Legendary Realms Kickstarter failed to secure their funding so that’s a pity.

I’m starting to see what makes Kickstarter so attractive for established companies – they can offer free PDFs of their stuff and memorabilia and it makes for a good business model. However smaller companies will probably get crowded out – they need to offer something special, rather than regarding it as a revenue stream. Just using it to get your game published is one thing, but using stretch goals is a proven way of raising the bar considerably – it encourages folk to up their pledge. Also, it’s nice seeing a bundle of goodies rather than a single book…

I’ve recently begun playing the Rogue Trader RPG again after a few months break. I quite like the wh40k universe but it does take itself a bit too seriously sometimes. When we play, it’s more Red Dwarf than Dune in style 🙂 – and we get away with it. Post-game, a couple of the other players and I headed off to the bus stop and we began talking about war-games.It has been a long time since I played a war-game. I think I’ve kind of lost my appetite for destruction in that respect – whether it is wh40k, fantasy, or historical.

Perhaps its just the sheer logistics and the actual time involved in getting the games setup or maybe I’m not as tactically minded as I used to be.  I’m just not that competitive these days. I’m hardly ever on the X-box for LAN games these days, and my time seems to just fly out the window these days. Although I’ve been playing Black Mesa (Valve’s Half Life game re-imagined) recently I’ve done very little PC or X-Box gaming. I’m waiting to hear what X-Com is like…

I’ve been looking at trying to get the audio from the last WFRP: Enemy Within sessions uploaded but I need to split the somewhat large audio MP3 file down into much smaller sections, perhaps using Audacity. The files were too large for YouTube!  I also forgot the recorder for one session so I’m kicking myself over that. We had two players absent so I ran a game set in Weissbruck as part of the Mistaken Identity storyline. The Bounty Hunter Bad Guy, Adolphos Kuftos will return, despite a crossbow bolt to the head (NPCs can have Fate points too)! The group wound up hunting a Chaos Spawn, who had been attacking and killing townsfolk – a mutant who had been brought back from the Kislevite city of Praag by his father, once overrun by the forces of Chaos.

I pulled out all the stops for this game I’m calling the “Legacy of Praag“- we had bugs in the walls, Silent-Hill style images of mould and decay, and huge (non-monstrous) slugs in the garden. I based the house on the Haunting Horror adventure from The Restless Dead campaign. I decided against running TRD as it stands as it doesn’t quite gel together so I’m planning to use the adventures standalone as part of The Enemy Within, linking some of them together. I might put up the stats and a brief summary for the Spawn in the future, but it looked like a mixture of the Alien Queen, a giant spider, and one of B5s Shadows, so all good 🙂

One of my WFRP house rules is that you roll 1d10, not 1d6 as mentioned in the rules. It works well. Although this can make combat deadly it cuts both ways – PCs can get taken down as easily as monsters. It definitely makes things a lot more gritty, more like Joe Abercrombie than David Eddings! NPCs and PCs can still use skills like Dodge Blow, so the fact that the amount of damage can actually cause a critical hit in one blow makes my players very wary of their PCs picking a fight with competent melee opponents! There’s always Fate points too 🙂

RPGing on a budget

With everything that’s going on at the moment, we’re all feeling the pinch financially: so here’s some suggestions to help you save some cash when it comes to RPGs: RPGing on a budget! In the suggestions below, many involve the internet: if you are using mobile broadband, you may want to check your mobile broadband Terms & Conditions as downloading lots of material may quickly expend your data transfer quota.

Recycle your adventures, and reuse maps when you can. If you run games for different groups you can likely re-use maps from another game. One of the maps from the Call of Cthulhu adventure “The Haunting” has put in an appearance in both my games of Ashes of Freedom and Cthulhutech. I found a load of old school jotters that I ripped up for scrap paper. If you’ve got a pile of old games and miniatures, get rid of them on eBay. Metal miniatures can make a lot of cash for you especially if they’re the old lead ones and are unpainted.

Raid your boardgames for dice and tokens: the dice you and your players can use and the tokens you can use for monsters and NPCs, especially if they are in a variety of colours.

Miniatures can be expensive if you’re strapped for cash. Players may want to bring their own figures anyway – you can always use counters to represent monsters or NPCs.

Use squared paper for floor-plans and draw them so that they can be reused. The backing paper from tackyback (the plastic used to cover books in libraries) is very useful for this. Again, old school maths jotters are useful for these.

Borrow rulebooks from anyone that already has them. Nowhere  is it written that a GM must own all the rulebooks! If they’re playing in your game so much the better – they can bring the books with them when they come along. Just make sure you ask permission before you borrow them :).

Go shopping for second hand games. Conventions like Conpulsion and Claymore usually have a lot of second-hand stuff for sale, including miniatures. You can also check eBay for old games and supplements, but watch out for the delivery costs that can be levied by unscrupulous sellers – a 128-page softback supplement should cost less than £3 to send in the UK – check the Royal Mail website for some idea of basic prices. If you order from overseas it can cost considerably more. You can also get cheap RPG materials in PDF form from places like DriveThruRPG, rather than shelling out for a dead tree edition.

Be frugal with your printing. Avoid printing in colour, especially if you have an inkjet printer: they expend cartridges so quickly that you’ll shell out a small fortune. If you’re lucky enough to have a laser printer with a duplexing unit, make sure you print both sides. Print in draft mode which will save ink/toner. You could also email/PM your maps to your players rather than printing them. Finally you could photocopy, rather than print, your maps, handouts, character sheets, etc.

Free PC tools and adventures are out there, from PC generators to mapping tools such as AutoRealm. Of course, you need to have an internet connection although you could use a library. The internet is your friend when it comes to finding materials for your games. For instance, the ProFantasy mapping viewer will allow you to view and print the large number maps in their archive. There’s also various collections of adventures and other materials created by the RPG community online, such as the  ORC wiki.

Use Skype or other IM tools if you can’t get your group together to play. One of my friends runs a weekly RPG session using Skype together with a mapping tool/virtual whiteboard and it has been working well for quite some time. With Skype allowing you to make free VoIP calls, it probably works out cheaper than a subscription to World of Warcraft.

Use SRD documents rather than expensive rulebooks if you can’t afford it. Both D&D and Pathfinder have their own SRD documents that are at least usable – they may not be pretty, but who cares? Many games also provide quick-start rules that you can use to run the first few games, usually along with pre-generated PCs.

Write your own. Either write your own adventures or come up with your own system. It’s a lot of work but may not cost you anything, except time. You can also pad out published adventures with your own encounters and NPCs.

Host your game. If you’re really skint, host the game in your own home, saving you the travel costs. You might even get free snacks from your players!

And finally, *SIGH* there are PDFs out there of scanned books. I DO NOT CONDONE THIS. In fact I strongly discourage it – and it is the reason Wizards of the Coast no longer distribute their D&D books in PDF format. Go figure.

Collecting RPGs and other gaming paraphenalia

Collecting RPGs

For a few years now I’ve been selling (and buying) items on eBay, the internet auction site – mainly RPG materials, although I have sold a number of comics and other items. Visit the about me page on ebay for details of my current auctions, if any. The tables below list previous auctions (of comics, software, and RPG materials) that I’ve held in the past, together with their final price. This is a very basic guide to collecting RPGs.

If you’re collecting RPGs for the first time or selling RPG stuff, be careful of who you deal with. There are a number of individuals who will rip you off given the opportunity (I can think of one individual in particular – he is mentioned fairly frequently on the Acaeum site). Bear the following in mind:

  • Anyone with negative feedback? Check what the issue was.
  • If the item is actually a PDF or knock-off, alert both eBay and the copyright owner. Piracy harms the games industry.
  • Always ask questions about an item if you’re unsure.
  • Make sure that an item is not part of a set. Some sellers break up collections, e.g. gift sets or bundles. Collecting RPGs like a series of modules can sometime be very frustrating!
  • Query anything listed as “mint” – if it is, it should still be in the original packaging such as shrink-wrap.
  • Check that any extra materials, such as maps are present, and that they are originals, not copies. As a seller, make sure that you list any missing parts.
  • Check postage costs – some sellers will charge you a fortune. If you’re selling, make sure that you check how much it costs to send items overseas.
  • Don’t pay over the odds – some buyers act crazy when items like the Bloodstone modules turn up. They’re not worth more than £10-£20 if listed as used!
  • As a seller, be honest about any defects or damage.

There’s more advice on the Acaeum site, which also lists market value of popular D&D items. Please be aware that I’m not an expert – don’t ask me the market price for items. I only buy stuff on ebay occasionally these days. Anyway: on with the list.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 1st Edition

Item (including condition) Auction Price
AD&D (1st edition rulebooks)£16.91
AD&D Dragonlance & supplements and modules£60.00
AD&D Ravenloft (I6) / The House on Gryphon Hill£12.05
AD&D: 4 UK series adventure modules£17.76
All that Glitters Adventure (UK6)£2.00
Battlesystem Miniatures Rules (AD&D) (9266)£2.40
Beyond the Crystal Cave Adventure (UK1)£3.00
Danger at Dunwater AD&D Dungeon Module (U2)£3.71
Deities & Demigods AD&D (worn)£14.05
Deities & Demigods AD&D£16.00
Dragons of Glory£19.00
Dwellers of the Forbidden City Dungeon Module (I1)£7.08
Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Dungeon Module S3£5.50
Fiend Folio£13.50
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting hardback book£15.00
Forgotten Realms: 5 Supplements (FR & FRE series)£5.50
Greyhawk A Series AD&D 4 Adventures£12.50
Greyhawk Adventures hardback£6.00
Greyhawk C Series 3 Adventures£8.50
Greyhawk D Series Adventures£4.70
Greyhawk job lot (inc. very rare items)£88.25
Greyhawk S Series 4 Adventures£7.50
Greyhawk S Series 4 Adventures -WORN£5.50
Midnight on Dagger Alley Magic Viewer Module (MV1)£2.21
Oriental Adventures (1st Ed AD&D)£11.00
Queen of the Demonweb Pits AD&D Dungeon Module (Q1)£8.50
Ravenloft Module (I6) for AD&D RARE!£6.50
Ruins of Adventure FORGOTTEN REALMS AD&D (9238)£5.50
Scourge of the Slavelords/Queen of the Spiders Adventure£42.00
The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun GREYHAWK AD&D WG4£3.20
The Secret of Bone Hill AD&D Dungeon Module (L1) GC£5.50
The Sword of the Dales FORGOTTEN REALMS AD&D (9484)£3.00
The Throne of Bloodstone FORGOTTEN REALMS Adventure£4.00
The Village of Hommlet GREYHAWK Adventure (T1)£1.00
Tomb of Horrors AD&D Dungeon Module (S1)£3.00
Under Illefarn FORGOTTEN REALMS AD&D (N5 9212)£3.00

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd Edition

Item (including condition) Auction Price
AD&D 2nd Edition – DMG, PHB£51.00
AD&D Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide PB VGC£5.50
AD&D Dark Sun: City by the Silt Sea (TSR)£12.00
AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, screen, PHB & Tome of Magic£9.00
AD&D Players Option Books & PHB (6 books)£37.00
Castles Forlorn boxed set for AD&D RAVENLOFT£4.00
Celts Campaign Sourcebook AD&D (HR3 9376)£6.50
Core Rules 2, Expansion, Dragon Archive (Original) CD-ROMS£41.00
Dark of the Moon Adventure for RAVENLOFT£8.07
Draconomicon (FOR1)£4.00
Dragon Mountain boxed set adventure (AD&D)£18.28
Dungeon Master’s Guide (2nd Edition)£4.00
Dungeon Master’s Guide, screen, PHB, Monstrous Manual£9.00
Feast of Goblyns adventure for AD&D RAVENLOFT£2.00
From the Ashes AD&D Greyhawk BOXED SET VGC£62.00
Glory of Rome Campaign Sourcebook AD&D (HR3 9376)£4.00
Hour of the Knife adventure for AD&D RAVENLOFT£2.50
House on Gryphon Hill (I10) Ravenloft 2 Module for AD&D£4.20
Howls in the Night Adventure for AD&D RAVENLOFT£4.00
Islands of Terror Supplement for AD&D RAVENLOFT£2.00
Lankhmar City of Adventure AD&D (9162)£4.00
Menzoberranzan (AD&D Boxed Set) / Drow of the Underdark£42.50
Monstrous Compendium Appendices AD&D: 7 appendices£36.20
Planescape TSR Boxed Set£40.00
Spelljammer Boxed set + supplements£50.00
Spelljammer: War Captain’s Companion Boxed set (AD&D)£31.51
The Falcon Trilogy (3 ADD Greyhawk adventures£25.01
The Marklands: Greyhawk Adventures Supplement PB£7.70
Vecna Lives Adventure PB VGC£14.50

Comics & Magazines

Item (including condition) Auction Price
Doctor Strange (Marvel Comics)£10.00
Ghost Rider/Spirits of Vengeance (Marvel)£15.00
Marvel Comics: VENOM &; NIGHTWATCH (31 comics) RARE£12.00
Spiderman (inc Daredevil and Shroud) comics£8.00
Star Wars: Dark Empire II comics£10.49
Dragon and Polyhedron magazines TSR RPG AD&D and D&D£10.00

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 1st Edition

Item (including condition) Auction Price
Dungeon & Dragons Sets, 10 Modules/Supplements/Adventures£23.00
Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set + Module Series B1-6£19.50
Dungeons & Dragons Boxed Sets (UK 1st ed.)£53.00
Dungeons & Dragons Classic Modules (X & B Series)£15.00
Dungeons & Dragons: 3 classic Modules (B Series)£9.00

Dungeon & Dragons (D&D) 3rd Edition/3.5

Item (including condition) Auction Price
Book of Vile Darkness (Hardback, MINT condition)£7.50
City of the Spider Queen adventure£10.56
D20 Modern (hardback, NEAR-MINT)£17.98
Magic Of Faerun (softback, MINT): Forgotten Realms£10.00
Manual of the Planes£10.00
Psionics Handbook£18.32
Races Of Faerun (hardback, MINT): Forgotten Realms£13.96
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil Adventure (PB)£25.00
Savage Species£6.50


Item (including condition) Auction Price
Legends of Skyfall: David Tant£8.50
Lone Wolf/Grey Star lot (Dever/Page)£51.01
Titan: the Fighting Fantasy World & Out of the Pit book£7.00


Item (including condition) Auction Price
Squat WH40K Army (Citadel Miniatures)£108.51

Other RPGs

Item (including condition) Auction Price
Boot Hill RPG (1979)£19.00
Delta Green Call of Cthulhu Supplement & Alien Intelligence£70.50
FUDGE 1st Edition£4.10
GURPS Basic Set£6.00
Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn (boxed set)£5.50
Traveller RPG Rules (2nd Ed, GDW)£40.00
Vampire: The Masquerade (White Wolf) RPG HB 2nd ed£9.50
Werewolf: The Apocalypse (White Wolf) RPG HB 2nd ed£8.65
World of Necroscope RPG & Supplements£62.65