All posts by Mark

I am now on Patreon

Just to let regular readers of my blog know that I am now on Patreon! You’ll see a link in the sidebar and at the bottom of this post if you would like to support me. Here’s some explanation of what I am hoping to achieve:

I’m a part-time writer and tabletop gamer – I have a passion for writing fantasy and historical fiction and also dabble in science fiction too. Also I am really into tabletop gaming – so RPGs, miniature wargames and PC games as well and love writing about those as well – even creating some of my own content such as RPG adventures for instance.

Your help will keep me motivated to achieve my writing goals and also producing more content about tabletop games as well – for instance blog posts and other content. I don’t have a firm plan of what you’ll get as a patreon of my work, so I’m starting with a modest tier scheme at the moment – whatever you can contribute will help me on my journey to get my work out there to more people. In the future I might introduce higher tiers and for those I’ll include specific rewards – exclusive short stories or gaming content for instance.

The Best RPG and Wargames Podcasts (IMO!)

I enjoy listening to podcasts – they’re like a more interesting version of radio – and ideal if you’re doing something else that doesn’t take too much thought – for instance walking, commuting or working on fairly mundane task.

There’s quite a few podcasts out there that cover tabletop gaming in general and specifically for RPGs and Wargames – my main gaming interests. I’ve tried quite a few out over the last few years. I have found I am not that keen on the most common type of RPG podcasts – the actual play session. These are recordings of people playing RPGs. Much like watching someone playing Fortnite, I don’t really see the point – I’d rather be playing as well! I also find that they can be difficult to follow unless you’re concentrating on them. Having said that I have found The Enemy Within podcast from GM Noely to be quite good – partly because the campaign is so well-known to me. So I would recommend that one if you like Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. But I’m not going to suggest any others.

The type of podcast that works better for me tends to be where people talk about stuff to do with games. This can be in the form of an interview – e.g. someone interviewing Rick Priestley is always worth listening to – or just people talking about what interests them – the wonderful Grognard Files be a great example of that, but I also really enjoy Save for Half (a US Old School equivalent) and also the house podcast for the Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers magazine – the presenters of these are down to earth and have interesting things to say.

On the corporate side of things the Dragon Talk podcast is OK depending on the subject – there tends to be too much filler for me, and too many live streamer interviews, but the hosts are quite funny and it has great music – the Bing Bongs!

Also a new one is Stormcast – the official Warhammer Age of Sigmar podcast set-up to promote the launch of the new edition (but hopefully sticking around). As well as going over the new rules in a succinct way, it also offers some great tips on gaming and painting, and isn’t too cringily promotional.

One of my favourites though is Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice – two charming English gents chatting about RPGs in their garden somewhere in the home counties – RPGs are taken to a new cerebral level.

I’m not going to review each podcast I listen to, but here’s a list of my current favourites in no particular order:

Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice
Stormcast Podcast
Grognard Files
Save for Half
Warmaster Podcast
The Veteran Wargamer
Meeples and Miniatures
Cast Dice Podcast
Dragon Talk
The Enemy Within
Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers

Let me know what your favourite podcasts are!

Stonehearted Update

A little bit of news about my current writing project – the Stonehearted series of novellas set in the Hundred Years War.

I’ve now about to finish the first draft of volume 4, which will be titles For a Heart Made of Stone. This will be now the final volume of the series! I have enjoyed writing the books, which are a face-paced action-adventure historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, but I am also looking forward too to moving onto other things!

Once For a Heart Made of Stone has been edited, I will announce some more information about publication dates.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play – 4th Edition – Preorders to be open Thursday 3rd May 2018!

So obviously my last post was great timing!

Here’s the announcement from Cubicle 7:

The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition pre-order opens later this week! To whet your appetite, here are 4 things you can expect from the new edition of this beloved game.

Your Warhammer for You!
Something that is really core to *our* WFRP is that we’ve created tools for you to play *your* Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. We recognise and support that everyone plays their own version of the rules and the setting, and we fully embrace and encourage that. It’s your game! With 30 years of history under its belt, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay means a lot of things to a huge number of players.

Ideal starting point
Not much experience with RPGs? The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set is designed to be the ideal introduction, with a structured adventure to help you learn how to play. Also containing a guide to Ubersreik, there’s loads of gaming material for more experienced GMs too!

System matters
WFRP4 uses ten-sided dice, and a tuned-up version of the familiar d100 system. You can tailor the rules to your preferences or different in-game situations, choosing from a menu of fast ‘roll under’ Simple Tests, Dramatic Tests giving success levels where you need more than a ‘yes or no’ result, and even barely rolling at all, if that’s your style.

Passion for Warhammer
Our creative team are lifelong players of the three previous editions of the game, and between us we’ve worked on all these editions too! We bloomin’ love Warhammer, and we think it shows.

We’ll be bringing you more on WFRP4 regularly, so watch this space! And, very excitingly, pre-orders go live on Thursday…

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 4th Edition – What We Know So Far and Release Date

Before Grimdark, George R R Martin et all was a thing, there was …

Warhammer – and specifically Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP) that fleshed out the Old World which was the setting for Games Workshop’s Fantasy battle game. WFRP portrayed a world much like late medieval Europe which was dirty, deadly and dark – with the corruption of chaos lurking hidden within the normal society – evoking an atmosphere similar to the paranoia of the witch crazes of the 15th/16th centuries in Europe.

Adventures such as Shadows over Bogenhafen cemented the reputation of WFRP as something more sophisticated and “realistic” than the dungeon bash D&D fare available during the 1980s. It was more a mish-mash of a Fantasy RPG and Call of Cthulhu.

And it was bloody brilliant!

Soon to be released is a 4th edition of this great RPG – and the new publishers, Cubicle 7 have promised to take the game back to its roots.

I can’t wait!

Here I’m going to collate and summarise the sketchy information we have so far about the new edition of WFRP.

Setting

A lot of assumptions have been made about this, but I don’t think anything concrete has been announced yet – it will be the Old World, we know that, but I don’t think they have given any indication what the chronology will be with vis a vis events such as Storm of Chaos or the End Times.

Most people are assuming before End Times, or at least flexible.

Design Philosophy

We have had some hints about this – Dominic McDowall, Cubicle 7 CEO has said that they are huge fans of 1e and 2e, so that should please older fans of WFRP who would like to see it go back to its roots. They have also indicated that they have given the system more of an overhaul than first planned:

“The initial plan was to make some small updates to the awesome second edition, and that would mean we would be able to release the game in 2017. We’re all huge fans of the first and second editions of WFRP, and we wanted to take the game back to those roots.

“When I got into the guts of the game I started seeing more opportunities to add in some of the things we’ve learned over the years. This more creative direction meant a longer development phase. Games Workshop are extremely supportive of us taking the time we need to make WFRP Fourth Edition the very best game it can be, and so that’s what we did. I’m very excited about the way things have come together!”

We also know that one of the old writers for WFRP, Graeme Davis, has been brought back on board to do a new version of the Enemy Within campaign for 4th edition – a kind of director’s cut.

But they have also promised there will be new material as well.

Products

Initial products will be a Starter Set and a Rulebook – cover art has been release for both, and they have also appeared in a distributor’s catalogue – with USD pricing (image from Lance Anderson on the WFRP 4e Facebook group):

Plus we know there is a new version of the Enemy Within campaign being worked on as well for all the nostalgic old timers (me included!) No more details though on that.

Covers

The two cover images released so far are for the Starter Set and the Rulebook. The rulebook image is certainly an homage to 1st edition, whereas the Starter Set strikes me as something that might appeal to fans of games such as Vermintide, so perhaps they’re trying to appeal to a new market of Warhammer Fantasy fans here? That can only be a good thing. I’m not sure if I love the artwork yet – it looks a bit too bright and cartoony for me. I also wonder if the archetypal hero characters displayed will give players the wrong idea about WFRP – where are the rat-catchers and artisan apprentices? Although having said that those mundane characters never appeared on the WFRP 1e cover either! WFRP 1e ended up having more of a pathetic aesthetic than perhaps the cover artwork indicated.

Rulebook Cover
Starter Set Cover

Release Date

Very possibly at UK Games Expo between 1st and 3rd June 2018 – the organisers have announced that it will be launched – see this video about the show.

Although there’s not much information, I’m excited to see what the game will look like and also to read people’s opinions as well over at the Warhammer Role Play 4th Edition Facebook Group.

UPDATE

New Teaser image published today (2nd May 2018) so including that as well as the Featured image at the top – previous image below. Looks like other careers are getting a mention!

For a Life Forgotten – Stonehearted Volume 3 Published!

I am pleased to announce that For a Life Forgotten has now been published and is available in eBook and Print Book formats!

The concluding volume 4 is nearing completion and should be out in the summer.

For a Life Forgotten by Mark Lord

When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone

The English army commanded by Robert Knolles has reached Paris – the capital and the honour of the French kingdom is under threat. But against the backdrop of war another drama plays out – will Eolande find her father, who was captured by the French? Will Richard seek the redemption he seeks after the terrible killing of his brother, and what will be the fate of the amoral Minsterworth, a captain in the English army, but only interested in his own gain?

Meanwhile secrets about the fate of Eolande’s father will be revealed.

For a Life Forgotten is the third part of the Stonehearted series, a fast-paced medieval adventure story set during the epic Hundred Year War between England and France.

Available from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

For a Life Forgotten – Volume 3 of Stonehearted – Now Available for Pre-Order!

Volume 3 of Stonehearted, my action adventure series set in the Hundred Years War, is now available to pre-order in eBook format!

As a reminder the previous volumes are:

By the Sword’s Edge (Vol 1)

By Fire and Sword (Vol 2)

For a Life Forgotten by Mark Lord

When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone

The English army commanded by Robert Knolles has reached Paris – the capital and the honour of the French kingdom is under threat. But against the backdrop of war another drama plays out – will Eolande find her father, who was captured by the French? Will Richard seek the redemption he seeks after the terrible killing of his brother, and what will be the fate of the amoral Minsterworth, a captain in the English army, but only interested in his own gain?

Meanwhile secrets about the fate of Eolande’s father will be revealed.

For a Life Forgotten is the third part of the Stonehearted series, a fast-paced medieval adventure story set during the epic Hundred Year War between England and France.

Available to Pre-Order from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

Death on the Reik – Similarities with The Shadow over Innsmouth

WARNING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR A 1936 NOVELLA AND 1987 RPG ADVENTURE!

I’m a big fan of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP for short) having played it extensively as a teenager in the 80s – I GMed the Enemy Within campaign and several other adventures too. WFRP is going through a bit of a revival at the moment with a new fourth edition due out in 2018 from Cubicle7, and I have even started GMing 1st edition WFRP again with some old friends.

For those who don’t know it WFRP has a gritty, realistic feel to it – it’s set in an Old World much like late medieval Europe and was grimdark before grimdark was a thing (I hate the grimdark tag to be honest – to me it just seems an excuse for violence and misogyny, but really should be about realism and the darker side of human nature, but that’s for another day).

Apparently one of the requests from Games Workshop management for their new RPG game when it first published was to make it more like Call of Cthulhu – the RPG set in Lovecraft’s world of dark horror and ancient evils that lay hidden. WFRP’s Enemy Within campaign certainly took on that atmosphere, with chaos cultists hidden within normal human society, ready to conjure daemons into being – much like the dark forces lurking in Lovecraft’s fiction.

I’ve only started reading Lovecraft recently having got hold of a collection of his work. It’s hard going, but also mesmerising in a way, and also very influential on other horror writers who followed.

Death on the Reik is the second main adventure in the Enemy Within campaign – in it the party follow a trial leading them to Castle Wittgenstein overlooking the river Reik. I have listed all the published adventures for WFRP 1st edition on my site – in the future I’m aiming to flesh out a few more details on each – publication history synopsis etc.

The Shadow over Innsmouth involves a traveller interested in the history of New England who makes the journey to the coastal town of Innsmouth, a place that has fallen into decline and has a bad reputation.

So what about Death on the Reik and The Shadow over Innsmouth? You’d expect with that name the influence might be more for the first main adventure in the campaign – Shadows over Bogenhafen? But actually I think there is some conscious or perhaps subconscious borrowing by the authors of Death on the Reik (Graeme Davis, Jim Bambra and Phil Gallagher) from The Shadow over Innsmouth. Here’s what I think the similarities are:

  • The town of Wittgendorf and Innsmouth have fallen into decline – no one visits anymore – in fact people avoid each town
  • The inhabitants drink rotgut
  • The inhabitants are mutated in some way – chaos mutations in Wittgendorf, the Innsmouth look in Innsmouth – i.e. turning into frog creatures
  • The rulers of each place (the Marsh family and the Wittgenstein family) are recluses, undergo mutations themselves and have brought the decline of their towns upon themselves
  • In the past one of the rulers ancestors brought something back – this has resulted in the mutations – warpstone and something unexplained in Innsmouth (as far as I can tell)
  • Both towns are by the water (bit tenuous!)
  • It’s possible to travel to both places – but visitors are made to feel unwelcome. I.e. these aren’t places that are forbidden, but they are shunned by most outsiders.

There are also plenty of differences of course – but I do think the atmosphere and theme are quite alike – have a read of The Shadow over Innsmouth and see what you think – it was my favourite of the Lovecraft stories I read recently. And if you don’t know WFRP and Death on the Reik – get to it immediately – check out the PDFs on DrivethruRPG, get some friends together and start playing – you won’t be disappointed.

Kindle Book Preview of Hell has its Demons

Sorry not to post for a while – I’m blaming Christmas holidays and also bouts of illness too!

I’m trying out a new marketing tool from Kindle Publishing today – a Kindle Book Preview. Here’s one for Hell has its Demons:

It looks pretty slick so may add them to all my product pages – although obviously this drives people to prefer a purchase via Amazon than other retailers – all my titles are also available from other retailers and many in print as well. The one hassle about this preview is that it is Amazon country specific – so this one is just for the UK site, but should give readers a good preview of the book anyway I hope.

Anyway, I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year!

Field of Glory 2 – Ancient and Medieval Battle Game

I’m a big fan of Slitherine’s Field of Glory game that allows you to refight ancient and medieval battles – and recreates very nicely the look and feel of a miniatures wargame (I think in the original game the artwork were actual photos of miniatures!). So I was very excited to see that they have now released a Field of Glory 2!

The game follows on from their Battle Academy and Pike and Shotte games engines and replaces hex based movement with squares – and the graphics are 3d animations rather than 2d sprites, so visually it looks great. I also really like how they have changed some of the game dynamics and made things much simpler to control so as a player you can concentrate on strategy and tactics instead.

Field of Glory 2 starts off firmly in the ancients setting, and specifically with the Rise of Rome era, but I am sure they will be adding army as per Field of Glory 1 to add medieval battles and armies and also other areas of the ancient world. Here’s a great trailer from Slitherine for the game: