Bean! amongst the Clouds!

Burton on Trent Town Hall, Beer and Pretzels 20-21/5/17

On the second day of the 28th Beer and Pretzels gaming convention, in Burton on Trent’s fantastic town hall, on 21st May 2017 CE, the TMG crew assembled for a session of Bean! This is the charming and eminently playable D2 role-playing game designed by our American associate, Mr Jeff Freels. The day’s adventure was conducted by our own resident BeanMaster, Dr Sid Orpin, and was adapted from a Dungeon Crawl Classics scenario. It was called: The Doorway Amongst The Clouds.


Each of the participant ‘beans’ (represented in Lego) woke from troubled dreams, compelled to meet a mysterious ‘blue lady’ on a distant cliff-top. There the stoney-faced lady and her novel collection of talking heads fed us dubious sweetmeats and promised us a rewritten destiny, if we would but rescue her caged ally from her prison in the sky.


Forward, beans!

Nothing daunted, we stepped at dawn onto an invisible bridge and headed into the heavens, maintaining a good speed to outpace the unseen edge behind us that dissolved unnervingly. Predators on leathery wings assailed us, but sinking one with an arrow showed the others for the ruthless scavengers they were, as they plunged to feast on their fallen comrade.

The long march high over the sea led us at last to a meandering but thankfully solid and visible road in the clouds; yet one of our number tumbled at the road’s edge and fell to his doom! Our progress down the road brought us to the attention of some unwelcome giant spiders, and then to the enormous doorway of a vast hall. Within, a titanic guardian slept, and over his monstrous belly hung a woven cage. But as we beheld this strange scene, from the rocks and rubble leapt a nightmarish many-legged pumpkin creature that assailed us with lunatic ferocity. This, not without exertion, we threw back into the shadows.


Begone, foul pumpkin thing!

A bold bean, a humble clerk in daily life, exerted his Spirit and managed to fly to the cage; but its deranged denizen kicked him away, and, in a shocking display of ingratitude toward the indulgently somnolent titan who broke his fall, our bean scribbled disrespectful graffiti on its helpfully rotund abdomen.

Wiser beans, after defeating a band of wizened starvelings in the grip of some desperate command, undertook more conventional explorations, and thereby discovered a rickety and dangerous stair that led us to our goal: a passage at whose mouth the cage hung. Following several attempts, a descent was effected, and thus was the long-imprisoned (and surprisingly bat-winged) princess released, to whirl and screech once more! – And to kill the pumpkin thing in short order.

Dizziness and wiggly air left us once more on the cliff-top, where the mysterious lady, with her latest heads, thanked us for our aid, and then, with powerful magicks, spun the wheel of destiny and rewrote history for each of us!


Beansters at play

Bean! once again proved to be a system that allowed us to get stuck into our strange adventure with laughably little fuss, and Dr Sid’s dictatorship was, happily, as benign as ever.

BEAN! There Done That! part 1

BEAN! is that fabulous D2 role-playing game brought forth from the fertile and twisted imagination of our good friend Jeff Freels. Inspired by the thought that an avid gamer could  toss a few beans while at work instead of dice to keep the boss from noticing what they were up to, there is the challenge of finding the two-sided dice required. Using dried kidney beans with “0” and “1” written on opposite sides certainly fulfils the criteria but, in practice, they don’t roll terribly well. For Bean! adventures I have run at Beer & Pretzels, therefore, we have used ordinary D6s and adopted the “low – high” approach where 1,2,3 represent and 4,5,6 1.

I have, therefore, been on the lookout for alternatives and here is what I’ve come up with :-

I: Blank Dice
As luck would have it, you can buy blank six-sided dice in a variety of colours and then using a permanent marker put whatever marks on them that you like.

Blank D6 with ‘1’ and ‘0’ stencil markings

Alternative stencil of ‘1’ and ‘0’ on blank D6









Of course, you don’t have to put boring old numbers on the blank canvas that is the D6 face. When producing your own homemade ‘beans’ anything you like could represent the ‘1’ and the ‘0’ needed for the game as long as you can draw something appealing.

Beanfolk face as “1”

Beer & Pretzels 2013: Beans in Space

B&P2013 – A Space Oddity

The intrepid adventurers for Beans in Space
Drew, pay attention!!

This is a bit late being posted but I feel we (that’s the TMG royal we) ought to shout about the fun we had in May at the Beer & Pretzels gaming weekend in Burton-on-Trent. I will leave others to talk about the Saturday, but I will commit to the ether what went on on the Sunday. Traditionally, well for the last 2 years, Sunday is a day for Bean! This year was no exception but following the release of the Beans in Space supplement for that great D2 role-playing game, I thought it might be nice to switch to a science fantasy setting for a change.

With the aid of a well known scandinavian plastic block manufacturer, I even managed to produce some miniatures plus floor plans of the ABSA (All Bean Space Authority to you!) space station Ratatouillefor the action to take place in.

BSV 501 Ratatouille – a classic modular design

This year I had a full complement of the TMG crew; Andy Holmes, Jason Mills, Andy James and Simon Tranter, plus Drew Morton (Drreww from Trollhalla) and as always my son Darrgh Junior (also known as William). Each player chose/was allocated a character from ‘Zed Shift’ – new members of the crew of the station.

ABSA Space Marine confused by the strange servile robots

After a rousing pep talk from the Captain of the Ratatouille, Commander Mungo Sativus, things started to go wrong.

The Pilot-Navigator, a  biomechanoid called Fal-Nonn-Kae, takes over the station and attempts to destroy the crew by interfering with life support, lighting and artificial gravity.

Zed Shift are all sat in the mess waiting to go on duty when the lights go out… They determine to make their way through the hostile environment of the crippled station to try to get to the command module and save the Captain and their own lives into the bargain.


After battling through modules of the station lacking oxygen and floating uncontrollably into ceilings they have to fight sentient plant life, deal with servile robots that bear more than a passing resemblance to those deadly pepper pots from the well known BBC series Doctor Who, before defeating zombean space marines. Once within the command module, the battle sways one way and then the other before Dr Jelly Bean (Drew’s character and station medic) rolls a mega super duper success and leaps up the steps to plunge a scalpel in to Fal-Nonn-Kae’s neck and bring the action to a close.

Zed shift battle zombean marines and a deadly D’LEX robot

But, where is the Captain? And what will become of the two crew members who lost control of their flitter and went spiralling off towards the nearest planet? Plenty of opportunity for our intrepid adventurers to boldly go where no beanfolk have gone before in a continuing adventure of BEANS IN SPACE!!

Darrgh T July 2013


Building Work at Tarrrho Towers

After 16 years at Tarrrho Towers, Trollwife and I have decided to make a few alterations to the lounge. For those of you who have visited our humble abode, the following pictures may be of interest.

To everybody else, the delights of our interior design alterations may be of less interest.

Darrgh T


July 2013

Lesser-known Statuary of Manchester

I had leisure to chase up a trio of monuments as I ambled around Manchester yesterday. The first I must have walked past dozens of times without realising who it was: Abraham Lincoln! Yankee blockades of Confederate states in the US Civil War kept cotton out of the mills of Northern England, causing a lot of hardship and unemployment. Nonetheless, there was a union vote to support the Union (if you will), and after the war Abe issued a thank-you to us Northerners. Apparently Lincoln’s son didn’t like this statue, as the placement of the hands suggests Abe has stomach ache! So even though it was destined for Liverpool, it somehow ended up in Manchester. (I didn’t entirely follow that bit.) It’s in Lincoln Square (duh!) – Brazenose (“bronze nose?”) Street in fact, just yards from a rather more prominent sculpture depicting Chopin. (I fear I may have hogged the camera a little on this one…)

The next is in Sackville Park. It’s the great Alan Turing, computer pioneer and Bletchley Park Enigma-code-cracker. Prosecuted for homosexuality, he was found dead with a bitten apple that it is thought was poisoned (though evidently no one tested it!) – hence the one in the sculpture. The statue sits happily between the science buildings of Manchester’s academia and the gay bars of Bloom Street, in a pleasant little park that is also home to the Beacon of Hope, the only permanent memorial (it says here) to victims of HIV/Aids. Turing’s sculptor buried his own Amstrad computer under the plaque at Alan’s feet. (Wise move.)

Finally, a few streets south on Granby Row I came across this one by accident. It’s a monument to Vimto, on the site of the building where the first ever mixture of those ingredients was made. The giant fruits and whatnot in this sculpture, however, are not genuine: instead they are made of oak.