Thursday, 10 September 2020


First announcement: there's an art-free PDF of PARIAH available for free download on You can find it here:

Pariah came with stats for only 3 monsters. There probably should have been more, but then again Tales of the Grotesque & Dungeonesque has some excellent advice:

When in Doubt, Just Use Bears – So, the characters go somewhere you haven't yet prepared and you describe some cool, weird-ass monster that you don't actually have stats for: "At the bottom of the Bone Pit of the Succulent Orb a vast form rises from the sinkhole; its reptilian body glistens with antediluvian slime and its pteroid jaw opens, revealing rows of serrated fangs in what appears to be a most unholy welcome." In situations likes these, I just use the stats for a bear and no one is the wiser. Re-skin appearance, methods of attack, and add special abilities on the fly if you absolutely must...but when in doubt, just use bears.
Don't say "Aww" she's probably just eaten your children.
In case that wasn't sufficient instruction, here's the 4 bears that came with the original B/X re-statted for PARIAH to help you get started. This isn't any discourse, nor is it a discussion of north European palaeolithic bear cults... I'm just providing you with the bare-bones of some monsters to put into your campaign!

Saturday, 5 September 2020


A summary of the ELEVENTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. This is a continuation of events in the tenth session.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post or trawl through the many, many posts tagged pariah at this link


(This session took place on Saturday 22nd August)

Friday, 4 September 2020


A summary of the TENTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. This is a continuation of events in the eighth session, but if you're curious what the ninth session was all about you can find out here.

An old-school proto-neolithic roleplaying game, you can find out more about Pariah at this page. Additionally there are multiple posts collected under the label pariah  including play reports, themes and mechanics, or you can pick up a copy at


(This session took place on Sunday 9th August 2020)


Wither and Antelope were still in recovery following their confrontation with the hill tribe raiders the previous night, so Rides-the-Grave was invited to join the the armed tribute expedition without his comrades. He was joined by a new face: Worm, a pariah fallen into the service of Etau for his wise counsel and powerful storytelling.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020


A summary of the NINTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

We interrupt our usual campaign to bring tales of two new arrivals to the indigo coast...
(This session took place on Sunday 2nd August 2020)

Monday, 31 August 2020


This is a summary of what went down in the eighth session of the regular PARIAH Sunday Sandbox session. To catch up on what happened last time, please read this report:

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post or trawl through the many, many posts tagged pariah at this link

CONTENT WARNING: Medium scale destruction of communal property by arson...
(This took place on Sunday 26th July in the real world)

Tuesday, 25 August 2020


There's a print-on-demand edition of PARIAH available at drive-thru-RPG. This will only be available until 23rd September.

If you backed the kickstarter a discount link has been posted here (available to backers only).

Normal service to resume soon.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Sofinho and His Heteronyms

Throne of Salt recently made a post titled "All My other Characters" in which a list of characters played by the blog's author was provided, as a kind of testament to their journey through RPGs.

Others followed, including The Mad Queen's Court, Of Slugs and Silver (Ancalagon) and Lapidary Ossuary. It was a really interesting insight into the minds and the makings of those authors, or at least one aspect of it.

I think that's what got me thinking about Fernando Pessoa and the concept of the heteronym. Pessoa was a Portuguese poet who more commonly wrote "poets" rather than poems (of course, those poets then went on to write their own poetry...), and as such is often described as the first postmodern poet: Pessoa's ouvre raises questions about the relationship between the author, the reader and the text.

One of Pessoa's heteronyms was Alberto Caeiro, which inspired my own heteronym, Sofinho Caeiro.
I wrote a long post about this, then lost it, along with my assorted character list. Intermingled within were various flippant asides regarding my own mental health and identity issues which I shan't re-insert, because this is an RPG blog not therapy. Broadly though, the very simple (and somewhat hackneyed?) theme of that post was this: a character is an extension of the author. It is a mask, but a mask can also present a hidden (or not-so-hidden) facet of identity.

By laying bare the small clutch of characters I have played I show a little bit of my soul, and it is dull for its blandness. But the hidden story is that I rarely had a chance to play, and for a long period, did not play at all.


Monday, 10 August 2020


A summary of the SEVENTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

He threw himself/ to a bottomless pit/ he was screaming as he fell/ I never heard him hit

SESSION 07: DAY 10 CROW MOON (continued)

Witheringly-Footed-in-the-Point said a few words to commemorate his uh... fallen comrade, perhaps also to lift the spirits of Antelope, who was obviously upset at the loss of their comrade.

But in the heavily forested foothills, one is never too far from a new friend, and so it came to pass that they happened upon a solitary figure on the path back to the settlement, a wiry but powerful figure carrying a bow, caked in dried mud and dirt.

"My name is Rides-the-Grave," he said, offering no other gesture by way of greeting.


Wednesday, 5 August 2020


I don't think anyone reads these sorts of posts by I feel things need to be recorded for posterity. HEre I talk about how abilty checks and skills interact with one another in a classless OSR-based game.

You may want to take a look at this 11 year-old post whic pops up in OSR circles from time-to-time:


I have a new red sharpie
So no messing around, let's cut to the quick: here's how we do it in PARIAH, which is available at  Drive Thru RPG and


So this is basic, but only roll when:

  • There's a consequence to failure.
  • There is an element of time pressure.
If it's not risky and the player isn't bothered when about when the goal is achieved, it can be assumed that the action is successful given sufficient time.
  • Don't roll for knowledge: make a judgement based on the character's background etc. and either tell the players or let them find out information through questions.
  • Investigation & perception checks: don't bother, again provide information based on the actions of the characters as described by their players
  • Exception: sometimes it's fun to do listening rolls. You may have a different opinion regarding this.

Sunday, 26 July 2020


A summary of the FIFTH & SIXTH sessions of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. Have a look at the previous session summary or indeed some of the posts collected under the label pariah or even visit if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Yeah I've used this image before and I'm not sorry
We're going to power through two sessions now, so hold on to your hats. I also deleted one version by mistake so this is even more abridged.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Why I don't write FIVE ON FRIDAY any more (an apology)

Up until February of this year I tried to publish a weekly summary of my favourite blogs every Friday, under the tagline FIVE ON FRIDAY—LIBRARY OF BABEL. You can have a look at these old posts by visiting this link:

The last post I made was the 17th in this series, made at the end of February of this year: I started a new job in March just before the advent of the global pandemic (you may have heard about this) and around the same time I had to actually fulfil a kickstarter I set up for Zinequest.

It was always my intention to get back to it at some point, but as time as worn on and I've been able to make time for reading and writing blogs, I've become less convinced that this is a useful contribution by me to the community.

Sorry if this was a useful series for you, I just don't have the discipline to keep it up!

It's important that the RPG blogosphere—particularly the OSR blogosphere (which in spite of appearances is relatively small)—continues to support one another as short form platforms become increasingly popular. This isn't a personal crusade against other platforms (I happen to enjoy discord and have been made very welcome  on twitter) but I prefer reading and writing long form posts.

A weekly selection of my own personal favourites is I fear not the best way to promote this format, however.

In collaboration with we've been posting a regular blogroll on r/osr. This (I hope) will allow OSR bloggers old and new to reach new audiences and to find (or be reminded of) bloggers new and... less new(?).

The most recent entry is up at this link, and I'll try and share the most recent thread at the end of every blogpost:

Ben Milton of Questing Beast  is also publishing a monthly newsletter of his favourite posts and OSR material, The Glatisant. So far it has been excellent. You can subscribe to it here:

There's also Alex Schroeder's blog aggregator, Old School RPG Planet:

...and Froth's Humpday Blog-o-rama (currently on hiatus, but back soon I hope):

Really I should add these as buttons or permalinks or something somewhere.

Oh! Don't forget about my reading list, THE LIBRARY OF BABEL, which should be located somewhere to the right ---->>>

Thanks for reading.

- Sofinho

Thursday, 23 July 2020

DOGTOWN DRIFTERS: Post Apocalyptic Sports Tour Generator

I can unironically state that one of my favourite movies is Salute of the Jugger. Yeah you can judge, but I'm sure you like stuff that's far less sophisticated. That's right: your favourite thing is probably less sophisticated than a post apocalyptic movie about a fictional sport involving dog skulls.

Anyway, I'm not here to ravage your horrible cultural appetites, I'm here to talk about rolling plastic dice to simulate my horrible taste in movies, books and other media. The tether betwixt the two topics is my longstanding desire to create a fairly crunchy solo engine to simulate managing a fantasy sports team (Blood Bowl, Speedball or the aforementioned Jugger) and, after playing around with a few ideas over this past week, I have something I wish to share.